Articles & FAQ

Florida Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Quick Facts

Category: Articles & FAQ |

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Florida? When someone suffers severe injuries, the consequences can be enormous. These injuries are life-changing, often resulting in expensive medical bills, property damage, loss of income, and other hardships. If someone else is at fault for your injuries, you shouldn’t have to bear these costs. Once an injury occurs, time is of the essence in bringing your case to court. That’s because, like all states, Florida has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. What is the statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury claims? In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions depends on the claim type. The statute of limitations in Florida is usually two (2) to four (4) years and sometimes five (5) years, after an incident. The following list breaks down the statute of limitations for each of our practice areas.  What does “Statute of Limitations” mean? A statute of limitations is sort of like an expiration date on when a lawsuit can be brought. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to pursue a legal claim after an incident. If you do not file your case before the statute of limitations expires, your claim will be forever barred. The statute of limitations is different depending on the state and the type of case.  Why does Florida have a statute of limitations? The purpose of the statute of limitations is to make sure that parties bring their cases to court on time. In this way, potential defendants don’t have to worry about litigating something that happened decades ago. Imposing a time limit also ensures that important evidence isn’t lost over time, which is good for each party. The time limit just has to be “reasonable,” which is why the statute of limitations is different in each state. JUMP TO PERSONAL INJURY CASE TYPE Florida Statue of Limitations for: Automobile Accidents Motorcycle Accidents Bike and Pedestrian Accidents Slip and Fall Injuries Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Nursing Home Abuse Dog Bites Construction Accidents Products Liability Other Types of Cases FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Automobile Accidents Someone who suffers injuries in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident may have multiple options in bringing their case. The statute of limitations for car accidents in Florida depends on who is at fault and whether the accident resulted in death. Injury lawsuits against another driver have various deadlines. If another driver is at fault for carelessly injuring someone, the injured person has four years to file a lawsuit. However, if you have a claim against an uninsured motorist insurer that timeframe might be extended to 5 years. Also, there are tricky deadlines within which you must utilize your PIP coverage (no fault benefits) and these deadlines can be as short as 14 days. If a person is claiming that another driver damaged their car, they have four years to bring Property damage lawsuits. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Motorcycle Accidents For motorcycle accidents, the statute of limitations is four years for personal injury claims. In the event that a Florida motorcycle accident results in death, the law allows two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Bike and Pedestrian Accidents For bike and pedestrian lawsuits, the injured party has four years to bring suit against the person or organization that causes the accident. If the accident results in death, the statute of limitations is two years. If there is a case against an uninsured motorist insurer, the statute of limitations may be extended to five years. Finally, limitations apply the PIP (no fault) claims that can be as little as 14 days. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Slip and Fall Injuries For slip and fall injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is four years for injury claims. For death claims, the limitations period is two years. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Wrongful Death If a loved one dies in an accident, the family has two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Medical Malpractice The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is complicated in Florida. It generally runs two years from the date when you knew or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known that the injury was caused by medical malpractice. Florida also has another law, called the statute of repose, which sets an outer time limit of four years regardless of when you knew or should have known of the malpractice. The statute of repose begins to run on the date that the malpractice occurs. It is important to remember that the two-year statute of limitations will cut off a claim if you knew or should have known of the malpractice even though the four-year repose period may not have expired. There are two exceptions to the rules above. The first exception applies where the healthcare provider commits fraud, misrepresentation or concealment of the malpractice. In these rare cases, the statute of repose is extended to seven years. In such a case, the two-year statute of limitations still runs from when you knew or should have known of the malpractice. If the statute of limitations runs before you file your claim, even if the repose period has not expired, you will be barred. The second exception involves claims for children. The law says that the ordinary statute of repose will not cut off a child’s claim before the child’s eighth birthday. Again, however, the two-year statute of limitations is not extended, and will cut off a claim two years after the child’s parent or guardian knows or should know of the malpractice. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Nursing Home Abuse The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse is essentially the same as the statute governing medical malpractice. The only differences are that the repose period for cases involving fraud and misrepresentation is six...

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[ STUDY ] The 10 Florida Counties with the Highest Drunk Driving Fatality Rates

Category: Original Research |

Putnam County tops the list with a devastating 24 drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people annually. In the United States, drunk driving is a deadly scourge. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving claims a life every 48 minutes. As personal injury attorneys we regularly bear witness to the tragic aftermath of drunk driving. Many of our clients are those who are left behind to pick up the pieces after someone’s decision to drive drunk ends in destruction, injury, and death. Despite the efforts of legislators, educators, law enforcement, and countless advocacy groups, the problem of drunk driving persists in Florida, with some regions of the state being particularly, tragically, afflicted. Given their size it’s easy to understand why some large Florida cities – Miami, Tampa, Orlando, etc. – would experience the most total drunk driving crashes and fatalities. However, if you look at the numbers on a per-capita basis the results are surprising. For complete details on the methodology used to come up with these rankings, click here. The 10 Florida Counties with the Highest Drunk Driving Fatality Rates View full size #1 Putnam County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 23.75 Putnam County has a modest population of 73,252 residents and is between Jacksonville, Gainesville, St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach. Its location might explain why it tops the list with a drunk driving death rate of 23.75 people per 100,000 people. #2 Columbia County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 19.44 Columbia County has even fewer residents, with an estimated population of just over 69,968 people and a lower five-year average for drunk driving deaths than Putnam County. Its rate is about 19 fatalities per 100,000 people, putting it in second place on our list. #3 Marion County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 11.65 Marion County is our first highly populated county on the list, with 353,526 people, and a more robust public bus system. There were 39 drunk driving deaths in 2020, a decrease from 54 deaths the year before. The five-year average places it as third worst for drunk driving fatalities. #4 Nassau County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 10.59 Nassau County is the most northeastern county in Florida, close to Jacksonville and several military bases. With a population of 83,098, its drunk driving fatality rate, based on its five-year average, comes out to about 10 deaths per 100,000 people. #5 Alachua County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 8.36 Alachua County also has a larger population and is home to Gainesville and the University of Florida. It saw a high of 44 drunk driving deaths in 2019, but the five-year average is 22 deaths annually. It’s the first county on our list to have a rate below 10 per 100,000 people. #6 Highlands County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 8.12 Highlands County has a modest population of 103,437, and its biggest cities are Avon Park and Sebring, with about 10,000 people each. Its five-year average is eight deaths per year. Despite fewer deaths than in Alachua County, it has a similar drunk driving rate. #7 Flagler County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 7.47 Seventh on our list is much like the sixth. Flagler County has a population of 109,801, and its largest city is Palm Coast. This county also has a five-year average of eight drunk driving deaths each year, with a rate of just over seven deaths per 100,000 people. #8 Duval County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.73 Duval County has over 936,000 people, making it the most populous county on our list. It boasts Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Neptune Beach and sees more drunk driving deaths each year than these other nine counties. In fact, its five-year average is 63 drunk driving deaths annually. Despite this total, the overall rate is fewer than seven per 100,000 people. #9 Citrus County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.61 Citrus is a mid-sized county with a population of just over 145,000 people. Its largest community is Homosassa Springs, despite being an unincorporated area. Citrus County averaged fewer than 10 drunk driving deaths the past five years, but its rate per 100,000 people is similar to Duval County. #10 Martin County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.41 Martin County rounds out our top 10 list. It’s similar to Citrus County, with a slightly larger population of 159,000. It averaged 10 drunk driving deaths annually over the past five years, resulting in a rate of six deaths per 100,000 people. Methodology Using FDOT’s Traffic Safety Dashboard we obtained county-level Florida crash data for all Impaired Driving crashes over five years, from 2016 to 2020. We narrowed the list of counties down to only those with a population of over 50,000 (41 counties). We calculated the average number of drunk driving fatalities per year, per county over the five year span. To determine the number of drunk driving fatalities per year, per 100k people we used the following formula:Average annual drunk driving fatalities ÷ (total population ÷ 100,000) = Drunk driving fatalities per 100k

