Preventable accidents and injuries are an unfortunate part of life here in St. Petersburg. When your injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to obtain compensation for all the losses they caused. Injury victims need to work with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to protect their legal rights.
The skilled injury attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers are committed to helping Florida injury victims get the compensation to which they are entitled under the law. We fight hard to protect your legal rights so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
About St. Petersburg
The more people and activities there are in a city, the more likely it is that accidents will occur. As you’re probably aware, St. Petersburg is a popular destination for both area residents and tourists. This means more traffic, which in turn leads to more motor vehicle accidents. Our thriving recreation scene also leads to slip and fall accidents, sports accidents, boating accidents, and other incidents that can result in serious injuries.
This is not to say that St. Petersburg is an injury hotspot. There is a reason it is popular for vacations and long-term residency—it is, after all, the fifth most populous city in the highly populated state of Florida. Southern Florida’s sunny weather facilitates a tourist season that can last all year long. A thriving downtown corridor draws workers to its high rise office buildings and art enthusiasts to our active art scene.
The St. Petersburg-Clearwater-Tampa area has also built up several professional sports franchises, including the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition, the area has many high-profile college sports programs at the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, St. Leo University, and Eckerd College. These schools also bring many students, faculty, visiting professors, support staff, and visiting parents to St. Petersburg.
Accidents That Can St. Petersburg Cause Personal Injuries
Many different accidents can result in serious injuries. It is important to understand what type of accident you have been involved in so you can hire an attorney who has experience with that type of case. It is also important to be aware of who is at fault for the accident, as this is the person or party who has a legal obligation to compensate you for your injuries.
St. Petersburg Motor vehicle accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of accident injuries in the St. Petersburg area. These accidents could involve trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, electric scooters, or even pedestrians. An Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicles could be involved in the accident. Motor vehicle accidents often cause serious injuries and significant property damage. This is why drivers are required to carry auto insurance with liability coverage.
To determine who must pay for an auto accident, the insurance companies determine who was at fault for causing it. Often, negligent drivers cause accidents, but there are circumstances where an auto manufacturer could be liable for selling a defective vehicle, or some other third party might be liable for the accident. It is important to work with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to determine what person or company has a legal obligation to compensate you for your car accident injuries.
St. Petersburg Boating Accidents
Water recreation is an important part of life here in Southern Florida. Jet skiing, water skiing, wakeboarding, boating, and other water sports are a fun pastime, but serious accidents can occur when you are on the water. Victims who sustain injuries in boating accidents often have the right to sue the person or party responsible for their injuries. Examples of parties who may be liable for a boating accident include boat operators, marinas, boat owners, and boat manufacturers.
Cruise ship accidents can also cause a wide variety of injuries. You could be injured onboard in a slip and fall, or by food poisoning, or through medical malpractice caused by the ship’s doctor. You could also be injured through the captain’s negligence if he or she allows a collision to occur. Cruise lines are legally responsible for many of the injuries that occur on their vessels.
St. Petersburg Slip and Fall Accidents
Landowners have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries on their property, known as a duty of care. When the landowner is a retail owner that gets a financial benefit from inviting customers onto its property, this duty of care is at its highest. Many slip and fall accidents occur because of dangerous conditions that the owner negligently failed to correct.
A common example occurs in the produce section of a grocery store. If the store manager does not ensure that employees clean the area regularly, food can accumulate on the floor. Many customers have slipped on dropped produce and sustained serious injuries from the fall.
Private homeowners can also be held liable for dangerous conditions on their property. While they do not have to inspect their land and make it safe the way that commercial property owners do, they are still required to warn guests about any known dangers on the property. If a guest trips on an uneven stair or falls through a bad floorboard, the homeowner could be liable for the injuries under certain circumstances.
St. Petersburg Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Older adults are one of the most vulnerable populations in society. This is why many states have enacted elder protection laws that impose stricter penalties for those who neglect older adults or who commit financial, physical, or sexual abuse upon them. Elder abuse is a particular problem here in Southern Florida. Because we are a popular retirement destination, we have a large population of older adults. We must be especially vigilant about protecting our older loved ones and those in our communities.
