How long does it take to settle a car accident case in Florida?
There is no set amount of time that it takes to settle a car accident case because every case is different. It can be a matter of days or weeks, but more complicated case can last a year or more. However, it is almost guaranteed that if you hire personal injury car accident lawyer, you will settle your case faster and for more money than someone who does not have a lawyer. This is because in order to settle your case as quickly as possible, you have to follow certain steps that the law requires you to follow in order to get money. There are tricks and traps in how the legal and car insurance laws are set up that only a lawyer would know. No matter how smart you are, you cannot learn to do it yourself from Google. Hence the old saying, “A man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client.”
Our personal injury law firm has settled cases very quickly, within hours and days after a car accident when the injuries and fault are clear, and the car insurance policy limits are not high. Obviously the worse your injuries and damages are, the more money your case is worth. But often times in Florida, the driver or owner of the vehicle at fault for the accident may not have insurance (uninsured) or enough insurance (underinsured). They may be hiding their insurance information or assets, or there is a another responsible party altogether, such as the owner of the vehicle who may bear vicariously liability as the owner of the vehicle under Florida’s financial responsibility law and dangerous instrumentality doctrine, or as the employer of the at fault driver under the legal theory called respondent superior or master servant doctrine. In a situation like that, you need a car accident lawyer to conduct and investigation, collect evidence, and deal with police, witnesses, insurance companies, and all other potential parties.
The law on car accidents can be complicated in order to maximize the most money you can get for your injury. There are certain time limits that have to be met right after the accident in order to qualify for certain insurance benefits such as no fault PIP (personal injury protection). PIP may cover medical pills up to $10,000 which will help pay for early medical treatment so you can get diagnosed quickly without paying any medical bills out of your own pocket. To qualify for certain benefits you typically need a doctor to declare you have an emergency medical condition (EMC) within 14 days of the accident. It is important that you seek a personal injury car accident lawyer to ensure you go to a medical provider who is familiar with this law or who can work with your medical provider afterward to ensure proper steps are followed.
According to the 2012 amendment to the PIP Statute, an EMC is a medical condition that manifests by acute symptoms of âsufficient severityâ and that without immediate medical treatment could result in serious health complications, serious impairment or bodily function, or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. A doctor must make that determination immediately following the accident. Only qualified physicians, dentists, physicianâs assistants, osteopathic physicians, and registered nurse practitioners are able to make such an EMC determination. Many medical providers who are not experienced or are just not interested in dealing with car accident victims do not know how or do not care to properly declare an EMC to trigger PIP car insurance benefits. If the medical provided failed to declare an EMC in the documented medical chart, the insurance company won’t pay full benefits and you will only be eligible for up to $2,500 in PIP benefits for medical expenses and treatment costs. In today’s dollars, that is not very much if you were rushed to the hospital and underwent a full work up of Ct scans, X-rays, or had to stay overnight. Your hospital bill will likely be much more than $2500.
Besides PIP benefit eligibility, which your own insurance company might deny or fight, you need a car accident attorney in order to be able to collect BI (bodily injury) or UM (uninsured motorist) insurance benefits for the accident, including for non-economic damages also known as pain and suffering dollars for physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, scarring, and disfigurement. If you are injured in a car accident, in order to be able to get pain and suffering money, the injury must be permanent according to the car accident insurance laws. This is referred to as the permanency threshold which insurance companies always fight. It is important to hire a car accident lawyer to make sure the medical providers you go to understand these laws and are willing to properly diagnose the injury as permanent under the law and medial science. Many doctors do not understand this definition, or just do not care because they are not lawyers or advocates.
Vehicle accidents are the most common type of personal injury and wrongful death cases in Florida. They are usually caused by to someone being negligent or reckless behind the wheel. Common allegations we see are improper lane changes, careless driving, reckless driving, failing to keep a proper look out, driving too fast for conditions, failing to perceive hazards, disobeying traffic signals and laws and driving under the influence.
The key to a good vehicle accident case is when the other person who is at fault or is mostly at fault for causing the accident and your permanent injury, has liability insurance to pursue. Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more people in Florida driving around with very low insurance policy limits and sometimes no insurance at all. Many people who buy the bare minimum amount of insurance limits the law requires, think they are fully protected. That could not be farther from the truth. In Florida the minimum amount of insurance required is only $10,000 PIP limits. This wonât even cover a couple days in a hospital, much less costs of suregries, ongoing treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If the at-fault driver has no insurance or inadequate insurance, you may be able to pursue your own insurance policy benefits if you paid extra for uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) protection. Again, most people think they are fully covered, but they usually do not have UM coverage because it is not required by law and costs more to have. Most people reject UM coverage when they initially apply for a policy.
Perkins Law Offices will help you understand the different insurance policies and benefits at play. We will find any and all coverage available or parties liable for the accident and have successfully obtained personal money from defendants over and above any insurance limits.
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Perkins Law Offices regularly helps people who are seriously injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, scooter/moped accidents, vehicle on pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, hit and runs, chain reaction collisions and motorcycle lay downs cases. Vehicle accidents can cause catastrophic, life altering injuries and death. But even smaller impact collisions can cause injures that interfere with your enjoyment of life.
Miami Car Accident Attorney. Below is a list of rules you should follow if you are in a car accident:
1. Call Police so a crash report will be filed.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Get names and contact info of any witnesses that may help prove your case.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Keep track of all of your damages such as medical bills, lost time and wages from work. Make sure you tell Perkinsâ injury lawyers every detail about your injuries and how the injuries effect your life.
Miami Car Accident Attorney. The few minutes after a car crash can literally make the difference between winning or losing your case, even when the accident is not your fault. Our Miami car accident law firm recommends that everybody, whether driving or riding a passenger, always wears oneâs seatbelt, no matter how far you are driving. It can be a critical mistake to think people do not need to wear a seatbelt if they are just driving around the corner. Studies have proven that a person has a 400% greater chance of surviving an accident if they are properly seat belted.
8. 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 long does it take to settle a car accident case in Florida?