Hit by a Drunk Driver Settlement in Florida: How Much Can I Expect?

Category: Valuing Injury Claims |

If you or a loved one sustained severe injuries after being hit by a drunk driver, you are likely considering legal action. You might also wonder what your settlement value could be. Like most personal injury cases, you may have the right to recover compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages after being hit by a drunk driver. The value of your claim will depend on the injuries you suffered and other details specific to your case. As with any accident and injury case, it’s always best to consult with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer to ensure you receive fair compensation. The best way to determine what your potential settlement value might be is to consult a Florida DUI accident attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you about recovering the compensation you deserve for your losses.   AVERAGE DRUNK DRIVER SETTLMENT FAQ Is There an Average Florida Drunk Driving Settlement Amount? Drunk driving accidents have the potential to cause significant injuries and, often, death. These incidents can destroy lives and tear families apart. The damages that result from these accidents tend to be substantial. Just as no “average” accident victim or injuries exist, we can’t identify any type of average settlement for drunk driving accidents. However, many drunk driving claims do carry a high potential value for settlement or verdict due to the severe nature of the resulting damages. Because DUI accidents are always preventable—and typically involve negligence or recklessness by the at-fault party—your settlement might also include punitive damages. Punitive damages, which victims can collect under Florida law, are designed to punish the at-fault party for their actions. AVERAGE SETTLMENT FOR DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT FAQ Does the Fact That I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver Make My Case for Compensation Stronger? For anyone hit by a drunk driver, settlement amounts should compensate the victim for all of their losses and damages. Even though there is no average drunk driver settlement you can use for reference, you deserve to recover fair compensation for what you’ve been through. Being injured by a drunk driver can make it easier to recover compensation, especially when your lawyer can cite criminal evidence in your case. DUI accident injuries may also entitle you to additional damages that you might not otherwise receive. These damages, known as punitive damages, are intended to punish the drunk driver. Although Florida statutes bar the recovery of punitive damages without a reasonable foundation for doing so, many DUI accident victims sustain injuries that meet the statutory standards. To recover punitive damages, your case must go to court. If you win your case in court, the jury will determine whether to award punitive damages and, if so, the amount of the damages. A car accident attorney can explain more about the damages you may be entitled to and help you determine the best way to recover the compensation you deserve. DRUNK DRIVING LAWSUIT SETTLEMENTS FAQ What Factors Are Considered When Calculating the Potential Amount of a Florida Drunk Driving Settlement? When calculating the value of a DUI accident claim, attorneys identify and include all potential damages the victim suffered. Typically, drunk driving accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for all economic and non-economic damages they incurred. In your case, this might include: Medical treatment, Lost wages, Emotional distress, and Pain and suffering. If you sustained disabling or permanent injuries, you may have the right to recover additional compensation for damages such as diminished earning capacity and diminished quality of life. You might also be entitled to compensation for any future medical treatment or care you require as well as estimated future lost income and benefits. Finally, as discussed above, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages in a Florida DUI injury accident claim if your case goes to court. DRUNK DRIVER SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS FAQ What Evidence Is Most Critical in a Drunk Driving Injury Case? Attorneys leverage a variety of evidence to prove their client’s claim. For your case, this might include: Police and accident reports, Witness statements and testimony, Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing, Expert witness opinions, Surveillance video, Accident scene photographs, 911 call recordings, and Hospital records. When you work with a drunk driving injury attorney, your legal team will investigate the circumstances of your accident. Your lawyer will obtain the necessary evidence to build a persuasive case based on the facts and details of your claim. DRUNK DRIVER ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS FAQ Can I Sue a Drunk Driver If I Was Hit as a Pedestrian? In most cases, you can sue a drunk driver if you sustained injuries as: A driver in another vehicle, A passenger in another vehicle, A passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle, A pedestrian, A bicyclist, or A motorcyclist. Typically, you can sue a drunk driver any time their actions cause you to sustain injuries, no matter what the circumstances might have been. Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you determine whether you have a viable DUI accident injury claim. DUI ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS FAQ Will the Crime Victim Compensation Fund Pay Me If I’m Hit by a Drunk Driver? Florida’s Victim Compensation program, overseen by the state’s Attorney General, provides compensation for victims of various types of crimes, including drunk driving. To qualify for compensation, you must complete the necessary paperwork and meet the program’s requirements. Unfortunately, the Victim Compensation program has limited resources. The program’s benefits will pay up to two-thirds of your medical bills up to a maximum of $10,000. You can recover up to two-thirds of your lost income up to a maximum of $15,000. This program is invaluable if you have no other way to recover damages. However, many victims prefer to pursue a drunk driving accident claim or lawsuit if their damages exceed these benefit amounts.   HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER SETTLEMENT FAQ What’s the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Drunk Driving Cases? In a Florida DUI case, the drunk driver faces criminal charges. Upon conviction,...

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Motorcycle Injury Settlement Amounts in Florida: How Much Can You Expect to Receive for Your Claim?

