What should I do if I am injured in an accident?

Often an accident victim will not experience a great amount of pain right after the accident and will assume that they are “O.K.” This is a mistake. Often pain will set in within 24 to 48 hours after an accident as the damaged tissues become inflamed and begin to swell pressing upon sensitive nerves. Later, if the accident victim seeks medical treatment the insurance company will often claim that your late presentation to a healthcare provider is evidence that you are not hurt.

Although you may be startled or hurt immediately after an accident it is critical that you gather as much evidence as possible before the accident scene clears as your attorney may not have the opportunity to gather such evidence later. Take pictures of the accident scene including the location of the parties’ vehicles if the injuries involve an automobile accident. Documenting signage is likewise critical. If you are involved in a slip and fall, for example, it is important to obtain photographs of the floor, “Wet Floor” signs, or lack thereof, etc. Likewise, take pictures of any bleeding, bruising, and property damage as this evidence may quickly disappear. If there are witnesses, obtain all of their contact information as they may otherwise be unknown or unreachable once the accident scene clears.

It is important that you consult with the right medical professionals as soon as possible after an accident. While it is best to seek medical treatment immediately after the accident, one must be aware of Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) statute. Under the new PIP law, which represents sweeping changes to PIP insurance in Florida, persons injured in a motor vehicle accident must seek medical treatment within fourteen (14) days of their accident or PIP insurance benefits may be denied. Moreover, the injured party is only entitled to their full $10,000 of PIP insurance benefits if they present to a physician, osteopath, dentist, physician’s assistant or registered nurse practitioner within that 14 days. Only $2,500 of PIP coverage is available for chiropractic treatments and chiropractic treatments are not covered at all unless one of the foregoing healthcare providers refer the auto accident victim to chiropractic care.

The foregoing is only a small sample of what immediate actions may be needed to preserve your claim. Accordingly, when you or someone you know is hurt in an accident it is important to call the experienced personal injury attorneys at our office immediately so that we can begin to take time-sensitive measures to protect your rights.

I was injured in Florida but I live in another state or country. Can you represent me?

At Kaiser Romanello we handle all types of personal injury cases that arise throughout the State of Florida. As such, it does not matter where you live or work. As long as you were injured in Florida we can represent you anywhere in the state.

What Is No Fault Insurance and who pays for my medical bills?

In Florida, every driver is required to be covered by $10,000 of PIP no fault insurance. Under the PIP no fault system, everyone regardless of fault must receive benefits under their own insurance for the first $10,000 of their combined medical bills and lost wages. Accordingly, anyone carrying the required PIP insurance is immune from the first $10,000 of medical claims that result from his or her own negligence. The basic idea of the PIP no fault law is that when a person is injured in an accident and requires immediate medical care they should not be required to first prove to or convince an insurance company of the at-fault parties’ wrongdoing before he or she can receive medical benefits. If you do not own a car, it is important to note that you may be entitled to PIP benefits through an immediate relative with whom you live or through the owner of the car in which you were driving. If you have your own PIP insurance but were not driving your car you would be entitled to claim under your own policy as the PIP coverage is said to follow the person and not the automobile the person drives.

If no PIP insurance is available, one may be entitled to coverage via a health insurance policy. Unlike PIP claims, however, any monies paid under a health insurance policy typically have to be paid back to the extent you recover monies representing past medical costs as health insurance companies generally reserve the right of subrogation whereas, as a matter of law, insurance companies do not have the right to be paid back, or the right of subrogation, under a PIP policy. Note, these general principles apply to Florida law and may change if you purchased an out-of-state policy. In that case, the law of the state where you purchased your policy may apply.

If you do not have either applicable PIP insurance, which applies only in automobile accidents, or health insurance, a health care provider may agree to treat you under a letter of protection (“LOP.”) Basically, an LOP serves as a IOU whereby the healthcare provider treats the injured party and is paid from the settlement proceeds upon the resolution of the claim.

The insurance company is calling me. Should I speak with them?