One of the most important things we can do to protect older adults is to hold abusers accountable for their conduct. Nursing facilities are often liable for neglect or abuse that is suffered by their residents at the hands of their employees. This is because an employer is liable for negligence committed by workers while on the job. Even if the actions are not within the scope of employment, the employer can still be held liable for allowing a thief to remain employed at the facility and exposing vulnerable residents to this risk.
Nursing facilities include hospitals, long term care centers, assisted living facilities, and any other facility that provides care to older adults. By holding these facilities accountable for abuse and neglect, other facilities must be more careful. This prevents other innocent victims from suffering the same types of harm.
St. Petersburg Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents are consistently among the most common causes of accidental injury in the St. Petersburg area. Some jobs, such as those in construction and manufacturing, are known to carry risks of injury. But even jobs that you assume to be safe or low-risk can still expose workers to a significant risk of serious injury. If, for example, you are hit by a negligent driver while running an errand for your employer, this is considered a workplace accident. Any injury that you sustain in the scope and course of your employment is subject to worker’s compensation.
It is important to understand the difference between worker’s compensation and personal injury. The worker’s compensation system aims to get workers paid quickly. It does not require proof of fault—only that the injury occurred on the job. Unfortunately, however, workers’ compensation only has limited coverage. It pays for all medical expenses related to the injury and a portion of your lost wages.
To obtain compensation for all of your lost wages, pain and suffering, and other intangible losses, you would have to file a personal injury claim. In the example above of a car accident while running a work errand, the injured worker could sue the negligent driver for all of her pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
Worker’s compensation coverage can get very complicated when a personal injury claim is also involved. There are also certain circumstances in which you must choose to file either a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer who can help explain your legal rights and determine the best strategy for your case.
Accidents Caused by Defective Products
Defective products injure millions of people each year, and many seemingly safe products become extremely dangerous when manufacturers or retailers defectively design, manufacture, or market them. One of the most dangerous types of product liability occurs in vehicles. A defective car or truck can easily kill multiple victims in a single accident. This is why auto manufacturers will voluntarily pay to recall and repair vehicles rather than settle personal injury lawsuits resulting from accidents caused by the defect.
Vehicles are not the only consumer goods that are subject to recall the United States. Every year, government agencies issue hundreds of recalls of dangerous food and household goods. Products for children and babies are also frequently recalled because children cannot always avoid injuries that would be an obvious danger to an adult. Manufacturers of products for children are still liable for all injuries the product causes to a child—even if an adult would not have sustained harm in the same way.
The Types of Personal Injuries You Can Sustain in St. Petersburg
There are many different types of injuries that you can sustain in an accident. Your personal injury settlement will be affected by the amount of your medical bills and the pain and suffering you endured due to your injuries. This means that more serious injuries usually result in larger settlements. Here are some of the most common injuries our clients sustain in accidents:
While it is awful to think about, the fact is that the most serious injuries result in death. When a victim suffers fatal injuries through negligence, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent person or company. For example, surviving family members could file a wrongful death against a negligent driver, a doctor who committed medical malpractice, or a property owner who allowed a fatal danger to remain on the land.
Central Nervous System Injuries
Injuries to the brain and spinal cord are among the most permanent—and costly—of all personal injuries. If a victim cannot work, or walk, or take care of their basic needs, then a personal injury settlement must pay for the extensive care that the victim will require for the rest of his or her life. These expenses often include medical bills, in-home care, rehabilitative services, lost wages, and any other losses the accident caused. As you can imagine, these expenses quickly run into the millions of dollars.
Broken Bones and Soft Tissue Injuries
Insurance companies often try to downplay these injuries as “not that serious.” The fact is that a broken bone, whiplash, and nerve strains can be incredibly painful. You are entitled to compensation for this suffering, and you should not let an insurance adjuster tell you that it’s “not that bad.” Remember, the insurance company is not on your side.
St. Petersburg Personal Injury FAQ
You don’t have to be alive very long to realize that injuries are, unfortunately, a part of life. Many injuries are unavoidable and simply natural life events. However, not all injuries fall into this category. Some are preventable and result from another individual or party’s negligence. These injuries shouldn’t be an acceptable part of life. You have the right to hire a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Below, we answer some of your most pressing personal injury questions.
