What is Wrongful Death

Wrongful death describes a claim or lawsuit filed against a person or corporation who were negligent or careless and caused the death of a family member. In Florida, the wrongful death statute sets forth the legal requirements, eligibility, and damages available.

Florida Wrongful Death Claims Can Be Complex

Under the law, when a person dies, he or she stops being recognized as a legal person or entity.  Instead, an estate is created in the Probate Court to stand in the place of person who died. While some people think of the term “estate” as referring to only to wealthy individuals with large holdings of property or belongings, in the legal sense it simply means a legal interest in actual or expected property or money of the decedent.

Notably, a wrongful death claim can only be brought by a Personal Representative.  The personal representative, also known as the “PR,” is appointed by the Probate Court.  In Florida, the Personal Representative is not required to be a blood relative to the decedent, but is always required to act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries at all times. This prevents the PR from self-dealing or taking action which is adverse to the estate’s interests.

People who are eligible to receive money damages through the estate for the wrongful death are family members.  Only surviving family members, including biological children, adopted children, and legally married spouses, are eligible to receive money from a wrongful death claim.

Sadly, this often means that an individual who is engaged to be married to the decedent is ineligible to become a wrongful death survivor for purposes of asserting a his or her own wrongful death damages claim.  Non-relatives may, however, be eligible to receive proceeds from the estate separately when a Last Will and Testament designates specific individuals as beneficiaries for proceeds of the estate.

How Does a Wrongful Death Occur?

wrongful death claim
Similar to a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim often beings when negligence caused the death. There are many examples of such careless acts causing wrongful death.  A few common examples are listed here:

  • car accident
  • commercial vehicle accident
  • motorcycle crash
  • pedestrian stuck by vehicle
  • scooter struck by a vehicle
  • bicycle struck by vehicle
  • traumatic brain injury sustained in a crash which causes death
  • work injury
  • construction accident
  • defective product
  • dangerous prescription drugs
  • dangerous property conditions

There are, of course, many other forms of negligence which can lead to a wrongful death claim.

Compensation for Wrongful Death in Florida

Compensation in the form of money damages for wrongful death may include mental pain and suffering, value of lost services, lost income, loss of companionship, medical bills, and funeral and burial expense.

If you are a surviving family member whose loved one died as the result of carelessness or negligence, then you may have a legal claim for wrongful death compensation.  In Southwest Florida, including Collier County, Lee County, Hendry County, Charlotte County, Hendry County, and surrounding communities, contact Fort Myers wrongful death lawyer David Harris, for a free consultation. David understands losing a loved one, and vigorously pursues maximum financial compensation for your harms and losses. The initial consultation is free and without obligation 888-294-8090.

Why Using Ambulance After an Auto Accident is Important

auto accident fort myers

After a Crash, an Ambulance Ride to the Emergency Room can be Important For Your Health and Your Accident Claim

In an auto accident, the driver or passenger in the no-fault vehicle may be out-of-it and have no idea of how hurt he or she really is. Some injuries, such as broken bones, may be obvious. Other injuries, however, such as brain damage, spinal damage, or disc herniation, can be more subtle. In fact, the signs and symptoms of many serious conditions may not appear for days, weeks, or even months.

Too often, at the crash scene, many injury victims refuse to use an ambulance or EMS services thinking that they are okay. This may seem, and actually be, completely reasonable under the circumstances. The crash injury victim feels some pain but wants to get home to family and recover there. No one wants to go the hospital.

Those aches and pains then become worse. What you thought was a temporary ache has become non-stop. Your symptoms start worsening.

The symptoms of headache, nausea, fatigue, or poor balance, may be signs of a serious brain injury.  Pain that started in the neck area is now throbbing or shooting pain going into the shoulders, arms, and hands, which could a cervical herniated disc or spinal cord injury. That discomfort in the low back which is now burning and sending non-stop shooting pain into the legs may be a lumbar disc herniation or spinal cord compression.

These are very serious medical conditions and have severe consequences for good people. Although there is time to obtain medical help, very valuable tie has been lost.

Auto Insurance Companies Place Considerable Weight on Whether the Victim was Transported by EMS

In the context of an auto accident injury claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attack the victim for not going to the hospital by ambulance from the scene of the collision.  Although not based on medical evidence, insurance companies often treat the non-use of emergency medical services harshly, suggesting that the injury was not caused by the car accident because the victim did not seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

While illogical and not based on medical science, insurance companies stick to their mantra that “no ambulance means no injury occurred.” This does not mean your genuine accident injury claim is lost or you did something wrong.

