Can Temporary Employees Sue For Work Injuries?

Temporary workers are a huge part of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. Currently, about four million people work in this country as temporary employees. That number should grow as two of every five companies in the U.S. are looking to hire temporary employees in 2019.

With so many people working as temporary employees, it’s important to know if and how those employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits if an injury happens on the job. If you’re a temporary employee, what are your rights if you’re injured? How can a West Palm Beach work injury law firm help?

Can you be compensated for medical expenses arising from a work-related injury? Will you have to file a lawsuit?

WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDE?

Temporary employees who have been injured at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. Employers with four or more employees are required by Florida law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

employees in the workplace

Workers’ comp in Florida:

  • provides workers who are injured on the job with partial compensation for lost wages
  • covers the medical expenses arising from job-related injuries
  • compensates permanently disabled workers

Temporary employees work for both a placement agency (or “temp” agency) and for a client company, but in Florida, responsibility to provide workers’ comp coverage falls to the placement agency unless the agency and client company have a contract that specifies another arrangement.

IS WORKERS’ COMP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER’S ONLY OPTION?

Still, a client company may in some cases be sued for negligence – if in fact, the company was negligent – when a temporary worker is injured on-the-job. This means that both employers could be held accountable for the damages suffered by an injured temporary employee.

If you are a temporary employee in the state of Florida, you need to know who is liable for any work-related injuries you may suffer. If the placement agency can’t or won’t give you the information you need, you should probably look for different work or a different agency.

INJURED AS A TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE? WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

If you are injured in Florida while working as a temp employee, you should follow the standard workers’ comp procedure. You must inform your employer within thirty days of a workplace injury or within thirty days of receiving a diagnosis for a work-related illness.

informing workplace of injury

Injured temp workers must inform both the temp agency and the client company. One of them should provide the paperwork to apply for workers’ comp benefits. If they don’t, get the form from the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, and speak to a workers’ comp lawyer.

Even though you are entitled by law to workers’ comp benefits if you are injured on the job, the reality is that most workers in Florida will face a genuine challenge when they pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF WORKING PEOPLE IN FLORIDA?

Temporary workers in Florida may not qualify for employment-based health insurance, retirement plans, or vacation time, but in other respects, temp workers are entitled to the same rights as full-time workers, including the right to:

  • a hazard-free, safe workplace
  • training in a language the employee understands
  • appropriate safety and personal protective equipment
  • report job-related injuries without reprisals or retaliation

Full-time and temp workers also both have the right to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to request a workplace safety inspection.

DO TEMP WORKERS FACE MORE RISKS THAN FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES?

OSHA tells us that temp workers face more job-related risks than full-time workers – and sustain more job-related injuries – because temp workers are always “new” on the job and are unfamiliar with the location and the standard procedures.

back injury at work

Significant workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, but cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries usually will not be covered. If you’re exposed repeatedly to toxic chemicals that cause headaches or other symptoms, you will probably qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

Medical attention is your first priority if you’re injured at work. If you are a temp worker, report the incident to both your placement agency and the client company immediately. Put your report in writing and hold on to a copy of it.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A WORKERS’ COMP LAW FIRM IN FL?

As mentioned previously, you have thirty days to report an injury to an employer, but do not wait thirty days. Report injuries at once. In south Florida, you should also speak to an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney immediately after a work-related injury.

Without an attorney’s advice, an injured temp worker may have difficulty obtaining workers’ comp benefits, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will see to it that your benefit claim is accurate, complete, and that no misunderstandings or mistakes will delay the payment of your benefits.

Employers and insurance companies sometimes try to deny the workers’ compensation benefits that an injured employee is entitled to. An employer or insurance company might claim that your injury occurred away from the workplace or that it’s not as severe as you claim.

HOW WILL A WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER HELP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER?

If your claim for worker’s comp benefits is denied, let a workers’ compensation attorney help you appeal to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. A workers’ comp lawyer can arrange for you to be seen by an independent doctor and receive a second opinion.

other doctors after injury

If you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim against a temp agency’s client company – or against another third party that may have liability for your injury – an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights and help you take legal action.

If you’re injured at work, exercise your rights immediately. A number of deadlines apply to both worker’s compensation claims and personal injury claims, so you cannot afford to procrastinate, and if you miss a deadline, you’ll receive no benefits, and no attorney will be able to help you.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

You have the right to a good attorney’s help if you’ve been injured at work in Florida, and if you take advantage of your rights, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you in any way.

If you are not sure whether you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits or to file a personal injury claim, it costs nothing to learn more about your case and your rights. Your first meeting with a worker’s comp attorney will not cost you anything or incur any obligation.

According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, more than 50,000 job-related injuries were reported in Florida in 2018. That means whether you are a temp worker or a full-time employee, it’s not difficult to get injured at work in this state.

If an on-the-job injury happens to you anywhere in the state of Florida, exercise your rights, get the legal help that you’re very much going to need, and get that help immediately.

Are Pedestrians Safe In Florida?

Walking is supposed to be healthy for us, but simply taking a walk can be quite risky in some parts of Florida. The outcome can be tragic when a pedestrian is hit by a car, a bus, or a truck. And Florida is the most hazardous state in the nation for pedestrians. This is where a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident attorney help.

In fact, according to a report published in January 2019 by Smart Growth America, a D.C.-based advocacy group, eight of the nation’s top ten most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians are in Florida. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area tops the list.

WHAT DO THE STATISTICS TELL US ABOUT PEDESTRIANS AND SAFETY?

The following figures regarding pedestrian fatalities in the United States were released in 2018 by the Governors Highway Safety Association. From the years 2007 through 2016:

  • Pedestrian deaths rose by 27 percent.
  • Other traffic fatalities dropped by 14 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths rose from 11 percent of all traffic deaths to 16 percent.

And in the first six months of 2017:

  • Florida and four other states accounted for 43 percent of pedestrian deaths in the U.S.
  • Florida was surpassed in the total number of pedestrian deaths only by California.
  • Florida reported 303 pedestrian fatalities.

Each year, more than 5,000 pedestrians die in the United States, and more than 64,000 pedestrians are severely injured in accidents with cars, buses, motorcycles, and trucks.

WHERE IN FLORIDA DO PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN?

