Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
Injuries often come when you least expect them—especially injuries caused by another party’s negligence.
Maybe a tourist crashed a rental car into you on Interstate 95 or Florida’s Turnpike. Maybe you slipped and fell at the Galleria at Fort Lauderdale or the Walmart Supercenter because someone forgot to clean up a spill or fix a hand railing. Or instead of healing you, a doctor at the Fort Lauderdale Medical Center or Kindred Hospital botched a procedure or diagnosis and left you worse off than ever before.
Throughout Fort Lauderdale, many victims have no idea what to do next or how to protect themselves medically and financially after suffering severe injuries.
Thankfully, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at the Levin Firm can help you.
We cannot turn back the clock on your injuries or help prevent you from suffering, but we can help you seek the compensation you deserve for severe injuries suffered at the hands of another party. If you suffered serious injuries due to another party’s negligence, contact The Levin Firm today at (215) 825-5183 to speak with one of our compassionate Fort Lauderdale personal injury associates.
A Look at The Levin Firm’s Past Personal Injury Cases
At The Levin Firm, we maintain a peerless commitment to our clients. We want to obtain results as quickly as possible to help our clients move forward with their lives despite the severe injuries they suffered.
Our clients note that our attorneys focus particularly on communication, including a high degree of responsiveness that helps them feel confident in leaving their claims in our hands.
These testimonials offer only a snapshot of our past results and our commitment to serving as advocates for our neighbors throughout the Fort Lauderdale community. Contact us today to learn more.
Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Claims: Basic Claim Types
At The Levin Firm, we handle a wide range of personal injury claims. If you have questions about your legal options following a serious injury, contact us to learn more; in the meantime, some of the most common personal injury events Fort Lauderdale residents encounter include:
Every driver bears a duty of care to everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to take adequate precautions to help prevent accidents and protect others around them. As a result, you may have severe injuries from a car accident. Distracted drivers, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or drivers who choose to ignore the rules of the road can all cause accidents before you have the opportunity to react.
Motorcycles, like bicycles, offer little protection from the hazards on the road around the rider. Motorcycle riders often take more precautions than other drivers as they try to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, distracted drivers or those who ignore the rules of the road can quickly cause severe injury to riders.
Slip and fall accidents often occur because the premises owner fails to take adequate precautions when it comes to maintaining the property or cleaning up spills. Slips and falls may cause severe injury, including traumatic brain injury and broken bones.
While helmet use can reduce the risk of serious head injury in a bicycle accident, they may not eliminate it. Cyclists often suffer severe injuries when they have accidents involving larger passenger vehicles. Bicycle accidents often occur due to driver negligence or distraction, including drivers who inadvertently open their doors into cyclists, or rear-end them causing severe injury.
Traumatic brain injuries can change the course of a victim’s life forever. Even victims with mild traumatic brain injury may suffer from cognitive symptoms more than a year after the initial accident. Victims with severe traumatic brain injuries may suffer from lifelong struggles with short-term memory, focus and concentration, and emotional regulation. Many brain injury victims even suffer personality changes that permanently impact their relationships with loved ones.
Buses offer a convenient mode of transportation throughout the Fort Lauderdale area, whether you’re using the bus to get to work, school, or a leisure destination. Unfortunately, those buses can also pose a substantial hazard. Buses take up more space on the road and have larger blind spots than smaller passenger vehicles. School bus accidents can cause even more trauma when children suffer serious injuries.
Construction sites offer plenty of opportunities for accidents. They have a wide range of heavy equipment, exposed electrical wiring, and workers who must work in areas not normally accessible to the public. While strict safety regulations aim to protect both workers and visitors to those sites, accidents may occur anyway. Construction site accidents can cause severe crushing damage, electrocution, and traumatic brain injury.
Doctors take an oath not to harm their patients. Unfortunately, doctor negligence is nonetheless a common cause of severe suffering in patients. Doctors who neglect to provide adequate care for their patients may cause misdiagnosis errors, fail to diagnose their patients altogether, or prescribe medication incorrectly. Surgical errors or medical equipment errors can also cause substantial suffering in patients impacted by those errors.
