Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
Please choose from the questions below:
If I had Personal Injury Protection coverage, why do I need uninsured motorist coverage also?
PIP normally provides only $10,000 of benefits. You are entitled to as much uninsured motorist coverage as you have liability coverage. In other words, if you have $300,000 in liability coverage, you are entitled to to purchase $300,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is vitally important if you are injured in a collision caused by a driver who has no coverage or insufficient limits. You might be surprised to find out how many drivers are uninsured or carry only $10,000 minimum coverage. If one of these persons causes a collision and causes injury to you or your family, your uninsured motorist coverage will take over where their coverage ends and will provide benefits not only for medical bills and wage loss but for your disability, pain, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What is a "letter of protection"?
In instances where an accident victim’s PIP has been exhausted and they have no medical coverage to continue paying for their medical care, a letter of protection guarantees your doctor that if he or she agrees to continue providing you medical care, the doctor’s fees will be paid from the monies received in your recovery. By obtaining a letter of protection, a client is able, in many cases, to receive continued medical care even in the absence of medical insurance.
What is the maximum medical improvement?
Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, refers to that point at which your physicians determine that you have reached your maximimum level of recovery. It is at this point that your physician or physicians are able to reach an opinion as to whether you have suffered a permanent impairment from your injuries.
Can I decide which repair shop to use and whether original manufacturer parts must be used in the repair of my car?
Yes, you have the right to decide where your vehicle will be fixed and the right to decide that the parts used to repair your Volvo, for example, be genuine Volvo parts and not comparable parts from a different manufacturer.
Who is responsible for paying for my rental car while my car is being repaired?
Although you may choose to use your own coverage for temporary convenience, the at-fault driver is ultimately responsible for all of your damages including but not limited to the cost of your temporary replacement vehicle. The replacement vehicle is to be comparable to your vehicle that was damaged. In other words, if you were driving a 2006 Pontiac sedan you are entitled to rent a comparable vehicle whether that vehicle is a Ford, Chevrolet, Toyoto or otherwise.
What is uninsured motorist coverage and why should I pay for that coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is very important. And not only should have it but you have a right to have it. Your insurance company is required by law to provide it to you. Florida law requires that your insurance carrier provide you with limits of uninsured motorist coverage not less than the limits of bodily injury coverage that you purchased. The importance of this coverage is simply that there are many careless drivers operating automobiles without liability coverage or with only minimum coverage. In the event that you are a victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by an uninsured motorist, by having uninsured motorist coverage your insurance carrier will be responsible for compensation that you are entitled to recover but cannot be collected from the uninsured driver.
Will it be expensive to retain your services in a personal injury case?
You will pay absolutely no lawyer for the purpose of hiring us. Our fees in injury cases are contingency fees, paid as a percentage of your recovery. In personal injury and wrongful death cases that we accept, we collect no fees unless we successfully recover financial compensation on your behalf. And all initial consultations are absolutely free.
What are my damages? What is my case worth?
Evaluation of a personal injury claim requires careful analysis consideration of many issues. Firstly, we must establish liability, i.e., prove that the defendant is at fault.
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases suffer both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the medical bills that you have incurred as well as the projected cost of your future medical care. Economic damages also include things such as past and future loss of wages and earning capacity. Noneconomic damages include losses such as physical and mental pain, disability, disfigurement, and loss of capacity to enjoy life. Injuries affect your life in many many ways, and you are entitled to be compensated for every aspect of your life that has been changed or diminished.
As experienced injury trial lawyers, we are familiar with the hiring of experts and preparation of demonstrative exhibits that are necessary to clearly and passionately explain your case and convince a jury of the significance of your damages. The outcome of your trial depends on many legal skills, including how well your lawyer is able to investigate the facts of your case, question witnesses, identify necessary experts, and present evidence to the jury.
What are the “costs” involved other than lawyer fees?
In personal injury cases, our firm advances all costs associated with handling the case. We are reimbursed when a recovery is made on behalf of the client. These litigation costs can be extensive and include the costs of depositions, medical and other experts, and trial exhibits.
Must I report an auto accident?
Absolutely. Call the local police, sheriff or Florida Highway Patrol. At your first opportunity, report the accident to your insurance company. Within 10 days of an accident, involved drivers must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles if the damage to either car is more than $500, or if anyone is injured. Get a copy of the accident report from the investigating law enforcement agency. It will be very important in the initial stages of investigating your case.
What are my first steps if I am in an auto accident?
Do Not Leave the Scene - Do not leave the scene until law enforcement or medical help arrives. If you have hit a parked car, leave a note and an explanation along with your address and phone number.
Seek Medical Help - If you and/or anyone else were injured, seek medical help immediately. If you know first aid and can help the injured, do so. You may drive an injured party to medical aid. If the injured is in danger by remaining where they are, move them out of harm’s way.
Gather Information - Get the name and address of the other driver, his/her address, driver’s license number with expiration date, birth date and telephone numbers (office and home.)
Get the vehicle registration number, the name of the owner of the vehicle if not the driver, insurance company and the names and addresses of any passengers.
Identify Witnesses - If you are aware of witnesses get their identification information. If they drive off before you speak with them, try to get their license plate number.
Signing Ticket Not an Admission of Guilt - If a law enforcement officer issues you a traffic ticket at an accident scene, sign and accept it. It is not an admission of guilt. Contact your lawyer before you pay any fine or appear in court.
Photograph the Damage
Make sure that photos of the damage to both cars are obtained before either car is repaired.
Write: How It Happened
Write as you remember them. Include the date, time, location, road conditions and weather conditions.