Do I Need a Lawyer?
Do I Need An Attorney To Handle My Accident Case?
If you were involved in an accident, you may wonder if you need an attorney to handle your case. The answer is: it depends. If you were not injured in the accident, or you suffered only minor injuries, you probably will not need a lawyer’s help. If you suffered a serious injury, however, trying to handle your own case can be a costly mistake. Florida personal injury law is complex, and there are many pitfalls for the unwary.
The attorneys at Schrier Law Group offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about Florida Accident law. We have offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa.
Get the maximum compensation you deserve. Call 1-800-700-7285 to talk to a lawyer, now.
How an Attorney Can Help
Securing the maximum compensation you are due for damages such as pain and suffering is only one of the reasons why you may need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. We can also assist you with issues such as vehicle repairs, appropriate reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages, as well as all of the other damages available under Florida law.
Without an attorney negotiating for you, you could end up with nothing at the end of your case. The reasons for this are twofold: soaring medical bills and greedy insurance companies.
Our lawyers will negotiate with your doctors and hospitals to help you to keep as much of your insurance recovery as possible. Without a strong legal advocate, your insurance recovery could be exhausted paying for medical bills.
The legal process following a serious accident can be exhausting and complex. Insurance company attorneys are aggressive and will pursue all legal avenues at their disposal to deny you the benefits due to you. To tip the scales in your favor, have an experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer on your side. Our attorneys have recovered more than $500 million for our clients.
I Have Had a Car Accident. What Should I Do?
Steps To Take After a Florida Car Accident
After a serious Florida motor vehicle accident, you could be looking at soaring medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses. You could be left with physical impairments and lasting pain. If someone else was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation to help you meet the challenges ahead.
Our lawyers are here to answer your questions and explain your rights if you have been injured in an accident. Call 1-800-700-7285 for a free consultation.
In the aftermath of an auto accident, itâ€™s important to take steps to protect your right to full compensation.
Step 1. Report the accident. The police will do a report that documents the details about the accident, including the likely cause of the crash. However, donâ€™t assume that this report is all you will need to prove fault. Collect contact information for witnesses, so your attorney can obtain statements while the accident is still fresh in their minds.
Step 2. Do not admit liability. Even if the other driver was obviously at fault, making statements such as “I may have been going a little fast” can be costly. Even if the other party was primarily at fault, your financial recovery can be reduced by any percentage of responsibility that is assigned to you.
Step 3. Take pictures. Photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage can help establish liability. However, helping the injured obtain medical care is your first responsibility.
Step 4. Obtain medical care. Even if you do not feel seriously injured, see a doctor and make sure you are all right. To obtain PIP compensation, you must seek medical treatment no more than 14 days after the accident. Failure to that will jeopardize access to full PIP compensation.
Step 5. If you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, do not say anything or sign anything. The insurance company will try to get you to say or sign things that it will later use against you. Learn more about protecting yourself from insurance companies.
Step 6. Seek legal advice. It costs you nothing to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. Don’t wait until you run into a problem, as any mistakes you make in the early stages of your case can be difficult to correct later.
Step 7. Continue medical care until you recover as fully as possible. If you discontinue treatment, the insurance company will claim that you are no longer injured.
What are Florida PIP Benefits?
Florida PIP, and What It Means For You
All drivers in Florida are required by law to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of $10,000 and property damage liability (PDL) insurance of a similar amount. In addition, drivers have the option of buying bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, and uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
At Schrier Law Group, our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about Florida PIP coverage. Firm founder Paul K. Schrier often testifies for doctors as an expert witness in PIP disputes with insurance companies. He has tried cases against all major insurance companies in Florida.
Get answers to your questions about Florida no-fault insurance. Call 1-800-700-7285 to speak to a lawyer.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance and the No-Fault System
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover you, your family or any person in your car injured after an accident. Persons in your car who have their own PIP coverage either through their own car or that of a family member will be covered by their own insurance policy. PIP doesn’t only apply to auto-to-auto collisions. It also covers pedestrians injured by a car, cyclists knocked down by trucks or children hurt by a school bus. PIP coverage will pay:
- 80 percent of medical expenses, plus mileage reimbursement for doctor visits
- 60 percent of lost wages
- $5,000 for funeral expenses
- Costs for household services you can no longer perform because of your injury
Florida law limits PIP benefits to a total of $2,500 unless you suffer from an emergency medical condition. An example of an emergency medical condition is serious impairment of a bodily organ or function.
