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Personal Injury FAQs

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If you or your loved one was injured in a serious accident, you likely have many questions. The process of filing a personal injury claim in Florida can be incredibly complicated, and you may be unsure if you even have a claim. At Sands, White & Sands, we are here to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about the legal process. We understand how overwhelming it can be, which is why our Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys take the time to provide compassionate, personalized legal guidance and aggressive representation. Find answers to frequently asked personal injury questions here, or give us a call to discuss the specifics of your case.

Contact us at (386) 258-1622 to schedule your free initial case evaluation today.

  • Do I have a strong case?

    Whether or not you have a strong case depends on a variety of factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries or property damage, who is at fault, whether the defendant has sizable assets or adequate insurance coverage, and how long ago the accident or injury occurred. An attorney can evaluate your case in light of these and other factors and give you a realistic assessment of what you can expect.

  • I have fully recovered from my injuries. Do I still have a case?

    Whether you have a case is never entirely dependent on whether you have fully recovered from your injuries, but if you sustained your injury in a Florida motor vehicle accident, it may have a substantial effect on what damages you may claim.

    The State of Florida has prescribed special rules for injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents. If your injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Florida and you do not have a permanent injury, your potential recovery may be limited to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, if any, that exceed the $10,000 limit of your Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") policy. You also may have additional insurance coverage, such as Medpay coverage, that provides you with other benefits under your auto insurance policy.

    In other types of personal injury cases, you may also receive payment for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, regardless of whether you have a permanent injury.

  • How does my attorney get paid?

    The contingency fee system, which is almost universally used in personal injury cases, allows injured persons to seek compensation for their injuries without having to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs of pursuing the claim out of their own pockets. Instead, contingency fees are paid to the attorney out of any recovery made on a claim. If an attorney makes a recovery for his client, the attorney is entitled to a portion of the recovery for his fees. However, if no recovery is made, then the attorney gets nothing; not even his costs are repaid.

    Almost all law firms charge a contingency fee ranging from 33% to 40% of the total recovery. Typically, the 33% fee is charged if the case settles before suit is filed or a demand for arbitration is made. The 40% fee comes into effect if the client rejects any pre-suit settlement offers and suit is filed. However, these fees are negotiable. We may agree to accept a lower fee depending on the circumstances of the case. You should always remember that there is no legal requirement that a lawyer charge a client a set fee or a percentage of money recovered in a case. You have the right to talk with the lawyer about the proposed fee and to bargain about the rate or percentage as in any other contract.

    Whatever the percentage charged, the attorney's fee is calculated on the total amount recovered from the at-fault party or his insurance carrier. Next, the costs the attorney incurred in investigating and prosecuting the claim are deducted from the recovery. The balance of the recovery is then paid to the client or on the client's behalf.

  • How long will my lawsuit take?

    This, too, depends on many factors. In our experience, most meritorious cases settle prior to trial and most meritorious motor vehicle negligence cases settle prior to the filing of a lawsuit. However, even with motor vehicle cases, it may take several months or even a year or longer to finalize a settlement depending on whether the full extent of the client's damages is known. For example, if you are scheduled for a future surgery, it may be necessary to wait for the completion of the surgery and a subsequent healing period to know the full extent of your permanent injuries.

    If a settlement is not reached prior to the filing of a lawsuit, it may take a year or longer to force the defendant to a court-ordered mediation. Pretrial mediation is mandatory in Florida and many cases settle at this stage. Typically, if the mediation is unsuccessful, the trial takes place a few months later.

  • What is my role in the lawsuit?

    Your attorney will take care of all of the legal aspects of your case. You may be asked to participate in discovery by answering written questions or giving oral testimony in a deposition. If your case goes to trial, you will likely be expected to appear in court. Throughout the duration of your case, you must obtain appropriate medical care and make your doctor, physical therapy, or other appointments.

  • What should I do if I’m in a car accident?

