GENERAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is my case worth?
A: This is the most often asked question when we first meet a client. We cannot answer this question exactly. Any attorney who promises a certain value is probably just telling you what you want to hear.
The value of a case depends on a variety of factors and cannot be determined without analyzing information regarding the injury, medical bills, loss of income, and permanency of the injury. There is no rule of thumb, and each set of facts results in a different amount of damages.
Obviously, the more severe your injury, the more money we can recover. However, the biggest factor in how much you can recover is what the insurance coverage is for the “at fault” party. It takes a day or two for our office to find this out. The second biggest factor in how much you can recover is what your MRI reveals. It takes about 4-6 weeks before you will get an MRI. Once we know the results of your MRI and see the doctor’s recommendation for your treatment, we will be able to give you a range of what your case is worth.
Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: Not necessarily. We settle over 90% of our cases without having to go to court. This is because we have a reputation among the insurance companies for taking a case to trial if needed. This makes the insurance companies pay the top dollar to our law firm now, rather than later.
A settlement without going to court avoids the costs and delays of a trial and may result in a greater net recovery to the client. Obviously, if the insurance company does not offer a fair value to settle your case or denies your claim, we will take it to court and fight for you.
Q: Where will the money come from to compensate me?
A: The at-fault party's insurance typically pays for your damages in many states. If you are in a no-fault state, your own insurance may pay for some of your damages. If the at-fault party is not adequately insured, your own insurance policy may include coverage that will compensate you for your injuries.
Q: How long will it take me to receive my money?
A: Typically, we can settle a case in 4-8 months if we do not file a lawsuit.
The length of time necessary to conclude your automobile accident injury case depends upon a number of factors. For example, if you suffer a serious injury, you will not want to settle your claim until you have received sufficient medical care so that either your physician has released you or your future medical expenses related to the accident can be determined with reasonable certainty. Therefore, the amount of time you need to heal may determine the length of time necessary to conclude your claim. The amount of time before you recover also depends on whether your case is settled or goes to trial.
Q: What should I do if I can't afford an attorney?
A: Many law firms will agree to pursue a personal injury claim for a contingent fee, which means that the law firm's fee is subtracted from any amount that the firm collects for you. If no amount is recovered, then the firm receives no fee, but the client is typically responsible for actual expenses, such as court filing fees or witness fees, whether he or she wins or loses.
Q. Do I have to come to your office for a free consultation?
A. No. We can answer all of your questions by e-mail or on the telephone. In some cases, we can come to you. Most of our client’s feel comfortable after the first call to our office that they sign our paperwork at the doctor’s office and hire us over the telephone. We want you to feel comfortable and we will do whatever it takes to answer your questions and make you feel comfortable.
Q. Who pays for my medical bills if I was in a car accident?
A. In Florida, if you are in a car accident, and you have the required insurance (PIP), then your insurance company will pay up to $10,000.00 toward your medical bills. You may see TV commercials that say you are entitled to $10,000.00 if you are in an accident. These commercials are often times misleading. You do not get this money – the money goes directly to the doctors. If you are a pedestrian or a passenger and have no car of your own, the driver or other party’s insurance company will pay for your medical bills up to $10,000.00.
Q. How is my car going to be fixed if I was in an accident?
A. It depends. If you have collision coverage on your insurance policy, then the quickest way to get your car fixed is by making a claim against your own policy. You will have to pay your deductible though. The deductible is taken off the repair check the insurance company issues you for your damages.
If you do not have collision coverage and the accident was not your fault, then the “at fault” party’s insurance company will pay for your car repairs. However, this takes longer (sometimes two weeks) because the other insurance company will need to review the police report which is not ready for about 7-10 days. Sometimes, we can negotiate a rental car during this time.
If you have the collision coverage but just don’t want to make a claim against your company, you can make the other company pay for your damages. However, you should be patient because the process will be slower than going through your own company.
Q. Can I get transportation to the doctor?
A. Yes. We work with medical offices throughout Florida and make sure that the doctors we work with can provide you transportation.
Q. What if I have a deductible for my PIP coverage, who pays this?
A. The typical PIP coverage in Florida comes with a $1,000.00 deductible and will pay 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.00. Typically, we can have the doctor’s office hold off on billing you the deductible until after we settle your case. At that time, depending on how much your case was settled for, we can ask the doctor’s office to work with us regarding your deductible and 20% balance not paid by insurance.
Q. What if I was just visiting Florida and was a tourist, can I still get a settlement if I was in an accident?
A. Yes. Our office represents many clients from all over the United States and from different parts of the world. Our office can handle your case from Florida and you can receive medical attention outside the State of Florida. We will work closely with you and your doctor so that your doctor knows exactly how to write his report to comply with Florida’s guidelines.
Most of our tourist clients hire us by telephone or sign our paperwork by e-mail or U.S. Mail.
Q. I do not speak English very well; does your firm speak Spanish?
A. Yes. Every person at our law firm is bilingual. The doctors that we work with also have a staff that speaks Spanish.
Q. What if I am an illegal immigrant, can I still make a claim if I was injured?
A. Yes. You have the same rights to make a claim for your injuries as everyone else. We can protect your residency status and keep this information private even while we go through the process of settling your case.