Who pays my medical bills when I get in a car accident?
Florida No-Fault Law requires the owner of a motor vehicle to carry Personal Injury Protection Insurance known as “PIP”. If you own your own vehicle the PIP protection travels with you and will pay for your medical bills. If you do not have PIP insurance and do not own a vehicle, the PIP insurance of the vehicle you occupy will pay your bills. Major Medical or Health Insurance is SECONDARY and is normally not used in car accidents.
Who pays when I’m injured, or my car is damaged in an auto accident?
This depends on who is at fault. If the accident is your fault, your liability insurance will compensate the other party for damage to their property and personal injuries depending on your insurance policy coverage. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company is responsible for paying for the damages to your car and your personal injuries.
Call our office to specifically evaluate your claim.
What are the commercials I see on TV about being entitled to $10,000.00 from my auto accident?
Unfortunately those commercials are extremely misleading. Those benefits are to pay medical providers (the Doctors or Hospitals) for THEIR services rendered to you, or for reimbursement for medical expenses you already paid. They may also go to loss wages if you can document employment and lost work. The $10,000.00 DOES NOT GO TO YOU. The benefits go to the Doctor who is asking you to call his number on TV, so if you treat with him, he gets paid your benefits!!
What if I do not have PIP insurance and the car I am in is not insured?
If the other vehicle is at fault, you may be entitled to monetary damages for pain and suffering. Some health care providers will treat you on credit pending your receipt of a settlement from the other side. As you have not complied with Florida Law in this instance, your net recovery may be less due to your outstanding medical bills.
When am I eligible to receive money for my pain and suffering?
You may receive money for pain and suffering when you or your loved one has sustained a permanent injury. Death, Dismemberment, Paralysis and other catastrophic injuries are obviously permanent. Broken bones and scarring often leave permanent injuries. Operations disrupt your anatomy and often leave permanent injury. The most common injury from an automobile injury is the soft tissue back and neck injury. These injuries may be permanent in nature. However the insurance companies are very skeptical about those injuries and you need the services of an experienced attorney to obtain a reasonable settlement for those type of injuries.
What should I do if I did not feel hurt at the scene, but experienced pain afterwards?
Immediately consult your Doctor or an Emergency room regarding any pain, possible injuries, or even minor injuries from a car accident as soon as possible. If you were injured in the accident from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity and emotional distress.
What happens if I received a ticket in my car accident? Does this mean I have no claim against the other driver for my injuries?
No. If our office can prove that the accident was partly the other car’s fault, you may still collect damages. Ask us about the legal concept of “comparative negligence.”
Should I settle with the insurance company?
You should not take any settlement offered by an insurance company for ANY accident without first speaking with an experienced attorney. The claims adjuster works for the insurance company – it is their job to protect the interests of the Insurance company and settle your claim as cheaply as possible. You need to talk to an attorney who will protect your interests.
Usually the Insurance Company offers you a minimal amount for closing your claim. They usually will contact you right after the accident happens. Insurance companies will try to discourage you from hiring a personal injury lawyer so they cheaply buy out your claim.
NEVER sign anything or accept a check from the insurance company before contacting our office. You may be signing away your rights to additional money you may be entitled too.
Who is going to pay for my medical expenses?
You are responsible for paying your own bills — no matter who caused your injuries. It is your attorneys job to get the doctors and other medical providers paid from your available insurance or the at fault party. An experienced attorney will help to keep your medical creditors at bay while your claim is resolved.
Am I always at fault when I rear end another vehicle?
Not always. Florida law states you must keep a safe distance between you and the car you are following. That is so if the other car stops, you can safely slow down and not hit the vehicle in front of you. If you hit the car in front of you, there is a presumption that you are at fault. The exceptions are if the driver you hit made a sudden stop, if you are involved in a chain-reaction, or if you are driving a car with an equipment failure such as bad brakes or tires, and you were not responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle. Please call us to discuss your specific circumstances.
Do I have a case if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet at the time of my accident?
Florida law requires all front seat occupants to wear a seatbelt. Children ages 6-15 must be wearing a seat belt whether they are in the front or back seat of the vehicle.
