Every Florida personal injury claim is unique, and laws are always changing. This means that navigating the legal landscape in the Sunshine State is complex — but we are here to help. If you are considering filing a claim with the help of a negligence attorney in Lakeland, Florida, here are three things you should be aware of:
Did you know that only around 5% of all personal injury cases are tried in court? That means that 95% of all personal injury cases are resolved or settled before they go to trial. Data on claims settled before litigation is not easy to come by. However, as experienced Central Florida personal injury attorneys, we can say with absolute certainty that a considerable percentage of claims are settled before any paperwork is filed with the court.
That is not to say you do not need to hire an attorney. As a matter of fact, having a qualified negligence attorney in Lakeland, Florida, can often help you receive a settlement much faster than trying to broker the terms on your own — especially if you are still recovering from your injuries or losses.
Litigation is only warranted when the at-fault parties firmly deny culpability or refuse to pay a reasonable amount for your losses. Your negligence attorney in Lakeland, Florida can help you promptly gather all relevant evidence and present it to insurance companies in a comprehensive and compelling way. They can also inform you if the settlement offer you are receiving is fair — considering all present and future expenses. If not, they will walk you through the next steps of filing a lawsuit.
Florida uses a pure comparative fault system (F.S. § 768.81), which states that everyone is responsible for their own share of the fault. In other words, even if your actions contributed to your injuries, you may still have a case worth pursuing. Your payout, however, will be lowered by your percentage of fault. Say your total damages are valued at $100,000. If you are found 60% at fault by the jury, you can only recover $40,000 in damages.
Though your Lakeland negligence attorney may not be able to determine your exact percentage of fault, they can provide you with a reasonably accurate assessment of your case viability and worth.
You can file a lawsuit against the government — but it can be tricky.
Negligence cases against government institutions are complicated because of a concept known as “sovereign immunity.” However, in the Sunshine State, sovereign immunity is (conditionally) waived under F.S. § 768.29.
You cannot, for example, sue a government agency until you have allowed the state 180 days to conduct its own internal investigation. You also cannot sue the government three years from the date of the incident — or two years in wrongful death or medical malpractice cases. Additionally, you can only recover compensation worth $200,000 (up to $300,000 if you filed a suit against multiple government agencies). If you are awarded compensation that is more than $200,000 ($300,000 if multiple government agencies are involved), you must have a bill passed in the state legislature to collect your compensation.
If you are thinking of suing the government, you should do so only after consulting with a certified and experienced negligence attorney in Lakeland, Florida.
Are you interested in filing a claim? If so, and if you’re looking for the most trusted negligence attorney in Lakeland, Florida, look no further than Tonya Stewart. At Tonya Stewart Law PA, we can help you build a solid case to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today at (863) 279-4473 to schedule a free legal consultation.