Orlando Personal Injury Attorney
Vehicle collisions, falls, dog bites, and other such incidents kill or seriously injure millions of Americans every year. These events often lead to sky-high medical bills and other economic losses. On top of that, the victims must endure significant emotional distress and other intangible losses. All the while, the insurance company calls constantly, trying to settle the case.
There is an old saying in the law that “for every wrong there is a remedy.” Car accident victims need money to pay their medical bills and make good on other losses. These victims also deserve compensation for their pain and suffering. The same thing applies to fall victims, dog bite victims, and other premises liability cases. Other types of civil cases include contract disputes, intentional torts, like assaults, and fraud cases. This saying is not always true. But at HD Law Partners, it typifies our approach to all these cases. We never look for the easy way out. Instead, our aggressive Orlando injury attorneys always look for ways to obtain compensation and justice for all our clients. This approach, along with a firm commitment to the Orlando community, has served us well in the past. We believe that it will continue to serve us well in the future.
At HD Law Partners, our experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys are both aggressive advocates and trusted counsellors. We quickly assemble evidence in the case to get your claim started. We then forcefully present this claim to the insurance company and demand a reasonable settlement. If we cannot resolve the case in this way, we do not hesitate to take the next step. All this time, we give you accurate legal advice, so you can make the best possible decisions.
Theories of Liability in Orlando
Most personal injury claims involve negligence, which is a lack of ordinary care. There are five basic elements in a negligence case:
- Proximate (Substantial) Cause, and
A car crash is a good example of a negligence case. Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must follow the rules of the road and drive defensively. A higher duty may apply if the tortfeasor (negligent actor) was a commercial operator. If the tortfeasor breaches (violates) this duty and thereby causes damages, the tortfeasor may be legally required to pay compensation.
Sometimes, Florida law sets the standard of care. For example, the DUI states that people must not drive while they are intoxicated. In these situations, the negligence per seshortcut may apply. Tortfeasors are liable for damages as a matter of law if they violate a safety law and that violation substantially causes damages.
In some cases, negligence per semay only be a presumption of liability. To obtain compensation, the victim/plaintiff must introduce additional evidence of negligence.
Other times, as with a defective drug or consumer product, the standard of care is irrelevant. Defendants are strictly liable for damages in these cases. Victim/plaintiffs need only prove cause.
In most cases, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the scales of justice tip ever so slightly in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff has established that fact as true. It does not matter how many valid arguments the defendant has.
Burdens of Proof in Orlando Civil Cases
In most civil and injury cases, the plaintiff must establish facts by a preponderance of the evidence. This legal term means more likely than not, and this burden is much lower in civil court than it is in criminal court.
Hit-and-run crashes are a good example. In criminal court, prosecutors must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So, there usually needs to be evidence that places the defendant behind the wheel at or near the time of the crash. That evidence could be eyewitness testimony, video surveillance evidence, or the defendant’s admission.
But in civil court, it is usually sufficient to identify the vehicle owner. It is more likely than not that the owner was also driving the car at any particular time.
In a few instances, the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. This standard is above preponderance of the evidence and below reasonable doubt. Plaintiffs must have clear and convincing proof of wrongdoing for the court to award punitive damages.
Types of Evidence in Orlando Civil Cases
In most injury cases, the incident report is an important piece of evidence. But sometimes the report is biased. For example, in slip-and-fall cases, a supervisor or other employee usually prepares this report. And, in serious injury car crash cases, the victim may be unavailable to give a statement. So, the police accident report might only contain one side of the story.
Therefore, the victim/plaintiff usually needs additional evidence to meet the burden of proof. That additional evidence could be:
- Supplemental Witness Statements: Many people do not voluntarily come forward at the accident scene. An attorney can often convince these individuals to share their stories.
- Electronic Evidence: Most passenger cars have Event Data Recorders. EDRs capture and record information like vehicle speed, brake application, engine RPM, and steering angle. Most large trucks have Electronic Logging Devices. ELDs record hours of service information, so this evidence is useful in fatigued driving situations.
- Video Evidence: Most street corners have either red light cameras or traffic cameras. Additionally, surveillance video cameras are almost everywhere.
Attorneys often partner with private investigators to obtain supplemental evidence. In some cases, such as EDRs and ELDs, an attorney may need a court order to obtain the evidence.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Orlando
Most claims begin with demand letters. Attorneys send these settlement offers to insurance companies or other responsible parties, based on the preliminary facts. If liability is reasonably clear, the claim may settle at that point. But many cases proceed to the next level.
That next level involves filing a legal claim for damages. The insurance company often tries to block this action with legal loopholes. Assuming the case survives these challenges, the discovery process begins. After the two sides exchange information about their claims and defenses, most contested cases settle in mediation.
A handful of cases go all the way to trial, which may be before a judge or a jury.
Contact Aggressive Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys
Injury and accident victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Orlando, contact HD Law Partners. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.