Here are a few of the most common questions that we get asked on a daily basis. Click on the question to see the answer.
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Question: I was hurt on the job, but haven’t told my employer for fear that I will lose my job. What should I do?
Question: I was hurt on the job five years ago. Do I still have a case?
- Two years from the date of the accident, or
- One year from the date in which they last received any workers’ compensation benefits (medical or lost wages).
If it has been more than one year from the date of your accident, and easy way to avoid the statute of limitations running in your case is to schedule an appointment with your workers’ compensation doctor at least once every six (6) months. If you have trouble getting this appointment scheduled, please call our office immediately. We can stop the SOL “clock” by filing what is called a “petition for benefits” requesting the insurance company schedule the follow up appointment with your workers’ compensation doctor.
Question: The insurance company is denying my claim because they say that I have arthritis. What should I do?
Question: I was hurt on the job and my employer’s insurance company has taken care of everything. Do I need a lawyer?
Question: My child’s other parent does not exercise visitation, can I get more child support?
Question: My spouse and I are separating and I want to move back to my home state to be closer to family and have support with our kids. Can I move?
Question: How are fees calculated in personal injury cases?
There are no attorney’s fees charged for property damage reimbursement including rental car reimbursement, diminished value of your vehicle as a result of the collision or loss of use of the vehicle while it is being repaired. We allow those dollars to go directly to you. The attorney’s fee is charged only against the bodily injury portion of the recovery.
Question: What type of damages are we able to recover in personal injury cases in Florida?
Additionally, you are entitled to recover the “non-economic damages”. These damages including pain, suffering, mental anguish, frustration, loss of enjoyment of life, change in your lifestyle, loss of the ability to conduct activities of daily living, psychological and emotional distress associated with a physical injury.
While the economic losses may be a result of mathematical calculations, there is no specific calculation for the non-economic damages in these cases. Each case is different and each case must be prepared from the beginning in a way to maximize the non-economic damages and thus your total recovery.
When a case settles the at fault party pays a lump sum and there is no specific designation as to what type of damages are incurred. Contingency fee attorney’s fees and the case costs are taken from the total recovery of the case before any payment of past medical expenses or other obligations are made.
Question: In a wrongful death claim, who brings the case and how is it handled?
The personal representative brings the case on behalf of the beneficiaries or survivors which would include the decedent’s spouse, parents and/or children. There are different damages available based upon who the survivors are. Most frequently those damages include past medical expenses, past lost wages, future lost earnings or earning capacity and of course, the main component, non-economic pain and suffering loss of the companionship type damages.
In some circumstances there are recoveries by the Estate of the decedent. This would include the potential future earnings, less expenses of the decedent over his or her lifetime. This is referred to as the prospective net accumulations. In some instances we direct the personal representative to allocate 100% of the recovery to the individual beneficiaries with no recovery going to the estate. This avoids directing money from the recovery to pay past medical expenses or pay other creditors who make a claim against the estate once it is opened and notification is published.
Florida law has set forth specific rules for damages involving medical negligence cases which can be very devastating to families. Primarily, there must be a spouse or a minor child (a child under age 25) surviving the decedent victim of medical negligence to bring a wrongful death claim against a doctor, hospital or medical facility. Additionally, there are specific rules that apply to damages in wrongful death cases against nursing home facilities which must be specifically explored.
The attorneys at Harris Guidi handling these types of claims can gather appropriate information and advise you on who has a claim and what type of claim can be brought when you or your family has lost a loved one as a result of another’s negligence.
Question: I was hurt in an on the job accident caused by someone else. What should I do?
Question: Why is my insurance coverage involved in an automobile accident when it is the other person’s fault?
It is very important to coordinate the insurance coverages that are involved when you are faced with automobile accident injuries. You may want to reserve your “PIP” coverage for wages only and use your private health insurance to pay your medical bills. This maximizes your recovery under your own policy. Additionally, PIP coverage is not limited to $2,500.00 per incident unless you have been certified by a medical doctor as having an Emergency Medical Condition often referred to as “EMC”. You only have 14 days to be certified by a doctor with an Emergency Medical Condition. Once you have obtained that certification in your medical record you are entitled to the full $10,000.00 worth of PIP insurance coverage. Therefore, it is critically important to get to the right doctor or physician within the first 14 days following an accident in order to maximize your insurance coverage that you have paid for.
Florida law requires that all of your own automobile PIP and Medical Payment coverage be exhausted or used up before you are able to apply for coverage under your private medical insurance or care coverage.
The insurance coverage for the at fault driver or vehicle owner is referred to as “Bodily Injury Liability Coverage” and is only paid in a lump sum at the end of the case either as a result of a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor. The at fault insurance carrier will not pay piecemeal or pay your expenses or co-pays along the way.
Question: What is my personal injury case worth?
You may be able to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of revenue or loss of job
- Expenses from injury-related traveling, like doctor visits
- Payment for property damage
- Payment for other expenses you incurred
- Physical pain and suffering
Personal injury settlements can come in several different forms – or not at all. Depending on the state where you live, laws governing injury lawsuits and who can receive compensation in a personal injury case can vary greatly.
Our Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyers can help you understand the information you need to determine if your specific case might be eligible for a personal injury settlement.
Question: Is a property owner automatically at fault if I am injured while on their property?
Slip and fall, trip and fall and other premises liability cases are extremely difficult under Florida law. It is extremely important that we get involved in these cases as soon as possible to photograph the condition of the property as they existed at the time of the incident. It is critically important to identify witnesses at the business or restaurant or other location. Defects in the property are often fixed or abated by the landowner quickly after the incident making it extremely difficult to prove the condition. Oftentimes surveillance video captures the incident, but the surveillance video is recorded over after 36 to 48 hours and the evidence is lost. For these and other reasons it is critically important to contact the lawyers at Harris Guidi as soon as possible after an injury on someone else’s property so that the investigation can begin immediately.
Question: I am not sure if my case is a workers’ compensation case or a personal injury case or both; how do I know?
Many times, our clients are injured in the course and scope of their employment by a negligent driver or as a result of a defective property condition on another’s property. In these situations, you have a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. It is very important to coordinate the benefits and insurance coverages in this situation to maximize your recovery in both claims.
Unfortunately, the Florida Workers’ Compensation law gives the workers’ compensation insurance carrier a right to choose your medical doctors and control your medical treatment. The law requires that the workers’ compensation insurance be primary and first in line of paying medical expenses before any automobile no fault insurance or liability insurance. Additionally, Florida law gives the workers’ compensation insurance carrier the right to be repaid if you are successful in recovering from a negligent third party including another driver, vehicle owner or property owner. However, the lawyers at Harris Guidi can coordinate these recoveries and negotiate the repayment to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to a fraction of what they paid or initially claim. If you have any question about whether your case involves workers’ compensation or personal injury call us and speak to one of our attorneys as soon as possible.