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 Personal Injury 

"No Rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned."

        - Jean Paul.

  • WHAT IS PERSONAL INJURY?

 

When most non-lawyers come across the term personal injury, an auto accident may first come to mind. However, the term "Personal Injury" is more of a "catch all" term for a variety of legal actions. To simplify, any type of physical injury to the body as a result of another parties negligent actions will fall under this umbrella term. 

 

In legal terms, personal injury is referred to as a tort. A tort is an act or the omission of an act that gives rise to injury or harm to another person and amounts to a civil wrong under the law. Torts have a vast complex body of law governing any cause of action that falls within this umbrella term. Personal Injury cases are litigated under a negligence standard. In simplified legal terms, negligence is merely the failure of one person to take care in a manner that a reasonable person should under the same or similar circumstanceswhich results in a loss or injury to another person. What makes their actions negligent depends on what standard of care or duty they owe to the other party which is based on a multitude of factors. Factors that change the body of law and standard of care vary widely. A claim for injury due to medical malpractice holds a different set legal duties and standard of care than the duties owed for injury resulting from an automobile accident, or the duties owed to a patron who is at a business establishment, and so on. 

 

 

 

 

What particular duty of care that is owed to any one or set of individuals varies widely and is based on the particular facts of the case. That duty owed must have been breached, in other words, an individual failed to uphold that duty by their actions or possibly inactions. That breach must have been the proximate cause of the damages. In some situations, a duty can be breached, but no injury occurs, or there is another cause for the injury. The breach of that duty must have resulted in legally recognizable damages. The intricacies and the complexity of the law and the facts of your case require an experienced attorney. We are here with the necessary experience and know how to litigate any personal injury claim and recover all available monetary damages to the fullest extent of the law. 

  • AUTO ACCIDENTS & BODILY INJURY.

Florida is often refereed to as a "No-Fault" state. However, this does not necessarily mean that a person is not liable for the damage or loss they have caused through their negligence. "No-Fault" refers to Personal Injury Protection Benefits or "PIP Benefits." "No-fault" does not apply to "Bodily Injury Benefits." It is very important to understand the distinctions between Bodily Injury coverage and Personal Injury Protection coverage or P.I.P. Although the state of Florida requires only that an individual carry P.I.P, that will not cover another party for injuries arising out of your negligence, nor will someones else PIP cover your injuries arising through the fault of another. It will not cover your property damage or their property damage.

(A): Bodily Injury vs PIP coverage. (Simplified).

  • PIP is what pays for you or your passengers injuries, medical bills, and any loss of income regardless of whether or not you were responsible for the accident. One easy way to think about it is, your PIP covers every one in your car and pays for you and/or their medical bills (up to $10,000) even if you are at fault. It is Personal injury Protection, the key word is personal, it is for your benefitYour PIP insurance will never cover the driver of the other car or any of their passengers, their own PIP coverage will do that.Conversely, their PIP will never cover you or your passengers. 

  • Bodily Injury coverage pays for the injuries you cause to another party and vice versa, and provides protection if you were responsible for the auto accident and a law suit is filed against you. Your B.I. insurance will never cover yourself or your passengers. How much protection BI insurance covers depends on the extent of the car insurance policy purchased. This is why our firm recommends purchasing at least 100/300 policies if it is affordable. 

(B): UN/UM Coverage. (Simplified).

  • This is generally referred to as un-insured or under-insured motorist coverage. If you are hit by a driver who does not have enough B.I insurance, or who does not have any B.I insurance at all. UN/UM may be able to compensate you. UN/UM insurance is your own insurance. You are essentially filing a claim with your insurance carrier to compensate you for any and all remaining damages for which the at fault party did not or could not cover. Think of UM as sort of a mix between PIP and BI. UM is your insurance carrier that pays you in the event of bodily Injury. But only in the event you are not able to be fully compensated by the at-fault driver in the event they do not have insurance or they do not have enough insurance to make you whole. 