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Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Whether you choose to ride your motorcycle as a hobby or as a commuter vehicle, you know that riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car or a truck. Exposure to the elements, greater maneuverability, finding your inner zen, the health and fitness benefits—riding a motorcycle has it all. Despite the fun of riding a motorcycle, however, doing so is objectively more dangerous than riding in a car. The fact that you don’t have a metal cage surrounding and protecting your body and the fact that you are harder to see than other vehicles on the road are just two elements that increase the rate of motorcycle injuries compared to driving cars. Knowing that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, you naturally want to know how to be safer as a motorcyclist. If you know the most common motorcycle injuries, you can take specific steps to avoid those types of injuries. As with driving a car, your safety is never a guarantee when you are on the road, but this makes the things you can control yourself all the more important. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk cares about your safety, so we’ve compiled a list of the most common motorcycle accident injuries. Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common motorcycle injury is a lower leg fracture. While a lower leg fracture itself is the most common motorcycle injury, taken as a whole, the leg and foot area are the most common areas of motorcycle injury. These include foot and ankle fractures and road rash on the leg and foot. Some of the other motorcycle accident injuries include things like: Fractures of arms, wrists, and hands; Road rash of arms, wrists, and hands; Back muscle injuries; Neck muscle injuries; Spinal injuries and fractures; Traumatic brain injuries; and Internal injuries like internal bleeding or organ damage. None of these injuries are uncommon in a motorcycle accident. While all these injuries can be significant, the most serious possible injury in a motorcycle accident is any injury to your head.  How to Ride Safely To avoid any injury, the best thing you can do is to ride as safely as possible. Following these safety tips doesn’t entirely remove the danger inherent in riding a motorcycle. However, it will reduce your chance of injury, severe or otherwise. Best of all, these are proactive steps that you can take. Wear a Helmet In 2016 alone, helmets saved an estimated 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives in the US. Wearing a helmet helps reduce the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by nearly 40%. In addition, motorcyclists riding without a helmet are three times more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) than their helmeted counterparts. Wearing just any helmet isn’t enough to save your life, though. First, make sure your helmet fits well. Your helmet should be the right size and shape for your head. If your helmet does not fit well, it might fall off in an accident. A helmet that is too big will allow your head to bounce around in an accident, which will increase the risk of TBI. Ensure that your helmet is NHTSA certified, and after five years of use, be sure to get a new one. Check out the NHTSA’s guide on choosing the right helmet for you. Use Other Safety Gear On top of wearing a helmet, you can make your ride safer by wearing other protective gear. To help reduce the risk of ankle and foot injuries, wear a sturdy pair of boots whenever you ride. To avoid road rash, be sure to wear pants and a jacket that are designed to protect. A pair of jeans will rip almost immediately if you skid across the road, which is sure to cause road rash. Some motorcycle jackets, pants, and suits offer extra padding or armor, which also reduces the risk of muscle damage. Whatever you do, don’t go out for a ride in shorts and sandals.  Ensure Visibility Since a motorcycle is smaller than a car or truck, you are at a visibility disadvantage whenever you ride. To make sure you are as visible as possible, always check every one of your motorcycle’s lights to ensure they are in working condition. Consider carrying a couple of spare lights with you when you go out for a ride so you can replace them on the go if necessary. If you ride your motorcycle at night, consider purchasing a reflective vest or other reflective material to enhance your visibility to other vehicles on the road. If they can’t see you, they can’t avoid you. Don’t Drive in Bad Weather If You Can Avoid It Driving in the rain makes it easier for you to skid out even if another vehicle does not strike you. It also makes it more difficult for you to see your surroundings, which is also true for other vehicles on the road. Drive Carefully Perhaps most importantly, drive carefully. Don’t ride in other vehicles’ blind spots, focus on the road, and avoid distractions, never drive if you are intoxicated, and follow the rules of the road. Driving carefully is entirely in your hands. Don’t increase the danger level of riding a motorcycle; drive carefully. Have You Suffered from a Motorcycle Accident Injury in Florida? At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have helped motorcyclists fight for their legal rights for over 30 years. Florida motorcycle accidents are one of our firm’s focus areas, so we have the experience necessary to help you through any type of motorcycle accident. We have proudly served over 20,000 injured clients throughout Florida and are proud to have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau along with a “Best Law Firm” rating from US News & World Report. If you have suffered from a motorcycle accident injury, don’t hesitate—contact us today for a free consultation and get the legal help you deserve.

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Compensation for Death in a Car Accident

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. When a loved one dies in a car accident caused by a negligent party, the grief is not any less. Though it may do little to ease the pain, depending on your relationship to the deceased, you may be entitled to a car accident death insurance payout. Wrongful Death in a Car Accident In 2019, there were 401,867 total vehicle crashes in Florida that resulted in 3,185 fatalities according to the Florida Highway Safety and Transportation annual report.  Florida wrongful death as it relates to car accidents entitles certain survivors the right to recover damages against the party that caused the accident. A personal representative named in the will or estate plan of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The court will appoint a representative if one was not chosen by the deceased. The representative must represent all survivors who have an interest in the lawsuit and insurance payout for car accident death. These survivors may include the deceased person’s: Spouse, Parents, Children (biological or adopted), and Blood relatives and adopted siblings who were dependent on the deceased. In Florida, a child born to unmarried parents can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. A child can recover damages for an unmarried father’s death only if the father had a recognized responsibility for the child’s support.  Compensation for Death in a Car Accident An insurance payout for a car accident death depends upon the policy limits of the party that caused the death of your loved one. However, these policies are often not enough to provide fair compensation. In that case, your wrongful death attorney can advise you on options for filing a wrongful death suit to recover additional compensation. Economic Damages for Wrongful Death  Economic damages take into consideration the financial contribution the deceased would have made to survivors if not for the accident. Current wages, future earning potential, and benefits such as health insurance are taken into consideration.  Compensation for expenses is also a part of economic relief. Medical expenses from the accident, property damage, and funeral expenses may be recovered in a car accident death insurance payout or relief from a wrongful death lawsuit.  Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death There is no amount of money that can truly compensate for the loss of life, but non-economic damages are as close as you will get. This form of relief takes into consideration mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of care, and other means by which survivors suffer due to the loss of their loved one.  Options for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim There are several things you can do to receive compensation for death in a car accident. You may opt to first explore insurance payouts, which means filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance. This assumes that they have insurance. If they do not, you may be able to file a claim with the deceased’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The biggest concerns with an insurance payout for accident death is that the insurance company will try to offer less than a fair settlement and that there may not be enough coverage on the policy to compensate for the death of your loved one.  It is important not to accept a settlement for less than what you reasonably deserve. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney is a valuable resource for determining the best course of action to receive fair relief.  Proving Wrongful Death in a Car Accident To recover compensation in a wrongful death car accident case, you must establish that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused your loved one’s death. In Florida car accidents, the wrongful action is typically the defendant’s negligence. Negligence  Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances but fails to do so, and as a result, causes injury. When it comes to driving, every driver owes a duty to others on the road to use reasonable care and obey traffic laws. Examples of behavior that may support a wrongful death claim include Driving recklessly; Violating traffic rules; Distracted driving, such as texting while driving; and  Driving under the influence.  In 2019, Florida had 342 confirmed deaths linked to drug and alcohol consumption while driving.  Cause of Death To prove wrongful death, you must also show that the accident that caused the death was the result of the defendant’s negligence. In other words, you need to show that if not for the wrongful action of the defendant, the death would not have occurred. How an Attorney Can Help Achieve Compensation for Death in a Car Accident When your world has been turned upside down from the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to do is fret over your legal rights. Some of the ways an attorney can fight for your rights include: Negotiating with your insurance company; Negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company; Filing legal paperwork; Gathering and evaluating evidence to prove wrongful death; Interviewing witnesses; Preparing legal arguments; Evaluating settlement options; and Representing you at trial, if necessary.  Hiring a wrongful death attorney in Florida can help you have a better understanding of the value of your claim and pursue the compensation you can expect.  The experienced car accident lawyers at Abrahamson and Uiterwyk has helped Florida survivors find fair compensation in their wrongful death cases for over 30 years. We understand the hardships of losing a loved one and give you space to heal while fighting on your behalf. Contact us today for your free case consultation.

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Most Common Types of Head-On Collision Injuries

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of accidents. This is because in a head-on collision, there is nowhere for the car’s energy to go except into the other car. Compared to a sideswipe or a fender-bender, head-on collision injuries are usually much more serious. Passengers can suffer fatal or life-threatening injuries, even with airbags and seatbelts. Every day, tens of thousands of people drive on Florida’s roadways. With so many drivers, traffic accidents are inevitable. In 2019, there were more than 400,000 traffic crashes in the State of Florida. After one of these accidents, the cost of medical care can skyrocket. Hiring a personal injury attorney can help you obtain damages to pay for these costs and more. If you were injured in a head-on collision, Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is here to help. Common Head-on Collision Injuries Head-on collision injuries can be far more severe than other types of car accidents. When two cars are speeding toward one another, a collision between them will involve much more force than other types of crashes. As a result, drivers and passengers may suffer a greater number of injuries. In a head-on collision, common injuries occur to both the body and the head. Broken Bones, Bruises, and Lacerations In a head-on collision, common injuries that occur include broken bones and lacerations. During the crash, it isn’t uncommon for victims to suffer broken bones. For the driver and front passenger especially, severe injury to the legs is possible as a result of a head-on collision. Severe bruising may occur as well. All these injuries happen as a result of the extreme force exerted on your body during the crash. For example, a person properly wearing a seat belt may suffer from internal bruising and even organ damage when the seat belt tightens during the crash. Internal Organ Damage The blunt force during a head-on collision may be enough to cause bruising or other damage to your internal organs. Broken bones can cause organ damage as well. When drivers or passengers are thrown around in a head-on collision, they frequently suffer chest injuries, including broken ribs, which can puncture lungs or other nearby organs. Double Impact Injuries Finally, victims of a head-on collision may experience a “double impact.” This occurs when they suffer trauma first during the crash and again when they strike the ground after being thrown from the car. Fortunately, the risk of a double impact and the resulting secondary injuries is greatly reduced by wearing a seat belt. Concussions Concussions are one of the most common head-on collision injuries. In a head-on collision, the sudden impact may cause you to hit your head on the steering wheel, the dashboard, or even the windshield. Even if you think you only suffered whiplash, the violent back-and-forth head motion can be enough to cause a concussion. A concussion can be mild or severe depending on the force of the impact. Mild “Grade 1” concussions are usually short-term and do not result in loss of consciousness. Severe “Grade 3” concussions, on the other hand, may result in long-term brain damage. Although a person may experience headaches and other symptoms as the result of a concussion, they may go unnoticed. Confusion and memory loss especially may not be apparent to the person with the concussion. Other common symptoms include: Blurry vision, Dizziness, Trouble concentrating, Nausea, and Trouble sleeping. Symptoms may not appear until days after the concussion occurs. Thus, it is very important to seek medical care right away so that you can properly treat your head injuries. Other Head Injuries Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most common injuries in a car accident. According to the CDC, car accidents are responsible for 18.7% of all brain-injury related deaths. Head injuries are particularly serious because they may not always be immediately apparent. Head injuries may also have more permanent effects. A person who survives a head-on collision with only minor physical injuries may still have a serious head injury. For example, a coup-contrecoup brain injury involves bleeding on both sides of the brain caused by external trauma and the brain’s own movement within the skull. What to Do After a Head-On Collision The first thing you should do after a head-on collision is seek medical treatment. When possible, you or someone you know should start gathering information. Document the scene and collect records of your medical treatment. Then, hire a Tampa car accident attorney. The information you collect will help them build your case. Can I Get Compensation for My Head-on Collision Injuries? Yes, you may be able to obtain compensation after a car accident. Serious head-on collisions usually do not occur unless one or both drivers acted negligently in some way. As a result, you may be able to recover damages or a settlement from the insurance company. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to damages for: Current and future medical expenses, Pain and suffering, Emotional distress, Lost wages, Reduced future earning potential, and Disability. The exact amount of damages available varies from case to case. Our Tampa personal injury lawyers will assess your case and advise you how much it may be worth. Photos of Head-On Collisions Involving Our Injury Clients Should I Hire an Attorney? Even if you feel that your injuries are relatively minor, it is a good idea to hire an attorney. We work on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay a cent, no fees or costs, unless we win or settle your case. Hiring an attorney is the only way to make sure you obtain proper compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies are difficult to deal with and will not make a fair offer. Things are only more complicated if the other person doesn’t have insurance. In either case, our attorneys will help you build a strong case to maximize your recovery. Hire a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’ve recovered hundreds of millions...

