Find out about the tax implications of receiving a lawsuit settlement and what you can do to protect your money.

After getting involved in a rough accident, you and the offender decided to settle out of court. This means that they take liability for your injuries, and they are willing to compensate for any damages they dealt with you. Now, you signed a settlement release so you can get your settlement money.

But a question popped in your head. Are lawsuit settlements taxable?

This is a common question for any plaintiff who agreed to settle out of the court. The answer to this question is vague and complicated. Settlement taxability differs from case to case. Let's discuss how lawsuit settlements are taxed and what are the non-taxable and taxable settlements.

How Are Tax Implications Determined For Legal Settlements?

The Internal Revenue Systems or IRS determines if a personal settlement claim is subjected to tax. Generally, the IRS will consider your settlement money as taxable income once it enters your account. But, exceptions exist even in this rule. Personal injury settlements are considered non-taxable by the administering department.

It all boils down to the "origin of the claim." If the nature of your settlement is for seeking a settlement for lost wages, it is taxable. But if the nature of your settlement is for seeking compensation for the damages sustained by accident, it is non-taxable. But, settlements for non-physical injuries such as mental anguish are taxable by the IRS.

Allocating settlement funds is a good strategy to reduce tax implications. The majority of legal issues cover multiple concerns. For example, a victim could claim that he sustained a physical injury from the car accident, developed a trauma from the damages caused by the event, and lost daily earnings because of the accident. The issue for this event revolves around the car accident, but the settlement could cover several facets.

This is why both parties must agree on the tax treatment of the settlement fund. The settlement agreement should discuss in detail how much is allocated for each of the victim's disputes.

Personal injury settlements also cover the attorney fees. If a plaintiff hires a contingency-fee-basis lawyer, they will not get paid until the victim recovers money from the case. Even if the defendant pays the attorney's contingency fees, the settlement money will still be subjected to the attorney fee taxes.

If the claim covers physical injury or sickness, there should not be any trouble with the tax treatment. But, if the claim is non-physical sickness or injury, then it is subjected to tax. Later on, we will discuss more on the attorney fees in this article.

In a nutshell, all physical injuries or physical damages settlements are tax-free. But, since emotional distress is not 'physical,' it may be subjected to tax depending on the nature of the case. Punitive damages and attorney fees are also subjected to tax treatment.

The best strategy to minimize the settlement tax deduction is to have a settlement agreement between the defendant and the victim. This would help them see which allocated settlement funds will be taxed.

List Of Non-Taxable Settlements

As mentioned above, settlements originating from physical injury are tax-free. Listed below are some of the examples of settlements exempted from tax.

Physical Injury Awards

A personal or physical injury settlement is considered a tax-free settlement. The basis of the IRS in settlement taxability is basically if the victim exhibits physical injuries. As long as there is observable bodily harm, the IRS exempts these settlements of tax.

Emotional Distress Settlements

The Internal Revenue Systems published a document stating that emotional distress settlements are spared from tax if the emotional distress damages originate from a physical injury or physical sickness. But, if an existing physical injury does not cause mental anguish, it will be taxed.

Medical Expenses

The same document states that medical expenses spent on physical sickness or emotional distress are non-taxable if the victim did not take an itemized deduction for these expenses from the previous year. But, if the victim receives the personal injury settlement as reimbursement for previously deducted medical expenses, then it is taxable.

List Of Taxable Settlements

Settlement payments originating from causes other than personal physical injury are subjected to tax.

Punitive Damages

The court awards punitive damages as a punishment for the person liable for the accident. In most cases, these damages are given in extreme cases, usually involving fraud or negligence. This is not meant to compensate the victim. Instead, these damages are meant only as a form of penalty against the violator. In this sense, punitive damages are subjected to a tax deduction.

Non-Injury Claims

As established earlier in this article, claims not originating from physical injuries or physical sickness are subjected to tax payments. Non-injury claims could include claims for property damages, lost wages, or interests. Property damages, lost wages claims, and punitive damages should be listed as 'Other Income' of Form 1040. While interests should be classified as 'Interest Income.'

Case Interest

Most states in the United States require an interest to be added on a pending verdict. The interest increases the longer the verdict is left unpaid. These interests are taxable by the IRS. The defendant will pay the awaiting verdict along with the interests included.

Attorney Fees

The attorney fee is a complicated area in taxable settlements. If an attorney representing you in a case functions on a contingency basis, you must pay taxes as the entire money recovered from the case. Even if the case defendant pays the lawyer's contingency fee, you are still subjected to tax payment by the total amount of compensation if the nature of the settlement is not physical injury.

For example, a plaintiff settled an amount of $100,000 for emotional distress, and the attorney fee cost you $40,000. You are then left with a $60,000 settlement money. Usually, you would assume that you would only record $60,000 as your income from your settlement. But, the law states that you should declare the total $100,000 as taxable income.

How Are Taxable Settlements Affected By A Settlement Agreement?

To understand how a settlement agreement affects taxable settlements, let us first define the settlement agreement.

Settlement agreements are a legal contract agreed upon by the defendant and the plaintiff. If a victim declares several claims from the accident, it is helpful for both parties to decide which amount would go to the different claims.

For example, a victim could request compensation for mental trauma, physical damages, and lost wages caused by an accident. It is helpful to know which amount would cover each category. A settlement agreement is ideal in this scenario.

A good settlement agreement would include the following information:

Settlement agreements can also include the agreed tax treatment between both parties. Though the IRS and the court are not mandated to follow the settlement agreement, they can incorporate the decision of both parties on what tax consequences both parties agreed upon.

The court may not add any terms to the agreement and only accept what is included in the document. This is why both parties must specify what they want to go in the settlement agreement. As much as possible, avoid accepting a contract with a lot of ambiguous terms.

An experienced settlement agreement lawyer can help you set your desired terms to get the best outcome with your case. They can go over the other party's agreement and advise you if the document is detrimental on your end.

How Can Allocation For Damages Save Taxes?

As established in the earlier sections, the best strategy for minimizing tax deductions in your settlement money is to divide the funds in each category of claims.

When a victim receives the settlement money, the IRS will consider this settlement as income. An income settlement is taxable by the IRS. But, if the nature of the settlement originates from observable harm or physical sickness, then the IRS can exempt this settlement from tax consequences.

But, if the settlement received originates from non-physical injury claims, this is subjected to tax deductions. Non-physical injury claims include mental anguish and distress from the situation. But, if the victim developed these mental health damages from the sustained physical injuries, it is not taxable.

Most legal cases have many damages compensable by the law. A car accident can bring severe physical injuries to the victim, and they could develop anxiety disorders because of the event. Wrongful death can bring emotional distress and loss of consortium. Some of these damages are taxable, while some are not.

Allocating settlement for these damages reduces the number of tax consequences from the payment. For example, the total compensation recovered by the victim is $100,000, then they could divide $60,000 for physical injuries and $40,000 from taxable loss of income. An agreement between both parties should be made before the settlement fund could be distributed between the damages.

