Clermont & Florida Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
Florida car accident and insurance law is an alphabet soup of complicated and confusing terms. What are your rights under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance laws, and what can you do when seriously injured by another driver who is “at-fault”? Hopefully the answers below to some of these frequently asked questions will help clear up the picture for you. If you have other questions, or if you want to talk to an attorney about a possible claim or personal injury lawsuit , call Scoma Law Firm in Clermont at 352-432-1346 for a free consultation.
What is PIP?
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a form of insurance that you are required to carry if you own a vehicle in Florida. If you are hurt in an accident, your PIP coverage will pay for 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost income, up to a maximum of $10,000 (minus your deductible). PIP coverage is “no-fault” coverage. In other words, you do not have to prove that the other driver was at-fault in order to collect, and the insurance company will not deny your claim just because the accident may have been your own fault. If you fail to be treated within 14 days after the accident for an emergency medical condition, you can be limited to only $2,500 in medical expense reimbursement.
What is BIL?
BIL stands for Bodily Injury Liability and is another type of insurance coverage. If you are seriously or permanently injured in an accident that is the other driver’s fault, you can sue the other driver for your damages beyond the PIP threshold, and if they have BIL, this coverage can be accessed to pay your medical bills and lost income above the PIP amount, as well as other legally-recognized damages. Florida law does not require you to carry BIL, unless you have been convicted of a DUI. To recover, you may need to file a lawsuit and prove your case in court.
What is UM?
UM stands for Uninsured Motorist coverage. If you are struck by another driver, and your injuries exceed your PIP coverage, what do you do if the other driver is uninsured? If you have UM insurance, then your insurance company can cover your damages up to your policy limits. UM coverage also applies if you are injured in a hit-and-run and cannot locate the driver who hit you. Don’t forget to see an attorney before you make a claim to ensure that your UM carrier fully compensates you for your damages.
How long will my case take?
If you have incurred medical bills and cannot work, we understand that you need financial help, and that you need it sooner rather than later. Still, it is important not to rush a personal injury case. The insurance company may be quick to offer you a check only days after the accident, but they don’t do that to make sure you are fully compensated; they do that to settle your claim and get rid of you as quickly and cheaply as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney will wait until you are medically stationary and all of your past, present and future expenses (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, quality of life) are known or can be reasonably estimated. This often takes several months, and if a settlement cannot be reached, expect litigation to take even longer. While we will move as quickly as possible to resolve your case, we are not here simply to get a quick settlement and move on to the next case. We do what it takes to get you the best result available, even if it takes some time. In the meantime, we can help you identify other sources of income or financial help while waiting for your settlement or final judgment.
How can I afford a lawyer?
At Scoma Law Firm, we believe that all injured persons are entitled to access to justice and representation by qualified, experienced legal counsel, and we are proud to take cases on a contingency fee basis to make that happen. A contingency fee means that we don’t take a fee unless and until we recover for you. If we don’t recover, you don’t pay. We also advance all of the costs involved in a lawsuit – such as court filing fees, investigators, and expert witness fees – so it does not cost you any upfront money out of your pocket to pursue your case. If we are successful, our fees and expenses will be paid from the settlement or judgment we collect for you. If you were worrying about how you could afford to hire an excellent attorney to represent you, stop worrying. Call Scoma Law Firm for a free consultation about your case.