Wesley Chapel’s population has increased significantly in a matter of the past 20 years. When a place grows that quickly, certain risks increase, such as the risk of traffic accidents on narrow, small-town roadways unprepared for the influx of people.
In the scramble to retrofit the entire east side of the county for the growing number of residents, the number of work zones and construction sites increase, placing people and heavy equipment near one another.
Finally, a sudden population boom can result in emergency service providers having to race to ensure that they have the equipment and manpower to meet the population’s needs. All of these factors increase the likelihood of injury and the need for a personal injury lawyer.
Lucas & Magazine began meeting the needs of clients around Tampa Bay in 2000. In 20 years, our firm has also grown considerably and has afforded us the ability to represent clients all throughout the Tampa Bay area, Florida and even other states. We now have an East Pasco office located in the Windfair Professional Center, just west of the Wesley Chapel Florida Hospital.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a Wesley Chapel personal injury accident because of another person’s wrongful actions, you should fight back and go after justice and compensation for your injuries. Thankfully, the Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine can help you take on this fight, providing top-notch legal services to individuals who have suffered personal injuries.
Personal injury law involves the legal process of seeking compensation for an accident that resulted in injury to your body or mind. Obtaining compensation involves filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s applicable insurance policy, such as an auto liability, a homeowner’s, or a business insurance policy. The claim seeks to prove who bears liability for causing your injury, as well as showing the economic and emotional impacts you have incurred as a result of your injury.
Common Types of Wesley Chapel Personal Injury Cases
Although any type of accident can ultimately result in a personal injury claim, in Wesley Chapel, certain personal injury accidents occur more commonly than others. Some of the most common accidents in the area include the following:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Every year, over 36,000 individuals die because of a motor vehicle accident in the United States. While these collisions can occur for several reasons (hitting another car, a stationary object, animal, or debris), they often result in devastating injuries, extensive property damages, and sometimes even death.
In Wesley Chapel, some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents include:
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
Poor weather conditions;
Distracted driving, including texting and driving;
Automobile defects; and
Dangerous intersections, such as the intersection of Florida State Road 54 and Bruce B. Downs.
Premises Liability Accidents
Another common type of personal injury accident is a slip and fall accident, which occurs when an individual slips and falls on another person’s property.
Even though these accidents can happen for several reasons, some of the most common causes include:
Wet floors due to spills
Wet roads and sidewalks
In Florida, a property owner has a legal duty to keep premises reasonably safe so that another individual on the property does not suffer harm. If property owners fail to meet this duty, they can bear premises liability for the damages that result.
Product Liability Accidents
A product liability accident results from a dangerous or defective product that causes a person to suffer an injury. These accidents usually involve insufficient warnings, errors in the product, or design defects. Consequently, the manufacturer, seller, and everyone in the distribution chain can bear liability for the resulting harm and damages.
Some of the more common examples of these dangerous products include:
Dfective motor vehicle parts;
Defective medical devices;
Hazardous drugs, foods, and other consumer products; and
Nursing Home Abuse Incidents
Nursing home abuse cases are an unfortunately common occurrence. Florida is home to over 700 nursing homes, and we must protect the occupants and patients of those facilities. Discovering and establishing abuse in a nursing home is not always cut and dry but there are certain signs that you can watch for that may indicate a negligent or malicious staff.
If your loved one displays these symptoms, they may have a larger problem:
Lack of hygiene
Dehydration and malnutrition
General anxiety and heightened fear
Personal injury claims can also stem from boating accidents, burn injury accidents, and other types of catastrophic incidents. If you have suffered an injury in a personal injury accident in Wesley Chapel, and you believe you have a viable claim, you should reach out to an experienced Wesley Chapel personal injury attorney, such as those at the Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine. These lawyers can review what happened, figure out if you have a valid case, and help you go after maximum compensation.
The Types of Injuries That Give Rise to a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injuries can occur in many different ways and many resulting injuries can give rise to a claim.
Our clients often suffer from injuries that include:
Traumatic brain injuries. The brain serves as one of the most important organs in the body, as it controls thoughts, behavior, personality, and the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner. However, despite its importance, the brain has only a limited ability to heal from injuries, meaning that traumatic brain injuries often result in permanent deficits. While doctors will classify this injury by severity levels, you know nothing is mild about an injury that can cause permanent deficits, such as the inability to control one’s behaviors or emotions, move in a coordinated manner, recall people or events, or perceive the size and shape of objects. The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include falls, motor vehicle accidents, and violent acts, such as assault or child abuse.