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

How much can you reasonably expect to recover after a motorcycle accident?  When you get injured in a motorcycle accident, recovering just compensation can be crucial for your long-term health and financial stability. It is imperative to make sure you seek the maximum compensation available.  For many motorcycle riders, recovering from an accident involves much more than getting their bike repaired so they can get back on the road. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe traumatic injuries, and some riders experience a lifetime of medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. When this happens, securing just compensation is critical for moving on, and riders must be prepared to do everything they can to recover their short-term and long-term losses.  If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, there is a lot you need to know in order to give yourself the best chance of recovering maximum compensation. This article provides an overview of the key factors that impact motorcycle injury settlement amounts in Florida.  We Work on YOUR Behalf The Insurance Companies Fight Hard to Pay Injured Motorcycle Riders as Little as Possible One of the first things you need to know is that you cannot expect the insurance companies to treat you fairly. In fact, if anything, you should expect the opposite.  The insurance companies will fight to pay you as little as possible. They will require extensive proof of both the cause and extent of your injuries, and there is a good chance that they will try to blame you for the accident. We have seen this happen time and time again, and we have been privileged to help injured riders overcome the insurance companies’ defense tactics in many cases.  Recent Case Example Here is an example of a recent case in which we were able to secure a settlement that was nearly 10 times the insurance company’s initial offer:  This tragic accident occurred at the intersection of 10th Street and Cocoanut Ave. in Sarasota, just east of Waterfront Park. Our client, a 56-year-old caretaker and carpenter, was riding north on Cocoanut Ave. when a driver traveling southbound turned left directly into his path, violating his right of way.  The force of the collision ejected our client from his motorcycle, and he landed on the pavement in the middle of the intersection. It was immediately obvious that our client had suffered serious injuries. He was rushed to the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he was admitted and diagnosed with a compound fracture to both bones in his forearm as well as fractures to the hip, knee, and foot. Doctors had to perform multiple surgeries to repair the fractures. Our client suffered a nerve injury in his arm and shoulder that required surgery as well. The driver’s insurance company initially tried to claim that our client was partially responsible for the accident. It offered an initial settlement of $115,000.00—an amount that didn’t even pay our client’s medical bills, let alone compensate him for his pain, suffering, and lost wages. As a result, we filed a lawsuit on our client’s behalf and aggressively prosecuted the case.  We attended multiple traffic court hearings; and, after the court was made aware of the facts we had discovered during our investigation, the judge found that the driver was guilty of failing to yield the right of way. We subsequently took the driver’s deposition and were able to firmly establish that the accident was entirely his fault. After the driver’s insurance company hired new lawyers, the case proceeded to mediation. During the settlement conference, we were able to convince the insurance company to pay the driver’s $1,000,000.00 policy limit.  This was a terrific result for our client, and he was extremely pleased with the outcome.   What Factors Affect the Value of a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?  Several factors will affect the value of a motorcycle accident settlement. As a result, while many people have questions about “average motorcycle injury settlements,” the reality is that every case is unique. Even if two accidents happen in a similar fashion and result in similar injuries, the outcomes could still be very different based on the riders’ personal circumstances (and other relevant factors).  So, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, what do you need to know in order to determine the value of your claim? Some of the key factors for determining motorcycle injury settlement amounts in Florida include:  Comparative Fault Recovering financial compensation for a motorcycle accident requires proof of fault. If someone else (i.e., a negligent driver) was 100% at fault in your accident, then you are entitled to recover all of your accident-related losses. But, if you were partially at fault, then you may be entitled to less than a 100% recovery.  This is based on Florida’s law of “comparative fault.” This law states that an injured rider’s financial recovery must be reduced in proportion to his or her percentage of fault in the accident. So, for example, if you are deemed to be 25% at fault for something like exceeding the speed limit or not wearing a helmet, then you would only be entitled to recover 75% of your losses.  Of course, 75% of your losses could still be a significant amount. Additionally, as the case above shows, you cannot trust the insurance companies to accurately determine your percentage of fault. Instead, you need to rely on the advice and representation of an attorney who has your best interests in mind.  Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Auto and motorcycle insurance companies frequently try to deny coverage by claiming that riders’ injuries are attributable to pre-existing conditions. However, while a rider with a pre-existing injury may not be entitled to coverage for the pre-existing condition itself, the costs of any additional injuries or complications should generally be covered.  Age at the Time of the Accident When a motorcycle accident has permanent consequences, the longer the rider lives, the more financial and financial costs he or she will incur. As a...

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Average Car Accident Settlement Involving Physical Therapy in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