What Is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is defined as an injury that someone sustains because of another party’s negligence. Personal injuries can happen in many settings and for various reasons.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers represent people with these claims:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and fail
- Premise liability
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Uber/Lyft Accident
- Bus accidents
- Boat accidents
- Burn Injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Scooter accidents
- Wrongful death
- Mass torts
Where Do Personal Injuries Occur in St. Petersburg?
Personal injuries can occur nearly anywhere in and around the city of St. Petersburg.
For example, they can happen at, in, or near the following venues:
- Tampa Bay
- The Gulf of Mexico
- Lake Maggiore
- South Straub Park
- Gandy Beach
- Indian Rocks Beach
- St. Petersburg Pier
- Tyrone Square
- Pinellas Park
- Sundial St. Pete
- Trader Joes
- Mahaffey Theater Complex
- Morean Arts Center
- Tropicana Field
How Do You Know if You Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
Without the advice of a seasoned St. Petersburg personal injury attorney, it’s often difficult for accident victims to determine on their own if they have a valid personal injury claim. However, they shouldn’t assume that they don’t have a case. Doing so can mean not receiving the compensation that they deserve. Meeting with a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining a personal injury is in your best interest if you want to find out if you have a valid injury claim.
When you meet with an attorney, they will assess the points in your case four the four elements of negligence, which include:
- Duty: The person who caused your injuries owed you a certain duty of care
- Breach of duty: They failed to uphold their duty of care
- Proximate cause: Their breach directly caused your injuries
- Damages: Your injuries led to your compensable damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Suppose the attorney finds that your case includes all of these elements and feels confident proving them. In that case, you have a personal injury claim worth pursuing.
Who is Liable for My Injury?
The answer to this question isn’t always as straightforward as you might think it would be. There may be things that went on before you were even at the scene before your accident occurred that contributed to the cause of your injuries. There might even be multiple parties responsible for the injuries you sustained.
It comes down to who was negligent leading up to your injuries.
- If a store employee failed to place a “wet floor” sign after mopping and you slipped and fell, the employer and their employer can be negligent.
- If you sustained injuries when a rideshare scooter malfunctioned, the rideshare company and even the scooter’s manufacturer can be negligent.
- If a drunk driver hits you, they and possibly the bartender can be negligent in causing your injuries.
- If a truck driver failed to perform a mandated inspection, and their brakes failed, causing them to hit your vehicle, they and possibly the trucking company acted negligently.
Even though you might think you know who is liable for your injuries, it’s always best to take your case to a skilled St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. Your attorney can investigate the events leading up to your injury accident to determine whom to hold accountable.
Often, injured parties and their families are surprised to learn who contributed to their injuries.
If you don’t hold the right person or party accountable for your damages, you won’t receive compensation for them. Determining liability is a critical piece in any personal injury claim. Ensuring that all liable parties are held accountable can maximize your compensation.
What if the Liable Person Faces Legal Charges?
Whether or not the person liable for your injuries is facing legal charges or not, your legal rights won’t change. You can still pursue a civil case against them. The two cases aren’t connected. However, if the criminal case against that person is successful, it can help your civil suit against them. Keep in mind that even if they do face criminal charges for their actions, a conviction will not require them or anyone else to compensate you for your economic or non-economic damages. However, you must still pursue a civil liability claim if you want to obtain a financial recovery.
What Can You Expect from the Personal Injury Claims Process?
After you hire a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer, they will begin gathering facts and information. Once they have enough, they will typically send a formal demand letter to the liable parties and/or their insurance companies. This letter details the events that caused your injury, your injuries and damages, and the amount you are seeking for your claim. Your lawyer is also typically in contact with the claims adjuster during this time. Once the appropriate parties receive the letter, your attorney will begin the negotiation process.
Sometimes the negotiation process is quick and straightforward. Still, more often than not, it typically takes a few months or even over a year. Accepting any settlement offers you receive is up to you. Your lawyer can advise you on which settlement offers might be worth considering. Still, if you don’t receive an offer that you feel represents your damages, you have the right to pursue your claim in court.
The vast majority of personal injury claims settle outside of court. However, if your case does go to court, you can expect that it will take longer, possibly up to two years or more. Individuals on both sides of an injury claim benefit from settling the claim since it takes less time, is less expensive, and is less risky than letting the court decide the outcome of the case.
