Frequently Asked Questions On Florida Personal Injury Claims

How long do I have to file my personal injury case?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four years.  If you have a claim against a public entity (like when a city bus or school bus driver is at fault), you only have three years to put the public agency on notice, after which you are still subject to the four-year statute of limitation period.  Statutes can vary depending on the type of case, so it is important to consult with a Florida personal injury attorney after your accident so you don’t lose your right to compensation for your injury.

Do I have to pay my attorney upfront?

At SouthShore Injury Attorneys, we do not expect any money up front.   When we agree to take your case, we handle your case on a contingency fee basis.  This means that our payment comes out of your settlement.   If you do not end up with a settlement, you do not owe us any money.  This includes any money we may have spent on your behalf.

Should I agree to a recorded statement?

When you are in an accident, there is a good chance that an insurance company will call you and ask that you give a recorded statement.   If the request comes from your insurance company, you have to do it because you have a contractual obligation to cooperate with your own insurance company.  If it is anybody else’s insurance company (for example, a driver who may have hit you), you do not have to give a recorded statement, and we highly recommend against doing so.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

If you don’t have health insurance, you can still obtain medical treatment for your injuries.  Our attorneys can help you find a medical doctor that will accept payment after your case has been settled.   Call us for further information.

Should I use my own insurance company to fix my car?

If you have full coverage, it is usually much faster to use your own insurance to get your car fixed.  This is because you have no idea what the other driver is telling their insurance company.  They may be claiming that you are at fault for the accident.  If so, it may take some time before your car is fixed or replaced.   If you are found not at fault, you will get your deductible back.

Is there a time limit to seek medical treatment after a Florida car accident?

If you are injured, you should always seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident.  If you have been involved in a Florida auto accident, you have 14-days in which to seek medical treatment in order to qualify for your complete Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.   If you do not seek medical treatment within this timeframe, you will not be able to obtain your PIP benefits.

Do I have to accept the first offer from the insurance company?

No. Insurance companies are in the business to make money.  Because of this, most insurance companies will make initial offers that are very low.   They may also make these offers to you before you are done with your medical treatment.  This is why you need a skilled Florida personal injury attorney to help you negotiate your claim.   Your attorney will know when to begin the negotiations, and they will supply the insurance company with all the appropriate documentation for your medical costs, future treatment, and lost wages.

Will the insurance company pay for my future medical treatment?

Yes, the insurance company will pay unless you have agreed to settle your claim before knowing what treatment is necessary.   When you settle your insurance claim, your claim is over.  This means that you cannot later come back and ask for more money, even if you need more medical treatment that you did not know about at the time you settled.   That is why it is important that you wait to begin your settlement negotiations until you have a complete understanding of what your future medical treatment may be.

Why is my settlement taking so long?

After an accident, it is understandable that you may need money as soon as possible to cover your medical expenses, and to make up for your lost wages.  There are several factors that could delay your settlement, and it often takes time to get a fair settlement.  Hiring the right attorney will ensure that your claim gets the attention it needs.

If I call an attorney, do I have to commit?

No.  When you call an attorney to take advantage of their “free consultation,” there are no commitments.   It is important, though, that you go into the free consultation meeting prepared, so that you can make an informed decision as to how you want to proceed.

What is comparative fault?

Florida is a comparative fault state.  This means that more than one person can be determined to have been at fault for an accident.  For example, in an intersection accident, it could be determined that both parties are equally at fault for causing the accident.   If this were to occur, any recovery you may have would be decreased by your percentage of fault for the accident.  Accordingly, if your injuries were valued at $100,000, and you were determined to be 50% at fault for the accident, the most you could recover would be $50,000.

Should I use my health insurance after a Florida auto accident?

If you have been injured in a Florida auto accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage will be the primary insurance coverage for your medical treatment.  Your Florida PIP coverage will pay 80% of the initial medical charges up to the first $10,000.  After that, we recommend that you use your own health insurance for further treatment.

What happens if I am an injured passenger in a car involved in an Florida auto accident?

If you are injured as a passenger in a car, you have several potential options to recover for your injuries.  If the accident was the fault of the other driver, you can file a claim against that driver’s insurance company for your injuries.  If, however, the accident was the fault of the driver of the car that you were in, you can submit a claim to his/her insurance company.   If the fault is against both drivers, you can potentially file against both drivers.

Will my insurance rates go up?

If you are not at fault, your insurance rates should not go up.  Remember, insurance is there for this type of unexpected accident.  If you have been injured, your concern should be focused on your health.   Our attorneys can help you recover for any expenses you incur from your accident.

Can I still recover if I previously had a similar injury?

Yes. You can recover even if you had an injury to the same body part before.  This is called a pre-existing condition.  If you can show that your pre-existing condition was aggravated as a result of the accident, then you will be entitled to compensation for your injury.  You should consult one of our Florida personal injury attorneys who can guide you through this process.

Do I need a Police Report even if there isn’t much damage to my car?

Anytime you are in a Florida motor vehicle accident, you should call the Police and get a crash report.   There are several reasons for this.  The first is to document the accident.  This will prevent the other driver from claiming the accident did not happen, or that it did not happen how you claim it did.  More importantly, this will be your first opportunity to document your injuries.   Always tell the investigating officer of every pain you are experiencing, whether you think it is bad or not.  This will be important for your injury claim.

Do I need Uninsured Motorist insurance?

Yes.  Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is insurance you can buy to protect yourself in the event that you are injured in a Florida car accident and the at-fault driver either does not have bodily injury coverage or does not have sufficient bodily injury insurance policy limits to cover the cost of your injuries.   You do not have to buy this coverage.   With that said, it is highly recommended that you do buy this insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, we have seen many clients who didn’t buy it and they were unable to recover for their injuries because the at-fault driver was not responsible enough to buy bodily injury insurance coverage.

What is Bodily Injury Insurance Coverage?

In Florida, you can purchase what is called Bodily Injury coverage.  Bodily injury coverage is designed to protect you against third-party claims in the event you cause a Florida car accident.   If you do not have it, your personal assets could be at risk in the event the person you injured wishes to pursue you for damages.

What is PIP Insurance?

In the State of Florida, you are required to carry certain kinds of car insurance coverage.  It is required that you have Personal Injury Protection coverage, or what is more commonly referred to as PIP.  Everyone who owns and insures a car in Florida must carry $10,000 in PIP coverage.   After a Florida car accident, your PIP is considered to be the “primary” coverage.  This means that it is the first insurance that will cover for your injuries.   This is true regardless of your fault for the accident.  In other words, you can be 100% at fault for an accident, and you can still get medical treatment paid by your PIP coverage.   In addition, if you own a car and have PIP coverage, your PIP insurance will cover you regardless whose vehicle you are driving.

If I fall on someone’s property, can I recover for my Injuries?

To succeed in a Florida slip and fall case you have to prove that the property owner had “notice” of the dangerous condition before your fall occurred.   In other words, you will have to prove that your fall was caused by a dangerous condition, that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition before you fell and, that despite knowing about the condition, it failed to either remedy the condition or warn you about it.  If you have suffered a Florida slip and fall injury, our attorneys can help you preserve the evidence you will need to prove your claim.