Miami Car Accident Injury Lawsuit Frequently Asked Questions
If you have just been involved in an automobile accident of any kind, the first thing you should do is take care of yourself and any others that were involved in the collision. What does this mean? If you or anyone else has been injured, they should seek immediate medical attention as necessary. Those first few days following the accident can be nerve wracking, try to take a pause as you readjust after the inevitable shock to your system.
If the accident was so extensive that there were injuries involved or serious property damage incurred, whether to a vehicle or otherwise, you’ll want to make sure that the local law enforcement agency is notified so that they can send an officer to come out and take a police report. The report will serve as an important piece of evidence later on, and can substantiate claims made either to insurance agencies or later at trial.
In many cases where there is a two car collision car insurance companies will get involved. While car insurance companies owe a duty to their insureds to defend them against liability, they do not owe any duty to the parties that they do not represent. What does this mean? If you were injured, the car insurance company of the person who was responsible for the harm will attempt to settle the case for as little as possible as quickly as possible because that is their job. Many times in car accidents soft tissue damage, such as to the neck or back, will not be readily apparent immediately following an accident but may develop over time. Once a settlement agreement has been signed, you cannot go back and ask for more money, even if your injuries that develop are clearly a result of the accident. Therefore, it is usually in a person’s best interests to consult with a car accident attorney that knows exactly what types of claims you may have, and can advise you with how best to proceed.
In addition to fighting for the compensation that you deserve, when Gerson & Schwartz takes you on as a client, our personal injury attorneys will also be able to handle your legal claims completely from start to finish, whatever that may take. You can focus on healing yourself and getting your life back in order while we zealously advocate on your behalf in an attempt to get you back to where you need to be.
When you come in for your initial case consultation, you may be feeling anxious or nervous, especially if you have never hired an attorney before. You may have many questions running through your head or perhaps you won’t know what to ask at all. Don’t worry, either of these actions or anything in between are ok! We know that a car accident can be a traumatic or scary experience, especially if anyone has been hurt. An auto collision is something that can leave anyone feeling shaken up, even as time passes.
When you first come into the offices of Gerson & Schwartz, you will be greeted by our receptionist who will let us know that you have arrived. You should bring any all documents that you may have gathered with you in a folder or large envelope, even if you don’t think it is necessarily important. The typical sorts of papers you may have begun to accumulate include:
- Medical records, both past and present
- Witness information, such as how to get in contact, etc.
- Bills (whether medical, auto, repair, anything related to your car accident)
- Correspondence of any kind from insurance adjusters (such as letters or emails)
- Property damage bills, assessments or estimates
- Receipts for any out of pocket expenses you have incurred
The more information you can provide our office with, the better sense we can get of what is going on with regard to potential claims you may have, and how we can move forward beyond our initial consultation together. Perhaps more importantly, we won’t be able to get started with your case until we have a sense of where we’re going, and that depends in large part on the facts related to your car accident case.
There are no upfront costs for our personal injury clients. Gerson & Schwartz advances all the costs related to your car accident case. Our attorneys don’t get paid until you do-- we recover our fees and costs as part of the settlement or award we procure on your behalf.
If you decide to hire our law firm to represent you following your car accident, we will take your case on what is called a contingency fee basis. Contingent fee agreements are like contracts between the lawyer and the client which set forth the percentage or fee structure that the attorney will earn as a result of representation.The amount of attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery at the end of the case and are set forth by the Florida Supreme Court.
A contingent fee agreement means that the lawyer’s payment is contingent upon a successful outcome in your case. Thus, if we do not procure a settlement or financial award in your Miami car accident case, you do not owe our law firm anything. The purpose of these types of agreements is to ensure that every car accident victim or family member has the chance to access legal representation regardless of financial ability.
Unfortunately, insufficient car insurance is a common problem that many car accident victims are unfamiliar with. Under Florida law, motor vehicle operators are not required to carry bodily injury insurance coverage. This means that a driver may have coverage for if their car or another’s car become damaged, but they are not required to have insurance that protects them for the potential costs of injuries caused to another.
All too frequently, Miami and Florida drivers that cause a car accidents resulting in the serious injuries of another may leave themselves exposed to personal liability These situations where a person that causes serious bodily injury or death but have no assets are problematic. Too many times, we have seen clients with serious injuries but the responsible parties do not have enough resources to account for the damages that they have caused.
When you hire our law firm, we will work diligently to explore all the potential sources of legal responsibility and financial resources that may be available. We also encourage all clients that drive to purchase uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle coverage, which can serve to protect you in the event of an uninsured and underinsured driver. Additionally, if you have health insurance it can potentially pay for medical bills and expenses, although it won’t cover any pain and suffering or non-economic damages. For these reasons, it is paramount to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate all potential legal claims and pursue the compensation that you deserve.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions most clients want to know, and we understand! When you hire Gerson and Schwartz, PA we will do all that we can to settle your case as quickly as possible.
When your car accident case will settle or go to trial depends on you. The range can be anywhere from a couple months to a year following an accident. When your case settles will depends largely on many case factors our lawyers need to analyze. These factors include:
- How much insurance is available?
- What is the severity of injuries?
- Are you still receiving medical treatment?
- What are the long term needs? For example, is long term medical care necessary? Did an injured party lose the ability to work? Will someone be needing skilled nursing for a prolonged period of time?
- Will you make a full recovery Do you have a permanent injury?
In catastrophic injury cases, such as when a traumatic brain injury occurs, or cases involving extensive surgery or in similar cases where significant damages are sustained, cases can take longer to settle. In serious injury claims where a lawsuit or litigation is required there is more information that needs to be discovered.
Once a lawsuit it is filed, the settlement process typically takes at least a year. The reason for this is because insurance companies need time to evaluate client’s medical records and other evidence in order to determine what they are willing to offer. Insurance companies will rarely approach a settlement offer until all of their questions are answered.
Similarly, as lawyers we are unable to settle a case until the full nature and extent of a client’s damages are fully understood. Is our client going to make a full recovery? Or will they be left with a permanent injury that affects them over the course of their lives? As your advocate we will not overlook these answers that can potentially last for the rest of your life.
On the other end of the spectrum, cases that are more straightforward, those where insurance coverage available is limited, or where injuries are not as serious can settle more quickly. Cases that settle without needing to file a formal lawsuit can settle within as little as three to six months following completion of medical treatment.
Exactly when a case will settle depends on the facts of the matter, as no two cases are exactly alike.
The Miami car accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA have over 46 years of experience in handling personal injury and car accident cases. In addition to our wide breadth of experience, our attorneys are also experienced in the cutting edge technological developments as relevant to the usage of video, animated, accident reconstruction and computer graphics in auto collision accidents. Our car accident attorneys draw on extensive legal experience combined with advanced technology to bring about just and successful outcomes for car, auto, and other motor vehicle accident claims. Our message is powerful and effective. We strive to obtain maximum case results for all our clients and will pursue all legal remedies on their behalf.