Question

Are My Injuries From A Car Accident In Florida Serious Enough To Call A Lawyer?

Jonathan T. Levy - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Jonathan T. Levy

Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles, P.A.
West Palm Beach, FL
Phone: 866-289-1894
Fax: 561-478-3111

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Answer

Florida is unusual compared to other states in that it requires basic personal injury protection (PIP) of $10,000 for every vehicle registered in the state. This means that in most cases, you can assume that no matter who is at fault, the first $10,000 of your expenses are covered.

It is when you have more than that $10,000 of expenses that you should speak to a lawyer. It’s only when you’ve sustained a permanent injury that you might be eligible to receive additional money for your pain and suffering and decreased quality of life.

Question: What is a permanent injury?

Answer: There is a lot of flexibility in defining a permanent injury under Florida law, and usually it is up to the doctors to determine if an injury is permanent. Sometimes permanent injuries are obvious, such as paralysis, brain injuries or loss of a limb, but there are a lot of other definitions that aren’t so immediately apparent.

For example, some of the kinds of injuries that may be defined as permanent include:

  • Broken bones that require plates or screws
  • Significant scarring
  • Long-term loss of or diminished physical ability
  • Chronic pain as a result of your injuries

If you are in doubt, there’s simply no better path forward than talking to a lawyer to find out.

Question: What if I don’t realize I’m injured right away?

Answer: Sometimes your injuries aren’t immediately apparent, or you may think an injury is minor only to realize later it’s something more serious. What’s important is to take action as soon as you suspect that your injury is more serious than you first thought. Don’t just hope it’ll go away.

If an insurance company can show later that you delayed treatment, they will use this as evidence that your injury isn’t as serious as you are making it out to be or perhaps that you sustained a new injury unrelated to the accident.

A lot of people try to be stoic about their pain or don’t want to spend the money on the doctor. Don’t do this. If you’re wrong and it doesn’t go away or it gets worse, you could be left without money to pay for treatment and lost wages because you just didn’t want to talk to a doctor.

Question: What should I do before talking to a lawyer?

Answer: Don’t wait to have everything perfect before contacting a lawyer to discuss your case. Our job is to help guide you in gathering the evidence you need to support your claim. However, the more documentation you have, the better. If you were able to take pictures of your car and the car of the other vehicles involved, bring those with you. If you identified any witnesses at the scene who can speak to your account of the accident, their names and contact information are helpful as well.

Your first priority should always be your own medical care. In cases where your injuries aren’t apparent until later, take the time to visit a doctor and clearly describe what you are experiencing to have that documented. From the perspective of your case, having clear documentation of your injuries will only help.

That kind of information is very helpful. But you shouldn’t let gathering that stuff delay you from consulting with a lawyer.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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