Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer
Gainesville, Florida is the largest city in North Central Florida. It is best known for being home to the University fifty-seven thousand students at UF during the academic year. The total population of Gainesville was listed as 133,997 in the most recent census data. The greater Gainesville metropolitan area has a total population of 332,317. And Alachua County and Gainesville are growing at a rapid rate.
With all these people driving around Gainesville there are many car accidents occurring every day, as well as other types of personal injuries. In fact, recent data showed that there are on average 16 reported vehicle crashes every day in Alachua County.
Many of these accidents result in injuries and will require the services of a Gainesville personal injury lawyer to make sure your rights are fully protected. The best Gainesville personal injury attorney for you will be one who has the experience, dedication, resources and drive to do everything possible to get the at-fault negligent party and their insurance company to pay you full compensation.
Eric Kem started the Kem Law Firm to protect those who have been injured by the negligent actions of others. He is dedicated to helping Gainesville and Florida residents recover from their injuries. He pursues every case as if it was his own case and seeks maximum compensation for you or your loved one.
Do I need a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer?
Most people who are injured in a car accident or other type of personal injury case don’t know how the legal process works or what their rights and responsibilities are. You are probably most concerned about your injuries, missing work, getting your car or motorcycle repaired, or a number of other things. The last thing you need is to try to learn the law of personal injury and try to get compensation on your own. That’s where hiring an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Gainesville, FL can be the best course of action.
It is crucial that you talk to a personal injury attorney very soon after your injury to protect your rights. The insurance companies will try to take advantage of you if you aren’t represented by an injury lawyer. They will get you to say things that hurt your case and they will try to get you to settle quick for a lowball settlement.
Once you hire a personal injury attorney the insurance companies won’t be able to talk with you anymore. They will only be able to communicate with your attorney, who will let you know what they are offering and will negotiate with them for you. The attorney will also take care of all the annoying paperwork to make sure that your medical bills are paid for and that you won’t end up with medical providers sending you to collections. There are many other things a good personal injury lawyer in Gainesville can do to help you recover more and maintain your peace of mind during your injury claim.
What to do after an accident
Doing the right things after an accident can be key to maximizing your recovery. The main thing is to get proper medical treatment. If you are too badly hurt to do the following steps, then don’t worry about it. Get transported to a medical center by ambulance and have someone you trust help you with these steps.
- Call 911
- Move to safety if you are in an unsafe place like the middle of a road.
- Help others who were injured if you can.
- Let emergency medical professionals examine you. Ride for care in the ambulance if you feel that you suffered an injury requiring transport.
- Take photos of the accident scene. For example, if it is a car accident take pictures of the vehicle positions and the damage to the vehicles. The more pictures the better.
- Obtain the other driver’s contact information, insurance policy information, and license plate number.
- Get contact information of any witnesses.
- Give your statement to the police.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible after the police release you. Any delay may hurt your claim for compensation.
- Contact us or another personal injury attorney.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident. Do not give any recorded statements. Just tell them the basic information about the facts or refer them to your attorney.
What is Negligence and how is it related to Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits?
Negligence is the starting point of a personal injury claim. Negligence is a common word for doing something in a less than careful or reasonable manner. In legal terms, if a person is negligent, it means they didn’t act in a way that a reasonably prudent person would have acted in the same situation.
In order to be able to recover money for your personal injury, you need to show that someone else was negligent and that their negligence caused your injury. That person is the at-fault party. Personal injury law in Florida and other states is derived from old English common law called tort law. The word “tort” was originally a French word that came into English usage to mean “a wrong.” Tort law is now a term lawyers and judges use for the area of law regarding civil wrongs.
So personal injury law, or tort law, requires you to prove a few things in Florida in order to recover money and compensation for your injuries. You have to prove:
- Duty of Care. The person who harmed you had a responsibility to be careful and not act in a way that would harm you.
- Breach of Duty. The person who had the duty of care did some act or failed to do some act in a way that breached their duty of care and caused you harm.
- Causation. Their actions that breached their duty of care caused your injuries.
- Damages. You have injuries that were caused by their breach of duty of care.
