Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys
What We have Won for our Orlando Personal Injury Clients
Many people with legitimate personal injury claims have walked away empty handed. As much as the body of evidence proving that you do deserve compensation is important, it is equally vital that you have good legal representation. As experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys we can help you protect your rights. When you suffer a personal injury- if it is through no fault of your own-you must be prepared to do battle with insurance companies, employers, drivers, pet owners, home owners and equipment manufacturers.
You could be sucked into a legal contest with an organization that has a large war chest. They’ll retain the best lawyers available and will even hire private investigators to prove that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be. As Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys who have many years experience fighting on our client’s behalf in the courts of Florida, the Badgley Law Group is the legal team you want by your side when you start off your quest for compensation.
We have handled a wide number of cases ranging from those involving a couple of thousand dollars to those seeking compensation in the millions. We believe no one should be financially hamstrung because of their injuries yet the person(s) who caused it walks away with no consequences. We are persistent, aggressive and committed to each client whose case we take up. We have a string of victories over the years to prove it.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Orlando
Personal injury is a broad domain. An injury can happen in any one of a diverse set of locations and under numerous distinct circumstances. The objective of a personal injury claim is for the injured party to obtain compensation in the event that someone else causes them harm either intentionally or due to negligence. Here are the most common types of personal injury claims we deal with:
By far the highest number of personal injury claims in the United States are the result of vehicle accidents. In Florida alone, there were more than 243,000 car accident injuries in 2015. Collisions may involve passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs and/or pedestrians. Most accidents happen because one or more parties was not respecting the rules of the road or exercising as much reasonable care as they ought to.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall claims are quite common and could happen anywhere from a friend’s house to the grocery store. The property owner may be deemed responsible for fall injuries that occur on their premises. This is especially true in cases where the court determines that the injuries could have been avoided if the owner kept the property reasonable free and safe of hazards.
Hazards that can potentially cause slips or falls include improperly waxed floors, wet floors, bulging carpets, chipped stairs, broken floor tiles and poor lighting. These claims can be difficult since it is contingent on the plaintiff proving that the property owner should have fixed the problem but didn’t or that they failed to warn occupants of the problem. Not every fall will be the owner’s fault. The court will also determine if the injured person’s own conduct exacerbated the risk.
A product is meant to meet a consumer’s ordinary expectations. Yet, defective products injure thousands of Americans each year. Whether due to a car component that failed or a kitchen appliance that didn’t work as it should, the product manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries that result. Product liability laws were established on the basis that businesses have an obligation to protect users from potential hazards.
Product defects can be either design defects, manufacturing defects or marketing defects. Design defects are present at the product’s conception well before the commencement of its manufacture. Manufacturing defects occur during the building or assembly of the product. Marketing flaws are the result of how the product is packaged and sold (e.g. insufficient safety warnings, inadequate usage instructions or improper labeling).
Victims can seek legal recourse by proving that the defect is what caused their injury.
Workplace injury may refer to immediate physical injury such as broken limbs, or long term health conditions such as asbestosis. Thousands of people are hurt in Florida workplace accidents each year. Ordinarily, these would be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Sometimes though, the worker may experience injury whose cost cannot be cared for by workers’ compensation insurance alone. In this case, a personal injury claim against the recklessness or negligence of another party could seek benefits that will bridge the gap.
Employees may also be entitled to rehabilitation benefits which cover not just physical therapy but also vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is training for a new kind of job in the event the victim can no longer perform their previous job role. Workers compensation laws and procedures can be confusing for the layperson to understand. That’s why it is vital that you or an injured loved one contact out Orlando personal injury attorneys at the Badgley Law Group that will guide you throughout the process.
Each year, thousands of people in the United States are bitten by dogs and other animals. Owners or other responsible parties can be sued for injuries caused by animals under their care. If you have been bitten by a dog, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. The dog bite may cause serious bacterial infection or a disease that could lead to death if left untreated. Illnesses such as rabies are incredibly rare among domestic animals nowadays but there is no harm in seeing a doctor just to make sure.
Florida follows the strict liability principle when it comes to dog bites. This means the dog owner is liable if the animal attacks someone. This is regardless of whether the owner tried to protect the victim or was unaware that their dog could be dangerous.
