The Law of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
At Levin Papantonio, our Personal Injury Attorneys focus their legal practice representing individuals sustaining physical injuries through the fault of others, and most often involving one of the following: (1) auto accidents; (2) boating and maritime collisions; (3) defective prescription drug injuries; (4) defective medical device injuries; (5) defective product injuries; (6) medical malpractice and professional negligence; (7) nursing home abuse; (8) trucking accidents and tractor-trailer collisions; and (9) workers compensation injuries.
What is a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action filed by an individual who has sustained physical injury as a result of negligent, reckless or intentional conduct by another individual, company or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action filed by the survivors of an individual killed as a result of the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another person, company or entity. Survivors generally include the spouse, children and/or parents.
What Types of Cases Qualify for a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Case?
Any circumstance in which a person suffers physical injuries as a result of the negligence of another qualifies as a personal injury case. Similarly, any circumstance in which a person is killed as a result of the negligence of another qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Case?
There is no an easy answer to this question because it depends on the type of case and where it occurred. For example, Florida has a four-year limitation period for auto accidents resulting in physical injury, but a two-year limitation period for auto accidents resulting in death. If the accident was caused by a governmental entity, there are claims procedures that must be filed six months before a lawsuit is filed, and also there is a maximum limitation period of three years. In professional negligence cases resulting in injuries or death, the limitation period in Florida can be as short as two-years and again there are certain claims procedures that must be followed before the lawsuit can be filed.
The bottom line is there are numerous factors that determine how short of a period you have to file a lawsuit, including: (1) where the injury or death occurred; (2) the type of injury sustained; (3) whether the opposing side is an individual, company or governmental entity; (4) when you became aware, or should have become aware, of the injury; and many other factors.
The most important thing is that you immediately seek legal advice when you become aware of a potential injury, even if you decide not to hire a lawyer. We will provide you a confidential and free consult, even if you decide not to hire us. This way you at least can determine your rights, and how long you have to pursue those rights.
What Will I have to Prove to Succeed in a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim?
In order to succeed in a personal injury and wrongful death claim, you will have to prove three elements: (1) the opposing side performed a negligent, reckless or intentional act; (2) the act was a legal cause of the injury sustained or death; and (3) the extent of the damages caused.
In regard to the first element, negligence is the failure of a person to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under the same circumstances. The second element, legal cause (also known as proximate cause), occurs when the negligent act produces or contributes substantially to producing the injury or death.
The third element is damages. You will need to prove the extent of the harm suffered by the negligence. In a personal injury case, this includes physical pain and suffering; mental pain and suffering; medical expenses; and wage loss. In a wrongful death claim, it includes medical and funeral expenses; mental pain and suffering; loss of support; and loss of future estate.
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How Long Will it Take to Resolve my Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claim?
Personal injury cases can vary in length from a few weeks to years before they are settled or get paid as a result of a jury trial. Each situation is different. We will need to review the facts of your individual case, and then begin investigation of all the circumstances before we can provide you a good estimate. Generally, however, you need to be prepared for the process to take one year in simple cases to 3-4 years in complex cases. Wrongful death cases generally take longer than personal injuries cases. A good estimate is 2 - 5 years depending upon the complexity.
How Do I Choose a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyer?
First, determine whether the attorneys you are considering focus their practice on handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, and whether they have a record of successfully litigating these type cases. Many attorneys claim to have this expertise, but in fact try to settle claims quickly and do not want to go to trial. The insurance companies generally know who these lawyers are and will often offer less than the fair settlement value.
Our firm is always prepared and willing to go to trial if the case cannot settle for a fair amount under the law. We do it multiple times every year, and have been for 60 years. In fact, we have won more than 100 jury verdicts for more than $1 million each, totaling more than $2 billion. We have been named "One of America's Most Winning Law Firms" by the National Law Journal, and are listed in Best Lawyers in America; Super Lawyers, and Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
For a detailed discussion of our history, credentials, accomplishments, and results, please visit our About Us section.
How Do I Pay for a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney?
Lawyers who handle personal injury and wrongful death cases should be working on a pure contingency fee basis. This means you should not pay any fees or costs unless you first recover. This helps to guarantee you have a legitimate case that should be pursued under the law.
We not only work on a contingency fee basis, but we also will provide you an absolutely free and confidential consultation on your case, even if you decide not to hire us. If we are fortunate enough for you to employ us, our fee ranges from 20% to 40% depending upon the amount we recover for you. This fee should be similar to, if not exactly the same, as to what other Florida lawyers are charging, as the amount is controlled by The Florida Bar.
Will Levin Papantonio Accept My Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case
We review and accept personal injury and wrongful death cases of every type and size every day. No case is too big or too small. The issue is whether your case is recognized as valid under the law, and whether your likely recovery justifies the amount of time, effort and scrutiny you will be subjected to during the process of pursuing your case.
The one thing we can assure you is that we will take your call, provide you an absolutely free consult, discuss with you the facts and issues of your case, and honestly and straightforward tell you whether we can help you. If not, we will try to get you to someone who can. We also will tell you exactly what will be involved in pursuing your case, how long it will take to resolve, and the likely amount you will receive.
To contact us for a free confidential consult, you can call us at (850) 435-7000 (Pensacola) or (800) 277-1193 (toll free). You also can request a free private and confidential evaluation by clicking Personal Injury Evaluation Form, and your inquiry will be immediately reviewed by one of our attorneys who handles your specific type case.