Seniors represent a highly vulnerable percentage of the population. In their later years, they deserve a high standard of care and quality caregivers. Unfortunately, some seniors may suffer physical, mental, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in a nursing home environment. Nursing home abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, increased injuries, or increased risk of death in seniors.
Workers’ compensation claims arise when a worker suffers an injury while on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for the victim’s medical expenses and approximately 2/3 of the victim’s income before the accident. In some cases, workers’ compensation may also payout for permanent disability. Work with an attorney to learn more about the difference between workers’ compensation and a traditional personal injury claim.
Losing a loved one to another party’s negligence not only causes a great deal of trauma, but it can also leave you without the resources your family needs. A wrongful death claim can help you seek compensation for your losses and recover some of the funds your family may need through that traumatic time.
Additional Fort Lauderdale Practice Areas:
- Aviation accidents
- Birth injury accidents
- Boating accidents
- Burn injury accidents
- Pharmaceutical drug complications
- Animal bite accidents
- DUI accidents
- Food contamination injuries
- Hotel & resort injury accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Product liability injury accidents
- Spinal cord injury accidents
- Sports injury accidents
- Train accidents
- Catastrophic injuries
- Children’s injuries
- Negligent security
- Swimming pool accidents
- Cerebral Palsy
Seeking Compensation After Severe Injuries: The Basics
Following severe injuries in a Fort Lauderdale accident, a personal injury claim can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. An attorney can help you learn more about the specifics of your claim and the compensation you deserve.
The Compensation You Might Expect
Following severe injuries in an accident, the compensation you receive may depend on several factors relating to your accident and your injuries.
- Who caused your accident? In many cases, including auto accidents and premises liability accidents, the party that caused your accident may carry insurance designed to protect the liable party and offer compensation to any victims who suffer serious injuries in an accident. That insurance policy may determine the limits of the compensation you can receive for your claim. For example, if the policy offers $25,000 in bodily injury protection, you may receive up to $25,000 in compensation for injuries suffered in an accident caused by that party.
- How severe were your injuries? Severe injuries mean serious medical bills. In many cases, that may mean lifelong medical expenses. In others, you may need to go through an extensive recovery process before you get back to normal. In many cases, the compensation for your injury gets based on your medical expenses after the accident. Severe injuries can also cause additional pain and suffering, which will factor into your personal injury claim.
- How much work did you have to miss because of your accident and your injuries? Sometimes, an accident victim’s employer will work with them to get them back in the workplace as soon as possible after an accident. In other cases, you may need to spend more time out of work recovering. Severe injuries, like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, may prevent you from performing your usual job responsibilities for a long time. Those lost wages can significantly impact your finances, especially at a time when you have medical bills coming in. Most people include lost wages as part of the compensation they claim after a severe accident.
- How did your accident impact your life? Your attorney will help you calculate the suffering you experienced as a result of your accident. Sometimes, that may mean primarily physical pain and suffering. In other cases, you may suffer substantial emotional anguish along with your other symptoms. Your attorney may look into the emotional anguish that resulted from your accident, including the loss of companionship that often occurs during your recovery, activities you had to miss out on, and whether your injuries deprived you of the normal lifestyle you usually enjoy.
Determining the Liable Party in a Fort Lauderdale Accident
To file a personal injury claim, your attorney will start by helping you determine the party or parties that caused or contributed to your injuries. In the case of some types of personal injury claims, multiple parties may contribute to your accident. Consider an accident with a big truck, for example. The truck driver bears primary responsibility for anything that happens in his or her vehicle.
That does not necessarily mean, however, that the driver bears sole responsibility for the accident. The accident could, for example, result from a shifting load in the back that led to a jackknife. In that case, the party that loaded the truck may bear partial liability for the accident. Further investigation might reveal that the driver’s employer required drivers to exceed the federally mandated number of hours allowed behind the wheel each day. In that case, the employer might share liability.
An attorney will investigate each element of your accident to identify all parties that contributed to it.
To assign liability for the accident, an attorney will determine:
- Who bore a duty of care to you at the time of the accident? In that truck accident scenario, for example, the truck driver, his employer, and anyone who worked on the truck all bear a duty of care to others who share the road with that truck. The company that loaded the truck also bears a duty of care to both the driver and the other parties who share the road with him.
