FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

After an auto accident comes the confusion of do's and don'ts. We are here to answer your questions to navigate the process of reaching a fair settlement.

THE ACCIDENT

What should I do after an accident?


Stay at the scene of the accident and immediately call 911. When the police arrive, provide the information they request. If you or another occupant are able, take photos of the vehicles involved, and document as much information as you can about the circumstances surrounding the crash. If you are injured, request immediate medical attention. Many times, injuries are not felt immediately after a crash, but can often become painful in the following days and weeks. Regardless of when you first feel pain or discomfort, it’s important to see a doctor right away.




What if I don’t know who caused my accident?


Be truthful with the police and provide as much information as you can to assist their investigation. If there are witnesses to the crash, get their names and contact information, and request that they stay at the scene to provide a statement to the police.




What happens if the person that hit me does not have insurance?


Unfortunately, this situation is far too common. Florida is one of only two states that do not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. To make matters worse, Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, with nearly 27% of drivers carrying no insurance. If the person who hits you has no (or insufficient) insurance, then your uninsured motorist coverage may apply, if you purchased it. If the car that hit you is owned by someone other than the driver, then the owner’s insurance may apply.




How much time do I have after my accident to file a claim?


Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you generally have fours years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, circumstances specific to your case might require you to file sooner. For example, if a government-owned vehicle or government employee caused the crash, the claim must be filed within three years.




Can I still get my medical bills paid if I was partially at fault for the accident?


Yes. Florida is a comparative fault state, which means fault can be apportioned among all parties responsible for a crash. If a jury determines that you were partially at fault, then your damages (the amount of money you can recover in your case) will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.




How long should I wait to seek medical care?


You should seek medical care as soon as possible. Any delay can be detrimental to your health and can adversely affect your claim. If your injuries are immediately apparent, you should request emergency treatment at the scene. However, not all injuries are immediately obvious. Often, pain does not set in until hours, days, and sometimes weeks later. Regardless of when the pain begins, it’s important to see a doctor right away, so you can address and treat any injuries you might have. Additionally, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely the insurance company will deny or minimize your claim.





THE ATTORNEY HIRING PROCESS

I was recently hurt in an accident. Do I really need an attorney?


Although you can try to handle your claim on your own, the insurance company will be protecting its own interests, not yours. An attorney can help you navigate the many different insurance coverages that may apply, negotiate and resolve any liens that may exist against your case, ensure that your medical bills are properly paid, and assess and explain your options. Most importantly, an attorney will advocate for you against the insurance companies, and can help maximize your recovery.




What are your fees?


We represent clients on a contingent fee basis, following the fee schedule approved by the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar. If we recover money for you, our fee is a percentage of the amount recovered. The percentage typically ranges from 30% - 40%, depending on when the case is resolved and the total amount recovered. If we do not recover any money for you, then you owe us nothing.




How long does a personal injury case typically take?


Although every case is different, most cases are resolved within 18 months after the injury occurs. If your injuries require more extensive treatment, or if your case requires litigation, then 24 – 36 months is a more realistic range. Our goal is to resolve every case as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we achieve the best possible results for each client. As your case progresses, we can give you a more accurate estimate of how long your particular case will take.




How to choose a reputable accident attorney?


With so many attorneys claiming that they handle injury claims, how do you choose the right one? While no single factor is the answer, here are some important things to consider: a. Trial Experience · Attorneys who have tried many cases to verdict provide an important advantage. Insurance companies tend to take them more seriously and value their cases higher, as they know the attorney is willing and able to take the case to trial if the insurance company does not offer a fair amount to settle the case. Further, the more trial experience the attorney has, the more likely he/she is to win the case. b. Board Certification · To become Board Certified, an attorney must meet stringent standards and pass a rigorous exam, and must satisfy the requirements to maintain the certification every five years. Board Certified attorneys have distinguished themselves as having achieved a level of greater experience and expertise. c. Results · Ask about the attorney’s experience and results in similar cases, and look at the firm’s results in similar cases. d. Word of Mouth · Ask friends and family about the attorney’s reputation or any experience they might have with the attorney or firm.




Do I have to go to court?


If your case can be resolved with litigation, then you may never have to go to court. You may still have to give a recorded statement, but this is an informal proceeding. If your case proceeds to litigation, then you may have to give a deposition, attend a mediation, and may have to attend court hearings or eventually testify at trial. We will discuss all possible options with you and will help you determine which is the best course to pursue in your particular case.





UNDERSTANDING YOUR CASE

What damages can I seek in my case?


When you are harmed by the negligence (wrongdoing) of another, Florida law allows you to recover damages (restitution) from the party that caused you harm. Damages are classified into economic and non-economic. Economic damages are direct financial losses, including past and future medical expenses, past lost wages, future diminished earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages include physical pain and suffering, mental pain and anguish, scarring and disfigurement, inconvenience, and diminished enjoyment of life. Your spouse may also be entitled to bring a claim for loss of consortium.




Will my case go to trial?


This depends on many variables, but most cases (about 98%) are resolved without a trial. If the insurance company offers an insufficient amount to settle your case, then you can opt to take your case to trial.




The person that caused my injury is claiming that it was my fault; what do I do?


Your attorney will fully investigate your case to determine what the evidence shows. If the evidence indicates that the accident was entirely your fault, then you will not have a basis to pursue a negligence claim against anyone else. If the evidence shows that the accident was partially your fault, then you can still recover damages from any other parties whose negligence also contributed to your injuries. Florida applies the comparative fault doctrine, which means that a jury can apportion fault among all negligent parties. If you are found to be partially at fault, then your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.




What is my case worth?


There is no magic formula to determine what a case is worth. Every case is different, and the value of each case requires a careful assessment of many variables, including the nature of the accident, the severity of the injuries, the amount of medical bills and other economic losses, the types and amounts of available insurance coverage, the amounts of any liens, and the venue. To help assess the value of your case, we consider our experience in other similar cases; we research other verdicts; and we conduct mock trials and focus groups.




If my health insurance company pays for my medical bills, do I have to pay them back?


Generally yes. If you have private health insurance coverage that pays your medical bills, then your health insurer will have a lien against your case, which means that you must reimburse your insurer from any money you recover. If you receive government benefits such as Medicare or Medicaid, then those programs will also have liens against your case, and you will have to reimburse them as well.





CALL US TOLL FREE  

877-AUTO-LAW [877-288-6529]

CONTACT 

801 Spencer Drive

West Palm Beach, FL 33409

877-AUTO-LAW

[877-288-6529]

contact@floridaautolaw.com

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