Are My Injuries Serious Enough to Sue?
As a leading Daytona Beach law firm, we receive questions from the public all the time. One common question people call up to ask is, “Are my injuries serious enough to sue?” Basically, everyone knows that a lawsuit takes time and money, so it isn’t always worthwhile to sue for every little nick or scratch that they receive. But how does a person know when their injuries warrant a trip to court?
To begin, you should distinguish between injuries sustained in a car accident and those brought on by a different accident. Then you need to review how much money you lost because of the accident and how seriously your life has been changed.
Car Accidents & Lawsuits
We need to note that car accidents deserve their own category, because Florida’s no-fault insurance laws have dramatically limited your ability to sue. All car owners should have no-fault personal injury protection benefits, called PIP, which you tap after a collision. Because they are no-fault, it doesn’t matter who was to blame for the crash. You could be to blame and still receive money for medical care.
However, PIP benefits are rarely enough. Most people have only the minimum $10,000 policy, which will barely cover a mild injury. Anything more serious, and you’ll be paying medical care costs out of your own pocket.
Unfortunately, Florida law will not let you bring a lawsuit for most car accidents unless you have a serious injury as defined by the statute:
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- Disfigurement or scarring that is both significant and permanent
- Another injury that with a reasonable degree of certainty will be permanent
For example, if you suffer burns on your face, then this permanent scarring would allow you to bring a lawsuit. However, if all you did was pull a back muscle, then that is not a serious injury that would warrant a lawsuit—even if you were kept out of work for a month.
In other words, when it comes to car accidents, the law will decide when you can sue and when you can’t. The decision isn’t really yours.
Other Accidents & Injuries
Many of our clients aren’t injured in car accidents but instead by:
- Slip and falls
- Trip and falls
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Sexual assault
There are no laws that limit when you can sue. Instead, you should analyze whether you have a legitimate legal case against somebody. So long as you do, you can bring a lawsuit in court.
But should you? Won’t it take a lot of time to bring a lawsuit for a few thousand dollars? Helpfully, Florida has created small claims courts that people who have suffered less than $5,000 worth of damage can use. You do not need a lawyer to appear in these courts, and procedures are simplified so the self-represented can vindicate their rights.
If your case is worth much more than that, then you should consider hiring an attorney. A lawyer can help increase the amount of compensation you receive and can even negotiate a settlement so that you do not need to go to trial in the first place.
Look at all your economic losses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Many people lose out on tens of thousands of dollars after an accident. And when injuries are particularly serious, a person’s quality of life drops from pain, inconvenience, and emotional distress, all of which warrant compensation as well.
Need Legal Help after an Accident? Contact Bundza & Rodriguez
If you or a loved one has been injured, you should begin weighing your legal options. One of the first steps is to reach out to an experienced Volusia County personal injury lawyer to discuss whether you have a legal claim.
Bundza & Rodriguez offers a free consultation, so please call us today at 386-252-5170 to schedule yours.