Miami Lakes Personal Injury Lawyer
If a negligent person causes an accident resulting in your injuries, you’ll likely need a personal injury lawyer to recover the compensation you need to assist with your recovery. This article discusses what a Miami Lakes personal injury lawyer can do to get you back on your feet after a car accident or other accident leaves you physically, emotionally, and financially harmed.
How a personal injury attorney can help you
Most people think of personal injury lawyers as solely car accident attorneys, but this type of lawyer can help with many different injury-related cases, including:
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Insurance claims
- Truck accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Uninsured motorists claims
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death cases
No matter what kind of accident caused your injuries, dealing with a physical ailment can significantly impact your life. Injuries can prevent you from earning your usual wages and lead to chronic pain and emotional trauma. Often, you’re entitled to receive compensation if another person’s negligence caused you harm.
In Florida, various hurdles can stand in the way of getting you the compensation you deserve, including deadlines, a determination of fault, insurance rules, and damage caps that can affect how much compensation you’re able to receive. Our Miami Lakes personal injury attornies can help you navigate these hurdles and ensure you receive fair compensation.
What does a personal injury attorney do in your case?
Personal injury attorneys help you through every step of the legal process to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages resulting from an accident or another person’s negligence. The sometimes lengthy and complicated process might involve preparation, pre-litigation research, filing a complaint, obtaining discovery, pre-trial motions, trial, an appeal, and possibly a settlement at any point throughout the proceedings.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you prepare to state your claim or file your civil lawsuit by gathering all relevant documentation to prove your injuries and show damages and related costs. Relevant evidentiary documents include:
- Medical Bills: Injury-related costs can add up to thousands of dollars, including medical bills, follow-up medical visits, ambulance costs, medication costs, surgery costs, etc. Insurance might not cover all your expenses. Your personal injury lawyer can account for all costs when totaling a fair compensation amount to request in your claim.
- Property Damages: If an accident caused damage to your car, other personal property in your vehicle, or other property, your lawyer can help gather proof of the damages and all related costs for repairs or replacements.
- Lost Wages: If you’re unable to work after an accident due to your injuries, you can receive compensation for your lost wages.
- Lost Earning Capacity: If your injuries result in a long-term or permanent disability preventing you from returning to work or excelling in your career, you can include those losses in a demand for settlement or request for compensation.
Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is an intangible loss that’s often difficult to calculate. Your personal injury lawyer can help you determine a fair amount of compensation you deserve to help you recover from the emotional trauma you experienced.
Your personal injury lawyer can take care of all pre-litigation research necessary to support your claim. Your lawyer can research applicable statutory laws and case law or other incidents or accidents that have similar facts to your case that a court already ruled on. The rulings in those cases can support a comparable outcome in your case.
Filing a Complaint
After finalizing all pre-litigation research, your lawyer can draft and file a complaint on your behalf in the relevant Miami Lakes, Florida court, or the court with jurisdiction or standing to hear your case. A complaint lays out the facts of your case, including what happened, who was at fault, your injuries, and the amount of damages you’re entitled to. Your lawyer can calculate the damages you’re entitled to recover based on the extent of your injuries and all costs you incurred due to the accident.
After you or your lawyer file the complaint, the defendant (negligent party) will either respond with a counterclaim or an answer. The case then proceeds to the discovery phase, which involves gathering all relevant evidence each party needs to support their allegations.
Throughout the litigation, lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant file pre-trial motions on their respective client’s behalf to resolve any issues before trial. Your personal injury lawyer can evaluate all claims and defenses raised in a motion and respond accordingly or defend your interests to the judge at a hearing.
If the parties are unable to settle (which can happen at any point during the litigation process), the parties proceed to trial. At trial, your personal injury lawyer advocates for your rights and asserts your claims, explaining in detail what happened, how the defendant caused your injuries, and why you should receive the compensation requested. At trial, both parties can call witnesses, including expert witnesses, to support their allegations.
If the judge or jury (depending on the trial type) rules in one party’s favor, the losing party can file an appeal to reevaluate the case if there’s a question of law. Appeals courts cannot re-hear or re-determine facts decided by the lower court.
Before trial, the parties can enter into a settlement agreement. Your personal injury lawyer can help you determine a fair settlement amount and handle all communications with the opposing party and their insurance company.
Common Personal Injuries and Their Causes in Miami Lakes
Many Miami Lakes residents see or experience accidents that cause injuries. Common personal injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – TBIs are among the most common injuries resulting from vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, and sports injuries. This type of serious injury can significantly impact your quality of life, physical capabilities, emotions, and ability to earn wages.