If you suffered serious injuries in a Florida car accident, you face a long and painful road to recovery. Getting the best possible medical treatment and care can help you achieve a full recovery. If you don’t get the care you need, however, you could find yourself with chronic pain and even long-term disability. For many injury accident victims, physical therapy can have a significant effect on their recovery. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t like to pay the high cost of therapeutic and rehabilitation services. If you need physical therapy after an accident, your claim’s value will likely be higher than it would otherwise. In addition to physical therapy, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, emotional trauma, and more. The Florida car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk fight to get our wrongfully injured clients the justice and financial compensation they deserve. We offer a free consultation for injury accident victims to help provide you with the information you need regarding the potential value of your car accident physical therapy settlement. How Much Is the Average Car Accident Physical Therapy Settlement? Every injury accident victim’s injuries and experiences are unique. For this reason, we cannot accurately estimate any average car accident settlement—with physical therapy or without. Settlements typically include compensation for all the victim’s economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical treatment, testing, physical therapy, prescription medications, and related services. These damages are easy to document and establish a value for. It is typically safe to conclude that any claim involving physical therapy will have a higher value than one that does not include those services. Noneconomic damages for things like pain and suffering may also be higher where extensive physical therapy is involved. The best way to determine what the potential value of your claim might be is to talk to an experienced Florida car accident attorney. How Much Does Physical Therapy After a Car Accident Cost? The cost of physical therapy can vary significantly, depending on the nature of your injuries and other factors. Physical therapists are highly trained professionals with valuable skillsets. Although the cost of working with a physical therapist might be less than that of a medical doctor or surgeon, you typically spend more time in physical therapy, making the overall cost significant. Overall physical therapy costs typically include an in-depth assessment of your condition and the development of a comprehensive treatment plan. Once you begin physical therapy sessions, you will be paying for the therapist’s services as well as for the use of whatever equipment your treatment involves. Depending on the provider, physical therapy can cost as much as $100 per session or more. Initially, you might need three or more sessions per week, and depending on your injuries and progress, you might need to keep going for weeks, months, or even longer. As you can see, these costs can easily and quickly add up. Who Pays for Physical Therapy After a Car Accident? After a car accident, how your medical treatment gets paid for depends on your circumstances. If you have health insurance—even Medicare—you can generally get the treatment you need. However, if someone else was at fault for the accident, your insurance company will demand repayment for those costs. You could find yourself on the hook for the bills. Your Florida personal injury protection (PIP) insurance (if you have it) will also cover some portion of your treatment. However, if your injuries are severe, it might not be enough to cover all your care, including physical therapy. Unless you can pay out-of-pocket, you might not be able to get the therapeutic services you need. Ultimately, if your injuries are significant enough, the at-fault party’s insurance should be responsible for covering all your physical, emotional, and financial damages—including any type of treatment you need to restore your health and well-being. Getting the insurance company to fulfill these obligations might pose a significant challenge. An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Do You Have to Go to Physical Therapy After a Car Accident? Whether you need physical therapy depends on the nature of your injuries and how they affect your life. In many cases, therapy can help speed up the healing process while restoring your comfort and functionality. In some cases, you might not regain functionality without physical rehab or physical therapy, or you might require surgery or other invasive treatment that would not otherwise be required if you went to therapy. Some of the most common types of injuries that require physical therapy include the following: Neck injuries, Back injuries, Shoulder injuries, Knee and ankle injuries, and Elbow and wrist injuries. Although these are some of the most common motor vehicle crash injuries that could require physical therapy, your doctor could recommend physical therapy for a variety of other issues. For example, any injury that affects your strength, mobility, or range of motion could benefit from physical therapy. You might also benefit from physical therapy if you have pain or if you struggle to perform job tasks or the activities of daily living. The bottom line is that if a qualified medical treatment provider indicates that you need physical therapy, you should follow those recommendations to the letter. How to Increase Your Odds of Getting Physical Therapy in a Car Accident Settlement After a car accident injury, getting the comprehensive medical treatment and care you need is critical to your recovery and future well-being. If you need physical rehab and therapy, getting those services can make a significant difference in your long-term quality of life. Without them, you could face a lifetime of physical pain, mobility challenges, and occupational limitations. Unfortunately, therapeutic services can be expensive—and you might require months or even years of physical therapy. Insurance companies always seek to pay as little as possible. The fewer claims they must pay, the higher the return they can provide to shareholders and company owners. If the insurance...

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Average Car Accident Settlement for a Child in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child suffer from an injury, especially if it could’ve been prevented. After a car accident involving a child, many parents wonder what it takes to pursue compensation from the party responsible. During your research, you may be wondering what the average settlement is for a child in a car accident. Here is information you need to know about personal injury cases involving a child and how the attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help. Why There Is No Average Child Car Accident Settlement When it comes to calculating an average settlement for any personal injury case, it’s nearly impossible to determine an average. There are several reasons why online calculators are misleading.  First, personal injury settlements often remain confidential. This means that even if someone calculated the average of all publicly available settlement amounts, it would be extremely inaccurate. Second, each case is completely unique. The average settlement for a crash involving minor injuries doesn’t necessarily reflect the potential settlement of a claim with life-altering injuries. Finally, some states have limits on the amount of damages you may collect. As a result, the highest potential settlement in one state may not reflect the potential settlement in another. Damages in a Car Accident Settlement for a Child A car accident settlement for a child depends on the types of damages sustained in the crash. In Florida, there are three types of damages available for an injured child: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Here is a breakdown of the different damage types. Economic Damages These damages refer to any economic losses associated with the accident. To qualify as an economic loss, the damage must be tangible and calculable. For car accident cases involving children, this usually comes in the form of healthcare costs, including: Emergency services, Doctor’s office visits, Surgical procedures, Follow-up treatments, Rehabilitation,  Medication, Therapy, and Imaging. It’s important to note that this also includes any future medical treatment needed for the injuries. For example, if a child becomes disabled due to the injury, ongoing care and future accessibility needs may be added. Non-Economic Damages General or non-economic damages include any losses that aren’t calculable or tangible. A good example of this is the pain and suffering the child may go through as a result of their injuries. Here are some other examples of non-economic damages: Permanent disfigurement, Loss of quality of life, Loss of enjoyment, Chronic physical pain, Emotional anguish, Psychological pain, and Permanent disability. Since non-economic damages are subjective, it’s nearly impossible to calculate an average. There are numerous factors that go into determining non-economic damages. This may include the family’s circumstances and the child’s health history. Every jury interprets these facts in a different way, so non-economic damages vary widely between cases. Punitive Damages In rare cases, courts may award punitive damages to the plaintiff if the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for exceptionally irresponsible behavior. According to FS 768.72(a), intentional misconduct “means that the defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness.” In addition, they must have intentionally pursued the action that led to injury despite knowing the risk. Gross negligence occurs when the defendant had an “indifference to the life, safety, or rights” of the plaintiff.  While most cases don’t include punitive damages, it’s possible that the court or jury may award them depending on the circumstances. Special Laws Regarding Personal Injury Claims for Children in Florida In the state of Florida, minors may not file a personal injury claim under their own name. Instead, the parent or legal guardian of the child must file the claim on their behalf. The court has its own approval process to make sure that the claim is for the benefit of the child and not the parents. For example, under FS 744.387(3) if the legal guardian of a child files a lawsuit on their behalf, the court must approve the settlement amount and terms. In addition, the parent may only settle the claim if it does not exceed $15,000. In cases where the settlement exceeds this amount, the court usually appoints a guardian to protect the settlement amount and distribute it to the child when they reach the age of 18. There are a few situations in which a parent or legal guardian may recover compensation for their own losses resulting from their child’s injury. If the child sustains a significant injury that results in permanent disability, their parents may file a filial consortium claim. Florida is one of the few states to recognize this type of claim. According to FS 768.0415, any person who negligently causes a significant permanent injury to a child is liable for damages to the parents. This includes permanent loss of services, companionship, comfort, and society. How to Secure Evidence One of the most important aspects of your case is evidence. In Florida, a car accident settlement for a child usually depends on the evidence showing the defendant’s negligence. Here are some steps you can take to collect the evidence you need after the accident. 1. Photograph or Take Video of the Scene If it’s safe to do so, try to take pictures at the scene of the crash. This includes any vehicle damage, injuries, and road conditions. Make sure to also include any photos of tire marks as well to assist with accident reconstruction. These details serve as important evidence in your case.  2. Collect Copies of Medical Records When you get treatment for your child’s injuries, try to get copies of their record of treatment. Many insurance companies try to minimize or deny a claim if the claimant doesn’t immediately seek medical attention. If possible, ask the doctor to include statements about the severity of your child’s condition and whether it requires further care. 3. Ask Witnesses to Provide a Statement If your accident occurs during the day on a busy road, chances are there may be witnesses. If you can, ask any potential witnesses...

