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Personal Injury

What Do You Need to Know Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

What Do You Need to Know Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to file suit against them and receive compensation for financial expenses and pain and suffering resulting from the injury. There are several basics, but important, point that you should know about personal injury lawsuits in Florida before you file. If, after considering the following points you decide you will file, or if you don’t know whether or not you should, then it is in your best interest to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will be abreast of Florida’s laws and will be essential to getting you the most substantial compensation for your injury.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?

All states have limitations on how long you have to file a lawsuit. The length of time depends on the type of suit. In Florida you generally have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit, unless it is a medical malpractice case, in which case, you only have two years. The countdown begins when the injury or accident causing the injury takes place, so it is imperative that you have your case evaluated and begin proceedings as soon as possible following the injury.

How is Negligence Proven in a Personal Injury Case?

To have a personal injury case, you have to be able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent – that their action (or inaction) caused you harm. There are three specific conditions that have to be met in order to prove a personal injury case. First, you have to show that the party who caused your injury had a responsibility not to harm you and that he or she breached that responsibility. Second, you have to prove that breaching that responsibility caused your injury. Lastly, you have to show that you have suffered damages and/or financial loss as a result of the injury.

What Are Damages, and What Am I Entitled to?

In a personal injury case, you are able to seek compensation from whoever caused you to have a financial loss, property damage, or any other kind of loss, due to your injury. The legal term for this type of compensation is damages. In a Florida personal injury case, you may be entitled to damages for the following:

Medical bills (except for car accidents)*

Disability and disfigurement

Pain and suffering

The repair or replacement of property damaged

Lost wages

The expense of hiring help to do household task that you are no longer able to do

Emotional trauma

Other costs that are determined to be caused by your injury

*Because Florida is a no-fault state and it requires every driver to have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy with $10,000 of coverage, medical expenses in a car accident case are paid by the injured party’s own insurer.

Finding an Attorney for Your Florida Personal Injury Case

If you have been injured due to negligence on someone else’s part, it’s important that you find a personal injury lawyer to review your case. Attorney Joe Osborne is an experienced personal injury attorney who is ready to help you with your lawsuit. If you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence, and have sustained injuries from it, call Osborne & Francis today at (561) 293-2600 for a case evaluation.

What is a Letter of Protection in a Personal Injury Case?

What is a Letter of Protection in a Personal Injury Case?

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When you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other personal injury, and you don’t have medical insurance or the coverage you do have isn’t sufficient to cover your medical expenses, a Letter of Protection might be a solution for you.

A personal injury case cannot likely be proven if you do not receive medical care. However, if you don’t have money to pay medical bills, then you cannot obtain the medical care you need. Essentially, a Letter of Protection (LOP) is a contract that is agreed upon by you, your attorney, and your doctors. It will allow you to get the medical attention you need from your medical provider, while your attorney agrees to pay the provider from the settlement you receive before you have access to any of the financial reward.

What Are the Stipulations in a Letter of Protection?

While the specific language in letters of protection can vary, they generally state:

That the medical provider will treat your conditions while your case is pending.

That the medical provider will not demand immediate payment of your medical expenses and will not turn your account over to collections, thereby leaving your credit undamaged, as long as the letter of protection is in effect.

That your attorney will pay your medical provider directly from your personal injury settlement as soon as the funds clear the trust account.

Not all doctors or medical providers will choose to enter into such an agreement, but many will.

How Does a Letter of Protection Affect the Settlement Distribution?

To better understand how a LOP affects the settlement process, you first need to know how the settlement process normally works. When a settlement in a personal injury case is reached, the insurance company of the defendant will mail a check to the plaintiff’s attorney, which the attorney then deposits into a trust account. The trust account is an account that is heavily regulated by the Florida Bar, in order to protect clients. The attorney then must wait for the settlement check to clear. Once it’s cleared, the lawyer has to obtain an approval from the client about how the funds are to be disbursed. Then, a check is written to the attorney for costs and fees, and a check is written to the client for the remainder.

When a letter of protection is being used, before the check is written to the client, there will be a check written to the medical provider to cover the client’s medical bills, since they were not paid up front. Keep in mind, a LOP doesn’t mean that the client isn’t responsible for the medical bills. Even when there is no financial recovery in a case, the bills have to be paid – by the client.

