A serious injury can keep you from supporting yourself and your family. Hurt in an accident and facing a difficult recovery? Contact a Lakeland injury lawyer for help seeking the compensation you deserve.
Recovering from a serious injury can be daunting. It’s even harder while you still have household responsibilities. Dealing with your mortgage, utilities, car payments, and groceries plus growing medicals bills is a challenge.
But you don’t have to go through this alone. A Lakeland personal injury lawyer at Lopez & Humphries, PA can help you get your life back.
Accidents That Warrant a Lakeland Personal Injury Claim
Many types of accidents qualify for compensation through a personal injury claim in Lakeland. Some common accidents our clients have been in include:
- Car Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Dog Bites
- Medical Malpractice
- Defective Products
- Boat Accidents
- Wrongful Death
Vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. Each year there are millions of car accidents across the United States. When most think about car accidents, a simple two-car collision comes to mind, but there are many types of wrecks.
A rear-end collision is the most common type of car accident in Florida. These occur when a negligent driver hits the back of the vehicle in front of them. They typically occur when a driver is following the car in front of them too closely and is unable to stop in time. In Florida, it is not automatic that the rear drive is at fault. Common injuries include whiplash and neck and back pain.
A side impact collision, also known as a T-bone accident, happens when one vehicle strikes the side of another. They often happen at intersections when the party at fault runs a stop sign or red light.
Devastating injuries can result as high speeds are usually involved. Also, not all cars are equipped with side-impact safety features.
Head-on collisions refer to when two cars collide head-on. These types of accidents can be more commonly fatal than other accidents because of the force on all parties in both cars. When you’re traveling at 60 mph and come to a sudden stop, it can deal devastating amounts of damage to your brain and other internal organs.
When two vehicles collide while driving in the same direction, a sideswipe accident occurs. Not only will there be damage to both vehicles, but the jerk reaction after the collision can increase the damage done, injuries incurred, and vehicles and property involved. Merging, swerving into the next lane, or changing lanes and hitting someone in your blind spot are common culprits.
Multi-car accidents are collisions that involve more than two vehicles. When three or more vehicles are involved in a crash, they are also referred to as multi-car pile-ups. These can cause serious injuries and much property damage. These cases can be complex and difficult to determine fault.
Single-vehicle accidents involve one car. These occur when the driver loses control of their vehicle and hits a stationary object. Despite only having one vehicle involved, property damage can be significant and injuries can be devastating. Do not assume that just because there is not another party involved that you do not have any rights for compensation.
When a car is in an accident where it tips onto its side or roof, it’s referred to as a rollover accident. These are serious accidents with a high likelihood of being ejected from the car during the accident. The impact from multiple points between the car and yourself can lead to catastrophic injuries.
No one expects to be involved in a motor vehicle accident when they start the engine or hop in the passenger seat. It’s the expectation that all drivers follow the rules of the road and operate vehicles safely. However, there are factors both in and out of your control that increase the chance of accidents.
These happen when a property owner hasn’t ensured the safety of their invited guests. A good example could be a homeowner who didn’t clean up a spilled liquid before inviting people over. A guest slips on the puddle and breaks a hip or suffers a back injury. A premises liability case is born.
In these cases, it is not enough simply to be injured on someone else’s property. It needs to be shown that the owner of the property or manager in charge should reasonably have known that the surroundings were in unsafe conditions and failed to take proper care to correct the situation. Lawyers with experience in these types of investigations will help solidify your claim.
There are some common types of injury cases that stem from damages caused by negligent property owners. When a property owner is negligent, many things can go wrong, many of them leading to severe injuries. Some of the most common premises liability examples include:
- Slip-and-fall cases
- Inadequate property maintenance
- Snow and ice accidents
- Lack of proper building security leading to the assault of a patron
- Swimming pool accidents
- Fires, electrical, or chemical burns
- Amusement park accidents
If you’ve been injured in one of these accidents, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Your lawyer can help you hold the property owner accountable for your injuries and get the compensation you’re due for your injuries.
Florida follows strict liability laws for dog bite injuries. This means that when a dog bites someone, the dog owner will be responsible for damages. That’s regardless of the dog’s behavior before the attack.
With dog ownership increasing, so do the risks that a dog can bite you and cause severe injuries, whether they have ever shown signs of aggression. Unfortunately, dogs are often everywhere, including in stores and other public places. It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog does not pose a threat to others.
