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Personal Injury Attorney | New Port Richey, FL

Personal injury law from a New Port Richey, Florida personal injury attorney - Peck Law Firm

As a New Port Richey personal injury lawyer, the attorney at the Peck Law Firm, P.A. has seen the devastating impact that being involved in an accident can have on your life. Our clients often come to our firm when they are feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed, which is why we strive to provide our clients with legal representation that allows them to reclaim their confidence and face the often difficult road ahead them. But being a New Port Richey personal injury lawyer involves more than simply crafting legal arguments or performing legal research. As an officer of the court, our personal injury attorney also seeks to educate our clients on the legal system that will have a lasting impact on their life. Consequently, if you have been involved in an accident in Florida or are thinking about filing a personal injury claim, there are a few things about Florida’s personal injury laws that you should be aware of. 

What is Personal Injury Law?

While it is common for people to use the term “personal injury law” interchangeably with events such as car accidents, slip and fall claims, or dog bite cases, personal injury law is actually a body or broad category of law that encumpases a number of different types of claims. To put things into perspective, according to Florida Health about 600 floridians are hospitalized each year due to dog-bite-related injuries. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 403,626 car crashes in Florida in 2018, and according to a study conducted by John Hopkins University’s Medical School, an estimated 250,000 people die per year due to medical error. All of these events can potentially result in a legal claim that falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. So, the first question that you need to answer is what type of personal injury claim you need to initiate, because this will determine which laws govern your case. 

New Port Richey Car Accident Attorney

At the Peck Law Firm, P.A., our personal injury attorney handles a wide range of personal injury cases the most common of which are car accident claims. Car accident cases are by far the most common type of personal injury claims that are initiated in Florida. In fact, according to the Florida Office of the State Courts, there were over 30,000 auto negligence claims filed during the 2018-19 fiscal year. By comparison, there were about ten times more car accident cases filed than medical malpractice cases during the same time period. 

Car Accident Laws in Florida That You Should Know About

The laws governing car accidents are complex, but there are few basic laws in Florida regarding car accidents that you should be aware of. 

  • First, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 627.736(1)(a), you have 14 days following a car accident to seek medical treatment for any injuries you sustained in the accident or your claim might be denied by your insurance carrier. Florida is a no-fault state which means that, in most cases, you will be required to submit a claim through your own PIP insurance for payment of your medical expenses after being involved in an accident, even if you did not cause the accident or were merely a passenger in another vehicle that was involved in an accident. 
  • Most non-fatal car accident claims are subject to a four year statute of limitations pursuant to  Fla. Stat. § 95.11(3)(a). What this means is that, in most cases, you have four years after a car accident has occurred to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or you risk being barred from filing a lawsuit, because the statute of limitations has expired or “run.”  
  • Finally, Florida is a “comparative fault” state pursuant to the provisions of Fla. Stat. § 768.81(2). This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for having caused your accident to occur, your damages will be reduced by an amount proportional to the percentage of fault assigned to you by a judge or jury. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to 20% at fault for having caused the accident, your damages will be reduced by 20%, and you will be awarded $80,000.

The laws listed above apply in most cases, but as a general rule, you should always consult with a personal injury attorney to have questions about your unique situation answered. 

Types of Car Accident Claims Our New Port Richey Personal Injury Attorney Handles

At the Peck Law Firm, P.A., our personal injury attorney accepts a wide range of motor vehicle accident claims including: 

  • Car Accidents 
  • Semi-Truck and Commercial Vehicle Accidents
  • Uber and Lyft Accidents 
  • Drunk Driving Accidents 
  • Motorcycle Accidents 
  • Bicycle Accidents 
  • Pedestrian Accidents 

New Port Richey Premises Liability Claims 

In Florida, state law imposes certain duties on a landowner to keep their property free of hazards that could injure guests. When a landowner fails to satisfy this duty and this failure causes you to sustain injuries, the event can give rise to a premises liability claim. Like personal injury claims, there are different types of premises liability claims, and at the Peck Law Firm, P.A., our personal injury lawyer handles multiple types of premises liability claims including:

