Personal Injury Lawyers serving South Florida
In order to understand Personal Injury Law, one must first understand that Florida has adopted a no-fault insurance system in which a person receives payments for injuries or damages from their own insurance company regardless of who is the at-fault party. A no-fault insurance system allows those people who are injured in an auto accident to receive payment for medical, disability, or death expenses in a timely manner, without having to resort to suing in court.
In the State of Florida, each person who operates a vehicle for more than ninety (90) days must have what is known as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. The minimum PIP coverage by law is $10,000.00. PIP insurance covers the insured, the insured’s relatives that are residing in the same household, anyone driving or riding in the insured’s car, and anyone not in a motorized vehicle who is hurt as a result of the use of the insured’s car. Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is insurance that covers medical payments to the other party when you’re at fault. Assuming that the at-fault party does not carry BI coverage, the injured party would then look to his insurance under what is known as (UM), or Uninsured Motorist or Under insured Motorist coverage. This is why it is extremely important to have UM coverage. If the at-fault party has limited bodily injury coverage, you would then look to UM benefits under your own under insured motorist coverage. A person’s deductible under PIP coverage will vary from policy to policy. You may carry MedPay coverage so that the deductible would be covered. Florida motorists also must carry property damage which will pay for the damage to your car by the at-fault parties insurance company. An adjuster will examine your vehicle, make a determination of the amount to be paid, and send you a check.
What does your Florida insurance pay for?
PIP coverage pays for:
- 80% of reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to $10,000
- 60% of lost wages and replacement services if there is a disability
- Mileage reimbursement
- Prescription reimbursement
- $5,000.00 in death benefits
It should be noted that PIP coverage is primary over regular health insurance. Comparative negligence is a legal principle which suggests that an injured party may have been partly to blame for the accident. It is usually calculated on a percentage basis, and is usually subtracted from the amount one would otherwise recover.
What should you do if you are in an automobile accident?
If you are involved in an accident, you should write down:
- The date and time the accident occurred.
- The location.
- Weather and road conditions, for example, was the day or night foggy; were the roads slick.
- Any other pertinent facts (example: witnesses, name, address & phone number)
- Go to a doctor and have a complete medical checkup
- Consult an attorney
Always notify the police and your insurance company when an accident occurs. The responding officer will take down the pertinent facts in addition to citing the at-fault party at the scene. He will fill out and file an accident report with the police department, and such a report can be an invaluable tool when dealing with insurance companies. Protect Yourself – Know Your Rights. Insurance companies generally have two (2) philosophies, pay nothing, and if you have to pay, pay as little as you have to.
Why have a Personal Injury Attorney?
Listen to this personal message from Steven Lulich about Personal Injury Claim. A successful personal injury claim has two (2) components; Damages (the injury to you) and Liability (who is at fault). An attorney who handles personal injury claims will be able to evaluate if a successful claim can be brought, and how much the insurance company should pay to you, the injured party. Remember, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and is looking out for their interest. Protect Yourself. The experienced attorney will interface between you and the insurance company, protecting your interest and preserving your rights.
How does a Case Proceed? After the attorney has investigated your case, he will gather all the medical records, and any other pertinent facts which will help him build a case. When all the facts are gathered, he will then prepare what is known as a “demand” letter, in which he will provide a synopsis of the circumstances of the case. He will build the case step by step; from the initial accident, to diagnosis of condition, medical treatments required, and so on. He will include any and all doctor reports, rehabilitative reports, and document monies spent on travel and expenses such as prescription drugs, and any medical hardware that might have been needed.
Contingency fee for Personal Injury Cases
Attorneys dealing with personal injury generally work on a contingency basis, which means they will collect no fee until the case is settled. This means that you will not be required to pay money to the attorney up-front, if you decide to hire him. If the attorney is unable to obtain money from the insurance company for you, you owe him no money (No Recovery, No Fee). Insurance companies generally pay more when there is an attorney involved.
Slip and Fall Cases
If you fall in a grocery store, or anywhere else where you are an invitee, winning the case depends on whether the floor was slippery or whether there was a structural defeat. Was there a sign indicating that it was wet? If there was substance on the floor such as water, ice cream, broken stairs or a hole in sidewalk, how long was the substance or defect there? A long time? Then it may not be too difficult to prove negligence. What should you do if you slip & fall?
- Immediately file a written incident report with the owner.
- Immediately seek medical attention.
- Seek advice of an attorney.
Medical malpractice claims are among the most complicated of all personal injury cases. A successful claim must show that the doctor or medical provider was negligent and that his or her negligence caused long term damage and or that corrective surgery was necessary. The attorney who handles these types of cases has to be informed about the multiple procedures which need to be addressed before filing a lawsuit. Additionally, the attorney has to be knowledgeable about medical matters so as to properly address the medical components involved. An Affidavit is usually needed from a medical doctor stating that the doctor initially involved was negligent before suit can be brought. In order to know if you have a valid claim, consult an attorney.
What is the statute of limitations?
In an auto accident, you must file a lawsuit within four (4) years from when the accident occurred. The statute of limitations is two (2) years on a medical malpractice suit. The party must bring suit within two (2) years from when the incident occurred or from when the victim became aware of the negligence.
Airline and Railroad Accidents
Airline and Railroad accidents take on many forms. Were you injured or has a loved one been lost as a result of an airline or train crash? Were you hurt by falling baggage while on a plane or train or at a terminal? Only an attorney can best advise you of who is at fault and whom to make claim against. Was it the airport owner, the operator, the manufacturer, the operator of the aircraft or the corporate officers of the company? To know your rights, contact an attorney who can also tell you which laws apply, State or Federal.
Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one has been treated negligently, you may have a legal claim against the nursing home. If there are unexplained incidents of open wounds, cuts, bruises, welts or discoloration, loss of weight or burns caused by cigarettes, you should seek the advice of an attorney. Additional signs of abuse or neglect can be detected by unusual behavior such as biting and rocking or unsanitary conditions as soiled bed, malnutrition and urine odor. Protect your loved ones.