In Florida, if you’re partly liable for your burn injuries, you might still be able to claim some compensation. This is possible because of Florida’s pure comparative negligence system.
Under this rule, injured victims who are partially responsible for accidents that cause injuries and lead to losses can claim some compensation too. However, the amount they’ll receive will be less the degree to which they are considered liable.
For instance, if the court awards a settlement of $100,000 but finds that you were 30 percent responsible for the burn injuries you sustained, you’ll forfeit $30,000 and only receive $70,000 in compensation. If you need more information about this, our Florida burns injury lawyers at Viles and Beckman, LLC can help.
Proving Fault in a Florida Burn Injury Claim
Every burn injury claim is unique in the sense that there may be vastly different causes. For instance, people can sustain burns in a cooking accident, a vehicle collision, a chemical incident, an electrical mishap, a malfunctioning or defective product, or a workplace incident.
The cause of the incident that led to your burn injury will determine the course of action. For example, if you suffered second-degree burns from a car accident that was largely caused by another driver, the approach to your claim will be different from one that was caused by a defective electrical socket that you overloaded.
That being said, there’s a key component that drives every injury claim case in Florida: negligence. To prove fault, your Florida burns injury attorney would have to establish the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of care – This means that you have to show that the at-fault party had a duty or an obligation to act in a manner that ensured you were reasonably safe. For example, a driver is obligated to drive safely and with regard for other road users at all times.
- Breach of duty – This applies when the defendant acts in a way that could put you in danger or cause you harm. For example, if a driver starts driving recklessly, that’s considered a breach of that duty of care.
- Causation – This applies if the liable party’s negligence leads to injuries and losses. For example, if the said driver’s reckless driving leads to your accident and you sustain those burn injuries from the crash.
- Damages – If you, the plaintiff, suffered losses or damages because of negligence. For example, because you suffered burn injuries, you had to spend money on medical treatment.
Once all four elements of negligence are present and can be proven, then you can hold all liable parties responsible for your injuries or losses.
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How Can You Determine the Right Burn Injury Claim to File in Florida?
Your compensation recovery process is usually tied to the source of your injury. So, you may have to pursue your claims under the specific type of incident that led to your burn injuries.
- If you were involved in a car or motorcycle accident with a negligent driver and that accident caused you burn injuries, you’ll have to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.
- If you sustained those burns while you were on another person’s property, your best shot at claiming compensation would be to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner of the property. And if they’re not around, the lawsuit will be against the negligent person(s) managing or supervising the property.
- If your burn injury occurred while you were at work, you’ll need to seek compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s insurance provider.
- If you were burned in a fire caused by a defective product, you’ll have to seek compensation by filing a product liability claim.
As you can see, these are just a few examples of the incidents and situations that can lead to an individual sustaining second and third-degree burns. If in doubt, speak to a qualified burn injury lawyer about your case.
Compensation You Can Pursue in a Florida Burn Injury Case
Depending on your situation, you may be able to seek compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. It all depends on the extent of your injuries, the impact it’s had on you and your loved ones, and whether you’ll make a full recovery or not. That being said, here are the damages that you can seek:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or wages
- Lost potential future income
- Reduced income earning capacity
- Property damage or repair
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
Punitive damages are sought if there’s clear demonstrable evidence that the at-fault party exhibited malicious intent actions or gross misconduct. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the defendant for their intentional harmful behaviors.
Every burn injury claim situation is different, so you may or may not be able to recover all of the aforementioned damages. Talk to your Florida personal injury lawyer if you have any questions about the damages you can claim and how it will affect your final settlement.
Consult With a Florida Burn Injury Law Firm
Florida’s comparative fault laws mean that insurance companies are likely to try to push the bulk of liability to you. This way, even if they have to pay your claims, it wouldn’t be as much. This is one of the reasons why you need to hire a burn injury law firm in Florida like Viles & Beckman, LLC, that has experience with these types of cases.
An experienced legal team will argue your case and ensure that the insurance company doesn’t cheat you out of the settlement you deserve. Even better, they’ll be able to approach your case from angles you would never have thought of.
However, you need to do this very quickly. Although Florida has a four-year deadline for filing a personal injury claim, the wheels of justice tend to move slower in cases like this. This is even more so if you’re filing an injury lawsuit against multiple liable parties. Starting the claims process early means the time won’t run out on your case and it won’t be denied.
If you have more questions about filing a burn injury claim in Florida or want to discuss your case, feel free to get in touch with us today.