You never know when an accident will occur and leave you suffering serious injury. Maybe you slip and fall on a wet floor at a restaurant where no warning sign was in place. Maybe an 18-wheeler hit you while you are driving down the freeway. Or maybe your doctor makes a mistake while performing a routine operation on you that causes you even more damage.
Regardless of how you suffer an injury, they can cost you thousands of dollars, keep you out of work for months or for the rest of your life, and cause considerable pain and suffering. Fortunately, you may be eligible to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer in Coral Springs from Coffey Trial Law can help: 954-541-3194.
What is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal action that allows an injured party to hold another party (defendant) liable for any injuries the defendant’s actions called.
To have a valid claim, you must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of your accident and your injuries. To do so, you need to establish these four elements:
Duty: The defendant owed you a duty of care. Duty of care will differ based on your specific case.
For example, all drivers owe one another a duty to behave responsibly behind the wheel.
Property owners owe all invited guests a duty to keep their premises safe and free of hazards.
Manufacturers owe customers a duty to only release safe products to the public.
Breach: The defendant breached this duty of care.
For example, the defendant operated a vehicle while intoxicated and ran a red light, T-boning your car in the process.
Causation: Your injuries would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligent actions.
You must prove that you would not have suffered injury had the driver not ran the red light.
Damages: You suffered real, actual damages. These may include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.
What should I expect from the insurance company?
Whatever your injuries are, you will most likely be dealing with an insurance company one way or another. Insurance companies are first and foremost a business, so their primary goal will be to protect their bottom line.
This means that they will do what they can to lower your final payout. (This is true regardless of whether it is your insurance company or the other party’s insurer.)
Some tricks an insurer might pull include:
Getting you to agree to a recorded statement
During your recorded statement, the insurer will try to get you to admit fault and/or admit your injuries are not really that serious. And do not think that you have not admitted fault because you did not specifically say you were at fault. An insurer can twist something as innocent as, “I’m sorry this happened.” into your admission of fault. Saying that you are okay can mean that you are not injured.
Lowballing Your Settlement
Some insurers will take advantage of the fact that you have just suffered severe injuries and are desperate for money. They may quickly offer you a very low settlement in hopes that you will accept before you have time to find out the true value of your claim.
Requiring You to Sign a Medical Release
When you file a personal injury claim, you do need to submit medical records to prove your injuries. However, you do not need to sign a medical release that gives the insurer access to all of your medical records. This will allow it to access every medical record you have and inspect them for any injuries it could claim were preexisting.
Consider this example: you are filing a claim for severe back pain after a car accident. The insurer finds that two years ago, you threw your back out. It could use that record to claim that your back pain was preexisting and that you somehow re-irritated your back.
An attorney knows all these tricks and more and will fight against them. Our attorneys have been defending injured Floridians against insurance companies for decades.
We will manage all communication and negotiations with the insurer so that it cannot pressure you into settling for less than you deserve. We will gather all necessary evidence and ensure your case is as strong as possible.
And if the insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement, we will take it to court.
What evidence do I need for my case?
The evidence you need depends on the specifics of your case, but will likely include:
- Medical reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- A copy of your insurance policy
- Expert testimony
Our attorneys will help gather the evidence you need so you can focus on the most important thing: recovering from your injuries.
When should you file a personal injury claim?
Under Florida Statute § 95.11, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is four years from the date of the accident.
However, it is important to note that the sooner you file your claim, the easier it will be to collect the required evidence you need to prove your case’s validity.
In addition, many people forget that you will first file a claim and then file suit. The personal injury claims process can take years to reach negotiations alone. This means that if you wait a year or more to begin the claims process, your time may run out before you are able to file suit.
How much can I recover?
Clients ask us this question all the time: “What is my injury claim worth?”
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for this question. It depends on the type of accident you were involved in and the level of damages you suffered as a result.
But at Coffey Trial Law, we do our best on every single case we take to get our clients the absolute maximum payout they deserve.
We ensure that we have examined every aspect of your case to get you every cent you need.
We know what kind of toll an injury can have on your life and on your finances. And when big insurance firms choose to make your life even more difficult, having a team of knowledge attorneys on your side can make all the difference.
Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation: 954-541-3194.