PERSONAL INJURY FAQS
Assuming that you do not need immediate medical care or your medical condition is stable, the first thing you should now do is contact your automobile insurance company. Some insurance companies write into their policies an obligation upon the insureds to report the claim within a certain period of time. If you delay too long, you can waive your insurance coverage. Following that, you should consider getting an attorney involved.
This feature restricts your right to sue for pain and suffering. If your policy has this threshold, in order to sue successfully for pain and suffering, your injury must fit within one of the categories of injury: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement or scarring; or (4) “Permanent Injury,” which is defined to mean that the body organ or part has not healed to normal function and will not heal to normal function with further medical care. A certification by a doctor as to permanency is usually required.
Don’t talk to an adjuster until you speak to an attorney. Keep in mind the adjuster works for the other driver’s insurance company. Their job is to pay you no money at all or as little as possible.
You need to file an accident report. Florida state law requires you to file an accident report if an accident has resulted in personal injury, death or property damage exceeding $200. Filing a report can take place immediately or within 30 days of the accident depending upon the extent of the damage. You should always stay at the scene of the accident to report what happened.
There are many factors in determining the worth of your case including past medical bills, future medical bills, past lost wages, loss of earning capacity in the future, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and others. This must all be considered against factors such as who was at fault and whether or not the doctors will testify that your injuries are specifically related to the accident versus a reoccurrence of an earlier injury. It is difficult to give an exact dollar figure to your case until all of the facts are reviewed and considered. However, an initial review could provide an estimate based on what you tell us about your case.
If the case settles before filing a suit and receipt of an Answer, our law firm would receive a fee of 33 1/3 percent of the settlement. If the case should proceed from pre-suit to suit and you recover, our law firm would receive a fee of 40 percent of the amount recovered. If you are unable to recover any financial award, Michles & Booth does not collect a fee.
Insurance companies are very aggressive when it comes to protecting their assets. These companies are in business for a profit, and their responsibility is to their shareholders, not you. Therefore, they will make it more difficult for an individual to receive compensation by litigating the case. Litigation can result in going to court, although often, the insurer will offer to settle the case before getting to court. It is a method of dragging out the process and making things more difficult for the plaintiff.
Maximum Medical Improvement is defined as the point in your treatment where the doctor determines that further recovery is not anticipated. At that time, your treatment shifts from rehabilitative treatment to palliative care. In the case where a permanent injury has occurred and you have achieved MMI, the insurance company wants to know what the permanent impairment rating is as determined by your physician. When determining this rating, the physician is required to use guidelines established by the American Medical Association. Essentially, the impairment rating is a basis for evaluation by the insurance company.
In the event the insurance coverage is fully exhausted, a physician may accept a “letter of protection.” Given the medical facility or treating physician accepts a letter of protection, this allows you to continue receiving treatment until you obtain a recovery in your case. Their bills will then be paid out of the amount you recover upon resolving your case.
While every case is different, a typical automobile accident case can take from eight to fourteen months to resolve. A case may take longer where ongoing medical treatment is needed to determine the full extent of the client’s injuries and needs for recovery. Obviously, it is important to know the full extent of the damages before a demand for compensation is made. This process allows us to ensure an adequate demand for damages is made.
If you are not at all injured, you probably do not need an attorney. An attorney can be helpful in getting you compensated for your injury. In almost all cases, you will come out with more compensation after paying an attorney than you will if you try to settle the claim on your own. Almost all personal injury lawyers offer a free first time consultation, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.