Before settling for an amount outside the court, both parties should sign a settlement agreement. This document is helpful in making decisions on how both parties would like the settlement money to be treated.

A victim should provide solid evidence to connect the mental health damages from the physical injuries obtained.

Protect Your Settlement Money

Taxes are a perpetually confusing topic to understand. The laws surrounding this matter are complicated because it contains many technicalities that are too hard to understand.

Protect your settlement money by hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. A highly experienced personal injury attorney can walk you through the entire process of acquiring your settlement proceeds. They can help you easily comprehend the complicated tax rules surrounding your compensation.

Hiring a good attorney can also help you create an effective settlement agreement. They can help you avoid delays in getting your funds and avoid settlement taxes. An attorney with a vast knowledge of taxation law can provide astute legal advice to help you minimize or completely eradicate taxes on your settlement fund.

Our personal injury attorney at The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys has the necessary skillsets to help you achieve the best outcome for your case. Our Miami attorney has a proven background in helping clients avoid the tax consequences for their settlement.

At The Soffer Firm, we know exactly the situation you are facing, and we understand the goal you want to achieve for your case. We guarantee the best result in every case we handle. Settlement taxes are not new territory to us. We have years of successful experience in handling out-of-court settlements.

If you are interested in our service, call us at (786) 788-7344 for a free case consultation. You may also fill out this form on our website. You can also check our webpage for other services we offer.

We emphasize that, whether or not you are legally required to wear a seat belt, you should still wear a seat belt. Seat belts are legally required to be worn in Florida per Florida Seat Belt Laws. Your seatbelts can be located attached to the car seat.

There are plenty of dangers when on the road, and driving without a seat belt can result in severe injuries for everyone who isn't wearing one. Even when going out for a quick drive-thru, all drivers and front-seat passengers are legally required to wear a seatbelt at all times.

Safety Belts and Child Restraints

Seat-belts Prevent Accident Injuries

The Florida Seatbelt Law legally requires motor vehicle drivers, front-seat passengers, and children under 18 to wear seat belts as well as child restraint devices. A safety belt is a safety device designed to secure the driver or passenger against getting injured in a crash or a sudden stop.

The safety belt law in Florida is a primary enforcement law. Police officers can stop motor vehicles and issue tickets for not wearing seat belts.

Children aged five and under are required to be appropriately secured in child restraint devices under Florida Seat Belt Laws. The children should be in the rear seats on a separate carrier, integrated child seat, or booster seat until the age of 12 because front-seat airbags are dangerous to them.

You can read the official Florida Driver's License Handbook for more information on seat belts, child restraints, and recalls. We emphasize that drivers, front passengers, and backseat passengers wear seatbelts no matter where they are planning to go to avoid getting injured during accidents.

Are Backseat Passengers Required To Wear A Seatbelt In Florida?

If you are aged 18 and above, you do not have to use a seat belt in the backseat. However, minors are still required to wear a safety belt, even in the back seat. Florida seat belt laws require children to wear a seatbelt attached to the car seat or use a booster seat.

Regardless of whether or not it's required, we emphasize that you should always wear seat belts as drivers, front passengers, or backseat passengers. You can prevent severe injuries from happening during a car accident.

Are Backseat Seatbelts Really Safe?

Are Backseat Seatbelts Really Safe?

Generally speaking, seatbelts are safe as much as they are essential. In a car accident, lives are saved because of wearing seatbelts. Although it is legally required, we emphasize that you should wear it even if it's not.

Lap and chest seatbelts should prevent you from flying through your windshield during a car accident. It also helps passengers from getting severe injuries by colliding with the car's interior. Seatbelts secure people to their seats and make them slow down or stop with the motor vehicles during an immediate stop or a car crash.

What Are The Fines For Not Wearing A Seat Belt In Florida?

Per the Florida seatbelt laws, not wearing a seatbelt is a primary traffic violation and is considered a primary offense. Police officers can pull you over for this and issue you a ticket for a fine of $35. It will also become a secondary traffic offense if you already got pulled over for a primary violation. Courts and counties can also apply additional fines.

The driver is held responsible and will pay the fine for all under 18 who are not wearing a seatbelt or required child safety seat. Moreover, the driver will receive 3 points on their license for the seat belt violation and can be avoided by taking driver safety school.

However, if the driver violates the child safety seat law, the fine will be higher. It can go up to $60 per violation and 3 points to the driver's license. You can contact our lawyers for help and a free consultation about Florida Seat Belt Laws.

What are exceptions to Seat Belt Law in Florida?

Per Florida law, people over the age of 18 are not required to wear a seat belt. Minors diagnosed with medical conditions may not use a seat belt. However, they must present the doctor's note to the police officer serving the ticket or to the court to dispute it.

The Florida seatbelt law requires all drivers and passengers to use a seat belt except employees of a newspaper home delivery service, school buses purchased before December 31, 2000, buses used for transporting people for compensation, farm equipment, and trucks with a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.

Is Florida A Secondary Seat Belt Law State?

Florida is a secondary seatbelt law state where police officers can serve a ticket to drivers pulled over for a different offense, such as speeding. The police will serve a ticket to drivers and front-seat passengers for not wearing a seat belt.

The police at local law enforcement agencies can also ticket drivers for the minors in their vehicle who are not using a safety belt or have improper child safety restraints. Under the Florida safety belt law, you are legally required to use a seatbelt.

However, suppose your car seat seatbelt is not working and results in serious injuries or death. In that case, you can contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. We can start building your personal injury or wrongful death case to get you the proper compensation you need for a seatbelt failure.

Why Should I Buckle Up My Seat-belt?

We emphasize that whether or not wearing a seatbelt is legally required, you should still use a seat belt. A seat belt keeps you from being ejected from your car be thrown against other passengers during a crash.

If you are the driver, your seat belt can also keep you behind the wheel to control the car. Wear your seat belt around your hips and across your chest; otherwise, it won't work. Airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts.

Accidents happen when driving at high speeds, and the unrestrained passenger can be ejected from their seat and can result in a serious injury.

Seat-belts Prevent Accident Injuries

Seat-belts Prevent Accident Injuries

41% of people in Florida car crashes chose not to wear their seat belts. Hundreds of people who died in those car crashes had the option to wear their seat belts, but they chose not to wear one.

Men are twice as likely to be killed in a car crash than females for not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts can help prevent serious injuries or, worse, death. Your injuries from car accidents may lead to a harmful medical condition that will stop you from ever getting behind the steering wheel again.

Every time you and other people get into your motor vehicles, you should tell them always to use a seat belt. Teach your kids that no one is too young or too old to wear a seatbelt, no matter how short the trip can be. Seat belt laws require, but you can help other people make it a habit to prevent them from getting into serious harm.

Florida's Click It Or Ticket Campaign

Florida's Click It Or Ticket Campaign

The Click It or Ticket (CIOT) campaign is a high-visibility enforcement effort designed to detect violators of Florida's traffic laws, emphasizing occupant protection.