Instead, whether you used EMS or not is about perspective and the challenges auto accident claims typically encounter nowadays with insurance adjusters. If you have a serious injury, then you may need an experienced advocate to explain your situation to the insurance carrier and champion your cause.

Had Your Health Checked Out After a Serious Auto Accident? Now Have Your Rights Checked Out

Do not become an insurance victim. If you have suffered a real injury because of a real auto accident in Southwest Florida, the contact experienced Fort Myers accident lawyer David Harris of Harris Law for a free review of your situation.

David has been a trial attorney and litigator since 1995 who fights for his clients’ rights. Importantly, at Harris Law clients are appreciated and encouraged to meet with and call attorney Harris whenever they have any questions, concerns, or thoughts they want to share. Free call 888-294-8090 for a free consult.

Settlement of Personal Injury Claims

Like you, I am a consumer.  So, when I see all of these personal injury lawyer ads that seem to be chest-thumping and talking about “trials” and “trying your case,” I wonder:  who cares?  I personally do not think anyone cares about such claims.

Personal Injury Lawyers and Trial Lawyers

You have to understand that not every personal injury lawyer is a trial lawyer and not every trial lawyer is a personal injury lawyer. Some lawyers have tried cases before juries, and others have not. Some lawyers who have not tried cases are excellent, whereas others are simply not that good. Similarly, simply having tried a case before a jury does not transform an attorney into some superhero. The fact is, some lawyers are simply good at telling a story of loss and hope and connecting with others in the personal injury context, and others are not.

Great trial lawyers lose cases at trial. The old saying—which I believe is true—is true, is that if a lawyer boasts about never losing a case then he or she probably has not tried enough cases. This is because the circumstances—the actual facts, the genuine story of what happened and the person whom the events affected, along with the law which applies to those faces—are hugely important.

Framing the story and making sure the critical details are told, and told effectively, are very important as well, but ultimately depend on the actual circumstances. In other words, unfavorable circumstances and law, more often than not, yield unfavorable results; regardless of how excellent or learned the advocate may be.

Trial Lawyer Who Focuses on Personal Injury Claims

I am proud to be a trial lawyer, which I have been since 1995. I have tried cases to juries and arbitration panels. Some years have involved many trials while others have seen none. Many civil cases—which includes personal injury, wrongful death, and similar tort claims—settle out of court. These cases may be litigated in court but the parties often come together and resolve their differences through settlement. This is the reality of 90% or more of these claims.

Trials for me are exciting.  Win or lose, they can be exhilarating. The pressure to win, the tradition of addressing the jury in opening statement and closing argument, the thrill of cross-examining witnesses.  Taking all of the information and using your skill to present it in a cogent, coherent way; telling the story of your client and the challenges faced.  It can be epic for the trial lawyer.  Creating a genuine, gripping, show based on the evidence is a form of theater.

I enjoy trials and the process of trying cases to juries. I enjoy the work, the tactics, strategy, and storytelling elements and performing them live in front of an audience. Nevertheless, I also understand that perhaps the overwhelming majority of lawyers do not like trying cases. In reality, of the million or more lawyers out there, only a small fraction have ever tried a case to a jury.

Many Individuals and Businesses in Personal Injury Claims Prefer Settlement

A lot of clients, actually, do not want a trial. The pressure, the risk—a trial is often all-or-nothing bet—is rarely the desired route for plaintiffs or defendants. Individuals and businesses do not like having their stories in the public domain. Individuals do not like the exposure of their private lives, their medical history, and personal stories publicly available for the masses. Similarly, businesses do not like the negative publicity, details about their company, or mistakes they have made, made public. many people prefer to avoid that tension.

Instead, plaintiffs and defendants alike, in the overwhelming majority of personal injury claims, prefer to reach a settlement. Reaching terms which are fair, reasonable, and fulfill the needs of the injured do take a lot of work. Contingencies have to be planned for; the terms must be carefully developed to protect the injured person. Your lawyer should be be seeking maximum compensation for your circumstances.

I have not a single client who has desired a trial instead of a fully reasonable settlement. Most injured persons and most at-fault parties would rather reach a settlement and move on. That is the reality.

