Individuals in Spring Hill can suffer serious, debilitating injuries in car accidents on bustling roads filled with a growing number of new residents and tourists, and slips and falls at the Walmart Supercenter or nearby Weeki Wachee Springs and other recreational opportunities on the Nature Coast. Swimming pools constitute a popular feature of both commercial endeavors and backyards in the area—but people can slip on wet pool patios or drown in them.
If someone else’s negligence injured you in Spring Hill, you can seek compensation for the expenses and quality-of-life impacts you incurred.
An experienced Spring Hill personal injury lawyer from Lucas & Magazine can provide information about the process and help you seek the maximum compensation available in your case. Come talk to us about your accident through a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
What Does the Personal Injury Claims Process Involve?
State law provides a legal process that individuals may use to seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury. This process generally begins when your attorney submits a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster can then choose to accept the claim as submitted and issue payment; deny the claim and notify the claimant of the reason for the denial; or make a settlement offer for less than the amount requested in the demand.
If the insurance adjuster chooses to deny the claim, your attorney will ask the insurance company to reconsider and can also file a personal injury lawsuit in court.
If the insurance adjuster offers a settlement, this will often begin the negotiation process, in which your attorney will attempt to convince the adjuster to increase the offer to a level that you can accept. Again, if a fair settlement offer does not prove forthcoming, your attorney can file your lawsuit in court. We should note, however, that the negotiations can continue even after filing the lawsuit. In fact, parties to a case can reach settlement agreements after a trial has begun, as long as the court hasn’t rendered a decision.
What Types of Accidents Can Result in a Spring Hill Personal Injury Claim?
Many different types of accidents can result in a Spring Hill personal injury claim. We regularly help clients who have sustained injuries in the following ways.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents include accidents that involve cars, motorcycles, commercial trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, aircraft, or watercraft. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), more than 2,400 people sustain injuries in traffic accidents in Hernando County each year, and 25 die. Around 100 motorcycle accidents on Hernando roadways occur each year, as well as more than 30 bicycle crashes and more than 50 pedestrian accidents.
The manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors of food, medicine, and other items bear responsibility for ensuring that the products they make available for consumers prove reasonably safe when used according to labeled instructions. Unfortunately, people suffer injuries due to unsafe products every day in America. The most common sources of product liability complaints include food, medicines, children’s toys, household appliances, and parts used on automobiles and other machinery.
The three general types of product liability complaints include:
Design defects: These defects stem from the engineered design of the product that existed before the manufacturing process and affected all of the lots of that particular product.
Manufacturing defects: These involve problems that occurred during manufacturing, such as a machine malfunction that results in pieces of glass or metal being introduced into the product.
Packaging defects: This type of claim usually involves incomplete or improper label instructions that fail to warn the user of known risks with the product or give improper instructions on how to use the product.
Premises Liability Accidents
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents result in over one million people requiring emergency medical treatment each year. Slip and fall accidents constitute the most common type of premises liability accident. Premises liability involves the responsibility of private, commercial, or public property owners or possessors to ensure that the property remains free of hazards that could cause injury to guests. This type of accident often results due to hazards, such as loose floorboards, torn carpeting, worn or freshly waxed tile, obstacles in the walkway, defective staircases, poor lighting, and cracks in sidewalks or parking lots.
Other types of accidents that could result in a premises liability lawsuit include:
Swimming pool accidents
Fires or floods
Escalator or elevator accidents
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
As previously mentioned, a large and vibrant senior population lives in Spring Hill, and around 162 nursing homes exist in or within proximity. These facilities provide needed services for elderly and vulnerable Spring Hill adults. However, high staff turnover, understaffing, lack of adequate training, and other issues can result in residents becoming injured by other residents or even abusive or neglectful staff.
Nursing home abuse may include:
Physical abuse, such as slapping, punching, or pushing.
Emotional abuse, including threats, intimidation, or isolation from enjoyed activities to humiliate, hurt, or control the resident.
Sexual abuse, which involves any non-consensual sexual act.
Nursing home neglect constitutes the failure to meet the basic needs of the resident. Examples of nursing home neglect include:
Failing to administer the proper medication in the proper dosage to the resident.
Failing to prevent falls or bedsores by assisting with performing personal tasks and changing the positions of infirm residents to prevent pressure from building in one area of the body.
Failing to provide the resident with adequate nutrition and hydration, including following the resident’s dietary instructions as provided by the care plan.
Failing to prevent physical altercations between residents.
Failing to properly supervise residents to prevent injury and elopement (wandering off).
When an individual’s careless, reckless, or even intentional actions result in the death of someone else, the deceased’s family members can obtain compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Like personal injury lawsuits, you file a wrongful death claim in civil court, and the claim seeks to prove who bears liability for the accident and to show the losses that family members have incurred as a result of the death.
