Frequently Asked Questions for Personal Injury Claims
When someone sustains an injury because of another person’s negligent or wrongful actions, Florida law allows the injured party to recoup losses resulting from the injury. Sadly, the process of seeking compensation through a personal injury claim is not as simple as most people think. That’s why the Zimmet & Zimmet legal team has put together answers to some of the frequently asked questions about a personal injury to help you know what to expect.
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is key to getting the maximum compensation. You need to ensure that your lawyer has handled cases similar to yours prior to hiring him or her.
Here at Zimmet & Zimmet, our Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys have proudly served clients in the state of Florida since 1975. Ronald Zimmet Sr. and his son Ronald Zimmet Jr. have won million and multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases ranging from vehicle accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians to slip and fall and premises liability accidents.
Filing a claim is best done with the help of an attorney. It starts by serving the other side with a copy of the paperwork. Once that is done, you wait for them to file a response. After that, you can start building your case by gathering evidence, reaching out to witnesses, and collecting medical reports. From here, you can now bring the preliminary motion to the court.
A personal injury claim or lawsuit allows the injured party to recoup a wide range of damages from the at-fault party or their insurance carrier. The main type is compensatory damages, which is further subdivided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages often include relatively objective and tangible losses and expenses, such as medical costs, cost of future treatment, property damage, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. On the other hand, non-economic damages are more subjective and include things such as pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
There’s no definite answer to this question. Every case is different, and the circumstances surrounding your case are unique. However, factors such as your injuries, amount of property damage, who was a fault and at what percentage, past and future medical cost totals, past and future lost income, and underlying conditions will all come into play when determining your claim’s value. Put simply, evaluating the value of your personal injury case is quite tricky and should only be done with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Not only will the right lawyer help you gather evidence and identity the responsible party, but will also work with to determine your claim’s worth and make you get exactly that.
As soon as you file your claim, you will realize that insurance companies often make decisions solely based on whether they are good for their business. They won’t really care about your needs unless they align with their business. The insurance company will either make several attempts to deny liability or hesitate to pay up. In other instances, they will make quick offers that often do not make up for your losses. That’s why we do not recommend accepting the first offer or settling at the beginning unless there’s a valid reason to do so. Talk to our personal injury lawyers today and learn how we can help you maximize your claim. Our experienced personal injury lawyers understand how the insurance companies and will use that knowledge to ensure that you are not manipulated.
First, you should never speak with an insurance adjuster unless you are very knowledgeable about insurance practices. While these individuals may seem friendly, kind and easy to get along with, they are certainly here to take advantage of unsuspecting accident victims. They will try to coax statements from you that will eventually eliminate the liability of their insured or lower your settlement. That’s why it’s never a good move to speak to them without legal counsel from a competent personal injury lawyer. If you have to, keep your responses at a minimum. The same should apply if a lawyer for another person reaches out to you.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, it’s evident that the insurance company of the liable party will not pay for your lost income. You might need to get disability benefits (short-term or long-term) through your employer or use your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage if you were injured in an automobile crash. In most cases, these insurers will need to be reimbursed as soon as you get a settlement. In case you have paid time off, sick time, vacation time or other forms of compensation time through your employer, these too can be used.
Yes! Much like most states, Florida law provides a limit to how long you can wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit. If your case, for instance, is relating to an action founded on negligence, you must then file a lawsuit within two years. It is crucial to bear in mind that the statute of limitations begins from the date when the accident occurs.
The length of time it takes to solve the matter will depend on the kind of accident that caused your injuries and how bad you were hurt. Typically, your personal injury case could be settled in just a few days, months, or it could take years.
Ideally, we wouldn’t want you to see the inside of a courtroom. Going to trial can be difficult, lengthy, and of course, expensive. On the other hand, settling out of court is much easier, faster, more efficient, less stressful and less costly than a trial. That’s why we recommend that you settle the matter out of court so that you can move on with your life. However, there are instances when you need to take your case to trial. If you have been hurt because of the negligence of another party, talk to our Daytona Beach personal injury lawyers to learn whether you should settle or go to trial.