- Who violated that duty of care? What party made a decision that violated that duty of care to you? A truck driver who drove distracted or inebriated, for example, violated the duty of care to other drivers who share the road. If the employer failed to properly maintain the truck or insisted on unrealistic, illegal standards for the driver, the employer may also have violated its duty of care, both to the driver and to others involved in the accident.
- How did that violation lead to your injuries? If a distracted truck driver hits the concrete barrier in the center of the road, but does not cause injuries to you or damage to your vehicle, that driver may have violated the duty of care, but you do not have grounds for a personal injury claim. Likewise, if the trucking company does not properly maintain the vehicle, leading to a brake malfunction, but the driver manages to bring the truck to a safe stop, you may not have grounds for a personal injury claim. To file a personal injury claim, you will need to show that the other party’s negligence contributed to your injuries in some way.
Common Injuries Included in Personal Injury Claims
Any time you suffer a serious injury due to the negligence of another party, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. An attorney can help you learn more about how to include your specific injuries, including emotional anguish along with physical pain and suffering, as part of your personal injury claim.
Trauma to the head, whether in a car accident, a fall, or due to blunt force trauma from a falling object, can cause severe injuries to the victim—including, in many cases, injuries that can change the shape of the victim’s life.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term memory loss and many other problems:
- Impaired short-term memory. Short-term memory tells you what you planned to accomplish when you walked into a room. It helps you remember that the copy paper lives in the cabinet beside the copier, and that you can find extra toner in the supply closet down the hall. For victims with traumatic brain injury, however, those facts may not prove so easy to call to mind. In many cases, victims with traumatic brain injury may struggle with serious short-term memory challenges.
- Impulse control. In the average individual, the brain moderates impulses and helps prevent overreactions or dangerous behaviors. In individuals with traumatic brain injury, however, that impulse control may go out the window. Many individuals with traumatic brain injury struggle to control those impulsive behaviors. Not only can that make it difficult to function in a work environment, it can necessitate regular care from a caregiver to prevent dangerous behaviors.
- Emotional regulation. In many victims with traumatic brain injury, emotional regulation can prove a substantial challenge. Victims may react inappropriately to emotional stimuli: either having a reaction out of keeping with the actual emotions they experienced or struggling with extreme emotional reactions despite relatively minor stimuli. These emotional overreactions can make it incredibly difficult to work in positions that deal directly with people. They can also cause challenges when dealing with friends and loved ones.
- Sensory challenges. Victims with traumatic brain injury may suffer from a wide range of sensory challenges. Many of them suffer from blurred vision or ringing in the ears. Sometimes, those sensory problems can interfere with daily functionality, including driving or handling self-care tasks.
- Concentration problems. Many jobs require workers to focus intently on the task at hand. While professional multitasking has grown increasingly common, it often severely impairs productivity and makes it difficult for workers to fully complete any one task. Victims with traumatic brain injury may not only struggle more with multitasking, they may also struggle to maintain concentration or focus at all. Simply completing a single task can require a monumental amount of effort. It can take much longer for these victims to complete even relatively simple tasks. As a result, they may struggle at work or cannot return to work.
- Confusion. Victims with traumatic brain injury often suffer from significant confusion, especially in changing circumstances. They may need assistance coping with even minor changes or require help dealing with new environments or stimuli. Confusion may occur at any time, even in a familiar environment. It may get better over time, or it may continue to crop up even as victims appear to recover. Traumatic brain injury can prove tricky. Many victims with even minor traumatic brain injury may have symptoms more than a year after the accident, while victims with severe traumatic brain injury may suffer some limitations for the rest of their lives.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur frequently in auto accidents, but can also occur in slip and falls or on construction sites.
Spinal cord injury may range in severity depending on the extent of the damage.
