Auto Accident Litigation

Our Philosophy

Our firm always handles cases on an individual basis. We are not a clearing house for soft-tissue injuries where every client is sent to the same doctor and everyone seems to get the same amount of money. We conduct a thorough investigation of every accident, hire an investigator and an accident reconstruction expert if necessary, and take steps right from the beginning of our representation to make sure the insurance adjuster understands that your claim may be significant and they will have to adjust their reserves accordingly.

No Fault Insurance – How It Works

Florida no-fault insurance law requires that every owner of a motor vehicle carry insurance on their own vehicle to pay medical bills and lost wages. The only method of obtaining a recovery for anything other than out-of-pocket expenses from the person at fault for the accident is if you can prove you suffered a permanent injury, including the following:

  1. significant permanent scarring, or disfigurement
  2. death
  3. loss of an important bodily function

This is referred to as the no-fault threshold. An injured party who suffers injuries as a result of the negligence of another can obtain a recovery for the affect of their day to day injuries on their quality of life if a treating physician expresses an opinion that the individual suffered a permanent impairment of the body.

Paying Medical Bills and Lost Wages

Regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident in the state of Florida, a vehicle owners’ own insurance company will pay medical bills up to the amount of the no-fault and medical payments insurance limits. This is true even in an accident where the injured party has nofault whatsoever in contributing to the accident. The historical development of this legislation came about because of the desire to assure payment of accident related medical expenses in a prompt and efficient manner. Personal injury protection or no-fault insurance pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of wage loss to the injured party as long as insurance proceeds are available. Medical payments coverage is an insurance coverage that will assure that medical bills are paid at 100% up to the policy limits of the medical payments insurance. Both of these coverages are contractual benefits to an injured party and have nothing to do with fault. It is important that you be aware of the amount of your no-fault insurance benefits as well as the amount of any medical payments coverage available to you following an automobile accident. Given the high cost of medical care, the policy limits can quickly and unknowingly be exhausted through even routine hospitalization and medical care.

The Legal Process- Handling Your Case

Too often, lawyers do not let insurance companies know early that they believe that there is a significant case and they need to make sure they put aside enough funds so that when negotiation comes later, they are not surprised.

We then make sure that our clients receive appropriate medical care for their particular injuries, and that all their medical bills and medical visits are handled in a seamless fashion. The stress of multiple calls from insurance adjusters, bill collectors, medical offices, and others, often causes our clients undue stress. We handle all those things for you so that it is only necessary for you to focus on getting better so you can overcome accident related injuries.

At some point after the medical treatment, we will begin discussing internally,  the value of  your case and will customize a plan of action. We will then contact the doctors to determine your future medical treatment needs including the cost of any future prescription or office visit. With input from our clients, we will then put together a settlement package to send to the insurance company on how the accident has affected their life and how it may affect them in the future. We do that based on our years of experience handling these claims, and if necessary, hiring experts to help determine the costs of future medical procedures and lost wages.

Damage To Your Motor Vehicle -

For many individuals involved in an accident, the damage to their motor vehicle or personal property is an emotional issue. If you purchased coverage under your automobile insurance policy, you can choose to have your motor vehicle repaired by your own insurance company and they will typically seek to be reimbursed from the at fault party at a later date. If you have a deductible on your collision coverage, typically the insurance company will reimburse to your deductible if they are successful in being compensated by the at fault party.

In cases where it is clear and certain that another party is 100% responsible for the damage to your motor vehicle, you may choose to allow the at fault party’s insurance carrier to pay for the repairs or total loss of your motor vehicle. It is important to assure that you are aware of the value of the motor vehicle damage on the day the accident in case of a total loss. The insurance company will expect you to promptly replace your vehicle should they advise you that your vehicle is totaled in an accident. One should always ask for sales tax in addition to the value of the vehicle to assure proper compensation.

Should you choose to have your vehicle repaired after an accident and choose to do so through the at fault party’s insurance carrier, you need to make sure that the body shop or mechanic responsible for repairing and replacing your vehicle does so to your satisfaction. The at fault party’s liability insurance carrier has a responsibility to return to you a motor vehicle that is properly repaired and safe to operate. It is important that you carefully evaluate your motor vehicle when you receive it back from a body shop or mechanic to assure that everything is operational and fully functional.

Who Pays For The Rental Car?

Rental cars serve as a temporary substitute for your damaged motor vehicle. When you’re involved in an accident and your motor vehicle is not capable of being driven, you may choose to obtain a rental car or motor vehicle to replace your vehicle during its repair or replacement. There are two scenarios that arise following an accident. First, if you have rental car reimbursement coverage, you may rent a motor vehicle under the terms stated in your own insurance policy and the cost of the rental will be paid by your own insurance company. This is true even though the other party is at 100% fault in the accident because you chose to carry an insurance coverage to provide this benefit. Second, if there is a clear liability on the the fault party, you may choose  to obtain your rental car and submit the bill for payment to the at fault party’s insurance carrier. Typically, you have to be careful about the cost and expense associated with rental vehicles, otherwise, the at fault party’s insurance company will engage in disputes with you regarding the reasonableness of the bill. The insurance companies expect you to rent a vehicle through rental car companies at a discounted rate during the time that your vehicle is being repaired or a decision is being made in regards to replacement of the vehicle. Once you are advised that your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company will typically only pay for a short period of time following the notification that your vehicle is a total loss. It is important to keep this in mind as you may be required to act quickly and efficiently to purchase a new motor vehicle if your vehicle is deemed a total loss. Otherwise you run the risk of incurring substantial out-of-pocket expense related to rental car charges beyond the deadline that the at fault party’s insurance carrier provides to you for making such a decision.

Motorcycle Accidents

Central Florida is a popular area for motorcyclists, particularly during spring break and the months surrounding bike week in Daytona Beach. Many motorcyclists come from other states to enjoy the weather,  beach, and roadways outside the city limits.  Unfortunately, every year, there are hundreds of motorcycle accidents and fatalities, as a result of the negligence of others. Injuries on motorcycles in Florida can be significant, particularly since there are no legal requirements to wear helmets.

Since 1993 our firm has represented the rights of motorcyclists who have been victims of the negligence of others. We have handled cases involving brain injury, wrongful death, and multiple fractures and injuries that have been caused when our clients have been thrown off the motorcycles. Unfortunately, Central Florida has some of the most crowded and dangerous driving conditions in the country. Our firm is committed to helping accident victims and their families navigate through the complexities of litigation in determining fault while ensuring appropriate medical care and treatment. This is extremely important in Traumatic Brain Injury, and other significant injuries.

Bicycle Accidents

Pedestrian Accidents

ATTORNEY PROFILES

GREGORY A. PAGE is a trial lawyer who focuses his practice on complex civil litigation… read more» STEVEN S. EICHENBLATT concentrates his practice primarily in the area of personal injury… read more»