At the beginning of the litigation process, we will sit down with you to discuss your potential case. If it is decided that you are a good candidate for filing a personal injury lawsuit, our attorneys will file any necessary paperwork and start the discovery period. During this time, both you and the defendant will be questioned as we prepare for trial. Often a settlement is reached either at the end of the discovery period or during the early phases of the trial. If a case goes through the entire trial process, it will receive a jury verdict that the defendant can decide to appeal. In most cases, our clients need only take 7 steps to complete their personal injury claims.
One of the first things you should do after an accident is call a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options and the details of your case while the experience is fresh on your mind. That being said, if you’ve been severely injured or are in need of immediate medical attention, that should be your first priority.
Immediately after an auto accident, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and remember to stay calm. Accidents can be scary and stressful, but you survived and that is a great outcome. The more calm and clear-headed you can be, the better you will be able to handle the accident, document the scene, and avoid jeopardizing an injury claim.
Next, check yourself for injuries all the way from your head to your toes and look in the mirror to check your face. If you have any passengers, check on them as well—check children for injuries yourself and ask any adults if they are okay or if they’re injured. If you’re unsure or someone needs immediate medical attention, call an ambulance. Always call the police, even if the accident was minor.
If witnesses stopped to check on the other driver or both of you, don’t worry about them. If no one is around and they’re still in their vehicle, unmoving, only check on them if you feel safe to and are able to stay calm. Remember not to admit fault, apologize, or discuss the accident with them or any other party involved. Simply see if they are okay and call an ambulance if they need one. Then, if possible, move your vehicle out of the line of traffic.
While you wait for the police and other emergency services to arrive, you should document the scene—your injuries, your passengers’ injuries, your vehicle’s damage, the other vehicle’s damage, and exactly where the accident occurred. If there are witnesses who saw the accident, ask for their name and phone number so your lawyer can contact them if necessary. Check out our full blog post for more information about what to do after a car accident.
In the state of Florida, a driver can be liable for a motorcycle rider’s injuries and property damage in a no-contact motorcycle accident as long as the rider can prove the other driver was at fault. The basis of this type of claim is negligence, meaning you have to prove that in a similar situation a reasonable person exercising reasonable care would not have caused the accident. Drivers who are unaware on the road or who fail to obey traffic laws would likely be found negligent.
The value of a personal injury claim may be determined based on medical bills, lost wages, future medical care costs, future loss of earnings, and the extent of emotional trauma you have experienced. However, the primary factor that will influence the value of a personal injury case is the extent of physical injury that you have experienced. More serious injuries result in higher medical bills, more time away from your job, and long-lasting consequences such as permanent disability or an inability to return to work at all. How much your case may be worth is one of the questions you should ask a personal injury lawyer during your initial consultation.
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning if you’re in an auto accident and have proper auto insurance, you’re covered by personal injury protection (PIP) no matter who caused the accident. The Florida no-fault law requires you to use your insurance company to pay for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages related to your accident. The same applies to the other party. In some cases, however—such as permanent injuries, disfigurement, or loss of bodily functions—it is wise to speak with a personal injury lawyer and discuss filing a claim against the other driver to recover your total amount of damages. The same goes for people with extensive medical costs, high estimated future medical expenses, and substantial lost wages.
In a recent personal injury study, Martindale-Nolo Research found that—even after deducting the average legal fees charged by personal injury lawyers—injured readers who sought legal representation for their personal injury claims typically received three times more money than unrepresented readers did. Additionally, their study found that 91% of those with legal representation received a monetary payout for their injury claims, but that number dropped to 51% for those who pursued injury claims on their own.
Recoveries will always vary based on the details of your case and the facts surrounding it, but having an experienced personal injury lawyer to navigate all the different types of insurance—uninsured/under-insured motorist, PIP insurance, bodily injury, excess, employer, etc.—will certainly help you get the most compensation you are entitled to. If you're in need of a personal injury lawyer outside of the Daytona Beach and Palm Coast areas, we recommend you read our article about how to choose a personal injury lawyer so you can be sure to select the best lawyer for your case.
Like most personal injury firms, our firm provides free consultations and charges a contingency fee—a percentage of the settlement or judgment you get for your case—in order to represent you and assist you with your claim. The percentage will depend on the type of case and whether or not we have to file a lawsuit. That being said, you have our guarantee that we will never make more than you because your life is worth more. From the moment you contact us, our lawyers will work with you and will only be paid if and when you receive a settlement.
Your health insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid may pay for some or all of your medical bills. If you were in a car accident, your PIP insurance may pay a portion of your medical bills as well. If you have any bills left over, we will do our best to negotiate the remaining bills so that they can be paid with a part of your settlement.
If you were in a car accident in Florida, PIP insurance will pay 60% of your lost wages up to the $10,000 limit, though this amount may be reduced by payments for other expenses such as medical bills. We recommend you get a letter from your doctor specifying how long you must wait before returning to work, as well as a letter from your employer stating that you have not been working due to your injuries. For the remaining unpaid portion (and for cases where there is no PIP insurance), the sum of your lost wages will be a factor when negotiating with the at-fault party.
Before signing anything, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights and best interests are protected. If you sign a “release” or another document, you may be unable to recover future damages. Sometimes the insurer will offer an early settlement, but beware that this may not fully compensate you as you might still be unaware of the extent and future costs of the injury you sustained.
We recommend that you do not discuss the details of your injury or the way in which you were injured until you have first consulted with a personal injury lawyer. Any documents you sign or settlements you agree to prior to speaking with an attorney could affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injury.
For most personal injuries, Florida’s statute of limitations allows you to file a personal injury claim up to four years from the date of the accident. However, we encourage those who have been injured to take action immediately, especially if you’ve been in a car accident or a similar type of accident where your insurance requires you meet certain—often short—deadlines.
For medical malpractice claims, you have up to two years from the time you discovered (or should have discovered) the injury to file a lawsuit, or up to four years from the date the medical malpractice occurred.
Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you can still receive damages from the at-fault or negligent party. Whether or not someone without your condition would have sustained the same injury is irrelevant to your claim. That being said, injury claims with pre-existing conditions are often more complex than those without; they may require testimony from expert medical specialists, more rigorous negotiations, or even a trial. We recommend that anyone looking to file a personal injury claim with a pre-existing condition contacts a personal injury lawyer to assist them throughout the entire process and help them get the full compensation they deserve for their injury.