A personal injury claim arises when you suffer an injury that someone else is responsible for. The defendant against whom you assert your claim may have injured you through their own misconduct. In other cases, the defendant is liable for the misconduct of another. And in other cases, you don’t need to prove the existence of any misconduct at all to qualify for compensation. Following is a listing of some of the major categories of personal injury claims.
Vehicle accident claims come in many different varieties:
- Auto accident claims are problematic in Florida; it is one of only two states that do not require their drivers to purchase auto liability insurance.
- Truck accident claims frequently arise from the catastrophic injuries that are so common in truck accidents. One silver lining is the fact that commercial truckers are usually very well-insured.
- Motorcycle accident claims arise from the use of one of the most dangerous forms of transportation known to man. Unlike truck accidents, motorcycle accident claims frequently impose liability upon defendants who lack the insurance resources to pay them fully.
- Pedestrian accidents are frequently fatal, and they are common in big cities.
- Uber/Lyft accidents are becoming increasingly common. Fortunately, on-duty Uber/Lyft drivers are well-insured.
Vehicle accident claims are easily the most common type of personal injury claim.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, performs substandard treatment on a patient. That might mean:
- Negligent administration of anesthesia;
- Prescription drug errors;
- Unsanitary conditions;
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose; or
- Surgical errors.
Many other errors are possible. It is not enough for medical treatment to be “below average.” Rather, it must fall far enough below average to constitute professional negligence. Winning a medical malpractice claim is typically difficult, and it normally requires testimony from an expert medical witness.
The owners and operators of land and buildings must maintain their property in a manner that protects the safety of visitors to the property. Owners can bear liability to people who suffer injury from a dangerous condition on the property. Premises liability lawsuits normally target businesses because they use advertising to invite potential customers onto their property.
Slip and fall accidents are the most common form of a premises liability claim. A slip and fall claim might arise, for example, if someone falls and breaks their hip due to a malfunctioning escalator in a department store. The victim might win the claim if, for instance, they prove that the department store failed to properly maintain the escalator.
The purpose of product liability law is to compensate people who suffer injury from a defective product. A “defective product” might mean:
- A prescription or over-the-counter medication;
- Automobile airbags;
- Brake drums;
- A dangerous children’s toy;
- Fabric that burns too easily;
- Asbestos; or
- Contaminated food.
This is only a partial list, of course. If you have a product liability claim, you can sue anyone in the product’s chain of distribution, from manufacturer to distributor to retailer. You don’t necessarily have to prove that the defendant was at fault to win.
One purpose of workers’ compensation is to compensate employees for work-related accidents. Another purpose is to limit payouts from such accidents since they are so common. If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you may qualify for (partial) economic damages but not non-economic damages.
Many actions that are crimes can also justify a personal injury claim, including:
- Simple assault;
- Sexual assault; and
- Intentional “road rage” vehicle accidents.
Many other forms of criminal behavior can justify a personal injury claim. The burden of proof for a criminal offense is much higher than it is for a personal injury claim. Therefore, even if the defendant wins an acquittal in criminal court, you can still win a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Dog bite injuries are distressingly common. Unfortunately, small children are particularly likely to suffer dog bite injuries because they are too young to realize when they are provoking a dog.
The dog owner is frequently a neighbor or friend of the victim or of the victim’s parents. Often, the victim is reluctant to press a dog bite claim against their friend or neighbor because they don’t want to drive them into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is less common than many people think, however, because homeowners insurance and renters insurance cover a large proportion of dog bite claims.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse occurs when nursing home staff or administration abuses a resident. There are two kinds of abuse. One is active abuse, which can be traced to specific actions. The other, more common form of nursing home abuse is passive neglect. It might take the form of failure to move the resident’s body position in bed, resulting in bedsores. Indeed, there are a multitude of ways to actively or passively harm a nursing home resident.
Keep in mind that medical malpractice by a doctor or nurse is not nursing home abuse. Nevertheless, medical malpractice is its own category of personal injury claim (as discussed above).
Special Case: Wrongful Death Claims
Strictly speaking, a wrongful death claim is not a personal injury claim. Any of the foregoing categories of personal injury can result in a wrongful death claim if the victim dies from the accident that caused the personal injury.
Obviously, you cannot file a lawsuit if you are deceased. The personal representative (executor) of the victim’s probate estate must file the claim. Damages can be large, and courts distribute them to close relatives of the victim as well as the estate itself. In the event of a murder, you can win a wrongful death case even if the person charged with murder wins an acquittal in criminal court.
Bad Faith Insurance
Bad faith insurance is not a personal injury claim either, but it does arise frequently from personal injury claims. A bad faith insurance claim arises when an insurance company responsible for paying a personal injury claim deals unfairly with the claimant. Bad faith insurance claims are difficult to win, and you definitely need a lawyer to help you press such a claim.
Why Hiring a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Is Crucial
Personal injury law is complex, and so is the Florida civil compensation system. Defendants and insurance companies hire lawyers to represent them. You should, too, if you have a claim of significant size. Our lawyers at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced injury lawyers in Clearwater, FL.