Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyers

Doesn’t it seem unfair when you find yourself injured as a result of someone else’s negligence? According to the law, we all have a duty of care to other people in different settings, like workplaces, roads, buildings, etc. That means we are liable for the damage caused to others because of our negligence.

Some accidents do not cause much harm, while others result in serious injuries. For more serious cases than others, the at-fault parties should be held responsible. But each state has different laws regarding personal injury claims.

In this blog post, we will talk about how the state of Florida handles serious injury cases. Continue reading to know what to do if you or your loved ones end up in a similar situation. You can also contact West Palm Beach Injury Lawyers for specific guidance on your case.

Let’s get started.

Florida’s Laws Regarding Accident Cases

Florida is a heavily populated state, and many accident cases are reported every day. Earlier, it used to be flooded with personal injury claims. Hence, the state introduced two basic rules to reduce the burden on the legal system and speed up the process of compensating accident victims.

The two rules regarding personal injury claims in Florida are the no-fault law and the serious injury threshold.

The No-Fault Law

According to the no-fault law, every person who owns a vehicle has to buy Personal Injury Protection Coverage of at least $10,000. When they meet with an accident, this becomes the primary source for the recovery of their damages (like medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses).

This law guarantees some form of compensation for the accident victims, regardless of whose negligence caused the accident. It covers you after a car accident even if you don’t have medical insurance.

However, a major drawback of the no-fault law is that it assumes that all of your damages will be recovered by the amount you have in your Personal Injury Protection Coverage. Under this law, you cannot file a claim or sue the negligent party unless your injuries are serious enough to meet a specified threshold.

The Serious Injury Threshold

The government of Florida has established a threshold law stating that a person cannot sue an at-fault party if there is no medical proof of the severity and extent of their injuries.

For an injury to be classified as serious, it needs to fulfill at least one condition out of the following:

  • The injury is diagnosed to be permanent
  • The injury causes permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement
  • The injury causes permanent and significant loss of a bodily function
  • The injury leads to death

You can file a claim or sue the at-fault party if your injuries are directly caused by an accident resulting from the at-fault party’s actions and meets one of the three conditions mentioned above.

Filing a case against the at-fault party enables you to recover more than just economic damages. If your injury passes the serious injury threshold, you can sue the negligent party for causing you pain and suffering, which is not included in the Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

How to Prove That Your Injury is Serious

The serious injury threshold only states four conditions to classify a serious injury. This means that your injury will only hold value in court if it’s severe enough to affect your day-to-day activities. But there are no clear guidelines on how the court decides that an injury falls under the specified conditions.

The law has left these terms open for interpretation. This is because the same kind of injury may have different effects on different kinds of people. It depends on you and your medical and legal team to prove how the injuries have negatively impacted your daily life.

Taking an example from previous cases, a bruised hand is not usually considered serious. In contrast, the damage to the tendons in your hands pushes you over the threshold, even if it’s not a permanent impairment. This is because a fracture often requires physical therapy and affects your day-to-day activities.

Some other examples of serious injuries include whiplash, broken bones and fractures, spinal cord damage, amputations, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries. The effects of some serious injuries don’t show up immediately after the accident. Therefore, you should get checked by a doctor right after the accident – even if you feel fine.

You can prove the severity of your injury and pass the threshold through the testimonies of the following people.

  • Doctor: Your medical examination report from a doctor is the primary evidence that proves how your injuries can negatively affect your ability to function in daily life. Plus, your doctor can be called to testify as an expert witness in court.
  • A Mental Health Expert: Being severely injured has a significant impact on your mental health too. Hence, you should get examined by psychiatrists and psychologists to prove the extent of your mental suffering after the accident.
  • Close Family Members: The family members who live with you can see and testify to the difference in your life after an accident. No one can better witness how your injuries change the way you walk, talk, or perform other activities.
  • Yourself: Your own experience is also the main contributor to proving the severity of your injuries. West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyers often advise accident victims to keep a journal recording their recollection of the events leading to the accident and the difficulties they face every day after that.

Have you or any of your close ones been severely injured in an accident recently? If so, you should book a free initial consultation with a lawyer, to discuss your case. They are experts in dealing with accident cases involving serious injuries.

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