- Neck Injuries – Neck injuries are common occurrences in most types of accidents, including motor vehicle, pedestrian, slip and fall, and sports accidents. The most common neck injury is likely whiplash, which is prone to happen, especially in rear-end collision accidents.
- Back Injuries – The back has many muscles and other easily injured soft tissue in addition to spinal cord discs, which are at high risk for serious harm. The back is vital for movement. A back injury can thereby cause severe complications and disruptions to a person’s daily life. Back injuries also sometimes require surgery and long-term physical therapy for continued healing and pain management.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries can affect almost every part of the body since it’s the body’s core messenger. In some instances, if a negligent party causes injury to the vertebrae, nerves, or other spinal cord parts, the harm might paralyze victims affecting some or all body parts. Paralysis is significantly debilitating and can permanently alter a person’s life.
- Burns – Accident victims might experience burns due to a motor vehicle accident, defective products, electrocutions, and home appliance malfunctions. Some burns can be severe, drastically altering your life. In 2016, the American Burn Association reported that 486,000 burns required medical treatment. Nearly 40,000 burn victims had to remain hospitalized or at in-patient burn centers for extended periods needing highly involved and often painful treatment.
- Amputations – Some accidents may require an injured party to remove a body part due to extensive harm. Amputated parts can include fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, or legs when the impact of an accident shatters, crushes, or severs them from the body. No matter what body part you lose, amputation is often a life-altering disability.
- Damages to Internal Organs – Accidents can potentially rupture internal organs. Additionally, accident victims might suffer from punctured organs due to broken ribs, blunt trauma to kidneys, and internal bleeding. Internal organ damage may require extensive surgery, long-term recovery, or permanent disability. Some internal injuries can be life-threatening.
- Fractures – One of the most common accident injuries people experience are fractures, with nearly 6.3 million fractures occurring in the United States each year. Most fractures require rest and immobilization and can impact the victim’s quality of life temporarily or long-term. Sometimes, bone fractures can affect an accident victim’s ability to work.
In Miami Lakes, car accidents are the most common types of accidents that cause injuries. Below is the intersection at Palmetto Expressway and W 68th St. Many accidents occur here, specifically at the Palmetto General Hospital, near the Palmetto Animal Clinic and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Hialeah.
Ward Law compiled this data using INRIX data.
Slip and fall accidents are also common in the Miami Lakes, Florida area, and injuries sustained in nursing homes have made headlines. In 2017, the Heartland Care Center of Miami Lakes (located at 5725 NW 186 Street, Hialeah, Florida) received much backlash for its abusive practices. Personal injury lawyers filed suits against them to compensate the victims and their families.
If you suffered injuries or damages due to an accident, you might be entitled to compensation based on a duty of negligence that the other party might have breached.
To support your personal injury claim, you must show that the other party was negligent and that their negligence led to your injuries. Negligence is a legal concept requiring proof of the following four elements to apply to your claim:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
- You suffered an actual injury due to their breach of duty, resulting in economic or non-economic (e.g., pain and suffering) damages.
Proving the first element (duty of care) requires showing that the other person had an obligation not to cause harm or to avoid causing harm to others. For example, when a person operates a motor vehicle, they have a duty to drive carefully and responsibly to avoid causing an accident and injure other people sharing the roadways.
To prove the second element (breach of duty), you must show that the other party acted recklessly or carelessly. If a driver drinks and then operates their vehicle intoxicated or fails to follow traffic signs by surpassing the posted speed limit, you have proof that person acted recklessly, carelessly, and negligently, thereby breaching their duty to you.
After you’ve proven the first two elements of negligence, you must show that the breach (e.g., drunk driving) is what caused the accident resulting in your injuries. To prove that you suffered injuries resulting in economic or non-economic damages, you must be able to provide all relevant medical and other documentation. Your personal injury lawyer can help gather the necessary information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Following an accident that leaves you injured, you likely have many questions. We can help provide you with answers so you can focus on your recovery.
What should I do after an accident in Miami Lakes?
If you’re in an accident, it’s crucial to follow these steps to ensure your safety and maximize the compensation you can receive to assist in your recovery:
- Ensure you’re safe. Depending on the accident, you need to ensure you and your loved ones are safe. If you’re in a car accident, pull over to a safe area to avoid risking additional accidents or injuries.
- Seek medical treatment. After an accident resulting in injuries, it’s vital to seek medical treatment. Your health is the number one priority. Make sure to keep all records of any medical treatment you receive, as this information is essential to support a future compensation claim.