Letters of protection can be a useful tool when a client cannot pay his or her medical bills resulting from a personal injury. If you have been injured due to negligence, but have no way to pay your medical bills, discussing a letter of protection with your personal injury lawyer is a great idea – one that may work well for you, allowing you to get the medical attention you need and the compensation you deserve for your damages.

Boca’s personal injury attorney, Joe Osborne, can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case and your medical expenses. Contact him today at (561) 293-2600, to get started on your case. Don’t delay, you have a limited amount of time in which to file your claim.

 

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition

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Most personal injury cases involve depositions. Because most of these types of cases are settled before they make it to trial, it may be the only time that you are questioned by the counsel from the other side. Having to participate in a deposition may be daunting, causing some nervousness, especially when you don’t know what to expect. The following outlines what normally happens in personal injury depositions.

What is a Deposition?

Basically, a deposition is a meeting where the opposing counsel is able to question you about the case. Your attorney is in attendance with you as you are questioned. There is typically a court reporter present and the session may be videoed as well.

Why is a Deposition Necessary?

In a personal injury lawsuit, both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s sides have a right to know what evidence the other side has so they can thoroughly prepare for a trial (in the event that the case isn’t settled). The opposing side is entitled to see all of the information that your attorney has collected regarding your case. Additionally, they are entitled to hear your thoughts and recollection of the accident.

What Will I Be Asked in a Personal Injury Deposition?

In a personal injury case, the questions involved in a deposition are usually background-related and accident-related.

Background-related questioning typically involves the following:

You will be asked about your current address and previous addresses for a specific amount of time.

You will be asked about your occupation and salary. You may also be asked about previous employers.

You will be asked if you have filed other lawsuits in the past, and if so, what types.

You will be asked if you have any criminal history.

You will be asked about previous illnesses and injuries and for your doctors’ contact information.

Accident-related questioning typically involves the following:

You will be asked to describe the accident that caused your injuries. The attorney will likely want you to describe every minute detail of the accident – so be prepared for this part to take some time.

You will be asked to describe your injuries. This too will take some time. You will be asked to provide information about every doctor who has treated you, how you came to see each doctor, the status of any medical bills, if you have been working since your accident, etc.

You will be asked to detail any limitations you have had since the accident (work, household duties, caring for family, etc.). These limitations will have to be supported by medical records.

Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

While a deposition can be tedious, when you have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner, you will be well prepared, and you will know that you have an advocate who is looking out for your best interests. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another party, contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to set up a consultation for your case. He will guide you through the deposition process as well as all the other aspects of your case.

What is Considered Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

What is Considered Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

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When you suffer an injury due to the negligence of someone else, whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other types of injury, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage (if applicable). That means that if the responsible party is found to be liable for your damages, you can collect for the medical expenses you incurred, your present and future lost wages, your pain, and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages. In this article, we will focus on what pain and suffering damages are and how they are determined in personal injury cases.

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

Pain and suffering damages are divided into two categories – physical and mental.

The physical pain and suffering that an individual suffers are based on the actual pain that is experienced due to the accident. It includes the pain and discomfort of the plaintiff that has resulted since the accident and injury have occurred, as well as physical pain that is anticipated in the future.

The mental pain and suffering that are experienced due to the negligence of the defendant can include several things such as mental anguish, emotional distress, anger, fear, insomnia, anxiety, shock, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment in activities previously enjoyed. The mental and emotional aspects of a personal injury can also involve mental health disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generally, the mental pain and suffering that a plaintiff experiences can include any negative psychological or emotional issue that he or undergoes due to the injuries sustained in the accident or as a result of medical malpractice.

Mental pain and suffering, like physical pain and suffering, includes any negative effects since the injury as well as what is anticipated in the future.

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

In Florida, juries are not provided with many guidelines for determining the value of the injured party’s pain and suffering by the court. There is not a list of amounts for specific types of pain and suffering damages that they can refer to. Rather, the judge will typically issue instructions to juries to use their good sense, experience, and backgrounds as they are deciding on a fair and reasonable financial award for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.

