Hawthorne Personal Injury Lawyers
How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Alachua County
After a serious accident or injury, it can be extremely difficult to heal and move forward with your life. You are likely facing significant physical pain and mental suffering due to your injury, not to mention various unexpected financial hardships, ranging from high medical bills to lost wages and income.
At Schackow & Mercadante, we understand the difficulties you are going through, as well as the many challenges that still lay ahead—and we want to help. Our Hawthorne personal injury lawyers are here to protect your rights and your recovery. We are committed to holding negligent and reckless parties accountable for the immense pain, suffering, and damage they cause and have successfully helped countless clients recover fair financial compensation for their losses.
Contact us online or by phone at (352) 261-6767 to request a free initial consultation today. We serve clients throughout North Central Florida.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Generally speaking, Florida law allows you to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a liable party when you are injured and suffer measurable damages due to the negligent, wrongful, or intentional conduct of another.
Most personal injury claims are brought on one of the following grounds:
- Intentional misconduct
There are some exceptions, however. For example, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you can only bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault party if you can prove that your injury meets the state’s definition of a “serious injury.” If you do not have a “serious injury,” you will have to file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim, also known as a “no-fault” claim, with your auto insurance provider. While PIP offers some compensation regardless of fault, it does not cover the full cost of your medical expenses or lost wages. Additionally, it does not provide any compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
You should also know that you have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. In most cases, there is a four-year statute of limitations. This means you have four years from the date of injury—or the date on which the injury was discovered/could have been discovered—to file your claim in court. In wrongful death cases, you have just two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit against the liable party. If you miss the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case.
If you are unsure whether you have a personal injury case, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Schackow & Mercadante. We offer free initial consultations, during which we can review the specific details of your situation and provide personalized insights regarding your various legal options. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide the guidance you need to navigate the legal process.
Comparative negligence refers to the idea that, in many personal injury cases, there are multiple at-fault parties. When this happens, the rule of comparative negligence is used to determine who may file a personal injury claim against whom. Each partly responsible party is assigned a percentage of the blame, which affects how much they may recover for their damages.
In states that follow a modified comparative negligence rule, you may only file a personal injury claim if your assigned percentage of blame falls below a certain threshold, typically about 50%. In other words, if you are more than half at fault for the incident that caused your injury, you cannot file a claim or seek any compensation for your damages. However, in states that follow a pure comparative negligence rule, there is no threshold. This means that you can file a claim if you were partly or even mostly at fault—as long as the other party was at least slightly to blame for your injuries.
Florida follows a rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that you can bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a liable party, regardless of your percentage of fault (as long as it is less than 100%, and you can prove all other elements of your case). However, if you are found to be even slightly to blame for the incident that caused your injuries, you will not be able to recover the full amount you are seeking in compensation. For example, if you suffered a serious injury that led to $100,000 in damages, but the insurance adjuster and/or court found you 20% to blame, you would only be eligible to receive up to 80% of the total amount, or $80,000.
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Over 125 Years of Combined Experience
Practicing in The Gainesville Area 55+ Years
While there is no law that requires you to hire a personal injury lawyer, there are many reasons to do so. It is important to remember that, after an accident or traumatic event, the insurance company is not on your side. In fact, insurance adjusters work to save the insurance company money by limiting payouts. This means that they may dispute, devalue, or even outright deny your claim.
Dealing with the insurance company after a serious accident or injury isn’t just a headache; it can also result in you accepting less money than you are truly owed. But when you work with an experienced attorney, like ours at Schackow & Mercadante, you can rest assured that your rights and best interests will be protected.
Our Hawthorne personal injury lawyers know how to deal with insurance adjusters and negotiate fair, favorable settlements for our clients. We do everything possible to resolve claims as efficiently as possible, but we are always prepared to litigate and try cases whenever necessary. Our team can even work to have your medical bills lowered and assist you in finding the proper treatment and care. We are here for you every step of the way, available to answer your questions and ready to advocate for you.
Trust your recovery to the team at Schackow & Mercadante. Call (352) 261-6767 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.
“I am a UF student who got injured on campus and Schackhow and Mercadante handled my case extremely well. Everything was settled in about a year and I highly recommend them for any personal injury case in which you are a victim in any capacity.”