A Florida Attorney Answers Your Auto Accident Injury Questions
If you have a question about recovery after an auto accident, we’ve probably heard it before. In fact, we’ve compiled the common questions and answers about car, truck, and bike crashes on our searchable FAQ page. Browse through our answers before you file your injury claim!
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What if I believe I may be partly at fault for the accident?
Many factors can play into a motor vehicle accident, and victims are sometimes not in the best position to determine who is at fault. Furthermore, just because a Police Officer determined you were at fault for an accident does not make it true. Most Police Officers are not experts in accident reconstruction and have not had any training in accident investigation beyond the basic course they receive in the police academy. If necessary and appropriate, we will hire an accident reconstruction expert to prove that the other party, and not our client, was at fault for the traffic accident. In addition, under Florida law, the trier of fact (the Judge or jury) can assign the percentage of fault to each party and the damages will be calculated accordingly. For example, if you have a car accident and you suffer $100,000 in damages and the defendant suffers no damages, and the jury determines that the defendant is 80 percent at fault and you are 20 percent at fault for the accident, then you would be awarded $80,000 (80% x $100,000).
What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured or underinsured (UM) motorists coverage pays for your injuries when the person at fault for the accident has inadequate insurance to pay for your medical bills and other costs associated with your injury. UM coverage also applies if you are the victim of a hit and run driver. Usually limited to bodily injury, this type of insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle or other property. For this type of protection from uninsured or underinsured motorists, you must have collision coverage on your policy.
What is covered by uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Most uninsured or underinsured (UM) motorist coverage will typically pay for the following:
- Injuries to yourself or a relative who lives with you while in the vehicle with UM coverage, or any other vehicle, or while you are a pedestrian.
- Injuries to anyone else driving your insured vehicle with permission.
- Injuries to anyone else riding in your insured vehicle, or in another vehicle you are driving.
What is personal injury protection?
Personal injury protection, or PIP, is sometimes referred to as "no fault" insurance. This form of insurance covers you and those in your household for automobile accident injuries no matter who is at fault. Florida law requires all drivers carry $10,000.00 in PIP coverage and, in the event of an automobile accident injury, this coverage is primary before any other health insurance you have, such as Medicare or private health insurance.
What should I do if an insurance adjuster wants to settle and says I don’t need a lawyer?
Research has shown that, even taking into consideration attorney’s fees, people receive larger claims when they obtain the service of a lawyer after an automobile accident. The main goal of an insurance adjuster is to settle a claim with the least amount of money possible. For this reason, it is extremely important to contact an attorney before settling an automobile accident claim with an insurance company.
Why is my insurance company involved if the accident was not my fault?
Florida is a “no fault” insurance state. This means that, no matter who was a fault for the accident, you are required by law to submit medical expenses to your own insurance company to be covered under your personal injury protection coverage. If your medical bills and lost wages exceed what is covered by your insurance, the at-fault driver or their insurance company is responsible for those costs as well as possible compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, your insurance company may be involved if the at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance and you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
How much is my case worth?
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on many factors involved in your case. Some of these factors include:
- How the accident occurred
- Vehicle damage
- Type and extent of your injuries
- Amount of your past and future medial bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
What does MMI mean?
MMI stands for Maximum Medical Improvement. It is a medical term that means your injuries and condition have improved as much as they are expected to and no further improvement is likely.
How long will my case take?
The answer to this question depends on the complexity of the case. After an accident, it is important to be sure the full extent of the injuries, recovery time, and future effects of the accident are understood before resolving a case. Typically, however, the average length of time for an automobile accident case is 6 to 12 months.
After an automobile accident, what can I do to protect my interests?
- Report the incident immediately to the police.
- Witnesses should be identified by name, address, and telephone number.
- If you require medical treatment, clearly explain, as best you can, how the accident happened. Also, be sure to give your doctors a truthful description of the accident and inform them of all prior related injuries.
- You have no obligation to cooperate with the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. This includes recorded statements and other information about the accident.
- If you have suffered any personal injury such as lacerations, burns, or bruising, it is important to take photos of them as well as the bandages or braces that were placed. This documentation is imperative in establishing your injuries.
- Gather all insurance policies to be reviewed by an attorney in order to determine the full extent of your coverage.