Family members cannot directly file wrongful death lawsuits, but rather a personal representative of the estate must file such a claim. Often, the named executor of the deceased’s estate or a court-appointed administrator will serve as the personal representative in a wrongful death claim. The family members who can benefit from this type of action include the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents.
The decedent’s family members can seek compensation for expenses and impacts, such as:
Medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased’s final injury.
Funeral and burial or cremation costs.
Loss of wages, benefits, and other earnings from the date of the accident until the date of death.
Loss of prospective net accumulations that would have occurred to the deceased’s estate had he or she survived the accident.
Loss of support and services the deceased provided to their family members.
Loss of the deceased’s companionship and protection.
Loss of parental guidance.
The Injuries Associated With Spring Hill Personal Injury Claims
Because so many different accidents can result in personal injury claims, they can also involve many different injuries.
Some of the injuries our Spring Hill personal injury clients and their families seek compensation for include:
Catastrophic injuries, such as those involving the brain or spinal cord injury, which make up the central nervous system. Doctors categorize these injuries as catastrophic injuries because they carry a high likelihood of resulting in disabilities that can prevent the injured individual from earning an income or living independently.
Broken bones, including hip fractures, which elderly individuals commonly suffer as a result of falls. The broken bones most often associated with motorcycle or bicycle accidents or pedestrian accidents involve the lower extremities, such as the legs, ankles, and feet. Individuals often suffer injuries to the arms and wrists in accidents in which the person has fallen, due to the instinctive reaction to catch oneself when falling with outstretched arms.
Internal injuries, which generally result from a violent type of accident, such as a car accident at speed. This type of injury can prove particularly dangerous as it may not appear or present without the use of diagnostic scans and can result in life-threatening blood loss as well as permanent damage to the organ.
Burns, which can result from different accidents that cause the sufferer’s skin to contact flames, hot surfaces, hot liquid, or steam. Burns can also result from contact with caustic chemicals or electricity.
Soft tissue injuries, such as damage to the muscles, tendons, and joints that can occur when an accident violently twists or snaps a body. A common type of soft tissue injury incurred through car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions, includes whiplash, which involves damage to the soft tissues of the neck.
Severe Injuries Can Affect Your Entire Life
Having a serious injury impacts not only your ability to work and live independently, but also your ability to maintain relationships with friends and the ability to partake in activities you enjoy. Your relationships with family members may also change due to the injury, as family members may need to provide at least a portion of the caregiving responsibilities for the injured. Your ability to share physical intimacy with your spouse may suffer due to the injury, as well as your ability to remain a viable participant in the community.
Read on for answers to the questions we hear most frequently about Spring Hill personal injury claims and make sure to take a look at the services we can provide to assist you in seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spring Hill Personal Injury Claims
Whether you suffered injuries as the result of a speeding driver on U.S. 19, from a fall at Publix, or because the neighbor’s dog bit you, you should seek compensation through the personal injury claims process for the expenses and impacts of your injury. Below, we provide answers to questions that we hear frequently from our clients about the process.
If I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Will I Have to Go to Court?
Not necessarily. The vast majority of personal injury claims resolve without ever seeing the inside of the courtroom. That said, however, beware of an attorney who only resolves cases through pre suit settlements. This can indicate a lack of experience or a lack of resources to afford the expense of litigation. The legal team at Lucas & Magazine can negotiate aggressively with insurance companies as well as represent injured individuals in court. We will never pressure you to accept a lower settlement just to say we had a positive outcome but will instead continue fighting for your right to the maximum amount of compensation available for you in your case.
If your case does go to court, rest assured that your attorney will ensure that you remain completely informed and prepared for the experience.
There are two types of compensatory damages, which we discuss further below:
Economic damages refer to compensation you can obtain for the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident and your injury. Examples of the types of economic damages commonly claimed in personal injury cases include: medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle from the accident if your injuries resulted in a car accident.
Non-economic damages refer to the compensation you can obtain for the quality-of-life impacts you have incurred as a result of your injury. Examples of commonly claimed non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium.
Who, Besides an At-Fault Driver, Could Bear Liability for a Spring Hill Car Accident?
Anyone whose careless or reckless actions contributed to or caused the accident can bear liability.
Other possible sources of liability in a car accident, besides the at-fault driver, include:
Other roadway users who were not involved in the accident, but whose actions led to it. An example may include if one driver cuts off another driver, causing the second driver to swerve to avoid an accident and wind up colliding with another vehicle instead.
A business establishment, such as a liquor store or restaurant, that knowingly furnished alcohol to a driver who was habitually addicted or under 21, and that driver subsequently became intoxicated and caused a drunk driving accident.
The parents of an individual who is under the age of 21 and caused an accident.
The owner of the at-fault party’s vehicle, if different than the driver, if the owner knowingly allowed a driver who was unsafe or underage to operate the vehicle.
I Sustained Injuries When I Fell Down the Stairs at a Friend’s House. How Do I Prove Liability?
Individuals prove liability in personal injury cases by showing the elements of negligence.
