Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer

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Being injured unexpectedly can be devastating. Instead of getting up and taking care of your family or heading off to work, you are forced to contend with your pain, discomfort, and mental distress. You also are forced to face the financial repercussions of an accident that was not your fault. The only way to place the financial burden on the at-fault party is to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.

Why Work with Attorney Metcalf on Your Injury Claim

Personal injury lawyer Brett Metcalf can guide you through this process. An experienced attorney will investigate your claim, determine the liable party or parties, and aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Brett Metcalf is an accomplished attorney. The results he obtains for his clients have brought him recognition from many well-respected legal organizations. He was named part of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers. He was named a 2018 SuperLawyers’ Rising Star.

To learn more about how Brett has helped personal injury victims in and around Tampa, review his case results and client testimonials. Or, contact us at (813) 258-4800 or through the online form.

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury is the area of law through which people who are hurt due to another party’s actions can pursue compensation for their physical, psychological, and financial injuries. This also is known as tort law. A tort is a wrongful act, other than a breach of contract, which causes another harm and gives rise to civil liability.

Right to Remedy

The right to seek compensation can arise due to a variety of conduct by another party. Many personal injury claims are based on the other person or business’s ordinary or gross negligence.

However, the right to pursue damages from a particular party can arise due to strict liability, vicarious liability, breach of contract, or breach of an implied or explicit warranty. Florida statutes or common law, which is law derived from binding court opinions, may dictate your right to pursue a remedy in court.

To determine whether you have the right to demand compensation from someone after an accident, talk with an injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will listen to your story and ask certain questions to gauge the relationship between you and the other party, what happened, and who may be at fault.

Based on thorough knowledge of the law and an understanding of your circumstances, an attorney can advise you on whether to pursue personal injury compensation or not.

Concept of Duty

In most circumstances in which a personal injury claim arises, it is because a party that had a duty toward you violated that duty.

A duty is a standard of conduct a party must uphold. This duty, which the court will consider an objective standard, dictates conduct the party must, should, or should not perform given the specific situation.

A duty and violation of that duty are specific elements of negligence. To pursue compensation based on negligence requires establishing that another person, business, or municipality had a duty toward you. The other party violated that duty in some way, which in turn caused an incident and your injuries.

You may wonder why another party would have a duty toward you, but this is very common. Individuals and businesses often have the legal duty to behave as a reasonably prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances. This is known as the duty of ordinary care, and it simply requires individuals to act carefully to avoid harming others.

Recognition of Duties and Legal Responsibilities

Different parties may have different—greater and lesser—duties toward you.

A business selling you a product has various duties regarding the safety and efficacy of that product and how they advertise that product. A property owner has a duty toward you when you are a social guest or a business customer of their premises. A municipality that provides public transportation has a duty regarding the safety of the buses, trolleys, and trains it provides.

To discuss the duty the other party may have had toward you and whether you have the right to pursue a remedy for violation of that duty, talk with an accident attorney as soon as possible.

Absolute or Strict Liability

Pursuing compensation under a personal injury claim may not require establishing fault. Negligence requires proving the other party failed to behave reasonably. However, absolute liability means a person is responsible for your injuries even if they were no careless, reckless, or malicious. This also is referred to as strict liability.

Florida law provides for strict liability in several situations, including in dog bite cases and defective product accidents.

Express and Implied Warranties

Various contract rights and warranties may establish your right to be free from injury and to hold a certain party liable for injuries.

If a defective product caused you harm, your right to pursue compensation might be based on the violation of an implied or express warranty. This type of action is not part of tort law but instead is based on contract law, specifically the Florida Uniform Commercial Code.

A warranty is essentially a promise a business makes regarding a product. Statues establish certain implied warranties, such as the implied warranty of merchantability or the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Businesses can also make all types of express warranties to you regarding a product.

To pursue compensation based on the violation of an express or implied warranty, there must be privity between you and the other party. In other words, there must be a contractual relationship between you two. This often can be established through a documented sale of goods.

If you cannot establish contractual privity, you must rely on negligence or strict liability or fall into an exception to privity to seek compensation.

Our accident injury lawyers will investigate whether you had a contractual relationship with the other party and whether that party breached a provision of that contract, an implied warranty, or an express warranty.

