Q: Is there a cost to hire your firm?
If we do not win your case, no money will come out of your pocket. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not owe anything, unless we recover a verdict or settlement for you. If a verdict or settlement is reached, we will charge a percentage of that verdict or settlement and any costs associated with your case.
Q: What can I do to help?
The most important thing you can do is to keep us completely informed. You should openly discuss all aspects of your case, and your personal background, both good and bad. Provide us with your accurate medical history. If you have a pre-existing injury or medical condition, it is essential that you tell us.
Keep us informed of all of your medical treatment. Follow all of your doctor's recommendations. If you do not complete your medical treatment, it will affect your recovery. Relay all of your medical complaints to your doctor.
We will need to know of any prior criminal history, prior medical treatment, previous claims or lawsuits, prior accidents or injuries including worker’s compensation claims, and any statements given to insurance companies prior to representation.
Please keep us advised as to any changes of address, marital status, occupation, new doctors or physical therapists, or additional accidents or injuries.
Q: What should I do after a car accident?
- Call the police if you are able. Do not let the at-fault party leave the scene of the accident. However, if they do leave, get their vehicle license plate number.
- If you are injured, your automobile insurance company requires you seek medical attention within 14 days of your accident.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Failure to report the accident in a timely manner may result in a denial of benefits. Your insurance company will want your recorded statement. It is recommended you hire an attorney before giving your statement.
- If the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls you, it is recommended you only discuss the damage to your vehicle. If they want to discuss how the accident happened or your injuries, it is recommended that an attorney handles this for you. You are under no obligation to give the at-fault party’s insurance company a recorded statement.
- Speak to an attorney as soon as you are able. By waiting or if you do not hire an attorney to protect your rights, you could jeopardize your claim.
Q: Do I have full coverage?
Many people think they have “full” coverage when they purchase state required insurance. The state required insurance is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD).
PIP provides $10,000 in coverage for medical expenses and lost wages due to injuries, sustained in an automobile accident. This coverage is provided to you regardless of who was at fault in the accident. PIP pays 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages, less any deductible you elect.
An insurance agent may tell you that if you have health insurance, you can elect a PIP deductible, and you will not be out of pocket any additional medical expenses. In most circumstances, this is not true. It is recommended you elect a ZERO deductible on your PIP coverage.
PD provides $10,000 in coverage for property damage caused to others if you are at fault in an accident. You may elect to carry higher coverage for an additional premium. Higher coverage would protect you from a personal judgment against you in the event the damage caused by you exceeded $10,000.
While it is not required by the state, it is recommended that you also have the following coverage:
- Bodily Injury (BI) compensates others for injuries if you are at fault in an accident. The minimal amount of BI available is $10,000, although you may elect higher coverage. While this coverage is not state required, it protects you from any personal judgment against you up to the coverage you elect.
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) compensates you for injuries if the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured. The minimal amount of UM coverage available is $10,000, however, you may elect higher coverage to protect yourself. You cannot, however, elect UM coverage, which exceeds the amount of BI coverage on your policy.
- Medical Payments (MP) covers the remaining 20 percent of medical bills not covered under your PIP. It does not cover lost wages. The amount of MP available varies from company to company. As an example, if you have $10,000 in medical bills which you want to be covered at 100 percent, you will need $2,000 in MP coverage in addition to your PIP.
- Collision pays for the damage to your vehicle if you were at fault in an accident or if not at fault and the other, the party was uninsured. The amount of deductible varies from company to company.
- Rental pays for a rental vehicle during the time your vehicle is being repaired, when the damage was a result of an automobile accident. The amount of coverage and percentage of co-pay varies from company to company.
Q: Who pays for the repairs to my vehicle?
If the accident was not your fault, the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for reasonable repairs or the reasonable value of your vehicle, if it was totaled. The at-fault party’s insurance company is also responsible for reimbursing your tow and rental expenses. Regardless of who caused the accident, you can collect from your own insurance company (less the deductible you selected) if you have Collision on your policy.
Q: Should I take photographs of my vehicle?
If you have not hired an attorney to do so, it is highly recommended that you take photographs of the damage to your vehicle.
Q: Who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?
Your insurance company pays for your medical bills at 80 percent and lost wages at 60 percent, less the deductible you selected.
Q: Do I have a claim?
If you have been injured, you may be entitled to make a claim. There are several complex issues to determine whether you have a claim. It is recommended that you contact an attorney to represent you. The earlier the better.
Q: If the insurance company gives me a release, should I sign it?
No, do not sign any release until you have consulted with an attorney. Once you sign a release, you could be prevented from making a claim in the future.
Law Office of Bettye J. King
721 Us Highway 1 Ste 123
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Mon - Fri: 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Sat - Sun: Closed