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Most Common Fatal Injuries in Car Accidents

Category: Articles & FAQ |

While automobile manufacturers and policymakers worldwide take steps to reduce fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents, the numbers are still staggering. Consistently, car accidents remain a leading cause of death in the United States and elsewhere. For certain age groups, car accidents are the leading cause of death. Each year more than 38,000 people die in car accidents on US roads. Vehicle accident fatalities rose in 2020. This is surprising given that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of cars on the road at any given time. Experts attribute 2020’s rise in car crash fatalities to increased speeding rates that came alongside fewer cars being on the road.  Even if you take extra precautions as a driver or passenger, safety is unfortunately not a guarantee. Despite any steps that you may take, road traffic safety depends on other motorists’ actions, and you cannot control the actions of other road users. Knowing this, you may find yourself wondering, what are the most common fatal injuries in car accidents? While road safety is never a guarantee, if you know the most common fatal injuries in car accidents, you can take proactive steps to avoid them. The Most Common Fatal Injuries in Car Accidents Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other types of head or brain injuries are some of the most common fatal injuries in car accidents each year. Although protected by our skulls, our brains are also one of the organs most susceptible to injury. While not all TBI is fatal, there are more than 50,000 cases of TBI each year. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that automobile accidents cause roughly 20% of all TBI cases. Other internal injuries are the other leading cause of fatalities in car accidents. Internal injuries encompass a broad range of specific injuries, including TBI. Other internal injuries that can be fatal include things like: Organ injury, Aorta aneurysm, Internal bleeding, Ruptured spleens, and Collapsed lungs. Many of these internal injuries are treatable. However, sometimes internal injuries go unnoticed and untreated. When this occurs, the likelihood of death increases significantly. Leading Driver Death Causes There are many different causes of car accidents. In turn, there are many different causes of fatal accidents and some are more prevalent than others. A US Department of Transportation (DOT) study of over 51,000 driver fatalities in 2018 revealed the following top 10 accident causes and their respective rates (from highest to lowest): Driving too fast for conditions, over speed limits, or racing (16.7%); Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication (10.1%); Failure to stay in the proper lane (7.2%); Failure to yield right of way (7.0%); Driving carelessly (5.4%); Distracted driving (5.2%); Failure to obey traffic control devices (3.9%); Reckless, erratic, or negligent driving (3.8%); Overcorrecting or oversteering (3.1%); and Driving with low visibility (rain, fog, snow, lights) (3.0%). From this data, you can see that while some of the fatal accident causes exceed others, no one category comes close to encompassing a majority. Taken as a whole, we can identify some dangerous driving behaviors that one should always try to avoid to protect their life. Conversely, there are other safe driving practices that one can take to protect themselves and others on the road. The Best Way to Protect Yourself from Car Accident Fatalities Wearing a seat belt while in a car as a driver or passenger is by far the most important step you can take to protect yourself from dying in an automobile accident. Why is this? Because wearing your seat belt helps protect your head. Without a seat belt, the impact of a car accident can throw you against the interior of the car, where you can strike your head. In other situations, without a seat belt, you may be thrown from the vehicle where you are very likely to hit your head. Consider these statistics from the CDC on seatbelt use:  More than half of all car accident fatalities happen to people who are not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident; A seat belt can reduce the risk of death or serious injury in car accidents by 45-50%; People not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash compared to those wearing seatbelts; and Seatbelts saved nearly 13,000 lives in one year alone (2009). Wearing a seatbelt is far and away one of the easiest ways to prevent car accident fatalities. Consequently, it’s one of the most important safe driving and riding habits you can take every time you get in a car. If You Are in a Car Accident If you are injured in a car accident, contact us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today for a free consultation regarding your injuries. We help clients through just about any type of personal injury, but car accidents are one of our firm’s primary focus areas. We have helped more than 20,000 clients throughout all of Florida over the past 30 years get the compensation they deserve after suffering from personal injuries. If you suffer a personal injury after a car accident, don’t wait. Contact us today and let us help you! If a Loved One Dies in a Car Accident If your loved one dies in a car accident, the person who caused the accident owes you compensation. We know how hard it is to have a loved one’s life cut short and are here to help you go through the grieving process without worrying about legal details. Our goal is to guide you through the legalities so that you don’t have to worry about the ins and outs of filing a wrongful death claim. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk’s wrongful death attorneys are compassionate, experienced, and here to help you with your unique needs. We want to make the process as pain-free for you as possible, so contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll take care of the rest.

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What Happens When Someone Dies in a Car Accident?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Every year, around 35,000 people lose their lives in traffic accidents in the United States. Fatal traffic accidents happen for a variety of reasons, many of them beyond the control of the victim. For the survivors of a fatal crash, left with their own injuries and the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, it can be difficult to know where to turn. What happens when someone dies in a car accident? Can I recover compensation? These are common questions we receive from clients trying to figure out what to do next. If one of your loved ones died in a car accident, we can help you figure out the next steps. What Happens When Someone Dies in a Car Accident? Immediately after an accident, and after everyone has received medical attention, there are a couple of things that happen. First, depending on the circumstances of the accident, police may investigate the cause of the crash. In some cases, this may lead to criminal charges against the at-fault driver. Meanwhile, the victim’s family makes funeral arrangements and manages the deceased’s estate. Those tasks alone are difficult, especially when a family is grieving. As a result, we understand that it is difficult to consider the time and cost to file a lawsuit. However, obtaining a settlement is an important option that may be available to help pay for end-of-life medical care and other expenses after the fatal accident. The At-Fault Driver May Go to Jail When it comes to the at-fault driver, it isn’t always clear what happens when someone dies in a car accident. Whether anyone goes to jail after a fatal accident depends on the facts of each case. Usually, an at-fault driver will not go to jail if factors outside their control caused the accident. For example, a driver probably won’t face criminal charges if bad road conditions cause an accident and both drivers were following all road laws. Similarly, a driver likely won’t face criminal charges for vehicle issues like a brake failure if they properly maintained their car. If criminal behavior is present, like negligence or recklessness, then the state may press charges against the at-fault driver. Ultimately, it will depend on whether the district attorney believes the driver was culpable in causing the death. In most cases, the DA will consider whether: The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the wreck; The driver was speeding, driving aggressively, engaging in road rage, or otherwise engaging in reckless behavior; and The presence of flukes or “acts of God” outside either driver’s control. A DA will also consider whether the driver was distracted (e.g., by texting) or failing to obey road signs, like a stop sign. Failing to follow driving laws may be evidence of negligence or impairment that increases a driver’s chances of going to jail. The Deceased’s Estate Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action Traditionally, when a plaintiff died, their causes of action died with them. However, when someone dies in a car accident, Florida law permits the estate of a deceased person to bring a wrongful death claim. A “wrongful death” is one caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of another person, and a wrongful death action allows the estate of the deceased person to recover damages as compensation for the loss of life. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida? In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only person eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. A person’s will usually appoints a personal representative. If there is no will or the will does not appoint a representative, the court will appoint one. Elements of Wrongful Death Claim in Florida Section 769.19 of the Florida Statutes provides the right of action for wrongful death. To succeed on a wrongful death action, the personal representative must prove three elements: Conduct constituting a wrongful act or negligence; The wrongful conduct caused the person’s death; and The wrongful conduct would have created a legal claim by the deceased person if they had not died. In other words, the deceased person must have had a cause of action to bring a lawsuit, even though they were unable to act on it themselves. Damages Available When Someone Dies in a Car Accident If you get into a car accident and someone dies, you may be able to recover a settlement through a wrongful death action. In Florida, there are several types of damages available after a fatal car accident, including: Medical bills, Funeral expenses, “Loss of support” and “loss of companionship” damages, Lost wages, and Loss of estate value. In some cases, the family may elect instead to pursue a survival claim. Rather than compensate the family for their losses, a survival claim provides compensation for the deceased person’s losses. The victim of a fatal car accident may not die at the scene. In some cases, they are given medical treatment and maybe on life support for days or months. The cost of the ongoing treatment and hospital stay can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this occurs, a survival claim may be more appropriate than a wrongful death claim. Your attorney can help you determine which claim makes the most sense in your case. Should I Hire an Attorney When Someone Dies in a Car Accident? The short answer is yes. Obtaining a fair settlement from an insurance company is impossible without an attorney. Having an experienced attorney negotiating on your behalf shows the insurance company you are serious. An attorney can also help you understand what happens when someone dies in a car accident. If there is no insurance involved, a Florida car accident attorney can help you figure out who is liable and how to maximize your recovery. Handling the legal process is complicated and can be overwhelming in the aftermath of a fatal accident. An attorney is someone you can trust to handle your case while...