Do You Want to Settle Your Personal Injury Claim?

The questions you should be asking, perhaps, are whether the lawyer you choose can appreciate the facts of your case and present them in a way which may lead to the results you want. Is your personal injury lawyer someone who can negotiate the best settlement under your circumstances? Can your trial lawyer take your facts and craft a truthful story—the art of theater based on the evidence—without having to go through a jury trial? Is a trial in your best interests? What are the risks of going to trial versus the risks of settlement?

Ask yourself these questions when considering your options and who will represent you and your family in your personal injury claims. If you have questions, then contact me for a free consultation.

Beware of Tips Which Hurt Not Help

Everyone has an opinion. Nothing wrong with that, and as matter of fact, something I encourage among everyone. The reader should consider what is being suggested and then consider other options or points of view.

As applied to personal injury claims, there seem to be all types of suggestions on what to do and what mistakes to avoid. All opinions offered as suggestions or tips, however, should be scrutinized before relying on them. This includes any suggestions or random thoughts provided here.

Some Personal Injury Claim Tips Are Not Helpful

The reason I suggest thoughtfully considering any tip—whether provided by an experienced lawyer or some self-styled guru—is because some recommendations may not help your circumstances or cause.

For example, there are some lawyers who suggest that immediately after an accident causing injury—whether auto accident, slip and fall, construction mishap, or other event caused by negligence—suggest the injury victim start the claims process.

  • Call a lawyer from the scene;
  • Take photographs at the scene;
  • Video record the accident scene;
  • Interview witnesses.

The desire is to document what happened and identify witnesses who may help explain the incident. This is a noble goal.

At first blush, some of these suggestions sound reasonable—with the exception of contacting an injury attorney from any accident scene which I believe is a horrible idea—and have a goal in mind of preserving and strengthening a possible injury claim. There are some unintended consequences, however, which should be considered as they can negatively impact the claim.

If you have been seriously injured in a car wreck or fall down, then how do you start identifying witnesses and obtaining their information? How do you start taking photos? You may take these steps—you are not prohibited from doing so—but how does that look?

The perception this type of post-accident activity can generate may affect your credibility. The circumstances are critical here. Someone with a broken arm or leg may be conscious and be able to take photos. This person may be able to talk to witnesses who approach him or her asking to help. Perhaps exchanging cell phone numbers can be quickly done so as to identify the witnesses.

Roaming around the crash scene or store where the fall accident occurred—calling an injury lawyer, taking photos, taking video, or questioning witnesses and taking notes—may document the incident, but destroy the viability of the injury claim itself.

Common Sense and Reasonable Judgment are Critical

After any severe injury, the first priority is health. In my experience, genuinely hurt people and their families are focused squarely on their injuries and getting better before they start thinking about accountability.

How the accident occurred, what the at fault driver or company did wrong, and who will pay your bills are likely expected by your peers—jurors—to be part of the post-accident investigation after your health is being addressed at hospital.

Perception—right or wrong—often plays a large part in valid personal injury claims. Insurance companies are looking for reasons to deny or fight a legitimate accident injury claim. Insurance adjusters want to minimize the amount of money they pay you. Do not give insurance carriers any grounds to question your genuine injuries and value. Knowing that you conducted a comprehensive investigation at the scene of your accident may provide an insurance corporation with the narrative—the misconception—they need to fight the true value of your claim.

The bottom line is that everyone should be careful about what injury lawyer tips, suggestions, and recommendations they heed. Think about that content critically and try to place it in context of the circumstances. In my opinion, the better road to follow is to be yourself and practice common sense. Do what what you believe is right under the circumstances.

Lawyer Tips on Accidents May Miss the Mark

Every accident presents different circumstances. Auto accidents are governed by different facts and law from premises liability claims from other negligence claims. Each of these situations has different needs in terms of re-constructing what happened and the reasons for the occurrence. Some facts are simple to piece together while many others are more intricate and complex.

Directing someone on how to react after a crash or fall is not appropriate. There is no one-size-fits-all response from the victim which is always correct or always incorrect. Accidents are too fluid, victims are really hurt, and reality prevents any tip or suggestion from applying across-the-board.

Staying calm, cool, and collected and using your best judgment to keep yourself and family safe are rules of thumb. As a tragedy unfolds, keeping it together is easier said than done. That is reality.

Perhaps there is a single thing—just one—anyone can do in any accident injury scenario. No memorization is needed. No tricks or tactics.