Certainly, you can file a personal injury lawsuit without the help of a lawyer. Nevertheless, you must be ready fulfil all the legal requirements as laid under the Florida law. For instance, you must adhere to all formalities when filing your documents. The civil procedure, admission of evidence, and all the rules of discovery will apply to you. If you make a single mistake, it may ruin everything regardless of how strong your case was. Therefore, it is always a good idea to enlist an experienced personal injury attorney, no matter how much you desire to handle things on your own.
As long as you can prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you most definitely have a valid claim. However, applying this standard can be more confusing than it sounds, which is why you need to seek legal advice. The right personal injury lawyer will offer a free initial consultation and case review to help you establish whether you have a valid case or not. Give us a call right away to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
Before we get started on your case, we will need to see copies of the police report explaining what took place. Our lawyers will also want to see copies of your medical bills and any reports from the doctors. You will also need to provide insurance information and the number of days you have missed work. It would be helpful for you to list the things that have affected your daily life, and ensure that you record important dates. Pictures, videos, recordings, and available witnesses contact information could also be useful.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we offer a free initial consultation and case review. That means we will answer all your questions, apprise you of your rights and suggest the best strategy for obtaining justice without charging anything. If you trust us to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, you will not owe us a dime unless we win. We only ask for a percentage of what our personal injury lawyers recover.
Typically, no attorney will be able to tell you how much your case is worth without conducting a thorough review of all the details surrounding your particular case. Many factors go into determining the value of a personal injury case in Florida, which is why you need a skilled Daytona Beach injury lawyer to assess your damages based on all the factors related to your unique case.
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court. However, your case might be among those that go to trial. After all, parties are not always able to reach a consensus regarding a favorable settlement because the injured party may feel that the settlement offer is too low while the at-fault party may feel that the offer is reasonable or even too high.
In that situation, both parties need to be prepared to litigate their personal injury case. Your personal injury claim may eventually proceed to court if you and the other party cannot agree on a settlement offer. Your attorney will have to be prepared to take your case to court if necessary.
Florida state law is very strict about time limits for all types of legal actions, including personal injury lawsuits. In Florida, you must file your personal injury claim within four years from the date of the accident if your injury was caused by the negligent acts of another individual or entity.
However, there is a shortened statute of limitations for personal injury claims against government entities and lawsuits involving wrongful death. However, just because the time limit to file a lawsuit is four years does not mean that you have plenty of time and can simply postpone taking legal action. Preparing a personal injury case is usually a time-consuming and complicated process, which is why you should seek help from knowledgeable Daytona Beach personal injury lawyers to start working on your case as soon as possible.
If your own fault contributed to your accident, you might still be able to obtain compensation for your injury. Florida follows the pure comparative negligence system, which means you can recover damages if you were partially at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault.
Thus, your own negligence can limit the amount of compensation you can obtain in a personal injury settlement or verdict. For example, if you were found to be 15% at fault while the other person was deemed to be 85% to blame for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by 15%.
If you schedule a consultation with our Daytona Beach injury attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet, you will not have to pay anything to consult with us about your case. Our personal injury law firm in Daytona Beach offers a free initial consultation to anyone who was injured in Florida and is in need of help.
By working on a contingency fee basis, personal injury attorneys only get paid a certain percentage if they win your case.
The amount of the contingency fee varies from one law firm to the next, but it’s generally in the 30 to 40 percent range (with 33 percent the most common arrangement).
Using a 33 percent contingency fee, here’s an example of how things may play out with a personal injury settlement in Florida:
- If you receive an offer of $200,000 from the at fault party’s insurance company, you’ll receive $134,000 and your attorney will receive $66,000.
- As noted above, if your attorney doesn’t win your case, you’re not on the hook for any costs.
- The agreed-upon contingency fee; and
- The compensation amount that’s awarded to you by a jury or in a settlement.
Although you have the right to seek compensation without the assistance of an attorney, there are real benefits that make it worth getting a personal injury lawyer.
With the guidance of an experienced injury attorney, you’ll get answers to all the most important questions regarding your case. Additionally, your attorney will manage your case from beginning to end, which allows you and your family to focus on your health and physical recovery.
Your personal injury lawyer will handle all communications with the involved parties, including the at-fault individual’s insurance company, so you don’t have to stress about making a small mistake that possibly ruins your case.
When you add the fact that a personal injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, everything is working in your favor. There’s no risk on your end.
- Car accidents
- Boat accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Traumatic brain injury accidents
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
There’s a big difference between a “good” (reasonable) settlement offer and one that leaves much to be desired.