Once you are represented by an attorney an insurance company should direct all correspondence to the law firm. Under no circumstances should one sign documents or take statements without the advice of a competent personal injury attorney protecting their interests. Some accident victims believe that because their own insurance company is calling it is alright to speak with them because the insurance company has their best interest in mind. This is false. To maximize profits, insurance companies often accept premiums and deny paying benefits on claims as much as possible. If you are making a personal injury protection (PIP) claim to cover your lost wages and medical expenses your insurance company may attempt to induce damaging statements from you and take same out of context to argue that your claim is not valid under the policy or that your medical care is not reasonably related to your accident, or medically necessary. If your are making an uninsured motorist claim your insurance company may actually take the position of the at-fault party to argue that the person who injured you is not at fault, that you are entirely or partially at-fault for your injuries, or simply that you are not hurt. Why? Simply, the more you are responsible and the less you are hurt the less your uninsured motorist insurance company has to pay you. In short, the insurance company, even your own insurance company, is not your friend.

Do I have a case?

In the simplest terms, in order for a case to be viable an injured person needs to show that the other party was at fault and that said fault caused injury. Further, there needs to be a source of recovery from either the at-fault party directly, or from an insurance company. Personal injury claims, however, can be extraordinarily complex. To clarify whether you or someone you know has a good claim we offer all of our perspective personal injury clients a free consultation to determine what your rights are and how you should protect them.

How are your personal injury attorneys paid?

Insurance companies have nearly limitless financial resources to defend at-fault parties in court against your claims. As such, it is said that the contingency fee contract is the “keys to the courthouse” for those who otherwise cannot afford to pay for attorney fees to protect their rights against an at-fault party and their insurance company attorneys. Our attorneys are paid on a contingent basis and earn a percentage of whatever recovery we make on your behalf. Simply put, you do not pay out of pocket or in advance for our representation and if we do not recover monies on your behalf at the end of your case you do not pay legal fees or costs.

Who will handle my file?

Our clients enjoy personal service from and direct access to our attorneys. When you call about your case you will speak with the owners of the firm directly and often times will even be provided with their personal cell phone numbers to facilitate communication. We keep a flexible schedule and are often available to speak with past normal business hours. Moreover, because every case in our office is important, when negotiating with the insurance company or another law firm, your file is handled by the owners of the firm themselves not by a paralegal or junior associate.

Will I have to go to Court or trial if I make a personal injury claim?

A substantial portion of our cases do not result in a lawsuit or require that our clients go to court. As such, many of our clients never see a defense attorney or step a foot inside the courthouse. Through meticulous preparation and considerable personal injury experience our attorneys are often able to settle our clients’ personal injury claims without the inconvenience, expense, and delay sometimes associated with filing a lawsuit. If a satisfactory result cannot be obtained through negotiations, however, our attorneys are prepared to litigate your case to achieve the best possible result. If your claim needs to be filed in court however there are still opportunities to resolve the matter before trial.

Who will have the authority to decide whether to settle my case?

Only you have the authority to decide whether to settle your case. At the end of your matter, you shall receive an itemized settlement statement setting forth the settlement or verdict amount, the distribution of fees and costs, and your net recovery. If you do not sign the settlement statement the firm cannot settle your case.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

Out of professional pride and obligation we work to resolve all of our clients’ matters as quickly as possible. Likewise, because we work on a contingency the firm does not paid until you are paid. That said, every case is different depending on the facts and circumstances. Some cases may be settled without much fanfare while others may require the firm to file a lawsuit and fully litigate the controversy to obtain proper compensation for the client. Whenever the case is resolved our clients are kept informed throughout the process.

Contact our Attorneys

Personal injury claims are often complex. If you or someone you know is injured by someone else’s negligence contact the attorneys of Kaiser Romanellonow so that we may protect your rights and help you obtain the best possible compensation. We are available for a free consultation in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach counties and throughout the State of Florida.

Get your FREE CASE EVALUATION