If you or a loved one have been injured or harmed as a result of the negligence or actions of others, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury. Do I have a personal injury claim? How much is my personal injury claim worth?Should I hire an attorney? Continuing reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Do I have a claim for personal injury?
If you have sustained an injury or have been harmed as a result of the negligence or actions of another, you may have a claim. Common types of personal injury claims are:
- Car accidents
- Boating accidents
- Train accidents
- Bus accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip/Trip and Falls
- Medical Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Negligent Security
- Dog/Animal bites
Common types of injuries:
- Brain injury
- Broken bone
- Crush injury
- Facial trauma
- Knee injury: ACL, MCL, Meniscus
- Shoulder injury: Rotator cuff
- Spinal cord injury
- Spinal fracture
The attorneys and staff at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, PLLC have experience handling all types of personal injury claims. We have handled personal injury claims involving the most catastrophic injuries.
I was injured as a result of the negligence or actions of others, what now?
After you sustain an injury as a result of the negligence or actions of others, you should:
- Report the accident or incident. It is important to report the accident or incident immediately, to memorialize important information, such as the date, time, location, conditions(weather, lighting, wet or dry surface, etc.), and any witnesses (first and last names, address, and phone number).
- Seek medical treatment immediately. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately to document your injuries. Any delay in treatment may be used by the insurance company against you. They will either argue that you were not injured or were injured from something other than the accident or incident you are claiming.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that the attorney can gather facts to support your claim. Evidence to support your claim can be lost or even destroyed if not preserved timely. For example, surveillance video is typically only kept for a certain period of time and then is recorded over. If the surveillance video is recorded over then this vital piece of evidence is gone forever. Once you've contacted an experienced personal injury attorney provide them all of the information you already have collected.
- Keep detailed notes. Personal injury claims can often times take months or even years. It is important to keep detailed notes to help you remember important information that supports your claim. This can include pictures, such as injuries, damage to your car, etc. It is human nature that over the course of time our memory fades and we forget things. Insurance companies often try to exploit this, but a detailed log and constant communication with your attorney will avoid this pitfall.
Who will pay my medical bills?
If you were injured in a car accident and have auto insurance, your own auto insurance company will be the first $10,000 of your medical bills. If you have health insurance, your health insurance provider can act as a secondary payer, and pay those bills which are not paid by your auto insurance carrier. If you do not have health insurance, your medical bills will be paid from your settlement proceeds. If you were injured as a result of a slip and fall or trip and fall type incident, whether in public, in a business, or on private property, typically those insurance policies contain a medical payments provision that will pay your medical bills.
How much is my claim for personal injury worth?
That depends. When evaluating the value of your claim, insurance companies look at different factors. They look at your economic damages, such as the amount of your past medical expenses, the reasonable value of your future medical expenses, past lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. They look at your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering damages. In certain cases where this is reckless or intentional conduct that causes an injury, there are punitive damages. Punitive damages are mean to punish the at fault party.
Insurance companies also look to see if you have hired an attorney and they will evaluate the attorney and the firm you hire. For example, they will consider whether the firm or attorney you hired commonly files lawsuits and whether the firm or attorney have tried a case to a jury. This makes choosing the right personal injury attorney all the more important as this can lead to a greater recovery for you. Make sure to ask any attorney you are considering whether they have ever filed a lawsuit or whether they have ever had a jury trial.
What can I recover?
The Florida Civil Jury Instructions outline the elements for personal injury damages. Commonly, you can recover compensation for your past medical expenses, the reasonable value of any future medical expenses, lost earnings, lost time, lost earning capacity, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
Should I hire a personal injury attorney?
YES! An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process from making a claim to settling your claim allowing you to focus on what matters - getting better. Your attorney will investigate your claim, obtain the police or incident report, take witness statements, gather your medical records and bills, communicate with the other party or insurance company, and give you the legal advice to help you make the absolute best decisions.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost?
Attorneys in the state of Florida are governed by the Florida Bar. Rule 4-1.5, Fees and Costs for Legal Services outlines the types of fees that attorneys can charge. Personal injury attorneys work on a "contingency fee" agreement, meaning you don't owe your attorney a dime unless they make a recovery for you. Personal injury attorneys will also cover the costs of bringing your claim. Those costs can be a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the case and whether litigation is required.
How long will it take to resolve my personal injury claim?
That depends. The length of time depends on many factors including, but not limited to, the type and extent of your medical care and treatment, the available insurance coverage, and whether your claim can be resolved without filing a lawsuit. Commonly personal injury cases can take between nine to twelve months. However, if you have to file a lawsuit, it can take much longer.
What are the steps of a personal injury claim?
After you sustain an injury as a result of the negligence or actions of others:
- File a claim for personal injury. Simply, this means putting the at-fault party on notice. If you hire an attorney, your attorney will send a letter of representation to the at-fault party, putting them on notice of your claim and requesting their insurance information.
- Pre-suit Demand. Once you have completed your medical care and treatment, you present a demand to the at-fault party outlining liability, your injuries, the medical care and treatment you have received to date, the amount of your medical bills, the medical care you will require in the future, and lost wages.
- File Suit. If you are unable to settle your claim pre-suit, then you file a Complaint suing the at-fault party. The lawsuit is typically filed in the county where the accident or incident happened or where the at-fault party resides.
- Discovery. After a lawsuit is filed, the parties participate in discovery. During the discovery phase, you will be asked to complete written discovery, sit for a deposition, and present for a compulsory medical examination.
- Mediation. Once the discovery process is complete, the parties participate in mediation. An unbiased third, party, acts as a mediator to see if the parties are able to compromise and reach a settlement without the necessity of a trial. The costs of the mediator are typically shared equally by the parties.
- Trial. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement at mediation or prior to trial, the final step is a trial. A jury is selected to hear the evidence in your case and then ultimately decides the issues in your case. However, you can still settle your case during and even after trial.
Why hire us?
The experienced team of attorneys and staff at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have handled every type of personal injury claim from start to finish. We have the necessary resources to investigate your claim and the knowledge and skill to present your case in a way to maximize your recovery. Click here to read what our clients say about us and click here to see our recent results. We routinely handle personal injury cases in South Florida and the Treasure Coast including Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties and throughout the State of Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured or harmed as a result of the negligence or actions of others, call us now for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.