Instead, just be yourself. This will happen naturally, and takes no coaching. Genuineness requires no assistance. How you react to the event will depend on, and vary by, the incident. As your lawyer, I will deal with those faultless and genuine circumstances.

Settling Your Injury Claim

There is a lot of talk about trials and juries and taking a personal injury claim to trial by attorneys. I am a trial lawyer and have actually tried cases. Not every case gets better at trial or during litigation, whereas some claims do have a more favorable presentation to juries.

Sometimes Settling Your Claim is the Best Approach

Some clients want a trial to resolve the dispute. If the claim warrants a jury trial and that is where justice will be served then I am all for it.

Most civil claims—cases involving personal injury, accidents, death, and the like—do settle out of court. This is reality.

Some clients would prefer to avoid a trial because of the emotional toll it could take upon them. In other circumstances, the at fault insurance or negligent business or careless driver wants to avoid the risk of a big verdict or damaging publicity.

Your Circumstances Help Determine Whether Settlement will Happen

Facts drive personal injury claims. The worse the facts are for the defense, then the more likely there will be a full and fair settlement of the claim. On the other hand, if the injury is small or the injured party was partly at fault, and yet that plaintiff is expecting millions, then settlement is unlikely and the trial results will probably be disappointing.

There are certainly injury claims in which trial is the only way to go. Many insurance companies routinely act in bad faith and refuse to pay valid claims.

In my experience, however, most injury clients and at fault parties would rather settle out of court. My clients want fair compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering, payment of medical bills and health liens, recovery of lost wages. The defendant, or at-fault party, wants to minimize risk and the insurance company or big corporation makes a business decision to resolve the claim. The circumstances of the claim is what pushes the matter toward, or away, from settlement.

When settlement is achieved, then clients pay a lower attorney’s fee, costs are lower than after a trial, there is no appeal. Additionally, clients receive their compensation fairly quickly, their current and future needs may be met, and this can provide peace of mind.

Preparing Cases for Trial Usually Leads to Settlement of the Injury Claim

At Harris Law, cases are prepared to go to trial. By doing this, I know my client’s issues, needs, and how to overcome defenses that may be asserted by the insurance company’s attorneys. Through this preparation, I understand the weaknesses that may exist and the strengths, and work toward balancing those issues in favor of the client.

If you have, or someone you love has, been seriously injured through the negligence or wrongdoing of others, then contact Harris Law. You will receive personal attention and service, have your questions answered, receive prompt calls back from your own personal lawyer, and have a dedicated and driven advocate on your side fighting for your rights.

You are welcome to obtain a free consultation about your circumstances by calling or using the contact form here on the website.

Staying Positive and Hopeful in Your Injury Claim

Every plaintiff in a personal injury claim faces burdens and hardship. This is part of life as well as the claims process.

There is no dispute that you did not ask to be hurt. You did not ask for your life to be interrupted, or put on hold, regardless of how many times the at-fault insurance carrier dismisses your damages and needs.

Showing Hope is not Easy When Facing Insurance Companies

Remaining hopeful while in severe pain—in the face of the indifference and mocking attitudes often expressed by insurance companies—can be a genuine challenge. Sometimes, we are moved from the inside to want to express our anger, disgust, and frustration with the games being played by those responsible for our hardship.

This is what insurance companies want. Providing them with just a snippet of your distress can provide them with how they seek to define you. While you may be an optimist and demonstrably happy person, suffering can often diminish that side of you. Just a momentary lapse of giving voice to your anger can have lingering effects.

You may be the victim but that does not mean you should act like one. Why fight the facts of your injury case when they can make the claim about you?

We all may have an undesirable side, or an ugly side, to our personality. While typically dormant, this unflattering dimension could be provoked into saying something or acting in a manner which is inconsistent with the real person inside.

Instead of feeling as though the walls are caving in because you have been through so much and you feel as though there is no end in sight, just take a moment of quiet. Reflect on what happened and how far you have come. There may be a long road ahead, but chances are you are considerably father along then you though possible at this point in time.

Allow that to sink in deep. Resume who you are once again.

Do Not Give In or Give Up

Staying positive shows who you really are inside. Coping with the pain and hardship is challenging, and there are certainly days when it is difficult to find the positive side of the obstacles you face.

