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In Florida, value of every personal injury claim, whether this is a car accident, slip and fall, or assault and battery, depends on two major determinations - liability and damages. Liability is legal responsibility for one's actions or failure to act when there is a legal duty to act. Damages is the extent of harm suffered. A person, called a claimant or a plaintiff, is entitled to compensation only if both liability and damages are established. Car accidents is a good illustration of a personal injury case - the "at fault" driver is typically legally responsible for the injuries/damages sustained by the other driver.
However, proving liability and damages is not that simple. First of all, Florida is a pure comparative liability state, i.e., fault can be apportioned among multiple parties. For example, one driver may be liable for causing injuries by failing to yield the right of way, while the other driver may be partially responsible for his own injuries by failing to use the seat belt. In this situation, each driver's recovery for injuries suffered in the accident would be limited by a percentage of his/her own fault. Second, there are 2 main types of damages that can be recovered in all personal injury cases - economic (money damages) and non-economic (pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium). These damages must be proven by the plaintiff. While it may not be difficult to prove the monetary damages (out-of-pocket medical bills, lost wages, etc.), there is no precise way to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Consequently, proving liability and damages is a complex legal process that requires knowledge of the Florida personal injury law, negotiation skills and experience in dealing with insurance companies. If you would like to have your case evaluated by an experienced Florida personal injury attorney, call our office now for a free non-obligation consultation. You owe us nothing unless we win your case, and in most cases we are able to substantially reduce our personal injury contingency fees to save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.