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What Is a Major Cause of Death in Motorcycle Accidents?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Driving and riding on a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience. Many individuals who ride motorcycles also have cars or trucks but also ride motorcycles as a hobby. Riding a motorcycle can give you an adrenaline rush similar to the one you may experience through other recreational activities like surfing, climbing, or skiing. Like these other activities, riding a motorcycle requires concentration. With that concentration and adrenaline, many motorcyclists, like skiers and surfers, report a feeling of calm, oneness, and freedom as they ride. This feeling of oneness is similar to the feelings one may achieve through meditation. In a lot of ways, riding a motorcycle is a form of meditation. Despite the fun and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle, doing so is more dangerous than riding in or driving a car. Motorcycle fatality rates greatly exceed those of driving cars, as do injury rates. Even when a motorcyclist is careful, accidents can happen, and injuries are often more severe than those resulting from similar car accidents. To ride a motorcycle more safely, it is important to ask the question, what is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents? By knowing the most common cause of motorcycle fatality, you can take steps to protect yourself as a motorcyclist. Motorcycle Fatalities at a Glance In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 4,985 motorcyclist deaths on U.S. roads. The 4,985 fatalities were 5% lower than 2017’s number. Put another way, this number put the fatality rate of motorcyclists at 24.83 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2018. To put this in perspective, compared to car occupants, the 24.83 fatality rate in 2018 was 27 times higher than the same fatality rate for cars. These numbers represent a significant increase in risk between riding a motorcycle and riding in a car. Why Are Motorcycles More Dangerous Than Cars or Trucks? The main reason why motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than conventional automobiles is that motorcycles offer little or no physical protection to their riders. Cars and trucks are literal metal cages. In an accident, the metal cage surrounding occupants absorbs much of the force of impact. The more of the impact the car absorbs, the less its occupants are subject to. Furthermore, each year, manufacturers redesign their cars and trucks to better absorb such shock and better protect their occupants. Conversely, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you are exposed directly to the force of impact. Absorbing the force of such an impact means injuries are more severe. The continuous redesign of cars to reduce occupant impact in a car accident just isn’t possible for motorcycle manufacturers.  What Is the Main Cause of Motorcycle Accidents? Another reason that motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than cars is that they are harder to see on the road. This is why lack of visibility is the main cause of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are obviously much smaller than conventional cars or trucks. Motorcycles also have smaller and fewer lights than cars or trucks. As a result, your visibility while riding a motorcycle is much less than that of a car or truck. If other drivers can’t see you, it is harder for them to avoid a potential collision. If someone is in a semi-truck or other vehicle high off the ground, your visibility as a motorcyclist decreases even more. The size of trucks and their impact on motorcycle visibility combine to create even more danger for motorcyclists than small or midsize cars. Common Causes of Fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents By far, the most common cause of fatalities in motorcycle accidents is head injuries. Your head is the most important part of your body. Also, it is one of the easiest parts of your body to injure. Because your head does not have the same protection on a motorcycle as it does in a car, riding a motorcycle puts your head at a higher risk of trauma and injury. The impact of a vehicle on your head or the impact of hitting the road when you fly off your motorcycle exposes your head and brain to great danger.  How to Ride a Motorcycle More Safely The most important step you can take to protect your life as a motorcyclist is to protect your head. The best way to protect your head is by wearing your helmet. The NHTSA estimates that helmets prevented 1,872 motorcyclist deaths in 2017 alone. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimates that for every 100 motorcyclist deaths, more than one-third (37%) would be preventable if all motorcyclists wore their helmets. To help choose a safe and effective helmet that fits your needs, check out some reviews on pages like Revzilla. Having the right helmet could save your life. Because lack of visibility is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, a second step you can take to protect yourself as a motorcycle rider is to make sure you are as visible as possible on the road. Most motorcycle crashes are caused by a lack of visibility. To avoid this, make sure your lights are in good working condition every time you ride your motorcycle. Consider keeping a couple of replacement lights with you when you ride in case one of your lights goes out.  Another step you can take to improve your visibility is to wear clothing that makes you more visible to other drivers. Consider purchasing a reflective vest for when you ride, especially if you plan to ride your motorcycle at night. A reflective vest like one of these is an inexpensive and easy way to improve your visibility on the road. Have You or a Loved One Been in a Motorcycle Accident? If one of your loved ones dies in a motorcycle accident and you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys here at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have a great deal of experience with wrongful death claims, and motorcycle accidents are one of our...

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Florida Punitive Damages Overview

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As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant or to act as a deterrent.  But not every plaintiff in a civil case (such as a personal injury claim) can ask for punitive damages. In fact, the requirements for eligibility are fairly strict. Florida Statute Section 768.72 allows punitive damages only when “there is a reasonable showing by evidence in the record or proffered by the claimant which would provide a reasonable basis for recovery of such damages.”  Understanding when a court can award punitive damages is important for anyone who may be involved in a lawsuit. Here is a short guide to how punitive damages in Florida work and who may be eligible for them. Damage Categories in Florida Civil Cases When someone suffers injuries or other losses due to the negligent or wrongful act of another, they are entitled to seek compensation. In Florida, there are three basic categories that a plaintiff may receive in a lawsuit or settlement. Economic Damages Economic damages are used to financially compensate a plaintiff for the direct losses the plaintiff suffered due to the accident/incident. These include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages compensate the plaintiff for less concrete losses like physical pain and suffering, emotional and psychological damage, loss of quality of life, and more. Punitive Damages Unlike the first two types of damages, which are compensatory, punitive damages are put into place to punish the individual or entity responsible for the incident. They are available only in the most egregious circumstances. Florida Punitive Damage Statute As mentioned above, Florida Statute Section 768.72 dictates when punitive damages are available in a lawsuit: “A defendant may be held liable for punitive damages only if the trier of fact, based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.” The language of the law indicates that this is a pretty high bar to clear. Only a trier of fact (the jury) is allowed to award punitive damages and only under exceptional circumstances. The onus is on the plaintiff not just to ask for these damages but also to prove them. The “clear and convincing” standard is higher than the normal personal injury-proof standard, which means that the plaintiff needs strong evidence to back their damages claim.  The fact of the matter is that punitive damages aren’t awarded very often. Generally, punitive damages claims are not meant for a plaintiff to recover extra damages for themselves. Instead, they are intended to punish a defendant for a particularly heinous act or to provide a warning to future defendants to avoid similar conduct. Intentional Misconduct v. Gross Negligence Under the Florida punitive damages statute, there are two situations where punitive damages are appropriate. These are when the defendant’s actions are grossly negligent or the defendant commits intentional misconduct. Both are expressly defined by Florida law: Gross negligence exists when the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct (Florida Statutes 768.72 (2)(b)); and Intentional misconduct exists when the defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage (Florida Statutes 768.72 (2)(a)). Only if the defendant or possible at-fault party committed acts that fit either of these will the court consider awarding punitive damages in addition to the other categories. The Process of Asking for Punitive Damages There is a specific way that a personal injury attorney must seek Florida punitive damages in a trial setting. First, there is a hearing before the judge. This determines if there is sufficient evidence to allow the plaintiff to present a claim for punitive damages to the jury.  If the judge approves, the plaintiff must then present enough clear and convincing evidence to the jury that punitive damages are appropriate in your case. An attorney may not just randomly ask for punitive damages at the end of a trial, nor can a jury tack these onto a damages award once it has reached a verdict. If the process is not followed, a jury cannot award any punitive damages. Limits on Punitive Damages Most states place limits on the amount that a plaintiff can receive in compensation for a personal injury claim. Most states do not place limits on economic damages, as long as the losses are supported with evidence. Some states limit non-economic damages, but Florida does not. The only category that Florida limits (or caps) is punitive damages. A plaintiff can only receive up to three times the amount they receive for compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages combined). Anything above is capped by law. Injured in Florida? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! If you are seriously injured due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You may be unable to work and struggling both physically and emotionally to recover from your losses. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we are here to help. Based in Tampa, our personal injury attorneys also handle cases in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and throughout the state of Florida. For over 30 years we have fought for the well-being of our clients and are proud of our case results. We have received an A+ rating from the BBB, an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and a “Best Law Firm” rating from US News & World Report. When it comes to serious injuries, the team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provides excellent advocacy as well as personal service. For a free consultation, call us at 813-223-5295 or contact us on our website to schedule an appointment.

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Florida 14-Day Accident Law

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If you are in an accident, you need to familiarize yourself with the Florida 14-day accident law. This law states that injured victims must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident for their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to apply. PIP coverage is your no-fault insurance that covers medical expenses and some of your other damages. If you have questions about PIP and the 14-day accident law, let the experienced Tampa auto accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk help. Failure to adhere to this 14-day rule could mean trouble for your personal injury protection claim. It could adversely affect your ability to get reimbursed for your damages, which means you would be paying for your expenses out of pocket. Deciphering the 14-Day Rule Seeking medical treatment after an accident is always a good idea. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you should get checked out. Some injuries are not visible, so you want to rule out any internal damage as well. Florida’s 14-day PIP rule says that you must at least have an initial medical examination within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, your insurance company has the right to deny any subsequent claim that you present under your personal injury policy. There is no specific type of doctor you need to see, which means almost any kind of medical care with a qualified health care provider could meet the requirement. For example, you might visit an: Emergency room physician, Medical doctor, Chiropractor, or Dentist. It’s crucial to note that health care providers that are not listed in the specific law may not qualify. Massage therapists and physical therapists are two examples that may not be eligible. If you see a massage therapist but not a medical doctor, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. You can see a massage therapist on your own if you need it; it just will not be reimbursed. The important thing is to get to the emergency room or make an appointment with a doctor first to ensure you satisfy the 14-day rule.   Some people don’t see the rule’s importance and are shocked when their claim is denied for not seeking treatment in time. There are several reasons why this 14-day rule exists, including to deter potential insurance fraud and claims for unconnected injuries. If someone waits two months to see a doctor, the insurance provider can easily deny the claim on the basis that the person was likely injured somewhere else. Other reasons the 14-day rule exists are to help facilitate quick medical diagnoses and avoid medical complications. Personal Injury Protection Payout Limits When Florida amended the PIP law, it also limited what benefits are available under the policy. You must have a minimum policy amount of $10,000, but that doesn’t mean you are entitled to receive the full amount after an accident. Under the current PIP law, the amount of your maximum benefit will depend on the severity of your injuries. You must seek treatment within 14 days, and you will be eligible to receive only up to $2,500 in benefits if you sustained non-emergency injuries. If your injuries fall under an “emergency medical condition,” then you could receive the maximum payout under your policy. However, PIP only pays 80% of your medical costs. Take a $10,000 PIP policy, for example. If your medical expenses are $10,000, then you would receive only $8,000 under your policy. If your expenses are $20,000, you would receive the whole $10,000. PIP also covers 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. If you are disabled and unable to work, then you would want to include a loss of earnings claim. Payment under this section also provides compensation for services you would normally do, such as cleaning your home, laundry, etc. Your personal injury policy also usually includes up to $5,000 in death benefits. If the policyholder dies, your PIP coverage will pay for the burial and funeral expenses, in addition to the other benefits. What Is Considered an “Emergency Medical Condition”? Under Florida Statute section 395.002(8), you’ll find the definition of an “emergency medical condition.” A qualifying emergency condition is one where you suffer acute symptoms that require immediate medical attention to prevent: Impairment of a major body function; Endangerment of your health and wellbeing; or A serious dysfunction of any body part or organ. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what is going on with you after the accident. They can note in your chart that you had a condition that qualifies for some benefits under your PIP. The notes don’t have to reflect it was an “emergency medical condition.” As long as there is proof that you sought treatment within 14 days, you should be entitled to some benefits from your policy. The determination of whether you have a qualifying condition doesn’t have to take place within 14 days either. You need to show only that you sought initial treatment from a qualifying provider to meet the legal requirement. What If Your PIP Claim Is Denied? Even though you pay a monthly premium for your personal injury protection coverage, it doesn’t mean that the insurer will always pay you the benefits you think you are owed. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and therefore they will look for ways to reduce their payouts whenever possible. Common reasons for denials include: Not seeking treatment within 14 days; Not suffering injuries in this accident as you claim; and Not suffering a qualifying emergency medical condition. Despite the current situation with the pandemic, you still need to seek treatment within 14 days. Many doctors and facilities are offering telephone and virtual appointments if you are concerned about going in person. The telehealth option would most likely satisfy the 14-day rule. You can check with your insurance company to verify first. Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today  Don’t try to fight a PIP denial on your own. Instead, let the experienced team of...