People go to doctors for correct diagnosis and treatment that eventually leads to recovery. Unfortunately, things do not always go according to plan. Medical malpractice cases arise when a healthcare professional such as a doctor or nurse fails to offer reasonable care thus causing the injury of a patient.
A medical malpractice case seeks to prove that the healthcare professional had a duty of care to the patient, failed in that duty and that the failure caused injury to the patient. Medicine is a complex field so malpractice suits are fairly complicated. The case will heavily rely on experts to break down practice and procedure.
Defamation is injury to a person’s reputation through untrue statements. There are different types of defamation but the main forms are slander and libel. The difference between the two is that libel involves written statements while slander is spoken defamation. Defamation cases can be difficult since the court has to balance the protection of the plaintiff’s reputation against the defendant’s freedom of speech.
The proof required will depend on the venue or medium where the false statements were uttered and who the plaintiff was in that context. The standard is higher for public figures as they must prove the statement was made with malicious intent.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery fall under intentional torts. Intentional torts refer to cases where an individual knowingly does something that causes or could lead to the injury of another person. This is unlike other personal injury cases (except defamation) where there is no malicious intent by the responsible party. Assault and battery suits will usually be an additional component to a criminal charge against the assailant. For example, if a man attacks and injures another, they are likely to face not only a criminal charge but also a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for injury.
Assault can occur even when the defendant does not make physical contact with the plaintiff. As long there was a threat of or attempted injury that caused the other person to be fearful of imminent harm, it may be treated as assault. On the other hand, battery is intentional physical contact with another person in an offensive or harmful way without their consent.
How Florida Personal Injury Law Works
Pure Comparative Negligence
Injury cases aren’t always clear-cut with an obvious at fault party on one hand and a victim on the other. Reality is often more nuanced and complex. Florida follows the pure comparative negligence principle when it comes to personal injury. This means that damages may be reduced based on the plaintiff’s proportion of contribution to their own injury. In other words, damages are apportioned based on the share of fault and negligence of the two parties.
As an example, let’s say you have been seriously injured following a car accident and have incurred $50,000 in medical costs and property loss. If the jury determines that you partially contributed to the accident by say 20%, a ruling in your favor will see your award of $50,000 reduced by 20% to become $40,000.
In years past, when one party sued another, only the two of them would appear on the verdict form. This however changed after the Fabre v. Martin decision of the Supreme Court of Florida. It meant that if the defendant accused a nonparty of negligence that caused the plaintiff injury or loss, the jury could add the nonparty in the verdict form, assign whatever percentage of fault is attributable to the nonparty and the damages the nonparty should pay.
No-Fault Rule for Car Accidents
Florida has a no-fault system when it comes to car crashes. That means each driver’s insurance company pays for the injuries and property damage experienced following a car crash (as opposed to the victim claiming from the at fault driver’s insurer). The no-fault principle significantly reduces litigation around vehicle accidents.
You can however seek compensation from the other party if your injuries are serious and likely to outstrip your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) cover. Examples are permanent disability, permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a timeframe within which a plaintiff must file a lawsuit for it to be accepted by the court. Failure to do so automatically nullifies opportunity for legal action even if the defendant was obviously liable for the injury. It’s perhaps the most tragic way for a claim to die since there may have been a real possibility for compensation but nobody will ever know.
A statute of limitations is actually a good thing and is put in place to safeguard the rights and interests of all parties. As one moves further away from the date of the incident, the quality of evidence collected continues to deteriorate. For instance, a witness may not have a reliable recollection of events 10 years after an accident happened. They could inadvertently end up blaming the wrong person.
Most Florida personal injury lawsuits (including car accidents, product liability, assault and battery) must be filed four years from the date of injury or (in instances where injury was not immediately apparent such as asbestosis) 4 years from the date of the doctor’s report confirming injury or illness. Slander, libel, medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits have a 2 year statute of limitation.
FAQs about Personal Injury Law
Every personal injury incident is different. Nevertheless, what you do immediately after it happens can have significant consequences on your wellbeing and your future claim. If the injury is sudden and severe (e.g. following a serious car crash), the first thing to do is call 911 and/or law enforcement. You’ll receive emergency life-sustaining care at the scene before proceeding to the hospital for more comprehensive treatment.