That said, there are some common factors that can influence the jury’s decision on the value of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Some of these factors include:

How the plaintiff presented himself or herself as a witness

Whether the plaintiff is believable, or the jury thinks he or she is exaggerating the extent of pain and suffering

Whether the plaintiff is likable

Whether the plaintiff is consistent or inconsistent when giving his or her testimony

What the plaintiff’s doctors testify to regarding the extent of pain and suffering

If the diagnosis and prognosis of the plaintiff make sense to the jury

Whether the plaintiff has a criminal record

Getting What You Are Entitled to for Your Pain and Suffering

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that was caused by another person’s negligence in Florida, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries – including pain and suffering. Because of the complexities of personal injury cases, it’s important that you seek legal representation from an experienced and successful personal injury attorney to handle your case.

Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to discuss your case and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Can Parents File a Personal Injury Lawsuit on Behalf of Their Child?

Can Parents File a Personal Injury Lawsuit on Behalf of Their Child

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When a child is injured due to a car accident or negligence on someone else’s part, it can be a tricky situation to settle or litigate because they are not yet 18 years of age. These cases require an attorney who is knowledgeable about the special procedural requirements in cases that involve children. Minors in Florida cannot pursue their own personal injury claims because they are not of the legal age to do so. That means that a parent or legal guardian must pursue the case on the behalf of their child. And in some cases, parents must obtain court approval regarding settlement agreements when a minor is involved because Florida law requires it. The law is intended to protect the interests of the child by providing judicial oversight.

When Can a Parent Settle a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Child?

Florida statutes allow parents or guardians to settle a personal injury claim on their minor child’s behalf without approval from the court when the settlement amount does not exceed $15,000. However, when it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit (if the claim isn’t settled by insurance companies), court approval is required. Additionally, some insurance companies will require that court approval is given prior to making any payments on a settlement on behalf of a minor.

If the settlement that is reached is over $15,000, then the parent or guardian is required to seek court approval by filing a Petition for Approval of Settlement. This petition includes the details of the facts of the case, issues of liability, a number of damages, the amount of the settlement being sought, and lawyer’s costs and fees. The judge then reviews the terms of the settlement to determine if they are in the child’s best interest. It’s important to understand that the law requires that the parents or guardians of the child also act in the best interests of the minor, and the judge will make sure that they are complying with that requirement.

How is the Settlement for a Minor Distributed?

Just as there are special requirements for filing and settling a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor, there are also special procedures for the distribution of monetary settlements when they are awarded to a minor.

If the net amount of the settlement (after attorney’s fees are paid) is $15,000 or less, the process is usually simple. The judge will typically have the funds distributed to the parents so they can be used for the best interest of the child. However, when the net amount is over $15,000, it’s required that a formal guardianship is set up to safeguard the funds for the child. In this type of situation, once the judge approves the settlement amount, the money is placed in a restricted annuity or bank account which can only be accessed by court order. The court will then use its discretion when allowing funds to be withdrawn based on the necessity and the reason for the withdrawal. Usually, when the funds are used for housing, education, or medical care, the court will approve the transactions, however, that can depend on each specific case.

Get the Right Help for Your Child’s Personal Injury Case

If your child has suffered an injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, he or she may be entitled to compensation for injuries. Settlements that are pursued minors can be complex, which is why you need to find the right personal injury attorney to handle your child’s case. Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to get the ball rolling in your child’s case. He will ensure that your child’s rights are protected and help him or she obtains compensation for the injuries suffered.

Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

Drivers Must Take Adverse Weather Conditions into Account Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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The end of summer and beginning of fall are prime time for hurricanes in Florida. With wind and rain, flooding, and hazardous road conditions, it’s sometimes best to stay off of the roadways completely. Of course, that isn’t always possible. But, when drivers must be on the road when adverse weather conditions exist, it’s important to take those conditions into account says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Florida roadways can be very dangerous during and following adverse weather conditions. When drivers operate their vehicles at highway speed limits while it is still windy and wet, it is easy to lose control of their cars, hydroplane, and crash into other vehicles. In fact, most adverse weather accidents happen when drivers are in a hurry and they don’t drive in a manner that is reasonable based on the road conditions, and they fail to use good common sense.

