Personal Injury

Injured in an Accident Caused by Someone’s Negligence? Here’s What to Know About Your Rights

Injury accidents are among the most common causes of action in civil litigation. Whether it is caused by a careless driver, someone failing to take reasonable precautions or a defective product, you have the legal right to pursue damages.

personal injury lawyer Hernando County FL can guide you through the process and represent you in the settlement conference or the courtroom.

What Are Damages?

The term “damages” in the legal field simply refers to the monetary award a plaintiff (that is, you)  can receive in successful litigation. There are several categories and sub-categories, but most are of three types :

  • Compensatory damages:  As the name implies, these are intended to compensate the plaintiff for expenses and monetary loss due to the injury.  Typically, these include medical expenses, loss of wages or earning capacity, and property loss.
  • Punitive damages: These are applied when the court determines that the conduct of the defendant (the person or institution being sued) was so egregious that some type of penalty should be applied. These are awarded primarily when a corporation has placed its profit margin above the health and safety of people.
  • Nominal damages: If the plaintiff can prove an injury was suffered as the result of an accident but cannot prove any actual losses, the court may award a symbolic amount, such as one dollar. In some cases, nominal damages may also cover court costs and legal fees.

What About Pain and Suffering?

You may be aware that plaintiffs are also awarded money for non-economic damages. Pain and suffering (including emotional anguish and loss of a relationship) are difficult to measure or quantify. The court or an insurance company attempts to calculate the monetary value using a multiplier based on the amount of other damages awarded.

How Long Will it Take?

This is a difficult question to answer. Some cases are decided relatively quickly, while others can take up to two years or more. Most people are unaware that very few injury lawsuits actually make it to trial; instead, the parties attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement whenever possible. This is considered an ideal resolution since it saves everyone the time and expense of court proceedings.

One thing to keep in mind is the statute of limitations. In Florida, you must file your lawsuit within four years of the accident (two years in medical malpractice cases) or forever lose your right to do so.