An intense paid media campaign is conducted concurrently with high-visibility enforcement to elevate the importance of the benefits of safety belt use. This campaign includes the issuance of citations for safety belt violations.

Florida Seat Belt Law FAQs

Here are the frequently asked questions regarding Florida Seat Belt Laws:

What does the Florida Seat Belt Law require?

The seatbelt laws in Florida are pretty straightforward. According to Florida laws, drivers and front passengers are required to wear seatbelts.

Florida laws also state that backseat passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear seatbelts. If they have a medical condition, they may present it to the police officer citing the offense or in court to dispute the offense.

Do you get points for not wearing a seatbelt in Florida?

Drivers who fail to wear their seatbelts will get 3 points on their driver's license. These drivers can also face traffic school and can face increased car insurance prices.

Drivers and passengers over 18 can be cited if other passengers under 18 are not wearing their seatbelts.

What offense is not wearing a seatbelt in Florida?

Not wearing a seatbelt in Florida is now a primary traffic offense. Police can now stop any vehicle and issue tickets for drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.

This law was passed in 2009, making wearing a seatbelt a requirement for all drivers and passengers over 18.

Contact Us Today To Know More About Florida's Seatbelt Laws

Sometimes a seat belt fails to work and can cause a severe injury or even death. Get a ticket or are seriously injured in car accidents with seatbelt issues. You can contact us at (786) 788-7344 for a free consultation to start building a personal injury or wrongful death case.

how-long-to-receive-a-personal-injury-settlement-check

If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, the first thing that will likely come to mind is how long I can expect my personal injury settlement check. This article explains what goes into getting your money and why it may take some time to claim it.

Personal injury settlements are agreements of compensation made outside the court. This means that the defendant accepted to take full responsibility for the accident and agreed to provide compensation to the affected victim.

When both parties decide to settle out of court, they will no longer push for trial litigation. A personal injury settlement should include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, psychological trauma, and pain of loss and suffering.

Agreeing in a personal injury settlement can be beneficial for mutual parties. When they decide to settle out of court, they will avoid the expensive cost of litigation and its lengthy process. Please read below to know how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check.

Steps In The Personal Injury Settlement Process

Personal injury settlements can be issued for different types of personal injury cases. This includes car accidents, wrongful death, and bicycle accidents. The victim can demand settlement funds if they suffer in an accident caused by the defendant.

When both the defendant and the victim agreed on a settlement, they would need to follow the steps listed below:

  1. Documents and release signing: The defendant's insurance company will determine the amount of the settlement money. After both parties agree on the settlement offer, the insurance adjusters will draft the initial release. This release will contain a statement that the injured party may not be able to take further legal actions against the defendant
    • A victim should seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to read over the release agreement—an insurance company draft this agreement to protect the defendant from any liabilities.
    • Hiring a personal injury attorney to read the release ensures that the victim's rights are also met.
  2. Release processing: After signing the document, the insurance company will process the release. Once done, the insurer will issue the settlement check. This check is usually payable to both the victim and their attorney.
  3. Depositing the check: When the personal injury attorney receives the settlement check, they will deposit it in a special trust fund or an escrow account. Once the check clears, the lawyer will distribute the money. However, the victim should note that the personal injury lawyer is required to settle any existing liens or unpaid debts related to your case.
    • This would include medical liens, child support, or the victim's insurance company if they paid for accident-related medical treatments.
    • Discuss this with a lawyer to set expectations on any existing liens in your case.
  4. Legal fees deduction: After paying all the debt, the lawyer will deduct the legal fees from the settlement money. This fee is discussed at the beginning of the case. The amount will vary depending on the nature of the case.
    • You must get an itemized statement of your legal costs. Consult with your attorney if you have any questions about your legal fees.

Most settlement checks will take around six weeks for the entire process.

What Could Potentially Cause A Delay In Receiving My Personal Injury Settlement Check?

Delays in the processing of a personal injury settlement check are uncommon. But, it can still happen. When a personal injury claim is delayed, several factors can cause its hold up. Below are the most common reasons for the delay:

Talk to your personal injury attorney if you are experiencing an extensive delay in processing your personal injury settlement. They can explain the situation to you so you can better understand the delay.

What Does A Legal Statement Mean?

A legal statement is documentation of facts and accounts of the accident. Legal statements should only contain factual descriptions of the event. They should not contain any personal opinions and arguments directed to the defendant. The goal of these documents is to provide accurate descriptions of the event. A legal statement should establish your point of view in the situation.

Understand that a legal statement should only contain an accurate and factual description of the accident. It should include the dates and the time when the accident occurred. This statement should also contain accounts the led up to the event. Both party's information must be included in a legal statement. The author of the statement should establish the connection between the defendant and the accident.

An excellent legal statement should be understandable by anyone who reads it. It should also establish the accounts of the accident and amplify the facts that support the author's case. Mention any relevant information in your legal statement. But, don't make any recommendations or request a biased conclusion.

Legal statements are necessary for establishing liability against the at-fault party.

What Happens After I Sign A Settlement Release

Signing a settlement release means that you agree to the settlement offer made by the insurance company. After the release signing, the defendant's insurer will process the personal injury claim.

Once the insurance company completes the process, they will send the settlement proceeds to the attorney. The attorney will then settle any unpaid debts or liens for the victim's case. After all the existing liens are paid, the lawyer will deduct the legal services fees agreed by the attorney and the client before the case.

A personal injury lawyer estimates the amount of compensation for your injuries. They will check your case and consider any factors that would need compensation. The lawyer will handle the communication with the insurance company. This ensures that you can get the best compensation for your damages.

What Is The Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?

Generally speaking, the amount of a personal injury settlement varies from each case. Insurance companies would need to look at different factors when estimating a settlement. A minor accident without any injury can get a much lower value than someone involved in a serious car crash.

However, the average amount of a personal injury settlement could range from $3,000 to $75,000. As mentioned above, many factors come into play when estimating a personal injury settlement amount. Often, the settlement funds could go over the rate mentioned above.

Factors such as medical bills, lost wages, cost of repair (if a car is involved), and emotional or psychological damages are considered. If a victim dies because of the accident, their loved ones are qualified for a settlement claim.

Keep in mind that the amount of your settlement depends greatly on your attorney. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can be beneficial for your case. A good lawyer will take a closer look at your case and examine every factor. They will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you get the best compensation possible.

Is A Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?

The Internal Revenue Services released a document for settlement taxability. This document specifies if a specific settlement fund is taxable or not.

It is important to discuss this matter with your attorney when agreeing to a settlement.

What Are Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Settlement?

Pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case refer to damages other than physical injuries and non-monetary losses. Usually, an insurance company will compensate for these types of damages. Emotional distress can be identified as follows:

Though pain and suffering is a subjective claim, a victim still needs to produce solid evidence to support their claim. A victim can provide the following evidence to prove their pain and suffering:

Photographic evidence of the damage could help establish the connection between the mental health problems and the accident. Compensation for emotional suffering is non-taxable, according to the law. But, the victim would need to prove that the emotional distress is caused by the accident.