Staying hopeful is critical, however, not just for your sense of self and moving forward, but in maximizing your potential compensation. Juries tend to favor likeable people who—despite long odds and a difficult journey ahead—do not give up. Jurors want to help people who are trying to help themselves. Jurors want to extend their hand and help those whom they believe will benefit from the compensation and use that money constructively in the future.

Part of the rationale is that pretty much everyone has encountered a particular hardship or struggle in his or her life. Some are huge by objective standards and others small in comparison.

Each person, however, has faced some challenge at some point in his or her life. Each person has frustrated in trying to overcome that obstacle. Every person would have welcomed help from some source to have made the process earlier.

Jurors are people too. They have have this same universal desire to help others who are seeking to overcome hurdles programmed into their minds—just like that sense is in your mind—but has to be activated. In order to tap into that sense, however, you have to be worthy.

You earn a great level of this credibility by showing hope. You do not give up despite the burdens you face, do not give in to your frustration and anger—no matter how justified and righteous those emotions may be—but instead, show only your hope and positivity.

Staying Positive in the Face of Adversity Helps Resolve Personal Injury Claims

As discussed, jurors invest in winners. You are a winner by being true to yourself and flowing with the positive stream despite your harms, hardship, and losses. This often puts the insurance company defending the claim in a very bad position.

Without a victim mentality to highlight or bash, the insurance company must focus on combating the facts of the claim. This is not where the insurance adjuster or carrier wants to be as the company tries to defend the claim.

The circumstances and the law are certainly important factors to favorable resolution of your personal injury claim. In my experience, personal injury plaintiffs who remain themselves—continuing to demonstrate hope and positivity as they move forward to accomplish their goals and overcome hardships—will enhance their claims and benefit from their dispositions.

Avoiding Failure in Personal Injury Claims

A Failed Injury Claim Hits Hard

No one wants their serious injury claim to fail. A loss hits hard for someone who is struggling over an accident injury and the harms and financial woes that accompany them.

It is true that not every accident injury claim is winnable. Some client cases present factual challenges and legal hurdles which can sink valid claims. There are many quirks in the law, including immunity, caps on damages, and of course, exceptions to exceptions.

You often will not know or learn of how the law and its twists and turns affect you until you consult an attorney who is experienced in such matters and knows the applicable law. In some cases, there is no way to avoid having a solid lawyer review your circumstances to protect your rights.

Steps to Avoid the Failure Horn

In additional to complex legal issues, people manage to injure their serious injury claims routinely by thinking they can do it themselves. In a personal injury claim or auto accident claim of significance, such as those involving long-term injuries and losses, the victim really can harm their compensation outcome by what they do or fail to do.

For example, there are some important things you need to understand:

The insurance company behind the at-fault driver or business is not your friend and not on your side.

The insurance representative for the negligent party represents the negligent party. Did you get that? No matter how friendly the adjuster may seem, the fact is that insurance rep is seeking to limit what you get paid for your injuries and damages. No ifs, ands, or buts.

You are not required to give the at fault party’s insurance company a statement in any shape, size, or form. So, don’t.

Anything you say, and any information you provide, to the insurance company which represents the at fault driver or negligent business is used to try and protect themselves and their insured.

Tell the truth. Always. No exceptions.

When you tell the truth, you are free. Free from any substantive inconsistencies and free from crazy insurance defense claims that you are a liar, the defense cannot attack your credibility.

Keep in mind that in every personal injury lawsuit involving serious injuries, the insurance defense’s playbook is to attack the victim’s credibility. Eliminate this by telling the truth every single time.

Do not agree to any settlement without first consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer.

While this sounds self-serving, it is spot-on true in serious matters. If your injuries involve fractures, herniated disc surgery, spinal damage, brain damage, or similar severe injuries and losses, then agreeing to an insurance settlement is a very critical matter.

Once you say, “I accept” to the insurance company’s offer, then you may be stuck. Not good. If it turns out your injuries are worse than you thought when you accepted that low settlement check, then you are out of luck.

Every injury settlement involves a binding contract called a “release.” This settlement document is often written so you give up every claim against anyone and everyone. You sign your rights away to full and fair compensation when you sign a release, so you had better be 100% certain about what you are doing.

While preventing these mistakes can certainly keep your valid, serious claim, on track, nothing guarantees success.