If you have an emergency medical condition, PIP will pay up to the limit of your coverage. While $10,000 in PIP coverage is required by Florida law, you can purchase additional coverage. Since PIP is coverage you purchase for yourself and your loved ones, you should consider buying more than the minimum. If you are injured in an accident, $10,000 will not go far in paying your medical bills.
PIP coverage is why Florida is categorized as a “no-fault state.” Irrespective of who caused a car crash, each party will submit their injury claim to their own insurer. While the no-fault system has been praised for keeping premiums low by reducing litigation, others have argued that it actually reduces the drivers’ sense of responsibility, increases incidents of reckless driving, and leads to higher accident fatalities overall.
Florida PIP does not cover injuries suffered in a motorcycle wreck.
Exceptions To The “No-Fault” Rule
The no-fault principle requires that the first $10,000 in medical costs be charged to your PIP insurer. Car accidents can cause a wide range of serious injuries, including compound fractures, paralysis, brain damage and the puncturing of vital internal organs. In the worst case, the crash may lead to death.
If death results, or if your injuries and associated costs are so high that they exceed your PIP coverage, you can seek compensation for the additional cost from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Under Florida law, you can file a personal injury suit against the other driver’s insurance company when either one or more of the following situations is present:
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent disability, including hearing loss, blindness, brain damage and limb amputation
You will likely need an attorney’s help to sue the other driver’s insurance company.
Property Damage Liability Insurance
Unlike the PIP, the property damage liability (PDL) is liability coverage. It provides for the damages incurred by the other person’s car or property. For example, if you crashed through your neighbor’s garage door or bumped into the back of a car ahead of you, your vehicle’s PDL will cover the costs incurred by the other party.
PDL does not cover damages to your own vehicle. Florida law does not require you to have PDL coverage for your vehicle, although this is highly recommended.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
Bodily injury liability (BIL) is meant for the funeral and medical costs that another party to incur due to a collision you caused. BIL is mandatory in nearly all states. It is only optional in two states: Florida and New Hampshire. Having BIL coverage will increase your premiums, but will also reduce your liability if you cause a car crash that kills or seriously injures someone else.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
To a great extent, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is the opposite of BIL insurance. It provides for costs you or members of your household sustain in a car crash caused by a driver who is uninsured or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. UM/UIM covers not just any medical costs, but may also reimburse lost wages, pain and suffering.
Like BIL, UM cover is not mandatory. Still, it is useful when you consider that one out of every five drivers in Florida does not have any auto insurance. According to Insurance Research Council, Florida ranks second Statewide in the number of uninsured drivers. If you are in a crash with an uninsured driver who doesn’t have enough assets to pay for your medical costs, you will be forced to foot the bills from your own pocket.
What is My Case Worth?
What is My Car Accident Case Worth?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be wondering what your case is worth. The answer boils down to three factors: fault, damages and insurance.
Find out how insurance companies value injury cases. Call 1-800-700-7285 for a free case evaluation.
Here is an overview of the factors that will determine the value of your case:
- Fault: Was another party responsible for your accident or the resulting injuries? Unless someone else was negligent, you cannot recover compensation beyond the $10,000 available from Florida no-fault insurance. To maximize your compensation, our lawyers will evaluate all potential sources of fault. Beyond the other driver, this may include the manufacturer of your vehicle (if your injury was caused by a malfunctioning air bag or other defect). If the accident was caused by an unsafe highway condition, the municipality responsible for maintaining the road may be at fault. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation for any percentage of faults our attorneys can assign to other parties.
- Damages: Damages include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. Your damages will not be fully known until you complete your medical treatment. Only then will you know how the accident will affect you in the future. Our attorneys have extensive experience documenting damages to obtain the maximum compensation for you.
- Insurance: Unfortunately, unless the party that caused your injury has insurance, you may not be able to recover compensation for your damages. Florida drivers are not required to carry bodily injury insurance. Our lawyers will look for all possible sources of insurance coverage, including your own insurance for uninsured and underinsured drivers.
If you don’t have all three – “fault, damages and insurance” you probably do not have a case. However, even if someone else told you that you do not have a case, do not give up before you speak to one of our lawyers. We have successfully obtained compensation for clients who were turned down by other personal injury lawyers.
Ultimately, it is your lawyer’s job to help you recover the maximum compensation you are due based on the facts of your case. There are many aspects involved in the successful handling of a personal injury case. Our clients come to us because of our outstanding record of obtaining large monetary results for clients. We welcome the challenge each day, to make every effort for our clients to be informed and thrilled with the outcome of their cases.