Victims should enlist the help of a legal professional if they are suffering from mental health issues caused by the accident. Our lawyer at The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys can help you get proper compensation for your damages. Emotional damages are also damages, and this can prevent the victim from getting his life back.

What Is A Medical Lien In A Personal Injury Settlement?

Medical liens are the demand of repayment by the party who shouldered the cost of medical expenses of the victim. In more simple terms, liens can be considered as debt paid by the settlement money. This is usually collected by the victim's insurance company. The injured party is required to pay back these liens to prevent any future legal problems.

Liens can be negotiable. An insurance company can receive less than the amount they spend for the victim's medical expenses. Consult with your case attorney to know about the different ways they can lessen the amount of lien deducted from your settlement fund. An experienced lawyer can effectively negotiate a lower price from the requesting entity.

Lien law can be highly complicated for normal people. This is why it's important to inform your lawyer of any entities requesting liens from your medical treatment. They can negotiate a lower price or even completely eliminate a lien request.

What Should I Do If My Settlement Gets So Delayed?

As stated above, the processing of a settlement can get delayed. Though uncommon, this can still happen. And several factors are affecting the prolonged process. In a nutshell, these factors include:

Some insurance companies may even delay a settlement by purpose. They do this to lower the amount of payment a victim can receive. Victims should consult with their attorney if they are experiencing a delay. Unjustifiable delays are detrimental to the victim who needs compensation to cover his medical expenses.

The attorney handling your case usually knows what is causing the delay. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help speed up the settlement process if the at-fault's party fails to communicate the reason behind the delay.

A key for a faster transaction is to have an assertive lawyer at your side. Our Soffer Firm lawyer knows exactly how to talk to these insurance companies for a quicker transaction. We do our best to meet our client's needs and ensure that they receive the best outcome. 

Are You A Personal Injury Victim? The Soffer Firm Will Fight For What You Deserve!

experienced-personal-injury-attorney

Accidents are everywhere, and they happen at the most unexpected time. Some accidents cause severe injuries that could permanently alter a victim's way of living their life.

Not to mention the exorbitant cost of medical procedures and the loss of the victim's source of income. This can all be overwhelming for the injured victim. At The Soffer Firm, we understand that this is a challenging point in the victim's life.

We know the hardships you are facing, and we know exactly how we can help. Our experienced personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling personal injury cases. Our lawyer knows his way around the court and fights aggressively to ensure our clients will meet the justice they deserve!

We stop at nothing until our client's best interests are met. Our client's splendid experience with us is the reason why we are the "go-to" firm for personal injury cases. We offer legal assistance from the initial free case evaluation up to winning a lawsuit. At The Soffer Firm, we fight for our clients because they are our cause.

Our law firm offers a free consultation. Contact us at (786) 788-7344 to know more or fill out this form. Check our website for other cases we can help you with.

Did you know that there were 6,664 bicycle accidents in Florida in 2018? While riding your bicycle is a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous around careless drivers.

As a cyclist, you have a right to the road. Whether your accident was caused by a family car or an Uber driver, no matter the severity of your injuries, you have the same right as any driver: to go on the road without fear.

The first step in any personal injury case is determining the cause of the accident. Here's a look at some common causes of Florida bicycle accidents—and what you can do next.

Common Bicycle Accident Causes

Why do the causes of bike accidents matter? Without knowing the cause of the accident, you can't hold the other party accountable.

Just like every criminal case is built on justice for a crime, every personal injury case is built on righting wrongs for an incident. This has to do with the concept of fault. The party who is at fault must pay damages to the injured party, which means that your personal injury claim is built upon proving that the other party was at fault.

Because of this, the causes of bicycle accidents aren't just an element of your claim—they're central to your entire argument.

Here are some of the most common causes of Florida bicycle accidents.

Distracted Driving

In 2018, 2,800 people were killed and 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver, and 1 in 5 of those who died was not in a vehicle—they were riding their bikes, walking, or outside a vehicle. Distracted driving is all too common, and for bicyclists, it has severe consequences.

Think of it this way.

The minimum amount of time for a driver to look down at their phone for a text is 5 seconds. If the car is traveling at 55 miles an hour, the car travels the length of a football field without the driver looking at the road. For a bicyclist, this is especially dangerous, since a car is bigger and faster and a bicycle does not provide the protective metal shell that a car would provide in a crash.

Keep in mind that any form of distracted driving applies in this category, including texting, answering the phone, talking on the phone, using social media, or even looking down to grab food.

Dooring

Dooring accidents are a type of accident that is uniquely dangerous to cyclists. After all, cyclists almost always suffer severe or even debilitating injuries as a result of dooring accidents.

Dooring is when a driver opens their car door without checking their mirrors to ensure no one is coming. When they do this, it creates a dangerous Catch-22 for cyclists. A cyclist can either crash into the door or be forced into a traffic lane, causing a crash that may be even more dangerous.

Unsafe Lane Changes and Weaving

Legally, drivers and cyclists have to abide by the same set of traffic laws. Sadly, not all drivers got that memo—and they don't abide by traffic laws around other cars, never mind cyclists. This is incredibly risky around other drivers, but it can be fatal for cyclists.

Because a bicyclist is much smaller than a car, they're a lot harder to see. The problem is that drivers are more used to looking for other cars than looking for bicycles, which means many drivers may unwittingly skip over a bicyclist if they're not paying attention.

This problem is worsened by unsafe driving behavior, particularly unsafe lane changes and weaving. Drivers who weave move through traffic so quickly that it's incredibly difficult to spot a cyclist, and they're less likely to be able to make evasive maneuvers when they spot a cyclist. Even if a driver isn't weaving, a single unsafe lane change (such as merging into the cyclist's lane without looking) can result in a crash.

Turning Without Looking

At an intersection, drivers have an obligation to turn and look for cyclists (and other cars). Again, cyclists are much smaller than cars, so if a driver isn't paying attention, it's that much easier for them to overlook a cyclist.

Unfortunately, turning without checking for cyclists is common. It's also completely avoidable.

Running Red Lights and Failure to Yield

No matter whether you live in Miami or the tiniest Florida beach town, every stoplight, stop sign, and yield sign has the same rules. If someone breaks the rules, they move through traffic out of turn with potentially dangerous consequences for everyone else on the road with them.

This is dangerous enough for other drivers. But for cyclists, it can result in life-threatening and permanent injuries.

Unfortunately, this type of unsafe behavior is dangerous at any intersection, from stoplights to intersections with merging lanes to roundabouts.

Consequences of Bicycle Accidents

In a bicycle accident, physics is not on the cyclist's side. A car is bigger, faster, and heavier, and unlike another driver, a cyclist doesn't have a large, heavy metal shell to absorb any of the impact. Because of this, a cyclist faces the risk of significant injury in a car accident.