Common injuries that can arise from any breed or age of dog include severe flesh wounds, torn ligaments or muscles, and possibly facial disfigurement. Scars from these injuries can be a permanent reminder of this traumatic event. It is a common reaction for the dog owner to deny fault in these incidents and blame the victim, this is why a personal injury lawyer is important.
For malpractice to occur, a medical professional treating or caring for a patient makes an error another qualified professional would not have made. Some examples include misdiagnosis, failing to treat a condition, or giving the wrong dose of medication.
Statistically, in medical malpractice cases, the scale is not tipped in the victim’s favor. Without an attorney on your side who has extensive experience in these types of claims, your chances at fair compensation are at significant risk. Because of this, it’s important to contact a lawyer. Your attorney will provide the legal representation you need to overcome the devastating suffering a doctor’s negligence can cause.
Also known as product liability claims, these occur when a consumer product malfunctions and causes injuries. These accidents often make headlines due to massive recalls. It’s the legal and moral responsibility of companies to ensure the safety of their customers. When they fail to abide by safety standards, serious injuries, and even death can result.
If you have been injured due to a defective product, there are a number of parties who may be held liable. Anyone with the knowledge that a product could potentially cause harm and allowed the sale of this item can be found at fault. Product liability law requires specialized knowledge about the chain of commerce this product passes through in order to be available to a consumer.
Florida follows the negligence standard in regard to product liability cases. To prove negligence on behalf of the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, it needs to be shown that the injuries were directly caused by the other party’s actions or lack thereof. Strict liability applies if that product was defective before going to market.
A boat accident is like a car accident. If someone else caused it and your resulting injuries, you deserve compensation. In Florida, beautiful weather and boating adventures go hand and hand. Unfortunately, the unexpected can happen and your fun day in the sun may be ruined by a boating accident that leaves you and others injured.
Even if a boat operator did not make direct contact with another vessel, the boat operator can be held liable for causing an accident. Reckless driving not only pertains to cars on the road, but the same applies to operating a boat. If the operator of another boat is traveling at high speeds and creates a wake that causes you to capsize or sustain injuries, for example, they may be held liable.
If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, you can pursue compensation from the at-fault party. The monetary compensation gained from a wrongful death suit can never take away the grief that is felt upon losing a loved one. Dealing with the expenses after a tragic event can put even more pressure on those survivors, this is where we can help.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. The goal is to obtain financial compensation for the loved ones from the party who is at fault. We take these cases very seriously and empathize with the family. A thorough investigation is vital in determining the cause, damages owed, and parties at fault.
Types of Injuries in Personal Injury Claims
You’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you may not know if your injuries warrant a personal injury case. No two cases are the same, but typically, if your injuries are caused because someone else was careless with your safety, you may qualify for compensation that covers the costs of your accident.
Regardless if your injuries stem from a car accident, property negligence, a dog bite, or countless others, certain injuries are common and potentially dangerous. The cause and severity of your injuries will determine the value of your case. Many types of injuries warrant a personal injury claim. Below is just a sample of injuries you may be able to file a claim over.
A traumatic brain injury typically results from a forceful blow or jolt to the head. Brain injuries have a wide range of both physical and psychological effects. While minor injuries may affect your brain temporarily, more serious trauma can cause long-term complications and in the most severe cases even death.
Symptoms of trauma to your brain may appear immediately or days to weeks later. It’s always vital to be evaluated by a medical professional if you have suffered any type of injury. Some symptoms may include a headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, loss of balance, vision changes, and confusion.
The leading cause of brain injuries in the United States is due to falls. The next leading cause is car accidents. Collisions with motor vehicles, whether by a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or on foot, lead to many brain injuries every year.
Many complications result from a brain injury affecting your physical and emotional well-being. You may be unable to participate in activities you once loved due to vision problems, the risk of seizures, and emotional changes. Your ability to return to your previous work role may be at risk if cognitive issues persist affecting your memory, concentration, and speech.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves attached. Severe injuries result in permanent changes physically, emotionally, and socially, and involve a long and challenging road to recovery. Many spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents, more than violence, medical complications, and sports combined.
For those over the age of 65, spinal cord injuries are often caused by falls. The residual damage from an injury to your spinal cord is dependent on where on the spinal cord your injury is and the severity. Paralysis resulting from a spinal cord injury can affect all or part of your limbs.
If you have suffered a complete injury, all sensation and ability to control movements are lost below the level of your injury. An injury is termed as being incomplete if some of your motor functions and feeling remain. Loss of movement, sensation, loss of bowel and bladder function, changes in sexual function, and inability to breathe on your own can severely impact your quality of life.
