Miami is a world unto its own with Cuban flare, pristine beaches, and infinite amounts of people watching. While living in Dade County can seem like a perpetual vacation, it's not all Gloria Estefan and endless nights of dancing in a conga line. What if you find yourself in Mercy Hospital because of someone else's negligence? There are many types of personal injury scenarios in that can happen in Miami -- work injuries, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, dog bites -- the list goes on and on.
Here's some general information to help guide you through the process of a Miami personal injury case.
What's the First Thing I Should Do If I'm Injured?
Do not ignore your injuries. Seek medical attention. Your health should always come first. Try not to minimize any pain or suffering you're feeling. Be completely honest with your doctor and explain how the injury happened. Begin to collect evidence to help your case. Speak to witnesses, keep a journal, and take photos. If you are injured on the job, contact the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation.
How do I Start Building My Case?
Begin to collect evidence to help your case. Speak to witnesses, keep a journal, and take photos. Here are some things to think about:
What are the Steps in A Miami Personal Injury Case?
Unless you have been part of a lawsuit before, it is difficult to know what to expect. Here's a general outline of what typically goes on in a case. Remember, every case is different depending on the facts and circumstances.
Is There a Time Limit to File my Miami Personal Injury Case?
The standard time limit for most personal injury claims in Florida is four years from the date of the incident causing the harm. There are some exceptions for minors and mentally impaired persons. Remember, even if you have a legitimate claim you may be unable to ever receive compensation for an accident if you file too late.
What are Florida's Negligence Laws?
In order to win your case, you must prove the defendant was negligent or "at fault" for your injuries. There are a number of different ways to prove fault. It will depend on the particular circumstances.
Florida uses a pure comparative negligence rule. If you are partially responsible for the incident that caused your injuries, then your potential award at trial is reduced.
For example, if a jury finds that Abbot is 40% at fault, and Costello is 60% at fault, Abbot could still recover, but his $10,000 damage award will be reduced by 40%, for a net recovery of $6000.
What kind of damages can I claim in a lawsuit?
If you can prove another person was at fault for injuring you, you may be entitled to be compensated for your losses. Here are some examples:
Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you aren't sure what to do, a lawyer may be able to help. Lawyers take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Basically, you don't pay anything upfront. The lawyer only gets paid if you win your case. A settlement is considered a "win" and your attorney will most likely be entitled to collect their fees.
If you do decide to sue, your lawyer will provide details about where and when to appear in court. Here's a list of Miami courthouses.
Keep in mind, what happens in court is nothing like what you see in Hollywood. Personal injury cases are often times difficult and lengthy processes and there's no guarantee of a successful outcome. For more information, you may wish to contact a Miami personal injury lawyer.
Contact a qualified attorney.