Dealing with injury when others are at fault can be life changing. Whether you’re injured from equine activities, dog bite, car crash, or other injury, Law Firm Ocala is here for you.
PIP – Personal Injury Protection coverage. Florida is a “No-Fault” state. In Florida, all owners of vehicles are required to carry PIP. PIP statutes were enacted to cover the medical and other expenses of injured parties following a motor vehicle accident.
14 Day PIP Rule (Personal Injury Protection)
The 14 Day PIP Rule requires injured victims to seek medical care within 14 days of their traffic accident in order for PIP coverage to be afforded. If an injured party does not seek medical attention within 14days from the date of the accident, PIP coverage will not be available to them to cover medical expenses.
PIP coverage pays 80 percent of medical bills incurred because of the crash up to the PIP policy limit, deductibles may apply. PIP also pays 60 percent of lost wages if the injured party is restricted by a physician from their work duties and mileage to and from doctor visits.
PIP benefits will pay for medical benefits associated with hospital care, physician care, chiropractic care, physical therapy, missed work, and prescription drugs.
PIP coverage also provides a $5,000 death benefit.
Additionally, under Florida’s PIP laws, an injured party must have been diagnosed with an “Emergency Medical Condition” to access the full benefit value of their PIP policy. If they do not obtain a diagnosis of an “EMC” from a physician, they will only be provided a maximum of $2,500 in PIP benefits.
PIP does not cover property damage to your vehicle or the host vehicle.
Property Damage To Your Vehicle
A separate claim for your vehicle’s property damage may be filed with either your own company, if you carry “Comprehensive/Collision” coverage, or you may attempt to submit your property damage claim through the at-fault party’s carrier. Contact a competent lawyer for assistance in this regard. Florida law requires that all vehicles carry a minimum of $10,000.00 in property damage coverage to cover the property damage of the party deemed without fault in causing the accident.
Bodily Injury Claim
If you have suffered an injury in an automobile accident contact a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a cause of action for pursuing a bodily injury claim against the party(ies) that caused the accident.
A bodily injury settlement can pay for the following:
- Ambulance costs;
- Emergency room costs and treatment;
- Hospital expenses (surgeries or diagnostic tests);
- Ongoing medical expenses (doctor’s visits, hospitalizations)
- Rehabilitation costs related to your injury;
- Skilled nursing help or long-term care;
- Future care based on the extent of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or costs of treatment for depression, anxiety and PTSD;
- Diminished quality of life;
- Wrongful Death;
- Loss of consortium;
- Lost earnings and/or diminished future earning capacity;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Property Damage.
If you are involved in an accident and suffer injuries, seek medical care, take photographs of your injuries and your property damage and contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Dog Bite and Dog Liability
Florida uses strict liability. In Florida, a dog owner is liable for the damages suffered by the victim who was bitten by the owner’s dog regardless of the dog’s past behavior. Strict liability principles hold dog owners responsible even for the first bite if the statutory requirements are met.
It is important to call Animal Control after a serious dog bite case or attack, take photographs of your injuries, obtain premise and ownership information pertaining to the location of the attack and/or the ownership information of the dog owner. Contact a personal injury lawyer to seek counsel and assistance in pursuing a claim against the premise owner and/or dog owner.
Equine Liability and Injury
Recovering from injuries during equine activities can be difficult. It’s important to immediately seek medical attention and document everything that happened before, during, and after the injury. Hiring a lawyer experienced in equine law is important. Hiring a lawyer who is knowledgeable in equine activities can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
Florida’s equine liability statute provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person shall not be liable for an injury to, or the death of, a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. F. S. A. § 773.01-02. Section 773.03 (2) provides five (5) exceptions to the limitation on liability based on certain knowing, negligent, and/or intentional acts or omissions of the equine activity sponsor, professional, or other person.
Section 773.04 of the statute, reproduced below, places an affirmative obligation on equine activity sponsors and professionals to provide participants with notice of the limitation on liability under Florida law, and sets out the precise wording of the notification that is required:
773.04. Posting and notification
(1) Every equine activity sponsor and equine professional shall:
(a) Post and maintain one or more signs which contain the warning notice specified in subsection (2). These signs shall be placed in a clearly visible location near to where the equine activity begins. The warning notice specified in subsection (2) shall appear on the sign in black letters, with each letter to be a minimum of 1 inch in height, with sufficient color contrast to be clearly distinguishable.
(b) Give the participant a written document which the participant shall sign with the warning notice specified in subsection (2) clearly printed on it. Said written document may be used in lieu of posting the warning on the site of the equine activity sponsor’s or equine professional’s facility, and shall be given to any participant in an equine event not on the location of the equine activity sponsor’s or equine professional’s facility.
Potential Damages in Injury Cases
Damages are the extent of the harm that you have suffered because of the accident. You may be entitled to receive compensation for these damages, which may include:
- Past and current medical expenses
- Reasonably anticipated and necessary medical expenses
- Lost wages from when you were attending medical appointments or therapy and when you were too injured to report for duty
- Lost earning capacity if the job you work now renders less income than the job you had prior to the accident when the accident caused you to have to take a lesser-paying position or left you incapacitated
- Damages for permanent disfigurement
- Property damage
- Cost of hiring someone to perform household services that you can no longer complete because of your injuries
- Emotional distress and pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Any other damages that directly resulted from the accident
Medical expenses often play a significant role in the total amount of damages that you can claim in a personal injury case. Additionally, medical expenses may be used as a basis to determine damages for your pain and suffering. Medical expenses are recoverable when they are directly related to the injury and are reasonable.
Florida uses the collateral source rule which states that the defendant cannot present evidence about payments that your insurance company made for your medical bills or expenses in order to reduce the amount of compensation that you are awarded. If a jury only sees bills that have not been paid for, this could cause you to receive less compensation for your injuries. This rule protects the recovery of personal injury victims.
Timeline to Claim Injury (Statute of Limitations)
The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. If a victim waits until after this timeline has passed, his or her claim can be barred regardless of how clear liability is. The general statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida is four years. This time limit usually starts running from the date of the accident. In some situations, the time period is shorter. For example, if you are filing a claim against a governmental agency, the statute of limitations is only three years, and there are conditions that must be fulfilled (conditions precedent) to file a governmental lawsuit.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. In rare circumstances, a personal injury may not be discovered for some time after an accident or incident, such as in situations involving medical malpractice. If this injury was not and could not have been discovered, the statute of limitations can be extended for two years after the discovery of the injury. There is also an exception for fraud. If fraud prevented the injury from being discovered, the statute of limitations can be extended by two years from the date of the discovery of the injury. However, in any event, the lawsuit must be brought within seven years from when the cause of action arose.
The statute of limitations can also be tolled or put on pause in certain situations, allowing a personal injury victim more time to file a lawsuit. A tolling of the statute of limitations may occur if the defendant is absent from the state of Florida or try to conceal his or her location to avoid service of process. The statute of limitations can also be tolled based on the mental incapacity of the victim. If the victim was mentally incapacitated before the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be paused during this period of incapacity. The statute of limitations begins to run when the victim’s capacity is restored. However, in any event, the lawsuit must be filed within seven years from the date of injury.