- Report the accident. Report the accident, so you have a record that the incident occurred and the facts of what happened. You can report the accident to the police, the manager, the owner, or the property’s landlord. When reporting to the police, they’ll file a written report. You should request a copy of the report so you can access the information within it. An owner, landlord, or manager will also file a written report, which you can receive a copy of as well.
- Document everything. Be sure to obtain all relevant information about the accident and those involved, including the other party’s identifying information, where the accident occurred, any potential witnesses’ phone numbers and email addresses, and insurance policy information. If you can, get pictures depicting the scene directly following the incident to get an accurate account of its condition when the accident occurred.
- Do not make any deals prematurely. If the negligent party or representative for the negligent party contacts you for a settlement, do not agree to anything without consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to present low-ball offers to individuals to settle a case quickly and with the least amount of harm to their bottom line. You may be receiving a lot less than deserved for your injuries and damages incurred.
- Attend any follow-up medical appointments. Whatever your doctor recommends for treatment, medication, and follow-up, be sure to do it. Your doctor visits and treatment instructions can help demonstrate the extent of your injuries and help you receive fair compensation. Though, if you skimp on treatment, the opposing side can argue that it’s not necessary or you’re not seriously injured, thereby lowering or eliminating any compensation you can receive to assist in your recovery.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. It’s crucial to contact a law firm with knowledge of personal injury lawsuits to inform you of your rights and to help determine the validity of your case and whether you can realistically receive compensation as well as the total amount you might be entitled to. Lawyers handle every step of the legal process so you can focus on your recovery.
How do I know if I have a case?
If you’re suffering from injuries following an accident, you might wonder whether you have a valid claim for compensation to help cover your medical bills and other injury-related costs or damages. If you believe that the person responsible for your injuries acted intentionally, carelessly, recklessly, or negligently, that’s the first step to determining the success of your potential claim. If a public place failed to place a wet floor sign properly, a driver ran a red light, or a product manufacturer failed to include required warning labels, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and if you have a valid personal injury lawsuit.
When should I file my case?
In Florida, the statute of limitations or time limit to initiate a lawsuit is four years from the date of the accident for most personal injuries.
What type of compensation can a personal injury attorney help me recover?
A personal injury attorney can help you recover the following types of damages:
- Medical bills and costs. Including medical visits, ambulance costs, surgery costs, medication costs, follow-up appointments, and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages. Includes wages you lost due to not being able to work because of your injuries
- Future lost wages. Includes expected earnings you can no longer work to receive due to your injuries (i.e., if you’re injuries are long-term or permanent and you cannot return to work because you can no longer carry out your job duties)
- Household expenses. If you need to make any alterations to your home (e.g., installing a wheelchair ramp), you may be able to recover those expenses.
- Pain and suffering. Includes emotional damages or distress the injuries caused you
- Loss of consortium. If you’re filing a wrongful death suit after losing a loved one in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of companionship or spousal or other familial relationship.
How much can I recover from my lawsuit?
It depends. Every personal injury lawsuit is different. A formula used by insurance adjusters and lawyers as a starting point to determine damages can help calculate the amount you can recover. The final settlement amount largely depends on the medical evidence available, the extent of your injuries, how long it’ll take for you to recover, and the permanence of damages.
How will I receive compensation after a car accident?
Specifically for injuries sustained in car accidents, Florida is a ‘no-fault’ state. Every driver must have a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you’re in an accident, you can use PIP coverage to pay up to $10,000 in expenses.
How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?
It depends. Again, each personal injury lawsuit is different and entirely dependent on the facts of the case. If the parties intend to settle, the settlement process can take anywhere from two weeks to multiple years.
The first step in the process is to receive the medical treatment you need and attain maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once you attain MMI, your personal injury lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company, explaining the facts of your case, why the other party is at fault, how they caused your injuries, the extent of your injuries, and the amount of compensation requested to cover damages. The insurance company has thirty (30) days to review the letter and all supporting documentation. The insurance company usually responds with an offer. If the offer is low, your lawyer can attempt to negotiate a higher amount, which can take up to several months.
If you cannot agree to a negotiated amount, your personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit. The discovery phase alone can take anywhere from six months to one year. After discovery, if the parties are still unable to settle, the lawsuit proceeds to trial. The court may not schedule the trial for another six months to one year.
Given the potential length of time a lawsuit can take if the parties cannot reach a settlement, it’s crucial to retain a lawyer who knows how to navigate the legal system to avoid unnecessary delays in getting you the compensation you deserve.