Some common bicycle accident injuries include:

Many cyclists believe that their injuries are their own fault, especially if they rode without a helmet. Here's the thing: under Florida law, failure to wear a helmet does not constitute evidence of negligence. The fault remains with the driver who caused the accident.

Get a Bicycle Accident Attorney Who Fights for You

We know that Florida bicycle accidents are incredibly traumatic. We also know that you deserve to have your story told so that you can get your life back on track.

The Soffer Firm is a highly respected law firm in Miami 100% committed to protecting the rights of people who have been hurt. We have extensive experience fighting for bicycle accident victims, and now, we're here to fight for you.

If you need to speak with an attorney about your case, schedule your free consultation today.

In 2019, 111 million people took 6.9 billion trips with Uber.

Although those numbers have dipped since the start of the pandemic, one thing remains certain. When millions of people take billions of car trips, accidents are inevitable.

Have you been involved in an Uber accident? Whether you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, you'll need legal help to know what to do next. More specifically, you'll need a car accident lawyer who specializes in rideshare accidents.

Keep reading to learn more about your rights after an Uber accident and what personal injury lawyers can do to help.

Understanding Uber's Insurance Policy

Not surprisingly, Uber has a complex set of policies that determine who pays for what in the event of an accident.

The good news is that passenger injuries are almost always covered. On-duty drivers are usually covered, as well. With that said, exact laws vary by state and individual insurance companies.

To keep things simple, let's break it down into three different scenarios.

First, let's say there's a driver who provides Uber services but is not actively available to pick up passengers. If an off-duty driver is involved in an accident, they're covered under their personal auto insurance policy.

Next, imagine a driver who is available to pick up a passenger but hasn't yet. In this case, they're covered by their own insurance plus Uber's contingent liability coverage. This covers up to $25,000 in property damage and up to $50,000 in personal injury.

Finally, let's consider an Uber driver actively transporting a passenger. If there's an accident, Uber's policy provides up to $1 million in liability coverage and $1 million in uninsured or underinsured coverage.

Different Types of Uber Accidents

So far, we've discussed a lot of numbers and legalese. Now let's switch gears and discuss what an Uber accident looks like in real life.

How do you determine who's at fault? More importantly, who pays for property damages or personal injury? Consider four different situations you could find yourself in.

1. An Uber Driver Crashes Into Your Car (No Injuries)

In this best-case scenario, imagine an Uber driver has struck your vehicle. Although there's some damage to one or both vehicles, no one suffered any injuries.

This situation will be handled like any other traffic collision. Exchange information with the other driver, document the damage, and then contact your auto insurer to file a claim.

2. You're a Passenger in an Uber Accident (No Injuries)

If the only damages are to the vehicle (not to you or the driver), you may be asked to supply your version of what happened to the authorities. Otherwise, you don't have any legal obligations once the ride has ended.

Depending on who was at fault, the Uber driver may be covered by the liability policy outlined above.

3. You're an Uber Passenger and You're Injured in a Crash

As mentioned earlier, passengers are technically insured for up to $1 million in personal injuries. This coverage also kicks in if the other driver caused the accident and they're either uninsured or underinsured.

The $1 million cap is in place to prevent you from suing Uber for any excess damages. This is true even if your Uber driver caused the crash due to recklessness or DUI.

Although you can't sue Uber directly, you can file a lawsuit against the driver if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An attorney who specializes in drunk driving accidents can provide more insight into this legal process.

4. You're a Pedestrian Injured by an Uber Driver

What happens if you're an innocent bystander and you're struck by an Uber vehicle? Or what if you're a passenger in another vehicle and you're hit by an Uber driver?

It might seem like a long shot, but 30% of fatal Uber crashes involve pedestrians. If you're in this unfortunate situation, who's responsible for your personal injuries?

If the Uber driver was conducting a trip with a passenger, the $1 million liability coverage applies. If the driver was off duty or between trips, the responsibility falls with the driver's personal auto insurance.

How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

It's natural to feel overwhelmed in the wake of an accident — especially one that wasn't your fault. As you get ready to take your next steps, consider three important ways an Uber accident lawyer can help you.

1. They Understand the Law & Legal System

The justice system is complicated, and trying to navigate it on your own can be a nightmare.

Should you file a claim or a lawsuit (or both)? What happens if your case goes to trial? What if you're being harassed by insurance companies or you miss a deadline for filing paperwork?

Personal injury lawyers know the ins and out of the legal system. They can evaluate your case, advise you of the best options, and be your advocate throughout the entire process.

2. They're Expert Evaluators & Negotiators

Do you want to rest your entire fate on a hastily written police report? Personal injury lawyers will leave no stone unturned as they examine all available evidence to determine who's at fault.

If your case goes to court, your lawyer will be right there to help with litigation. They'll keep track of your settlement claim and may even be able to expedite the process.

3. They'll Get You the Compensation You Deserve

Seasoned lawyers know there's a lot more involved in personal injury lawsuits than an emergency room bill.

Depending on your injuries, you may need ongoing therapy or a series of surgeries. You could end up with a partial or permanent disability. There's also the cost of missed work as well as emotional pain and suffering.

If you accept a low-ball payout from Uber or your own insurance company, you could get buried under a heavy financial burden. Hiring a lawyer increases your chances of getting the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

Uber Accident? Call the Soffer Firm

None of us want to think about the possibility of an accident when we step into a vehicle. Unfortunately, the risk is there every time we get on the road.

If you were involved in an Uber accident in Florida, legal help is available. Our Miami-based law office specializes in personal injury, car accident injury, and rideshare accidents.

Don't attempt to navigate the legal system or fight through the claims process on your own. Contact our team of personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.

Is your elderly loved one a resident in a Miami area nursing home?

We're sure you have a zero-tolerance for nursing home abuse. Have you considered the possibility that neglect could take place without your knowledge?

It's not always easy to see the warning signs, which is why the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) offers resources to help you spot and report nursing home abuse. While conducting a comprehensive review, the NCEA found the prevalence of elder abuse to be about 10%. One in ten elders will suffer physical, psychological, financial, verbal, or sexual abuse.

This increasing trend also includes neglect, which is not so easy to notice. Perhaps this is why another elder abuse prevalence study found that for every case known, another 24 were unknown.

If you want to keep your elderly loved ones safe, happy, and healthy, follow our advice. If the worst happens, we'll tell you what to do to ensure safety and seek justice to hold those guilty accountable. Read on!

Act as fast as you can

If you suspect nursing home neglect, you should move swiftly. If you think your loved one is in imminent danger, then call 911 at once. If doing this might place them at further risk of harm, contact your state Adult Protective Service (APS).

APS will help you by providing a social worker to keep your loved one safe. This social worker can investigate and validate your claims.

Abuse comes in many forms, and some may require a little detective work to uncover. The elder-population is more vulnerable than other age demographics, especially when suffering from dementia and other conditions or disabilities. If something seems suspicious, then it warrants further inquiry.

The senior population is at a greater risk of falls, and their skin bruises and tears more easily. Because of this, physical injury is sometimes hard to tie to abuse. A constant pattern of similar injuries is a red flag that something sinister might be going on.