If your injuries were caused or aggravated because you were not wearing your seat belt, you may not recover the full value of your injuries. Though Florida law does not require you to wear a motorcycle helmet, your damages will also be reduced if your injuries were caused or aggravated by your failure to wear a helmet. Please contact us to determine the specifics of your accident and how the lack of a seatbelt or use of a helmet may effect your claim.
Is the driver or owner responsible if I am hit by a Company vehicle?
The owner of the vehicle is normally responsible for the damage or injuries caused by their vehicle and the employee operating the vehicle. This is known as vicarious liability, when the company/owner is responsible for negligent acts committed during the course and scope of normal activities of the company and their employees.
The owner is responsible for injuries his vehicle causes when someone else is using his vehicle with actual or implied permission. Recent changes in the law have caused a significant exception. Rental Car companies are no longer primarily responsible for the damages caused by the vehicles they own. The renter is now primarily responsible and the Rental Car Company is limited to exposure in the amount of $10,000 in damages. Please call us for other recent changes in the law.
When someone dies in an accident who is allowed to sue on their behalf?
The person’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of the decedent; the decedent’s surviving family members, and the decedent’s Estate. The Florida Wrongful death statute is fairly complex as to who can recovery, so please contact our office to evaluate your claim.
If I injure myself at a store or business, or someone’s home or apartment, can I make a claim for my medical bills and injuries?
A property owner has the duty to maintain his premises in a reasonable condition. It does not matter if the property is a business, home or apartment; the owner has that duty. If the owner breaches this duty, and as a result of that breach an injury occurs, the injured party may make a claim against the property owner. The same applies to anyone who has maintenance responsibility for the property such as a cleaning or repair service, lawn maintenance company or property management company who has contracted for duties on the property and neglected those duties.
Owners are also responsible for warning visitors if there is a danger on the property.
One must note that an injury alone on the property may not be enough to give the injured party a claim. The party responsible for the alleged problem which caused the injury must have knowledge of the problem, or should have had knowledge of the problem if he exercised reasonable care.
Do I have a claim if I am a victim of a violent crime while at someone else’s home or business?
The Owners of the property are responsible for your safety on their property. They must act reasonably in providing security, just like they must act reasonably in maintaining the properties condition. These cases normally revolve around what was reasonable security under the circumstances. The more crime that has occurred on or around the property normally means more security measures need to be taken. These cases are complex and require a detailed interview with the injured party by an attorney to determine if a case exists.
If I am bit by a dog, is its owner liable for my damages?
Yes, in Florida dog owners are strictly liable for dog attacks. On leash or off leash, in the pet’s home or outside, as long as you were not trespassing or provoking the dog, the owner is responsible for your damages. A frequent problem is who’s dog has done the biting. If the owner can’t be determined, or the dog is a stray, you may not be able to recover any damages.
What about a property where a “Beware of Dog” sign has been posted?
If the dog gets out of the owners property it doesn’t matter. The owner is liable. It may provide some protection for the owners if it happens on their property and you have provoked the dog, however it does not absolve them of all responsibility for the attack.
Can I make a claim for injuries due to a missed diagnosis by my doctor?
Possibly. Medical Malpractice is one of the most complex areas of the law. It requires the accumulation of all medical records of the patient both for the incident and the patient’s past medical history. The potential client needs to be interviewed in detail and an expert retained to review the file. It is best to call our offices and consult with an attorney on all medical malpractice issues.
How long do I have to bring a claim for my personal injury case?
Generally one has four (4) years to bring a claim for all Auto, Slip and Fall/Premise, and Product Liability personal injury claims.
There is a two (2) year statue of limitation for Wrongful Death claims and more specific limitations for medical malpractice claims.
Malpractice claims must generally be brought within two (2) years of the date of the act that you believe caused the injury, or within two (2) years from the date the injury was identified or should have been detected. In any case if more than four (4) years have passed from the date of the incident that caused the injury, no malpractice action may be taken.
There are some exceptions for children younger than eight (8) years of age and you should consult our office in that regard.
Do I need a lawyer if I was injured in an accident?
If you were unaware of many of the answers to these questions, the answer of course is yes. Please remember these are only brief answers to limited topics that involve your claim for damages resulting from your accident. The law does not prevent you from handling your own claim. However, keep in mind that the insurance companies hire attorneys. It is their job is to settle a case by paying you as little as possible. Please call our office so that you receive what you are entitled too!