These elements include:
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care refers to the actions a reasonable person would take in a given set of circumstances to avoid causing injury to someone else.
The at-fault party breached the duty of care. The at-fault party took an action contrary to what a reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances.
The breach caused the accident, which resulted in your injury and caused you to incur associated financial and psychological costs.
My Injury Resulted From an Assault That Occurred in a Parking Lot. Do I Have a Claim?
Without knowing all of the details of your case, we cannot say for sure if you qualify to file a claim. However, assaults in a parking lot can result in a negligent security claim. Negligent security is a type of premises liability complaint in which the property owner, manager, or possessor fails to take reasonable measures to protect guests from crime known to occur in the area. For example, a nightclub will often hire bouncers and outdoor security guards to protect guests from hazards that often arise in establishments where groups of people gather together and consume alcohol.
What Are the Benefits of Obtaining a Settlement Over Going to Court?
Time and expense constitute the main benefits of the settlement process. Litigation often proves expensive, and you generally won’t receive the compensation until months or even years after the accident occurred. This may feel like a long time to wait for compensation when you have suffered injuries and cannot work or pay for the expenses of life.
How Do You Prove a Slip and Fall Claim?
A slip and fall is a type of premises liability claim.
You can prove your claim by establishing that:
A hazard existed on property that the at-fault party owned, possessed, or controlled.
The at-fault party knew or had reason to know that the hazard existed.
The at-fault party negligently failed to mitigate the hazard and failed to warn guests of its existence.
The hazard caused your accident, resulting in an injury and associated expenses and impacts.
My Husband Died in a Car Accident. Can I File a Lawsuit, or Do I Need to Seek Compensation Through PIP?
Because your husband’s death meets Florida’s serious injury threshold, you may bypass the PIP process and seek compensation directly from the at-fault party’s liability insurance carrier. The serious injury threshold includes injuries that result in a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function or another permanent injury, including permanent scarring and disfigurement, or death.
While you don’t have to file a claim against your PIP policy before seeking compensation through the courts, you should know that Florida PIP policies provide a $5,000 death benefit if you or anyone in your household dies in a car accident. In addition to your PIP claim, you can seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Witness Deposition?
A witness deposition serves as a valuable evidence-gathering tool. After you file your claim in court, the case will enter the discovery phase of litigation. During this phase, attorneys for each side have the opportunity to question witnesses, both orally and in writing, in sworn testimony that occurs outside the courtroom. Witness depositions rarely prove admissible in court, they assist attorneys in building their cases. Either side can request to depose witnesses.
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on the Settlement I Received for My Spring Hill Accident?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the damages you recover through a personal injury settlement do not constitute taxable income. However, if you receive punitive damages, the IRS does consider that compensation is taxable income and thus will tax those damages.
Courts award punitive damages to punish a defendant for particularly egregious action and to discourage similar behavior in the future, not as compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury but as a financial consequence for particularly wanton recklessness on behalf of the defendant. Because the compensation does not stem directly from your injuries, the IRS considers it as taxable income.
Do I Need an Attorney? Can I File a Personal Injury Claim on My Own?
The legal team at Lucas & Magazine understands that the notion of hiring an attorney amid other expenses and impacts of your injury may seem overwhelming to many. How would you afford a retainer? How do you know how much experience the attorney you want to hire has with cases similar to yours?
Personal injury attorneys spend years obtaining the education and training to provide quality services to their clients. The legal system involves complex rules and processes that require a significant amount of time to learn. People who don’t have this education and training likely won’t know how the legal system works, yet courts expect individuals who represent themselves to know as much as an attorney.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim may prove crucial to your ability to obtain the maximum level of compensation in your case.
Due to this importance, we provide two special services to ensure that anyone who needs our assistance has access to it, regardless of ability to pay.
A free case evaluation. Would you like to know more about the process of pursuing compensation through the court system before making your decision? Do you have legal questions that you need to have answered? Do you want to know more about our firm and our experience with cases like yours? Obtain all of that and more during a free case evaluation.
A contingency fee. We don’t charge a retainer or an hourly rate for our services. Instead, we charge a contingent fee. Accordingly, you do not have to pay for our services unless and until we reach a successful outcome in your case, and even then, the fee comes out of the money we collect for you.
In addition to the services listed above, some of the other ways we assist our clients with personal injury claims include:
Helping them to determine all potential sources of liability, and which insurance policies to access for compensation.
Assisting them to establish a value to their claim based on the expenses and impacts they have already suffered as well as those they will likely suffer in the future.
Issuing a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance provider that details the accident and the expenses and impacts that have incurred and demands payment.
Negotiating on our clients’ behalf with the at-fault party to reach a settlement agreement.
Gathering the evidence and witness testimony needed to prove our clients’ claim in court.
Attendance and representation of our client’s case at all court-ordered pre-trial conferences and hearings.
Presenting a client’s case in court and arguing on his or her behalf.
Assisting clients in collecting their settlements or court awards of compensation.