Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top 6 Types of Personal Injury Claims

Car accidents are responsible for the most personal injury cases in the United States. This is really not all that surprising when you consider how often we, as a society, perform the activity and when you consider just how dangerous the task can be. Accidents most often occur because a driver was not following the rules of the road or because the driver was being careless or negligent.
Often times, a careless driver can be held financially responsible for any injuries their negligence caused. That’s because drivers have a duty to drive with care and caution. When they breach that duty, they put other people’s lives, health, and financial stability at risk.
In Florida, drivers are required to carry a type of insurance called Personal Injury Protection. The phrase is best thought of in two parts: Personal–Injury Protection. The ‘personal’ aspect implies that the coverage is for the individual, not to cover the other drive. The second part, ‘injury protection’, guarantees a driver a certain amount of financial compensation to help pay for their medical bills and resulting lost wages. This type of insurance prevents drivers from suing each other (or rather from having the need to sue each other) for minor injuries. However, in cases of serious injuries, additional compensation can be sought through litigation.
2. Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims are a result of two things: a doctor or other healthcare professional failing to provide competent and reasonably skilled care, and a patient being injured as a result. More specifically, medical malpractice implies that a healthcare provider did not give someone the same standard of care that other medical professionals would have provided under similar circumstances. You have to also prove that the healthcare provider's negligence caused damages.
It may sound obvious, but the need to prove both parts—negligence and damages—is central to this type of case. This means that if someone is injured while in the care of a doctor who was not negligent (meaning they did everything they could and everything that a similar doctor would have done) then it’s not medical malpractice. Likewise, if a doctor is negligent in their care of a patient, but there is no resulting injury, it’s not medical malpractice either. These cases are some of the most complex and most difficult to prove. There are many laws that protect healthcare providers from these types of lawsuits; and for good reason. If someone is shot in the brain and needs emergency surgery, you wouldn’t want the doctor second-guessing their every move because of fear of litigation.
Most medical malpractice attorneys are careful about the cases they pursue because of these strict requirements. In order to have a successful case, injuries and damages must be well documented. If they are, an expert witness will review the case to find undoubted proof that the doctor breached a reasonable standard of care; they then testify to these things in court. Although these cases are rare and complex, when they do occur the damage to the patient is often significant.
3. Slip-and-Fall
Slip-and-fall cases are another common type of personal injury claim. Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their property (legally termed ‘premises’) reasonably safe and free of hazards, in an effort to keep anyone on their property safe. As you have surely noticed, this type, and the two above of it, all have some sort of ‘duty’ in common. This is because a duty of care is central to the idea of negligence. Basically, in order to hold someone else accountable for something that happened to you, you must first prove that they had some legal reason to care for you.
Of course, not all injuries that happen on someone else’s property fit the parameters of a slip-and-fall lawsuit. The exact nature of a landowner's legal duty varies depending on the situation.
Causation is important when it comes to all personal injury cases, and slip-and-fall claims are no different. Personal injury resulting from a slip-and-fall case must meet one of the following criteria:
  • The owner or an employee must have caused a dangerous surface or condition;
  • or an employee must have known about the dangerous surface or situation and not done anything to fix it or to warn others; or
  • The owner or an employee should have known about the dangerous surface because a reasonable person would have known about it and tried to fix it.
Judges and juries will determine if an owner or employee of the place where you fell took the steps to fix the hazard or to warn you about it. On the other hand, they will also try to find out if you had a good reason to be in the dangerous area. They will want to know if you were distracted or if a reasonable person would have avoided the unsafe space.
4. Defamation
Defamation, or defamation of character, comes from the idea of “de–faming” someone else. Although we often think of the term ‘fame’ as relating to celebrity, its technical definition more accurately refers to reputation. When someone commits defamation, they inflict an injury to another person’s reputation through the promotion of untrue statements.
There are two types of defamation:
Libel:  written or printed words or pictures.
Slander: the defamation of a person, group, organization, or product that was made in spoken words or some other type of non-printed communication.
One may have a defamation case if a false statement(s) was said as if it was true and damage to one’s reputation, business, livelihood, etc. was the result. It is important to document both that the statement was false (saying something that is bad but true is not defamation) and that damages occurred due to the statement, such as lost income or mental anguish. One must also prove that the statement was heard or seen by more than just the defamer and the victim; and that it was presented as fact and not as opinion.

5. Dog Bites/Animal Attacks
Every year in the US, thousands of people are bitten by animals—most often dogs. In most of these cases, a person bitten by an animal has a legal right to recover damages from the animal's owner. In some states, a person must prove that the owner has prior knowledge that the dog was dangerous, but that is not the case in Florida.
Florida's dog bite law [FLSA 767.04] states that a dog owner is liable for injuries if:
-The dog bites another person, and
-The person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
This statute specifically references dog ‘bites’, and not other injuries caused by a dog. If a person is injured by a dog in another way, like being knocked down a staircase, they would need to prove that the owner was negligent or failed to use reasonable care. For example, if a person failed to restrain a large dog or to use a leash.
As mentioned above, other states have conditions to liability. However, Florida has a "strict liability" clause in regards to dog bites. This means that a Florida dog owner may be held liable if their dog bites someone, even if the owner had no warning that the dog might bite or prior knowledge that the dog was dangerous. Additionally, the injured person does not have to prove that a lack of reasonable care caused the bite. If you are ever bitten by dog, always seek medical attention right away, especially if the dog is unknown to you. This will reduce your chance of further complications, like rabies infection.  
6. Assault and Battery
The legal system often links the terms ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ together. However, the two have slightly different meanings. Likewise, the exact legal definition of each term varies by the state. In Florida, assault refers to a threat of harm to an individual that leads to the victim's fear of imminent harm. The offense does not necessarily include physical contact between the perpetrator and the victim. On the other hand, if the person makes physical contact with the victim, they have committed battery.
In order to have a case against someone for assault or battery, the victim must prove that the perpetrator touched them intentionally and that it was against the victim’s will. There are varying level of degrees to both battery and assault. Like defamation, assault and battery are criminal acts that can also constitute a civil case. These are also known as intentional torts. Unlike other types of personal injury cases, negligence is not involved because the defendant meant to harm the victim. Just like any other situation where another party inflicts harm, a victim has the right to recover their damages. Of course, this is in addition to any criminal charges that would come from the incident.
Dolman Law Group
If you or someone you know has been injured because of someone’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a free evaluation of your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. We have handled hundreds of personal injury cases and completely understand the devastation they can cause. At Dolman Law Group, we focus on quality representation rather than the quantity of client we serve; this is part of our “Dolman Law Difference.” We look forward to helping you and your family fully recover: physically, emotionally, and financially. Call us today for a free consultation at 727-451-6900 or send us an email on our contact us page.