Personal Injury: What You Need to Know
What is the Statute of Limitations?
On a negligence claim, generally, it is four (4) years. If someone has died as a result of someone else's negligence, the statute of limitations on such a wrongful death claim is two (2) years. There are some other applicable statutes of limitation, dependent on the situation, and therefore it is imperative to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
How do you pay for any medical bills incurred?
You may have personal injury protection benefits or medical payments coverage, which may have been purchased with your car or rental car insurance that may provide medical and/or insurance coverage for lost wages. Usually, that coverage is $10,000.00 (sometimes subject to a deductible), but can vary. Additionally, if you make a claim against a negligent party, you will be able to assert a claim for past and future medical expenses and income against the negligent party.
How do I pay for legal representation?
You do not pay anything up front for attorney fees or the cost of litigation. Any attorney fees and costs incurred by the attorney will be paid out of any settlement or monies recovered. The attorney's fee will generally be between 33 1/3% to 40% of any recovery. The remainder, after costs have been paid from any recovery, will be the net proceeds to the client.
Is there insurance to pay for any personal injury claim?
Generally, if you are in an automobile accident, the negligent driver/owner of the vehicle may have insurance ($10,000.00 – $1,000,000.00 generally) which may provide coverage to him/her in the event he/she injures or kills someone. If a truck (lorry) is the negligent party, generally, they are required to carry $500,000.00 or more in liability insurance coverage, which may be available to an injured or deceased claimant. In the event of any accident on commercial premises such as a theme park or supermarket, the commercial owner and/or lessor of the premises typically has insurance which provides coverage (usually $1,000,000.00) to individuals who are injured on the premises as a result of the owner/lessor's negligence.
What if I am injured by someone who does not have automobile insurance?
There is something in Florida called uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage. This type of insurance provides insurance to individuals when the at-fault driver does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance, to cover the injuries and damages suffered as a result of a driver's negligence. Also, it is highly recommended that if you are renting a car while on vacation in Florida, you purchase uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage (when available). For example, I had a case where an at fault driver who was an illegal immigrant and was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for driving under the influence, killed an elderly lady and severely injured another female (who were passengers in the vehicle struck by the at-fault driver), however, only had $10,000.00 in bodily injury insurance. The estate of the deceased lady and the severely injured female passenger were only able to recover $10,000.00 from the at-fault driver because the at-fault driver was under insured and had no personal assets. If the vehicle the deceased elderly lady and the severely injured passenger were travelling in had uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage, then they may have been able to recover more money in damages. Needless to say, uninsured/ underinsured motorist insurance coverage is very important to insure yourself against drivers without any or minimal automobile insurance. It is highly recommended that as much of this coverage as possible be purchased when renting or owning a vehicle.
What type of injury must I suffer to get damages for injuries caused in an automobile accident?
In Florida, if you are injured in an automobile accident as a result of another individual's negligence, you can receive economic damages (i.e. out of pocket medical expenses, lost wages and other tangible damages). In order to recoup damages for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, disability, disfigurement and loss of the capacity to enjoy life, you must demonstrate that you have a permanent injury to a reasonable degree of medical probability. This permanent injury opinion will be provided by the physician providing treatment for the injury in question.
What type of injury must I suffer to get damages if I slip and fall because of a business' negligence?
In non-automobile accident cases, you do not have to demonstrate that you suffered a permanent injury to a reasonable degree of medical probability to recoup non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, disability, disfigurement and loss of the capacity to enjoy life.
Will I have to return to Florida if I bring a lawsuit in Florida?
You may have to return to Florida if a lawsuit is filed, however, we would try to resolve your claim with as little inconvenience to you as possible before a lawsuit needs to be filed.
How long does a case take from beginning to end?
A case can take as little as 1 month to 2 years (if a lawsuit is filed) from beginning to end. It is our goal to resolve your claim as quickly as possible with as little inconvenience to you as possible.
How much money can I expect to receive if I make a claim for injuries and damages?
The answer to this question depends on the extent of your injury(ies) and resulting damages. For example, a sprain/strain or whiplash injury may only be worth $5,000.00 – $15,000.00, however, a broken bone or a neck or back injury which requires surgery may be worth $150,000.00 – $250,000.00. In a case where someone has died or suffered a catastrophic injury, you may be able to recoup well in excess of $1,000,000.00. However, collecting money for injuries and resulting damages will be dependent on whether there is adequate insurance coverage carried by the negligent individual or party, or the individual or party has personal wealth which is available for collection.
Call our office at 407-420-4647 if you have questions.