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Florida Negligence Elements & Negligence Law Overview

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Most people are familiar with the term personal injury law. However, this is just an umbrella term that covers a wide range of possible legal claims, from products liability to intentional torts like assault. But most personal injury cases are actually brought under the legal theory known as negligence, which has a long and storied history in American law. Here, we will discuss Florida’s negligence law, its elements, and how they may apply to your situation.  Florida Negligence Laws Although there are many famous court cases that are a big part of shaping negligence law, the governing law itself is actually found in the Florida Statutes. More specifically, Florida Statutes Chapter 768 deals exclusively with negligence and all connected issues like damages, special exceptions, etc. But sorting through all the legalese can be overwhelming and confusing. There’s a reason that attorneys have to go to law school, after all. Instead, it’s much easier to break down a claim into its basic elements. Florida Negligence Elements In the most general sense, negligence is when someone fails to exercise a degree of reasonable care expected of them to minimize risk of harm to another. This can be broken down into four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damage. Duty of Care First, a plaintiff needs to show that the person/entity who injured them owed them a duty of care. This means that they had a legal obligation to do (or not do) something based on the relationship between the parties. For example, every driver on the road has a duty to others on the road to drive their vehicle safely and according to the law. Someone who owns a business open to the public owes a duty to visitors to keep their store as free of hazards as possible. Breach of Duty The second element requires a breach of duty to create a legal cause of action. A driver breaches their duty by driving unsafely or breaking traffic laws. A store owner might breach their duty if they ignore a spill of some sort where customers travel. Causation The next element seems easy and logical, but there can be some complications. If one driver hits another and causes damage to their vehicle, causation is easy. But when there are multiple people or events that are involved in an accident, things can get confusing. If someone in a store accidentally knocks an item off a shelf which hits someone else, the cause of the accident is at first glance, not the store owner. But if the store owner placed the item at a height and position that made it a danger for customers to navigate, then the injured customer may claim that the owner’s negligent act legally caused the harm.  Damages/Injury Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered injuries or losses that can be compensated. Usually, this means financial compensation. While it seems clear that you can’t sue someone when you haven’t suffered damages of some kind, this is still an important step to completing a claim. Damages must be proven by evidence such as medical bills, proof of lost wages, appraisals for property damage, and more. In addition, less concrete losses like pain and suffering and loss of life enjoyment are also possible losses that a plaintiff may ask for. Florida negligence laws don’t just define what a claim is, they also define the type and amount of damages a plaintiff can seek. Florida and Comparative Fault One additional in a negligence claim is how fault distribution can affect potential damage amounts. Although some accidents can be attributed to one party 100%, this is not the case in many incidents. As a result, there are different approaches for reducing damages when each party has some fault in an accident. Different states follow different rules, and Florida follows the pure comparative negligence approach. Pure comparative negligence reduces a plaintiff’s damages by their attributed fault percentage. This means that under Florida law, the amount of your recovery will be reduced by the amount of your fault. For example, say you incur $100,000 in medical costs and other damages. However, the jury also decides that the accident was 40% your fault. This means that the amount you are awarded will be reduced by 40% and you will receive only $60,000. Some states limit recovery altogether if the plaintiff is more than 49% or 50% at fault, but not Florida. In the pure comparative fault system, you can still seek recovery even if your fault is deemed to be a higher percentage, such as 90%. Injured By Someone’s Negligence? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! If you suffer injuries or other damages in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. And while filing any legal claim seems scary, the personal injury team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is here to make the process as stress-free as possible. We know the law and proudly boast 30 years of experience successfully representing clients throughout Florida. We offer potential clients a free case evaluation to assess your claim and advise you on the best legal path for your recovery. To schedule an appointment with us, call us at 813-223-5295 or contact us on our website.

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Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Quick Facts

Category: Articles & FAQ |

The Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine, also sometimes called vicarious liability, can impact your car accident claim. Some people mistakenly assume that letting someone else borrow their vehicle will absolve them of liability if the other person gets into an accident. However, the Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine, says that the vehicle owner can also be liable. If you are an accident victim, this means you may have another potential source of recovery. To learn more about how this doctrine can impact your claim, contact the Tampa car accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today. What Is the Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine? The doctrine holds the owner of a dangerous instrumentality responsible for any damage or injuries that the vehicle caused. In this situation, Florida courts have determined that vehicles qualify as dangerous instrumentalities. In easier-to-understand terminology, Florida law says that an owner of a motor vehicle can be held liable for injuries and damages to a third party when the owner voluntarily loans their vehicle to another person. The reasoning behind this theory is that some items, such as a motor vehicle, have the propensity to be so dangerous that public policy should not allow the legal owner to avoid any legal responsibility if an innocent person is injured by the vehicle that they permitted someone else to drive. One of the most common examples of the Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine is when parents purchase a vehicle for their child but retain legal ownership of it.  The doctrine extends to all passenger vehicles, such as a car, pickup truck, SUV, van, etc. The person driving and the vehicle owner could both be responsible for economic and non-economic damages caused by the driver’s wrongful acts or negligence. However, the doctrine does not extend to long-term lessees—those leasing the vehicle for their personal use. In this case, the liability will be limited to the lessee. That means the dealer or similar entity will not be responsible for any damages the leased vehicle causes, despite possibly holding a security interest in the vehicle. There is one important difference between Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine and vicarious liability in other states: other states typically require proof that the owner acted negligently in giving permission. Florida’s doctrine doesn’t have that requirement. Where the application of this doctrine becomes more confusing is when the accident occurs outside of Florida. Florida vehicle owners could still be held liable under the doctrine, even if the accident occurs out of state. Whether this doctrine can be applied to an out-of-state accident will depend on the circumstances. If your claim involves an out-of-state accident, you should contact an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. Exceptions to Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine There are some instances where the doctrine will not apply. Car Theft The first exemption is when someone steals a car. The doctrine applies only to people who permit someone else to drive their vehicle. If the owner can show the person didn’t have permission, such as a vehicle thief, then they likely wouldn’t be held accountable. Shop Rule In some cases, there may be people who have permission to drive the vehicle, but the doctrine won’t apply. Examples include body shop employees, auto mechanics, or valet parking attendants. This example falls under the “shop rule.” Under the shop rule, vehicle owners who entrust their vehicle to an auto body shop or service station will not be responsible for any negligence on behalf of the shop employees. This same exception also applies to any damage that a valet driver causes. Rentals and Leases Rental cars and leased vehicles also fall under the exception clause. The leasing company or rental agency keeps the vehicle title in their name, but they aren’t responsible for what the renter or lessee does while driving that vehicle. This example falls under the Grave’s Amendment. The Graves Amendment was part of a 2005 federal highway bill that excludes rental car companies from vicarious liability for injuries caused by their customers unless someone can prove that the rental car company’s actions or negligence contributed somehow. Recent Sale The final exception deals with selling a vehicle. If the vehicle owner sold the car and the new buyer damaged it before changing title, the previous owner may be able to escape liability. The accident must occur before the prior owner had a reasonable amount of time to change the title. Do You Need to Hire a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer? Following an auto accident in Florida, you are likely wondering whether you need to hire an attorney or can handle the claim on your own. In most cases, hiring a Tampa car accident lawyer is beneficial. If you were involved in an accident where the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in Florida applies, it’s essential to speak with an experienced injury lawyer near you before pursuing an injury claim independently. These can be complicated claims, and you want to talk to someone who has experience handling similar cases. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients get the compensation they deserve. We have represented over 20,000 injured clients and recovered over $300 million to date. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your case and advise you on the best legal course of action. 