Will my case settle?
A majority of personal injury claims do end in a settlement. Settlements allow both parties to avoid the uncertainty and lengthiness of going to trial. Parties can also enter into confidential settlement agreements, meaning that the amount settled will not be available to the public. In addition to the settlement amount, the court might establish certain gag orders to prevent privileged facts of the case from going public. Though, there’s no guarantee your case will settle. Each case is different. It’s thereby vital to understand your case’s potential outcome and the best plan of action to take by consulting with a lawyer.
What if my injury happens at work?
If you’re at work when injured, you might still be entitled to compensation. The first thing you should do is inform your supervisor as soon as possible. Make sure to formalize any complaint or injury in writing so you and your employer have proof of your claim on record. Making a record of your injury initiates the process to allow you to receive workers’ compensation. Keep copies of all forms you fill out or file with your employer.
If you need medical treatment, you should get it as soon as possible. If you are not a federal employee, Florida’s state laws will apply. Florida Statute 440.09 requires that employers “must pay compensation or furnish benefits required by this chapter if the employee suffers an accidental compensable injury or death arising out of work performed in the course and the scope of employment. The injury, its occupational cause, and any resulting manifestations or disability must be established to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on objective relevant medical findings, and the accidental compensable injury must be the major contributing cause of any resulting injuries.”
In simpler terms, this statute allows for workers’ compensation benefits if you’re injured at work while completing duties performed within the scope of your employment.
What if a government employee injures me or if I'm injured at a government entity?
If your injuries result from a government employee’s negligence or you’re on government property when injured, there’s a strict process to follow if you decide to file a lawsuit. You will need to file a “notice of claim” within sixty days after the injury. Usually, government entities are entitled to immunity from lawsuits, meaning individuals cannot sue them without permission. Though, most governments have enacted laws requiring government entities to waive the immunity for an accident or injury, increasing accountability and allowing for recompense.
If you work for the government, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor administers the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), which provides compensation benefits for federal government employees injured performing their job duties.
What if I contributed to the accident?
Florida law states that if you contributed in some way to an accident that caused your injuries, then the court may reduce the amount of compensation you can recover by the percentage of the accident attributable to you.
For example, if you’re in an accident and the court finds you are 10% at fault, then the judge or jury can decrease the total amount you may be entitled to for your injuries by 10%.
Do I need a personal injury attorney in Miami Lakes?
Most likely, yes. If someone’s negligence or wrongful actions caused an accident resulting in your injuries, you should consult with a lawyer before discussing settlement amounts with the other party or a representative negotiating on their behalf. You might likely have to deal with insurance companies, which have teams of lawyers who immediately evaluate and often attempt to find ways to devalue your claim. You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you receive a fair settlement amount.
While on the road to recovery, you do not have to go through the complex legal processes that follow an accident alone. A personal injury attorney can help guide you through the procedural steps to receive the compensation you deserve.
What do I have to prove to win my case and recover damages?
In Florida, the law requires the plaintiff to prove the case by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This standard means that the plaintiff must prove there’s more than a 50% chance the claim is valid. A plaintiff can do this by providing credible evidence (such as medical record documentation, witness statements, expert testimony, photo evidence, etc.) to prove the elements for negligence are accurate.
How can I pay for my personal injury attorney?
Many personal injury lawyers agree to represent you based on a contingency fee arrangement. This type of fee structure means you only have to pay your lawyer if they win your case. The contingency fee is typically a percentage of the total amount you recover in the case. This fee arrangement is relatively straightforward and allows both your interests and the lawyer’s interests to align.
Contingency fee arrangements can include variations, such as a mixed hourly fee and contingency fee arrangement. Your attorney receives a reduced hourly rate for work completed in this set-up, regardless of whether you win or lose. Many times your lawyer might receive a bonus if you win or settle your case.
Some law firms work on a sliding scale contingency, meaning the percentage increases if your case moves past settlement talks and enters litigation proceedings.
Who pays a personal injury lawyer?
In most cases, where the lawyer represents the plaintiff, the attorney’s fee comes from the amount the defendant pays out via settlement agreement or judge or jury compensation award.
When should I contact a personal injury attorney?
As soon as you can. After an accident with injuries, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible to ensure you protect your rights early on. Insurance adjusters often try to settle claims swiftly and are skilled negotiators. A trusted legal advocate can provide you with an accurate assessment of what you can expect from a settlement and prevent the other party or insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you.
Contact us today at 855-DOLOR-55. We want to help you get the compensation you deserve!