What is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
Injured individuals deserve financial recovery for their injury-related expenses and their pain and suffering, as well as other inconveniences or disabilities. The value of a personal injury claim depends on what the victim’s economic and non-economic damages are worth.
Economic damages are those that impact the victim and their family monetarily. They can be lost wages and income due to the inability to work and earn a living, as well as all medical expenses they incur due to their injuries.
Non-economic damages are those that don’t have a monetary value attached to them.
They are often generally referred to as pain and suffering but, depending on their situation and injuries can also include:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a bodily function or appendage
Your St. Petersburg personal injury attorney can estimate what your claim is worth based on previous experiences, recent cases in your area that are similar to yours, and the value of your economic damages.
In personal injury cases, civil courts frequently use a multiplier of between one and five in conjunction with the value of the claimant’s economic damages to determine how much their claim is worth. For example, they might use a multiplier of five for extreme cases in which the injured party has become paralyzed, has brain damage, or can no longer work or care for themselves. On the other hand, the courts may use a multiplier of one for someone with relatively minor injuries such as a simple fracture.
The courts use a higher multiplier if any of the following apply in an injury case:
- A hard injury—such as a broken bone; head injury, joint injury, vertebrae injury, nerve damage
- Medical expenses for treatment
- Receiving medical treatment from a licensed medical physician, clinic, or hospital
- Prescribed medication necessary because of the injury
- A long-term treatment and recovery period
- Permanent injuries—such as those that include scars, stiffness, weakness, or the loss of mobility
- Emotional or physical distress resulting from the injury
- Life disruptions—for instance, canceling special events and missing school, training, vacations, or recreation
The courts use a lower multiplier in personal injury cases involving:
- Soft tissue injuries—a strain, sprain, or bruise
- Medical expenses centered on a diagnosis rather than treatment
- Medical treatment from unlicensed or atypical medical providers
- Medications not prescribed in connection with injury
- Brief medical treatment—for instance, a few visits to the doctor
- A relatively quick recovery period
- Lack of residual or permanent injuries
- No lasting physical or emotional issues resulting from the injuries
What Can Decrease the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim?
Many factors can decrease the value of your claim, even though you don’t intend them to. For example, not hiring an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to represent you in your injury claim can decrease your compensation. However, waiting too long to contact an attorney can do the same. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to hire one as soon as possible after an injury accident.
Speaking to the other party’s insurance company before having legal representation can also be detrimental to your claim’s value. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are well-versed in taking anything you say and using it against you to devalue your claim. They may also offer you a quick settlement which comes as a relief but is not nearly enough to cover your damages. It’s best not to converse with the insurance adjuster at all. Instead, politely direct them to your attorney.
You must inform your lawyer about all of your injuries and medical treatments. If you fail to do so, even by mistake, it can take away from the compensation you deserve. You can’t receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages unless you accurately represent them in your case.
When Should You File a Personal Injury Case?
If you intend to file a personal injury case, you must abide by Florida’s statute of limitations for these types of cases. Florida personal injury victims get four years from the date of their accident to file a legal case under Florida statute 95.11.
Four years can seem like plenty of time and is actually two or three years longer than the statute of limitations in other states. However, your St. Petersburg personal injury attorney needs to time put your case together and attempt settlement negotiations. They have to go through the legal process correctly before filing a claim. For these reasons, you don’t want to wait to seek legal help after suffering a personal injury.
Suppose you miss the deadline for filing a personal injury case in Florida. In that case, you will lose your legal right to seek compensation through the court system. In short, you won’t receive financial recovery for your injuries or damages.
Do You Have to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
You are not required to have a personal injury attorney to pursue a personal injury claim. However, handling your case on your own while trying to recover from your injuries can prove impossible. For your physical and mental health and the outcome of your claim, it’s in your best interest to hire a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney who can give your case the time and attention it deserves while you rest and recover from your injuries.
Call Us Today to Consult a St. Petersburg Injury Attorney
Florida accident victims have legal rights that must be protected. Remember, the defendant’s insurance company is not on your side. You need an experienced St. Petersburg injury attorney who knows how to fight for the compensation you deserve.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our skilled accident lawyers know how to handle all types of personal injury cases. We have helped many injury victims throughout southern Florida protect their legal right to compensation. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. Don’t delay—the sooner you have an attorney on your side, the better we can protect your legal rights.
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