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Florida Auto Negligence Overview

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Florida is home to millions, and so many drivers on the road often leads to unfortunate accidents. These car accidents are often the result of a negligent party or a party whose irresponsibility on the road endangers other drivers. It’s essential to know how Florida handles automobile negligence and what that may mean for you.  Defining Auto Negligence An individual is negligent when they are not acting reasonably and their actions cause an accident or injury. Similarly, auto negligence occurs when a driver is not driving in a way a reasonable driver should, resulting in an auto accident. Proving Auto Negligence Proving negligence in Florida requires you to establish that a driver was not driving reasonably and that their lack of care ultimately resulted in an accident and injury. To prove negligence, you must first satisfy the following elements: The driver owed you a duty of care; The driver breached this duty of care by failing to drive responsibly; The breach was the direct cause of the accident; and The accident resulted in damages. Drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to act reasonably and drive responsibly. If the other driver did not respect other drivers on the road, they have breached this duty. If this breach of care resulted in your accident and the accident then resulted in damages, including injuries and property damage, there is a chance that you will successfully prove the other driver’s negligence. It can be challenging to establish auto negligence. Fortunately, a car accident attorney can gather details and information from your case to help establish the other driver’s negligence. Proving negligence is one of the most crucial parts of a car accident case. Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accidents No two accidents are the same, and while many accidents are caused by one negligent driver, some accidents are caused by multiple parties. Florida follows the “pure comparative fault” rule for cases involving more than one negligent driver. Under the pure comparative fault rule, a judge will determine each driver’s exact percentage of fault. The plaintiff’s award will then be reduced by the percentage of fault they have in their accident.  For example, if the defendant crashes into the plaintiff but the plaintiff was texting and driving, the pure comparative fault rule will come in. If the defendant was 70% at fault and the plaintiff was 30% at fault, and the plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000, their award will be reduced by 30%, leaving them with $70,000. Some states follow a different comparative fault rule, where a plaintiff more than 50% at fault loses the right to recover any damages. However, this is not the case in Florida. Even if it is determined the plaintiff is 90% at fault, they will still be entitled to 10% of the damages award. Florida’s No-Fault Law Florida is one of the very few states that follow a “no-fault” car insurance system. This system provides that, after a car accident, you will have to seek monetary aid from your own insurance coverage. Your personal injury protection, or “PIP,” insurance will cover your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If your injuries and losses exceed the $10,000 maximum, you may be able to go outside Florida’s no-fault system and file a claim or personal injury lawsuit. Note that the no-fault system does not apply to property damage resulting from a car accident. You may make a claim against the at-fault driver for property damage and loss. Serious Injury Under Florida No-Fault To file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover for non-economic damages under Florida’s no-fault system, injuries must qualify as “serious injury.” According to Florida Statute, serious injury includes: Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and Death.  If your injuries do not qualify, you will not be able to collect for non-economic damages. How a Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help While you are not legally required to hire a car accident attorney, having representation will often result in the best outcome. Not every car accident case is straightforward, with some cases presenting particular challenges. Your Florida accident lawyer will handle every aspect of your case, including: Investigating your accident, Gathering information and evidence, Calculating appropriate damages, Communicating with insurance companies, and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Often, car accident cases settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Nonetheless, some cases do end up in front of a jury. Having the help of an experienced car accident attorney will give you peace of mind knowing your case is being handled properly. A lawyer will advocate for you, protect your rights, and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over three decades of experience helping injured clients when they need us most. Our firm has had the pleasure of serving over 20,000 clients to date, recovering hundreds of millions along the way. Client satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, and we’re happy to have earned the love and respect of so many of our clients. We provide aggressive representation to help get you back on your feet after an accident. Our firm offers free case reviews. Contact us today, and let’s get started.

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Florida Survival Statutes Quick Facts

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Losing a loved one is always difficult. You will undoubtedly experience heightened emotions, stress, and financial instability. While money cannot take the lingering pain away, it can help ease some pressure and financial strain.  After a loved one’s death, you may be able to file a survival action. It is essential to know what the Florida survival statute means, what differentiates a survival action from a wrongful death claim, and your options. Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action After losing a loved one, you may hear “wrongful death” and “survival action” used interchangeably. However, they are not the same kind of lawsuit. Wrongful Death A wrongful death claim arises when a loved one dies due to someone’s negligence or a wrongful act. The decedent’s survivors may then bring a wrongful death claim. This type of claim serves to compensate the decedent’s family for the death. Survival Action On the other hand, a survival action allows a decedent’s survivor to file a lawsuit as if the decedent themselves were filing the lawsuit. The Florida Survival Statute provides that “no cause of action dies with the person.” This means if a decedent would have had grounds to file a lawsuit, they still will even after death, with their survivors filing the lawsuit for them. While wrongful death compensates the family for the losses they incurred after their loved one’s death, survival claims focus on the decedent’s losses. A survival claim can be based on the actions that caused the person’s death or on other injuries unrelated to their death. Who Can File a Survival Claim? Survival claims may be filed by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Unlike wrongful death claims, where damages go to specific family members, survival claim awards go to the decedent’s estate. The award is then distributed according to the decedent’s will. If a decedent dies intestate, or without a will, the decedent’s heirs will receive the award. A decedent’s heirs typically include spouses, children, grandchildren, and other relatives. A court can decide how to distribute the award correctly. Damages Available In Survival Claims Damages available in survival claims are those that would have been available to the decedent had they lived and been able to file their own lawsuit. These damages include: Medical expenses, Lost wages, Lost earning capacity, Pain and suffering, and Property damage. Survival claim damages may also include any other financial losses the decedent incurred due to the defendant’s negligence or the wrongful act leading to their death. Damages can be challenging to calculate, and you may not be aware of everything you’re entitled to. Fortunately, an attorney can calculate the appropriate damages and the compensation you deserve. What Kind of Claim Should You File—Wrongful Death or a Survival Action? You may be confused as to which claim is right for you. While you may be able to file both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival claim, Florida does not allow you to receive damages for both types of claims arising out of the same incident. A proficient attorney can review the details of your case and help you decide which claim to pursue. In certain situations, you may be able to pursue both a wrongful death and survival claim. For example, your spouse is involved in an accident that leaves him paralyzed. Six months later, he suffers a heart attack after a medical procedure entirely unrelated to the accident. In this case, you may then file a survival claim for the first accident and a wrongful death claim for the medical malpractice since these two unfortunate incidents were unrelated to one another. An Attorney Can Help After the loss of a loved one, you may be confused and frustrated. While a lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back, it can help alleviate some of the financial burdens left after a death. An attorney can help you navigate the challenges of a lawsuit, working toward getting you just compensation. Your attorney will: Investigate your loved one’s death; Determine which type of claim is right for you; Gather relevant evidence and information; Calculate damages; and Fight for your rights and compensation. Losing a loved one is hard enough as it is. Let an attorney take care of your claim, giving you peace of mind and time to heal. Contact a Florida Attorney Today Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over 30 years of experience helping clients through the most challenging times. We are committed to providing aggressive representation and prompt service, leaving clients satisfied and on the road to recovery. Our team offers the care and compassion to get you through one of the toughest times while never losing sight of the end goal: justice and financial recovery. We offer free case evaluations. Contact our office and let’s see how we can help you.

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Understanding Loss of Consortium in Florida

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Serious accidents can cause more than just physical damage. The emotional harm can be just as impactful and long-lasting and may support a claim for loss of consortium.  What Is Loss of Consortium in Florida? When a victim is injured or dies as a result of the negligent actions of another person, they or their loved ones are generally able to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the negligent party. Depending on the severity of the injury, the outcome can affect more than just the victim. Understanding loss of consortium in Florida is important to determine your options. Loss of companionship is another common term for loss of consortium.  Loss of consortium in Florida is generally defined as loss of companionship and fellowship. This includes the right of each to the company, cooperation, and aid of the other in every conjugal way.  How Do I Prove Loss of Consortium? Not every personal injury or wrongful death case will include a claim for loss of consortium. In most cases, a loss of consortium claim involves death or serious injuries that prevent the victim from functioning like a normal, healthy person. This could include brain damage, paralysis, incontinence, or a variety of other issues that require a significant level of care and assistance for the victim to maintain their quality of life. The injury must be severe and long-lasting. Here are some of the facts that must be true for you to receive compensation for loss of consortium: If filing a claim as a spouse, the victim and plaintiff must have been married at the time of the accident; The defendant must have intentionally or negligently caused the injury of the victim; The defendant’s conduct must have caused the serious harm; The personal injury or wrongful death claim against the defendant must be valid; and The plaintiff must prove the actual loss of consortium due to the victim’s injury.  A loss of consortium claim is directly tied to the personal injury claim. If there is not a valid claim for personal injury or wrongful death, meaning no negligence on the part of the defendant, there cannot be a claim for loss of consortium.  You must file the personal injury claim first in civil court. The loss of consortium is a separate claim, but cannot be filed first. It is helpful to have an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to guide you through this process.  Can I Bring a Claim for Loss of Consortium in Florida? Most loss of consortium claims are filed by spouses. A claim could also be brought by the children, parents, or other dependents of the victim. The age of the victim or their children may be a factor. There are three types of loss of consortium claims.  Spouse’s Loss of Consortium A spouse has a claim only if they were married to the victim. A lot of other factors regarding the health of the relationship can also be considered in a spouse’s claim. The victim and spouse must have been married before the accident occurred.  Loss of Parental Consortium According to Florida Statute 768.0415, “A person who, through negligence, causes significant permanent injury to the natural or adoptive parent of an unmarried dependent resulting in a permanent total disability shall be liable to the dependent for damages, including damages for permanent loss of services, comfort, companionship, and society.” Severe injury to the parent of a minor child could pose a special set of difficulties. A child forced to grow up without the care of a parent or to act as a caregiver has experienced loss. Losing a parent is a life-altering occurrence.  Parental Loss of Filial Consortium A claim filed by a parent is referred to as “loss of filial consortium” and applies if the victim was a minor. The loss or severe injury of a child is a tragedy no parent wants to experience.  Potential Compensation for Loss of Consortium in Florida It is hard to put a dollar amount on the suffering that comes from severe injury or loss of a loved one. No monetary compensation will ever be enough to replace what was taken away from you. Compensation achieved through a valid claim for loss of consortium does not include damages associated with the actual injury. This compensation is for non-economic harm and may include various types of loss including: Help raising minor children, Help with household chores, Financial assistance, General companionship,  Sexual relationship between spouses, and Emotional support.  These are hardships that may occur because of the injury. Though money cannot make up for the loss of a partner or family member, the monetary recovery may allow a surviving single parent to hire help with childcare or household chores. It could also help with therapy or just coping with new burdens that may arise.  What Do I Need to Know About Filing a Claim? If you choose to file a claim for loss of consortium in Florida, it is important to understand that your relationship with the victim will be placed under a microscope. Intimate aspects of your relationship will be questioned and scrutinized. This could be especially difficult if your marriage included any infidelity, separation, abuse, or criminal charges. Length of the relationship and life expectancies may also be factors.  Hard times do not mean that a valid claim for loss of consortium does not exist, but building a solid case will be easier with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.  Should I Hire an Attorney for My Loss of Consortium Case? Navigating the court system alone can be a daunting task. Combine that with a lack of emotional support from your injured spouse or loved one, and it becomes even more difficult.  A personal injury attorney who has experience with loss of consortium cases will be able to help you in a number of important areas including: Determining the strength of your case; Filing important paperwork; Understanding your options for relief; Preparing you for invasive questioning: Providing...