Contribution

After being injured by another party’s actions, whether your cause of action relies on negligence, absolute liability, or breach of warranty, you may pursue compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, the party you are suing—the defendant—may believe another party contributed to the incident and injuries and should also be held responsible.

Within personal injury law, a defendant may be allowed to sue other parties to hold them responsible for a portion of the damages that the defendant owes you.

Indemnity is different in that it allows the defendant to pursue the full amount of the damages from another party. For example, a business may be held responsible for an injury it is technically liable for under the law. However, that business may sue the individual specifically at fault for the injury.

Vicarious Liability

Due to vicarious liability, one party may be liable for your injuries despite another party directly causing the accident and your injuries. This arises most often with the employer-employee relationship.

Businesses are responsible for their employees’ actions. This liability is also known as respondent superior, which means “let the master answer.”

When you are injured in an incident that was caused by an on-duty employee, your insurance claim or lawsuit will focus on the employer’s vicarious liability. Your personal injury lawyer will pursue compensation from the employer directly or through the business’s insurance policy.

Statutory Liability

It also is possible that a particular party is liable for your injuries based on a specific Florida law. The person or business can be held liable and required to compensate you for your injuries if you can establish they violated the law and caused you harm.

An accident lawyer can explain whether a certain party is liable for your injuries under the law and not necessarily due to negligence or other theory of liability.

Causation of Injury

Under any theory of liability, from negligence to absolute liability, you must be able to show that the other party caused your injuries. There are two parts to this process.

You must establish cause in fact. You must be able to prove that but for the other party’s actions, you would not have been injured. In other words, if not for A, then B would not have occurred.

You also must establish proximate cause, which is a much more nuanced issue. Proximate cause means the accident and your injuries were within the realm of foreseeable risks associated with the other party’s conduct. In any given situation, when a person behaves carelessly or reckless, certain risks arise.

Whether or not your injuries were within those known set of risks determines whether you can establish proximate cause. If your accident and injuries were an unforeseeable fluke, you may not be able to establish proximate cause or receive compensation.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Brett is the best attorney I’ve ever had. I would recommend his services to anyone in need.
Pink Taylor

09.18.2019

“Brett is the best attorney I’ve ever had. I would recommend his services to anyone in need. Most lawyers just want the money, ignore your calls, and settle for deals. Not Brett! He answered and returned every call! Every penny…

5 Stars Review 5

Pink Taylor

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08.14.2019

“He did an amazing job for me in Polk County! When I got involved in a situation that needed a criminal lawyer, I was terrified. Having only lived in Florida a few years, I was not prepared for the complexity…

5 Stars Review 5

Lisa Welsh

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01.11.2019

“Mr. Metcalf is very knowledgeable, friendly, and on top of things. In the midst of my confusion and thoughts of the worst possible outcome, Mr. Metcalf took charge and handled the situation with professionalism and tact. I am very pleased…

5 Stars Review 5

Sherry Violet

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08.06.2018

“Brett is an extremely knowledgeable attorney who is a straight shooter, hard worker, and always willing to go the extra mile to fight for his clients. I’ve had to use him two separate times and was more than pleased with…

5 Stars Review 5

Ryan Belden

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06.19.2017

“Brett went far out of his way for my multiple cases and managed to keep me a free man even with all the charges that were put on me. 100% behind him from Plant City.”

5 Stars Review 5

Issac Thomas

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04.10.2017

“If you’ve decided to scroll past all the other positive reviews and find yourself reading mine, I’ll start out by saying Brett’s the man. He handles business efficiently and professionally, with the clients’ best interests in mind at all times….

5 Stars Review 5

Evin O

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04.09.2017

“Mr. Metcalf was there for me at the most difficult and life-changing time in my life. I was treated respectfully the whole entire process, despite my embarrassing and shameful mistake. He extended honesty and professional courtesy throughout my case, guiding…

5 Stars Review 5

Sharley Lanigan

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04.08.2017

“Brett Metcalf is the best lawyer in the Tampa Bay area. He puts 100% into his work and goes far and beyond what you would expect out of a lawyer. If it wasn’t for Brett, my husband and I would…

5 Stars Review 5

Janice Luke

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04.06.2017

“Wonderful experience with Brett Metcalf. If I had to do it again, I would not change a thing. It’s a good feeling when you know you’re in good hands and your attorney is genuinely concerned about the outcome of your…

5 Stars Review 5

Gerald

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12.02.2017

“I have consulted with Brett on various issues and have found him to be excellent. He is very practical in potential outcomes on legal issues and very reasonable.”