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Average Car Accident Settlement for Permanent Injuries in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

If you suffered permanent injuries in a Florida car crash, you face a challenging future. You might require long-term treatment and in-home or residential care. If your injuries prevent you from performing your work duties, you could be facing a lifetime of inability to even earn a living. You might never be able to enjoy your favorite activities or interact with your loved ones in the same way you did before. Nothing can undo the damage you have suffered. However, you can hold the at-fault party financially responsible for their negligence by pursuing legal action. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve. The Florida car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. We understand how incredibly frightening and confusing your situation is. We will fight to get you the car accident settlement you deserve for your injuries. Because it can be difficult to identify an average car accident settlement value in any case, we offer a free consultation and case analysis for injury accident victims. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys can provide you with the answers and information you need to take the next step. What Is the Average Car Accident Permanent Injury Settlement in Florida? The settlement you need—and deserve—will include compensation for all your damages, both economic (for example, medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic (for example, pain, suffering, and emotional distress). Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to identify any average permanent injury car accident settlement amount. The nature of your injuries will determine the type of treatment and care you need. The value of your injuries depends on how they have changed your life now and how they will impact your life in the future. The best way to determine what your settlement value might be is to contact our office. Once we understand the details of your accident and what you are going through, we can provide you with an estimate of your claim’s value. We can also provide you with our opinion of how long it could take to negotiate a settlement and get a check in your hand. How Are Permanent Injury Settlement Amounts Calculated? In a typical personal injury case, victims may be entitled to recover compensation for some or all of the following. Emergency medical treatment costs, Doctor and surgeon costs, Hospital costs, Medical imaging and testing, Prescription medications, Medical devices, Lost income, Lost benefits, Emotional trauma, and Pain and suffering. If you require future medical treatment or you won’t be able to return to work right away, your attorney might also seek damages for the estimated cost of future treatment and future lost income. However, anyone who suffers permanent damage, disfigurement, scarring, etc. could be entitled to compensation for additional damages. If your permanent injury involves facial scarring, for example, several factors will influence the monetary value of the corresponding damages. This might include the extent of the scarring, your age, and how possible it might be to surgically correct or improve the scarring.  As you might have determined, calculating the settlement value for any type of long-term or permanent injury is highly complex. To obtain an accurate assessment of your case value, you need to speak to an experienced attorney who understands this complex facet of the law. How Do Car Accident Settlement Calculators Work? If you spend any time searching online for the average car accident settlement with permanent or long-term injuries, you have likely discovered multiple personal injury settlement calculators. These tools promise to calculate the potential value of your claim in a matter of moments. Settlement calculators typically ask you to enter information such as the following: The amount of your medical bills, The amount of your personal property damage, The amount of your lost income, The estimated cost of future medical care, and The value of your future lost wages. Some calculators also ask you to identify a multiplier for general damages or pain and suffering. You click on the “Calculate” button and you essentially get a total of the damage values you entered times the multiplier you provided. The problem with this process is that few serious or permanent injury accident victims have any idea what the true value of their damages are or will be. In some cases, settlement calculators won’t even give you an immediate response. Instead, you will be asked to provide your name and contact information so that someone can reach out to you. At that time, you will hear a pitch about why you should choose that law firm to handle your case. The bottom line regarding permanent injury settlement calculators is that—without all the details of your case—no calculator or individual can provide an accurate estimate of your claim’s value. In most cases, these calculators primarily serve as marketing tools for law firm websites. How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Get a Permanent Injury Settlement Getting a fair financial settlement is critical for permanent injury victims. You will face injury-related challenges for the rest of your life. You may need financial resources for medical treatment or care. You might need to make accessibility modifications to your home or vehicle. If you can’t work, you will need money to pay for your home, utilities, and living costs. You simply cannot leave your future to chance. Insurance companies will attempt to deny or undervalue injury accident claims, even when the victim has suffered permanent disability, disfigurement, scarring, or other serious and long-lasting injuries. If they succeed in denying your claim or get away with giving you a token settlement, you won’t get the resources you need for the future. Working with our experienced attorneys provides multiple advantages. We know how to calculate the value of your claim and document it persuasively. We level the playing field with the insurance company, forcing them to deal with your case in good faith. We investigate your case to demonstrate the at-fault party’s liability for your damages. We stand by your...