You might think that most pedestrian accidents in Florida involve shoppers or office workers in busy and crowded urban settings like downtown Miami or West Palm Beach, but that’s not always where pedestrian accidents happen in our state.

pedestrian safety in FL

Many of the pedestrians who are injured in Florida are injured far away from urban settings. They’re beside a dark, nearly-deserted highway, trying to change a tire or start a stalled vehicle.

Many of the older two- and four-lane highways in rural Florida have no sidewalks and lack adequate lighting – or any lighting at all. Some of these injured pedestrians include law enforcement officers making a traffic stop or conducting an accident investigation.

WHY ARE PEDESTRIANS SO MUCH AT RISK?

One insurance company study suggests that approximately sixty percent of pedestrians these days are “distracted” pedestrians, and distracted pedestrians can be almost as dangerous as distracted drivers.

Take a look at pedestrians. You’ll see them texting, talking on their phones, and listening to music. Some are trying to read while walking. Distracted pedestrians today routinely walk into traffic, buildings, parking meters, and utility poles – because they’re looking at a small screen.

injured knee in FL

Pedestrians don’t as a rule wear pads or helmets, so just being a pedestrian puts you at risk. If you hurt yourself due to your own carelessness, an attorney can’t help, but if you’re injured because someone else was negligent, speak right away to an experienced accident lawyer.

HOW CAN AN ACCIDENT LAW FIRM IN SOUTH FLORIDA HELP YOU?

If you are injured as a pedestrian because a motorist was negligent, arrange at once to meet with a qualified West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

The injured victims of negligence are entitled under Florida law to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and all other losses and damages arising from their injuries. A good personal injury lawyer will explain your rights and explain how the law may apply in your own situation.

injured pedestrian in South florida

Most Florida personal injury lawyers offer the injured victims of negligence a first legal consultation at no charge and with no obligation, so if you have been injured as a pedestrian, it will not cost you anything to learn more about your options and rights.

Injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so injury victims pay no attorney’s fees until and unless a settlement or judgment is recovered. If you can’t work because you’re injured – and if the bills are piling up – you can still afford to seek justice and have your day in court.

CAN PEDESTRIANS PROTECT THEMSELVES?

Walking safely in Florida simply means avoiding the usual distractions. Don’t text or read while you’re walking. If you must speak on your phone, step away from the sidewalk and stop in a safe location to make or take the call.

After sunset, take a flashlight if you take a walk. Don’t walk where it isn’t well-lit. And don’t forget the basics, like looking both ways when crossing the street. If you’re injured while you are a pedestrian in this state:

  • Summon medical attention immediately. Then call the police.
  • When the police arrive, find out how and when you can get their written accident report.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene, the vehicle, and your visible injuries.
  • Get the driver’s complete contact details and insurance information.
  • Get the names and contact details of any eyewitnesses.
  • After your medical treatment, contact an accident attorney at once.

WHAT CAN DRIVERS DO?

Here’s what conscientious motorists can do to lower the number of accidents that involve pedestrians in Florida:

  • Don’t eat, groom, or text. Don’t let kids, pets, the radio, or the scenery distract you.
  • Be alert. Always look for pedestrians. Be even more careful after dark.
  • Lower your speed and drive cautiously through construction zones.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Routinely have your tire pressure, brakes, wipers, lights, and safety belts checked.
  • Stay up-to-date regarding recalls of defective vehicles and defective vehicle parts.

ARE YOU AT RISK?

Every pedestrian is potentially a victim of negligence. You might be strolling on the sidewalk when a car, a bus, a truck, or a motorcycle careens out of the driver’s control. You could even be injured by a bicyclist or a skateboarder.

If you are injured by a negligent driver in South Florida – as a pedestrian, as a passenger, or as a driver – you must be represented by an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. Make the call as soon as you’ve obtained medical treatment.

walking in south florida

Florida is dangerous for pedestrians, but if you are an injured victim of negligence, the law in this state is on your side, and compensation is your right.

What To Do When An Animal Causes You To Have An Auto Crash?

Typically, you won’t see wild animals walking around West Palm Beach, Miami, or Key West. But when you drive near the Everglades, the Tamiami Trail, and points north, you are likely to see deer and other animals grazing by the roadside, in a field, or in a wooded area. This is something our West Palm Beach car accident law firm knows very well.

Most of these animals will not stop for oncoming traffic when they cross a highway. In many cases, motorists don’t see animals on the road until it’s too late.

If you hit a wild animal, you’ll have to deal with your own insurance company, and you won’t be able to take any legal action. If a farm animal causes a traffic accident, you’ll have legal rights, and if you’re injured in such a crash, you’ll need to know and exercise those rights.

Farm animals rarely cause accidents, but if they’re not properly secured, these creatures – especially cows and horses, because of their size and weight – can cause serious accidents and severe injuries.

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF A FARM ANIMAL’S OWNER IS NEGLIGENT?

If you are injured on a Florida road or highway because you collided with – or swerved to avoid – a farm animal on the loose, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the owner.  You may even be able to win reimbursement for your medical bills and related expenses.

cows grazing

In fact, if you are injured in any accident in Florida because someone else was negligent, it’s imperative to discuss your case immediately with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

In rural areas, drivers will sometimes notice warning signs that deer may be crossing. Skunks and raccoons, for example, can often be seen in rural settings. But you do not expect to see hogs, cows, or horses on the highway.

WHAT IS A LIVESTOCK OWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY?

If you do see farm animals on the road, it’s probably because someone at a nearby farm has negligently left the creatures free to roam.

If a traffic crash happens because of a farm animal that has a legal owner, and if you’re injured in that accident, the owner can be held accountable for damages. Livestock owners are required by law to keep their livestock safely restrained.

If a farm animal gets loose, and if you are injured by colliding with it or by trying to avoid a collision, the animal’s owner may be legally negligent. These incidents often happen at night, when motorists are unable to see animals clearly on dark, rural roadways.

Swerving to avoid an animal can have fatal consequences – you could swerve into another vehicle or even a tree. At highway speeds, a sudden stop can cause whiplash – especially if the driver behind you isn’t able to stop.

CAN YOU BE COMPENSATED FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY ANIMALS?

Of course, to recover compensation from an animal’s owner, who that owner is must be determined.