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Understanding Pain and Suffering in Florida

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Understanding Pain and Suffering in Florida  If you’ve ever been seriously injured in an accident, you know that the damage is not always just physical. Emotional pain and suffering are part of the process. You may be entitled to legal compensation for pain and suffering in Florida from injuries caused by a liable party.   What Is Pain and Suffering? The legal term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional injuries following an accident. These damages can be difficult to quantify. It is reasonable to assume that the party that caused the accident would be responsible for related damages such as medical bills and other costs that you would not have otherwise incurred. Pain and suffering damages are much more subjective, but arguably just as important.  Economic Damages vs Non-Economic Damages There are two main types of compensation in Florida personal injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.  Economic Damages Compensation to cover actual costs of the property damage or injuries caused are called “economic damages.” This type of compensation is crucial to making sure that you are not financially burdened by the negligent actions of someone else. The downside of purely economic damages is that they do not make up for the emotional burden or life changes that may occur because of the injury. Their purpose is just to pay the bills and cover expenses that would not have existed without the accident.  Non-Economic Damages Once actual expenses are covered, the injured party must still deal with the mental and emotional consequences of the accident. Pain and suffering is a claim to cover these “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages may include: Mental anguish, Depression, Loss of quality of life, Emotional and psychological distress, Humiliation, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Post-traumatic stress. These types of damages are difficult to put a price on, but they can be debilitating and life-changing. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering.  Are There Limits on How Much Money I Can Get for Pain and Suffering? Florida does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering damages in general personal injury claims. Relief for pain and suffering does depend on the type of personal injury case, the extent of the damages, and circumstances surrounding the accident.  Pain and Suffering Damages in No-Fault Auto Accident Cases In 2019, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 401,867 auto accidents. However, some car accident victims may be limited in their ability to pursue pain and suffering damages. Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. This means that a driver must turn first to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage regardless of who was at fault for the accident. PIP coverage extends to economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, but it does not cover pain and suffering. Nevertheless, a Florida car accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit and request compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver if their damages reach a certain threshold. To meet the threshold to bring a claim for pain and suffering in Florida, the injured party must have experienced one of the following: Significant, permanent loss of function; Permanent injury; Disfigurement; or Permanent scars. It is important to contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to file a claim for pain and suffering after a car accident.  Florida Comparative Negligence Rule  The State of Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This rule reduces the victim’s recovery by the percentage for which they were found at fault for the injuries or damages. If you were partially responsible for the accident that caused the injury, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.  How are Florida Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated There are several factors the court will consider when evaluating pain and suffering: Severity of the injury, Type of medical treatment received, Age of the victim, Length of recovery, Injury prognosis, and Long term impact of the injury.  These factors play an important role in getting you what you deserve. Ultimately, however, it is up to a jury to determine what is reasonable in light of all the evidence in the case. Evidence to Support a Claim for Pain and Suffering Details are important when gathering evidence to support your claim for pain and suffering. The first step is to consider how the injury has and will interfere with your normal life. Keep a record of the help you have required to maintain a semblance of normalcy. This can be a written record, testimony, or invoices from people who have assisted you in normal tasks, including things like: Cooking meals or purchasing groceries, General housework, Caring for dependent children, Transportation, Doing yard work, and Caring for pets. Tasks like these may seem simple. If you cannot accomplish them due to your injury, you may be compensated. Expert opinions, medical records, and tangible documents will also be important in your claim for pain and suffering. Some examples of these may include: A list of restrictions provided by your doctor;   A list of medications prescribed to you, like painkillers, sleeping pills, or anxiety pills; Testimony from physical therapists regarding progress and prognosis; and Evidence from a psychiatrist detailing the level of mental anguish, stress, and anxiety caused by the accident. Your attorney can help you gather essential evidence to maximize your pain and suffering award.  Should You Hire an Attorney for a Claim of Pain and Suffering in Florida? Pain and suffering is not a straightforward claim for personal injury compensation. Seeking counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney could be crucial for your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we can help you evaluate your personal injury claim and determine the best way to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today. Our compassionate team will help you through the process. You have suffered enough, and we are here to help. 

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What to Do After an Accident Resulting in an Injury at Universal Studios

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Although visited by millions per year, amusement parks like Universal Studios may put people at risk for accidents and resulting injuries. Accidents at Universal Studios may occur more commonly than you expect. Whether injuries suffered are minor or severe, it’s essential to be aware of the common reasons that accidents and injuries may occur. Additionally, knowing what to do in the event a Universal Studios ride accident occurs is essential to establishing your compensation claim.  Steps to Take After an Accident at Universal   There are essential steps to take after you suffer a Florida Universal Studios accident. The most important goal after suffering an injury is compiling and retaining evidence.  Dial 911  If injured, call 911 to bring the proper authorities to the scene of your accident at Universal. It’s crucial to ensure you are not severely injured or in need of medical assistance.  Seek Medical Assistance  If your Universal Studios Orlando Florida accident causes substantial injuries, seek medical assistance. It may be wise to seek medical help even if you feel fine. In many personal injury cases, you may discover injuries or experience pain at any time after the accident occurs. Additionally, obtaining an assessment of your physical injuries after an Orlando Universal accident provides documentation of any damages for which you may seek compensation.  Create an Account of the Accident  Do not allow too much time to pass before creating a chronological timeline and a detailed list of the circumstances of your Universal Studios theme park accident. Since memory fades over time, making a record of detailed information can keep details fresh in your mind and provide evidence later on. Gather Evidence and Witness Accounts  If possible, take photographs of the scene of your accident at Universal as well as pictures of your injuries. This type of evidence serves as visual proof of any compromised safety issues existing at the park. Additionally, ask parties that witnessed the accident at Universal Studios Florida for their contact information. When preparing your lawsuit against Universal Studios for your injuries, key witnesses can strengthen your case regarding any safety issues existing at the park.  Maintain Records  Hold on to all copies of medical bills and statements. Additionally, keep records of any missed wages resulting from accidents at Universal Studios. Medical reports, including those providing details of long-term medical care, can also be vital.  Types of Injuries for Which You Can Seek Compensation The most common types of injuries suffered at theme parks like Universal Studios may include the following: Broken bones and fractures;  Severe brain and head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries;  Whiplash and other neck injuries; Spinal cord injuries; Cuts, bruises, and scrapes;  Drowning; and Death.  Injuries suffered due to a Florida Universal Studio accident should be reported immediately to park personnel, and you should immediately seek medical attention.  Types of Claims You May Have There are several grounds on which you might consider bringing a claim for a Universal Studios accident.  Negligence  Ordinary negligence leading to injuries as a result of an accident in Universal Studios Florida may be based on: Operator behavior,  The nature of the ride,  Missing safety equipment required for a safe ride,  Mechanical failure,  Negligent supervision,  Design defects, or  Poor maintenance.  Although Universal Studios undertakes routine safety inspections and training for all employees, accidents at Universal Orlando may still occur. Injuries at amusement parks like Universal Studios can be especially devastating due to the high-speed nature of many rides at the park.  Products Liability  In addition to negligence, injuries suffered due to a Universal accident may fall under product liability.  Product liability lawsuits do not rest on the same theory of duty of care as negligence. Instead, product liability lawsuits rest on the concept of strict liability. Strict liability does not depend on negligence or intent to harm to establish a claim. Product liability claims depend on injuries caused by the following: Dangerous design unreasonable in nature, Defects in manufacturing, or Failure to adequately warn of the hazardous nature of a product.  Product liability lawsuits are particularly complicated. They may include not only Universal Studios, but other parties involved with the park.  Premises Liability  Premises liability is a legal theory related to a park owner’s responsibility to maintain and keep the property safe. Park owners and operators must proactively identify dangers and remedy them to avoid injury to park guests. If you tripped on a damaged stair, slipped on a wet floor, or cut yourself on a jagged edge at Universal Orlando, you might have a premises liability claim.  How Do I Know If I Have a Case? If you suffered an Orlando Studio accident resulting in injuries, you may claim compensation against Universal Studios. An experienced personal injury attorney assesses your claim’s facts to determine if your injuries resulted from the negligence or liability of Universal Studios.  Benefits of Hiring An Attorney You can expect significant pushback after filing a lawsuit for injuries resulting from an accident at Universal Studios Florida. Theme parks such as Universal Studios employ a team of defense attorneys to avoid liability for your injuries. Additionally, defense attorneys may paint a picture of comparative negligence on your part to lessen your compensatory award.  An experienced personal injury attorney understands the complexities of different causes of action and carefully compiles evidence to strengthen your claim. Additionally, attorneys understand the statute of limitations and other deadlines, and can ensure your case is not dismissed on a technicality.  Contact Us  For those injured due to accidents at Universal Studios, the personal injury attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. Our team of personal injury attorneys has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Our experience includes representation of over 20,000 injury victims throughout Florida. Our prompt and aggressive personal injury attorneys provide diligent and caring representation to our injury victims. Contact us today to obtain a free case review of the facts surrounding your Universal Studios accident.  FAQ  Will Universal Studios Pay for My Injuries? If Universal...