  • Slip and Fall Accident Claims 
  • Dog Bites Cases 
  • Negligent Security Claims

Slip and Fall Accident Attorney in New Port Richey, FL

Slip and fall accidents can occur in many ways, but the strength of a slip and fall claim is often severely affected by the type of visitor you are categorized as when the accident occurs. According to The Florida Bar, there are three categories of visitors some of which have their own subcategories:

  • Invitee: Invitees come in two forms, a public invitee and business invitee. A public invitee is a member of the public who is invited to enter or remain on land for the purpose for which the land is held open to the public, whereas a business invitee is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose that is either directly or indirectly connected with the business dealings of the landowner. Invitees are owed the highest duty of car by a landowner, and thus, from a legal perspective, invitee-status is the most appealing status a visitor can have.  
  • Licensee: licensees are people who enter a landowner’s premises for their own benefit either by invitation, such as a social guest, or without an invitation but with the landowner’s permission, such as a neighbor or family member. While the duty of care owed to a licensee is higher than the duty owed to a trespasser, it is lower than the duty owed to an invitee. 
  • Trespasser: Of all the categories of visitors, trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care by land owners. In fact, if a landowner is unaware of a trespasser’s presence on their property, the landowner may not owe any duty of care to the trespasser at all, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 768.075(1), depending on the facts of the case. 

When a land owner’s failure to maintain and keep their premises free of hazards causes you to sustain injuries due to an accident, the land owner may be liable for the damages you have sustained as a result of the accident such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The vast majority of premises liability claims involve customers at a business most of which are considered an invitee, but premises liability claims can be complex especially when the defendant involved is a major corporation with the resources needed to defend against your claim in court. As such, it is always advisable to employ an experienced attorney to represent you if you have been involved in a slip and fall accident.  

Dog Bite Attorney in New Port Richey, FL

As stated earlier, dog bite cases are steadily becoming more and more common in Florida, which is why the legislature has enacted dog bite laws in Florida, Fla. Stat. § 767.04, that hold pet owners strictly liable for any injuries to humans or certain types of animals caused by their dog. Strict liability, as a general matter, means that the pet owner’s knowledge about the dog’s viciousness or demeanor is immaterial. The primary thing that you must prove to hold a pet owner liable is whether it was indeed their dog that caused your injuries, but the main problem that you may face with a dog bite claim is whether the pet owner’s insurance will cover a dog bite injury, which is why hiring an experienced attorney to represent you is so important. Your dog bite attorney will not only help you gather the necessary evidence needed to prove your case in a court of law, but he will also negotiate with the pet owner’s insurance carrier. 

Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer in New Port Richey, FL

As your loved ones age, you naturally want to ensure they are taken care of during their golden years, but unfortunately, about 10% of all seniors experience some type of elder abuse during their lifetime according to data published by the National Center on Elder Abuse. To make matters worse, the corona virus has brought with it new and unique legal challenges for those with loved ones in nursing homes. According to a study published by Forbes magazine that considered all COVID-19-related deaths in 43 states, 42% of all coronavirus deaths were seniors who were residents in nursing homes. This represents an astounding, and frankly overwhelming, number of seniors that have lost their lives to the deadly virus, but it also shows, based on sheer volume, that some of these deaths may have been caused by the negligence of the nursing home facility itself. 

But the legal questions that are arising because of the virus are new and unique, and a body of law has not yet been developed to address the issues surrounding nursing home deaths caused by the coronavirus. As such, if you have a loved one that you suspect has been injured or passed away due to the neglect of a nursing home facility, it is critical that you employ a nursing home neglect attorney who will fight to protect your legal interests and the interests of your loved one. Some of the most common types of nursing home neglect include:

  • Physical Abuse 
  • Sexual Abuse 
  • Psychological Abuse 
  • Financial Abuse 
  • Self-Neglect 

One possible sign of neglect in nursing home patients is pressure ulcers, which are more commonly referred to as “bed sores.” Bed sores are wounds caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin, such as being left in bed for prolonged periods of time, and according to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 in 10 nursing home patients had a pressure ulcer in 2004. To be sure, there are non-neglect related reasons for a patient to develop a bed sore, but neglect has been known to be one of the cause, Moreover, if a nursing home fails to properly care for bed sores that have developed naturally, this failure to render care can be a basis for a nursing home neglect action. 