Determine If Your Personal Injury Claim is on the Path to Victory or Failure

A free review of your serious accident injury circumstances by experienced Fort Myers personal injury lawyer David Harris is only a phone call away. Call 888-294-8090. You may also use our convenient contact form to request a free consultation.

Florida Wrongful Death Survival Action

Florida’s Often Misunderstood Survival Action

survival action lawsuitUnder Florida law, a survival action is a personal injury claim which continues after the injured party’s death. This type of claim is different from a wrongful death claim. A survival claim does not link the death as caused by the injury for which damages are sought.  On the other hand, in a wrongful death action, the claim is based on the injury causing the death.

Example of How Survival Claim Works in Florida

An example may help illustrate the difference between the two types of lawsuits. The victim is a 55 year married woman and mother of 2 teenage children. She suffers from incurable cancer.  This woman is in a car crash, from which she suffers horrendous injuries, such as spinal cord injury which renders her paralyzed. The victim  lives but with all the problems and limits of a quadriplegic.

The victim lives for two more years after the auto accident enduring those injuries.  She dies, however, from cancer. Doctors confirm that her death is not related to the paralysis. In this example, the paralysis injury did not cause the woman’s death, but she lived her final two years restricted and unable to enjoy her family as she once did.

The Personal Representative of the woman’s estate may file a survival action against the driver and owner of the of the vehicle for caused the victim’s injuries, medical bills, therapy bills, and pain and suffering during those two years of her life.

Unlike many States, Florida does not allow the decedent’s survivors to receive damages for both wrongful death and survival, even, for example, where the decedent lived for months in the hospital post-accident until death. While both claims may be pursued at the same time,  but only one type of damages can be recovered. Whether survival action or wrongful death action is selected really depends on the compelling nature of the facts for each claim.  In most cases, however, a case is more factually appropriate for either a survival action or wrongful death action, but not both.

Fort Myers Injury Lawyer Pursues Survival Actions for Surviving Family Members

The death of a loved one is a tragic event, and moving forward can last a lifetime. When a person or corporation was careless and killed your loved one, or injured your family member so he or she spent final time of life in pain and anguish, then legal action to hold those parties accountable may be appropriate.

Knowing you, your values, and your needs, Fort Myers injury lawyer David Harris seeks the legal course which offers the most compensation under the circumstances.  When there is a delay between the accident which caused injury and then death, he often prosecutes both claims until we have to elect which one to give the jury.  Making sure that you have all the facts and evidence to provide the strongest claim for full compensation is the approach of Harris Law. Free consultation, no obligation, and no fee if there is no recovery. Call 888-294-8090.

Tips for the Injured in an Auto Accident in SW Florida

Every auto accident is a painful experience, regardless of whether or not anyone was hurt. These incidents create delay, inconvenience, and interference in our lives, and very often the innocent driver gets the run-around from insurance companies. This is routine in property damage claims without any bodily injury.

When someone is injured in an auto accident, then an insurance company’s indifference can often be worse. For accident injury victims who have not taken proper steps to protect their rights and eligibility for fair compensation, the auto insurance carrier for the at-fault driver may seek to take advantage of the circumstances.

This can feel like having the door close on your claim:

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Accident Compensation Claim

Here are some steps you can take to avoid having the door close on your auto accident injury claim:

  • Tell Police and EMS if You Have Any Pain or Discomfort:  Be sure to report and document any minor discomfort to first responding law enforcement and EMS — even if it seems minor at the scene.  Substantial personal injury is often masked early on, and failure to let others know — especially law enforcement and emergency medical personnel — at the scene, will often result in the trucking company and other insurance companies disputing the whether the Florida semi accident caused personal injuries when they become full blown.
  • Obtaining Witness Information:  When you are injured, your health comes first, so getting information about witnesses may be left to police, or any friends, family, or passengers at the scene who were not injured in the crash. If witness identities are not obtained at the scene, or if the police miss them, then this important information can be difficult or impossible to obtain afterwards.
  • Notify Your Auto Insurance Company and Activate Your No-Fault Insurance Coverage:  Notify your very own insurance company of your car accident. You are likely required to notify then of the crash per your policy. When you do, make sure your insurer knows your no-fault personal injury protection insurance is needed for health care bills. Your no-fault PIP is the first line of insurance coverage under Florida law, and pays regardless of who was at fault. PIP no-fault pays up to the first $10,000 of your health care and lost wages, but only if you act quickly. Under the new PIP law, for example, the injury victim must be treated by a physician within 14 days. If not, then PIP may not cover the medical bills or lost wages. A doctor also has to diagnose an emergency medical condition. If an emergency medical condition is not diagnosed, then PIP may be limited or unavailable.

