Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
Were You Injured In An Accident?
Personal injury law is a very broad category of claims that include any type of injury sustained as a result of another person’s negligence. Many different types of accidents can cause personal injuries, and the extent and severity of the injuries vary across cases. If you or a loved one have been a victim of an accident and sustained physical injuries, you may need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to make sure that you recover for your injuries against the responsible party.
Personal Injury FAQ’s
The aftermath of being involved in any kind of accident can be stressful and confusing. It is understandable that accident victims have plenty of questions about how to proceed with filing a claim to recover for their injuries and what exactly is involved in the process. These are some common questions that many accident victims who retain our firm often have and some answers to get you started on the path towards recovery.
What Should I Do Right After an Accident?
If you are injured on someone else’s property, the first thing you should do is alert the property owner of your injury. It is a good idea to take pictures of the conditions at the accident scene if you have a smartphone with you.
Even if you think that your injuries are only minor at first, it is still in your best interest to go see a doctor for a medical checkup as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent after an accident, but they can still cause long-term pain and require extensive medical treatment. The evaluation of your injuries by a doctor will serve as the basis for seeking damages in your personal injury claim.
What I Should Not Do After an Accident?
It is natural for any accident victim to be a bit shaken up right after being injured. This is why it is not a good idea to give any recorded statements to the victim or any insurance companies without first consulting with an attorney. You want to be sure not to minimize the extent of your injuries.
It can be problematic to wait too long after an accident to file your personal injury claim. Crucial documents and evidence could get lost. Also, any witnesses to the accident may be harder to track down. The effect of the Florida statute of limitations is discussed in greater detail below, but missing this filing deadline could mean that you no longer have any legal recourse to pursue your claim. That is why it is imperative that you seek out good legal counsel in navigating the timeline of your claim.
Can I Still Recover if the Responsible Party Does Not Have Insurance?
Unfortunately, not all Florida drivers maintain auto insurance coverage even though state law requires that they do so. Your own insurance policy may have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This means that your auto insurance policy would kick in to cover any damages resulting from the negligence of another driver.
Even though you may be able to recover from your own carrier, you must still proceed with caution in any discussions with your carrier about the accident or settlement negotiations. The goal of the insurance company is to minimize the amount that they have to pay for the accident, which means that their interests and yours may not be aligned. This is where having an experienced injury attorney to advocate on your behalf can make a significant difference in how much you are able to recover after an accident.
What is PIP Coverage?
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. Florida has mandatory minimum insurance coverage limits that all drivers must maintain to be able to cover the injuries of another person if they are involved in an accident. The minimum is $10,000, which means that a driver in an auto accident can be reimbursed up to $10,000 for any immediate medical expenses that they incur. They are entitled to this reimbursement whether or not they are responsible for the car accident.
Many drivers choose to carry auto insurance coverage above that amount to cover any additional medical expenses that they would otherwise have to pay.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After an Accident?
Even if you do not end up filing a lawsuit after an accident, an accident attorney can still be extremely helpful in recovering what you need to pay for your medical expenses, long-term care, lost income or wages, pain and suffering, damage to your car and any other personal property loss. In addition to helping guide you through the process of pursuing a claim after a major accident, an attorney can level the playing field between you and the responsible party, including the insurance companies involved.
The ideal time to speak with an attorney is as soon as possible after you are able to take care of any immediate medical care needed. You should never feel pressured into retaining a particular attorney and should be wary of any recommendations for a lawyer that you may receive while at the hospital or the scene of the accident. The decision to hire an accident attorney after an accident is one that you should take seriously. Accident victims are particularly vulnerable right after the accident, which is why attorneys can be important in making sure that you do not jeopardize your case or fail to collect any evidence that could support your claim.
What is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Figuring out the value of your personal injury case will require an analysis of the specific circumstances of the accident. Some of the most significant factors to consider in valuing a personal injury claim include the following.
- Your current and future medical expenses
- The relative percentages of fault of all parties involved in the accident
- Lost income, including your inability to work in the future
- Impact of the injuries on all aspects of your life
- The insurance companies involved and their willingness to negotiate an acceptable settlement
Do All Personal Injury Claims Involve a Court Trial?
It is possible that your accident claim will be resolved by sending a demand letter to the responsible party’s insurance company and negotiating an acceptable settlement. However, many insurance companies are reluctant to settle claims early on for an amount that will fully cover the victim’s injuries. When the demand letter to the insurance company is not effective in an injury case, the victim may need to file a lawsuit.
Although a lawsuit is filed, there is no guarantee that the case will proceed all the way to trial. The parties are free to continue negotiating a settlement in advance of trial. Along those lines, there is a mediation process that the parties can agree to so that they can work through an impartial party to reach acceptable settlement terms. In the event that settlement negotiations are not successful, the case may need to go all the way to trial. The trial can involve just a judge or a jury. Overall, the majority of Florida accident cases are resolved before a trial is necessary.
