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The following article will cover:

When Someone Has Been Seriously Injured In Florida, What Are Some Common Concerns They May Have If They Believe They May File A Personal Injury Claim?

Filing A Personal Injury Claim In Florida

When someone is seriously injured, it can be a very overwhelming time in their life, raising a host of questions and concerns. Common worries often include the ability to afford medical treatment, managing piled up bills, loss of wages due to missed work, and dealing with the aftermath such as totaled cars or the need for a rental vehicle.

The answers to these concerns largely depend on the facts of the case, including the specifics of any involved insurance policies. It is often the case that an attorney can’t provide concrete answers to these questions until they’ve reviewed the coverage limits of the insurance policies, as the benefits can vary greatly.

For example, some policies may provide up to $10,000 for medical payments, while others may offer $100,000. Similarly, some policies might cover a rental car, while others may not. Given the numerous concerns and their variability, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Accurate advice requires an experienced attorney to examine the specific and unique circumstances of your case.

How Do I Begin The Personal Injury Claim Process After An Accident With Severe Injuries In Florida?

If you have been injured in Florida due to someone else’s actions or negligence, it’s crucial to contact an attorney right away. This is an essential first step in the process. However, the priority depends on the severity of your injuries. If you are severely injured and need immediate medical attention, seek that care first. Visit a hospital if necessary, then contact an attorney afterward. It’s essential to seek medical attention promptly and secure legal representation as soon as possible after that.

In Florida, in order to utilize Personal Injury Protection insurance (PIP)—which every driver in Florida is mandated to have—you must visit a medical provider, typically a doctor, within 14 days of your accident. PIP covers up to $10,000 for your initial medical payments, handling 80% of your incoming medical bills up to this maximum. If you fail to meet the 14-day requirement, you forfeit your right to claim the PIP benefits.

This can also create complications in your personal injury case if you’re seeking compensation from another driver. If you didn’t secure your right to PIP payments, your overall settlement amount could be reduced by a PIP set-off, potentially reducing your compensation by up to $10,000—the amount that could have been covered by PIP.

So, if you believe you have a personal injury claim, one of the first things you should do is seek medical attention for your injuries, then call an experienced personal injury attorney.

How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Claim In Florida? What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Filing A Personal Injury Claim?

The first deadline we mentioned is the requirement to visit a doctor within 14 days to qualify for Personal Injury Protection insurance. As for filing a formal lawsuit, the statute of limitations in Florida was recently amended. In March, the Florida legislature passed a new bill, signed by the governor, which reduced the statute of limitations from four years down to two years—effectively cutting it in half. So, from the day of the accident, you now have only two years to file your lawsuit.

Before filing the lawsuit, attorneys often engage in pre-suit negotiations, and sometimes a case might settle without a lawsuit being necessary. However, it’s crucial for your lawyer to closely monitor the deadlines to ensure that pre-suit negotiations don’t encroach too closely upon the statute of limitations. Insurance companies may attempt to delay, but once you hit that two-year mark, you are prevented from filing your lawsuit, and any attempt to do so would be subject to a motion to dismiss.

What Are The Most Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use To Deny Or Limit Personal Injury Claims?

Insurance companies often deploy a variety of tactics to deny or limit personal injury claims, with delay being one of the most common strategies. They will use various methods to effectuate this, often attempting to postpone a case and push it off. In such circumstances, it’s vital to enlist the help of an experienced attorney, someone who knows how to keep pushing the case forward.

As the plaintiff, it’s your responsibility, along with your attorney, to continue to drive the case forward. The court sets certain deadlines at the start of the lawsuit, which the defense and the insurance companies would love to delay. As a plaintiff, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your case, proactively pushing it forward.

You need to keep the insurance companies and their attorneys engaged with the case, maintaining its visibility. Ensure that you are following up with scheduling hearings, meetings, and depositions, rather than leaving it to the other side. If you allow them to dictate the pace and tempo of the case, you run a significant risk of running out of time—a common tactic used by insurance companies.

What Happens Next If I Can’t Get A Reasonable Settlement Offer From The Insurance Company?

If you can’t secure a reasonable settlement offer, your next typical option is litigation. Usually, before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will draft a demand letter, which can take a couple of weeks or sometimes even several months. This depends largely on the medical treatment required. Your personal injury attorney will want to collect as many of your medical records as possible to include this information in the demand letter, detailing your injuries, their severity, and the associated medical bills.

Initial negotiations usually occur pre-suit. If a reasonable offer isn’t forthcoming at this stage, then a lawsuit is filed, and litigation begins. Negotiations often continue throughout litigation, possibly immediately after the lawsuit is filed or even after the case has progressed for several months involving depositions and hearings. A settlement can be negotiated at any point in the case.

However, if a reasonable settlement offer is not attainable, you typically want to keep pushing the case forward towards trial. If a reasonable settlement agreement can’t be reached even close to the trial or on the eve of trial, you may need to litigate the issues in front of a jury. It’s crucial to have an attorney with trial experience, one who isn’t afraid to challenge the insurance companies in court and bring cases to trial if that’s what your particular case requires.

At What Point Should I Hire A Florida Personal Injury Attorney? Should I Wait Until The Insurance Company Denies A Claim Or Offers A Minimal Settlement For My Severe Injury?

You should not wait to hire a personal injury attorney; if you’re injured, it’s best to seek legal counsel immediately. Insurance companies, like any other businesses, strive to maximize their profits and minimize their expenses. Every insurance claim they have to pay is an expense for them. Therefore, if an insurance company knows someone is unrepresented, they might swiftly contact that person and offer a settlement. While such an offer might seem tempting at first, it might not reflect the true value of the case.

Having the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney from the outset is crucial. They can guide you every step of the way, advising on what actions you should take next. They can assist with negotiations to obtain maximum value for the case, help organize your medical bills, help you keep track of your appointments, and ensure that your best interests are looked after at all times. This way, you can rest assured that you’ll achieve the best possible outcome. For more information on Filing A Personal Injury Claim In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Experienced Florida Criminal & Personal Injury Attorney - Michael Barber

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