Likewise, injuries that are not consistent with the explanation given by the elder or care-provider should be treated with skepticism. Bear in mind that an abused elder may be under the threat of further harm if they talk, so do not always be satisfied by their answers.

Gather any available evidence

Even if you have doubts about the nature of their injuries, gather as much evidence as you can. Photograph any wounds and document and date all your visits on paper.

If your loved one visits a medical facility for their injuries, request the paperwork. Ask the doctor if the injuries might be consistent with elder abuse or their reported accident.

If your loved one is showing signs of poor nutrition or dehydration, realize that indirect neglect can cause as much harm as direct abuse. If staff members seem oblivious to problems that are obvious to you, they may be guilty of neglectful behavior.

Sometimes neglect occurs due to the care-provider having a malicious streak or enjoying the power dynamic of controlling a vulnerable person. Other times there is an unhealthy work culture that may run up the management chain.

If inexperienced staff members are unsupervised, neglect can result, even though there might be no malicious intent. Poor or inadequate training can have the same effect. Overworked and tired staff can also lose their temper in a challenging environment and commit abuse.

Sometimes, chronic understaffing may lead to neglect. There may even be multiple factors or guilty parties that perpetuate the conditions of an abusive environment.

File a report with Florida Department of Children & Families

If you believe that abuse may have occurred, don't hesitate to file a report with your local authorities.

It is a legal requirement, especially among those in care positions, to report a crime such as abuse when they witness it. Contact your state ombudsman, who will liaise between the eldercare facility and your loved one.

An ombudsman can advocate and intervene, in addition to educating your loved one about their rights.

Alternatively, you can file a report online with the Florida Department of Children & Families.

Follow up consistently with your loved ones

Whether you find a situation suspicious or not, it's always good practice to frequently look in on your loved one. If you call in unexpectedly and are refused a visit, this might be a cause for concern. Raise the alarm if you suspect that you are being denied visitation with your loved one to cover up a crime.

The withholding of medication and medical devices may be a sign of neglect or psychological abuse and needs investigating in either case. Psychological abuse may be easier to identify with its emotional presentation. Look for fear, anxiety, depression, or an unresponsive state.

Be on the lookout for changes in mood, behavior, or sleep habits. These may point to emotional abuse. Vulnerable elders are extra susceptible to financial crime. Keep an eye out for theft, extortion, scams, or manipulation of your loved one's generosity.

Ideally, before you place a loved one in a facility, you should do your homework and ensure that there are no serious complaints on file. A pattern of criminal filings will highlight an environment that is geared more towards profit than care. Elder abuse is even more likely to take place in a for-profit facility for this reason.

Seek out the advice of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney

If you're considering suing a nursing home for injuries sustained by your loved one, then you need a qualified elder abuse lawyer. An attorney specializing in the eldercare field will have the relevant case experience to know how to direct legal proceedings.

When you've uncovered signs of abuse, you will likely feel great stress and pressure, which might interfere with your ability to think clearly. A nursing home abuse lawyer will know the questions to ask, the evidence to gather, and the documents to file.

Most importantly, an excellent elder abuse lawyer will know how to successfully win cases, so you can seek compensation. This might cover physical or emotional injuries, medical treatments, or additional expenses.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

We've given you an action plan to follow should you discover signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Don't be too quick to accept innocent explanations for repeated injuries.

If you have a loved one in a Florida nursing home and you suspect abuse, we can help. We are Miami attorneys who are methodical, sensitive, and understanding. When you need a nursing home abuse lawyer, come to us for excellent legal assistance.

Contact us today to get a free consultation.

Are you dealing with the aftermath of a cruise ship accident? If so, you should take the following steps: document the evidence, notify the cruise line, and contact an attorney. You should file your lawsuit as soon as possible while your memory is fresh.

Filing at a later date can discredit your claim. That said, not every cruise accident entitles you to compensation.

This article will convey how you can prove your case in a court of law. Let's explore.

Common Cruise Ship Accidents

Slips and falls are the most common forms of accidents on a cruise. For instance, there could be clutter in the hall that causes you to fall. This would constitute negligence on the part of the cruise line and would entitle you to compensation.

Slippery floors also cause slip-and-fall mishaps. If there's no proper signage indicating a wet floor, or any type of hazard, the cruise company may be at fault.  

Falls can also occur near elevators. A malfunctioning elevator can also cause limbs to become trapped within crevices, leading to severe injury or death.

Slips are also common near swimming areas. Plus, slips and falls near swimming pools can cause a person to drown.

Plus, swimming pools can contain bacteria that can cause legionnaires' disease. Bacteria can spread if maintenance crews fail to maintain the pool.

Fires are common hazards as well, especially if passengers don't have access to a fire extinguisher. Further, cruises tend to have small medical facilities that cannot treat burns efficiently.

Regardless, all of these injuries are legitimate claims in a court of law. That said, certain types of injuries are exempted.

Conduct Research

Before filing a claim, do as much research as you can on maritime law. Additionally, read over the cruise contract if you signed one. If you signed a contract, you may not be able to sue the company in certain cases. This type of contract is common for celebrity cruise lines.

If you sustain an injury while partying too hard, for example, you may not have a legitimate claim. However, you can claim compensation if a hazard exists on the cruise line.

If a loose handrail caused an injury, you have a strong case. If you fell ill because of an undercooked meal, you have a viable case.

When it comes to the law, cruise lines must abide by carrier laws. This means carriers must protect their passengers. Some basic protections include:

• Protecting passengers from fire hazards

• Protecting passengers from assaults

• Protecting passengers from hazardous environments

• Providing safe food to eat

• Providing access to life-saving equipment

• Navigating the boat in a safe manner

Cruise operators have a duty to care for the wellbeing of passengers. If they breach this duty, their actions amount to negligence.

As the claimant, you must make a direct correlation between the negligence of the cruise liner and your injuries. More importantly, you must make your case in a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for cruise liner cases is different from the statute of limitations of most personal injury claims. In Florida, you usually have four years from the date of the injury to file a claim. For cruise liners, you usually have a year to file a claim.  Moreover, you must adhere to notification procedures.

If you were on a celebrity cruise, for example, notify the cruise line within six months from the day of the injury. This is known as a 'statement of particulars,' and this rule applies to many other cruise lines. Then, you'll have a year to file a civil suit against the celebrity cruise line.

Each cruise line has different standards regarding the statement of particulars and lawsuit deadlines. Therefore, research the terms and conditions before proceeding with a lawsuit.

Proving Your Case

Cruise liners have insurance companies that will try to minimize your claim as much as possible. If there are any weaknesses within your case, the insurance carrier can reject your claim altogether. Collect as much physical evidence as you can in the following ways:

• Take photos or videos: Take photos of your injuries and the accident scene if possible. Document your injuries daily to showcase your suffering. Doing so may entitle you to pain-and-suffering damages.