Working with the proactive legal team at Shiner Law Group means that your attorney is fully prepared to take your accident claim all the way to trial if necessary. Not all attorneys have the courtroom experience that you can depend on in personal injury cases that are not settled before trial. This is not the time to take a gamble with your recovery and medical bills. Relying on the trial attorneys at Shiner Law Group means that you do not have to worry about your attorneys being able to follow all the way through with resolving your personal injury claim.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are many different types of personal injury cases that involve an accident victim seeking recovery for the injuries that they sustained at the hand of someone else’s negligence. These are some of the most common types of personal injury cases that we assist with throughout Florida.
- Auto accident
- Pedestrian hit by car or motorcycle
- Bike accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Slip and fall accidents
- Injuries in the workplace
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Ridesharing accidents
- Dog bites
Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right injury lawyer to take your case. Above all, it is important that you feel confident in your working relationship with the attorney you end up retaining for your case. You will need to provide relevant medical information to your lawyer and should trust in their ability to thoroughly evaluate your claim.
Part of having an effective relationship with your injury lawyer is being able to connect with them for all important updates on your case. At Shiner Law Group, we make sure that each client has the cell phone number of the attorney assigned to their claim so that they can always stay informed of the latest details of their case.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After an accident that resulted in injuries, a personal injury claim begins with the injured party putting the responsible party on notice that they are pursuing a claim. This is typically in the form of a demand letter to the responsible party’s insurance company. The parties then typically try to negotiate an acceptable settlement amount with the insurance company. To accomplish this, the parties may exchange documents related to the claim, including medical records, evidence collected from the accident scene and any other documentation related to the injuries.
The injured party may end up filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court if the initial negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company do not end with an agreeable settlement. To pursue the claim, the injured party will need to litigate the case and account for the damages that are claimed in court. The evidence put forth by all parties will come out in the discovery process, which involves taking depositions, exchanging documents and answering written questions. During this process, the parties are able to continue any settlement negotiations.
Before the trial date, the parties may engage in alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. A trial will occur if the parties are not able to settle their claims beforehand.
Personal Injury Settlements
Following an accident, a personal injury attorney will draft a demand letter to the insurance company with an opening demand for a settlement amount. The first step in moving forward with a settlement after an accident is for the responsible party’s insurance company to accept fault for the accident, which is not always a simple process. Although fault for the accident may not be an issue, there could still be a dispute over the amount of the damages to be paid to the victim. The insurance company usually responds to the initial demand letter with a counter-offer that is significantly lower than the initial demand.
The first offer that a victim receives from the insurance company is not likely to be their highest offer. Having a helpful personal injury attorney negotiating on your behalf can help to speed up the settlement negotiation process. Your injury attorney can also help prevent you from accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company that is far less than what you should expect to recover for your injuries.
When responding to the insurance company’s counter-offer, the injured party’s attorney will typically send another demand letter with a slightly lower demand amount. The parties will get an idea of how far apart they are in their settlement ranges based on the rounds of settlement negotiations. Even if you are not able to receive an acceptable settlement from the insurance company, a competent attorney will help you prepare to take your case to court and prove the damages that you are entitled to receive.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations for Florida
A statute of limitations is the deadline for when an accident victim must file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Once the statute of limitations has passed for a claim, the injured party will no longer be able to recover against the responsible party in court. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it is critical to pay close attention to the applicable statute of limitations for your injury claim so that you do not miss out on the opportunity to recover any damages.
Pursuant to Florida Statue 95.11, the statute of limitations for claims arising out of an accident is either four years from the date of the incident or from when the victim first discovers that they have been injured. Unfortunately, some personal injury cases involve wrongful death claims due to the severity of the injuries sustained. The Florida statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is only two years. Be sure to connect with a skilled Florida accident attorney well in advance of when the statute of limitations may expire in your case to avoid giving up your right to recover in court.
How Much Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Cost
The attorneys at Shiner Law Group work on a contingency fee basis for all personal injury claims. This means that you do not have to pay a retainer fee or a billable hour fee for an attorney or any other legal professional while your case is pending. When you recover an amount for your claim from either an insurance company settlement or a trial, your attorney will receive a percentage of that amount.
We take the time and care to thoroughly discuss our fee arrangement with each client. You can ask any questions that you may have related to the fees involved in your case. We will also provide you with a written agreement that will detail all of the payment arrangements related to your case.
Contact an Injury Attorney for Your Personal Injury Claim Today
At Shiner Law Group, we have an award-winning team of top advocates for personal injury victims. Let us put our years of experience fighting for victims to work for your case. Call us today at 561-777-7000 for a free initial case evaluation.
Complete our easy contact form here to provide details about your case and set up a time to talk to one of our accident attorneys. Our office is available to take your initial call 24/7.