Florida Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
The process of estimating the value of personal injury damages is highly complex and, in many scenarios, involves the insight and involvement of various experts in medical, vocational, financial and other fields. That said, knowing the factors that can influence the value of your claim may give you an idea of its approximate value.
Once you’ve hired a personal injury attorney, they will explain which factors might influence the potential recovery. These factors may include:
- The Amount of Time You Were Sidelined from Work: Your potential recovery could include any earnings you have lost and are likely to lose due to your injury and conditions, in addition to compensation for lost earning capacity.
- The Cost of Injury-Related Expenses: Property repairs, lost wages, and medical expenses are not the only accident-related costs. Your claim can also account for other injury-related costs such as daycare, in-home care, alternative transportation, and home modifications.
- The Cost of Repairs: If any of your personal property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you can include the expense of replacement or repairs as part of your claim.
- Whether You Suffered Disability or Disfigurement: Catastrophic injuries can lead to immense pain and suffering. In such cases, you may be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages including emotional distress, loss of life enjoyment, and others.
- How Your Injuries Happened: If the party responsible for causing your injuries is found to have acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct, you may be awarded punitive damages in addition to the losses listed above.
Should I Visit the Doctor Even If My Injuries Aren’t Serious?
Many serious conditions and injuries may—at least initially—present with relatively minor symptoms. For example, common signs of a concussion include fatigue and headaches. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might not think you need to visit the doctor, but delaying your medical evaluation could cause your condition to deteriorate. It could also result in disputes when you file your claim.
Here a few more reasons why you should always seek treatment after an accident:
- You Can Help Connect Your Injuries to the Incident: To achieve a favorable outcome in a personal injury case, you will need to prove three important elements: liability, causation, and damages. As such, it’s not enough to simply show that another party was negligent and that you suffered damages, but you must also be able to demonstrate that their actions caused your injuries. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the easier it will be for your Florida personal injury attorney to tie your condition or injuries to the incident in question. Foregoing or delaying an appointment could leave room for the insurance company to deny your claim. For example, they might assert that your condition is the result of a separate incident or pre-existing condition because your doctor’s appointment doesn’t correlate with the date of the accident.
- Urgent Care Will Emphasize the Extent of Your Injuries: If you didn’t seek immediate medical treatment, the insurer may be in a stronger position to argue that your injuries aren’t very serious. For instance, if you sustained a back injury, the insurance company may disagree over the severity of your condition and its long-term effects. As such, it’s important that you have strong evidence that indicates your condition is as serious as your accident attorney is asserting. By getting a prompt diagnosis, you can help build a convincing claim that your injuries were indeed severe.
- You May Prevent Your Injuries from Worsening: Without urgent care, many conditions and injuries can worsen over time, leading to further complications and additional medical costs. But delaying this crucial step isn’t only detrimental to your health; you could also be handing ammunition to the insurer to assert that you did not take sufficient steps to mitigate damages. As a result, you may be held liable for some—or all—of your damages.
- Insurers Want Official Records: When you visit your doctor, it’s likely he or she will create official records documenting important details about your injuries, such as their severity, prescribed medication, and recommended treatments. Our attorneys may use this information to help approximate a fair settlement, tie your injuries to the accident, and mitigate or counter any disputes that may arise during negotiations or litigation.
What Will Happen During My Free Initial Consultation?
Sitting down with an injury attorney can give you valuable insight into the merits of your claim and how your case may unfold. While your lawyer will guide you through this difficult chapter of your life, preparing for this meeting will help them finetune their investigation and expedite proceedings.
Below are a few items you may want to bring along to your initial consultation:
- Medical Documentation: Your lawyer will want to see information about your injuries, diagnosis, and treatment plan. If you’ve acquired any medical documentation, such as invoices, insurance claims, prescription records, and diagnostic imaging, you should share these documents with your attorney.
- Official Accident Report: If police were called to the scene of the accident, they may have compiled a report that includes details that could help your attorney prove liability, causation, and damages.
- Description of the Accident: Immediately after the accident, it may be useful to write a detailed description of everything you can remember about how you sustained your injuries. Write about how the accident occurred, if anyone witnessed it take place, the circumstances surrounding the incident, where and when you received medical treatment, the treatment you’ve undergone so far, and any other information that might help prove aspects of your claim.
- Eyewitness Contact Details: Your lawyer may want to interview eyewitnesses to determine whether their deposition could help strengthen your case. As such, you should take down the contact information of anyone who saw the accident occur.
- Proof of Lost Income: If you were unable to work due to your injuries, you will need to provide evidence of your salary before the accident and the wages you’ve lost. Evidence may include paystubs, bank statements, or letters from your employer.
- Other Expenses: An accident can result in many unexpected expenses, from the cost of alternative transportation to home modifications to hospital lunches. Many of these costs could be factored into the potential recovery. As such, you should compile all receipts and invoices detailing these expenses and share these documents with your Florida personal injury attorney during your initial consultation.