Personal injury cases arise from car accidents, semi-truck or corporate vehicle crashes, slip & fall incidents, boat or bus accidents, libel or slander allegations, work incidents and injuries, medical malpractice injuries, the unfortunate wrongful death of a loved one, nursing home neglect, premises liability, dog bites, sexual harassment and assault, negligent security, bad police or government behavior, workplace injuries, education providers' conduct and other scenarios. Often, these cases will require negotiating with third-parties like insurance companies and their defense attorneys who are seeking to limit the financial responsibility of the "tortfeasor".
According to the CDC, there are about 39,000 motor vehicle traffic deaths per 100,000 people each year (11.9% of annual deaths). Unintentional Accidents are the third leading cause of death in the United States. From 2010 to 2011 the CDC National Center for Health Statistics estimated that there are 3.9 million annual emergency room visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries (129 per 10,000 persons. (See also: National Vital Statistics Reports)
In Kentucky and Florida, drivers are required to have insurance, including PIP, or "Personal Injury Protection" to help drivers receive money after a crash regardless of fault. PIP insurance can provide up to $10,000 for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses caused by the accident. However PIP may not be enough to cover all damages. Generally, drivers with PIP insurance must accept limitations on their right to sue the other driver. However, if one's injuries meet a certain threshold, they can sue the offending driver without violating any rules. The injury threshold is $1000 in medical expenses, broken bones, permanent disfigurement or injury, and death. Thus, if injuries qualify, a client may be legally allowed to sue the insurance company of the driver that hit them.
If you are injured by another party's negligence, it is wise to seek the assistance of a licensed attorney to help you collect evidence, identify the defendants, document your injuries, negotiate with insurers, mind the applicable statutes of limitations and, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Most personal injury cases are settled without a trial. You can read more about the advantages of settlement versus going to trial here. The particular facts and circumstances of an accident, injury severity and insurance coverage limits, among other things, impact the "value" of a personal injury case. Damages may include: past and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity loss of consortium and/or pain and suffering. Maggie Jo can assess your medical records, police records, witness statements, and other evidence to establish the progression or regression of your physical and mental state after an accident. Maggie Jo's online forms make it easy to submit documents for attorney review before your free initial consultation call.
Maggie Jo seeks compensation for her clients so they do not have to undertake the financial and time burdens stemming from another's negligence. There are several different types of damages available - economic and non-economic - that may be available (depending on the location of your accident) if your case is successful:
Medical Expenses: Injury clients may need medical attention, test, treatments, inpatient or outpatient care on an emergency or ongoing basis, especially if the client suffers serious or permanent injury. Attorneys will seek redress of all medical expenses via settlement or trial.
Lost Wages: If an injury caused the victim to miss work for an hour, days or months while tending to their healthcare needs or if a victim can no longer work, Attorneys will seek compensation for lost wages.
Pain and Suffering: Depending on the extent of a client's injuries and the suffering they endured, pain and suffering damages may be available. This type of recovery requires a great deal of medical and other types of evidence; thus, attorneys will encourage clients to be proactive about their treatment and communicate physicians in a comprehensive manner. Other evidence can also be helpful, such as photographs and videos of injuries and improvements. Generally, an attorney cannot estimate damages for pain and suffering until your case has been thoroughly examined. A jury may award compensation based n subjective factors, such as credibility of a witness or their likability. Having records and related evidence can help bolster a case for pain and suffering compensation in the presence of these subjective factors.
Emotional Distress: An injured person’s mental and emotional state following an accident may give rise to potential payment for "emotional distress" damages. A personal injury case victim may suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety or other "invisible" injuries. Severe injuries can be internal depending on the nature of an accident. Acquiring recovery for emotional distress damages will typically require a client to have comprehensive and accurate records from therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists, as well as a diagnoses of specific psychiatric conditions.
Wrongful Death: Wrongful death claims arise when an injury victim has passed away, and survivors sue the individual(s) responsible for the decedent's injuries. Survivors may be awarded compensation for the loss of the support, love, affection and income of the deceased. An award of damages for wrongful death can help ease financial burdens associated with a lost loved one. Compensation may include the lost income, open bills, and funeral expenses incurred because of the death. Damages of this kind are designed to compensate for the hard-to-quantify aspects of a wrongful death, like the sudden and unnecessary loss of a spouse or parent. For example, laws generally refer to this as “lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance” for surviving children .
