Fort Pierce Personal Injury Lawyers
Most people do not expect to suffer an injury as they progress through their daily routine. For example, it is reasonable to assume that you will make it to work unscathed if you drive safely. Likewise, you can assume that the scaffolding you pass on your way to lunch is secure, and the floor of the deli where you buy a sandwich is clean and dry.
In most scenarios, such assumptions are correct. When you’re wrong, though, the consequences can be devastating.
If you were hurt in an accident that only occurred because someone else was negligent or reckless, turn to the Fort Pierce personal injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston. We have assisted hundreds of clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 772-266-5555 to schedule a free consultation with one of our strategic accident attorneys.Do I Have Grounds for a Personal Injury Claim?
If you trip while grocery shopping because you happen to have poor balance, you would not have grounds for a personal injury claim against the establishment. If you slipped because the floor was wet, on the other hand, you may be entitled to compensation for all resulting injuries.
At the end of the day, negligence is the foundation of most successful personal injury claims. The only exception applies to cases that involve strict liability such as those stemming from defective products, dog bites, and demolitions involving explosives.
Regardless of whether your case is founded on strict liability, bad faith, or intentional misconduct, there are three elements that a personal injury claimant always must prove to secure compensation. Those elements are:
- A Duty of Care: The defendant’s duty of care to the plaintiff might have been established or implied. For example, motorists have an implied duty of care to those on the road around them while doctors establish a duty of care toward each patient they see in a clinical setting.
- A Breach of This Duty: There must have been some kind of breach of the duty of care. In other words, the defendant’s actions—or failure to act—must have created the conditions that ultimately led to the accident.
- Damages: If your doctor misreads an X-ray or the trucker in traffic next to you falls asleep but you do not sustain any injuries as a result, you do not have grounds for a claim. You must be able to prove that you incurred damages as a direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty.
At Donaldson & Weston, we have the experience and resources to find success even the most complicated accident claims. We limit our scope of practice to personal injury law, so our attorneys are well-versed in the relevant statutes, and they are able to tailor their strategies to the unique circumstances of each individual claim.
We handle a wide array of cases including:
- Motor-vehicle collisions;
- Drunk driving accidents;
- Boating accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Workplace accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Medication mistakes;
- Nursing home neglect and abuse; and
- Elder abuse.
In the state of Florida, personal injury claimants can seek compensation for the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Property damage;
- Past and future healthcare expenses;
- Home and vehicle modifications that are necessary to accommodate injuries;
- Lost wages;
- Lost benefits;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Loss of consortium.
All of the damages listed above are compensatory damages. In some cases, personal injury claimants may also be able to recover a punitive award.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which aim to make the plaintiff “whole” again, punitive damages aim to punish the liable party for gross negligence or intentional malice. They are also intended to deter similar misconduct in the future.
The state of Florida typically imposes a cap on punitive awards. In most cases, plaintiffs may recover up to three times their total compensatory damages or $500,000—whichever is greater—in punitive damages.
There are, however, several exceptions to this cap. For example, if you were the victim of medical malpractice and you’re suing a non-practitioner, punitive damages are capped at $750,000. If you’re suing a practitioner, the cap is $500,000. If you’re suing a government entity, you won’t be able to recover any punitive award. If the defendant was motivated by financial gain, the cap is $2 million, and if the defendant caused intentional harm, then no punitive damages cap applies.We Will Help You Avoid Unnecessary Delays, Disputes, and Complications
Legal proceedings are inherently complicated, and disputes can arise for all sorts of reasons. If you’re pursing a considerable amount of money, the insurance company has plenty of incentive to search for reasons to challenge your claim. But when you hire an attorney from Donaldson & Weston, our legal team will do everything in their power to avoid and overcome delays and disputes.Steps We May Take to Maximize the Potential Value of Your Claim
You can expect the insurance company or opposing party to search for reasons to deny your claim or at least reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay out. There are dozens of tactics they might employ to challenge your claim.
At Donaldson & Weston, we know what it takes to maximize our clients’ potential recovery. Here are a few strategies we can employ:
- Gathering all available evidence of liability and damages;
- Bringing in expert witnesses to provide testimony if necessary;
- Handling all correspondence with the claims adjuster on your behalf;
- Using proven settlement negotiation strategies; and
- Demonstrating our willingness to go to trial if the opposing party refuses to cooperate.
If you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine if you have grounds for a claim. We are proud to provide personalized and attentive representation, and we treat every case as if it was our most important one. Call 772-266-5555 or Contact Us Online to set up a free case evaluation with an accident lawyer.