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Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

March 31, 2018

Personal injury law is primarily based on tort law.  A tort is a civil wrong.  Criminal matters are handled by prosecutors that enforce the law.  While personal injury is also governed by law, when someone injures you, it is not entirely accurate to say they have ‘broken the law.’  That is a term that is often used to describe criminal behavior.  Personal injury law, or tort law, is more accurately described as holding people accountable when their behavior falls below the standard of care prescribed by the common law.  Unfortunately, the person responsible for causing your accident may not be willing to acknowledge their fault or pay for your injuries.  When this happens, the oneness is for you to hire an attorney and assert your rights under the law.

The first step to establishing a viable personal injury claim is generally proving that a duty existed.  Did the person that injured you owe you a duty of care?  For example, all drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to drive carefully, watch the road, use turn signals when necessary, and drive at reasonably safe spends.  If this duty is breached, then the next question is whether that breach was the proximate cause of your injuries.  Even if a careless motorist breaches their duty to drive safe, it is possible that their carelessness was not the cause of your injury.

In addition to this, Florida is a comparative negligence state.  This means that if you were careless, the amount of money you can recover is reduced by your level of responsibility.  If your case does not go to trial, your degree of fault is determined through negotiation with the insurance company, the opposing party, and the lawyers involved.  If your case does go to trial, your degree of fault is determined by a judge or jury.

Another element of your personal injury claim is time.  In Florida, and a number of other states, you have a limited number of years to file your claim.  Sometimes, the number of years to file is based on the severity of the claim.  For example, in some jurisdictions, there is no statute of limitations for sex abuse victims because of the severity of the conduct, and how difficult it can sometimes be for victims to come forward or recognize that they were abused.  For standard personal injury matters, the time limits can be as low as two years, or as long as four years depending on the matter.  Do not hesitate to contact an attorney if you believe you have been injured by someone else’s carelessness.

Finally, some civil matters are governed entirely by statute.  The term common law refers to a body of law that is enshrined in judicial opinions.  To understand these laws, attorneys rely on the law as it is articulated formed by courts.  The legislature though, will from time to time, recognize an area of law that needs to be codified and pass a statute.  These statutes attempt to precisely describe the prohibited behavior, the procedures for filing a claim, and the damages one can pursue.

Once you have won your claim, you are entitled to recovery for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages.  The competent attorneys at Bryan W. Crews will evaluate your claim for free, and help guide you through the process.  Each case is different, and results are not guaranteed.

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