Even if you do not consider your injures significant, it is vital that you see a doctor as soon as you can. This is not just important because the injuries may be life threatening. It also creates a document trail that will prove useful when you eventually file a compensation claim.
If your injuries allow you, gather as much evidence from the incident as you can. Take photos of your injuries and the scene. Obtain the contacts of any witnesses. Do not accept liability even if you believe your own negligence may have partially caused the incident. Get in touch with an Orlando personal injury lawyer who will liaise with the insurance company and at fault party on your behalf.
Insurance companies are subject matter experts in the claims process and handle numerous injury cases each day. You as the injured party likely does not have a similar grasp and could even be dealing with the first claim in your life. It is therefore important that you exercise great caution in your dealings with insurers.
If the insurance company offers a settlement or asks for a written statement, you should not agree before getting in touch with an Orlando personal injury attorney. The insurance company will frame questions in a way that could see you say something you did not intend to or was not aware would be detrimental to your case.
An attorney ensures that if a statement has to be provided, the wording is appropriate.
Since personal injury attorneys usually charge on a contingency basis, the first thing we’ll do is to examine all the facts and determine whether there is a realistic chance for compensation. A personal injury claim must have three elements: evidence of injury, liability of the party that caused the injury, and the at fault party’s (including through their insurance company) ability to pay.
Personal injury cases vary widely and there is no guarantee that you’ll get a specified amount of money. The courts will not necessarily award you the damages you ask for. Ultimately, the compensation will depend on a number of factors.
- The seriousness of the injury - The more badly hurt you are, the more costly the treatment is likely to be and therefore, the more money you are likely to get.
- How long treatment is expected to last - Longer treatment usually means a bigger medical bill so the court will factor this in the payout.
- Impact on your ability to earn an income - If you have been in accident that temporarily or permanently makes it difficult or impossible for you to earn a living, you will likely get more money than someone whose injuries do not significantly prevent them from working.
- Insurance of the at fault party - This would, for instance, apply in vehicle accidents where your own insurance might not be able to cover the full cost of your treatment. The money you can get from the other party depends on what and how much insurance they had.
- The financial ability of the at fault party - One of the reasons the victim of a car crash will pursue the driver’s employer, the vehicle manufacturer or (in distracted driving) the phone maker is because the at fault driver does not have sufficient financial resources or insurance to pay for the damages.
What damages can I claim?
Personal injury cases have two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. A victim can be awarded damages for past and future losses. Economic benefits include wage loss, deterioration of vehicle value, medicine prescription costs, travel costs for doctor appointments, and insurance co-pays. Examples of non-economic damages are emotional distress, pain, suffering and loss of life enjoyment. For serious injuries, noneconomic costs may actually exceed economic damages.
The time each case takes depends on several factors. In a nutshell, how long your case eventually lasts mainly depends on how resolute the other party is in not paying the claim. On average, cases will take anywhere between 12 and 36 months. The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases are settled before they get to trial.
One of the ways you can increase the chances of a settlement is (with assistance from your attorney) gather all the requisite evidence including expert opinion that would make your case compelling.
Insurance companies will make a pragmatic judgment call by settling cases where they see a high likelihood of losing at trial. As opposed to incurring huge costs and time yet still end up eventually paying benefits, the insurer will cut its losses by settling. If the case gets to trial, you can expect the timeframe for conclusion to be considerably longer.
Serious injuries can ramp up medical bills fast both for the immediate emergency treatment as well as long term care. Government benefits and your health insurance cover may be unable to cope with the avalanche of bills that could rapidly accumulate into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The personal injury claim is supposed to cover these costs. However, claims will take a while to be paid even in cases where they are settled before trial. Many healthcare providers are well aware of this and will continue to treat you on the premise that they’ll be paid once benefits are eventually received.
In the event that your doctor is unwilling to continue treating you without payment, get in touch with Badgley Law Group to explore what options are available to you. As persons who regularly liaise with medical professionals, our personal injury attorneys can provide recommendations on which providers would be open to treating you until your case is resolved.
It may be difficult to draw a realistic estimate of future medical costs before your treatment is concluded. Thus, the attorney will monitor your medical progress over the following weeks and months by gathering reports from your doctor. This continues until you are at the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) i.e. your medical condition has been resolved or your recovery has plateaued.