5 Stars Review 5

Albert Piccolo

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04.05.2017

“Brett helped me win full custody of my kids. Any and every question I had, he was right there to answer and explain the process. He was open and honest about the whole process. Extremely good price… and even better…

5 Stars Review 5

James Woodson

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08.13.2016

“Brett Metcalf was the best experience that I’ve ever had with any legal professional! He was understanding, honest, and worked diligently throughout my entire DUI case I had several years back. Even with the odds stacked against me, he was…

5 Stars Review 5

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08.12.2016

“Very knowledgeable and compassionate. I always felt like I could contact him with questions at any time. He was extremely thorough with information – I can’t stress that enough! I would definitely hire him again and recommend him to anyone,…

5 Stars Review 5

Christa Murray

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08.10.2016

“Brett Metcalf provides forward-thinking and effective legal counsel. I highly recommend Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A.”

5 Stars Review 5

Annie Shipherd

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08.08.2016

“Brett Metcalf is a top-notch attorney. He also understands that preparation and hard work are keys to success. He possesses the knowledge, the insights, and the advocacy skills to put your legal woes in the past. Equally important, he follows…

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Charles Goddard

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08.08.2016

“In late 2015, I was in need of a lawyer who could help me. Looking on the internet and asking friends if they knew any great ones was looking pretty bad. Then my younger brother told me about a lawyer…

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Elijah Turner

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08.06.2016

“I could not be any happier with my experience with Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A. I would advise anyone who needs legal action to choose wisely and choose him for multiple reasons.”

5 Stars Review 5

Marty McPhly

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08.06.2016

“Brett made the process as easy as possible for me on my end, letting me know all options and possible outcomes based on my choices. He was also very attentive and quick to respond to my questions.”

5 Stars Review 5

Clay

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02.27.2019

“Extremely professional and clearly the sharpest tool in any toolbox. Set the tone in the courtroom. This has to be one of the best law offices in Tampa. Thanks, Brett.”

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Daniel Turner

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Average 5 out of 5 rating based on 44 Reviews

The Personal Injury Case Process

You go to a personal injury lawyer because you have been harmed and you believe it was someone else’s fault. It is up to your attorney to determine if another party is responsible for compensating you for your injuries and based on which theory of liability.

When a lawyer guides you in pursuing compensation, they may file a suit with multiple counts, each arguing that the other party owes you compensation based on a different theory of liability. For example, your attorney may argue a business is liable for your injuries based on the violation of an implied warranty and negligence.

Burden of Proof

For any theory of liability, someone has the burden of proof. This is the party who is legally required to provide evidence of the other party’s liability. In a civil personal injury claim, you—the plaintiff—has the burden of proof. You must provide evidence that the defendant caused you harm and should be required to compensate you.

Standard of Proof

When you have the burden of proof, you must meet a specific standard of proof before a judge or jury can rule that the defendant is liable. This is the degree to which you must establish that your allegations are true.

In Florida, the standard of proof in personal injury claims is by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lesser standard of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt, which is used in criminal cases.

Under the preponderance of the evidence standard, the plaintiff must establish that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for their injuries. Another way to look at is that the plaintiff’s evidence outweighs the defendant’s evidence.

Presumptions of Fact or Law

A presumption is a fact that is assumed during your case because of the existence of another fact. Various rebuttable presumptions of fact can arise in various personal injury claims. For example, in Florida, there is a rebuttable presumption that the rear vehicle in a rear-end collision is negligent. However, this presumption is rebuttable, which means the defendant can provide evidence proving this assumption incorrect.

A personal injury lawyer will advise you if a presumption of law or fact applies to your case, and if so, how to address that in court.

Standards Applied to Minors and People With Mental Disabilities

If your claim is against a minor or a person with a cognitive disability, then you may face a different standard in court, which impacts the other person’s liability.