- Complete spinal cord injuries. In a complete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord severs in the accident. The victim usually suffers full paralysis below the site of the injury. Many spinal cord injury victims also suffer from decreased organ function below the site of the accident, which can lead to incontinence or sexual dysfunction. The extent of the paralysis and loss of function usually depends on the location of the injury: the higher it occurs on the spinal cord, the greater the extent of the paralysis. Victims may need to use a wheelchair to get around. In the case of injury high on the spinal cord, victims may lose function in the hands and arms as well as function in the legs.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord does not sever completely in the accident. Victims may lose some, but not all, mobility as a result of their injuries. Many victims may need to use a wheelchair at least part-time, or may rely on crutches and braces, a cane, or other mobility assistive devices to get around after the accident. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can also cause a loss of function below the site of the injury.
- Challenges faced by spinal cord injury victims. Many spinal cord injury victims choose to focus on the positive, not on the negative. Unfortunately, determination alone cannot remove all the limitations faced by these victims. Spinal cord injury can make it difficult to manage in many professions. It can take a long time to recover, and not all employers can hold the employee’s job open while they recover. Many victims permanently lose the ability to work in their preferred professions, especially if they work in a highly active industry like the construction industry.
Severe burns can occur in a variety of ways. While most people assume that burns come from heat exposure, they can also occur due to:
Electrical and chemical burns commonly occur on construction sites, where workers face exposure to high-voltage electricity and chemicals regularly. Victims of motorcycle or bicycle accidents may face severe friction burns, also referred to as road rash, when they get dragged along the pavement or a solid obstacle during the accident.
Doctors break burns and their symptoms down according to severity.
- First degree burns involve only the first layer of the skin and usually cause redness and minor tenderness.
- Second-degree burns go into the second layer of skin and frequently show as red or blistered skin. These burns can cause significant amounts of pain and may leave substantial scarring behind.
- Third-degree burns involve both the layers of skin and the flesh beneath. Third-degree burns may, in many cases, cause less pain than second-degree burns because they damage nerve tissue. Victims with third-degree burns usually have substantial scarring. They may also suffer from lost mobility in the affected area. In some severe cases, victims may suffer from fourth-degree burns, which involve muscle and even bone. These burns usually result in severe disability for the victim. In some cases, the burn victim may even require amputation of the burned area.
Burn complications. Burns have a high rate of complication. The skin provides a vital protective layer that helps prevent infection from entering the body. Burns, however, erase that vital layer of protection. Victims have high rates of infection. Many victims choose to undergo a skin graft to treat their burns.
In a skin graft, skin from another source gets implanted on the burned area to help encourage recovery and reduce scarring. Unfortunately, skin grafts often fail. Some burn victims also lose mobility around the affected area, especially if scarring occurs around a joint.
Scarring can also represent a substantial complication for many burn victims. Visible scarring can impact many areas of the victim’s life. Some victims struggle to return to normal activities even after they heal, afraid of how other people will perceive their scars. Others may suffer a permanent change in self-image as a result of those scars.
While plastic surgery can help restore many victims’ appearance, some burn victims do not want to go through further surgeries, medical procedures, and suffering to restore their appearance. In other cases, the plastic surgeon may not have the capacity to fully restore the victim’s former appearance. In many victims, especially those who suffer burns around the face, this can cause serious, long-term psychological complications.
An amputation occurs when the victim of an accident loses a limb to those injuries. Often, amputations occur as a result of severe force at the time of the accident: a power tool accident on a construction site or severe injury in an auto accident, for example. In some cases, however, doctors may need to amputate after the accident itself. Victims may suffer such severe damage to the limb that they and their doctors decide together that removing the limb will offer a better opportunity for recovery.
Sometimes, doctors have no choice but to remove the affected limb to save the patient’s life: when the accident cuts off blood flow to the limb, it can cause the tissue to die and eventually become septic. The victim must then have the limb removed to prevent death.
Amputation can cause drastic changes to the victim’s life. Many victims choose to use prosthetic devices to restore normal mobility as much as possible. Prosthetics, however, can prove expensive, and they usually require regular replacement.
Not only do many victims need to replace prosthetic limbs within a year after the accident, as the shape of the stump changes, but they may also need to replace prosthetic devices an average of every three to five years for the rest of their lives. The more complex the prosthetic, the more expensive it can prove to replace it.
Dealing with dangerous chemicals can cause blindness after exposure, as can flying debris from many types of construction and auto accidents. Blindness permanently impacts the way people perceive the world. It separates them from the things around them, making it difficult to navigate in a world designed for seeing people.