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Average Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlement in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

As you get older, your body goes through changes. Spinal discs start to wear out and break down, which can lead to neck and back pain. When your discs wear out earlier than expected, doctors may call it degenerative disc disease. While this condition is not caused by a car accident, degenerative disc disease can be aggravated by a car accident. Understandably, many prospective clients want to know the average degenerative disc disease car accident settlement amount. However, there is no average settlement range. That is why it is best to speak with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer. What Is Degenerative Disc Disease? Before discussing potential settlement value, it’s crucial to understand what degenerative disc disease is and how it impacts your claim. Degenerative disc disease is a very broad diagnosis and can encompass many injuries, including bone spurs, disc bulges, tears, and more. Most people with degenerative disc disease experience pain in the neck or lower back, or both. The reason is that these two areas of the spine undergo the most stress and motion, thereby making them more susceptible to wear and tear. However, some people do not even realize they have degenerative disc disease because they do not experience any pain until they sustain injuries in a car accident. You might get whiplash and see a doctor who tells you that your diagnostic tests show degenerative changes. While degenerative disc disease may not be caused by a car accident, you can get compensation if the accident increased your neck pain or initiated it under the “eggshell plaintiff” rule. What Is an Eggshell Plaintiff? When an injured victim is more vulnerable to injuries, the “eggshell plaintiff” rule might apply. This theory means the at-fault party must take the plaintiff as they find them. Each case is different and depends on the facts. Generally speaking a defendant is liable for any injuries they caused, regardless of how uncommon or unforeseen your injuries are.  The term eggshell plaintiff comes from the example of someone with an eggshell-thin skull. This individual is more susceptible to a skull fracture than most people. That means even a minor bump on the head could be catastrophic for someone with an eggshell-thin skull. If a negligent party causes a minor head bump to someone with a fragile skull, they are still responsible for any catastrophic injuries. This rule also applies to people with preexisting conditions, not only people with natural conditions like a thin skull. Negligent parties are responsible for aggravating someone’s preexisting condition in an auto accident. They will not be liable for the entire injury, only the extent that the accident worsened the preexisting condition. For example, consider a plaintiff who is recovering from a meniscus tear. If someone causes an accident that worsens the pain or causes further damage, they could be liable for the aggravated injuries. When someone is suffering from excruciating pain that did not exist before the accident, the defendant could be liable. The question is whether the preexisting condition or the accident led to the pain. If the preexisting condition was there, but the plaintiff had no pain complaints, then the accident probably aggravated the condition.  The eggshell plaintiff rule means that a defendant cannot argue that if someone else were the injured victim, they would have lower damages. Florida law does not let a defendant avoid liability for causing an injury just because the injured person was more vulnerable due to a pre-existing condition. Average Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlement Values It is not possible to provide an average settlement value for personal injury claims. Various factors impact settlement value, including the total amount of your damages and liability. Because degenerative disc disease is not caused by a car accident, assigning a general settlement range is even more complicated. These claims can be very complex to pursue, which is why you should speak with an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. When you meet with an attorney from Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we will go over all the specifics of your case. We can tell you the potential strengths and weaknesses of your claim and let you know what you might receive through settlement negotiations or in a jury trial. If you attempt to handle your claim independently, you will likely receive a much lower settlement or even find your claim denied. Insurance companies know injured victims do not understand the legal system or what their claim is potentially worth. They often take advantage of that fact by extending a lowball settlement offer or unfairly denying your claim. Many insurance adjusters will lead you to believe that you are not entitled to compensation because degenerative disc disease is a preexisting condition. If you receive an offer from the insurance company, you should speak with an attorney before agreeing to settle. The first offer that you will receive will always be less than your case is worth. If the insurance company outright denies your claim due to a preexisting condition, do not give up without contacting an attorney first. Insurance adjusters are hoping you will take their denial at face value and walk away. When you work with an experienced attorney, we will not allow the insurance company to engage in unfair practices or try to resolve your case for an insulting amount. Potential Compensation in a Degenerative Disc Disease Accident Florida is a no-fault state, which means you must seek recovery initially under your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Your PIP policy can cover some of your expenses, such as medical costs and time off work. However, severely injured victims can easily have medical bills that far exceed the PIP limits. In these cases, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party for the remaining damages. Your PIP policy does not cover non-economic damages either, such as your pain and suffering. To seek noneconomic damages in Florida, your injury must be significant and permanent.  Understanding your legal rights is essential. Your...

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Average Settlement for Passengers in Florida Car Accidents