In sum, as the owner or registrant of a motor vehicle you are required by Florida law to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP protection benefits. If you carry the state requirements and you are involved in an auto accident, by law, a certain amount of your medical bills will be covered by your personal insurance company under your P.I.P benefits. On the other hand, if you only carry the state minimum requirement and you are involved in an auto accident due to someone else's negligence, and your personal medical bills exceed the PIP coverage, you may be able to pay for those and receive compensation through the at fault drivers Bodily Injury insurance, if they have such a policy. If they do not have insurance and you have UN/UM insurance, you can make a claim with your carrier and can be compensated to the extent of your policy. If you do not have UN/UM and the other party does not have any B.I coverage, you  may be left to pay for those medical bills out of your own pocket. It is also important to understand there may be other ways to recover if the at-fault party does not cary BI insurance, such as personal liability. However, this is often a dead end. That is why is critical to carry adequate insurance coverage. Merely carrying the state minimum leaves you grossly exposed. All of our services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us an email, call, or even text us! We want to hear from you!

  • RIDE SHARING ACCIDENTS.

Auto accidents involving ride sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft or even smaller lesser known platforms such as Via involve much of the same legal liability as any other automotive accident with a few notable exceptions which can make your recovery and litigation much more complex. 

 

For one, ride sharing companies often carry higher insurance coverage limits, the higher the limits, the more likely the companies attorneys will fight the case or reject the demand. Their coverage limits  may also vary dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the auto accident. For example, an accident that occurs while a driver is in route to pick up a person that has requested a ride, will have different coverage limits than an ancient that occurred while a driver had an occupant passenger in their vehicle taking them to their destination. Some ride sharing companies are self insured up to a certain limit under various circumstances.  What the ride sharing companies are obligated to do and what their obligations are to you can also vary dependent upon the facts surrounding the auto accident. What most important is that these companies may try to say an individual was not in route or there was no occupancy in the vehicle in order to resolve the claim for as little as possible ad reduce their exposure.

 

This is why it is very important to have experienced legal representation to effectively fight these corporate ride sharing giants so that you are compensated to the fullest extent of the law. Here, at Locay Law we have the necessary experience as well as the modern techniques to do just that. Further, all of our services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us an email, text, or call our office to tell us more about your situation. We want to hear from you!

  • PREMISES LIABLITY.

This body of law deals with injuries to persons while on someone else's propertywhether that be personal property, commercial property, public property, or government property. Commonly referred to as a slip and fall, or trip and fall in some situations, but can also be the result of something falling on a person or some other dangerous condition on the property. Simplified, Florida classifies individuals who are on another's property as either (a) invitees; or (b) licensees. The distinction is rarely clear and largely depends on whether you've been invited expressly or implicitly, and whether your presence on the property falls within the implicit or explicit invitation be that personal or business related.

  • Invitee Simplified. 

    • An invitee is someone who comes onto the property of another by express or implied consent. Express consent may be a verbal gesture to come onto the property. Implied consent may be a sign on an auto parts store window saying we are open for business. In either situation the property owner has certain duties toward the invitee. 

  • Licensee Simplified.

    • A licensee on the other hand, is sort of a hybrid between an invitee and a trespasser. For example, you may go inside the auto store to use the restroom but not to purchase anything. In this case, the store owner has a different set of duties owed by law toward that individual.

The distinction can be complex and this is more or less an oversimplification to provide an example of the distinctions and complexities.  There are also a number of factors that can change the duties owed to someone who comes onto another's property. The duties owed by a landowner to an invitee or licensee are dependent upon what category the injured persons falls under. The distinction often requires litigation just to determine whether an individual is an invitee or a licenseeWe have handled numerous cases involving highly complex premises liability cases and it is one of our foremost areas of practice. 

Regardless of the situation you or your family are in, we have the experience, know how, resources, and capabilities to effectively and efficiently litigate your case. Further, all of our services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us a message via phone, email, text, or call! We want to speak with you!

  • TOXIC TORTS

Toxic torts deal with Personal Injury claims involving harmful substances. Most of us have seen televised commercials or ads from a law firm looking for individuals who have been effected by certain toxic substances such as those involving asbestos, or the the famous cases involving the big tobacco companies. These were all substances that were hazardous in one way or another and caused harm to those people who came into contact with them at one point or another. Not all toxic substance torts involve mass litigation resulting in televised ads. A lot of toxic tort claims are not well known to the public. They can even involve spills or burns as a result of a chemical substance that leads to a more immediate injury, rather than these injuries that occur over years or decades such as tobacco

