Please read the following FAQ for informative information:
In the event of a motor vehicle crash of any type or kind, you and your loved ones who may also have been injured have 14 days from the date of the crash within which to obtain medical care (chiropractic care and physical therapy is excluded under the definition of medical care) or your right to Automobile Insurance No-Fault benefits that provide payment of your medical bills is automatically waived by operation of Florida law.
Q.) Is the consultation free?
A.) Yes, as injury accident cases are predominantly handled on a contingent fee basis, in other words, pursuant to a written agreement whereby you do not pay attorney’s fees or costs unless your injury lawyer obtains a monetary recovery on your behalf against the person or company that caused your injuries.
Q.) When should I call a personal injury lawyer?
A.) Immediately after the injury accident unless you are in need of emergency medical care, in which case as soon after you are stabilized in the hospital ER and are physically and mentally able to seek legal representation.
However, if a loved one (wife, sibling, parent and the like) is able to speak to an injury lawyer on your behalf in the event you are too badly injured to do so yourself, legal representation should be secured timely.
Q.) Can I afford an injury lawyer?
A.) The answer is yes, most definitely. As injury lawyers provide legal representation on a contingency fee basis, and what that means is that you will not pay attorney’s fees and costs unless and until such time as a monetary recovery is obtained on your behalf, either in settlement or after a jury trial of your case results in an award of monetary damages.
Q.) Should I speak to an insurance company?
A.) Florida law does not require you to speak to the at fault party’s insurance company and insurance company representatives. However, under Florida law and your own insurance company’s contract you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurer. However, you should first hire an injury lawyer before you agree to speak to your own insurer so as to maximize your potential to give accurate and credible information to your insurer.
Q.) How long do I have to bring a claim?
A.) Generally, Florida law requires motor vehicle crash (includes trucks, motorcycles, boats, and golf carts) cases, premises liability (slip or trip and fall) cases and non-professional liability injury cases to be brought within 4 years from the date of the injury.
In cases of physician and doctor malpractice(including hospitals) as well as pharmacist negligence, Florida law requires such claims to be brought within 2 years of the commission of the negligent act, or within 2 years from the time the incident that gave rise to the claim (i.e. below standard of care or unacceptable medical care) is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.
In cases of nursing home abuse, Florida law generally requires such claims to be brought within 2 years of the wrongful acts.
In cases of defective products, Florida law requires such claims to be brought within 4 years.
In cases of injury accidents that cause death, you have 2 years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.
Q.) Who pays for my medical bills?
A.) Generally, in the event of a motor vehicle crash, Florida law requires licensed drivers to carry personal injury protection (i.e. “PIP”) coverage which affords you $10,000 toward the payment of your medical bills(see how Florida plans on changing your rights by clicking here). However, in premises liability (slip/trip and fall cases), medical negligence cases, nursing home negligence, products liability and pharmacy error claims, unless you have health insurance (i.e. private health insurance like for example United Health Care, Aetna, and the like, or governmental health insurance like Medicare or Medicaid), your medical bills payments may be deferred by physicians and other health care providers who treat you under an agreement to defer payment until the conclusion of your case.
Q.) How much is my case worth?
A.) The answer is, it depends on the nature and extent of your physical and at times emotional injuries, too. The general rule is that the more badly injured you are, the more your case is worth, and the doctors who treat you are charged with the responsibility to determine the extent and severity of your injuries, as well as future medical care needs you may require.
Q.) Does my case have to go to trial?
A.) It depends on whether your case is able to be amicably settled in presuit (before a lawsuit is filed) negotiations, but if the at fault party and his/her/its insurer refuse to settle for a just, fair and reasonable monetary amount, then a lawsuit must be filed, and your case still may settle as all cases in Florida are required to go to non-binding mediation (a settlement conference) before they are tried.
Q.) How long should an injury case take to settle?
A.) Generally it takes between 4-to-6 months at the earliest, and perhaps more than 1 year from the time of injury, if the nature and extent of your injuries are such that you require substantial and extensive medical care and treatment, inclusive of surgery to treat your injuries, until such time as your treating physicians are able to declare you at maximum medical improvement, in other words, until your injuries plateau such that you have improved medically to the point that you are as well as you are likely to be. In that event, your case will be in a position to be settled.
Q.) Do I have a “slip and fall” case?
A.) Just because you are on another person’s or business’s premises and slip or trip and fall, resultant in physical injuries to yourself does not necessarily mean you have a “slip and fall” case. There are many factors that come into play like, for example, if you slip and fall as the result of a spilled liquid substance while you are shopping in a store and the liquid substance was on the floor long enough that the store’s employees knew or in the exercise of reasonable care (i.e. when for example timely safety sweeps by store personnel would have led to discovery of the spilled liquid substance and clean up) should have known the substance was there and warned customers (such as yourself) of the store with “caution, wet floor” signs and the like, or cleaned up the spill timely, then you may have a case.
There are other situations like where there are hidden defects (steps that are uneven, for example) on or in a premises (someone’s home, a grocery or other store open to the public) known to the premises owner but not observable to customers who come on the premises, and that cause injury by way of a slip or trip and fall which causes injury, in that circumstance you may have a case.
In any event, you should consult an injury attorney anytime you suffer a slip and fall or trip and fall which you know was not the result of your “tripping over your own two feet” to determine whether you do have a case.
Q.) What are pain and suffering damages?
A.) Pain and suffering damages are the human damages you suffer as the result of an injury accident, like for example the inconvenience of having to travel back and forth to see and treat with health care providers, having to be taken by ambulance and admitted for a day, days, weeks or even months to a hospital, the physical pain your injuries cause you, impairment of relationships with your spouse, your children, perhaps even your employer and your co-workers because you are angry or depressed or both and makes you into a quick tempered person instead of your former “happy go lucky” self.
Q.) Am I entitled to a rental car reimbursement?
A.) If your car was either damaged or “totaled” you may be entitled to rental car reimbursement through the at fault party’s insurer, or through your own auto insurance if you purchased rental car reimbursement. In any event, you should speak to an injury lawyer to make sure you get rental car reimbursement if you are entitled to it.
Q.) What is Florida no-fault insurance?
A.) Some of you may have heard that when you get into a motor vehicle crash, you are automatically entitled to be paid $10,000 cash no matter whose fault it is. That is wrong. Under Florida law, when you get hurt, you may, if you have automobile insurance, be entitled to reimbursement up to $10,000 for medical bills you actually incurred for medical care necessary to treat you for the injuries that resulted from the at fault party’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle. It is very important that you speak to an injury lawyer to find out what benefits you are entitled to receive following a motor vehicle crash.