Category: Car Accidents |

A car accident can change your life. But what if you weren’t the driver? After suffering injuries, property damage, and emotional trauma, you may wonder, “What are my rights as a passenger in a car accident?” Your medical bills may be piling up, and it may be difficult, or impossible, to work. The good news is even if you weren’t driving, Florida law entitles passengers to file a lawsuit for damages.  Personal injury lawsuits are complicated. You may feel ready to accept any offer to alleviate your financial and emotional burden. But moving forward doesn’t always mean settling for less than you deserve. A compassionate, but aggressive, personal injury attorney protects your rights to obtain just compensation, so you can focus on your recovery.   What Are My Rights as a Florida Passenger in a Car Accident? How much money a passenger in a car accident can get depends on multiple factors. But even if you weren’t driving a car involved in a car accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries. To do this you must file a claim against the responsible party or parties. There may be a number of reasons a driver may be at fault for causing an accident. However, this determination is not always cut and dry.  Unfortunately for passengers in a car accident there is no “magic” settlement calculator to concretely determine how much money you’ll recover.  Although the facts of each person’s case are different, reviewing your case with an attorney may provide a clearer picture as to the value range for your case.  What Factors Affect My Claim? Various factors affect a personal injury claim. If your case goes to trial, your fate is left to the jury to decide how much your injuries are worth. If your attorney negotiates a settlement for your injuries, you and the liable party agree on a monetary value. Deciding how to move forward depends on discussions with your personal injury attorney and the particular facts of your case. Insurance Florida law requires the following types of insurance coverage: A minimum of $10,000 of property damage liability coverage (PDL), and A minimum of $10,000 of personal injury coverage (PIP). It’s generally a good idea to obtain more than the minimum insurance coverage, but many don’t. While $10,000 sounds like a lot of money, it often fails to cover the medical expenses after a car accident.  Passengers in a car accident don’t usually tap into the PDL. This coverage pays for property damage caused to another when you are at fault for the accident. Passengers are rarely at fault for a car accident.  No-Fault Rules  Florida is a “no fault” state when it comes to car accidents. This means that after a car accident, your own PIP insurance pays your medical bills and other financial losses. To some, it may be frustrating to be unable to collect from the driver that caused your injuries. However, Florida’s PIP requirement allows many to recover quickly for their financial losses following a car accident. One downside to PIP coverage is that non-economic damages, like pain and suffering and emotional distress, are not recoverable in an accident not involving serious injury.  Injury Threshold Despite its no-fault rules, Florida law does permit you to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver and recover pain and suffering damages in some circumstances. However, you must meet an “injury threshold.” This “injury threshold” is satisfied if you have one of the following injuries: Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, Significant and permanent loss of an important body function, or Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability. Establishing an injury threshold requires a medical evaluation. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly after a car accident.   Proving Liability Even passengers in car accidents must establish liability to recover compensation. This means you must prove that the other driver caused your injuries. Your personal injury attorney works to establish the driver’s responsibility using existing evidence. In most situations, the evidence shows that the driver was negligent. The following elements must be present for a negligence claim: The driver owed a duty of care to safely operate their vehicle,  The driver breached this duty of care, and  The driver’s breach resulted in your injuries. The liable party may argue that you were also at fault for causing the accident. If proven, this may reduce the value of your claim. However, you’re unlikely to share fault for the accident if you were not driving the car.  Medical Expenses In some situations, the insurance company may push you to agree to a settlement value before you know the extent of your injuries. Your medical injuries may cause significant, long-term issues for which you are unaware until a complete medical evaluation is conducted. While it may be tempting, it’s never advised for a passenger in a car accident to accept the first settlement offer.  Complete medical expenses may be unknown immediately after a car accident in Pinellas Park and may include the following: Ambulance transport, Emergency department services,  Medical services,  Hospitalization, Medication, Diagnostic testing and lab work, Physical therapy, Rehabilitation, and Follow-up treatments. Gaining a complete understanding of your medical injuries is crucial to understanding the value of your claim. Therefore, complete all recommended medical treatment as prescribed by your physician.  Ability to Work  Another factor affecting the value of your claim is your ability to work after a car accident. Your injuries may be severe enough to keep you from working or working your job in the same manner you did prior to the car accident.  Lost wages can make up a substantial part of a car accident claim. Keep all records related to your employment. Proof of lost wages and reduced earning capacity are shown through pay stubs and tax returns. Your personal injury attorney then compiles this evidence to create a more accurate value of your claim.  Out-of-Pocket Expenses  Out-of-pocket expenses may affect possible settlement values. For example, the following out-of-pocket expenses create...

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Average Settlement for Bicyclist Hit By a Car in Florida

