Suing for injuries can be a complex process. Many injury victims would rather file through insurance and settle their case that way, but insurance often leaves money on the table that you might need to help with your recovery.
When you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer, your lawyer can fight to get all damages covered in your injury case. This can sometimes mean going to trial, where we can present evidence and witnesses to support your claim. Most cases do settle before reaching that stage, and we can work to negotiate a fair settlement that covers your needs in full.
To have our personal injury lawyers review your injury case, contact The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer today at (954) 751-4258.
Personal Injury Laws in Orange County, FL
To sue someone else for your injuries, you and your personal injury attorneys typically have to prove that the defendant violated some legal duty that they owed you. If your injury was instead caused by an honest accident, then you might not be able to get damages – but many injury cases do ultimately involve someone dropping the ball or creating unsafe circumstances that led to your injuries.
Based on the circumstances at hand and the relationship between the victim and the defendant, the law often requires defendants to act reasonably. If the defendant fails to act reasonably or violates other specific safety rules – such as speed limits – then they can be held liable for the injuries that result from those violations.
For example, property owners must take steps to warn guests of dangers or clean up hidden dangers to prevent their guests from being injured on things like slippery floors. If the property owner fails to take reasonable steps to do so – such as putting up a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign – then they can be held responsible if someone is injured.
Similar duties are created in many situations, such as when a patient visits a doctor, when two drivers share the road, or when a manufacturer sells a product to a consumer.
Proving Causation in Orange County, FL Personal Injury Claims
One important element of every injury case is causation. If the defendant’s conduct did not actually cause your injury, then you cannot sue them. Ultimately, there are two types of causation to understand: actual or “but-for” causation and proximate causation. Issues with causation can often hurt your case.
Actual causation is met when the defendant’s conduct is an actual, literal cause of the accident. This is often referred to as “but-for” causation because the results would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions.
For example, if the defendant speeds and runs a red light, crashing into the victim’s car, it is safe to say that the accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s bad driving. However, the accident would also never have happened if the driver was never born – so the defendant’s mom giving birth to the driver is also an actual cause of the accident. This second “cause” is very far removed and cannot be considered a “legal” cause of the accident, which brings us to the other type of causation.
A cause must also be closely related to the accident in order to be considered a “legal” cause of the accident. This is called “proximate” cause, after the fact that it has to be close in time and location to the accident to be a cause.
For example, a speeding driver who crashed into the victim will be liable because their speeding happened then and there. A shooter who fires a gun at someone 1,000 yards away might not be particularly close, but their actions are still a “proximate” cause of the victim’s injuries.
There are legal tests for proximate cause, but the legal issues can sometimes get complex. For example, if a manufacturer makes a defective airbag in another country and it fails to deploy in a car in Florida, is that a proximate cause of the injuries? Generally, the answer is yes because the accident was involved then and there in the crash. You should always have a lawyer review your case to ensure causation questions are properly addressed to keep your case strong.
If there was an intervening cause, that can often “cut off” liability. For example, if a driver was speeding toward you, but another car hit you first, then the first driver’s speeding was certainly illegal and constitutes a breach of duty, but it did not actually cause your accident. You would instead sue the second driver.
Sometimes accidents are inevitable, and even the most diligent, safe people could not have stopped the accident. In those cases, the fact that a duty was violated could not actually be a legal cause of the injuries. For example, if a medical malpractice plaintiff had an inoperable, deadly brain tumor, but the doctor failed to diagnose and treat it, could the doctor be held liable for medical malpractice? If the tumor was truly inoperable, then treatment might not have helped, and the doctor’s mistakes might not have actually made anything worse, so they would not be able to be sued.
Our attorneys look out for issues like these in injury cases and fight to help prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions were indeed what caused the injuries in question.
Damages for Injury Victims in Orange County, FL Accident Cases
To get compensation for your injury case, you have to prove the damages you suffered as well. Most injury cases involve pain and suffering of some kind as well as other non-economic damages like emotional distress. They also involve economic damages – damages that have a clear financial value. These commonly come in the form of medical expenses, childcare costs, property damage, and other costs.
While some damages are covered by insurance, others are not. For example, no-fault car insurance in Florida does not pay for pain and suffering. In cases when this happens, you often need to take your case to court to get full compensation. Court cases can settle before trial, but taking your case all the way to trial and a jury verdict is sometimes necessary to get the damages you need.
Contact Our Orange County, FL Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Call (954) 751-4258 for a free case review with the personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer.