FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
- Call Police so a crash report will be filed.
- Remember as much as you can about how the accident happened,
– The speeds of the vehicles.
– The lanes of travel the vehicles were in.
– The direction of travel of the vehicles.
– Where the impacts were
– What the other driver and witnesses said at the scene.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles and your injuries if you are not too injured to do so or immediately transported to the hospital.
- Get names and contact info of any witnesses that may help prove your case.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. Even if you do not have insurance or a regular doctor. Car Insurance companies will not take your injury case seriously if you do not get treatment immediately or if you have a gap in treatment dates. Even your own insurance company may not pay your own PIP benefits you don go to a hospital or doctor immediately.
- Do not talk to anyone about the car accident or injuries other than your attorney or doctor after the accident other than police. You do not want to talk with an insurance adjuster or investigator, sometimes even from your own carrier because they are not there to help you. Make sure you talk to Perkins Law offices before speaking to anyone or giving any statements about the accident or your injuries.
- Keep track of all of your damages such as medical bills, lost time and wages from work. Make sure you tell Perkins’ injury lawyers every detail about your injuries and how the injuries effect your life. Disclose to Perkins Law Offices about any prior accidents, lawsuits, claims or other personal things that may affect your case. Do not worry, everything you say to Perkins Law Offices is confidential and protected by the attorney client privilege.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
It depends on many factors such as the type of case it is, who is at fault, the severity of injuries or damages, and whether the target defendant has money or insurance to pursue. If a lawyer guarantees that he will get you a specific amount at the start of a case then be very wary of that lawyer. Perkins Law Offices will investigate your claim and evaluate it realistically based on available information.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BRING MY CASE TO A CONCLUSION?
Every case is different. More complex cases like Medical Malpractice and Products Liability will take longer to resolve than a slip and fall or car accident because they usually involve more work, experts and witnesses. Perkins Law Offices is aggressive, and pushes its cases forward as quickly as it can. Most cases resolve within one to two years. But sometimes a case can settle instantly or not for many years.
WHAT ARE THE ATTORNEYS’ FEES IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Attorneys’ fees for personal injury and wrongful death cases are on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay anything to Perkins Law Offices upfront and the law firm only gets paid if we are successful in obtaining money for you. The law firm is then paid a percentage of the money it recovers. The percentage the law firm gets is determined by the contract you sign with the lawyer. There are a standard contracts approved by the Florida Bar that Perkins Law Offices uses for certain types of cases. Typically, the standard bar contract calls for the firm to get 33.3% of the total amount recovered if the case is settled without a lawsuit and 40% percent of the total recovery if a lawsuit must be filed. If there is no recovery, you do not owe the firm any attorneys’ fee.
WHAT ARE COSTS?
Costs are the expenses typically incurred by Perkins Law Offices on the client’s behalf in order to move the case forward. For example, it costs the law firm money to obtain your medical records, send mail, hire private investigators, expert witnesses, court reporters, to pay for transcripts, videotaping services, travel and lodging expenses for the attorneys and witnesses, to pay for investigations of defendant, computer assisted research, exhibits used at mediation or trial, filing fees, photocopying and printing, courier costs, long distance telephone and fax charges and any and all other expenses that the firm considers reasonable and necessary to be successful. The more complicated the case is, the more the costs typically will be. The law firm advances these costs during the case and does not charge any interest for the use of its money. If there is a recovery at the end of the case, Perkins Law Offices will be entitled to take back its costs out the recovery after attorneys’ fees are deducted. If there is no recovery, the law firm loses its investment of the costs. This means Perkins Law offices is taking a risk with its time and money to fight for you.
WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?
A deposition is sworn interview of a party, or a witnesses, or a person with knowledge about something in the case. The lawyers ask the questions and person being asked the questions must answer them unless there is a proper objection asserted by other attorneys. Before the deposition questions start, the person being deposed takes an oath to answer the questions truthfully. A a court reporter types out everything that is being said creates a transcript. Sometimes, depositions are also videotaped. Depositions are used to gather information and to lock down testimony of all the people involved in the case.
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a conference where both sides meet with a neutral mediator or retired judge before trial to see if the case can be settled. It’s a process used by the court system to bring both sides together in person at least once in order to see if they can resolve their differences without going to trial. Most judges order the parties to mediate before a case can ever go to trial because it is well known that trails are risky and expensive. At mediation, both sides present their case to each other and the mediator. The parties then are separated into different rooms while the mediator talks privately with both sides. He then tries to elicit offers and delivers the offers back and fourth to the parties in their separate rooms. Everything that occurs at mediation is confidential which means certain things that are said can not be used at trial. Often times cases will settle at mediation after everyone has laid their cards on the table so to speak. If the case does not settle at mediation, the mediator will declare and impasse.
WHO WILL PAY FOR MY MEDICAL BILLS?
If you are injured in an auto accident, your own car insurance, usually under its Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provision, is the first to pay for your medical expenses. In Florida, the laws have been changing, but most people have $10,000 in PIP coverage. Even if you do not have a car, if someone in your household does, that car insurance company will have to provide the PIP. Once your PIP is exhausted, if you have health insurance, it will cover the remaining medical bills it is contactually obligated to pay. Many people do not have health insurance. In that situation, some health care providers may agree to place a hold on the collection of your bill until the end of the case and/or may accept a letter of protection. If Perkins Law Offices recovers money for you at the end case, it will negotiate with the medical providers and insurance companies to reduce what you may still owe in patient responsibility amounts or as part of a lien or subrogation right.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL BILL LIENS AND SUBROGATION RIGHTS?
A medical lien or subrogation right, is a claim placed by a medical provider or an insurance company against any recovery you may get in your personal injury claim because they paid bills on your behalf. If Perkins Law Offices obtains a recovery for you we will negotiate with those medical providers and insurers to reduce what is owed so you will get more in your pocket in the end.
WHAT IS UNINSURED OR UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
Uninsured motorist and under-insured motorist coverage, is called as UM coverage. It is additional insurance that you may have paid extra for when you bought your policy. It protects you if you are injured in an accident in the event that the other at-fault driver does not have any or enough bodily injury (BI) coverage to pay for your damages. UM coverage can also apply if you are in an accident with an hit-and-run vehicle
WHAT IS A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
A statute of limitations is the time period in which the law says you have to file your a lawsuit in or it will never be allowed to be brought. There are few exceptions to this rule. Most personal injury cases in Florida have a 4 year statute of limitations. Wrongful death cases have a 2 year stautue of limitations, as does medical malpractice. Cruise ship cases have a one year statute of limitations! That is why is is very important to contact Perkins Law Offices right away.