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

The popularity of bicycling as a form of commuting, recreation, exercise and sport has increased over the years, with more than 48 million Americans participating in 2019. While bicycling provides countless benefits to riders in terms of efficiency, health, and the environment, with benefit comes risk. In fact, Florida recorded a record 6,678 bicycle crashes on roadways in 2019. Very few cyclists hit by a car walk away with minimal injuries. Florida law permits bicycle accident survivors to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for their injuries. Many personal injury lawsuits reach settlement before trial. However, achieving a fair settlement for your injuries requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.  Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents Bicycle accidents can occur anywhere. However, bicyclists are often disproportionately injured in these accidents compared to motorists. Without a car to shield them, bicyclists have no physical protection other than their helmets. Even on neighborhood streets and at low speeds, bicycle accidents result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.  Bicycle accidents may be caused by any number of factors. These factors are important because they are used to establish fault. Common causes of bicycle accidents include: Driver inattention, Failure to yield,  Speeding, Dangerous road conditions, Riding at night, Impaired driving, and Bad weather. While many bicycle accidents result from driver error, in some situations, bicyclists may be found at least partially at fault for an accident.  Bicyclists should ride with caution at all times. However, when certain unavoidable conditions exist, such as dangerous weather or road conditions, bicyclists should raise their awareness to protect themselves from risk of bicycle accidents.  How is Fault Determined?   When determining fault, Florida operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that even if a bicyclist partially caused their accident, they are not barred from recovering damages. Any value or settlement, however, is reduced by the bicyclist’s percentage of fault. Consider an example where a court finds a cyclist 20% liable and a driver 80% liable for a bicycle accident. In this situation, the court awards the cyclist 80% of their damages. Pure comparative negligence also impacts settlements because these percentages would be factored into negotiations.   What Should I Do First?  There are many steps to take after you suffer an accident on a bicycle. Knowing what to do immediately following a bicycle accident makes a difference in maintaining control and protecting your rights. Seek Medical Attention Even if you believe you have not been injured, seek medical attention. You may suffer injuries you are unaware of immediately following an accident. Medical records legitimately document your injuries and may increase the value of your bicycle accident settlement. Additionally, follow all required medical directions and recommendations for your recovery. Failing to follow through with prescribed medical treatment may negatively affect the value of your case.  Document the Scene If physically able, write down every detail about the accident, including the following information:  Where and when you were hit by a car;  Road, traffic, and weather conditions; and Diagrams showing the position of parties involved. Take photos of the car that struck you, the license plate of the vehicle, your injuries, and damage to your bicycle. Additionally, exchange contact information with the driver. This includes a photo of their driver’s license and their insurance information.  Call 911 Call and wait for law enforcement officials to arrive at the scene. Responding officers create accident reports. These reports provide crucial, unbiased information used in bicycle accident lawsuits and settlement negotiations. Additionally, law enforcement officials assess the scene and determine whether other factors may have contributed to the accident, such as driving under the influence.  Never Negotiate with the Motorist Even if a driver accepts blame for a bicycle accident, never accept any offers of settlement. You don’t know the full extent of your injuries and damage to your bike.  Keep All Documentation Your personal injury attorney will review and analyze all documentation related to your bicycle accident. Medical bills, bicycle repair receipts, and pay stubs are used to calculate the value of your claim.  What Duties Do Bicyclists Have in Florida? Florida law defines a bicycle as a vehicle. Therefore, Florida cyclists have all the same privileges, rights, and duties applicable to drivers. Bicyclists in Florida must undertake certain responsibilities. First, all bicyclists in Florida must ride in the bike lane if traveling at speeds slower than vehicle traffic. If no bike lane is available, bicyclists must ride as far to the right as is safe to avoid interrupting traffic.  If a bicyclist is younger than 16 years of age, they must wear a helmet at all times. Bicyclists also must obey all traffic signals while biking.  Is There an Average Settlement for a Cyclist Hit by a Car? There is no predetermined amount of money that a cyclist hit by a car can expect. Settlement depends on the success of negotiations and the particular facts of your case. However, your personal injury attorney may provide insight as to what damages you may be eligible to recover in your lawsuit. Additionally, once they have reviewed all relevant information related to your case, a personal injury attorney may provide you with a range of estimated settlement values.  What Factors Affect the Value of My Bicycle Accident Case? Those injured in a bicycle accident may recover for economic and non-economic losses.  Economic Damages  Economic damages include those tangible, calculable losses related to your bicycle accident. The most common economic damages include the following: Past and future medical expenses,  Lost wages and future loss of income, and Property damage and repair. Economic damages are generally easy to quantify and prove with documentary evidence. Recovery of these damages often alleviates the financial burden many feel following a bicycle accident. Non-Economic Damages   Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value and can vary widely. These losses may include: Pain and suffering, Emotional distress,  Loss of consortium, Loss of companionship, Disfigurement, and Mental anguish. Non-economic damages may vary from a fraction of the cost of your...

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Average Spondylolisthesis Car Accident Settlement in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

Sometimes referred to as spondylosis, spondylolisthesis is an injury that is quite common after car accidents. Spondylolisthesis is a type of spine injury wherein your vertebrae are forced out of alignment. This can happen when your vertebrae are subject to trauma that pushes your spine either forward or backward. It is not difficult to see how easily this injury can arise after a car accident. After all, our backs absorb a great deal of the kinetic energy that car crashes subject our bodies to. Untreated spondylosis caused by trauma can lead to a number of long-term health complications, not the least of which is excruciating back pain.  If you develop spondylolisthesis after a car accident, you should include it, and its effects, in your claim for damages against the responsible party. What Is the Average Spondylolisthesis Car Accident Settlement? A frequently asked question that our personal injury team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk hears from our clients is, What is the average spondylosis car accident settlement? This is a very reasonable question for any injured party to ask. If you know what the average settlement is, you can get an idea as to what you can expect with your own spondylosis settlement. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer that we can give to this question. We are unable to provide an average spondylolisthesis settlement because there is no average settlement. Why? Because there is no average car accident, no average injury, and thus no average spondylosis case. Every injury that we help our clients recover from is unique. There are numerous factors that can affect your spondylosis settlement claim, or any other personal injury or car accident claim for that matter. The only way to get an idea of what your settlement will look like is to try to account for the various factors that affected your accident and injury. How Can I Maximize My Spondylolisthesis Settlement? To maximize your spondylosis settlement, there are quite a few different things you can do. With that said, however, there are two things you can do to really set your claim up for success: Carefully document all the damages you suffer related to your spondylosis; and Work closely with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. If you take these two steps, and are consistent in doing so, you will go a long way toward maximizing your claim value and avoiding any unpleasant surprises in the claim’s settlement negotiation process. Documenting Your Damages To claim compensatory damages for your spondylolisthesis, you first need to prove that you have spondylolisthesis. Furthermore, you must prove that the injury stems from your car accident.  The only way to establish whether you have spondylosis and to what degree is with the help of diagnostic studies such as an x-ray or CT scans. There are five grades of vertebrae slips. On one end of the spectrum, grade I is the least severe and features a vertebral slip of less than 25%. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a grade V, which features a vertebra that slips entirely off the vertebrae below it. The more severe your slip is, the more treatment will cost and the more your settlement value will be. You should keep a record of any medical treatment or evaluation that you seek. In your record, you should include any bills, invoices, or insurance payments that arise from such treatment or evaluation. Furthermore, every time you seek any sort of treatment or evaluation, you should get a copy of your treatment provider’s notes for that specific visit. By documenting the existence of your injury and the costs of treatment, you can prove those damages exist. Without such a record, proving those damages is difficult. On top of maintaining your medical record and a record of related bills, you should maintain a journal of your symptoms. Keep a daily record of any physical, mental, or other harmful effects that arise out of your injury. If you have any sort of pain, be sure to assign a numerical value to that pain. With this record in hand, you can further prove the damages you suffer, including intangible, non economic damages. With effective documentation, you can really maximize the value of your claim. Hiring an Attorney Aside from documenting all your damages, hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you in your spondylolisthesis claim is the best thing you can do to maximize your claim.  By consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, your lawyer will have the time necessary to prepare the most effective legal strategy for your specific claim. If you wait to hire an attorney, your lawyer may not have the time and resources to prepare the most effective legal strategy. Furthermore, the longer you wait to hire an attorney, the closer you get to allowing the statute of limitations to expire. After that period expires, courts will reject any related legal claim.  Finally, your lawyer will help you document your damages and injuries and can help connect you with the right medical specialists for your specific injuries. The sooner this happens, the better your eventual settlement will be. What Is It Like Dealing with Insurance Companies? Trying to deal with insurance companies on your own is often quite difficult. Insurance companies make their money by paying out the smallest amount they possibly can for each given claim. Thus, they often prey upon individuals who try to negotiate settlements without the help of an attorney. One of the ways they do this is by repeatedly making settlement offers that don’t fully compensate you for your damages. They do this to drag out the negotiations process, wear you down, and hope that you will have to take their lowball offer when the statute of limitations is close to expiring. Conversely, if you have an attorney on your side from the outset of settlement negotiations, insurance companies know that their unfair negotiation tactics are less likely to work. As a result,...