    If you are involved in a car accident, you should seek necessary medical treatment immediately. Even if you are not injured, it is important that you call the police and file a formal police report which can later assist with insurance claims and any lawsuits which may follow.

    During this time, you will be required to show your driver’s license and documentation of your insurance coverage. It is important that you obtain this information from the other driver as well. If you have a camera, you should take a photo of the scene or soon after to show any damage to your vehicle. You should also contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible so they can instruct you on the necessary steps to file your claim.

    To ensure that you receive the greatest settlement possible, contact a personal injury attorney in Daytona Beach who can initiate an investigation before witnesses forget their testimonials and evidence is lost.

  • I was in a minor accident and the other driver and I just exchanged insurance information without calling the police. My insurance company is now giving me a hard time for not having a report. Is a police report necessary for all car accidents?

    It is always a good idea to call the police at the time of an automobile accident. Although all insurance carriers have different policies regarding the necessity of a police report when filing a claim, many will accept an auto insurance claim without one. Nonetheless, police reports are helpful in determining the involved parties and documenting who was at fault. This information will assist your insurance company in their investigation and may expedite the resolution of the claim.

    Florida law does not require an officer to be called to the scene of an auto accident without injuries. In a simple fender bender where no one is hurt, each driver is simply required to stop and provide his or her name, address, registration number, and if requested, show the other driver his or her license. The risks of not calling an officer to the scene are fairly obvious, at least if the other driver is at fault. You may be provided with false information and if you do not have a police report you may be at a disadvantage in trying to negotiate your claim and establish the other driver’s liability. If you think the other driver is at fault, we recommend that you call an officer to the scene of an accident in which you expect to make a property damage claim against the other driver or have the slightest suspicion that you or one of your passengers may be injured. If you do not call an officer to the scene, make sure that you get the aforementioned information from the other driver, as well as the name of his or her insurance provider, and ask to be shown a driver’s license to confirm the driver’s identity. If there are any witnesses, try to get their names and phones numbers.

  • I was in a car accident and the other motorist's insurance company just called me for a statement. Am I required to provide one?

    There are two different adjusters from the other motorist's insurance company who may be calling you. First, if the other motorist was clearly at fault for the accident, you likely will be contacted by a property damage adjuster at his or her insurance company to make arrangements to assess the damage to your vehicle and repair it. You can and should speak to this adjuster about the damage done to your vehicle, although you should not provide any statement about the cause of the accident or your injuries.

    Second, you may be contacted by the other adjuster regarding your injuries. This adjuster likely will be seeking to obtain a recorded statement from you regarding the circumstances of the accident as well as the nature of your injuries. You should talk with an attorney before agreeing to make any statement. In most cases in which you intend to make a personal injury claim, the attorney will advise you not to make a statement to the at-fault driver's insurance company, or only to do so if the at-fault driver is also willing to make a recorded statement to your attorney.

  • Who is responsible for my medical treatment and expenses?

    Florida's "no-fault" law provides some important exceptions to the general rule that the at-fault party is responsible for the injured party's medical expenses and lost wages. If your accident occurred in Florida and you have the Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") policy required under Florida law, your own PIP policy will pay 80% of your related medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages up to a combined maximum of $10,000. Medical expenses and lost wages that are not paid under PIP are recoverable from the at-fault driver and are typically paid out of the at-fault driver's automobile liability insurance.

  • What is medical malpractice?

    Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional—such as a doctor, nurse, or technician—treats a patient in a manner which departs from a standard of care provided by those with similar training and experience, resulting in injury, ailment, or death.

  • Can you file malpractice case against someone other than a doctor?

    In Florida, a medical malpractice suit can be initiated against any professional or facility that is a healthcare provider as defined under Florida law. This includes a wide range of persons and entities, including but not limited to medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists, naturopathic doctors, optometrists, registered nurses, orthotists, prosthetists, and physical therapists, as well as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinical labs, outpatient facilities, and other places in which healthcare providers work. Different but similar rules apply to nursing homes.