Types of Gainesville Personal Injury Claims that we Handle
Personal injury cases arise from a variety of accidents and injuries. Anytime you have been injured where another person was fully or partially at fault can be a potential personal injury case. This includes both accidents and intentional acts. Sometimes the other party is a business rather than a person. For example, the typical slip and fall injury occurs in a store that doesn’t have proper procedures for keeping the floors clean and safe.
Florida law gives everyone the right to seek compensation against another party whose negligence caused or was a partial cause of your injuries. Below is a list of the primary types of personal injury claims that we pursue for our clients.
Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, on average, more than 33 thousand people die from motor vehicle crashes. In 2019, 36,096 deaths occurred.
- Car Accidents are the most frequent since they are the most numerous on the roads.
- Motorcycle Accidents frequently result in devastating or serious injuries since bike riders have less protection. Florida is a great place to ride, but there are dangers that can lead to a personal injury claim.
- Truck Accidents also often result in life-changing injuries. Gainesville has I 75 running directly beside it and there are frequently serious wrecks involving commercial trucks and semi tractor-trailers. These large trucks as well as other smaller commercial trucks also use the city roads in Gainesville. Upwards of 90 thousand injuries occur every year that involve large trucks.
- Bicycle Accidents are another frequent type of injury we handle in Gainesville. The sad fact is that many motorists are not on the look-out for bicyclists and there also are not enough bike lanes. Accidents result, including on the UF campus. Florida is unfortunately one of the top states for bicycle accidents.
- Pedestrian Accidents are another traffic related problem, especially around campus and at certain other high-risk intersections in Gainesville.
- Rideshare Accidents are similar to car accidents, but there are added complexities involved with determining fault and dealing with the special insurance policies governing rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber.
- Bus Accidents are another source of injuries in Gainesville.
- Scooter and Moped Accidents are on the rise. Many students use scooters to get around Gainesville and frequently don’t wear a helmet.
- Boating Accidents happen all the time in Gainesville and all over Florida. The same personal injury laws apply here as they do in traffic accidents.
Premises liability is the name for the responsibility a commercial property has to the customers and people who come onto the property. If the property owner doesn’t keep the property safe in a reasonable way, then those who get injure on the property can sue for damages.
- Slip and Fall injuries, also called trip and fall, are a common type of claim against property owners. These types of claims can result when the property allows slippery conditions on the floor without proper warning. This could be spilled food in grocery stores or wet floors not marked with signs. Other dangers could be improperly designed steps, handrails, or anything else that is not reasonably safe.
- Other hazards include shelves that fall over, items that fall off shelves, sharp objects and many more hazards.
- Other types of premises liability cases we handle include negligent security. For instance, a property owner might not have adequate security personnel or locks. People may be robbed or even worse due to this lack of security. This can be a problem in hotels, apartments, or any other places where the business owes you a duty of care to provide adequate security.
Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals have a higher duty in providing care. They must always treat you in accordance with the standard of care required by their profession. When they fail to meet that standard and you are injured, they can be held liable with a medical malpractice lawsuit. Common types of medical malpractice claims result from failure to properly diagnose your condition, medication errors, surgical errors, and birth injuries.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
There is a large population of people in Florida living in nursing homes. These are some of our most vulnerable people. When their nursing home neglects or abuses them, they should be held accountable.
Known in the legal profession as product liability, this is an area of personal injury law that covers the duty of manufacturers and retailers to provide products that meet basic safety requirement. Often, the legal doctrine of strict liability applies to these cases. There is also the issue of warnings and the duty to warn. For instance, drugs and pharmaceuticals require adequate warnings of known side-effects.
- Defective Products claims can arise from anything that is bought and sold and that causes an injury. These include consumer products like faulty appliances or badly designed airbags.
- Dangerous Drugs and Medical Devices are a big source of these claims currently. Drugs can have horrible side effects. Medical devices, like hip implants, may have been designed improperly causing them to fail.
Work accidents usually lead to a worker’s compensation claim. These are similar to personal injury claims, but they have different issues as well due to the worker’s compensation laws. Construction accidents are a common source of worker’s compensation claims in Florida.