Loss of Consortium: If an accident causes a victim to be unable to have a complete and fulfilling spousal or partnership, the victim or their partner/spouse may be compensated for "loss of consortium," or "lost companionship".
Punitive Damages: In some states, a tort victim may be injured in a manner to justify the "punishment" of the defendant for injurious actions or egregious behavior. Damages which "make an example of a defendant" are punitive damages, and very different from other (above) forms of compensation (which are designed to make the injured plaintiff "whole again"). Punitive damages are sometimes referred to as ‘exemplary damages’ to denote that the award is meant to be a statement that society (the jury) will not tolerate a defendant's outrageous behavior. Punitive damages punish the defendant, and may also serve as a deterrent (to prevent or dissuade other parties and companies from engaging in similar activity). In order to receive a court award for punitive damages, the defendant's actions must often be "intentional or the result of wanton and willful misconduct". A defendant insurance company that acts in bad faith or a medical professional that commits malpractice may also be subject to punitive damages. However, state laws vary regarding punitive damages awards and awards may be capped at a certain amount. In Kentucky, there are no limits/"caps", and a jury determines punitive/exemplary damages considering the following guidelines: 1) The likelihood that the defendant knew at the time of the accident that their action(s)/inaction(s) would cause ‘serious harm’ to the plaintiff; 2) The degree of the defendant’s awareness of that likelihood; 3) How much the defendant profited from their misconduct; 4) The duration of the misconduct and any concealment of it by the defendant; and 5) Any actions the defendant took to remedy the misconduct once it became known to the defendant. In Florida, there is a a limit on punitive damages. Subject to certain statutory exceptions, an award of punitive damages may not exceed 1) three times the amount of compensatory damages to each claimant entitled to punitive damages; or 2) the sum of $500,000.00 – whichever is higher. But, where the jury finds 1) that the defendant’s wrongful conduct was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain; and 2) that the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct when combined with the high likelihood of injury caused by the conduct was actually known by the managing agent, director, officer, or other person responsible for making policy decisions for the defendant, the jury may award punitive damages not to exceed the greater of 1) four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled to punitive damages; or 2) $2,000,000.00. If the jury finds that, at the time of injury, the defendant had a specific intent to harm the plaintiff and the defendant’s conduct did in fact harm the plaintiff, there is no cap on punitive damages in Florida.
Maggie Jo assists her clients in reducing the worry, inconvenience and stress associated with an unexpected injury. Online forms are available 24/7 for requesting legal review of your case at this link: https://www.maggiejo.com/consultationforms. Maggie Jo can assist you in determining your case value, weighing the facts and circumstances of your case, evaluating the severity of your injuries and reviewing limits on insurance coverage which may impact your recovery.
Maggie Jo is an experienced transactions, trial and appellate attorney, licensed in Kentucky & Florida with offices in Louisville, KY & Trinity, FL. Maggie Jo has been first and second-chair trial counsel in state and federal courts. As a former Assistant State Attorney (Florida 2006) and Assistant Appellate Public Defender (Florida 2013), she has worked on both sides of the courtroom to find justice. Maggie Jo has owned and operated a solo legal practice since 2008 and has provided counsel in civil and criminal cases to individuals and families, businesses and public officials.
For personal injury clients at the The Law Office of Maggie Jo Hilliard, there are no legal fees or costs unless your case is successfully settled or successfully litigated in a court of law. Contingency fee percentages may vary based on the stage of litigation or location of the injury occurrence. In no case may an attorney collect a percentage fee that is forbidden by a state bar association. Maggie Jo is licensed in two states, and will happily advise clients on fees and legal standards that may apply in their individual case. Maggie Jo cannot and will not advise any client regarding any case occurring outside Florida or Kentucky. However, Maggie Jo can provide referral and research assistance in locating a qualified attorney in your area.
Cases may require the assistance of co-counsel or referral to another firm in order to best serve client needs. Maggie Jo enjoys working in tandem with co-counsel and referral sources to assure clients' best interests are accommodated. When submitting a consultation form for review, potential clients will be asked for consent to discuss your case in a confidential and privileged manner with potential co-counsel or referral sources, if necessary. If you wish to discuss your case with only Maggie Jo, your wishes will be honored.
MAGGIE JO HILLIARD | LEGAL + CREATIVE SERVICES
FLORIDA OFFICE: 2049 Welbilt Boulevard, Trinity, Florida 34655
KENTUCKY OFFICE: 312 South Fourth Street, Suite 700, Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Mail: Post Office Box 8001, Louisville, Kentucky 40257