What Steps Should I Take If I Have Been Injured And Need To File A Claim?
The first step you should take if you have been injured, especially in an auto accident, is to see a doctor as soon as possible. You must seek treatment within 14 days, but the sooner the better. The closer the healthcare visit is made to the accident, the easier it is show the injuries were caused by the collision. You could see a doctor, or visit the ER, an outpatient clinic, or urgent care center. If you don’t see a doctor within 14 days, you will not qualify for PIP benefits. You need to have a doctor who can testify within a reasonable degree of medical probability that the injuries you’re complaining about were caused by the collision or the incident that caused you to suffer the injuries.
Other steps you should take include taking photos of the vehicles at the scene. You should also get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses because they will be important in the future. Finally, you should promptly call a lawyer for further guidance. Your case may have specific or unusual circumstances that could require additional help with protecting yourself legally and physically.
What Exactly Is PIP In Florida?
In Florida, PIP is personal injury protection. It’s coverage that every automobile owner must obtain. PIP provides $10,000 worth of coverage for medical expenses on any collision regardless of who’s at fault. In any collision, you must look to your PIP benefits first for payment of medical expenses. PIP will also cover two-thirds of lost income or wages up to the $10,000.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations In Florida For Filing A Personal Injury Claim?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years, unless it’s against a governmental entity, such as a municipality. In that case, you must send a written notice within two years of the incident and wait a certain amount of time to see if there’s going to be a response from the municipality or the governmental agency. If you don’t settle the case, then you must file suit within three years of the incident.
What Is The General Flow Of A Personal Injury Claim As It Proceeds Towards Either Settlement Or Litigation?
The general flow of a personal injury claim as it proceeds towards settlement or litigation initially begins with the evidence gathering stage because you can’t evaluate your case or estimate its worth until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Therefore, you’re going to treat and do what the doctors or therapists tell you to do until you have reached the point where you’ve gotten as well as the doctors believe you’re going to get. That’s called maximum medical improvement. At that point, you and your lawyer will be in a better position to evaluate the case and settle it. So to recap, start by gathering facts, locating witnesses who witnessed the incident and getting their statements, taking photographs, seeing a doctor, following the treatment plan prescribed by all treaters, gathering medical records and bills, utilizing your PIP benefits to the extent of coverage, calculating total medical expenses and the amounts paid by PIP or health insurance or some other carrier, documenting lost income or loss of capacity to earn, and keeping a log or journal that documents your day to day pain, limitations, or restrictions caused by the injuries. This will continue until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
At that point, we would typically put together a settlement demand package that outlines the facts to establish liability, causation, and damages, and try to settle the case without having to file suit. If we can negotiate a settlement before filing suit, then the case would be over without filing suit. Typically, the attorney’s fees are less if you are able to settle the case before filing suit. If you can’t satisfactorily settle the case before filing suit, then you would file suit, and the case could take a year to two years or even longer to resolve. Once you file suit, the other side has a chance to respond. The other side will file an answer or a motion to dismiss. Discovery is then undertaken. Each side can exchange written documents and written questions that have to be answered under oath. Depositions can be taken, and the defense can schedule an examination by a doctor of their choosing to get a different opinion about your injuries and prospective needs.
Ultimately, you would have to go to mediation before trial. If you don’t settle the case, it goes to trial; and, a jury of six peers decides the case for you. 90% of cases settle, but 10% do go to trial, and the steps previously mentioned are the ones you have to take to get there.
For more information on Filing A Personal Injury Claim In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 462-7500 today.