If a farm animal gets loose and you are injured in an accident involving the animal, the owner may be deemed legally negligent and ordered to compensate you for your injuries. You’ll need the help of a good personal injury lawyer.

cows in farm

If a farm animal – or even a large dog – gets loose because the animal’s owner neglected to close a fence, that owner can be held accountable for your personal injury or injuries. Compensation in these cases is usually paid from the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

DOES “STRICT LIABILITY” APPLY TO FARM ANIMAL OWNERS IN FLORIDA?

However, if you’re injured because an animal gets loose, and if the animal’s owner can prove that it was not his or her fault that the animal got loose, it’s possible that you may not be able to pursue or receive compensation.

In some states, “strict liability” applies to the owners of farm animals, making them liable for all injuries caused by their animals.

But in Florida, the state’s Supreme Court (in Selby v. Bullock, 1973) has determined that strict liability doesn’t apply in cases involving farm animals, so you and your attorney must prove that an animal’s owner was negligent for a personal injury claim against that owner to prevail.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE HURT IN AN ACCIDENT WITH AN ANIMAL?

After any traffic collision, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t feel injured, you may have sustained a latent or difficult-to-detect injury that could later emerge as a serious medical situation.

injured hand

After obtaining medical care, contact a qualified South Florida personal injury lawyer at once if you have been injured in any incident involving an animal. After reviewing the details of the accident and your injury, your attorney can recommend the best way to move forward.

You must act quickly. If you are injured because a farm animal’s owner was negligent and you choose to seek compensation, the statute of limitations in Florida gives the injured victims of negligence four years from the date of the injury to file a claim and initiate the legal process.

HOW SOON SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO AN ACCIDENT LAWYER?

What you cannot do is wait four years and then scramble to file a personal injury lawsuit at the last minute. Don’t even wait four weeks to speak with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. The sooner you put a good lawyer on the case, the more likely you are to prevail.

Of course, you must drive carefully and cautiously, especially in rural areas at night. If you are deemed negligent and responsible for your own injuries, you could end up receiving nothing from another party after an accident.

An injury victim won’t have to pay anything for a first legal consultation. Florida’s personal injury lawyers provide a free first consultation, so you’ll be able to learn more about your rights and about where you stand legally – at no cost to you.

WILL YOU HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT?

If you choose to take legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until your accident attorney recovers compensation on your behalf. Most accident cases in Florida are resolved privately and out-of-court, so most victims of negligence never even have to appear in a courtroom.

lawyers negotiating settlement

Of course, in some cases, no out-of-court settlement will be possible, and your lawyer may recommend taking the case to court, so you must be represented by a South Florida accident lawyer who has substantial trial experience.

A good accident attorney’s help is your right, and in fact, if you’ve been seriously injured, your future could depend on it.

Who Qualifies For Workers’ Comp In Florida?

If you are injured on the job in the state of Florida, or if you become sick because of your job, you may qualify to have the state’s workers’ compensation system pay for your medical expenses and for the partial reimbursement of your lost wages. Can a West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney help?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program for injured employees. It is established and managed by the state. Employers pay into the workers’ compensation system on behalf of their employees.

IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK, WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Injuries on the job can happen in any workplace and in any line of work. Obviously, some jobs, like construction, are more dangerous than others, but anyone could be temporarily or even permanently disabled by a job-related injury. If that happens to you, what steps should you take?

Here is how the system works. Employers in Florida who have four or more employees are required by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for those employees. Independent contractors are not considered employees and are not covered.

workers comp florida

Workers’ comp in Florida:

1. ensures that employees who are injured on the job do not have to pay out-of-pocket for their medical bills arising from an on-the-job injury
2. provides injured employees with partial compensation for lost wages
3. compensates permanently disabled workers

HOW DOES WORKERS’ COMP BENEFIT BOTH EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS?

When an employee is injured on the job, instead of filing a personal lawsuit against the employer – and then having to prove legally that the employer was negligent – the injured employee may file a workers’ compensation claim.

The workers’ comp system protects employers from lawsuits; injured employees, in return, receive benefits automatically. All that an injured employee has to prove is that the injury was serious enough to require medical care and that the injury happened at work or was work-related.

WHAT INJURIES ARE CONSIDERED WORK-RELATED?

In Florida, any significant injury that you sustain at your place of work or while you are engaged in work-related duties will be covered by workers’ compensation. Cuts, scrapes, and anything else that may be treated with first-aid probably will not be covered.

injuries at work

A chemical spill that causes a brief headache probably will not be covered either, but if you are repeatedly exposed to chemicals that cause frequent headaches, you will probably qualify to receive workers’ comp benefits.

Injuries that are sustained while you are commuting to or from work, injuries that are sustained while you are away from your workplace at lunch, and injuries caused by horseplay, by violence, or by alcohol or drug abuse will not be covered by workers’ comp.

IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK, WHAT’S YOUR TOP PRIORITY?

If you are injured at work, getting medical attention is the first and most immediate priority. As quickly as possible, report the incident to your employer. Put that report in writing, and keep a copy. Most larger employers in Florida will have pre-printed or online injury report forms.

Under workers’ compensation rules, you actually have thirty days to report an injury to your employer, but you need to do that immediately. In south Florida, you should also contact – as quickly as possible – an experienced West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney.

Injured employees are sometimes uncertain if they qualify for workers’ comp benefits, and they are also sometimes uncertain about how to file a workers’ compensation claim.

HOW CAN A WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER HELP YOU?

In South Florida, if you are injured at work, your best move is to seek promptly the advice of an experienced West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney.

lawyer helping injured worker

Without a lawyer’s help, an injured employee may find it difficult to obtain the benefits that he or she is entitled to. A good workplace accident lawyer can make certain that your claim is complete and accurate and that no mistakes or misunderstandings will delay your benefits.

IN FLORIDA, WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDE?

Workers’ compensation benefits in Florida can include:

1. medical care: doctors’ visits, tests, therapy, prescriptions, treatment, and hospitalization
2. temporary disability benefits that partially replace lost wages
3. permanent total disability benefits
4. death benefits

Temporary disability benefits may be paid for up to 104 weeks. If you are permanently disabled and cannot return to work after 104 weeks, you may qualify for permanent total disability payments.

WHAT IF YOUR WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM IS DENIED?

Unfortunately, the claims of injured workers in Florida are far too frequently denied. Insurance companies and employers often try to deny or reduce the workers’ comp benefits that are supposed to be paid to injured employees.

