While it is true that accidents happen, many accidents are avoidable. In fact, many accidents are caused by negligence - the failure to take due care to avoid causing harm to others. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they have important rights if they have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. As a result, they often find themselves with bills they can’t pay and no way to recover their losses. If you have been injured in any type of accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can review your case and discuss whether you can or should pursue a claim.
1. Personal Injury Lawyers Do More Than Handle Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
A full-service personal injury law firm does more than handle car, truck, and motorcycle accident claims. A personal injury lawyer can help you with any sort of claim caused by negligence including the following:
- Premises liability claims such as slip and fall cases and swimming pool accidents
- Dog bite cases and other animal attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability cases such as defective products and dangerous drugs and medications
A personal injury attorney can also help you resolve any disputes that may arise with your insurance company. The bottom line is that if you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
2. The Insurance Company Is Not on Your Side
They want you to think that they are being a good neighbor, but the reality is that the insurance company will try to pay as little on your claim as possible. Your insurance company will scrutinize your medical expenses and other losses, demanding that you submit strict proof, even in motor vehicle accident cases despite the fact that Florida is a “no-fault” state.
In addition, the law regarding contributory negligence was recently changed. Florida now follows the modified comparative negligence claim, which bars anyone who was more than 50% responsible for causing the accident from receiving any compensation. As a result, the insurance company may try to get you to admit liability so that they can then deny your claim.
Another common tactic that insurance companies employ is to try to settle your claim before you know what your total losses will be. They will make a cash settlement offer within a couple of days of the accident which may be very attractive. The problem is that you waive any claim to additional compensation if the settlement is not sufficient to cover all of your losses.
A personal injury lawyer can deal with your insurance company to ensure that you get fair compensation. They can handle all of the phone calls and emails while you focus on your recovery.
3. Insurance Will Not Cover All of Your Losses
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, PIP (personal injury protection) will only pay the following:
- 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000
- 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000
If you were injured in some other type of accident, you need to remember that your health insurance will only cover your medical expenses, less any copays and deductibles. Health insurance will not cover your lost wages or other losses such as pain and suffering. And if you are dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, they may refuse to pay fair compensation until you get a personal injury lawyer involved.
4. You Have Less Time to Pursue Your Claim Than You Did Before
Another change in the law pertains to Florida’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases. For those who don’t know, the statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file your lawsuit for compensation for your injuries and other losses. Generally speaking, there are no exceptions - if you fail to file your lawsuit, you will lose all of your rights, no matter how strong your case may otherwise be.
Prior to 2023, accident victims had four years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation. Under the recent tort reform legislation, accident victims must file their lawsuits within two years - half as long as they had before.
5. And You Have Less Time to Pursue Your Claim Than You Think
The longer you wait to pursue a claim, the harder it will be to prove. Memories fade, important facts become difficult to verify, documents go missing, and witnesses can become difficult to locate. Even if you are not sure that you will need to pursue a claim, you want to begin collecting your evidence as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
Your ability to file a lawsuit will affect your case even if you plan to settle it with the insurance company. First, the insurance company will refuse to pay your claim if the statute of limitations has already expired. Second, some insurance companies will not make a reasonable effort to settle claims until they are facing litigation.
Ultimately, the sooner you take action the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve. A personal injury lawyer can take the steps necessary to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
6. You Can Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer and Pay No Legal Fees Out-of-Pocket
Most, if not all, personal injury lawyers represent their clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay any legal fees unless they recover compensation on your behalf. If your claim is successful, their legal fees are paid from a portion of the compensation that you are awarded.
Contact Powell, Powell, & Powell if You Have Been Injured in an Accident
If you have been injured in an accident that you believe is someone else’s fault, call us today at 850-682-2757 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We can review your case, discuss whether you have a claim, explain your options, and provide an estimate of what your claim may be worth, all at no charge and with no obligation.