Both intentional and unintentional acts can result in serious injuries and damages. But what qualifies as a personal injury, and when are you entitled to seek compensation? A claim qualifies as a personal injury if you experience emotional or bodily harm as a result of an action by another actor.
Defining Personal Injury
Common examples of conduct that can give rise to a personal injury claim include:
- Assault and battery
- Car accidents
- Injuries suffered at work
- Medical malpractice
Personal injury claims can exist regardless of whether the actor intended to commit harm or exercised negligence. If you are in a car accident and sustain injuries because another motorist was driving intoxicated or violating traffic laws, your claim qualifies as a personal injury even though the other motorist may not have intended to cause you harm.
Under personal injury laws, intent does not always matter. Individuals and companies both have a legal obligation to comply with a certain duty of care. Employers must follow certain safety regulations to ensure workers are protected. Failing to follow those guidelines can give rise to a personal injury claim if they suffer an injury while at work.
Certain criminal actions, like assault, are considered intentional torts, meaning the individual responsible for the injury acted with malice to cause harm to your physical and emotional wellbeing. In many cases, victims of crimes in Florida have a right to pursue civil damages against the offender, such as those defined under chapter 772 of the Florida statutes.
Types of Claims for Personal Injury
Recoverable damages in a personal injury claim are meant to restore the victim to the same position in life as if the injury never occurred. Because certain actions lead to permanent injuries, personal injury claims provide a mechanism for victims to be compensated for the damage to minimize the physical, psychological, and financial impact of the tortious conduct.
Another claim that qualifies as a personal injury is a loss of consortium, which means that the action resulted in you losing the ability to perform or benefit from aspects central to marriage or parenting. Sustaining an injury that limits your mobility can impact your marriage and romantic relationships, which is why personal injury claims allow you to receive financial compensation if an action prevents you from fulfilling your role as a spouse or parent.
Assessing Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Economic damages are costs that are objective and can be itemized. Economic damages include things like medical costs. The amount of damages you receive depends on several factors, including:
- Your age and overall health
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether the injuries are chronic
- Whether the injuries limit your ability to work
- Future costs associated with treating your injuries
If you are unable to continue working, your average annual income and your future earning potential are considered when assessing damages. Severe injuries that require lifelong management, such as chronic pain, can increase the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
Another important element used to evaluate compensation during a personal injury claim is whether the injuries impact your daily life. Injuries can include physical and emotional ones, as many victims experience distress, anxiety, and trauma. Losing the ability to work can allow you to collect future lost earnings. Factors that help decide how much you are entitled to receive in future lost earnings can include:
- Whether you expected to earn a promotion
- Job offers that you had at the time of the injury
- Your education, work experience, and age
- Whether the injuries preclude you from performing the same job in the future
The Evidence Needed To Pursue a Personal Injury Claim
It is quintessential to retain copies of related expenses, such as medical bills, following an injury. Documentation is necessary to prove the extent and severity of your injuries, making it important to keep relevant medical records. If you were in a car accident or a victim of a crime, police reports are another way to prove your injuries and establish that the other party is liable. Police reports include information about potential witnesses, which is beneficial if your case goes to trial.
A crime would qualify as a personal injury if you sustained harm, making police records a valuable piece of evidence.
Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Today
If you suffered a severe or disabling injury, it is best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can, as the Florida statute of limitations, § 95.11, for personal injury claims is two years. Retaining legal representation can help preserve your rights to a claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (855) 529-0269 to discuss the details of your case and set up a free consultation.