The last thing you’re thinking about if you or a loved one has been the victim of a catastrophic personal injury accident or crime is how certain words are defined in the law. But, in Riverview, throughout Tampa Bay and Florida, and, quite frankly, throughout the United States, the way the law treats horrific accidents can seem rote and machine-like. That’s why it is critical to have a Riverview attorney on your side, so the legal system can see and feel what happened to you and you’re not treated like just another number.
It starts with “personal injury.” The term “personal injury” refers to any incident in which one party’s negligence or illegal misconduct causes harm to another party. We’ll discuss many examples in this article, but one instance of personal injury from negligence is the typical distracted driving car accident. An example of illegal misconduct is the sexual assault at a business. Under Florida law, the victims in these situations have the right to claim compensation for any losses they suffered from the incident. Depending on the severity of their losses, the total value of a personal injury case could be substantial.
While most personal injury victims are able to eventually recover from these experiences, others are not so fortunate. A catastrophic personal injury is any personal injury that causes long-term or permanent damage. Victims of these personal injuries struggle with not only extreme physical complications, including chronic pain and the other symptoms of their injuries but also the psychological stress of reduced earning capacity or even the inability to live independently. Victims of catastrophic personal injuries and their families often face significant financial stress and uncertain futures, and it is crucial for anyone in these situations to know their rights when it comes to legal recourse.
If you have suffered any kind of catastrophic injury in Riverview, or if you are now caring for someone in your family who suffered a catastrophic injury due to the actions of another party, it is vital to know the value of legal counsel you can trust in this situation. The team at The Frank Santini Law Firm has years of experience representing personal injury clients in the Riverview area, including those who have suffered catastrophic and life-changing injuries. We take time to listen to each client’s story to ensure we address their unique individual concerns as we handle their cases. The sooner you reach out to our team, the more time we have to develop a compelling civil case on your behalf.
There is no strict requirement for you to hire legal representation for your impending personal injury case in Riverview. You have the right to try to handle your case on your own but do not assume that you will be able to secure the same level of results as an experienced attorney would if they handled your case. Whether you are struggling with your own injury or caring for an injured family member, attempting to manage complex court filing requirements and meeting procedural deadlines under these conditions would be excruciatingly difficult.
When you have legal counsel you can trust to handle your case, you can focus on recovery from your injury and adjusting to your new circumstances as your attorney handles your legal affairs. You will not only have a much greater chance of proving liability for your losses but also of maximizing your case award. If you are concerned about legal fees, The Frank Santini Law Firm will only accept a fee when we win your case, and your fee will be a percentage of the final case award. If we investigate your personal injury case (even if it’s for many months) with lots of time and resources spent, we will not charge you a fee unless we pursue the case and recover a settlement for you.
Ultimately, hiring the right attorney can make the difference between winning and losing any personal injury case in Riverview. When you hire The Frank Santini Law Firm to represent you, we can help gather all evidence required to firmly establish liability for your damages, and we will do everything necessary to prove the exact extent of those damages. Our firm knows how to build compelling civil suits and how to maximize client recovery.
A personal injury qualifies as catastrophic if it causes any measure of lifelong complications to the victim. This is a difficult topic to write about because serious personal injury can happen in an infinite number of circumstances. A few of the most commonly cited catastrophic injuries that lead to civil suits in the Riverview area include:
If you are unsure whether a personal injury qualifies as catastrophic, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. They can not only help determine whether your injury counts as a catastrophic injury but also assist you in calculating the full scope of your claimable damages and guiding you through the process of holding the at-fault party accountable for those damages.
Success with any personal injury suit requires proof that another party directly caused your claimed damages. You must also show evidence of the full extent of those damages and establish causation with the defendant’s actions. In other words, you must prove your damages only occurred because of the defendant’s negligence or illegal misconduct and not some other cause. This is called “causation” in the law and is one of the most complicated aspects of personal injury litigation in court.
For products that allegedly cause cancer, the causation analysis may require thousands or millions of dollars of investment into scientific studies to determine if the subject product causes cancer. For a car accident that has no witnesses, the Riverview car accident attorney may need to invest tens of thousands of dollars in accident reconstruction experts to prove that the other driver was at fault.
The evidence you will require to firmly prove fault in your catastrophic injury case will depend on how and where the injury occurred. For example, if you were hurt in a car accident, your Riverview catastrophic injury attorney may seek traffic camera recordings, vehicle computer data, and the other driver’s cell phone records to prove fault. If you were hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on private property, CCTV camera footage from inside of the property and witness testimony is likely to be central to your case.
As of March 2023, the Florida legislature changed the law and made it much harder for injury victims to recover compensation. This should not discourage you, but it is important to be aware of as a citizen of this state. Essentially, the new Florida personal injury law has changed something called “comparative fault.” The old “pure comparative fault rule” has been replaced with a “modified comparative fault rule.”
