Auto & Motor Vehicle Accidents

What should I do if I am in an auto or motorcycle accident?

After you are involved in a motor vehicle accident it is important to contact the police and get medical attention if you are injured.  Many times you may not feel any pain for hours or days after the accident because of the shock of being involved in an accident.

Keep in mind that with the new changes in Florida PIP laws you could lose your right to have your insurance company pay for your medical treatment if you seek treatment after 14 days.

Contact our office and schedule an appointment to speak to one of our attorneys who handle personal injury cases so that we can assist you in obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled.

How much is my auto accident case worth?

There is no guide to let you know exactly how much your case is worth and you should be wary of anyone who claims they can guarantee a certain amount.  It depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • your injuries
  • how long you received medical treatment
  • your medical expenses
  • whether your capacity to earn an income has been affected
  • how much insurance coverage the at fault party has
  • if there is an additional insurance available (underinsured/uninsured motorist or umbrella policies)
  • how much liability is determined for each party involved
  • if the at fault party has any substantial assets

If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence we can assist you in obtaining payment for your medical bills, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.  We will do our best to get you the most we can to compensate you for your injuries. 

How long will it take to bring my auto accident case to a conclusion?

Not all accident cases are the same.  Depending on the particular injuries sustained most cases take anywhere from a year to a year and a half.  Although most cases do not go to court, if your case does go to court, it is possible that it will take much longer.  There are certain factors that can cause your case to be delayed, such as, length of medical treatment, failure to cooperate on the part of the insurance company, medical liens and large hospital bills that need to be reduced, or clients moving without updating their new addresses or phone numbers.  Our skilled attorneys will make sure make sure that your personal injury  case is handled quickly and efficiently. 

I have full coverage, why am I not covered?

There are many benefits available for you to purchase when you purchase your auto insurance.  Full coverage can mean different things.  It does not automatically mean that you are covered for all situations.  It is always best to contact your insurance company so that they can clarify what benefits you are entitled to. 

If I have an accident on my motorcycle am I covered?

In Florida motorcycle owners and riders are not required to carry insurance.  Some people think that if they are involved in a motorcycle accident their auto insurance will cover them.  Unfortunately, they usually aren’t.  Our firm can answer your questions regarding motorcycle accidents. 

What does MMI and permanent impairment rating mean?

After receiving treatment for your injuries as a result of an accident our office will receive a final report outlining your injuries.  Once you are at maximum medical improvement (MMI), some doctors assign a permanent impairment rating.  This rating, which is done pursuant to the American Medical Association guidelines, is used by insurance companies sometimes to evaluate the case.  The rating given indicates that you are not physically the same as prior to the accident. 

How much do I have to pay the attorney to handle my case?

Our firm, like most personal injury firms, charges a percentage of the settlement or judgment you get for your case.  These fees are due and payable only if there is a settlement or judgment awarded.  These fees are outlined in the Authority to Represent which will be explained to you when you meet with our attorney.  If no settlement awarded then there is no cost to you. 

Who pays for the costs in my case? Are they included in the percentage fee?

During your case there will be costs that our firm will be paying on your behalf.  These costs may include certified mail, investigation expense, charges for copies of medical records or expert reports as well as others.  If and only if the case is settled we will require that these costs be reimbursed from your settlement.  These costs are separate from the percentage fee that you pay from your settlement. 

Will my case go to court?

Most personal injury cases settle without needing to go to court.  If your case needs to go to court, prior to filing the lawsuit, we will explain all the options to you and give you our recommendation, but the final decision will be yours. 

Will I owe my doctors money after the case?

If you were involved in a car accident your PIP insurance should pay some of your medical expenses up to the limit.  Your health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid may also pay for some bills.  If you have any bills left over, we will do our best to negotiate any balances left so that they can be paid from your settlement.  If we are able to do that, you will not owe any money to any medical provider.  We have been successful in resolving outstanding bills for our clients. 

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or No-Fault Insurance?

PIP is also known as “No-Fault Insurance” because you are entitled to receive those benefits whether you were at fault for the accident or not.  PIP is insurance that goes towards the payment of your medical bills and lost wages.  In many cases they will reimburse you for mileage to and from treatment and a percentage of any medications purchased by you for treatment or pain relief due to your injuries.

In Florida PIP pays up to a total of $10,000 for the following expenses:

  • 80% of each medically necessary medical bill
  • 60% of lost wages (some policy holders reject this coverage)
  • 100% of replacement services such as childcare, housekeeping, and yardwork
  • up to $5,000 of death benefits
  • 80% of prescription expenses
  • Mileage Reimbursement

Please remember that, unless you bought extra PIP insurance, it will never pay more than a total of $10,000 in Florida.  You may also have a deductible. 

If I’m not at fault, why do I have to use my own PIP insurance?

Since Florida is a No Fault state it doesn’t matter who was at fault, each individual’s PIP policy will cover them.  There are also certain times where you can use other people’s PIP insurance, such as:

  • If you did not have a car, but you lived with a family member who did have car insurance at the time of the accident, then you can use your live-in family member’s PIP insurance, subject to policy exclusions.
  • If you did not have a car and your live-in family members did not have insurance, but the car you were in during the accident has insurance, you can use the PIP insurance of the car you were in.
  • If you did not have a car and your live-in family members did not have insurance, and you were a pedestrian, you can use the PIP insurance of the car that hit you.
  • However, if you owned a car in Florida that was operable at the time of the accident and you did not have insurance, you cannot use anyone’s PIP. 
If I use my family member’s PIP will their insurance rates go up?

The use of PIP benefits should not cause your or your family member’s insurance rates to go up.  If you were not at fault for the accident your insurance rates should not go up from the accident. 

How will my case affect my health insurance or my Medicare/Medicaid?

If any medical expenses were paid by your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, they will have the right to be reimbursed from your settlement depending on your contract with them.  Although there is no guarantee, our firm has been successful in negotiating reductions with Medicare, Medicaid and private health care liens for our clients.  Your Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance should not be affected otherwise.