Lovely Port Charlotte, located in Charlotte County, Florida, is widely recognized as one of the best places to live in the United States. Port Charlotte isn't paradise, however, and accidents do happen. Sometimes an accident that injures one person turns out to have been caused by someone else, and that is the scenario that invokes personal injury law.
Florida personal injury law entitles you to full compensation for your injuries, both physical and psychological, except for the limits imposed by the auto accident “no-fault” system (see below) and the workers' compensation system (for workplace injuries). In most cases, personal injury claims are resolved through private settlement rather than courtroom litigation.
Florida's “No Fault” Auto Insurance System
Auto accidents are responsible for more personal injury claims than any other type of accident. Under Florida's “no-fault” auto insurance system, you are expected to look to your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance regardless of whose fault the accident was. And PIP doesn't pay for everything – it only pays for 60 percent of lost wages, for example.
You can exit the no-fault system if:
- Your damages exceed policy limits ($10,000); or
- You suffer a permanent injury.
In this case, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. Keep in mind that many people expect the Florida state legislature to repeal the no-fault system in the near future.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a “certificate of counsel”?
A certificate of counsel is a document that is required before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. It includes the lawyer's statement that the lawsuit is based on reasonable grounds, and it typically includes a doctor's expert opinion. This is required in order to discourage frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.
What is an accident reconstruction specialist?
An accident reconstruction specialist is someone with expertise in the physics of accidents, who reconstructs how the accident happened, and who was at fault. Accident reconstruction specialists are often called as witnesses in personal injury lawsuits. An accident reconstruction specialist may examine skid marks, interview witnesses, or collect data from a truck's “black box.”
Can I still win damages if the accident was partly my fault?
Yes, you can recover partial damages (60 percent if the accident was 40 percent your fault, for example) as long as you were not 100 percent at fault. You will also have to pay partial damages to the other driver. In this way, you could still end up with a net loss, especially if the accident was mostly your fault.
The insurance company wants me to sign a release of my medical records. Should I comply?
Definitely not. The insurance company will dig through your records with a fine-toothed comb trying to find an excuse not to pay your claim. They might, for example, find a previous injury and assert that the injury you are complaining of was pre-existing and not caused by the accident. Don't give them ammunition.
What is the statute of limitations deadline in Florida?
The statute of limitations is the law that sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit. In a personal injury case, it works like this:
- You have four years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit.
- If you are claiming medical malpractice, you have two years from the date that you discovered or should have discovered the malpractice.
- If you are claiming wrongful death, you have two years from the date of death of the victim.
You Don't Pay Unless You Win
At David Holland Law, we are used to winning. And that it why we offer our no-fee guarantee. If we fail to obtain compensation for you, either at the negotiating table or in court, your total legal bill from us will be zero. Even if you win, our bill will not come due until your compensation is in the bank.
The Longer You Wait to Take Action, the Dimmer Your Prospects for Full Recovery Will Be
In a personal injury case, all that really matters is what you can prove. Proof is based on evidence, and evidence tends to degrade over time (the memory of an eyewitness to the accident, for example). What that means to you is that the sooner you begin to press your claim, the better.
Acting immediately is always your best bet. Call David Holland Law today at (941)744-5450, or simply fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation. We serve clients from all over Port Charlotte, including Charlotte Harbor, El Jobean, Grassy Point, Edgewater, and Gulf Cove.