However, there’s no simple way to define exactly what is a good settlement offer, as it depends on many factors such as: the type of accident, the severity of injuries and other damages, and your ability to collect strong enough evidence to back up your claim.
One thing to remember is that insurance companies want you to settle your case for the smallest amount of money possible. Because of this, a good settlement offer doesn’t happen the first time around.
Considering these factors, it’s recommended to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can collect the right evidence for your claim and negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies to get you a good settlement offer.
If you’re negotiating with the other party’s insurance company, a settlement will typically be paid out in the form of a check. In most cases, this check will go to your attorney first.
Your attorney will take their percentage, deduct any applicable legal fees and expenses, and then forward the appropriate remaining amount to you.
After receiving a settlement, you’ll sign a release that absolves the defendant and their insurance company from any additional liability. This is why you should think long and hard about accepting a “final payment” from an insurance company.
If you want to hire a good personal injury lawyer, some of the steps you can take to improve your odds of success include:
- Visiting the law firm’s website for more information.
- Reading online reviews on Google or lawyer directories.
- Contact the law firm directly with questions and concerns.
- Ask friends and family for referrals or recommendations.
Once you find a good personal injury lawyer, review the agreement they present to you. This will ensure that you’re familiar with the terms and conditions of your arrangement, including the contingency fee.
The best time to hire a personal injury lawyer is immediately after an accident where you suffered losses due to another person’s negligence.
The sooner you consult with a lawyer, the sooner he or she can preserve evidence for your claim, determine the full value of your case, and begin negotiations with the insurance company in your favor.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to manage the accident claims process on your own, as insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of you. Hire a personal injury attorney early on to protect your legal rights and pursue maximum compensation.
- Per diem method: Your damages are calculated on a “per day” basis between the date of your injury and the date when your medical provider releases you from treatment.
- Multiplier method: By using your medical expenses as a basis for damages, this method allows you to obtain compensation in line with the severity of your injuries and recovery time associated with them.
- General damages: These damages provide compensation for non-economic losses, such as emotional distress, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.
- Special damages: These damages are related to direct financial loss, such as lost wages and current and future medical bills.
- Punitive damages: These damages are awarded to you in an effort to punish the at fault party for their wrongful behavior.
- Traumatic brain injury, such as a skull fracture.
- Broken bones
- Deep lacerations
- Soft tissue injuries, such as ligament tears
- Loss of limb
The only way to know for sure if your accident qualifies as a personal injury case is to consult with an experienced attorney near you who is familiar with the local laws regarding personal injury.
Your attorney will review your personal injury case and collect information to help determine if you should move forward in filing a claim.
There’s a lot that goes into winning a personal injury case, such as proving that you suffered losses as a result of someone else’s negligent actions. Proving this can be extremely difficult so speak with an attorney to make sure you have a strong enough case.
- Receive immediate medical attention
- Maintain thorough medical records
- Follow the treatment advice of your doctor
- Collect evidence, such as photos of the accident scene and damages
While bodily injury and personal injury appear to be the same, there’s one major difference.
Bodily injury describes a type of damage you can collect compensation for, while a personal injury is a type of claim that you file.
Think about it this way: bodily injury entails any damages suffered in an accident. (You’ll also see this phrase in insurance policies, as it refers to a specific type of coverage.) On the other hand, personal injury describes a type of civil court claim filed against a negligent party.
There’s no guaranteed way to win a personal injury claim, but there are steps you can take to improve your odds.
In addition to consulting with a personal injury lawyer, the following steps can strengthen your chances of winning a personal injury claim:
- Receive immediate medical attention after your accident and follow the treatment advice of your doctor.
- Collect evidence from the accident scene, such as photos, video, and witness testimony.
- Maintain complete records, such as medical records, lost income, and conversations with insurance companies.
- Refrain from accepting the first offer sent by an insurance company.
These steps will put you on the path to building a strong personal injury claim and receiving maximum compensation.
If your personal injury attorney wins your case, you want to receive money from the settlement as soon as possible.
While many factors impact exactly how long it takes, you should expect to receive your compensation within eight weeks.
But remember, your payout may go to your attorney first. They will process the compensation by deducting their contingency fee percentage as well as any legal fees and expenses, and then send you the remaining money based on your agreement.