Attorney David I. Fuchs
Feb. 14, 2021
Getting into an accident is frustrating and scary. After you see a doctor and get help, you might not know what to do next. Do you have a legal claim? Or an insurance claim?
Not every accident leads to a lawsuit or insurance claim, and you aren’t always entitled to compensation after something goes wrong. But if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, then Florida law gives you the right to demand payment.
The best way to find out if you have a personal injury case is to talk with a lawyer. All it takes is calling (954) 568-3636 or sending us your information through our online form. During a free consultation with David I. Fuchs, Accident & Injury Lawyer, P.A., you can tell your story. After answering a few questions, Fuchs will explain your options.
Whether you have a personal injury claim depends on whether you’re injured. Can you prove you have one or more physical injuries? Property damage alone, like after a minor collision, is enough for an insurance claim. But property damage without serious bodily injuries might not be enough to file a lawsuit.
To win compensation from someone or their insurance company, you have to show they were negligent. What is negligence? It’s a failure to uphold a duty of care that causes someone harm. It’s easier to break negligence down to its elements:
You need evidence to prove all four elements to receive an insurance payout or win a lawsuit.
A lawyer will help you determine if the other person owed you a duty of care. As individuals, we often are supposed to live up to a certain standard of behavior. Drivers are a good example. When anyone drives, they’re responsible for behaving like a reasonably careful person would under the circumstances. It’s known as the duty of reasonable care.
One person’s duty to another depends on the situation and their relationship, though. It isn’t always the same. For example, the duty a landlord owes a tenant is different from what a business owes a customer, or any property owner owes a trespasser.
You have to prove the difference between how the other party behaved versus how they should have acted based on their duty of care. How you do this depends on the circumstances.
If you were in a car crash, you might establish what the other driver did – such as speeding and running a stop sign – as compared to what a reasonably careful driver would have done. A cautious driver would have obeyed the law by driving the speed limit and stopping at the stop sign.
The more complicated part of negligence is proving the other party’s behavior is the actual and legal cause of your injuries. There are two types of causation in personal injury claims:
There’s “cause in fact” or “actual cause.” It means if not for the other party’s actions, you would not have been hurt. Event A directly led to Event B.
You have to prove your injuries were within the foreseeable risks associated with the other person’s conduct. Another way to put it: The other person could reasonably have anticipated that their actions could cause harm. A driver speeding and blowing through a stop sign can reasonably predict hitting another vehicle.
Whether or not you can or should file a lawsuit depends on many factors. Even if you can prove negligence, a lawsuit isn’t always the answer. The best way to win compensation might be through an insurance claim.
In some situations, like auto accidents, you have to pursue an insurance payout first. Florida is a no-fault state for car crashes. You will use your Personal Injury Protection to pay for all or some of your medical bills and lost income. The at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for the property damage. You can’t sue after a crash unless you experienced severe injuries and more medical bills than your PIP insurance can cover.
You don’t have to figure out your options on your own. David I. Fuchs, Accident & Injury Lawyer, P.A., offers free case evaluations for this purpose. Talk with a lawyer and find out whether Florida law entitles you to compensation.