When someone is injured in a car accident that occurs during bad weather and another driver’s negligence contributed to the wreck, they may be entitled to receive damages per Florida law.

What Are Common Causes of Adverse Weather Accidents?

When bad weather is paired with negligent or reckless driving, it creates the perfect environment for serious accidents. Some of the common causes of adverse weather accidents in Florida are:

 Distracted driving

  Driving at speeds too high for the weather conditions

  Hydroplaning

  Operating a vehicle with low, defective, or balding tires

  Speeding in low lying areas where water has puddled

  Negligent or inattentive driving

When you are driving in bad weather, it is imperative that you pay attention and drive cautiously, obeying all traffic signs. However, sometimes no matter how carefully you drive, accidents will still happen in adverse weather conditions.

When Others Drive Negligently in Adverse Weather Conditions

Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a position where someone else’s negligence during bad weather causes you to be involved in an accident on the roadway. If that happens, and you are injured, in order to recover damages for your injuries and property damage, you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent. More specifically, you will have to prove that the other driver breached his or her duty to act reasonably under the circumstances and that his or her breach of that duty resulted in your injuries and damages.

Further, to prove damages in an adverse weather car accident, you have to show causation – that the accident caused your injuries or exacerbated a preexisting condition that you had. If you are able to prove that, you may be able to recover damages for the following:

     All accident-related medical expenses

    Compensation for lost wages for missing work due to injuries

    Pain and suffering

    Mental anguish and emotional distress

    Loss of earning capacity if there is a permanent disability

    Compensation for permanent damages and injuries

    Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life

   Compensation for loss of consortium

  Wrongful death (when the accident resulted in a death)

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an adverse weather car accident, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries and property damages. Vehicle accident cases often require both legal and medical expertise in order to have positive outcomes. It’s important that you contact an experienced attorney to help you with your case.

Call Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or complete the online contact form to discuss your case and how best to proceed.

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Joe Osborne personal injury attorney

(561) 293-2600

What If My Child Is Injured at a Friend’s House?

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It’s every parent’s worst nightmare — getting a phone call informing you that your child has been injured in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and serious injury among children between birth and age 19. Each year, over 12,000 children die due to accidental injuries, and more than 9.2 million are seen in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries.

After a child is hurt, many parents don’t know where to turn for help. Obviously, the first priority is always getting immediate medical attention. Once your child has been treated, the next step is speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your legal rights. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Always Report the Injury

When a child is injured at a friend’s house or relative’s home, parents sometimes hesitate to report the incident. Understandably, they don’t want to strain relationships with close friends or loved ones. However, failing to report the injury can hurt a personal injury case down the road. The defense counsel, who is usually hired by an insurance company, will invariably argue that the delay between the incident and reporting the incident means the child could have sustained an injury during the gap between the accident and the report.

You should also avoid reaching any kind of informal agreement or “settlement” with the homeowner. If you accept compensation from the homeowner, it could prevent you from being awarded money in a personal injury case. Although you may be reluctant to report the incident, you never know how much an injury will cost over time. Keep in mind that homeowners insurance exists for a reason. If you end up having to file a lawsuit against the homeowner, the insurance company will take over and defend it. This means you won’t be forced to go to court against a friend or relative.

Homeowners Insurance Will Probably Cover the Injury

Many people worry that reporting an injury at a friend’s house or relative’s home will burden that person with debt. However, the majority of homeowners have an insurance policy that protects them in the event of an injury on their property. If you receive a settlement, the money won’t come out of your loved one’s pocket. Just as with motor vehicle insurance, homeowners insurance covers people against lawsuits brought about by negligence.

Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Kids and Injuries

Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne explains, “If your child is injured at school, it’s especially important to contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Because most schools are public entities, you may be required to file a formal notice of your intent to sue. In most cases, the time window for serving this notice is very short. Don’t miss your chance to get the compensation you deserve because you waited too long.”

Contact a Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If your child or loved one was injured at a friend’s home or relative’s house, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer. Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne today at (561) 800-4011.