• Find witnesses: If possible, try to get in touch with witnesses who witnessed the accident. Insurance companies will have trouble refuting eyewitness accounts.  

• Save all of your medical bills: Have a doctor document your injuries extensively. Moreover, keep all of your medical bills as proof of your injuries.

Above all contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you organize the evidence and streamline the lawsuit process.

The Importance of Legal Assistance

Before your case goes to a civil trial, you may deal with the cruise liner's insurance company. The insurance carrier may offer a settlement before the case goes to trial. If this happens, be wary, as insurance companies usually offer lower payouts. Sadly, many victims accept low-ball offers.

Instead, seek a cruise ship accident lawyer for assistance. They can determine if the sum offered is satisfactory. If not, they will negotiate for a higher settlement on your behalf. If negotiations fail, your attorney will advise you to proceed with a lawsuit.

A lawyer will be invaluable in the courtroom because they can argue your case to a judge or jury effectively. More importantly, they will handle most of the legal work while you focus on the healing process.

Navigating a Cruise Ship Accident

Proving a cruise ship accident claim requires hard evidence in the form of medical documents, pictures, and photos. The cruise company's insurance carrier will try to save money at every turn.

Cruise ship injuries can be serious, which is why you need the highest settlement possible to contend with long-term injuries.

Are you dealing with injuries due to a cruise ship safety issue? Click here to learn about cruise accidents.

When personal injury or accidental death is involved, any company will do what it can to save its reputation and coffers. Take Uber, for example, when they tried to silence Jason West because of a fatal hit-and-run in San Francisco.

In 2018 in the USA, 36,560 traffic fatalities were recorded. According to Uber’s own data, they contributed 97 fatal crashes with 107 total fatalities.

What we don’t know is how many other crashes there were with injury settlements that have privacy clauses.

How much can you get from a personal injury case with Uber? Where should you seek legal help if you were hurt in an Uber accident?

Keep reading to find out the answers.

Can You Trust Uber’s Numbers?

In the executive report from Uber we shared above, they highlight their commitment to transparency. However, in the same report, they don’t admit to how many people have been injured in accidents caused by or involving Uber drivers.

In fact, they may not even be telling the whole truth. Since 2011, there’s been a 2% to 3% increase in traffic deaths. That means about 1,100 mortalities a year more than previous years.

This 2011 study shows that the increase in accidents to motorists and pedestrians indicates a trend that will continue because of ridesharing. What was the human cost of life during that time?

The answer is an astounding range from $5.3 billion to as much as $13.24 billion annually. This is more than Uber’s revenue even 10 years later.

How is it possible to have such a different result from Uber’s study?

For one, they only counted the time they had a passenger in the car. In reality, for every mile of personal driving that Uber drivers removed, they added 2.8 new miles of their own. This added 5.7 billion miles of driving to major cities, including Miami.

In short, the odds you’ll be in an accident because of the increase of traffic due to ridesharing has tripled.

How to Benefit From a Personal Injury Case

Most of the money you’ll receive from a personal injury case will come from insurance companies. The basic rundown of the insurance policies that Uber employs looks like this:

The more active and engaged an Uber driver is in the job with the passenger, the more liability Uber takes on.

Before and after they have a passenger, they are on their own auto insurance policy coverage. If they’re on the way to pick up a passenger, they are also covered for up to $100,000 in personal injury and $25,000 in property damage coverage.

Lastly, when they actively have a fare, they are covered by two separate $1 million policies. One is for liability coverage and the other is in case a party lacks insurance coverage.

How to Benefit as a Passenger

If the Uber vehicle crashed and you didn't sustain any injuries as a passenger, you’ll probably be asked by law enforcement or the insurance company about your version of events. Otherwise, your liability ends there.

If you’re injured, there's a potential for up to $1 million in coverage. This coverage is in place to protect Uber and open the way to suing the driver directly for negligence or recklessness. Depending on whether the courts decide Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors, the liability may extend to Uber.

The caveat, though, is that Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that Uber isn’t required to cover passengers with PIP insurance.

How to Benefit as a Third Party

Pedestrians, bystanders, and other vehicles are the third party here. If the driver had a passenger at the time of the accident, the $1 million policy covers the company.

If there is no passenger or the driver was off duty, then the driver’s own policy is in effect (with a possible contingent liability coverage in play).

The $100,000 on this policy is the cap for all injuries sustained, but each injury has its own cap of $50,000. $25,000 is the cap for property damage like a vehicle or bicycle involved in the accident.

What to Do in Case of Car Accident Injury

Remember the case of Jason West mentioned at the outset?

Uber offered $3,000 for injury and $3,000 as a confidentiality agreement. Accepting that kind of offer will only net you a measly total of $6,000. It also alleviates Uber from any further liability in the case.

If you’re a passenger, don’t immediately complete the Uber accident form. Always dial 911 first and get the police involved, at the very least. You don’t know if someone has been injured, even if they don’t appear to be at first glance.

The ambulance plays its part in making sure you get immediate medical care. You want to claim that you sought medical care and observation as soon as possible.

Next, get consultations with personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Then, retrieve your vehicle immediately if it’s been towed and have your insurance company inspect it as soon as possible.

Don’t speak with Uber’s insurance adjusters unless you’ve got your lawyer’s permission.

Uber Accidents: The Price of Convenience

After reading this, no doubt you realize the convenience of having the right personal injury lawyer on speed dial.

At The Soffer Firm, Jesse Blake Soffer leads the way. Originally hailing from Washington D.C., Soffer has had Miami in his heart since graduating from the U of M School of Law.

He handles personal injury cases ranging from medical malpractice to Uber accidents. Having become an active member of the Miami-Dade community, he works hard to protect that community.

Looking for a way to get what you deserve in your Miami Uber accident case? Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.

You might not have known this but it is the responsibility of restaurants to ensure that they are serving healthy and contamination-free foods to their customers.

If they serve you food that gives you food poisoning or makes you sick in any way, you can sue a restaurant. 

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that every year an estimated 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses.

Let's read on to see how and why you should sue a restaurant for negligence if you get food poisoning from eating their foods. 

Restaurant Negligence Is a Real Thing To Watch Out for

Some cases of food poisoning are mild enough that they might not even be noticed, or they might be severe enough to result in diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches.

But the most severe of cases can result in hospitalization, and even in the worst cases, death.

That's the real issue here, that you could get extremely ill, lose out on work and pay, have emotional trauma, and more merely from eating a restaurant.

The main reason why you might end up with food poisoning after eating at a restaurant is because of negligent behavior on the part of the restaurant.

There are 5 main ways they could have been negligent:

The gist of it is that the restaurant has a real duty to serve you healthy and safe food. You are paying them for the pleasure of eating in a nice atmosphere, but also for the hope of eating safe food. 

Get Compensation for Eating Tainted Food

If you can prove that the restaurant was negligent and served you tainted food that caused illness, you can sue the restaurant to get fair compensation. 

The types of damages that you could potentially recover are:

Remember that some of the symptoms of food poisoning to watch out for are stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and also sometimes fever and a general sense of feeling unwell. 