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Average Premises Liability Settlement in Florida

Category: premises liability |

In Florida, as in all other states, the owner of any property where other people are present must maintain safe conditions. If an owner fails to maintain safe conditions on their property, they are liable for any damages caused. In other words, if you get hurt on someone else’s property due to unsafe conditions, chances are that you have the right to seek compensation in a premises liability claim.  One of the most common questions we get from our clients regarding premises liability is, What is the average premises liability settlement offer? Unfortunately, we cannot provide a definitive answer to this question because it depends on your circumstances. Read on to learn more about Florida premises liability settlements and why the answer to this frequently asked question is less than straightforward. What Is the Average Premises Liability Settlement? The truth is, there is no average injury. Furthermore, there is no average accident. Thus, there is no average settlement amount as every situation is different. This applies to any personal injury, not just one arising out of premises liability. As a result, average premises liability settlements simply do not exist. How Can I Maximize My Settlement Amount? There are many ways that you can maximize your settlement. Some are out of your power, but there are two things fully within your control that you can do to help maximize your premises liability settlement amount:  Hiring an attorney to represent you in your premises liability claim; and Meticulously documenting all the damages that you suffer. If you do these two things immediately after your accident, it will go a long way toward setting up your claim for success. How Hiring an Attorney Can Help Maximize Your Premises Liability Settlement Hiring an attorney to represent you in your premises liability claim as soon as possible after your accident will set you up for success in a number of ways.  First, hiring a lawyer immediately after your accident will help you ensure that the statute of limitations does not expire before you are able to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, professional parties slow negotiations to a crawl when they are in a dispute with a non professional party without legal representation. In such instances, the bet they make is that the statute of limitations will expire by the time you realize that settlement negotiations aren’t going anywhere and need to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit in Florida’s civil courts before the expiration of the limitation period, the courts will reject your claim. Thus, hiring an attorney as soon as possible can prove critical to your case. Aside from ensuring that the statute of limitations does not expire, hiring an attorney right after your accident will help you pursue the right legal strategy. Since all accidents and injuries are different, every injury claim requires a different approach. Ensuring that you pursue the right legal strategy right off the bat will help you maximize your settlement and speed up the process. The sooner your case settles, the sooner you can take care of your expenses. How Documenting Your Damages Helps Maximize Your Settlement You can also maximize your premises liability settlement by carefully and meticulously documenting all the damages that you suffer. Proving that you suffered specific losses is essential to recovering any of those damages.  For any medical treatment or evaluation you receive, you should obtain a copy of the doctor’s notes and report. Tell your medical provider ahead of time that you need as much documentation as possible, so they will make their reports more detailed. You should also maintain a journal documenting any physical or mental strain, pain, or other harmful effects that you suffer from as a result of the injury.  Finally, be sure to seek treatment for all the accident’s harmful effects. Sometimes pains and aches that appear minor at first can devolve into serious conditions. With proper documentation of all of the damages you suffer, proving and recovering those damages is a whole lot easier. How Does One Establish Premises Liability? To hold a property owner liable for injuries you suffer on their property, you need to prove their liability. A property owner isn’t responsible for all injuries that occur on their property, only some. Specifically, property owners are not liable for injuries that are caused by a person’s own negligence. Instead, they are only liable when you, the injured party, can show that they failed to maintain a safe premises and their failure causes an injury. To illustrate this concept, let’s sketch out a quick example: a slip and fall in a grocery store. Imagine that a shopper at a supermarket slips on spilled milk on the floor. The spill had been there for twenty minutes and there was no sign warning of the hazard. The owner in this instance likely acted negligent in failing to dry the floor and in failing to warn patrons of the spill. Because of their negligent failure, the shopper fell and suffered an injury. In this case, liability is pretty cut and dried.  Now, imagine the same situation as above, but with a couple notable differences. First, the wet floor is properly marked and cordoned off to dissuade customers from entering the dangerous area. Second, instead of walking in the store, the shopper decides to roller skate into the store to grab a drink while out for some exercise. Despite signs prohibiting roller skating in the store, they do it anyway. Otherwise, the situation is the same: the shopper slips on the wet floor, falls, and breaks their leg.  In this situation, the chances of holding the store owner liable for the accident is slim to none because the shopper acted negligently. First, they failed to follow the store’s rules by skating in the store. Second, they failed to obey the markings that closed off the area of the store with a wet floor. The store owner did what they could to maintain a safe premises, but due to the...

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