Personal Injury Answers You Need To Know
Below are links to some of our frequently asked questions relevant to Florida personal injury and medical malpractice cases. We provide this information to you so that you can make important decisions with your case. We hope that you find this information both helpful and useful. At Russo Law, we are also available to answer your questions in person at our Lakeland office, over the phone, or by email. Schedule your free consultation with an attorney today.
Read more about personal injury, medical malpractice, and accident topics on our blog page or visit our legal help section.
Quick Answers to Common Questions☑ How long does a personal injury case take to resolve?
There is no typical amount of time that a personal injury case takes in Florida because each case is different. However, you can expect to have at least two to three months of medical treatment after an accident. Thereafter, we will get your medical records and medical bills and will make a “demand” to the insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company agrees to your “demand,” then the case settles. If the offer from the insurance company is inadequate to settle the claim, then we will file a lawsuit for you. Some lawsuits settle quickly while others take several years.
A free case evaluation is just the initial meeting with your attorney’s office to decide whether you have a case and whether you are going to sign up. There is no obligation to sign up, however, we cannot help you unless you do because the Florida Bar requires all contingency fee agreements to be writing.
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The answer depends on what type of case you have. If your case is a car accident or slip and fall, then you have 4 years to file a lawsuit. If your case is medical malpractice, then you only have 2 years and possibly a little more time with complicated rules for medical malpractice cases. If you are filing a wrongful death case, then you only have 2 years to file your case.
Florida has a “nonjoinder” statute. This means that you cannot name the insurance company as a party to a liability case. You can, however, sue an insurance company when you are suing for a first party benefit, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist’s coverage (UM).
A parent is considered a “natural guardian” of a child under Florida law. Likewise, a parent does have the legal authority to settle a claim for a minor. However, a court must approve any settlement with a gross settlement value of $50,000 or more.
A “guardianship” is a mandatory separate legal filing where a parent or legal guardian seeks court oversight of assets owned by a minor child. Guardianships are required when a child receives a substantial settlement. There is a cost to file a guardianship along with attorney fees. You can possibly eliminate the need for a guardianship (along with the costs) by doing a “structured settlement” when the case is settled. A “structured settlement” is usually an annuity, but it has to be purchased by the insurance company rather than you or your attorney.
A guardianship is required any time that there is a settlement where the net amount to the minor child is $15,000 or more.
Find Out If You Need to Pay Income Tax On A Settlement Here
There are some medical bills that you are required to pay, such as those paid by Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance. You may have also signed a “letter of protection” to a doctor on your case that requires you to pay that doctor out of your settlement. Other medical bills that you have may be negotiable or uncollectible. Your attorney will help you negotiate your medical liens and bills as necessary and will help you identify bills that you are not responsible for. You may be taken to collections for medical bills that you rightfully owe and do not pay.
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state. This means that if you are 50% to blame for your accident, you can sue and collect 50% of your damages from the other person.