FAQ | Law Offices

Frequent Asked Questions

AUTO ACCIDENTS

  • What should I do if I am involved in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident?

After you are involved in an accident it is important you immediately contact the police and get medical attention.  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, but the law requires that you seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident or you will waive personal injury protection benefits.  Specifically, 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 Mr. Dapena so that he 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.  The amount of your recovery depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • Type and severity of injuries
  • Extent and nature of medical treatment
  • Medical Expenses (past & future)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • At fault’s party policy limits
  • Available insurance coverage: (Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist or Umbrella policies)
  • Comparative Negligence (how much liability is determined for each party involved)
  • Whether 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 adequately compensated for your injuries. 

  • 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 expenses, charges for copies of medical records or expert reports, just to name a few.  If, and only if, the case is resolved in your favor will we require that these costs be reimbursed from your settlement or judgment.  These costs are separate from the percentage fee that you pay from your settlement. (Contingency Fee)

  • Will I owe my doctors money after the case?

If you were involved in a car accident your PIP insurance is primary and should pay your medical expenses up to the limit ($10,000.00). 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 consistently successful in resolving all outstanding medical liens for our clients.

  • 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 will be covered by his or her  PIP policy.  There are also certain times where you can use other people’s PIP insurance, such as:

  • If you do not own a car, but  lived with a family member who does at the time of the accident, then you can use your live-in family member’s PIP insurance, subject to policy exclusions.
  • If you do not own a car and do not live with someone who does, you can be covered under the PIP insurance of the car you were traveling  
  • If you did not own a car and you do not live with someone who does 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.  PIP Coverage is mandatory!
  • I have full coverage, why am I not covered?

There are many types of coverage available 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  or agent so that they can clarify what benefits you are entitled to, or call Mr. Dapena for a free consultation.

  • 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 are not all covered.  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 from your doctor 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  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 we secure 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 or Retainer Agreement which will be explained to you when you meet with our attorney. There is no cost to you if there is no settlement or judgment in your favor.

  • Will my case go to court?

Most personal injury cases settle without Court intervention. If we feel your case needs to be filed with the Court, prior to filing the lawsuit, we will explain all the options to you and give you our recommendation. The final decision will be yours.

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

  • 80% of medical bills after application of fee schedule reductions
  • 60% of lost wages
  • 100% of replacement services such as childcare, housekeeping, and yardwork
  • up to $5,000 of death benefits
  • 80% of prescription expenses
  • Mileage Reimbursement
  • If I use my family member’s PIP will their insurance rates go up?

The use of PIP benefits alone should not cause insurance rates to go up, specially if you are not at fault. 

  • 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 or waivers of Medicare, Medicaid and private health care liens.  Your Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance should not be affected otherwise. 

SLIP AND FALLS

  • What is my slip and fall case worth?

Several issues are taken into consideration when evaluating slip and fall cases such as:

  • Your medical bills
  • Possible future medical expenses
  • Wages you would have earned while injured
  • The cost of future lost wages that you would have earned had you not been injured
  • Pain and suffering resulting from your injury
  • Who is responsible in a slip and fall case?

In a slip & fall case the negligent party is the person or company responsible for maintaining the premises where you were injured.  They have a duty to maintain the premises safe for invitees and licensees.

  • How long will it take to resolve my slip and fall case?

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 or waivers of Medicare, Medicaid and private health care liens.  Your Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance should not be affected otherwise.

WRONGFUL DEATH

  • What sorts of damages can someone recover in a wrongful death claim?

The surviving family members can recover expenses associated with the death of their loved one such as medical costs and funeral expenses.  They are also able to be compensated for mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of the victim’s income, and loss of benefits.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or party, we are here to help you.  Contact our office today to learn more about your legal rights, consultation is free.

  • What is wrongful death claim?

A claim for wrongful death is a claim made by surviving family members of a person whose death is due to the negligent, reckless or deliberate behavior of another.
If a person dies due to a medical malpractice, motor vehicle accident, defective product, premises liability, boating accidents or other injuries the surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for their loss.

HOMEOWNER & COMMERCIAL CLAIMS

  • How do I know if my policy covers my loss?

Insurance policies are complicated documents. Your agent, the insurance company or an attorney experienced with insurance coverage can better explain your rights and  benefits under the policy.

  • What do I do if I have a loss?

The first thing to do is contact your insurance company to report the loss and properly document your loss by taking pictures, keeping invoices of repairs and/or cleanup expenses. We can assist you with the entire process.

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

All cases are handled under a contingency fee basis.  Under Florida Statute 627.496 you may also be entitled to have your attorney’s fees paid directly by the insurance company.  Contact our office to discuss the specifics of your situation. 

  • How long does it take for a claim to be paid?

Insurance companies have a variety of state statutes that they must comply with in order to issue a timely payment.  If you believe your claim has not been paid in a timely manner or has been partially paid, contact our office. 

CONTACT

Need help and a fast response? Call Us. We have 24-hour phone service available so that our team can assist you and help you protect your rights.

 

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