  • Can misdiagnosis be considered malpractice?

    Yes! In fact, misdiagnosis is one of the primary reasons why medical malpractice cases are filed. A patient can suffer significant injuries or even death when a doctor fails to properly diagnose an injury or ailment, delays diagnosis, or fails to provide any diagnosis at all.

  • What is "informed consent?"

    Informed consent refers to the consent a patient gives to the doctor to proceed with a medical procedure based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and future consequences of the procedure.

  • What is a statute of limitations?

    A statute of limitations refers to the period of time during which a potential medical malpractice victim can initiate a lawsuit. Depending on the state and the procedure in question, this period can start from the time at which the malpractice occurs or, alternatively, from the time at which the victim discovers that malpractice was the cause of his or her injury. Determining the exact period of the statute of limitations can be complex depending on your particular circumstance. Florida imposes a relatively short statute of limitations for incidents of medical negligence occurring in this state. The limitations period may be as short as two years from the date of the alleged negligent act, so it is important to consult a qualified medical malpractice lawyer in Daytona Beach as soon as possible to protect and maximize your interests.

  • I was injured by a household appliance. If I decide to seek compensation for my injury, who can be held liable for my injury?

    In most cases, the manufacturing company is held liable for injuries caused by defective products. However, depending on the nature of the case, other parties may be held fully or partially liable. For example, if your product was repaired by an individual independent of the manufacturer, the repair technician may be held responsible. In other cases, the retailer of the product may be liable. To determine who is liable, you should contact a law firm, such as Sands, White & Sands, which handles product liability matters.

  • What is the most common defense used by manufacturers to avoid liability in defective product cases?

    In many cases, manufacturers will argue that the user misused the product and, as a result of this incorrect use, injury ensued. This defense may be valid in many cases, however, it is the manufacturer’s duty to provide notification of intended use and warn of dangers of misuse. If these warnings were not expressed on the product prior to use, the defense may not hold as much weight in court.

  • I received notification from a law firm that I may be part of a class eligible to receive compensation for injury from a defective product; should I join the class action suit?

    When a product causes widespread injury to its users, class action suits are often initiated by a group of plaintiffs. When contemplating whether or not to join this class of harmed users, be sure to consult a Daytona Beach personal injury attorney because doing so may compromise some of your rights. Our law firm can help evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.

  • What should I do if I am injured on someone else's property?

    If you are injured on someone else's property, take note of the surroundings and the hazard which caused you to fall or become injured. If you have a camera or mobile phone with photo-capturing abilities, try to take photos of the hazard as this may serve as evidence of the condition of the property at the time of injury. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information or a written statement of the accident from their perspective. If you are in a business setting, the business will probably require that you submit an accident report at the time of the incident. Be sure to retain a copy of this report for your records. In the upcoming days and weeks, keep clear records of any medical treatment needed and document any missed work which occurred as a result of your injury. Most importantly, contact a personal injury attorney who can review your case and inform you of the best course of action to receive compensation for your suffering and lost wages.

  • As a homeowner, what am I required to do to ensure that I am not liable for damages should someone be injured on my property?

    As a property owner, it is your responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all visitors to your property. If there is a defective condition, you must warn individuals of the hazard and correct it in a timely manner. Regular maintenance will ensure that you are aware of any unsafe condition and are able to fix it to avoid injury to others. The extent of liability, if any, can vary depending on each situation, so it is best to consult a qualified personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the specific laws of your local jurisdiction.

    Of course, one of the best ways to avoid having to personally pay for injuries by others on your property is to have sufficient insurance coverage for such injuries. If you own your home and have a mortgage on your property, you likely have homeowners’ insurance. You should make sure that you are familiar with your policy and increase your coverage if you think it is insufficient. If you are a renter, you should consider obtaining optional personal liability coverage, particularly if you have a swimming pool or dogs on the property. In the latter case, make sure that your insurance covers the specific breed of dog that you own.

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