People who go blind as a result of an accident may require extensive occupational therapy before they return to normal functionality. They may need to learn how to cope with those limitations and use their other senses to compensate, where possible, for the loss of their sight.
Blindness can make it very difficult to work in many fields. Most fields require sight for the employee to function effectively. In other cases, employees may not need sight directly but may function far better with it.
Broken bones may seem, on the surface, like relatively minor injuries. Severe breaks or multiple breaks, however, can cause serious complications in the victim’s life that make it very difficult for him to resume normal function for some time after the accident.
Severely broken bones often require surgical treatment. If broken bones require surgery, the healing time starts after the surgical procedure, not after the accident itself. Not only that, many victims require extensive therapy to relearn how to perform normal tasks using the affected limb, especially if they needed to spend a long time in recovery. Therapy can also help restore strength and flexibility in the affected limb.
Sometimes, however, victims do not regain full functionality in the affected body part. Pain can make it difficult to cope with normal daily functions. Many victims with broken bones note pain in the affected limb years after the initial accident. In many cases, this can prevent them from enjoying the activities they normally participate in, including sports and recreational activities.
Multiple broken bones can impose even more severe limitations, especially immediately after the accident. Some victims with broken bones may need assistance in managing daily self-care tasks. Broken bones in the hands or arms can make it incredibly difficult to perform work tasks from behind a desk, while broken bones in the legs can prevent work in a factory or industrial setting.
Fort Lauderdale Personal Injuries: FAQ
If you suffered a serious injury in Fort Lauderdale, an experienced personal injury attorney can answer many of the questions you have related to your specific claim. Contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys as soon after your accident as possible to get the help you need. If you have general questions about personal injury claims in Fort Lauderdale, consider the FAQ below.
1. Who has to pay for my medical bills after an injury in Fort Lauderdale?
Following a serious accident, you may have a lot of medical bills. Unfortunately, you cannot simply turn those medical bills over to the party that caused your accident. Ultimately, you bear responsibility for paying your own medical bills.
That does not necessarily mean, however, that you have to immediately write a check for every element of your treatment out of your own bank account, or that you do not have options for paying your medical bills.
Many accident victims have options for helping to cover those medical bills.
- Your PIP insurance, if relevant. If you carry personal injury protection insurance and suffer an accident in a vehicle, you can use your personal injury protection insurance to cover your immediate medical expenses after your accident. Florida drivers must carry PIP coverage to legally operate their vehicles. You can also use personal injury protection coverage to cover your injuries if you suffer them in an auto accident, but you did not drive at the time of the accident: after a bicycle accident or an accident as a pedestrian, for example.
- Your health insurance. Health insurance can provide vitally necessary protection when you suffer injuries in any type of accident. If you suffer severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, that have lifelong consequences and expenses, your medical insurance will provide vital protection and coverage for those medical expenses. You should contact your health insurance company as soon as possible after your accident to notify them about what happened and ask any questions you have about your coverage, including what steps you should take to get approved for any needed procedures.
- A personal injury claim. If you suffer severe injuries due to the negligence of another party, a personal injury claim can help you recover the funds you need to pay for your treatment. That does not mean that the person who caused your accident has to pay for your medical expenses directly. Instead, it means that you can recover some or all of the money spent on your medical expenses from the party that caused your accident. If your medical bills start coming due, but you have not yet received the funds from your personal injury claim, an attorney can write a letter of protection that will establish your intent to pay your medical expenses once you have the funds from your claim in hand.
- Hospital programs and funds. Many hospitals, especially those that provide treatment for severe injuries, acknowledge that their patients will struggle to pay the high bills associated with those treatments. Your hospital may have a policy in place that will help you receive treatment for those injuries even if you do not have the means to pay. Contact your patient care coordinator to learn more about the policies your hospital has and how they can benefit you as you recover from your injuries.
2. The insurance company that covers the liable party got in touch with me shortly after my accident and offered me a settlement. Do I still have to file a Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim? Should I accept the offer?
