An accident in Trinity, Florida, is often an overwhelming experience. In the aftermath of the accident scene, you might be dealing with police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. You might eventually end up in an urgent care facility or even in surgery. These are frightening experiences, and the last thing you should have to do is deal with the defendant’s insurance company.
Such interactions with insurers are not just a distraction that takes your focus away from recovering from your injuries. It can also impair your legal right to compensation for those injuries. The defendant’s insurance company is not on your side. They are on the defendant’s side, and their goal is to either prove the accident was not their client’s fault or pay as little as possible to make your claim go away.
The experienced Trinity personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have helped many injury victims protect their legal rights. We fight hard to ensure fair compensation for our clients suffering from injuries and losses sustained in an accident. Learn more about how we can prove who was at fault for causing your injuries and what those injuries are fairly worth in a personal injury settlement or jury award.
There are many exciting destinations and attractions here in Trinity. The Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, the W. H. Jack Mitchell Jr. Park, and Eagle Point Park allow many opportunities for outdoor recreation and family fun. You can enjoy water sports at Tarpon Springs Water Sports and Lake Tarpon. The Suncoast Trail is an excellent opportunity for walking, hiking, or cycling. The Pasco Palms and Starkey Wilderness Preserves allow residents and visitors to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty.
While all of these are great options for outdoor family fun and recreation, it is important always to remember that accidents can happen anywhere. Use caution when hiking, biking, boating, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, and engaging in other outdoor activities.
Traffic is another cause of many injuries here in Trinity. The more cars on the road, the more likely it is that an accident will occur. Be especially careful on busy streets in the area. Mitchell Boulevard, Little Road, and Trinity Boulevard are some of our major thoroughfares prone to congestion. If you are leaving town, Seven Springs Boulevard and U.S. Route 54 are also busy roads to require your responsible attention. Use caution when driving, biking, or walking in these areas.
The person legally responsible (liable) for causing your injuries also has a legal obligation to compensate you for them. The first step in a personal injury claim is proving liability. Once the defendant (and their insurance company) has accepted liability, you can begin negotiating your claim’s value.
Liability is a complicated matter. Many cases go into complex litigation over the issue of who was at fault. The defendant could be an individual or an entity, such as a business or a government agency. Liability may apply to multiple defendants. Often, these cases involve each defendant trying to blame the others, so it can be a challenging legal battle for an injury victim to prove who must provide compensation.
What follows are some of the most common liability scenarios our Trinity personal injury lawyers see:
Auto accidents often happen due to a negligent driver. Driving while drunk, drugged, or impaired is strong evidence of negligence. Distracted drivers have become a substantial public health risk as smartphones, navigation programs, and built-in entertainment systems tempt drivers to take their attention off the road. Traffic violations like speeding, running a red light, and improper lane changes can also serve as evidence that a driver was negligent.
An auto accident can also be the fault of more than one person. If, for example, a pedestrian was crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk, they might be partly at fault for getting struck by a car (though the driver would likely still bear at least some responsibility for failing to avoid a collision, provided the pedestrian was adequately visible).
An auto accident may not be the fault of the involved drivers. If, for example, one car had faulty brakes, the manufacturer could be liable for the injuries that resulted. Malfunctioning or defective parts or equipment is known as product liability. Injury victims do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent, only that the vehicle caused injuries while being used as intended.
Negligence on the part of the operator also causes boating accidents. Like drivers, this includes dangerous behaviors such as operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol or being distracted by passengers or personal electronic devices. Boater negligence also includes unsafe behavior like speeding, recklessly crossing another boat’s wake, or getting too close to another watercraft. Many boat owners carry liability insurance to cover injuries caused while on their boats.
Like cars, a boat can suffer from negligent manufacturing. A personal injury victim might sue the manufacturer of a defective boat or safety equipment for injuries sustained on the water.
Property owners have a legal obligation to make their premises safe for those who enter, which is why victims of slip and fall accidents often have a right to sue for injuries they sustain due to a dangerous condition on the property. The landowner’s duty of care depends on the injury victim’s status on the property. If the victim was trespassing, the landowner is usually not liable for any injuries the victim suffered.