An insurance company or an employer might allege that a worker’s injuries happened away from the job or that the injury is not as serious as the worker claims.

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied for any reason, a workers’ comp attorney can help you appeal that decision to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. If necessary, an attorney can also help you to see a second, independent doctor and obtain a second opinion.

HOW CAN YOU APPEAL THE DENIAL OF A WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM?

Appeals are conducted in a courtroom setting, and you will probably face lawyers who represent your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You will need an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to represent you if you need to appeal a denial of workers’ comp benefits.

appeals

Florida allows appeals of denied workers’ comp benefits at several levels. Appeals require considerable paperwork – all of which must be accurate and complete – and you’ll have to meet strict deadlines. When you appeal a denial of benefits, an attorney’s help will be imperative.

Workers’ comp lawyers routinely handle complicated cases, so a good workers’ comp lawyer will know what it takes to prove that you qualify to receive benefits, but you will need to have some patience. If you have to file an appeal, your case could take months to resolve.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A WORKPLACE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?

The process of applying for and acquiring workers’ compensation benefits is unavoidably frustrating and time-consuming, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will make it easier and guide you through the process from start to finish.

If you are injured on the job in South Florida, do not wait to speak with an experienced workplace accident lawyer. Do it at once. If you have been injured at work, a good attorney’s help is your right. In fact, your future could depend on it.

The Documents You Need To Have A Strong Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you end up injured because another person was careless here in South Florida, the law entitles you to full compensation for all of your injury-related expenses: medical bills, lost income, compensation for personal pain and suffering, and all related losses and damages.

In most of these cases – and especially if your injuries are serious and you are seeking the maximum available compensation – an injury victim will require a car accident attorney’s legal advice and assistance.

If another person’s negligence injures you here in Florida, and if you file a personal injury claim, you will need to prove these three points:

1. You were injured.
2. The other party’s negligence was a direct cause of your personal injury or injuries.
3. You’re entitled under the law to the reimbursement that you’re seeking.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR YOUR CLAIM TO PREVAIL?

How do attorneys prove personal injury claims? Prevailing with a personal injury claim usually means having evidence that proves your claim is true and having a lawyer who organizes and presents the evidence effectively.

You will need both to prevail. The best personal injury lawyer can’t do anything for you with no evidence in support of your claim. On the other hand, convincing evidence can’t convince anyone unless an attorney can present the evidence effectively.

In South Florida, if you become injured because someone else was careless in a vehicle crash or any other type of accident scenario, after you obtain medical treatment, schedule a consultation immediately to discuss your rights with a reliable West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

WHICH ACCIDENTS COMMONLY LEAD TO PERSONAL INJURY CASES?

What accidents are “personal injury” accidents? An injury claim may arise from any mishap where someone is injured due to someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or irresponsibility, including:

1. traffic accidents
2. slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents on public or private property
3. dog bites and other animal attacks
4. swimming pool and boating accidents
5. birth-related injuries and other incidents of medical malpractice
6. construction mishaps and certain other work-related accidents

Your accident lawyer will handle the legal side of your case, but the second requirement for prevailing with an injury claim – having the evidence that proves your claim is true – requires some of your own effort and initiative.

A personal injury lawyer won’t be present at an accident scene to give you advice. That is when you must take the steps to gather some of the most critical evidence you may need.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Listed here are the measures that you must try to take if you are injured by a negligent driver in a vehicle crash, but if you’re injured by someone else’s carelessness in any kind of accident, you must try to obtain insurance details, witness statements, and photos.

After a traffic collision:

1. If anyone is injured, call paramedics to the scene. If you do not think you are injured, have a medical exam anyway – within twenty-four hours.

2. Summon the local police. Ask when and how you may obtain a print-out of the accident report.

3. Share your full contact and insurance information with the other motorist.

4. Take plenty of photos of the vehicles, the general location, and your visible injuries.

5. Try to get the names and contact details of any witnesses. Your lawyer may want to ask them some questions.

WHY MUST YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EXAMINATION AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

A medical exam is imperative subsequent to any accident: a traffic crash, a sports accident, a serious fall, a jolt to the head, or a dog bite. You may feel great – it doesn’t matter. You may still have suffered a hard-to-detect or latent injury.

Should you suffer a personal injury or injuries, a medical exam may be the only proof that you were hurt in a particular accident and due to a particular party’s carelessness. Minus that medical exam, your claim may be difficult or impossible to prove.

WHAT MAY HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MEDICAL EXAM?

If a latent injury emerges days or weeks after an accident as a serious medical condition, it could endanger your health. Without that immediate medical examination, you may not be able to prove how you were injured.

In some accident scenarios, law enforcement will not be summoned. If you trip and fall in a restaurant or a supermarket, you may sustain a serious injury, but it probably will not be a matter for the police.

Nevertheless, most large retailers, hotels, restaurants, and attractions – along with schools, corporate offices, and large public facilities – want you to fill out an accident report if you are injured while you are on their properties. Complete the form and make sure that you get a copy.

Photos and eyewitness statements can help you prevail with your personal injury claim. The more documents you can gather and offer as evidence, the better.

WILL YOUR LAWYER NEED OTHER DOCUMENTS?

The right documentation often means a swift, out-of-court settlement.

Make and keep copies of each document connected to the accident and your personal injury: hospital and doctor bills, the police accident report, medical testing results, insurance papers, receipts – any document related to the case.

Your lawyer will also have to have a copy of your own auto insurance policy, proof of any lost income, and copies of anything sent to you by the defendant’s attorney or insurance company.

WHAT DOES JUSTICE COST?

Florida’s personal injury laws are complicated. Nothing is more important than your future and your health. If you become injured in South Florida because someone else was careless, you will need to be advised and represented by a trustworthy accident lawyer.

An experienced personal injury attorney can provide a no-obligation, no-cost first legal consultation, so it costs nothing to speak to an attorney and find out more.

If you are injured by negligence in the West Palm Beach area, make the call as soon as you’ve been examined by a healthcare professional. If you and your attorney proceed with legal action, you will pay no attorney’s fee until you receive the compensation you deserve and need.

Your health is your highest priority. If you are injured because another person has been negligent, speak to a good injury attorney at once. Your health and your future may depend on it.

