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Frequently Asked Questions

The simple answer is no. No law exists that forces you to hire a lawyer. In simple fender benders, for example, you may be able to negotiate your own settlement. However, where cases are more complex, such as when injuries are substantial, the other driver and/or the insurer contests liability, or a significant amount of money is on the line, it is best to hire an attorney who can protect you. Additionally, in cases where expert testimony is required, such as those involving medical malpractice or defective products, you will need an attorney who has the resources necessary to provide this.

The length of the claims process will vary depending on the extent of the injuries involved and how much compensation is at stake. Higher value or complex cases will generally take longer because insurers will likely fight harder against them. By hiring an attorney, insurers are more likely to make fair settlement offers sooner because they understand that they won’t be able to take advantage of you.

Your first order of business in the wake of an accident is to get out of harm’s way if possible and get medical attention. Even if you believe you are not injured, it is best to get checked out. That is because some injuries do not manifest for hours or days. You will need a medical record of those injuries for your injury claim.

If possible, you should also exchange information with the other driver, get his/her license plate number, take pictures of the scene, and get a police report. If you are injured, you can file a claim under your PIP coverage or a personal injury lawsuit. Florida’s no-fault law allows you to get immediate medical attention without having to wait for an insurance company to determine fault.

Florida’s no-fault insurance allows the parties in a car accident to make claims against their auto insurance policies regardless of who was at fault. To make this happen, all drivers in the state must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their policy. PIP takes care of your medical treatment and lost wages. It may also cover other out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident, such as paying for child care if you cannot because of your injuries.

However, no-fault insurance comes with restrictions. It puts a limit on how much it will pay out. It also does not pay for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. If you suffer from serious injuries that exceed your PIP coverage, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.

Florida operates on a pure comparative negligence basis. This means that your compensation will be affected by your percentage of fault. However, you can recover some degree of compensation despite how high your percentage of fault was. For example, if your calculated damages amounted to $100,000 and you were assessed as being 80% of the fault, you would wind up with $20,000.

What your case is worth will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries and how they have impacted your life physically, emotionally, and financially. You may be able to get a rough estimate of its worth based on similar cases we have handled in the past. We cannot guarantee any dollar amount or guarantee any outcome. However, we will do everything possible to help you achieve a fair and just result through thorough case preparation and aggressive advocacy.

Personal injury cases are based on another party acting carelessly which led to your injuries. However, this can be more complicated than its general rule which is why you should talk to an attorney about the specifics of your accident or the event that caused your injuries.

The personal injury claims process is rarely simple. Complications are common and insurance companies are not in the habit of paying out until they have to.

Many insurance companies fight claims and contest liability, attempting to place some or all of the fault onto the claimant.

So, the claims process can be tough and it’s best to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to look after it. Your attorney will explain the claims process from the initial investigation into what happened, the documentation of injuries through medical care and other losses, and the presentation of the claim to the insurance companies.

The vast majority of claims are settled out of court but not usually without lengthy negotiations and the threat of going to trial. Your attorney can look after all communications with the insurance company, while you recuperate and recover from your injuries.

If you have suffered an injury in an accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence, call 941-484-2700 for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer from Gerber Law in Venice.

If you are too injured to come to us, we will come to the medical facility or your home for the initial consultation.

A statute of limitations is a time limit imposed on filing certain legal claims. This is done because evidence tends to become less reliable as time passes.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits against an at-fault individual is four years from the date of the accident. For an uninsured/underinsured claim against your own insurance carrier, the statute of limitations is five years.

That sounds like a long time but, sometimes, the full extent of injuries is not known until long after the accident.

In most cases, it is best to file your claim as soon as possible after your accident. Your personal injury lawyer can focus on recovering the maximum damages for you as quickly as possible while you recover from your injuries.

Damages are the losses or expenses incurred as a result of an accident.

For personal injury claims in Florida, you may be entitled to file for a range of damages, depending on the nature and extent of your injury.

Most claims in Florida involve the following types of economic and non-economic damages:

  • All medical costs relating to the injury — past, present and future
  • Out of pocket costs relating to the accident/injuries
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (the support, companionship, and aid from a spouse)

If a loved one’s accident was due to another individual’s negligence and results in death, you may be entitled to additional damages in a wrongful death claim. This can include funeral and medical expenses, loss of future income, loss of companionship, and more.

There are four basic questions you can ask to determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim:

  1. Did the at-fault individual have a duty of care to you?
  2. Did the at-fault individual breach that duty?
  3. Did you suffer damages?
  4. Were your damages a direct result of the at-fault individual’s actions?

Say that you were in a restaurant and the floor was wet and slippery because food had been spilled and cleaned up. You slipped on the floor and broke your arm, which meant you could not work for two months.

If no sign warning restaurant patrons of the hazardous floor was displayed, you may be able to sue the restaurant owner for negligence causing a slip and fall injury. The restaurant has a duty of care to look after the safety of its diners that was breached by the lack of a warning sign, causing your injury.

If, however, there was a visible sign saying “Beware! Slippery floor!”, it’s unlikely that you could claim negligence against the restaurant and file a personal injury claim. You were likely at fault for your injuries.

People have a duty of care to others in public and professional situations.

For instance, drivers have a duty of care to other road users and must follow the rules to avoid motor vehicle accidents; nurses and doctors have a duty of care to patients and must follow professional standards to avoid medical malpractice claims; nursing home caregivers have a duty of care to residents to avoid nursing home injuries, and so on.

Negligence refers to the failure to exercise this duty of care. So, negligent driving could be someone speeding and causing an accident by their dangerous actions. If you are injured as a result of that accident, you may have a valid personal injury claim against that driver.

The standard used to assess whether “negligence” occurs is if a person acts in a way that a sufficiently careful person in the same situation would not have acted. An individual is also considered negligent if they fail to do something that a reasonably careful person would have done in the same situation.

A “personal injury” is a legal term that means an injury to the body, mind or psyche/emotions caused by another person’s failure to exercise reasonable care. If this lack of care constitutes “negligence” and this negligence led to your injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation.

A “personal injury lawsuit” is the term used in common-law jurisdictions to refer to a type of tort lawsuit in which the person who files the suit has suffered harm to his or her body, mind or psyche.

Before taking any action, check with one of our personal injury lawyers whether you have a valid claim.

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Please call 941-484-2700 for a free consultation if another person’s negligence has injured you or has injured or killed a family member. Unlike large companies, the firm treats clients in a personal and caring way.