Dog Bite Injury
Thousands of people are injured every year from dogs with negligent owners. Often children or the elderly are injured. Children may bear the scars and trauma of these events for life. Dog owners have duties, like keeping their dogs secured or fenced in so they can’t escape and injure people. They also must warn guests of dangerous dogs and seek to protect them.
Kinds of Injuries in Personal Injury Cases
Almost any kind of injury can result from a typical personal injury situation. Some injuries heal up in a short period of time, while others take time and a lot of treatment to heal. Serious injuries often result in permanent conditions. Some of the most frequent injuries we see are:
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Herniated discs
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries: sprain, strains, whiplash
- Cut and bruises
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Broken bones and compound fractures
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Facial injuries
Damages and Compensation
The law allows you to recover money to compensate you for all your losses resulting from the injury. These losses are categorized in various ways. One way is to separate them into economic and non-economic losses.
The economic losses would be everything that has a direct financial cost to you. These include:
- Lost Wages
- Medical Costs
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity
- Property Damage
- Cost of Hiring Help for Things You Used to Be Able to Do
These are all your damages that are not directly related to money. They include the psychological and physical aspects of your injury that are hard to quantify. However, even though they are hard to quantify, the law says you must be compensated for them with money. These damages include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
What is The Personal Injury Claim Process and How Can We Help You?
The process of receiving compensation for your personal injury can be difficult. Most people don’t have any experience in making an insurance claim, collecting the evidence necessary, and possibly having to file a lawsuit. It makes sense to talk to a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer any time you’ve been injured due to someone else’s fault. We’ll let you know if you have the type of case where a lawyer can be of help. The consultation is completely free.
The process of getting you compensation starts by putting all the involved insurance companies on notice of your claim. It’s critical to do this very soon after the accident. It’s also critical to have a lawyer do this so the insurance companies don’t have the chance to trick you into waiving away your rights or saying something that hurts your claim.
Then we gather all the necessary evidence that proves the other party was at fault. Sometimes this is straightforward and other times we have to hire experts to prove the other party was liable. We pay for the experts upfront. This cost only comes out of your settlement at the end.
In the meantime, you should be seeking medical treatment. We can help you find qualified doctors and specialists if you need that. One of the great benefits of hiring us is that we handle all the work with the insurance companies so you can focus on medical treatment and getting better.
Once we have the necessary documents and evidence and your doctors have a good understanding of your injuries and needs for treatment, we will make a demand on the appropriate insurance companies. At this point we use our knowledge and experience of injuries and settlements to get the insurance companies to make a reasonable voluntary settlement. At this point, we have to rely on the good faith of the insurance companies to pay a reasonable settlement. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t.
When the insurance companies dig in their heels and offer a lowball settlement, then we start to consider filing a lawsuit. This decision is always yours to make. We will give you the necessary information to make this decision.
Trial and Litigation
If necessary, we file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and against the insurance companies. Then we start the process of litigating your claim through the court system. This process requires you to be available to answer questions under oath, both in writing and in a live deposition. There are required mediations, where a third-party former judge or attorney tries to help the parties reach a mutually agreed settlement. If settlement is not reached during litigation, ultimately your case would go to trial. Trial is stressful and causes you to miss work. Sometimes it is the only way to get you just compensation though. We have the experience and track record to take your case all the way through trial if necessary. But we know that most of our clients want a great settlement early in their case, without the stress of trial, so we work hard to achieve that for them.
Call A Personal Injury Lawyer in Gainesville, FL Now to Get Started
You will receive a free consultation with lead attorney, Eric Kem. He will listen to what happened to you and will answer your concerns and questions. If you both decide to move forward, then you can sign a contingency fee contract for us to represent you. The contract says you don’t pay us a dime except out of your eventual settlement. Don’t try to deal with your injury on your own. The consultation is free.
"Eric Kem was a Fantastic Lawyer...knowledgeable, patient as well as kind. He helped me understand the law, know my rights and not feel like an idiot for asking so many questions. I had a better outcome then I ever expected. I would highly recommend him!!!"
Crystal DeJesus, Gainesville Florida
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