How To Deal With Workers’ Comp Claims That Have Been Denied

If you are injured at your place of work in the state of Florida, or if you become sick due to conditions at your job, you will probably qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

If you are injured at your job in South Florida, do not procrastinate about getting legal help. You should arrange at once to meet and discuss your rights and options with an experienced West Palm Beach workplace injury attorney.

HOW CAN A WORKPLACE INJURY LAWYER HELP YOU?

A workplace injury attorney can:

1. see to it that your application for benefits is accurate and complete
2. help you avoid missing any deadlines
3. make sure there are no mistakes or misunderstandings that could delay your workers’ compensation benefit payments

The workers’ compensation system protects employers against personal injury lawsuits filed by their employees; the employees benefit because they may qualify for payments without having to go to court and prove that anyone was negligent and liable for their injuries.

Workers’ Comp Claims

A Florida employer may not terminate you, discriminate against you, or retaliate in any way whatsoever against you if you file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. If you experience any discrimination or retaliation after filing for benefits, tell your attorney immediately.

WHAT BENEFITS ARE PROVIDED BY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?

Workers’ compensation in this state pays the medical expenses of anyone who is injured at work or in the “course and scope” of employment duties, and it also pays a percentage of an injured worker’s lost wages.

You begin the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim by submitting a written injury report to your employer. Most larger employers have pre-printed injury report forms.

You also must fill out a workers’ compensation claim form. Without it, your employer cannot begin processing your claim. Again, it is best to seek help with the paperwork – promptly – from a south Florida workplace injury lawyer.

WHAT IF YOUR APPLICATION FOR BENEFITS IS REJECTED?

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, that is not unusual. A large percentage of workers’ compensation claims are initially denied but are later approved when the injured employee files an appeal.

filing a denied worker's comp claim

Workers’ compensation is not exclusively for injuries sustained in workplace accidents. It also covers harder-to-detect, long-term conditions that are work-related such as repetitive stress injuries and diseases caused by on-the-job exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances.

Clearly, these types of conditions are more difficult to prove than accident-related injuries, so do not hesitate to seek a good attorney’s help.

FOR WHAT REASONS ARE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS DENIED?

A workers’ compensation claim could be denied for a trivial reason that is easily remedied – like a missing piece of paperwork or forgetting to include your signature. Claims are also denied for more serious reasons including but not limited to:

1. Your employer’s failure to believe you: Your employer does not believe that you were injured “on the clock,” that is, at work or in the “course and scope” of your job duties; or else your employer disbelieves the extent or existence of your injury.

2. Your failure to meet the reporting deadline: Here in Florida, workers have thirty days to report an accident and injury and file for workers’ comp. If that deadline is missed, a workers’ compensation claim will likely be denied, and a lawyer may not be able to help.

3. Your failure to see an approved healthcare provider: An injured employee must be seen and treated by a workers’ compensation-approved healthcare provider. If treatment is provided by any other party, workers’ comp benefits will probably be denied.

4. Your pre-existing condition: When a pre-existing condition may be a factor in a workplace accident and injury, a workers’ compensation claim can and probably will be denied.

5. Your failure to seek treatment: To obtain any workers’ compensation benefits, an injured employee must seek and follow through with treatment by an approved healthcare provider.

6. Intoxication, fighting, or horseplay: If a worker is injured on the job while fighting, while engaged in practical jokes or “horseplay,” or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a workers’ compensation claim will be denied, and again, a lawyer may not be able to help.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A WORKPLACE INJURY ATTORNEY?

In South Florida, if your workers’ compensation claim is denied for one of these reasons – or for any reason – speak immediately to a qualified West Palm Beach workplace injury attorney about pursuing an appeal and fighting for the benefits that you need and deserve.

A good workplace injury attorney routinely helps injured employees successfully appeal workers’ compensation claims which were initially denied.

pursue a worker's comp appeal

However, you’ll need to act immediately. If you miss the deadline for filing an appeal, you will not have another chance, you will receive no worker’s compensation payments, and a lawyer will not be able to help.

Here in Florida, the first appeal of a workers’ compensation claim is usually handled through an arbitration or mediation procedure. A good worker’s compensation lawyer will explain the procedures and see to it that you are thoroughly prepared for either arbitration or mediation.

WILL YOU NEED AN INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATION?

If your workers’ compensation claim was purportedly rejected for a medical reason, you may need to have an independent medical exam conducted. If necessary, your lawyer will arrange an exam with an independent medical provider who will be fair and impartial.

The workers’ compensation system in the state of Florida is far from perfect. It is a compromise that attempts to balance the interests of employers and insurance companies with the rights of injured workers – including their right to justice.

workers'rights

Workplace injury lawyers in this state regularly deal with disputed workers’ comp claims and complicated appeals. A good workplace injury lawyer knows what the system requires and what it takes to prevail on your behalf and acquire the benefits you need and deserve.

Workers’ compensation is a complicated system in Florida, and if you are injured at your place of work, you will need an experienced guide from the very beginning – a reliable workplace injury attorney. A good attorney’s help is your right.

What To Discuss On The First Call With An Insurance Adjuster After An Accident

It is not difficult to get into a traffic accident here in Florida. In 2016, more than 395,000 traffic collisions were reported in this state.

As West Palm Beach car accident attorneys, we know that if you are involved in a vehicle accident here in south Florida, you can expect that an insurance adjuster who represents the other driver’s insurance company will start trying to contact you and ask you some questions.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC GUIDELINES FOR A FIRST TALK WITH AN ADJUSTER?

Keep reading for some recommendations about what you should say – and what you should not say – in that first conversation with an insurance adjuster. The basic guidelines for that conversation are:

1. Stay polite and calm.
2. Get the name of the person you are speaking with.
3. Provide minimal personal information.
4. Provide no details regarding the collision or your injuries.
5. Take comprehensive notes.
6. Resist the temptation to accept a quick settlement offer.

It is important to remain polite and calm with the insurance adjuster during that first conversation. You may be angry about the accident – maybe even rightfully angry – but do not take it out on the insurance adjuster.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRY TO CREATE GOOD WILL?

In fact, creating good will with the insurance adjuster, and doing it early, could pay off for you. A good attitude may even induce the adjuster to trust you, believe your side of the story, and expedite your settlement.