Children under the age of 6 years cannot be held negligent. However, you can theoretically seek to hold a minor between the ages of 7 and 17 years responsible for an injury. When this is the case, the standard of whether the minor was negligent or not changes. A child’s actions will be measured against the reasonable actions of a child of similar experience and maturity.

If the party responsible for your accident and injuries is mentally disabled, then various issues may impact your claim. That person may not be mentally competent to participate in a trial. Also, certain standards, such as the duty of
reasonable care, must be altered to address the person’s mental capabilities.

Use of Evidence

Proving the defendant is liable by a preponderance of the evidence requires that you put forth various pieces of evidence that establish the elements of your theory of liability. The elements of your case differ depending on whether you believe the defendant is liable due to negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.

Evidence can be a wide range of objects, documents, electronic data, and personal and professional testimony. Depending on the facts of your case, we may present to the court a police report, photos, videos, business records, medical records, data obtained from an electronic device or online, your testimony, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony.

Compensation of Personal Injury Claims

Through an insurance claim or litigation, your personal injury lawyer will pursue compensation for your:

Medical Expenses:

You can demand to be compensated for your past and future medical expenses and other injury-related expenses.

Loss of Earnings:

You can demand compensation for your lost wages and employment benefits while you recovered as well as any lost earning capacity if you suffered a disability due to the defendant’s actions.

Intangible Damages:

You can demand compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish arising from the incident and your injuries.

Property Damage:

You can demand compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your property damaged in the accident.

Punitive Damages:

If you can establish the defendant’s actions were egregious, malicious, or intentional, then you can also demand punitive damages. This additional compensation is meant to punish the defendant, not compensate you for a specific injury.

Your relative may have been injured in an accident and then weeks or months later, passed away before they were able to pursue or resolve their personal injury claim. In this situation, the personal representative of your loved one’s estate can pursue these personal injury damages through a survival claim.

However, whether or not to pursue personal injury or survival damages can be a complicated decision. Moving forward with a claim should not be based purely on the fact that another person, business, or municipality is responsible. When you have a claim against an individual, in particular, you must consider that person’s finances.

Many Americans are not well off financially. In Florida, the median household income was $52,594 in 2017. Depending on the size of the household and the cost of living in the area, this may leave very little for savings. You may have a claim against someone with a low income and little-to-no savings that could be used to pay a judgement against them.

The defendant’s ability to pay must be considered before you file suit. Obtaining a judgement against someone who lacks the ability to pay it can be useless and costly.

Types of Personal Injury Cases

At Brett Metcalf, Criminal Defense Attorney, P.A., we handle a wide range of personal injury claims, including those arising from:

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Government Liability
  • Dangerous Properties (Premises Liability)
  • Defective Products (Products Liability)
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Injuries and Worker’s Compensation Claims
  • Bad Faith Insurance Claims
  • Fatal Accidents or Malpractice (Wrongful Death)

Common Defenses Used in Personal Injury Cases

There are many possible defenses to a personal injury claim. The specific defenses a party may use against your claim depends on the specific circumstances and the theory of liability you assert. However, common defenses include:

Lack of duty:

The defendant may allege it did not owe a duty toward you. For example, a property owner may allege you were a trespasser. A business may allege it did not have privy by contract with you because you purchased a product secondhand.

Intervening factor:

The defendant may argue that an intervening event broke the causal change between their behavior and your injuries. This event occurred between the time of the defendant’s actions and the accident and your injuries, and the event’s contribution dissolves the defendant of liability.

Comparative negligence:

The defendant may allege that you also were negligent, and that your own negligence makes you partly liable for your injuries.

Lack of proximate cause:

The defendant may argue that the incident that caused your injuries was not a foreseeable risk of their actions, and therefore, you cannot establish proximate cause.

Assumption of risk:

The defendant may claim that you were aware of the risks of a certain activity and chose to participate despite those risks.

Your personal injury lawyer will anticipate these and other defenses and prepare to address them in court.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm For Help

If you were hurt and believe it was another person’s fault, do not hesitate to reach out to a personal injury lawyer near you for help. Brett Metcalf’s office is available to take your call 24/7. Reach out at (813) 258-4800 to schedule your case consultation.

We are located at 2011 W. Cleveland Street in Tampa, FL, representing clients in Tampa and the surrounding area.

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