David W. Magann’s Top 10 Most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death:
1. What is a Personal Injury case and how is it valued?
Generally, automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents are common occurrences in which a personal injury matter takes place. If you have been involved in an accident you need to know your legal rights and obligations under Florida law. Florida law requires that all motor vehicle owners carry a minimum of insurance on their vehicle. Many vehicle owners do not carry the necessary insurance to properly cover potential claim(s) for injuries for themselves or other parties.
Cases have value based on five areas assuming the liability, i.e. who was at fault, issue is clear. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases are entitled to five areas of damages. Those areas are as follows:
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Lost of Earnings Capacity in the Future
- Future Medical Bills
Even with all that information it is very difficult for an attorney to come up with an exact figure, but a range of the value based on cases of like kind and circumstances can be determined.
2. What is a Wrongful Death case?
To have a loved one that was killed due to someone else’s negligence is a very grievous situation. When your loss occurs due to the negligence or wrongful behavior of another, your family may face additional challenges. Medical and funeral costs, mental anguish, loss of future earnings and loss of companionship are just a few hurdles to overcome.
A wrongful death action may be brought against the responsible party to recover damages for the survivors. Depending on the circumstances the surviving spouse, parent of the deceased, minor child(ren) of the deceased and the adult child(ren) of the deceased may bring an action against the responsible party.
If you have suffered a wrongful death of a family member through the negligence of another, PLEASE call us today.
3. I was a passenger in another person’s car which was involved in an accident—what can I do?
A person who negligently operates a vehicle is required to pay for any and all damages caused. If you have been injured through the careless actions or irresponsible behavior of another, you may have a valid personal injury claim.
4. I was in an accident and my insurance company is not paying my medical bills.
If you have been receiving medical care for the injuries you sustained in an automobile accident and are receiving medical bills that are not being paid by your insurance company you might have a claim against your insurance company to pay the medical provider. Often insurance companies reduce the medical provider’s bill and the balance is left for you to deal with. If this is happening to you, please contact our office to discuss a potential claim under the personal injury protection law.
5. Why do we have to use my insurance company if I did nothing wrong to cause this accident?
The State of Florida is a “no fault” state means each person utilizing a vehicle is required to have PIP or Personal Injury Protection for immediate medical and lost wage coverage. Your insurance is to pay 80% of the medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000, whether the other party is at fault or not. The situation can also occur when a negligent person causes an accident, and they are uninsured or underinsured and then you can make a claim against your own insurance company provided you have paid a premium for that coverage with your insurance company.
6. How long will it take to resolve my case?
The time range is subject to fluctuation depending on the facts of the case. Each case is different depending are the nature of the injuries. Generally, a typical auto accident without life threatening injuries can be resolved between 5 to 8 months.
7. What does a “Letter of Protection” (LOP) mean?
If a medical provider asks for a Letter of Protection you should consult with an attorney immediately.
In many instances people who do not have insurance coverage or their PIP benefits are exhausted are often asked to sign a LOP. This is a document that gives the patient the ability to keep treating without paying for the medical bills at the time of treatment. These Letters of Protection typically, if accepted by the facility or physician, allow the patient to keep treating and once a recovery is made, the doctor or healthcare facility is reimbursed.
However, it is always made clear to the client that even with a letter of protection in their medical file they are ultimately responsible for the medical bills in the event the case does not resolve as expected.
8. I have full coverage, why am I not covered?
Full coverage in the State of Florida is only PIP as discussed in question number 5, with possible coverage for collision on your vehicle. To have full coverage in regard to an automobile negligence case that would necessitate for purposes of recovering for injuries, you should have the following: PIP or no-fault, medical payment benefits, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, collision or comprehensive and rental car insurance.
Often, your insurance agent does not inform you of the problems that can occur if you do not have all-inclusive coverage.
9. What is a permanent impairment rating or MMI rating?
Pursuant to AMA guidelines, the treating doctor eventually makes a final narrative at the conclusion of your treatment. When we speak of conclusion of treatment, it means that when the treating physician has decided you are at MMI. This is an acronym for maximum medical improvement and simply means you are as good as you are going to get. It is at that point that some doctors assign, and insurance companies request, a permanent impairment rating. This rating is an important number that many automobile issuance companies use to value your case.
10. Why am I responsible for my PIP deductible?
Legislature has deemed that in the no-fault or PIP statute that up to a $2,000 deductible is allowed by the insurance companies for sale to consumers. Although this is the largest deductible allowed, it is not mandatory. Speak to your insurance agent about limiting any deductibles you may have. A policy with a PIP deductible is minimal coverage at best.