If the victim was an invited guest to the property, the landowner must warn about any known dangers that aren’t immediately obvious to guests. If the victim is invited onto the property to conduct business (for example, by entering a store), then the property owner must actively inspect the premises to ensure the safety of the customers who enter.
Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This coverage applies to any worker injured in the scope and duty of their employment. The injured worker does not have to prove who was at fault for the accident, only that it occurred while they were on the job.
Not requiring at-fault proof allows injured workers to quickly receive compensation for their medical bills without the legal hassle of a personal injury claim. However, this swift action also has a downside. Because workers’ compensation is easier to access, it is also limited in scope. Workers are entitled to only a portion of their lost wages and receive no compensation for their pain and suffering.
Consult our lawyers about a potential personal injury claim you might have, in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
Doctors and other healthcare providers owe a duty of care to their patients. This standard is that of the “reasonably prudent provider” of similar training and experience. If, for example, you see a highly experienced surgeon about a complicated internal injury, they hold themselves to the standard of care that another highly experienced surgeon would provide.
If a first-year resident still completing their medical training sees you, the doctor holds themself to the standard of care of another first-year resident. Failing to meet this standard of care is considered negligence, and this particular type of negligence is called medical malpractice.
As stated before, employers are generally liable for any negligence committed by workers acting in the scope and duty of their employment. If a doctor or other healthcare provider at the Medical Center of Trinity or another facility that employs the caregiver commits malpractice, that entity will generally be liable for the doctor’s mistake.
Facilities hold themselves their own standard of care. For example, suppose a nursing home allows its residents to be abused or neglected. In that case, this failure of service is negligence apart from any substandard medical care rendered by its employees.
One of the most common questions our lawyers hear is, “What is my claim worth?” The answer depends on the factors unique to you, your particular accident, and the particular injuries you sustained. You are entitled to compensation for both tangible and intangible losses you suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
Receipts, invoices, and other documentation provide support for tangible losses. You will have medical bills from the treatment you received for your injuries, as well as bills for prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and medical devices like canes and walkers. Your rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, will also result in medical bills easily documented as a tangible loss.
Many injury victims also suffer lost wages after an accident due to their injuries preventing them from returning to work. The value of this tangible loss stems from documentation from your employer that verifies the number of hours you missed from work and your hourly rate. If you receive a salary, the lost wage amount can be prorated to a forty-hour workweek to determine your hourly wage.
Multiply the number of lost hours by your hourly rate to calculate the total amount of your lost wages. If you missed out on commissions, bonuses, or overtime as a result of the accident, these too could be compensated as part of your lost wages. If your injuries have compromised your ability to work, you may have future lost wages as well.
Future lost wages can be challenging to calculate. Your attorney might have to hire expert witnesses to testify of the reduction to your earning capacity and how long the reduction will most likely last. A decrease in your future earning capacity would constitute another tangible loss deserving compensation if the reduction resulted from the defendant’s negligence.
You will also experience intangible losses that are not as easy to assign value. Intangible losses include the physical pain of recovering from your injuries and the lost enjoyment of hobbies while you recovered. The term for these intangible losses is pain and suffering. If your injuries are permanent, your pain and suffering will be much greater and require a higher amount of compensation.
Imagine that you are permanently disabled as a result of an accident and can’t work. You have lost a sense of pride in your job and can no longer achieve professional accomplishments. You may miss significant life events, like graduations and weddings, or even hold your children or grandchildren. These are very real and devastating losses, and you have the right to be compensated for them.
So how much will it take to compensate you for these intangible losses fairly? It depends on the severity of disruption to your life and how long that disruption will most likely last. Remember, you should never take advice from the insurance company. They are guaranteed to make a lowball offer on your claim. Only an experienced attorney on your side can reasonably tell you what these intangible losses are worth.
Your attorney will consider claims involving similar accidents and injuries to determine what a jury is likely to award you at trial. Your lawyer will then use this information to negotiate a fair settlement offer with the insurance company or, if necessary, take your case to trial.
There are many ways that an insurance company can try to get out of paying you fair compensation for your personal injury claim. The insurance company is not on your side, making it very important to hire your own personal injury lawyer.
The Trinity personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have helped many Florida injury victims get fair compensation for their accident claims. We fight hard to protect our clients’ legal rights. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation.
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