Spinal cord injuries. The brain and the spinal cord make up the body’s central nervous system, with the brain using the spinal cord as a message system to communicate with the body. Like the brain, the spinal cord does not heal very well from injury, with the main risk of this type of injury being the loss of sensation and function below the site of the injury, commonly referred to as paralysis. Injuries occurring high on the spine, in the neck area, will often result in paralysis from the neck down, known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Doctors classify injuries to the spinal cord as either complete, meaning the victim experiences a total loss of sensation and function, or incomplete, meaning the individual still has some use of their body beneath the injury. As with brain injuries, the most common sources of spinal cord injuries include motor vehicle accidents and falls from the same elevation or height.
Broken bones. Nearly any type of bone can break in an accident, depending on the circumstances of the fall or collision. Slip and fall accidents commonly result in fractured hips, particularly among the elderly. Unfortunately, an injury in this location particularly in someone of advanced age can result in the inability to live independently or even in death.
Internal injuries. The body’s internal organs generally enjoy the protection provided by the bones of the ribcage. However, certain injuries can damage these organs and lead to rapid and uncontrolled bleeding, known as a hemorrhage. The organs that can sustain damage in a severe accident include the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen. One common internal injury experienced in motor vehicle accidents includes a pneumothorax, which involves a collapsed lung. The lung may collapse due to being punctured by a broken rib.
Damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs. The spinal column exists separately from the spinal cord, with the former providing protection for the latter. However, certain types of accidents can cause damage to the spinal vertebrae, the small bones that make up the spine, and the spinal discs, jelly-filled sacs that provide a cushion between the vertebrae. Injuries to the spine often result in instability to the area, as well as loss of movement and pain. Injured individuals may require surgery to repair the spine.
Burns. Burns involve damage to the skin through contact with a hot surface, liquid, flames, or steam. Doctors classify this type of injury by degrees according to severity. First-degree burns affect only the top layer of skin and generally present with reddened skin and even pain that subsides within days. Second-degree burns prove more severe, involving both the top and second layer of skin and presenting with blisters and increased pain, though this severity level often does not require medical treatment unless on a sensitive part of the body, such as the groin, hands, or face. Third-degree burns involve damage to both layers of skin, as well as the fat and tissues beneath. Third-degree burns constitute the most severe type of burn, often requiring specialized treatment to prevent infection and prevent scarring. Doctors often treat severe burns using a skin graft, where they harvest skin from a discrete area from the individual’s body or use donor or even synthetic skin to replace the skin on severely scarred areas.
Emotional distress. Injuries can prove stressful. They usually involve severe pain, and your injuries can prove serious enough that they completely change your life and your relationships, causing you to rely on family members to help with your care, or even needing modifications to your home to accommodate your disabilities. Your injury may lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health issues. While personal injury cases rarely request compensation for psychological injuries alone, nearly all personal injury cases seek compensation for the psychological impacts of the injury alongside compensation for the physical impacts.
The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine – About Us
The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine has grown considerably since its founding in February 2000, due to the firm’s hard work and dedication to its client’s needs. Today, we not only take on various types of personal injury claims, but we also make sure to provide intelligent and aggressive representation to those who need it most. However, our goal of personally handling our client’s legal issues every step of the way sets us apart from our competitors.
Because of this drive and commitment, we have helped thousands of clients obtain millions of dollars in compensation, with some of our most recent awards including:
$475,000 for an auto accident.
$520,000 for a car crash resulting in a cervical fusion.
$450,000 for a motor vehicle accident resulting in lower back surgery.
What Actions Should You Take After a Wesley Chapel Personal Injury Accident?
Even though thinking about what steps you should take after a personal injury accident is probably the last thing on your mind, you need to remember that the actions you take after an accident can not only protect your health and safety but your legal rights as well. For these reasons, following a Wesley Chapel personal injury accident, you should consider doing the following:
Reach out to the Authorities
You need to call 911 immediately after a personal injury accident. Not only is this the fastest way to alert the authorities of the accident and get it on record, but it is also the best way to notify emergency medical personnel that you or someone else at the accident scene needs immediate medical assistance.
Once the police arrive, they can perform a preliminary investigation of the accident and write down their findings in their police report. If you decide to proceed with an injury claim following the accident, this police report can serve as valuable evidence.
Take Pictures and Videos of the Scene
If you do not require any emergency medical help, you should try to get as many pictures and videos of the accident scene as you can. This should include photos of your visible injuries, dangerous conditions that caused your injuries, any vehicles involved in the accident, and any other evidence that can help show what happened.
Reach out to Witnesses
If people at the scene saw what happened, try to get their names and phone numbers. Their statements can often provide your attorney with helpful information regarding the accident and even help back up your claim.
However, as you talk to these individuals or other people at the scene, make sure you watch what you say. This means you want to avoid making any definitive statements about the personal injury accident, taking the blame for anything that occurred, or apologizing. These types of comments can hurt your case and affect the amount of money you can get from the other side.
Get Examined by a Doctor
Even if you think you only sustained minor injuries, you should still get to a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Many serious injuries, such as brain trauma, can take some time to manifest. The longer you wait to get this condition looked at, the more debilitating and deadly it can become.