How To File a Lawsuit Against a Restaurant

The most important thing to do when you get food poisoning after eating at a restaurant is to go to a doctor right away and get a stool sample done. This way you will be able to see which bacteria caused your illness

This can help you build an even stronger case against the restaurant and its negligent behavior. 

Also, create a detailed log of all the food ingested that day, how it was prepared, and where it was prepared. The more detailed your records can be, the better it is for when you sue a restaurant. 

Contact a Food Safety Lawyer ASAP if You Get Food Poisoning

If you think you have a real situation at hand, then make sure you speak to a food safety lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to help you sue for food poisoning. 

This is especially important because an experienced food safety attorney will be invaluable in helping you fight your case against the negligent restaurant. They will be able to do things that you might not be able to, on your own.

For example, they would be able to help preserve evidence of the restaurant's negligence, like the food ingested, the ingredients used, and more.

They would be able to direct the best course of action in the particular situation and help navigate the confusing legalities, whilst also building a strong case against the restaurant. 

They will also be able to guide you with regards to your legal rights, and whether there is a real case at hand or not. 

Also, they would be able to focus on fighting the case against the restaurant, while you can focus on resting and recuperating. You've been through enough with the food poisoning.

It's time for you to let someone else take on the burden of the fight. 

Who Is Liable in a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

If you decide to sue a restaurant for food poisoning negligence and are successful, then who would be liable in such a case?

Well, it would be the restaurant in almost all cases. Sometimes, the employee who was responsible for preparing the food would be at fault as well, but it's hard to pinpoint the exact person in most situations. 

Additionally, there are strict penalties issued by agencies (like the CDC, FDA, USDA) responsible for ensuring food safety, handling, and preparation.

This is to ensure that the restaurant at fault will be deterred from repeating their mistakes and putting other future customers at risk with their tainted food.

Sue a Restaurant if You Think You Might Have Food Poisoning

Don't hesitate to sue a restaurant if you think you suffered food poisoning due to their negligence. 

If you are unsure of the next steps or the recourse, then a food safety attorney will be able to guide you. 

This way you can rest assured knowing that you did everything possible when suffering from restaurant negligence. Don't hesitate to contact us today!

In 2019, there are 6,664 bicycle accidents and 154 bicycle fatalities in Florida. For every individual in an accident, those costs add up. In fact, the costs related to non-fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S. have gone up by $789 million annually.

In other words? The cyclist is the one who bears the brunt of medical costs in bike accidents, even though the driver is often the one at fault.

This is why calculating damages is so important. It's not just about paying medical bills—it's about taking your life back. The good news is that while damages are calculated based on individual cases, there are some constants you can use to get an idea of where you stand, whether you were hurt by an Uber driver or a family car, in an intersection, or your own suburb. Here's what you need to know about calculating damages in bicycle accidents.

Types of Bike Accident Damages

In personal injury, there are two broad types of damages: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are damages that can be easily quantified by a dollar amount. Medical bills are a good example of economic damages, as well as lost wages, property damage, and the cost of medication, to name a few.

Non-economic damages are harder to quantify, but they're equally important for your quality of life. For example, not being able to hold your baby because of a shattered arm and collarbone injury would fall under this category. More generally, non-economic damages deal with things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Compensatory Damages vs. Punitive Damages

Beyond this broad classification, there are six types of damages:

  1. Compensatory
  2. Punitive
  3. Incidental
  4. Consequential
  5. Liquidated
  6. Nominal

Most of the time, you're dealing with compensatory damages, which are paid to the injured party as compensation for the negligent act or for an act that should have been performed but was not, resulting in injury. However, in cases where the court deems the defendant's actions especially egregious.

Compensatory damages are based on the notion of making someone whole and righting a wrong after an incident. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their actions and to act as a deterrent for others who might behave similarly.

Calculating Damages in Bicycle Accidents

Calculating damages for a bicycle accident involves adding up your economic and non-economic damages. That algebra is trickier than it sounds.

Adding up your economic damages is pretty straightforward. Simply add up your lost wages and other costs associated with the accident, including costs you will likely incur in the future as a direct result of the accident. This includes things like:

Once you add these together, you'll have the total potential economic damages. Things get messy with non-economic damages. This is for one simple reason: the time it takes to recover, your pain and suffering as a result of the accident, and similar non-economic consequences are difficult to quantify and harder to prove than, say, a hospital visit.

That's why you need an attorney to help calculate damages.

Factors That Affect Your Calculation

Of course, there are several other factors that weigh into your calculation, which is the other reason why you need an experienced attorney to help you.

You're likely familiar with the concept of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". That's the burden of proof in criminal cases—the jury must be absolutely certain that the defendant committed a crime before delivering a sentence. In personal injury, the burden of proof is much lower—"more likely than not", or "by a preponderance of evidence", which is a legalese way of saying the jury must be at least 51% certain that your side of the story is true.

Here's the catch: the defendant is not required to prove that their version of the story is true (just that the plaintiff's story is at least 50% false or inaccurate) and the higher the percentage of certainty, the higher the damage award.

There are also some practical difficulties that may complicate your side of the story. Here are three of the most common.

Comparative Liability

Florida is a comparative liability state, which is a legal theory some states use to assign blame (and thus damages) in cases where both parties are at least somewhat at fault. Under this rule, the fault of each party is based on their contribution to the accident. Based on this assessment, each party is assigned a percentage of blame and pays damages to the other party based on that percentage.

Keep in mind that you can still get a fair settlement, even if comparative liability is on the table. However, it becomes even more critical to have persuasive evidence of the other party's fault.

Disputes About the Facts

Unfortunately, personal injury is much more subjective than criminal law. Because the other side needs to sow doubt about your side of the story rather than proving themselves wholly innocent, factual disputes are the most common complication in a bicycle accident case (and any other personal injury lawsuit, for that matter).

This is why you need an experienced attorney on your side. Half of your battle is not allowing the other side to sow unreasonable doubt about your version of events. A capable attorney can prevent such arguments from gaining traction.

Resources of the Liable Party

Some factors determining your damage amount have nothing to do with fault or what you are reasonably owed. It might not sound fair, but it's basic logic.

In order to compensate you for your injury, the other party must have the resources to do so. If your accident cost $70,000 but the other party only has $20,000 in assets, the court cannot reasonably expect them to magic the rest out of thin air.

That said, you may still get a reasonable settlement even if the other party has limited resources. There are other ways to collect damages. A knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through your options.

Get a Bicycle Accident Attorney Who Fights for You

Ultimately, when it comes to calculating damages (and navigating your entire bicycle accident case) the moral of the story is the same: you need an experienced bicycle accident attorney on your side.

That's where we can help. The Soffer Firm is a respected Miami law firm with extensive experience helping families like yours fight for their rights and recover the settlements they deserve. We know what it takes to win, and we won't stop until we get your best possible outcome.

If you need to speak with an attorney about your case, schedule your free consultation today.

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