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What to Do If Your Stomach Hurts After a Car Accident

Category: Articles & FAQ |

After a car accident, some injuries take a few days to become noticeable. One type of pain that commonly appears sometime after an accident is stomach pain. Stomach or lower abdominal pain after a car accident can be caused by the seat belt pressing against your abdomen. Here, we will talk about what you should do if you or someone you know is experiencing stomach pain after a car accident. Stomach Pains After a Car Accident: Your First Steps The first thing you should do if you have abdominal pain after a car accident is seek medical attention. Stomach and lower abdominal pain can be a sign of internal injuries or internal bleeding. Sometimes, the impact of a car accident can cause rupture or other damage to your internal organs. Even if you just think you are a little sore, you should see a doctor to make sure the pain isn’t the result of a more serious post-accident injury.  It is especially important that children see a doctor if they are experiencing stomach pains after a car accident. Children do not have as much abdominal fat to cushion an impact as adults. Their abdominal muscles may also not be fully developed, making them more susceptible to abdominal injuries. Signs and Symptoms of Abdominal Pain While abdominal pain after a car accident is one sign of abdominal trauma or internal injury, there are other symptoms to watch for as well. Possible signs of an internal injury include: Swollen stomach after car accident; Cuts or bruises where the seat belt rests on your abdomen; Upset stomach after car accident; Nausea and vomiting; Constipation or diarrhea; and Fever. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Abdominal pain after a car accident may not start until hours or days after the accident. You should see a doctor about delayed stomach pain just to be safe. Seat Belt Syndrome The medical community has dubbed the various car accident injuries caused by seat belts “seat belt syndrome.” When a car stops or decelerates suddenly, your body will push against the seat belt with a lot of force. While seat belts help to keep drivers and passengers in place, preventing head injuries, the force of your body pressing against the seat belt can cause other injuries. These include bruises or marks from the seat belt, chest and neck injuries, and fractures of the lower spine. The force of the impact from your seat belt during a car accident can be strong enough to rupture or cut organs or major arteries. This can cause conditions such as internal bleeding which can be deadly if left untreated. Even if you do not think you were in a high impact collision, you should seek medical attention for stomach pain after a car accident. How We Will Help with Your Abdominal Pain After a Car Accident Case If you experienced abdominal pain after a car accident and were diagnosed with internal injuries, our law office can help you get compensation. If a negligent driver caused your accident, you may be able to recover your medical costs and lost wages through a lawsuit. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has more than 30 years of experience helping accident victims and other injured people get the compensation they deserve.  Our law office is ready to talk about your accident and answer any questions you may have. We will treat your case like a priority from beginning to end so you can cope with the aftermath of your accident injuries. Contact us today to talk about receiving prompt and aggressive representation in your personal injury case.

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Reasons Why Delayed Pain After a Car Accident Can Be Serious

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Car accidents can cause injuries; that’s no secret. They can range from minor bumps and bruises to broken limbs and traumatic brain injuries and practically everything in between. Sometimes, in the aftermath of an accident, you may feel just fine. The human body’s natural response to stress is to flood your body with adrenaline, masking underlying pain or injuries. But days or even weeks down the line, you may begin to feel twinges and aches that could be signs of serious or injury. If you experienced delayed pain after a car accident, you need to see your doctor right away. Common Delayed Pain Symptoms While stiffness and soreness are common after-effects of a car crash, there are some physical signs that you should not ignore. For example, delayed back pain after a car accident is more normal than you think. There are a few symptoms to watch out for, and they can be indicative of a serious injury. Bodily Injury Pains You should not ignore any aches and pains following your accident. Delayed stiffness and soreness in your back or shoulders can mean you suffered a severe whiplash injury and may have damage in your neck or back.  Back pain is another common delayed symptom of injury. Back pain can mean you suffered a musculoskeletal or nerve injury in your upper, mid, or lower back. You should also take any abdominal pain seriously. This can signal internal injuries like lacerations or bleeding that requires surgical intervention. Symptoms of a Head Injury Brain injuries are very serious. Concussion symptoms may take a little while to manifest, and brain clots or brain bleeds can be deadly. Be on the lookout for: Headaches, Memory issues and trouble focusing, Vision and balance problems, Mood swings, and Fainting and bouts of unconsciousness. Remember to always listen to your body. If something doesn’t seem right, go with your instincts. It may save your life. How Long After an Accident Can Pain or Injuries Show Up? When pain after a car accident is delayed, it is usually due to the type of injury a person suffers. Doctors don’t know exactly why some people experience symptoms right away, and others don’t. One explanation is the high amount of adrenaline in a person’s system in stressful situations, but that doesn’t explain all delayed symptoms. Regardless, it is not an uncommon phenomenon, especially with the following injuries: Internal bleeding may not manifest symptoms for 24 to 72 hours; Concussion symptoms may take days to show up; and Brain and neck injuries may be undetected for up to a week. Don’t ignore any symptoms, even if they show up days or even weeks after your accident. If My Symptoms Are Delayed, Can I Still Seek Compensation? Delayed pain and injury symptoms after an accident are common. If your injury is the result of the crash, you are absolutely entitled to seek compensation for it. But it can be harder to prove to the insurance company that those injuries are related to the same accident. Be sure to keep records of any medical treatments you receive, as well as any future therapy you may need. Then contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you build your claim the right way. Never Accept a Settlement Offer Without Legal Advice In the aftermath of an accident, the other driver’s insurance company will want to do their best to settle your claim quickly and for as little money as possible. Remember that they probably will not offer you the entire amount you’re entitled to—at least at first. Keep calm and talk to an attorney as soon as you can. An experienced personal injury attorney can tell you if the insurance company’s proposed settlement is a lowball offer and can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. If necessary, they can even take your claim to court to pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve.  Suffering Delayed Pain After a Car Wreck? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we know that the aftermath of an accident is a chaotic and stressful time. If you are experiencing delayed symptoms and pain from the wreck, this stress is only multiplied. Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you fight for fair compensation for your injuries and will be with you every step of the way. From our offices in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey, we take pride in providing Floridians with personal and passionate legal advocacy. Get in touch with us anytime via phone at 800-538-4878, text us at 727-312-1275, or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation today.

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Leg Pain After a Car Accident? Here’s What to Do Next.

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Are you or a loved one experiencing leg pain after a car accident? If so, it may not be in your best interest to wait and see if you get better on your own. Car accident victims face a high risk of suffering injuries to the lower extremities. The hips, legs, and feet are highly susceptible to injury in most types of car accidents, along with the ankle and knee joints. Left undiagnosed and untreated, you could develop complications and potentially even permanent injuries or disability. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you might have a valid legal claim. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and more. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our Florida car accident lawyers help personal injury victims pursue the justice and financial compensation they deserve. If you are suffering from any car accident-related injury, call on us for help. Common Types of Leg Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents The structure of the lower limbs involves a complex network of bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. The possibilities for injuries—from mild to devastating—are countless. The following are some of the most common types of leg injuries that result from car accidents. Fractures You have more than 60 different bones in your lower extremities, including the femur (thigh bone), tibia, and fibula (lower leg bones). The force of a collision can break or shatter one or more of these bones.  Broken femurs, which are unfortunately common in car accidents, can take months to heal, leaving you immobile and potentially unable to work. Soft Tissue Damage Damage to your ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles, or nerves are all potential results of a car crash. Some of the most common include ACL tears and damage to the meniscus in the knee. Without proper treatment, you could develop arthritis and other potentially debilitating conditions. Lost Limbs or Digits In extreme cases, accident victims can suffer leg injuries so severe that they result in the full or partial loss of the leg(s) or toe(s). This type of injury can also occur after the fact if the victim develops an infection or loses blood flow to the lower limbs. If you suffered a severe injury, you likely had immediate medical attention. If your injuries didn’t seem serious at the time, however, you might have skipped seeing a doctor for evaluation. As a result, you could develop leg pain later without knowing the cause. Should I Seek Medical Treatment Even If My Injuries Don’t Seem Serious? After any motor vehicle collision, you should see a qualified medical treatment professional for evaluation. If you don’t get checked out by EMTs at the scene of the crash, consider going to the ER or urgent care immediately. You can also make an appointment with a doctor for evaluation, as long as you do so right away. You might not experience symptoms of your injuries right away. If you’re in shock, you may not feel pain or discomfort as you normally would. Internal and soft tissue injuries can take hours or days to start causing symptoms. By then, you could develop potentially dangerous complications. Building the strongest possible legal case is another important reason to seek medical attention immediately. Your attorney will use your medical testing and treatment records as the basis of your claim. If you hold off on going to the doctor or ER, the insurance company could argue that your injuries must not have been that serious. Can I Seek Compensation for My Car Accident Injuries? If another person caused or even contributed to your accident, you have the right to pursue legal action. Florida’s comparative negligence laws allow you to seek recover compensation for damages even if your actions contributed to the accident. Attorneys typically establish fault by demonstrating that another party caused your injury accident through negligent, reckless, or intentional action. The best way to determine if you have a viable case is to talk to an attorney. After reviewing the facts of your case, an attorney can recommend the best approach to pursuing legal action. Attorneys recommend pursuing a claim as quickly as possible. This helps ensure that your legal team can try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If the insurer agrees to an acceptable settlement, you won’t have to wait for a trial to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Talk to a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today for Answers The Florida personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have more than three decades of experience helping car accident victims get justice. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation to help you get started with the legal process. We answer your questions and explain your options, so you can make the best choice for your future health and well-being. Before you make any decisions or provide any statements to the insurance company, call or contact us online to learn more, or to speak with one of our Florida car accident attorneys about your leg pain.

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