But before any of that can happen – and at the very beginning of the conversation – ask for the name, title, company, company address, and telephone number of whomever you are speaking with.

The only items an insurance adjuster will need from you in your first discussion is your name, address, and phone number. If you’re asked, you can also tell the adjuster where you are employed and how long you’ve worked there.

Politely decline to provide any further details about your family, your income, or any other personal information.

WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED FOR A STATEMENT?

An insurance adjuster may ask you to provide a “statement” regarding how the collision occurred. Some adjusters may try to “lull” you into a casual conversation, hoping that you will accidentally reveal something about the accident.

Politely decline to talk about any details of the accident other than the known facts: who, where, when, and the types of vehicles involved.

In this first conversation, tell an insurance adjuster that you are not prepared to discuss details now but will do so “when it is appropriate.”

WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED ABOUT YOUR INJURY?

If you’ve been injured, you or your injury attorney will describe the accident in detail when you submit an injury claim and demand compensation for your personal injury or injuries.

In the first conversation, you can say, “I’ve been injured,” but you should not provide an insurance adjuster with any details about your medical diagnosis or prognosis, either. At this early stage:

1. Any discussion could leave out key details.
2. You may discover a latent injury days or even weeks later.
3. The full extent of your injury may not yet be apparent.

During your first conversation with the insurance adjuster and immediately after, take notes and write down every important detail and everything else you can remember from the discussion.

WHY NOT ACCEPT A QUICK SETTLEMENT – AND GET IT OVER WITH?

It is not uncommon for an insurance company to make a settlement offer the very first time the company contacts you. Do not accept it. A first settlement offer is almost always for a figure far below what your injury claim is actually worth.

Moreover, you probably will not even know the full extent of your injuries and damages when you first speak to an adjuster.

A quick, “low-ball” settlement can save an insurance company a great deal of work and a considerable amount of money. It can also be quite tempting to have the entire matter quickly resolved and put behind you.

Resist that temptation. When you sign settlement papers, you also sign away your right to take any further legal action or to seek any additional compensation.

Allow the entire claims process to unfold, and if you have been injured, get an accident attorney’s help. Patience almost always pays off for those making personal injury claims.

WHY SHOULD YOU SET “BOUNDARIES” WITH AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER?

In your initial discussion with the insurance adjuster, politely explain that you simply will not talk about the details of your claim over the telephone, and establish some boundaries for future discussions.

It’s good to establish boundaries early. Some companies and some insurance adjusters can very quickly become nuisances, constantly calling to cajole or intimidate you into accepting a quick, low-ball settlement.

More importantly, until you know the full extent of your damages, and until you obtain the advice and guidance of a good personal injury lawyer, you really are not prepared to discuss the case.

If you provide an insurance adjuster with any information that is inaccurate or incomplete, the insurance company conceivably could use that information against you and try to “hold you to it.”

Never give an adjuster permission to record you in a telephone conversation, and politely decline any invitation to make an audio or video recording. You are not legally obligated to provide any recorded statement to an insurance company, and you may not be recorded without your consent.

HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP YOU?

It is best when you can tell an insurance company simply to take all of their questions to your attorney.

After you have received medical treatment, the most important thing to do after you’ve been injured in a south Florida traffic accident is to take your case – without delay – to an accident attorney.

A personal injury lawyer is a trained and experienced negotiator who routinely negotiates with insurance companies on behalf of clients.

Your attorney knows how the insurance companies operate and knows what it will take to win the compensation amount you need and deserve after you have been injured by someone else’s negligence.

AFTER A SERIOUS ACCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD BE YOUR MAIN FOCUS?

After a serious accident, you need to be focused on recovering your health – and not on a dispute with an insurance company.

If you are injured – or if you are injured in the future by a negligent driver in a south Florida traffic collision – let an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney handle your case from the very beginning. You have that right.

Can A Faulty Repair Cause A Car Accident?

Here in the state of Florida, most vehicle accidents are caused by a speeding, reckless, or negligent driver. If you are injured by one of these drivers, you are entitled to compensation.

But what if a faulty vehicle repair – by an improperly trained or negligent mechanic – is the reason you are injured in an accident? What are your rights in such circumstances?

Unfortunately, after a faulty vehicle repair, you could crash into another vehicle or run off the road entirely because your vehicle does not steer or brake properly. But, can a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer help?

WHO HAS LIABILITY IF FAULTY AUTO REPAIRS CAUSE INJURIES?

If a mechanic puts you in a vehicle that is not roadworthy, that mechanic – and the shop the mechanic works for – may have legal liability.

If you file an injury claim against a mechanic or a repair shop here in South Florida, such a claim will have two separate parts. To prevail with that claim, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

1. The repair work done on your vehicle was done negligently.
2. That faulty vehicle repair was a direct cause of the accident that injured you.

You should clearly understand that simply because a mechanic has worked on a vehicle, that mechanic cannot be held accountable for anything that might go wrong with the vehicle. Only if the actual repair work that the mechanic did is faulty can that mechanic or shop be found liable.

HOW CAN YOU PROVE AN INJURY CLAIM BASED ON FAULTY REPAIR WORK?

Always, always keep parts receipts and repair receipts. If you cannot prove that a particular mechanic or shop worked on your vehicle, you will have no case.

To prove that the repairs on your vehicle were done improperly, you will probably need to have an automotive expert – a certified and qualified mechanic – serve as an expert witness and give a deposition or testify in court to explain exactly what went wrong with the repair work.

When a mechanical failure is responsible for an accident, it is not usually difficult to prove. Instead, what is difficult is proving that a particular repair was faulty and a direct cause of a collision.

That is why an expert’s insights and testimony can be so critical in these cases.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS?

If you are involved in a traffic accident in South Florida, because of a faulty vehicle repair or for any other reason, what steps should you take? There will not be an attorney to advise you at the accident scene, so you may want to print out this page and keep a hard copy in your vehicle.

Here is what you will need to do if you are involved in a South Florida traffic collision:

1. If anyone is injured, summon medical assistance at once. After any traffic crash, that is the number one priority.

2. Call the police. Ask the officers when and how you can acquire a copy of their written accident report.

3. Trade your contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved.

4. Take plenty of photographs of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles (be sure to photograph the license plates), and your own visible injuries.

5. If there are eyewitnesses, try to obtain their contact information. Later, your attorney may need to ask them for statements or testimony.