Besides, getting this prompt treatment can also help your legal case. Insurance companies will look for any reason to pay you less money than you seek after an accident. By not getting immediate medical treatment, these insurers will argue that your injuries are not a result of the accident or are not that serious. Thankfully, when a doctor checks you out after the accident, these medical professionals can jot down their findings in their medical report and provide you with evidence of a direct connection between your injuries and the accident in question.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
Although most people tend to believe the insurance company wants to help them after an accident, this is not often the case. The insurer is a business, and like other businesses, it wants to make money. By denying your claim, the insurance company will increase its profits. As a result, these adjusters will try to do anything to get you to admit fault for the accident or say something that will negatively impact your claim.
For these reasons, before you talk to an adjuster, you should first reach out to a Wesley Chapel personal injury attorney, like those at the Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine. These attorneys can take over these conversations on your behalf and ensure that you do not say anything that can hurt your case.
Injured in Wesley Chapel? We Can Help
To bring a successful personal injury claim after a Wesley Chapel accident, you need to provide strong legal arguments and detailed evidence proving what happened and who bears liability for your injuries. However, for many personal injury victims, this is not a priority. These victims are more focused on their recovery, and because of the complexities involved in bringing a successful claim, many of these victims have no idea where to even start with the legal process.
Thankfully, you will not have to worry about taking on this complex legal battle alone with an experienced personal injury accident lawyer by your side, such as those from the Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine. Once retained, these lawyers can promptly get to work, determining if you have a viable claim, securing the evidence required to prove fault and damages, and going after the maximum financial recovery given your specific circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wesley Chapel Personal Injury Law
With precipitous growth comes additional hazards on area roadways, on public, private, and commercial properties, and even in area nursing homes and hospitals. Below, we answer questions that we hear most frequently from our Wesley Chapel clients about personal injury cases.
What Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Involve?
Florida law allows injured individuals in Florida to seek compensation from a third party for injuries caused by reckless, careless, or even intentional actions. The process generally begins with a demand package that your attorney sends to the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster.
The adjuster then has three options:
Admit to the liability of the insured party and issue payment on the claim.
Deny the claim and notify the claimant, along with providing a reason for the claim denial. Some common reasons why insurance claims receive a denial include the claim exceeding the limits of the policy; the at-fault party letting his or her insurance policy lapse; the insurance company doesn’t believe your injuries stem from the accident; or the insurance company believes that you caused or contributed to the accident.
Admit to the liability of the insured party, but deny the amount of damages claimed, instead proposing a settlement for a lower amount. This often begins settlement negotiations, which involve a back-and-forth discussion between your attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance provider in an attempt to arrive at a number that both sides can agree on.
Settlement negotiations begin when the insurance company makes its first settlement offer and can continue even after you and your attorney have decided to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. In fact, insurance companies frequently offer settlements after the trial has begun.
A personal injury lawsuit constitutes a legal claim filed in civil court. The claim seeks to prove who bears liability for the injuries and documents the expenses and psychological costs of the claimant’s injury.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Wesley Chapel?
In Florida, injured individuals generally must file personal injury cases within four years from the date of the injury. A few limited circumstances can justify extending the time limit, and you have less time and must go through a slightly different process if you file a claim against a government employee or agency. Your attorney will advise you of a different time limit in your case.
The statute of limitations regulates the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense. If these individuals do not file their suit within this time, the court can dismiss the case and bar the injured individual from collecting any compensation.
In Florida, the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury claim after an accident is four years from the accident date. However, various exceptions exist to this rule that can impact the amount of time a person has to file a case. After a Wesley Chapel personal injury accident, you should not wait to reach out to a skilled Wesley Chapel personal injury attorney, such as those at the Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine.
These attorneys can not only verify the maximum amount of time you have to file your case, but they can also ensure that your legal documents and motions are appropriately prepared and filed before time expires.
What Can I Receive Compensation for After Sustaining an Injury in Wesley Chapel?
Florida allows personal injury claimants to use the court system to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages, which is a fancy way of saying that you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation (referred to as damages) for the expenses (economic damages) and psychological impacts (non-economic damages) of your injury.
You can seek compensation for:
The cost of hiring someone to perform household services that you can no longer perform due to your injury.
Lost wages for the time during which your injury prevented you from working.
Lost earning capacity if your injury results in permanent deficits that prevent you from earning as you did before the accident.
Property damage you sustained in the accident that caused your physical injury. Commonly, you would seek compensation following a car accident to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
Physical pain and suffering.
Loss of the enjoyment of life.
How Do I Prove Who Bears Liability for My Injury?
Liability determines legal responsibility. While you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages after an intentional act, most claims involve negligence.
To prove negligence, you must establish:
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. This means reasonable individuals in a given circumstance would have taken actions to protect the safety and property of others.
