Florida highways can be dangerous. Since this is a no-fault state, you must first make a claim to your own insurance coverage after a car accident to seek compensation for injuries and other losses, even if another party is at fault. However, if you suffer a permanent injury or significant, permanent scarring or disfigurement, you can sue an at-fault party for compensation. Assuming your injury qualifies you to file a lawsuit, you have four years within which to take legal action. At the Dean Law Firm, our car accident attorneys are aggressive advocates for individuals in the Ocala area who are asserting their right to compensation after a highway collision.Holding a Negligent Driver Accountable for Compensation
Most Florida highway accidents are the result of negligence by another driver. If you have a serious injury, you would likely need to prove the other driver's negligence to pursue compensation. You would need to show four elements by a preponderance of the evidence: duty, breach of duty, causation, and actual damages.
In many cases, the defendant asserts that the plaintiff was partially or fully to blame for the accident under the doctrine of comparative negligence. In that case, the jury will assess the damages, and it will also assign each person alleged to be at fault a percentage of responsibility. The plaintiff's damages award is reduced by the extent to which he or she is found to have been at fault.
For example, if the plaintiff's total damages are $50,000, but he or she is found to have been 50% responsible for the accident, he or she can potentially recover up to $25,000 from the defendant. This principle holds true in Florida even if a plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for an injury-causing accident. When this happens, he or she can still seek an appropriate amount of damages from the other driver.
Some highway accidents are the result of the government's failure to make an appropriate repair or a faulty design. For example, if you are injured because of an unmarked construction zone, you may need to sue the construction company and the government. You would likely to need to file a notice of claim with the governmental agency responsible for the section of highway at issue, and this notice would need to be filed within a limited time frame. You would also need to prove that the government knew or should have known about the property defect in the exercise of reasonable care.
You may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic damages from a defendant that is found to be negligent. These often include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, household services, and pain and suffering. In especially egregious instances, such as a defendant whose repeat drunk driving caused the accident, it may be appropriate to request punitive damages as well.Contact an Ocala Attorney to Discuss a Personal Injury Claim
After a highway accident, it is important to rest and recover, but instead you may be worrying about how you will pay your medical bills. At the Dean Law Firm, our injury lawyers can help people in Ocala and the surrounding communities pursue compensation from all parties responsible for an accident so that they can focus on their recovery. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form. We represent individuals in Crystal River and other communities throughout Marion, Lake, Citrus, Levy, and Sumter Counties.