WHAT’S YOUR NEXT PRIORITY?

Speaking as quickly as possible to an accident attorney is your next priority. After you have been examined by a healthcare professional, arrange at once to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney.

Victims of negligence are entitled by Florida law to full reimbursement for injury-related medical costs, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and all other injury-related damages and losses.

And if the real cause of your injuries is a mechanic’s carelessness, you are still entitled to compensation. An accident attorney’s help is also your right.

HOW QUICKLY WILL YOU NEED TO ACT?

If you believe that you were injured in an accident because of faulty repair work, launch the legal process as quickly as you can.

Florida imposes a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions linked to traffic injuries. If you have been injured, however, do not wait four years. Candidly, you should not even wait four weeks.

Put an accident lawyer on your case at once. Evidence in personal injury cases – especially evidence of a technical or mechanical nature – could quickly deteriorate or disappear, and the memories of eyewitnesses can fade fast.

For those reasons alone, the sooner you put an attorney on a personal injury case, the more likely it is that your injury claim will prevail and that you will receive the full compensation you need.

WHAT WILL JUSTICE COST YOU?

The Federal Trade Commission reports that vehicle repair problems rank high among consumer complaints. Nevertheless, most repair shops in South Florida are professionally managed and provide superlative customer service.

Other repair shops, however, fail to reach that mark, and when they carelessly do repair work on a vehicle, the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who share the road with that vehicle are at risk.

What will it cost you to learn more about your rights if faulty vehicle repairs are the reason you have been injured? Not a thing. Most accident lawyers in South Florida offer the victims of negligence a free, no-obligation first meeting and case review.

HOW WILL AN ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP YOU?

Your attorney will consider the details of the case and recommend the best way for you to move forward, which might be a personal injury lawsuit.

Do not be intimidated by the idea of a lawsuit. If you take that legal action, you will pay your attorney no fees until that attorney obtains a settlement or a verdict on your behalf.

You may not even have to enter a courtroom. Most personal injury claims in Florida are settled outside of the courtroom in private negotiations between the attorneys for both sides.

It is imperative to take your case to a reputable personal injury attorney as quickly as possible if you sustain any injury in a traffic collision in South Florida. It’s your health, your future, and your right.

Summer Camp Injuries – What Are Your Child’s Rights?

Summer camp. It’s a great adventure for the kids, their chance to learn about and enjoy the outdoors in the summertime. Parents appreciate summer camp too – it gives them their own opportunity to enjoy the summer with some time away from the kids.

But how can you be sure that the camp you’ve chosen is safe? What are your child’s rights at a summer camp? And what is your recourse if your child is injured at a camp? How can a South Florida personal injury law firm help?

Of course, you should expect that your child will suffer some minor scrapes and minor insect bites at a summer camp, and that’s part of the adventure.

But if your child suffers a serious injury because the camp or its personnel were negligent, parents may be able to take legal action.

WHAT SHOULD GO WITH YOUR CHILD TO SUMMER CAMP?

Still, if your child is allergic to bee stings or to certain plants, be sure that you tell the camp’s staff and that you pack your child’s allergy medications.

Especially in Florida, poison ivy and poison oak are common. And if you live in this state, you don’t have to be told about the mosquitoes. You might want to send some mosquito repellant to camp with your child.

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO WHEN CHOOSING A SUMMER CAMP?

Here are some other important suggestions for parents regarding summer camps:

1. Verify the camp’s accreditation. All camps must be licensed, but not every camp is accredited. An unaccredited camp may operate legally, but if your child is injured, an unaccredited camp may not have the resources to compensate you.

2. Ask about the camp’s insurance. Make sure the camp has insurance. Find out precisely what is covered and for how much.

3. Consider purchasing your own additional coverage. Ask your insurance agent if your child is covered for injuries at a camp under any of your existing policies. If not, ask about the “camp insurance” that many companies now offer.

WHAT INJURIES CAN HAPPEN TO KIDS AT SUMMER CAMP?

As you might imagine, the most common injuries at summer camps happen during outdoor recreational activities. Those injuries may include:

1. Water-related injuries: Camp staff must be trained in first aid and CPR. When appropriate, safety gear – such as life jackets – must be provided.

2. Bone fractures (broken bones): Kids break their bones playing sports, climbing trees, or just “goofing off” and engaging in horseplay. An injury attorney can review the details of such an injury to determine if legal action is appropriate.

3. Concussions: A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Brain injuries can be mild and temporary or catastrophic and permanent. If your child sustains a brain injury at summer camp, let an injury lawyer review the details of the incident.

4. Burn injuries: Campfires are fun, but every summer, children are burned by campfires, coals, and cooking equipment at summer camps.

CAN A CAMP BE SUED IF YOUR CHILD IS INJURED?

Any failure of a summer camp to supervise children properly, to provide appropriate safety gear, or to provide fully-trained personnel may be grounds for legal action if the result is an injury to your child.

However, if your child is injured at a camp in Florida, you must speak at once with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney who can review the facts and explain where you stand legally.

Quite frankly, the law is complicated when it comes to summer camps and liability. That’s why you must have an injury attorney’s advice immediately if your child is injured at a summer camp.

WHAT LEGAL COMPLICATIONS CAN ARISE IN THESE CASES?

When parents register a child for summer camp, they may be asked to sign a waiver that protects the camp from legal action if the child is injured while participating in camp activities.

Generally speaking, the law presumes that if you engage in sports or other physical activities, or if you allow your child to participate, you are “assuming” the risk that is naturally inherent in the activity.

For example, if your child plays soccer at summer camp, you are assuming the risk that your child may be injured, and the camp may not be accountable if your child is injured playing soccer because injuries are, in fact, a part of the game.

WHAT’S THE KEY LEGAL ISSUE IF A CHILD IS INJURED AT SUMMER CAMP?

Legally, the key question is negligence. If a child is injured because of a camp’s lack of safety equipment or because of inappropriate supervision, for example, parents may be able to sue the camp for negligence.

Every case of an injury at a summer camp must be examined individually to determine exactly what the parents agreed to and assumed and to determine if negligence by the camp’s staff was a factor leading to the injury.

Even if you signed a waiver that says the camp isn’t liable if something happens to your child, that waiver is not necessarily the final legal word.

