Putting all the pieces back together after being in an auto accident can often be an overwhelming process. And as for many accident victims dealing with personal injury for the first time, there are always a number of questions that arise when you’re going over the details of your case.
To make things a little simpler for you, our team has created a list of just three important questions to always ask a lawyer about in regards to your accident case to ensure you’re prepared for the next steps.
Question 1: Based on my particular circumstances, what documents will I need to provide to ensure I have a valid accident case?
Answer: For most accident cases, the most important documents to give your lawyer are a police report (this ensures you have a valid case), insurance information (for both you and the defendant), medical bills, proof of lost earnings, photos from the scene of the accident and witness names—if at all possible to provide at that time.
Question 2: What is personal injury protection and how does it apply to my case?
Answer: Personal injury protection (also known as “PIP”) is an extension of vehicle insurance that can cover up to 80% of medical bills due to an auto accident (up to a max of $10,000) if a plaintiff seeks medical treatment within 14 days and his/her injuries were determined to be an emergency medical condition. PIP is available in some states, but not required in all of them. Florida is one of the states that requires PIP coverage for the vehicle owner and driver. PIP benefits will be paid by your insurance company, no matter who the person at fault was. The way it directly applies to your case depends on if you meet the requirements for seeking medical treatment and if your injuries are considered an emergency medical condition.
Question 3: What are some things I should know about accident cases that most people don’t think to ask?
Answer: Although there are many answers to this question, an important one is what to do if you’re contacted by the defendant’s insurance company. In many accident cases, the defendant’s insurance company will contact the plaintiff to fill out paperwork, give a recorded statement or discuss a settlement offer. The important thing to remember here is not to do anything at all until you consult with a lawyer, as most insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind and are more focused on money.
Other Questions to Think About
Another thing people might not think to ask about is how long it can take to settle a claim. In some cases, it can take only a few weeks, and in others, it can take a few years, depending on a variety of factors, including whether you choose to settle or not.
Additionally, some people don’t know to ask about is the specific benefits of hiring a lawyer to represent your case. Should you choose to hire a lawyer, many of the things you may need to take care of can be taken care of for you. This includes speaking to a variety of people on your behalf, including insurance companies to file claims, medical professionals to gather your medical information, the defendant/defendant’s lawyer to negotiate a settlement (if applicable), and more.
At The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen, we strive to help educate accident victims on personal injury law, share our experience and offer advice for what to do next. For more great resources like this blog, take a look at some of our other blog articles or download our free toolkit—How To Take Care of Yourself and Stay on Track After Your Car Accident. You’ll find detailed information, including an overview of Florida car accident laws, a checklist of materials to have prepared for your lawyer upon your initial meeting, and much more, to help you get through this often stressful experience more smoothly.