New Port Richey Medical Malpractice Lawyer

According to the study referenced above published by the John Hopkins School of Medicine, medical errors are responsible for an estimated 250,000 deaths per-year in the United States making medical error the third leading cause of death in our country. This study in particular demonstrates some of the unique challenges medical malpractice claims can give rise to. While some instances of medical malpractice are known after they occur, such as a physician amputating the wrong limb, others take time to discover, such as when a physician leaves a screw or other piece of debris inside of a patient after surgery. 

To address this issue, Florida follows the so-called “discovery rule.” The statute of limitations under Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(b) for medical malpractice claims is two years, but this statute indicates that the two years statute of limitations begins to run “from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.” So, unlike the statute of limitations for car accidents which typically begins to run after the accident has occurred, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim begins to run after you have either discovered the medical malpractice or should have discovered the malpractice. Unfortunately, the Florida legislature has also seen fit to enact a four-year “statute of repose” for medical malpractice claims. This means that regardless of when the malpractice has been discovered, you may be barred from initiating a malpractice claim if the actual act that constituted malpractice occurred more than four years ago, even if you did not know about it. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims include:

  • Misdiagnosis 
  • Failure to treat 
  • Surgical errors 
  • Delayed diagnosis 
  • Birth injuries

Medical malpractice claims are one of the most complex types of personal injury litigation, because many physicians often have a large incentive to aggressively defend against them. Moreover, medical malpractice claims, unlike many other types of personal injury cases, have a strict set of procedural guidelines that were enacted via statute and that must be followed by your medical malpractice attorney in order for the case to move forward. As such, if you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can, so you can properly understand and evaluate your legal options. 

New Port Richey Wrongful Death Attorney

Every year there are thousands of family members who lose a loved one in a personal-injury-related accident. For example, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, there were approximately 3,116 car-accident-related fatalities in 2017 in Florida, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,511 people killed in car accidents involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit in 2018. These accidents, and others, are tragic and often leave the family members of the accident victim feeling alone, confused, and frustrated. 

While compensation will never fill the void left by a family member’s passing, Florida state law allows the family members of an individual killed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence to recover compensation for things such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, medical bills, etc. What many people do not understand is that a person’s accident-related death often gives rise to two separate causes of action or lawsuits, a survival suit and a wrongful death suit. Generally speaking, a survival action is the lawsuit that the deceased could have initiated while they were alive, but the extent of the damages that could be claimed in that lawsuit ends on the date of the deceased's death. For example, if you had a family member who was injured in a car accident and died from their injuries 30 days later, the deceased estate would have a survival action for the damages incurred by the deceased for the 30 days the individual was alive. Essentially, a survival action allows a deceased’s estate to take their place as the plaintiff and continue the lawsuit they had a right to bring before their passing. 

In contrast, a wrongful death suit is brought by the family members of the deceased. The lawsuit, though it involves many family members, is usually initiated by the executor of the deceased estate on behalf of the surviving family members. Wrongful death suits allow family members to recover damages for the loss of financial support of the deceased as well as the emotional damage that losing the deceased in the accident has caused and will cause in the future.  

Personal Injury Lawyer in New Port Richey, FL

At the Peck Law Firm, P.A., our new port richey personal injury attorney is dedicated to helping clients seek justice for the injuries you have sustained in an accident. We take great pride in knowing that we are not just providing legal services, but rather, helping our clients obtain a brighter, happier future. If you or a family member has been involved in an accident, call our office today to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 

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