Dealing With the Insurance Company for the At-Fault Driver

In auto accidents involving serious injuries, it is never a good idea to deal directly with the insurance company for the at-fault driver. Even the nicest adjusters have a job to do, and that job is to pay as little on your claim as possible.

Do not give any statement to an insurance  adjuster or investigator who represents the at-fault driver. Doing so will not help you.

Do not sign a release from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You are probably giving up valuable rights to pursue your injury claim. Unfortunately, while adjusters must comply with the Adjuster’s Code of Ethics in Florida, many do not seem to know the boundaries.

Consulting an Experienced and Accomplished Lawyer for Peace of Mind

In genuine bodily injury auto accident claims in SW Florida, Harris Law of Fort Myers represents the injured. Dealing with auto insurance companies, gathering evidence, obtaining photos of the crash scene, interviewing witnesses, and seeking maximum compensation is done while you work on your healthy recovery.

Ft Myers injury lawyer David Harris values every client, and pursues justice with the client’s active involvement. Always accessible and responsive, David seeks each client’s thoughts and engages every injury victim in the claims and litigation process, so there is transparency in the representation.

The call is free, the consultation is free, and there is no fee unless we win. Call today 888-294-8090 to speak to David.

What is My Claim Worth? Determining Compensation Value of Personal Injury

In tort law, which is known more commonly as “personal injury law” nowadays, compensation means money. Compensation is paid by the person or business who was negligent to the person or family whom that negligence caused injury.

The reality is that the wrongdoer—the person or company which committed the wrong which hurt someone—cannot go back in time and undo the wrong. Because of this reality, our civil justice system holds that the only way to make up for the harms and losses caused by wrongdoing is payment of money. That’s it.

Yes, there may be (although rarely) an apology letter or something along those lines, but the substance of the resolution, the compensation, is payment of money to make up for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and payment of bills and expenses. In this regard, every personal injury claim has a value, or worth. That number ranges from zero to the imagination, but is always grounded in reality and limited to what is supported by the evidence and the law.

Do You Want to Know What Your Personal Injury Claim is Worth?

What compensation adequately makes up for personal injury harms and losses is not an exact science.  There really is no precise “value” or “worth” in any particular personal injury claim. There are ranges of what is considered full, fair, just, and appropriate based on several factors.

Generally, there will be a foundation on the value of the injury, harms, and losses. There are facts which adjust the amount of appropriate compensation up or down.  Settlement may be a discount, a risk management tool for both sides, in which neither receives the best outcome they want, but compromise to minimize exposure.

The evidence, the law, and a jury control everyone’s fate in a personal injury claim which goes to trial. Settlement of an injury claim is meant to prevent the unknown from happening.

Factors Involved in Determining Personal Injury Claim Compensation Value

Here are some factors used to determine the compensation value of an injury claim:

  • Tort. What caused the injury? Car accident, product liability, child abuse, premises liability, etc.
  • Negligence or Worse? How wrong, or how outrageous, was the conduct of the wrongdoer? Was there comparative fault on the part of the victim?
  • Injury. What was the personal injury suffered? Spine injury is different from brain injury is different from bone fractures, and so on.
  • Losses. Are there any special damages, such as medical expenses and lost work income?
  • Who are You? Each injured person’s unique characteristics play a role in assessing compensation value.

These are the basics, but are the critical initial factors which exist in every injured person’s pursuit of fair and just compensation. Each category of personal injury, whether auto accidents or slip and fall or defective products or child injury, has its own set of factors. Each category, however, starts with the foundation questions.

Need Help in Your Injury Claim? Have Questions? Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyer Here to Help

Good people often take the brunt of bad incidents. In SW Florida, experienced and accomplished litigator and trial attorney David Harris is here to help you through your legal obstacles and pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Substance matters and so do you. If you have serious injury, and it wasn’t your fault, then call Harris Law, where clients are valued. You receive attention, respect, and stay involved—no games, no mystery, and no wondering who your lawyer is or whether he or she will ever call you back.

At Harris Law,  David is your lawyer and is committed to fighting your Goliath. There is no fee unless money is recovered for you. Call today 888-294-8090 for a free and confidential consultation.