Like any tort, the basic legal elements need to be established in order to prevail at trial. As previously noted, duty, breach, causation, and damages must be established by the party bringing the tort claim. However, when it comes to toxic torts in particular, causation is often the most troublesome element to establish. The Plaintiff needs to establish that the substance or chemical is what caused their injuries. However, when the injury is not immediate, for example, coming into contact with a chemical that leads to a skin disease years later, establishing causal connection can be difficult. To provide a better understanding of the complexity of establishing this element, imagine a case involving a typical car accident and in that accident, one individual suffers a broken arm. In that case, it is fairly easy to attribute the broken arm to the car accident. The Plaintiff didn't have a broken arm while they were driving, then immediately after the car accident, their arm was broken. The proximate cause of the broken arm was the car accident. However, with toxic torts, the injuries can sometimes come years or decades after coming into contact with the substance, such as tobacco. Thus, making establishing the connection between the substance and the injuries that much more difficult to prove. It will often involve a number of medical experts, scientists, tests, and research to gather the evidence necessary to establish this element. The auto accident example is of course simplified and auto accidents are not always as straight forward. The point however, is that the injuries from a motor vehicle accident often occur immediately and are noticeable. The reverse is often true with injuries from a toxic substance. This is why it is very important to retain a lawyer that not only has the experience and resources to litigate this type of claim, but one who is willing to go the distance in pursuing the claim and understands the difficulty of these cases.

If you or your family believe you may have been effected by a harmful chemical substance, you should first refrain from coming into contact with that substance again, and seek medical help. We also advise that you contact our office to further asses your case. We have the experience, know how, resources, and capabilities to effectively litigate your tort claim. We do not take any money upfront. All of services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us a message via phone, email, text, or call us. We are more than happy to discuss your potential claim and your options and we want to speak with you!

  • DOG BITES

Dog bites can often be a traumatic experience. Florida has a long history with dog bite litigation. Miami Dade County ban "pit-bulls" in the 1980's. Ironicallyaccording to the Chicago Injury Center, the Golden Retriever breed accounts for the most dog bites followed by pit-bulls. In general, Florida is a strict liability state when it comes to injuries resulting from a dog bite. Strict liability in this body of law means that the owner of the dog is liable for the injuries that the animal inflicted regardless of whether or not they had any previous knowledge of the dogs propensity to be vicious or propensity to bite. In other words, the owners prior knowledge that the dog was ever aggressive or has ever bitten anyone is irrelevant. However,  there are a number of factors that are assessed in order to determine whether or not the owner can be held strictly liable for the dogs actions.

 

In Florida, liability for dog bites are governed by Florida Statute 767.04. The owner will be held strictly liable if the bite occurred in a public space or while the injured party was lawfully on private property, including the owners property. However, one exception to this rule is ground in any negligence that may have occurred on the part of the injured party (the one who was bitten). In other words, in this circumstance, asses if the negligence of the victim. There is a vast body of case law surrounding what constitutes negligence on the part of the victim or individual who was injured by the dog.  If the individual was negligent in their actions, and that negligence lead to the individual being bitten, it may serve to completely bar the owners liability. Example, "person A" is at "person B's" house and was invited there for dinner. Person B is seated at the dinner table and Person A's dog walks up to Person B and bites his leg causing injury.  Person A will be strictly liable for the injuries. Liability can no longer be contested  and the amount of damages will comprise the majority of litigation. Let's take a look at a different fact pattern. Example "2," Person A is at person B's house and was invited there for dinner. Person B is seated at the dinner table, Person A's dog is under the table sleeping. Person B repeatedly kicks the dog in his/her stomach to get them to move from under the table, the dog wakes up and bites person B causing injury. In this case, provocation of the dog is what led to the bite and person A will not be held liable. Of course these are over simplified examples, and most cases are a little more complex. But the general principals are the same. 

If you or your family has been affected by this very situation, we have the experience and know how to effectively litigate these claims. Our office has handled many claims involving injuries sustained by dog bites. All of services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us a message via phone, email, text, or call us. We are more than happy to discuss your potential claim and your options and we want to speak with you!

  • MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Claims ground in medical malpractice are notoriously difficult to litigate. For one, legislatures and the law recognize that doctors and medical professionals are essential to our society and they do not want to discourage good doctors from practicing medicine. As a result, the law imposes a high standard and burden to over come in litigating claims ground in medical malpractice. Further, the Florida statute dealing with this body of law is complex and lengthy.  Title XLV, chapter 766 goes into great depth on issues dealing with immunity for certain medical boards, liability for doctors, comparative fault, bad faith actions, and more. Further, case law sounding the grey areas is just as complex, numerous, lengthy, and ever evolving.