The doctor may then assign a permanent impairment rating in accordance with American Medical Association guidelines. A settlement demand is thereafter prepared and presented to the insurance company. If the insurer fails to offer a reasonable payment, the case goes to trial where it could remain for months or a couple of years.
The collateral source rule is a principle in Florida state law that prohibits the defense attorney from using evidence of collateral payments (such as insurance benefits covering your medical bills) as a basis for reducing economic damages due to the claimant. This rule does not however apply to government benefits such as Medicaid or Medicare.
The rationale is that your personal health insurance cover was a deduction from your income and you should not therefore be penalized for planning for and taking charge of your future medical costs. This is as opposed to Medicaid or Medicare where you have a right to it without having to earn it.
Most personal injury cases will involve two parties: the victim and the at-fault party. Sometimes though the fault lies with more than one person and could even include the victim. For example, if a pet-sitter removes the leash from a dog that has already been identified as dangerous, you can bring a suit against the dog owner (under the strict liability rule) and the pet-sitter.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means when a person is injured, the court makes a determination of how many persons were at fault and to what extent. Therefore, if the other party was the main cause of the accident but you are deemed to have been 25% responsible, the amount awarded to you will be reduced by 25%.
Every car owner in Florida must have PIP insurance. It covers your injury treatment costs as well as lost wages due to the accident. It is referred to as no-fault insurance because you claim it from your insurer (as opposed to the at fault party’s insurance company) irrespective of who caused the crash. Florida law requires all drivers carry a personal injury protection (PIP) cover of at least $10,000.
We evaluate cases beforehand to see what are the chances of winning. However, no attorney can guarantee success as the decision ultimately lies with the jury. If you lose the case, we may submit a motion requesting a new trial. This will usually be denied unless something very serious took place during the trial. From this point, you can file an appeal at the Florida District Court and, in rare cases, the Supreme Court of Florida.
There is no legal obligation to use an attorney in a personal injury claim. While your case will be determined by the facts and circumstances of the event, getting a lawyer increases your odds of victory and the amount of compensation.An
ABC News reportquoted one insurance company’s internal documents as stating victims represented by an attorney received two to three times as much benefits as those who chose to represent themselves. Even if you subtract legal fees form this amount, it is still significantly more. Curiously, the ABC report was about an insurance company being accused of actively discouraging claimants from talking to an attorney.
Personal injury cases can be complex and a key advantage of hiring a lawyer is their multidimensional approach to your claim. If you are injured after a car accident for instance, the lawyer will not just limit themselves to PIP but will also look for all other policies that may apply including employer insurance, excess insurance, underinsured motorist coverage and workers’ compensation insurance.
Finally, a lawyer allows you to concentrate on recovery and getting on with your life. You will be expected to provide information as and when needed, and you will also receive updates on how far the case has progressed. You will however be released from regular liaison with the other parties in the case except when necessary. This can substantially lower your stress levels.
We handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee. This means we obtain our fee and costs from the compensation that’s paid to you. Thus, if there is no recovery there’ll be no attorney fee. You never had to dip into your pocket to pay us.
Speak With Experienced Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys For Free
Have you been injured anywhere in Orlando? Talk to the dedicated, aggressive and experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys at Badgley Law Group today. We do not charge any fee upfront and will work with you to secure your interests and obtain appropriate compensation.
Insurance companies and the at fault party will do all that is within their power to avoid paying compensation. As profit-driven enterprises, insurers in particular will look for any legitimate loophole they can exploit to pay a minimal amount or not pay the claim at all. This is where self-representation can place you at a disadvantage.
Insurance firms deal with numerous claims each day and are experts on the system. It is only fair that you too have an expert on the personal injury claim process by your side. It will not only increase your chances of victory but also makes sure you receive a comprehensive payout that covers all the bases.
You do not have to suffer in pain and financial stress while there is a solution that can make your injuries a little more bearable. Speak to an Orlando personal injury lawyer at Badgley Law Group.
CONTACT OUR ORLANDO PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY TODAY!
Are you wondering if your life will ever be the same after your accident? Your case deserves a skilled and experienced attorney who is an expert in the area of Personal Injury Law.