- If I am in an accident, how come my auto insurance has to pay my medical bills instead of the person at fault?
A. Florida is a No-Fault insurance State. That means that all Florida drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits on their own automobile insurance policies to pay the first $10,000 of their medical bills.
- If I make a claim against my own insurance company, do my rates increase?
A. In some instances, your rates will increase if your insurance company makes a payment under your collision coverage and they are not able to recover their money back from the responsible party. But, your rates should not increase for bringing a PIP claim. Other claims that you report to your insurance company for accidents that are your fault, could also raise your rates.
- Will I lose my Social Security Benefits if I make a personal injury claim?
A. No. Social Security Benefits are not affected because of injuries you sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
- Do I have to pay taxes on money received in a personal injury settlement?
A. No. Your settlement is not taxable.
- Do all law firms charge 33 1/3% on settlements or is it just your law firm?
A. The Supreme Court sets the fees that lawyers are allowed to charge on contingency cases. The fee permitted by the Court is 33 1/3% without litigation, except on governmental claims which are less. When a lawsuit is filed, the fee increases to 40%. It is important for you to understand what you will be charged before you hire a lawyer.
- How much time do I have to file a lawsuit after I have been injured or sustained a loss?
A. The time line depends on the accident, but generally in Florida you have 4 years from the date of your injury or loss to file a lawsuit. However, you should contact a lawyer immediately if you are injured as a result of someone’s negligence because there are other factors that could affect the Statute of Limitations.
- How long can I expect the “process” to take?
A. There is no set time because each case has its own individual set of circumstances and facts which dictate how long it will take before your lawyer is able to resolve your case, but you do not pay more if it takes longer. Your fee depends on the amount of the financial recovery, not how long it takes to collect that recovery.
- What is the difference between making a claim and filing a lawsuit?
A. Making a claim means that your lawyer presents the facts of your damages and the medical evidence to the insurance company in an attempt to settle the matter. Filing a lawsuit is an official legal event where the individual or corporation who was negligent is sued in Court. Lawsuits involve depositions, medical examinations by an opposing doctor, legal proceedings and sometimes a trial where a jury determines the value of your case.
- If I decide not to pursue my case, will I owe my lawyer any money?
A. Our law firm works on a contingency fee, which means that if we do not make a financial recovery for you, you owe us nothing. However, there are other situations when you could still be responsible to pay fees to our firm or to the other side if you unreasonably decide not to pursue the case or lose in Court.
- What if the person that caused the auto accident does not have insurance, will my insurance pay anything?
A. In addition to your No-Fault Benefits of $10,000, which is mandatory for all Florida drivers for payment of medical bills, if you carry Uninsured Motorist coverage, your own insurance company could be responsible for payment of other items over and above your medical bills. That is why it is important for you to contact a lawyer to advise you.
- What kind of auto insurance coverage should I carry?
A. Coverage differs depending upon individual circumstances. Florida is a No-Fault State and every auto owner is required to carry certain coverage such as PIP and Property Damage. However, Uninsured Motorist coverage is not mandatory and it is one of the most important coverages you can purchase because it protects you in case you are injured by an uninsured motorist. In Florida, motorists are not required to carry Bodily Injury Liability coverage and there are a lot of uninsured motorists on the road today. The chances of you being hit by one are greater than 50% and so, Uninsured Motorist coverage is an important coverage to carry on your automobile insurance policy.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.