What does this mean in easy terms? In a personal injury civil case, if the person or company that caused your injury can argue that you are at least partially at fault, it makes your case more difficult. Let’s say you’re in a car accident. It was mostly the other driver’s fault, but you could have been driving slower or done something else a bit differently. Under the old law, it would simply reduce how much money you can recover. If you were going to be awarded $10 million but were 10% at fault, then you would receive $9 million instead of $10 million. That doesn’t change under this new law. Where it changes is if it was slightly more your fault than the other party’s. Under the old law, it would simply reduce how much money you can recover as in the previous example. But now, if you were going to be awarded $10 million but were 51% at fault, then instead of receiving almost $5 million, you would receive nothing.
It is common that the party bringing a personal injury lawsuit in Riverview shares some fault. This provides a tool for insurance companies to use to discourage people from bringing claims. If you are found partially liable for causing your catastrophic injury, this does not necessarily mean you cannot claim compensation for your damages. As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still claim compensation from the defendant, but you will lose a percentage of your case award equal to your percentage of fault for causing the damages. For example, 10% fault means losing 10% of the total compensation claimed from the defendant, as shown in the example above. The kicker is if a plaintiff’s fault is 50% or more, they cannot seek compensation from the defendant.
Any catastrophic injury is likely to involve a host of economic and non-economic damages. “Economic” means money you can trace back to specific bills like medical or car repair bills. Economic damages are more straightforward and include any direct financial effects of the defendant’s actions, such as property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages.
“Non-economic,” meaning your pain and suffering, is not traced to a specific medical bill but is very real and you live with it every day. The purpose of your personal injury claim in Riverview is to hold the defendant accountable for the harm they have done and to secure appropriate recompense for the losses you suffered, both economic and non-economic.
It is important for the plaintiff to remember that Florida law allows them to seek compensation for both immediate and future economic damages inflicted by a defendant. For example, a catastrophic injury is likely to require not only extensive immediate medical care but also various ongoing treatments so the victim can rehabilitate as fully as possible. Your Riverview catastrophic injury attorney can be a critical asset for proving the full scope of the immediate and future medical expenses you can claim from the defendant who injured you. This area of the law can be tricky and can often be overturned by judges, so the lawyer must be extremely precise and deliberate about the evidence supporting future medical care.
Lost income presents a similar issue, as you have the right to seek compensation for both lost wages and lost future earning potential. If your injury is severe enough that you will not be able to return to your job or work at all in the future, your attorney can help you secure recompense for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had the injury not occurred. Depending on the type of work you did and how long you would have been able to continue working, this compensation for your lost future income could form a sizeable portion of your final case award.
Beyond your economic damages, you also have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Florida does not place a limit on how much you can claim for pain and suffering in most personal injury cases, and because a catastrophic injury is, by definition, permanently damaging, many plaintiffs discover that their pain and suffering compensation outweighs the total of their claimed economic damages. Your Riverview catastrophic injury attorney can be an invaluable resource when it comes to determining an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant who injured you.
Most of the personal injury cases filed in Riverview each year do not go to court and are instead resolved through private settlement negotiations. The private settlement process allows both the plaintiff and the defendant to save time and money they would otherwise expend in protracted litigation. The settlement also unfolds at the discretion and convenience of both parties and is generally less stressful than in the courtroom setting. Additionally, both parties have more influence over the final outcome of the negotiated agreement as long as they are both willing to compromise.
If a case must be resolved in court, the judge has the final say on every aspect of the case. They will consider evidence and testimony presented by both sides and deliver a ruling, assigning fault for the damages and determining suitable recompense for the plaintiff. Litigation can sometimes take several months or even longer than one year to complete, especially if the case pertains to extensive damages and liability is contested.
A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event for the victim and their family. Your recent injury may prevent you from returning to work and/or living independently in the future, and you could face a host of long-term or permanent complications that disrupt your life in various ways. It is natural for anyone in this situation to face uncertainty, distress, and frustration, and the right attorney is an invaluable source of guidance and support as you begin to navigate your recovery following a catastrophic injury.
The Frank Santini Law Firm has represented many past clients successfully in all sorts of personal injury cases, including those filed in response to severe catastrophic injuries. We take time to develop individualized legal strategies for every client we represent. Our goal in every case is to help our clients recover as fully as possible as quickly as possible, so we generally aim to settle clients’ cases swiftly whenever we can. However, if litigation is necessary to resolve your case, you can rely on our team to represent you in court.
Time is a crucial concern for anyone who intends to make a personal injury claim in Riverview. Not only must you meet the statute of limitations, but timely legal action helps to preserve the reliability of evidence and testimony you may need to prove fault and recover your damages. The sooner you reach out to an attorney you can trust, the more likely you are to succeed with your case. If you are ready to learn how a Riverview catastrophic injury attorney can help you recover, contact The Frank Santini Law Firm today and schedule your free consultation with our team.
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