What Are the Steps I Need to Take If I’ve Been Injured and Feel I Will Need to File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
It’s very important that you seek treatment after you’re injured and retain the paperwork. Whether you visit an urgent care facility, a hospital, or a chiropractor, the Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) rule requires that injured victims seek medical care within 14 days. Once you’ve sought treatment, the second most important thing to do is hire an attorney.
What Is Personal Injury Protection Under Florida Law?
Personal Injury Protection under Florida law gives everyone an automatic $10,000 of coverage to pay for medical bills as well as lost wages. PIP is also a type of no-fault insurance that’s required for all drivers in the state of Florida. Any kind of auto accident is covered by PIP, including accidents involving cars, bicycles, golf carts, cars and pedestrians, cars and bike riders, etc. PIP law in Florida only covers motor vehicles with four wheels, however, so motorcycles are not required to carry PIP. A golf cart is also not considered a motor vehicle for purposes of PIP, so if a car hits a golf cart, PIP could apply, but golf carts, by themselves, are not considered motor vehicles for purposes of PIP.
The owner of a vehicle is covered by PIP in any motor vehicle accidents, whether he is the driver, a passenger in a car, a pedestrian, or a bicycle rider. You are not required to, but you can extend PIP coverage to members of your family. If you do so, these family members are also covered while they’re driving or if they’re passengers in any vehicle, not just the vehicle owned by the policy holder. PIP can also cover non-family members if they’re driving your car or if they’re riding in your car.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Florida for Filing a Personal Injury Claim After an Injury?
The statute of limitations depends on the claim type. It’s usually two to four years, though it can be five years in some cases.
How Important Is It That Someone Who’s Been Injured and Plans to File a Personal Injury Claim Seeks Immediate Medical Attention? What Happens to Your Case If You Delay Treatment?
It’s very important that the treatment is sought immediately. If no treatment is sought in the initial 14 days, then those PIP benefits may not be available to you. Delaying treatment can also affect the total value of your case because, should the case go to trial, a jury will know about the injury and what kind of treatment was sought afterwards. If the jury finds out that you were injured but didn’t start treatment until many months later, that could affect their ability to assess the damage in a way that’s favorable to you, the claimant.
What Factors Does the Court or the Jury Consider When Determining the Value of a Personal Injury Settlement?
The factors include, but are not limited to, the severity of the damage, the limits of the policy, and the family circumstance for the particular individual (i.e., if someone is the primary breadwinner for four or five children). Those are the main variables, though there are others.
What Are Some of the Defenses That Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Paying Out on Personal Injury Claims or Settlements?
The insurance company will use pre-existing injuries against you. They could use previous claims filed by the injured party to show a litigious history. They might dispute the severity of the claim or question the claimant’s credibility.
How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Personal Injury Cases?
This year, in general, insurance companies are being a little bit more lenient and more gracious with settlement offers. During the shutdowns, a lot of people worked from home, so there haven’t been as many accidents since fewer people were on the roads. That also means fewer insurance claims. This year has been better, therefore, for the individual clients seeking settlements.
In contrast, COVID has had detrimental effects on many people’s ability to seek continued treatment. I have current clients who are too scared of potential virus exposure to go in and see their chiropractor three times a week. I always tell my clients to do what they feel most comfortable doing at the end of the day and seek treatment the way that they want to be treated. Because clients aren’t going in as often as they are supposed to, their outstanding bills, of course, aren’t going to be as high. That means we can’t claim as much money as we would have been able to pre-pandemic, but we personal injury lawyers are playing smarter and harder to come up with creative ways to get around that.