Like any other tort, duty, breach, causation, and damages must be established to prevail on a medical malpractice claim. Here, the issues are largely ground in what duty was owed to the injured party and causation.  The duty owed will be analyzed under what a reasonable medical professional or doctor of that kind would do under the same or similar circumstances. For example: Doctor Allan sees patient Benny, and doctor Allan fails to order a certain routine type of diagnostic testing, and as a result of doctor Allan's failure to do so, doctor Allan misdiagnosis patient Benny, and if that diagnostic testing was order, the disease would have been caught int time, and as a result, Betty claims that the misdiagnosis is the proximate cause of the her damage. doctor Here, Doctor Allen may be liable. Keep in mind this is a gross oversimplification. The duty of care Doctor Allen owes tends to be a highly litigated element. In legal terms,  would a reasonable doctor under the same or similar circumstances have ordered that testing, and if so, failure to do so would be a breach of a duty owed. Causation also tends to be significant and highly litigated element. Simplified, if patient Benny would have been correctly diagnosed but for the failure of the doctor to order that test, then that patient Benny may recover monetary damages. Even with this over simplified example, you can begin to see the complexity of medical malpractice cases. There are numerous other factors involved that may keep Doctor Allen from being held liable, such a failure of betty to get a second opinion in some circumstances, but you get the point. 

Here at Locay Law, we have the resources to effectively litigate these claims. If you believe you may have a claim for Medical Malpractice, please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your case. All of our services for personal injury claims are contingent upon the outcome of your case. Please send us a message via phone, email, text, or call us! We are more than happy to discuss your potential claim and your options. We want to speak with you!

  • What You Should Do After Being Injured & Our Legal Approach.

 

In the event you, someone you know, or someone around you suffers an injury:

 

(1) If the injury is severe, life threatening, or you are unsure of the severity, dial 911 immediately. Medical help should be the first thing on your mind, not litigation. 

(2) If you believe an ambulance is unnecessary, we recommend going to the hospital, an urgent care doctor or your general physician to get checked, as well as documenting the initial injuries as soon as safely possible.

(3) We recommend contacting our office as soon as any danger is over and medical help has been administered, we work throughout the entire state of Florida. You can contact us anytime, we also answer by text message.  

Upon evaluating your case with you, we will advise you of our recommendations. After taking your case, we will immediately refer you to several trustworthy medical professional of your choosing in your area to treat and diagnose any other injuries you may have. In many cases the adrenaline after an accident/injury may mask many injuries. This is a critical step in handling your case as in certain circumstances, you have a limited time frame in which to see a medical professional for injuries sustained in an accident, such as an auto accident.

 

Our office will book your appointment with the medical professional of your choosing and remind you to arrive on time the day before. We will periodically check in with you and your doctor to make sure you are being taken care of. We will then gather all the evidence in your case and obtain all the necessary documents from the physicians to process your claim. Treatment with the physician may be continual for a period of time. This is vital, as documentation by experts and medical professionals is a critical process to obtaining a favorable settlement for you. 

 

After the necessary treatment has been completed, we send a demand in order to recover damages on your behalf. This is the negotiation stage where we work to recover for the losses you have incurred as a result of the accident prior to filing suit. If no settlement can be reached, we will continue to fight for your rights, file suit, and  appear in court on your behalf. The vast majority of our P.I cases are contingent upon the outcome, in other words, we do not earn money unless you recover. You do not pay us for anything until we recover for your injuries. Further, we will keep you apprised of all settlement negations. We will never settle your claim without obtaining your permission to settle the case for an amount your are happy with. 

Common occurrence that amount to personal injury and are normally governed by tort law.  

 (1) Auto Accidents;

 (2) Slip and Fall on another's property (Premises Liability);

 (3) Trip and Fall on another's property;

 (4) Defective Products (Product Liability);

 (5) Medical Malpractice;

 (6) Dog bites.

However, the above list is not exhaustive of the type of claims by any means

In general, the law requires three (3) basic elements to be met for an action in tort to prevail.  

 (1) Duty: (a duty is owed by someone)

 (2) Breach: (that duty owed was breached)

 (3) Causation: (the breach of that duty proximately caused the injury)

 (4) Damages or harm. (the party suffered damages or harm).

-  LOCAY LAW, P.L.L.C.  -

EMAIL, CALL, OR TEXT US !!

(305)597-0055 - dl@locaylaw.com

Negligence  - Auto Accidents - Slip & Fall - Product Liability - Wrongful Death - Catastrophic Injury - Premises Liability - Dog Bite 
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