After a serious accident, the party that caused the accident or that party’s insurance company may get in touch with you while you still have little idea what your recovery will look like or how high your medical bills will mount. In many cases, they will issue a settlement offer.
Many victims find that offer incredibly tempting. If you accept the offer, you will have ready funds on hand which can, in many cases, help you pay for your medical bills and manage the other expenses you have faced as you manage your recovery.
Do not accept that offer before talking to our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys.
Insurance companies have extensive experience dealing with accident victims. They know how to issue appealing offers that sound great on the surface or that make you feel as though you must accept the offer quickly to avoid potential repercussions down the road. The insurance company may even try to convince you that you must accept the offer immediately or potentially miss out on the compensation you deserve, possibly permanently.
In reality, you do not have to accept any offer made by the insurance company—and that offer may not reflect the full compensation you really deserve for the injuries you suffered. The insurance company may try to get you to accept that offer to limit its financial liability, rather than to offer you the funds you really deserve for your injuries.
An attorney can help you better understand the compensation you really deserve after your Fort Lauderdale accident and ensure that you do not mistakenly accept a settlement offer that does not reflect your real needs.
3. Do I really need an attorney to file a Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim?
Many people worry about the expense associated with hiring an attorney to handle a personal injury claim. They may wonder if they can handle a claim on their own, rather than needing someone else to step in and handle it for them.
An attorney, however, brings several advantages to the table in your personal injury claim. An attorney can help collect vital evidence that will establish who caused your accident, including, in some cases, identifying multiple parties that may have contributed to the accident. An experienced attorney can give you a better idea of the compensation you really deserve, preventing you from accepting a low settlement offer. Often, insurance companies will offer higher settlements to victims who have an attorney on their side.
An attorney can also provide vital peace of mind as you move forward with your personal injury claim. You will not have to worry about dealing with the insurance company, collecting evidence, or handling the paperwork associated with your claim. Instead, you can hand those tasks over to your attorney.
4. How long do I have to file a personal injury claim after a Fort Lauderdale accident?
You will need to file your personal injury claim before the statute of limitations runs out. For some victims, that may pose a challenge, especially if you have let a great deal of time pass since your accident. If you believe time might be running out, however, contact an attorney before you give up. Many exceptions exist to the statute of limitations that may allow you to file your claim even if significant time has passed since the accident.
5. When should I get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney after an accident?
Ideally, you should contact an attorney as soon after your accident as possible. While your attorney may advise waiting before you file your personal injury claim, you can still benefit from working with an attorney immediately after the accident.
Evidence can prove more difficult to collect as you allow more time to pass after your accident. Witness statements can grow increasingly murky as memory fades and changes. Video footage can get erased. Evidence may vanish from the scene of the accident, not due to deliberate malice, but simply due to the natural progression of time.
Working with an attorney soon after the accident can increase the odds that you will have that evidence in hand if you need it to plead your case or take your claim to court.
An attorney can also provide valuable assistance immediately after your accident. Pain pills and brain injuries can both create confusion and make it difficult for you to make logical, reasoned decisions about the steps you need to take next. You may struggle to deal with the legal challenges in front of you or to answer the necessary questions. An attorney can help answer those questions for you and make it easier for you to make decisions after your accident.
6. How long will it take to get a settlement from my Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim?
It can take some time for you to obtain the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Talk to your attorney to learn more about the time you can expect to wait before you arrive at an agreement with the liable party and the factors that may have contributed to the accident, including:
How long you wait to file your claim. Your attorney may advise not filing your personal injury claim immediately. In most personal injury claims, your medical expenses will form the basis of the claim.
Soon after your injuries, you may have little idea what your long-term medical expenses and future prognosis will look like. Victims with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, and severe burns, for example, may face multiple challenges on the road to recovery. Complications, setbacks, or injuries that turn out worse than they first appeared can all increase your medical costs and extend your suffering.
If you file a personal injury claim immediately after your accident, you may not include those expenses. As a result, you cannot receive compensation for them.
How much money you ask for. In many cases, if you suffer severe injuries and, therefore, ask for substantial compensation for those injuries, the insurance company may take longer to arrive at a settlement agreement. That does not mean that you should decrease your request, but it does mean that, if you suffer severe injuries and have high medical bills, you should expect it to take longer to get the compensation you deserve in your hands.