The immediate realization that you are not able to function the way you did prior to your accident can be overwhelming. This is an impactful turning point in your life and life afterward will look different than before.
There are specialized programs and resources available to those who sustain either a brain or spinal cord injury. At Lopez & Humphries, PA, we have the knowledge and resources available to not only get you the compensation you deserve but to enable you to move forward and focus on your path to recovery.
Finding Fault for Your Lakeland Accident
First we will determine if you have a claim. Then we’ll start looking into the specifics of your case. We’ll figure out who is liable for your injuries. This can vary, depending on the type of accident you’ve been hurt in.
For instance, in car accidents, the driver of the vehicle that hit you, parts manufacturers, or the state road authority may hold some of the blame. In a medical malpractice case, surgeons, physicians, nurses, home health aides, and even the hospital or doctor’s office could be sued.
After liability has been determined, we can begin calculating the value of your Lakeland personal injury claim. This is the amount of compensation we will request from the at-fault party or their insurer.
Full Compensation for Your Damages After an Injury
Figuring out how much your claim should be worth is usually a two-step process. We need to consider both the economic and non-economic damages you’ve endured.
It’s easy to nail down your financial expenses. They include things like lost wages, impact on your future earning potential (regular income, bonuses, raises, and retirement savings), and medical expenses.
It’s important to be fully reimbursed for your medical bills. You should be covered for these costs, among others:
- your hospital stay
- prescription meds
- medical equipment
- adjustments to your home to accommodate medical equipment (wheelchair ramps, hospital beds, or railings)
Your non-economic losses should also be included in your claim’s total value. It’s hard to put a value on pain and suffering, emotional distress such as PTSD, disfigurement, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life. But all forms of emotional trauma still deserve compensation.
Sometimes, a judge decides to award punitive damages. These are meant to set an example against egregious or malicious actions. They’re also meant to punish the liable party. Having punitive damages added to your award can drastically increase the amount the defendant will be required to pay you.
The idea of an injury lawsuit is to recover all your expenses. It’s also meant to cover the non-economic damages that have devastated your life. It’s your Lakeland accident injury lawyer’s job to make sure the guilty party is accountable for your damages.
Don’t Let Time Run Out on Your Injury Claim
No one is prepared to be involved in an accident. The impact medical, physical, and emotional impact can leave you confused and overwhelmed. You may be thinking about waiting until things calm down and you’re feeling like yourself again to look into legal representation, but you risk losing your chance at filing a claim if you wait too long.
Each state has its own unique and complex laws regarding personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for personal injury in Florida sets a strict time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent party after your accident. These time frames exist primarily to protect the defendant from having to rebut accusations that are too old, but swift action helps the prosecution as well.
Over time, evidence can be lost or destroyed. Witnesses may move, their memories may fade, or the facts may change in their minds and become invalid. Those willing to speak on your behalf may have a change of heart and not want to be involved in an event that happened long ago. The scene of the accident may change, construction, weather, and foliage will all change over the years.
It’s important to obtain an experienced attorney who is not only well-versed in the type of injury you have incurred, but also very knowledgeable about the deadlines involved in filing for your damages. Different types of lawsuits carry a range of timelines that need to be met in order to ensure your case is valid. Once this time has passed, so has your leverage.
Medical malpractice and wrongful death cases carry the shortest statute of limitations. In either case, you only have two years to file your claim. Failure to do so will most likely result in you being barred from recovering any type of compensation. The clock starts ticking on the date of your injury or your loved one’s wrongful death.
In general, the statute of limitations for most other personal injuries is four years from the date of your accident. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. If your injuries were not apparent immediately after the accident, the four-year timer may not begin until you discover these ailments. A skilled attorney will know when exceptions might apply.
If you’re suffering from injuries after the negligence of another, you may not be able to pursue compensation immediately following the accident due to the severity of your injuries. Significant events such as a coma, the need for many surgeries, and respiratory failure, can leave you incapacitated for a period of time and may allow the time period to be paused for up to seven years.
Injuries suffered by those who are a minor also extend the statute of limitations beyond the general rule. If you are under the age of 18 at the time of your accident, the timeframe may be lengthened for up to seven years, or until the time of your eighteenth birthday.
One additional exception to the rule is if the defendant has concealed themselves or has left the state. When facing lawsuits, it is a reality that some may flee. If this occurs before you are able to file your claim, the timeline may be stalled until you are able to locate the individual at fault.