Especially if the camp’s negligence was excessive or egregious, and if the injuries sustained were serious, you are likely to be standing on solid legal ground if you choose to file a lawsuit and seek damages.

IF YOUR INJURY LAWSUIT PREVAILS, WHAT IS YOUR FAMILY ENTITLED TO?

When a personal injury lawsuit prevails in Florida, the plaintiff may be compensated for all injury-related medical expenses including ER costs, surgeries, follow-up visits, prescriptions, and more.

If long-term medical care will continue to be needed in the future, a good personal injury lawyer will fight on a family’s behalf for the maximum available compensation.

If your child is injured at a summer camp, arrange at once to consult a skilled personal injury attorney.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING PARENTS CAN DO REGARDING SUMMER CAMP?

Here’s the smartest thing parents can do about summer camps: research. Scores of well-managed and professionally-operated summer camps are available to families in Florida.

Look into a camp before you send your child there. And don’t send your child to any summer camp unless you are absolutely and completely comfortable with every detail of the arrangement.

The Importance Of Uninsured Motorist Coverage In Florida

Here in Palm Beach County and throughout the state of Florida, if a negligent driver injures you in a vehicle collision, what can you do? And if the driver who injures you has no automobile insurance, will you be able to obtain compensation for your medical expenses? How can a car accident lawyer help?

Uninsured driving is becoming a growing concern both here in Florida and across the nation, and if you are injured by an uninsured driver, it may be difficult to obtain compensation for your medical treatment after an accident.

According to CBS News in 2017, about 27 percent of the drivers on Florida’s streets and highways – more than one in four – is driving without auto insurance.

WHAT AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR FLORIDA DRIVERS?

The state of Florida has some of the most complicated auto insurance laws in the nation, so if you are involved in a vehicle accident, having the auto insurance that you need is absolutely imperative.

Florida law requires drivers to have the following minimum automobile insurance:

1. at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance
2. at least $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) insurance

If the legally-required minimum auto insurance is your only coverage, you could face overwhelming financial challenges if you are involved in a traffic accident with serious injuries.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM and UIM) insurance is not mandatory in our state, but any accident lawyer in Florida will tell you that you absolutely must have it.

WHAT MAKES AUTO INSURANCE SO COMPLICATED IN FLORIDA?

Because Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, your own PIP insurance is supposed to cover the first $10,000 of your medical bills and lost wages after you are injured in traffic, and it does not matter which driver was at-fault for the accident.

As mentioned previously, Florida’s auto insurance laws are exceedingly complicated. For example:

1. If you do not comply with the state’s “14-day rule” and have a medical exam conducted within 14 days of any traffic accident in Florida, you probably cannot be compensated – at all – for any injuries, even latent-or-hard-to detect injuries, that you sustain.

2. You will be limited to $2,500 of PIP compensation unless a healthcare provider can confirm that your condition is an “EMC,” an emergency medical condition.

3. If you comply with the 14-day rule, and you suffer an emergency medical condition, PIP insurance pays for (only) 80 percent of your crash-related medical expenses up to $10,000.

Anyone who has suffered a severe spinal cord injury, a traumatic brain injury, an injury requiring amputation, or any long-term or permanent injury will need considerably more compensation.

WHAT ARE FLORIDA’S RULES FOR AUTO ACCIDENT INJURY LAWSUITS?

Florida law does not provide much help to injury victims unless their injuries are severe. If your damages exceed your PIP limit, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver in Florida only in one or more of these three circumstances:

1. Your injuries are permanent.
2. You have suffered scarring or disfigurement that is permanent or extensive.
3. You have permanently lost a key bodily function.

If you make it through all of the legal barriers, and if you qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit, your next consideration will be the at-fault driver’s resources.

IS A LAWSUIT ALWAYS AN INJURY VICTIM’S BEST OPTION?

In one out of four Florida traffic accidents with injuries, according to the CBS statistics cited above, the at-fault driver will be uninsured.

If the driver who injured you has no auto insurance coverage, filing a lawsuit probably will not help you.

The leading reason why drivers are uninsured is that they cannot afford automobile insurance. In fact, uninsured drivers almost never have the ability to pay an injury verdict or settlement.

HOW CAN UM AND UIM COVERAGE HELP?

In Florida, an accident victim’s next option is his or her UM and UIM coverage. That’s why it is so important to have this coverage even though the law in our state does not require it.

Florida law, however, does require automobile insurers to offer UM and UIM insurance to their policyholders, and if you decline UM and UIM coverage in our state, you must do so in writing.

If a negligent, uninsured driver injures you in traffic, and that injury is severe or catastrophic, your PIP insurance might not even cover the full cost of your initial emergency room visit.

You will need UM and UIM insurance to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages beyond your PIP limit. In some instances, a car accident doctor may be able to help.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE NO UM/UIM COVERAGE?

If you are injured in Florida by a negligent, uninsured driver, and you do not have UM and UIM coverage, finding compensation will be tricky.

You may or may not be covered under another provision of your auto insurance policy. You may find some help with medical expenses through your health insurance, but health insurance won’t replace lost wages, and again, each policy’s details are different.

If you’re are injured by an uninsured driver, and you have no UM/UIM coverage, speak with your accident attorney, who may be able to suggest other sources of compensation.

AFTER A TRAFFIC COLLISION, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?

After any vehicle collision in Florida, if you have been injured, take these measures first:

1. Be examined by a healthcare professional. If you are not treated at the accident scene, get a medical exam within 24 hours. You may have sustained a hard-to-detect injury that needs treatment, and if you file a lawsuit, you will need the medical record.

2. If you’re injured, do not speak to an insurance adjuster or sign any insurance documents. Let your accident attorney – a skilled and experienced negotiator –– do the talking.

If you are injured by any negligent driver in South Florida, whether or not that driver is insured or uninsured, the wisest option is putting your case immediately in the hands of a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney and then adhering to that attorney’s advice.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER?

What are the three key facts that everyone in this state needs to remember about accidents with uninsured motorists?

1. The importance of having UM and UIM insurance coverage cannot be overstated.

2. If you are injured in an accident, you must have a medical exam within 14 days if you expect to receive compensation.

3. Don’t try to act as your own lawyer. Florida auto insurance law has too many exceptions, deadlines, and complications. Let an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney handle the case on your behalf. It’s your health, your future – and your right.