Anyone in Florida injured or experienced damages due to someone else’s negligence might wonder if they have a valid claim. However, it’s not always immediately available if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Even if someone’s case has merit, there might be certain circumstances that weaken the case. If you have a weak claim, it will be easier for the defendant to exploit your claim and reduce your financial recovery.
Since most personal injury claims are filed based on negligence, you will need clear and convincing evidence of the other party’s negligence. And while there are no guarantees, some situations have a higher likelihood of the injury victim receiving compensation.
Here are some signs that you have a solid personal injury claim.
If You Can Prove the Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care
In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation. It’s like a social contract that individuals have implicit responsibilities toward other members of society. This is the first element a claimant must establish to prove negligence and proceed with an action.
One example of duty of care is on the roadways. All Florida drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. In other words, every driver is expected to drive reasonably and safely to prevent harming others.
So if a reckless driver caused an accident that led to your injuries, they have breached their duty of care.
However, let’s say your friend is a physician. Then you tell your friend about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Since you asked as a friend rather than a patient, you wouldn’t have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. That’s because there was no duty of care established. To show negligence, you must first prove the defendant owed the injury victim a duty of care.
If You Can Prove the Defendant Breached Their Duty of Care
Since all drivers in Florida owe a duty of care to other people sharing the roadways, drunk, drowsy, or distracted driving could all be considered negligence. Hence, they would be forms of breaching their duty of care. A drunk driver who causes a car crash has failed to exercise a reasonable and prudent level of care.
Likewise, the manager, employees, and owner must protect their customers from harm in certain stores. For example, if a store fails to clean up a spill and you slip and get injured, they might have breached their duty. If there are dangerous conditions in the store, they have a duty to warn you about it or find it and fix it.
If You Incurred Damages and Losses as a result of the Defendant Breaching Their Duty of Care
The primary purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for damages. Claimants may be able to recover compensatory damages, including economic and non-economic losses. If you did not suffer damages—i.e., an injury or loss—you would not have grounds for a personal injury claim.
If You Have an Admission of Fault From the Defendant
An admission of fault is one of your attorney’s most powerful tools to build a personal injury case. In cases where the plaintiff and defendant communicated before trial, it’s possible that the defendant admitted to their responsibility in causing the accident.
For example, if you got into a car accident caused by another party’s negligence. After exchanging contact information, they text you to say sorry for making an illegal turn and causing the accident. That can be invaluable evidence, especially if they later try to change their story. This is often the case after a defendant accidentally admits guilt but later rescinds their admission to avoid skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Be sure to keep a record of all contact between you and the defendant if you think you might have a personal injury case. You might need documentation of those communications later as evidence.
If You Have Video Footage of the Incident
Having video or photographic evidence to support your claim and show the other party’s negligence will improve your odds of a successful outcome. Witness testimony can also be valuable, but not as solid as objectively reviewing the accident from video footage.
If You Suffered Severe or Catastrophic Injuries and Other Personal Damages
The goal of a personal injury case is to recover damages. For example, if you suffered substantial emotional, physical, and psychological damages, you might be eligible to recover those damages from the at-fault party or their insurance.
Anytime you suffer serious injuries that can be proved in court with medical documentation, that will help strengthen your claim. By showing medical records or having an expert testify to your injuries, you are showing that your injuries were not pre-existing or unrelated to this incident. Evidence such as medical bills, doctor appointment confirmations, and treatment records will be key pieces of evidence to link your injury to the accident.
If There’s a History of Similar Events
If it becomes necessary to take your case to court, your attorney might look for a pattern of behavior from the liable company or individual. For example, if you got into a car accident due to a negligent driver. If that driver has a history of traffic infractions and violations, they clearly have a pattern of negligent driving. In that case, a judge or jury might be more likely to award you significant damages.
If You’ve Been Diligently Pursuing Your Case
It will work in your favor to have documented evidence that you have diligently pursued all necessary medical care in a timely manner. Additionally, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’ve followed the advice of your doctor and any treatment plans they prescribed. That also means avoiding delays in contacting insurance providers and legal assistance.
By doing everything you need to do promptly, you are showing that you’re serious about recovery and treatment. If it comes out during your claims or court process that you waited a month after an accident to get medical treatment or legal counsel, that will reflect poorly on you. Furthermore, it will look like your alleged injuries are not as serious as you claim since you didn’t bother to get immediate medical attention.
If the Incident Happened Within the Past Four Years
Florida has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Therefore, if you want to seek compensation for damages, you have four years after the accident date to take action.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
You may have a personal injury case even if you don’t meet all the above criteria. However, certain circumstances can complicate the claims process even if you’ve received the appropriate medical treatment and done everything right. So if you are unsure about your case being a “slam dunk”, it’s worth finding out, especially if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligent actions.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Our legal team has extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases. We can answer all of your questions and help you determine what step to take next.
We offer a free initial case review so you have nothing to lose by contacting us today.