If you miss these all-important deadlines, the chances of a successful suit decrease significantly. You may still be able to file a late claim, however, if no exceptions apply you more than likely will be unable to recover damages for your injuries. The statute of limitations applies to both economic and non-economic compensation.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for You
We know you have choices when you are considering who to represent you in your personal injury claim. Combing through search results can seem like a daunting task. Choosing the right lawyer for you is an important decision. We will build a trusting relationship with our clients and have a proven track record of getting them the compensation they deserve. We don’t get paid to lose.
The legal system is very complex and you should look for an attorney who is familiar with the law in your state. The practice has become very specialized, so it’s imperative that you work with a lawyer with expertise in personal injury law. If you are seeking damages for your injuries, you wouldn’t, for example, want a tax attorney to handle your personal injury case.
It’s best to sit down face to face and discuss your case in person. It is a good idea to bring as much information as you are able to during your initial conversation so we can get a good idea about exactly how we will be able to help you. During this interview, not only will we find out about you, you are able to get to know us and ask questions to make you feel comfortable with your choice.
Our proven record of success speaks volumes, and we would love to answer any questions you may have. Honest and open communication is key to a successful lawyer-client relationship. Coming prepared to our first meeting will ensure that we start on the right foot and continue to move forward successfully. Some questions our clients have found helpful to ask include:
- Who Will Be Working On My Case? – Based on the size and complexity of your case we may have one or more attorneys and staff assisting in preparing a strong defense for you.
How Often Do You Communicate? – We pride ourselves on keeping our clients up to date about their claims. We will keep you informed every step of the way and seek your input when it comes time for important decisions to be made.
- What Is My Settlement Worth? – Every claim is different, which means every claim’s value is different. After we’ve discussed the details of your case and reviewed your documentation, we will have a good idea of what compensation you are entitled to. We can discuss our strategy and how we plan to negotiate with the insurance company for damages.
- What Are Your Fees? – This is an important question when hiring any type of professional. The initial consultation is always free, and we do not get paid unless you do. We mean exactly what we advertise, you will not be billed unless we win your case. We’re also paid a contingency fee, which is a percentage of your final settlement.
Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Lakeland
Few people are prepared to deal with the consequences of a serious injury. Even fewer know how to move forward if their injury is someone else’s fault. Need help getting paid for the losses you’ve been forced to endure? Contact a lawyer at Lopez & Humphries, PA.
Our team of lawyers is passionate about helping injury victims reclaim their lives. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Lakeland personal injury lawyer. Simply fill out the online contact form below, or give us a call at (863) 774-3573.
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Lakeland Personal Injury FAQ
If I file an injury claim, does that mean I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. We can avoid going to court if negotiations with the insurer or negligent party are successful. But what if the insurer makes you an insultingly low offer? What if we can't come to an agreement? Then you should be ready to bring your case in front of a judge.
Should I give a statement to the insurance adjuster about my injury?
It is often not a good idea to make a statement to the insurance company. Some insurers are infamous for using people’s words against them. They do this to try to increase the amount of blame you hold. This lowers the amount they must settle for. That protects their profits.
My accident happened a couple of years ago. Can I still file a claim?
In Florida, you have four years from the date the accident occurred or the injury was diagnosed to file a personal injury claim. The exception is a medical malpractice claim. These claims have a statute of limitations of only two years.
How do I know if I have a valid case?
This is where the initial consultation is important. During the first interview, be prepared with as much information as you’re able to collect. Police reports from the accident, any insurance communications, medical bills, and pay stubs help us put together a clear picture of what your case will entail. From here we will be open and honest about the viability of your claim.
What are the benefits of working with a personal injury lawyer?
The days following a serious accident can be some of the most difficult days of your life. In addition to your physical and emotional recovery, you may face enormous costs relating to your injury. In tough times, everyone can use a helping hand. At Lopez & Humphries, PA your best interests are our priority, we handle all of the legalities enabling you to heal. Pairing with experienced legal counsel in personal injury law ensures that you get all of the compensation you deserve. We are skilled in negotiating with difficult defendants and skillfully calculate both economic and non-economic damages owed to you. Your best chance at a successful outcome is with the guidance of a personalized legal advocate.
How long will it take for my personal injury case to reach a settlement?
Each case is different. Even if two clients were both in a car accident being hit from the back, the injuries and damage done may be different. There are many unknowns and details in all cases so beware of those who will give you a definitive timeframe without investigating all of your facts. Though many personal injury claims can be resolved in a matter of months, there are outliers. For instance, if the at-fault insurance is difficult to work with, delays may occur. Although we may be able to estimate how long proceedings will take, there is no guarantee. We can promise to keep you informed and work hard every step of the way.