7 Ways You Could Ruin Your Personal Injury Claim
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People often ask how to go about picking a personal injury lawyer when they’ve been hurt in a car accident. If you have someone who has referred you to a lawyer, great. Go to that lawyer. More to the point, however, you want a lawyer who’s done this before. Our practice is almost exclusively engaged in personal injury work. It’s been that way since day one, since 1982. You want someone who knows their way around the personal injury law. It has become complex. It has become controlled by the legislature in Tallahassee with the passage of many laws and statures. If you are not in it on a regular basis, you may not know what’s going on.
Clients who come to see us typically have not been involved in automobile accidents before. They don’t know how it works. They’ve had automobile insurance for years and years, have never had to use it. They get hurt. They can’t work. They want to know what to do about that. In Florida, if you drive on the streets of Nassau County and Duval County, you know you have to have what is called PIP insurance. It’s Personal Injury Protection insurance. It’s also called no fault insurance. It will pay 60% of your lost wages.When you get hurt, one of the early things you should do is call your insurance company. They, either online or through the US mail, will send you a bunch of paperwork. Several of those documents have to do with documenting your lost wages. You or they will send a form to your employer. They will fill out a lost wage verification form where they’re able to go back 13 weeks prior to your accident. They will take an average of that and pay you 60% of your wages. Now, additionally, if you work for a company that provides different kinds of insurance, some of the insurance might be short-term disability or wage continuation plans. You should contact your HR department or the representative for your health insurance, your short-term disability, and they will do the same thing. There will be a coordination so that your wages are protected as much as they can be. At a minimum if you have insurance, it will pay 60% of your wages. If you’ve been hurt in Nassau County, Duval County, or anywhere in northeast Florida, give us a call and we can help you walk through those issues that are mysteries to you. They’re not mysteries to us. We can help you through these issues, as well as other aspects of your case.
One of the first questions clients ask is how long a case will last. That answer varies. A good rule of thumb is 9 to 14 months. It could go longer, however, if your case gets into litigation and it gets complex. If we can resolve your case without filing the lawsuit, then it would be at the front end of that timeframe, maybe a little less, maybe a little bit more. It depends on several factors. One thing is certain. It will not be over in a couple of weeks. It’s not a matter of calling up an insurance company and asking them to pay us your money. It doesn’t work that way.First of all, there’s analysis of your medical records, both pre-accident and after your accident, so that we have a good fix of your injuries. Collection of medical records and medical bills takes time. That stretches out the duration of your case a lot of times. Know that you have to be prepared to be in it for a while. When you come to a lawyer with the legal problem, leave the legal problem here. Let us do the work we excel at. You get back on your feet and do what you do in terms of getting back to as much of a normal lifestyle as you can. If you have those questions or any other questions, call us. If you’ve been hurt in Nassau County, Duval County, the Amelia Island area, or western Nassau, call us. We’ll sit down with your case and figure out what’s best for you.
Many times, we get asked whether clients should talk to the insurance company. The insurance company can be several different companies. In Florida, you have a responsibility to talk to your own insurance company. That’s in your contract whether you know it or not. You have a duty to cooperate. That means talking to them, giving a statement if they ask for it, writing statements of what happened, and signing authorizations, etc. You have a duty of cooperation to your own insurance company.You do not have that duty to the insurance company covering the other automobile that was involved in your collision. We recommend that people do not talk to the other insurance company. There are companies that are very professional. There are insurance companies that are not. You don’t know one from the other. It’s best to have all information channeled through the office of your attorney, who know the ins and outs so that things can stay organized while you concentrate on getting better. Again, don’t talk to the insurance company from the other side. Let your lawyer do it. Talk to your own insurance company because you’re supposed to. If you have a case like that, call us. We’d be happy to help you in any aspect of it, whether it happens in Nassau County, Duval County, Jacksonville, or Fernandina Beach.
Clients sometimes do not do the best things that will help their case. One of the common things that we see is, after a car collision, they don’t go to the doctor because they don’t think they’ve been hurt. Many times, people get hurt in what is known as a soft tissue injury where their muscles been damaged or their discs between their backbone have been hurt. Those types of injuries sometimes don’t come up for several days. When you’re in a collision, many times your adrenaline just goes off the chart and you don’t feel the injury. Whether you do or whether you don’t, go get checked out. In Florida, if you don’t get checked out and see a doctor for treatment within 14 days, you lose your right to have your own PIP or no-fault insurance pay for those bills. That could be a kick in the stomach to your situation.Another mistake we see is people don’t get a hold of a lawyer. A lawyer can do many things in preservation of evidence, particularly here in Nassau County. State road 200 is the east-west main artery, only artery from I95 onto Amelia Island. It is under construction. It’s been under construction for several years. It will be under construction for many years to come. The makeup of the lanes change, sometimes on a daily basis. If you get a hold of a lawyer, a lawyer knows to go preserve the evidence, go out and take photographs of the accident scene because it’s going to change, particularly up here. Cars get repaired. Another mistake we see is clients don’t get pictures of the damage to their car. Without it, although it’s not fatal, it weakens your case. You’ve heard the phrase a picture is worth 1,000 words. That is particularly true in courtrooms. Jurors love to see pictures. With it, we can extrapolate your damages and your injuries. If we have it, it’s a great tool. If we don’t have it, it’s one less tool in our toolbox. Those two things are the primary mistakes that we see. That clients don’t get treated and they don’t preserve their evidence by taking pictures of the scene and pictures of the car. If you contact us early on, we can navigate you through those mine fields. We can preserve the evidence so that we can maximize the value of your case. If you’ve been hurt in Nassau County, Duval County, or northeast Florida, give us a call. We’ll be happy to sit down with you, go over things, and see how best we could help you.
What should you do after you’ve been involved in an automobile accident? One of the first things you should do is get treated. That is far and away more important than any other aspect of a case. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, go to your primary care doctor or to the emergency room and do it right away because many times you can be hurt and not know it. The sooner you get treated and the sooner you can get to see a doctor, the sooner the therapies can be implemented and the more effectively and the quicker you can get well. That is the very first thing that you should do.Next, call a lawyer who can help you navigate through the complexities of insurance questions, including who should pay what, how it should be paid, and preservation of the evidence, such as the damage to your vehicle and the collision scene. Those types of things go away if you don’t get it done immediately. Your attorney can help you with these items while you are recuperating and getting your medical care. He can be that aid in the event that your case turns into a claim against a responsible party. If you’ve been hurt in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Yulee, Callahan, Hilliard, Nassau County or the Jacksonville area in Duval County, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you in any way that we can.
When people come to see us, they have a lot of questions. Typically, they’ve been in an accident. This is their first one. They don’t know what to do. The question that comes up is who’s going to pay the bills. Ironically, even though the accident was not your fault, you will pay the initial round. In Florida, you are required to have no fault insurance, also goes by Personal Injury Protection, PIP. That insurance will pay 80% of your medical bills. If you purchase additional insurance with your automobile insurance called medical payment insurance, you have to pay extra for it, but it will pick up the other 20%. Your auto insurance will pay potentially 100% of your bills.That may sound backwards if someone else is responsible for the accident, but in Florida, that’s what pays first. After that, your health insurance, if you have it, will pick up these bills. At the end, if we resolve your case, either by settling before going to court or obtaining a verdict, the liable party will pay for your medical bills. At the end of the day, the at fault driver’s insurance company will pay, but at the beginning of the case, you have to take care of it. For answers to these and other insurance related questions connected with auto accidents, give us a call.