How long you negotiate. Each claim proves unique. Sometimes, the insurance company will negotiate relatively little. Its representatives may look at your demand package, assess the extent of your injuries and your medical costs, and issue a settlement offer you feel you can live with.
In other cases, you may have to fight harder for the compensation you deserve.
Each round of negotiation adds to the time it will take to settle your claim. Often, those rounds of negotiation will prove out of your control. While you can accept a settlement offer at any time, you do not want to accept a settlement offer that does not reflect the funds you deserve in compensation for your injuries.
If you cannot reach an agreement with the liable party through negotiation, you may need to proceed to mediation. During mediation, you will sit down with your attorneys, the liable party and his legal representatives, and a mediator. The mediator will allow you to present your claim and issue a recommendation based on the extent of your injuries and the evidence both you and the liable party present.
If you do not arrive at an agreement after mediation, you may need to take your claim to court.
7. Will I have to go to court over my Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim?
Most personal injury claims settle out of court. Taking the claim to court usually proves expensive for the insurance company or liable party. In most cases, that party will attempt to arrive at an agreement before you have to take your claim to court.
8. How much do your Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys cost?
We cost you nothing.
At the Levin Firm, we start with a free consultation to learn more about your claim. Then, if we agree to work together, we will take your case on a contingent fee basis, in which you pay no upfront attorneys’ fees. We only deduct a percentage of any personal injury settlement or award we help you to secure.
For most victims, this makes legal representation affordable, and requires no upfront costs. In many cases, it may cost you more to not have an attorney to handle your claim than it does to have one, since an attorney can help maximize the compensation you receive.
What Nine Steps Should You Take After a Severe Injury in Fort Lauderdale?
Following a serious injury, the steps you take next could prove critical. In fact, the steps you take immediately following a personal injury claim can influence your financial standing as well as your physical wellbeing. Follow these steps to help protect yourself after a serious accident.
1. Prioritize medical care after an accident.
Any time you suffer serious injuries in an accident, prioritize seeking medical care. With severe injuries, including symptoms of traumatic brain injury or multiple broken bones, you may need to proceed straight to the emergency room. In other cases, including soft tissue injuries or a single suspected break, you may choose to go to an urgent care center instead of going to the hospital.
Even if you believe that you did not suffer severe injuries in an accident, you should visit a hospital or urgent care center to get checked out if at all possible. In some cases, you may have adrenaline from the accident masking the symptoms of serious injuries.
Many victims do not feel pain until hours later. In the meantime, they may substantially worsen their injuries. Other victims may not notice the pain until the next day. Still, others may walk around on severe injuries for days or weeks, writing it off to “normal soreness” after an accident. Prompt medical treatment can prevent you from missing severe injuries and allow you to receive the treatment you need.
Seeking medical care promptly can also provide vitally-needed evidence of when your injuries took place, which can help immensely if you must file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your injuries. In some cases, the liable party may attempt to prove that your injuries took place at another time. If another event caused your injuries, the liable party may not have to pay compensation for your claim. Your medical care visit will help establish exactly when your injuries took place.
2. Listen to all instructions given to you by medical care professionals.
Not only should you seek medical care, you should also take care to listen to the advice given by your doctors. Your doctors want to help you make as full a recovery as possible. If you ignore them, however, you can worsen your injuries or prolong your recovery.
In addition, this may give the liable party grounds to argue that you worsened your injuries or did not take the steps necessary to contribute to your recovery, which can reduce the compensation you can receive for your injuries.
3. Report the accident immediately.
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident, call 911 at the scene of the accident, and do not leave the scene of the accident unless you need to leave to seek emergency medical care.
If you suffered injuries in a business, report your accident to the employees as soon as possible.
If you suffered injuries at work, make sure you follow the steps laid out in your employee handbook for reporting an accident. If you do not know what steps you need to take, contact your supervisor as soon as possible.
No matter where your accident took place, make reporting it a priority. That report can serve as vital evidence of exactly when and where your accident happened. If relevant, ask for a copy of the accident report. This report can help establish when your accident took place and what factors contributed to it. It can also help aid you later in your personal injury claim.
