I am sorry to hear about your accident. It appears as though your friends insurance has accepted liability for the accident and are trying to meet with you to discuss possible settlement of your bodily injury claim. In Florida, under PIP coverage, your auto insurance will be responsible for paying any related medical expenses at 80% and any lost wages at 60% up to $10,000.00 . In order for PIP coverage to pay, you need to be seen by a doctor within 14 days of the accident (do not miss this deadline). The 20% copay of your medical expenses and 40% of you lost wages are considered economic damages or out of pocket expenses. You have a right to claim these damages from the bodily injury coverage of the at-fault driver's insurance. Pain and suffering is known as non-economic damages and in order to recover these damages, you need to show that you've met the threshold in Florida, which is primarily done by proving that you have suffered a permanent injury. This sounds more serious than it really is. Usually, a doctor can diagnose you with a permanent injury if after a few months of treatment, you still continue to suffer from accident related pain or discomfort.
I recommend that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation before your meeting on Friday. If you decide to not to, it is extremely important that you DO NOT sign any documents (most importantly a release of liability) before consulting with an attorney. They may even offer to cut you a check then and there. From my experience, a good attorney can on average recover 3 to 5 times the amount they will be offering you. The statute of limitations in FL for negligence is 4 years. There is absolutely no rush for you to settle your bodily injury claim without knowing the full extent of your injuries and future treatment. Call an attorney right away. Good luck.
Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.
Your own auto insurancem if any, will give you PIP benefits which pays your medical bills and wage losses, subject to any deductibles that you are responsible for. The car insurance on the car you were in will pay money damages to you if there is any liability or fault on the part of the owner or driver of that car - if no liability then all you are entiled to is the PIP on your policy. If you didn.t have PIP, then the insurance of the car you were in will be the one that pays PIP benefits. You also need to check and see if you have underinsured/uninsured on your car insurance policy. If there was no fault in the crash then you are not entitled to pain and suffering damages. You need an attorney ASAP and stop talking with the insurance company agents, they are not your friend and will try to get you to settle too cheaply.
This response is to provide general legal information and does not constitute legal advice nor should it be considered or viewed as forming any sort of attorney-client relationship and such information provided is viewable by the general public.
Since you are this lost early on, I believe you need to hire one of us or at least get a free consultation. Insurance companies almost always try to pay the lowest amount possible, and it does not sound like you have a firm grasp on the severity of your injuries.
I only practice in the areas of personal injury, federal civil rights, and criminal law. I will not respond to inquiries about legal representation in other areas of law, so please do not call me about matters outside my areas of practice. Furthermore, my answers on Avvo do not create an attorney-client relationship. Avvo is not designed for the type of legal analysis I personally require to accept a case. You should always seek a consultation with a licensed attorney who practices in the specific area of law who can fully review the facts of your case.
Your own auto insurer's PIP policy is supposed to pay a portion of your related medical bills. Don't get bogged down on the 80-20% rule because it's inexact.
If your friend's insurer accepts liability for your friend's negligence in failing to maintain the vehicle in good working order, then you could make a claim for money from your friend's Bodily Injury coverage (if any) for your pain & suffering, medical expenses, etc. Be advised that you are not automatically entitled to anything from your friend or his/her insurer unless the owner of the car you were in can be said to have been negligent in the operation or maintenance of the car. In Florida, a car's owner is vicariously responsible for the acts or omissions of the driver.
This is the stuff we deal with all the time in personal injury cases, so don't hesitate to reach out and contact a lawyer to help you. You have limited time to see a physician before your own PIP benefits get severely limited, too (thank your wonderful legislators), so don't wait around.
In my practice, I do both personal injury and financial/estate planning. A lot of my work involves teaming up with other lawyers, both to litigate personal injury claims and to help other lawyers' clients with financial/estate matters. Many times, the need for my services comes from a change in a client's family situation: birth, death, marriage, or divorce. Other times, the client is settling a suit or claim, and they need to know how to reduce taxes and protect the money so it doesn't get squandered or sued away from them. Whatever your legal situation, there is likely to be a financial component that raises questions or concerns for you.
If this was very simple, you would not need an attorney. I can tell you that the delayed pain you are feeling is common with auto accidents. I am sorry to hear about your daughter also, and it is very, very important for everyone's health that you and your daughter have good medical care . I suggest you call an experienced accident attorney in your area ASAP! I also suggest that you look at AVVO client reviews and ratings. There are reasons that clients make the comments they do, and for the ratings AVVO assigns to attorneys. The consultation is free and you need to act ASAP to have sound legal advise BEFORE you talk to any adjuster on Friday. I hope this is helpful for you.
You have a good case. Call a good lawyer.
There are a lot of factors that are unknown at this time, and the story to be told of how well you heal and what future medical treatment you may need, that determines value. Also, insurance companies will determine whether it is a person "making their own case," a mill's form letter or a detailed demand package that is the determining factor of an offer.
Essentially, insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to the Board of Directors. And their lawyers are, respectfully, good at getting one over on novice lawyers and novice victims- you would be basically both going into such a meeting representing yourself.
Even in soft tissue injuries, those tissues stretch and scar, or cause corresponding pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, leaving behind permanent problems for some. I have had clients need surgeries years later because of a bulging disk and have their entire world collapse for what seemed inconsequential at the time. Insurance companies want you to settle as soon as possible and treat as little as possible. Attorneys matter. They change their gameplan when a lawyer is involved.
On top of the at fault party's insurance, you may have uninsured motorist coverage, which applies when an at-fault driver has no liability insurance or has inadequate coverage. Givin the rising costs of medical treatment, most people are underinsured. This insurance pays for injuries to you, your family members or any other person in your car that were caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Meanwhile PIP is being abused and insurance companies are basically attempting to make people pay for $10,000 in insurance, but regulate it so tightly most unknowingly waive $7500 worth of benefits or get into the situation regarding the deductible and confuse you more.
For these reasons - and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should consult lawyers who take the time like on sites like this. Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRED knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you'd think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim. Hire a lawyer.
One of us would be happy to speak to you, for free, about this.
Our office accepts clients off of Avvo, but this initial impression is not protected by any privilege, is not attorney-client communication and you should consult a lawyer promptly about any legal matter.
it sounds like your own PIP insurance is covering the 80% as is required by the law. Your friend's insurance company is probably paying the remaining 20% under a MedPay policy.
Whether you have a case for your pain and suffering depends on several things: First, in order to recover you have to show negligence. If your friend did not mistreat her tires somehow, such as overinflating, underinflating, or hitting road debris that the driver should have seen, I do not see the negligence. Just driving when a tire blows does not show negligence. There might be a products claim against the tire company, if a defect in the tire can be shown. Second, you have to have a "threshhold" injury to get pain and suffering, usually this means a permanent injury. Without it, the claim for pain and suffering is foreclosed.
Get medical case ASAP (for you and your child if needed), or the $10,000 shrinks to $2,500. If you or your daughter are still in pain then see a lawyer.
This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed.
Don't meet and discuss anything with anyone until you have spoke to at least one personal injury attorney. Make some calls, it's worth your time under the circumstances. You also need to get seen by a MD w/in 14 days of the accident and have them sign off on it as an emergency medical condition or your $10,000 in PIP benefits may be limited to $2,500.00.
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