The at-fault party breached the duty of care, which means the at-fault party took actions contrary to the task of protecting others.
The breach resulted in the accident, which caused you to suffer an injury and incur expenses and impacts.
I Sustained Injuries in a Car Accident in Wesley Chapel. What Do I Need to Know About PIP?
Florida, along with several other states, requires drivers to purchase a personal injury protection (PIP) policy upon registering a car in the state. With this no-fault insurance policy, you can file a claim on the policy whether you or another party caused the accident.
Because the state requires drivers to maintain PIP policies, most individuals cannot file a personal injury claim against an at-fault party, unless:
The expenses of your injury exceeded the limit of your policy. Florida’s drivers must purchase at least $10,000 of PIP coverage, from which they can pay for a portion of medical expenses and wage loss.
The injuries you sustain meet the state’s serious injury threshold. Injuries that meet the serious injury threshold include those that result in significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement; death.
Your PIP coverage will also generally payout for injuries that you or someone in your household sustained as a result of a bicycle or pedestrian accident, as well.
I Sustained Injuries in a Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accident. Can I Still File a Claim?
In the U.S., one pedestrian dies every 88 minutes, and Florida routinely ranks at the top of the list for having the highest number of pedestrian injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, about one in every five of these accidents involves a hit-and-run, meaning the at-fault driver did not remain on the scene to render aid or provide insurance and contact information for the injured pedestrian. These cases can prove difficult from a claim standpoint, as insurance pays the vast majority of personal injury claims. Unless you know the identity of the driver, you cannot file a claim.
Perhaps bystanders witnessed the accident and can help the police identify the at-fault driver, in which case you would know who to name as a defendant in your claim. However, if you cannot locate the driver, your car accident attorney can explore other compensation sources, including your own PIP or other insurance policies, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or even a personal health insurance policy.
How Much Is the Average Personal Injury Settlement?
There is no real method that exists for determining the amount of compensation for injuries resulting from negligence. Given the many types of personal injury claims and the wide variety of injuries and severity levels that individuals may incur, every personal injury case provides unique challenges. Settlement agreements are also unique, reflecting the desire of both parties to resolve the case and the areas they’re willing to compromise on. Because of all these unique traits, we cannot provide an accurate “average” amount for personal injury settlements.
Instead, we will take a look at three major factors that affect the value of your claim:
How much insurance the at-fault party has. As noted, insurance constitutes the primary source of compensation for the injured. While you can file a legal claim against an uninsured party and even obtain a judgment in your favor, collecting on that judgment will likely prove difficult as most people cannot afford to pay someone else’s injury expenses out-of-pocket.
The severity of your injuries and the treatment you have for those injuries . More severe injuries will generally produce a higher likelihood of disabilities that can impact your earning capacity and ability to live independently. Severe injuries will also usually result in more time away from work, more pain and suffering, and a need for expanded medical services.
Your patience during the settlement negotiation process. Insurance companies will often offer a low settlement in exchange for a quick resolution, and many claimants faced with the pain of their injuries and the related financial uncertainties may feel tempted to accept this offer. Not accepting the first settlement allows your attorney to negotiate for a higher amount of compensation. Unfortunately, the settlement process can last for quite some time. Those who remain patient in this process often receive the fairest settlement.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer From Lucas & Magazine Help Me With My Claim?
Lucas & Magazine began assisting Tampa Bay’s injured in obtaining compensation through the personal injury process twenty years ago. Since that time, we have expanded our services to better serve the region.
Some services we can provide to assist you in this process include:
A free case evaluation. Do you just want to learn more about the process and get answers to the questions you have about your ability to file a claim without the obligation of signing up or coming up with a big upfront investment? Free case evaluations don’t come with any obligation to retain us for your personal injury case. Come to us with your questions; we are happy to provide the answers.
Determination of liability. To file a claim, you must first determine who caused your accident. Your attorney will help you do this.
Developing a value to your case based on the severity of your injuries, as well as the expenses and psychological impacts you have already incurred as a result of the injury in addition to those you will likely face in the future.
Negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The filing of your personal injury lawsuit in court within the four-year statutory deadline.
The gathering of evidence you need to prove negligence.
Guidance as to the quality of a settlement offer you have received as well as the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting an offered settlement.
Litigation services, such as presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and delivering arguments.
Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
Sustaining injuries in an accident ranks as one of the most overwhelming experiences that a person can face. Rest assured, you do not have to face the process of seeking compensation for your injuries alone. Our bilingual legal team can fight alongside you for your right to seek compensation, whether that compensation ultimately comes by way of litigation or a settlement. While many lawyers feel more comfortable with the settlement process, we have some excellent litigators and negotiators on our team and the experience to handle the most difficult cases.
For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (813) 849-5353. During your evaluation, you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and pursue compensation to cover the full cost of your injuries.