WHAT IS PERSONAL INJURY?
Personal injury means an injury to the person, rather than an injury to property, and relates to injury caused by the negligence of others.
There is often a property damage claim related to a personal injury claim such as in a car accident.
The most common types of personal injury are car accidents, also known as motor vehicle accidents, including drunk driving accidents, bus accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and suv rollover accidents.
In order to make a recovery in a personal injury claim there must be liability, or a breach of duty on the part of the negligent party, and damages to the injured party as a result of the negligent acts of the at fault party.
For example all drivers have a duty to observe the rules of the road, and not cause a collision with another vehicle. If a driver is negligent and fails to follow the traffic laws, or as a result of his actions causes a car crash, then that person has breached their duty to the other drivers on the road. Examples of negligence include failure to yield, careless driving, reckless driving, improper turn, running a red light, running a stop sigh, and any other violation of state traffic law.
It is not necessary for a driver to be cited with a violation of a traffic law in order for that driver to be considered negligent and liable for damages in a car accident. The police do not make liability decisions in car accidents, those decisions are made by the Courts, therefore car accident victims should not assume that they do not have a legal cause of action simply because the other driver was not given a citation.
The second aspect of a personal injury claim is that a person is injured as a result of the negligence or breach of duty by the at fault party. For example, if your car was parked and you were not in your car when the negligent driver ran into it, you would not have a personal injury claim, rather you would have a claim for property damage only. Further if you were in your car at the time it was struck by the negligent driver, but you suffered no injury at all, then you would not have a personal injury claim and would only have a property damage claim.
WHAT IS MY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM WORTH
The value of your personal injury claim is going to be determined by the nature and extent of the personal injuries you sustained. If you have no injuries then the value of your claim may be limited to your property damage such as the damage to your car.
Therefore it is essential that anyone injured by the negligence of others seek medical attention. The objective is not to create injuries that are not there but rather to diagnose and determine the extent of your injuries. The nature and extent of your injuries can only be determined through examination by qualified doctors as well as appropriate medical testing such as X-Rays and MRI scans. Depending on the type of injury you sustained, you may have been evaluated in a hospital emergency room, or you may have been seen by your family physician, chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon or other specialist.
Often one doctor such as your chiropractor or family physician will coordinate your care and medical testing, and may refer you out for evaluation by other specialists or for an MRI scan. Once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) your family doctor or chiropractor will then prepare a final report summarizing the nature, extent, and permanency of your injuries, and may state an opinion as to the permanency of any injury you may have. The final report will state the basis for any such opinion, supported by medical evaluations, treatments, and tests that were conducted.
The value of your claim will be based upon the nature and extent of your injuries as well as the permanency of any injury you may have, plus any future medical care you may need.
In addition the value of your claim may be determined by any of the following; loss of consortium (spousal services), loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to enjoy certain activities, hobbies, or sports, pain, suffering and mental anguish as a result of the injuries sustained as a result of the accident, time lost from work, loss of job as a result of the injury, travel time to and from your doctor, and out of pocket losses.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SETTLE MY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
A personal injury claim cannot be settled until you have completed your medical evaluations and treatment. This means that you have reached maximum medical improvement and your doctors are satisfied that they have determined the nature and extent of all of your injuries. The length of time necessary to compete your medical evaluation and treatment will vary greatly with the type of injury you sustained. The average time for a car accident claim is three to six months from the date of the accident. Obviously if your injuries are significant the time may be considerably longer for recovery. It is important not to attempt to settle your personal injury claim until you have completed all medical treatment and reached maximum medical improvement.
WHAT CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER DO FOR ME
Insurance companies don’t want to pay you money for your personal injury claim. By the nature of their job, a claims adjusters objective is to pay out as little on any claim as possible.
From our law office in St. Petersburg, our personal injury lawyers work hard to maximize the amount of settlement you receive for your personal injury claim. We begin by placing the insurance company on notice that you are represented by a lawyer.
It is important that you refrain from speaking with an insurance adjuster without your attorney present, and we will speak on your behalf from the first day you hire us.
We will assist you with finding a doctor if you are not already under the care of a doctor and we will coordinate the payment of your medical bills through your PIP, health insurance, or other collateral source providers. In addition when necessary we work to obtain reductions in your medical bills for you.
When necessary we may issue a letter of protection (LOP) to your medical providers requesting assurance that they will be paid out of your personal injury settlement. This will allow you to continue to receive medical treatment without having to make up front payments to your medical providers. Our assistance with and coordination of your medical treatment and payment of bills is done free of charge.
We assist you free of charge with your property damage such as the damage repairs, or total loss of your vehicle. Insurance companies will try to pay you a little as possible for your repairs or for your total loss. We will further assist you with obtaining a rental vehicle if possible, and will take photos of your damaged vehicle for evidentiary purposes.
We assist you free of charge with obtaining payment for your lost wages as a result of your injury. Insurance companies try to pay as little as possible for lost wages and our goal is to see that you are reimbursed for all lost wages as a result of your injury.
Once your medical treatment and evaluation is complete and you have reached maximum medical improvement your doctor or chiropractor will prepare a final report outlining your medical condition, injuries and permanency. We then will prepare a demand package to the at fault insurance carrier, outlining the entire nature of your injury claim, and attach all medical records, police reports, and other documentation of your claim. We give the insurance company a timed deadline to respond to our demands, and in most cases are able to achieve a satisfactory settlement.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the negligence of others, call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Scott and Fenderson PLLC in their St. Petersburg office today at 727-321-0099, or submit the case evaluation form and we will be happy to discuss your case with you. The consultation is free and you will speak with a lawyer, not a paralegal or intake specialist. Don’t delay, you may have a valid claim for your injury case, but you must bring your case within the statute of limitations.