4. Collect evidence, if you can.
Do not move around the scene of the accident if you feel that it will worsen your injuries or place you in danger.
For example, you do not want to run around in the road following an auto accident just to get pictures of the accident. If you can safely navigate the scene of the accident, however, you may want to collect evidence related to how the accident occurred. If you slipped and fell because of a broken board on the stairs at your hotel, for example, you should take a picture of the broken board. Suffer injuries due to a spill? You may want to take photos of the spill and the area around it, displaying that no signs warned about the hazard.
In an auto accident, you may specifically want to collect pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident, including a close-up of the damage to the vehicles. You should also snap a picture of the other driver’s insurance information and license.
Did anyone witness your accident? If so, you may want to collect contact information for those witnesses. They can help establish what led to your accident, including factors you may not have noticed at the time of the accident.
5. Make your own statement about what took place during the accident as soon as you can.
Memory can fade quickly, especially after a very traumatic event. As soon as you can after the accident, try to write down or record your own statement of what led to the accident. Include any details that you remember.
Ideally, you want to record your statement before anyone else talks to you about the accident or tells you what they saw. Listening to someone else talk about the accident can influence your memories of those events and make it difficult for you to manage your own account later. Instead, try to create a factual report of what took place as soon as you can. Do not rehearse the story, if you can avoid it, since this may also alter your immediate memories.
6. Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible.
Following your accident, get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Many victims will try to wait before contacting an attorney. Some even think that they may choose to handle their personal injury claims on their own.
This strategy, however, can increase your stress levels and make it easier for the insurance company or liable party to take advantage of you. Instead, get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as you can. You do not necessarily have to call the attorney from the emergency room, but if you know you will have a long stay in the hospital ahead of you, try to get in touch with an attorney before you get discharged. Many attorneys will come to you to help manage your claim.
7. Get in touch with your insurance company or companies.
What insurance will you use to help cover the cost of injuries related to your accident? If you use PIP insurance or file a car accident claim, you may need to talk to your car insurance company.
Regardless of how your injuries occurred, you may need to talk to your medical insurance provider. Ask any questions you have related to your coverage, including how your accident will impact your medical coverage. What do your deductibles and copays look like? What is your out-of-pocket maximum for the calendar year? Does your insurance company cover durable medical equipment?
You may also want to ask questions about in-network providers. Contacting your insurance company will give you a better idea of the expenses you can expect as you handle your medical bills.
8. Keep track of all medical bills related to your accident in a separate file. Include information from your medical records, if relevant.
After your accident, you may have a lot of paperwork coming your way. You may have scans and X-rays from the emergency room, treatment recommendations from your doctor, and paperwork explaining your injuries and the exercises you need to perform to aid in the healing process.
Then the medical bills start arriving.
Many people do not expect the sheer number of medical bills that arrive after a serious accident. Often, you will receive separate medical bills for each visit with a care provider. You may even receive multiple medical bills for a single procedure, especially if you need surgical treatment for your injuries.
Keep track of all of those medical bills in one location. Note if and when you pay those bills or make payments toward those bills. Not only can this prove vital in establishing the basis for your personal injury claim, since you will need to include your medical expenses in the claim, but it can also help you establish exactly when you paid those bills if a discrepancy shows up in your medical records later.
9. Continue following your care provider’s recommendations.
Many injuries leave victims with a long road to recovery. You may need multiple surgeries and procedures as well as extensive therapy to help you along your journey.
Follow the recommendations of your care provider to the best of your ability.
After a broken bone in your leg, for example, your care provider may state that you cannot bear weight on the affected limb for six weeks or more following the accident—or, in some cases, following surgical treatment to set the bone. If you bear weight on the limb before you heal, it can cause even more serious damage, complicating your recovery or even leaving you with permanent disabilities related to your injuries. The liable party may then attempt to prove that you worsened your condition, reducing the liability that party faces for it and leaving you responsible for those medical costs.
More severe injuries may have even more serious requirements. You may need to go through extensive therapy to increase your odds of recovery. You may also have to avoid some of the activities that most commonly make up your life for a long time. Failure to follow those recommendations, however, can prolong or derail your recovery.