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If I have been injured or my car sustains damage in an auto accident, who will pay?

It depends on who is at fault. If the accident is your fault, your liability insurance will compensate the other party for damage to their property and personal injuries within the limits of your policy coverage. If the other driver is to blame, their liability insurance will compensate you for damages to your vehicle and personal injuries.
If I received a citation in a car accident, does this mean I have no claim against the other driver for my injuries?

No. If a jury decides that the automobile accident was partly the other party's fault, you may still collect damages. Ask attorney Howard Herskowitz about this and other topics related to "comparative negligence."
I did not feel hurt at the scene, but experience pain afterwards, what should I do?

You should immediately consult your medical provider regarding any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from a car accident; even if you think they may be only minor. If you were injured in an accident from someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity and emotional distress.
Should I settle with the insurance company?

You should not take any settlements offered by an insurance company for your car accident without first speaking with an experienced auto accident lawyer at the Howard Herskowitz Law Offices. Remember that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company―it is their job to protect the interests of their employer. Who is protecting your interests?
I've been injured in an auto accident and I want to make a claim. What should I expect?

You should not take any settlements offered by an insurance company for your car accident without first speaking with an experienced auto accident lawyer at the Howard Herskowitz Law Offices. Remember that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company―it is their job to protect the interests of their employer. Who is protecting your interests?

Here is how it typically works (and how people make mistakes they later regret): The insurance company offers you a minimal dollar amount in exchange for your signing a document promising that you will not file a lawsuit. This usually happens rather quickly after the car accident takes place. Insurance companies will often discourage you from obtaining a lawyer so they can pay less to resolve your claim.
While it's tempting to want to be finished with the entire ordeal, please DO NOT sign anything or accept an insurance company check without consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer. You can jeopardize potential compensation you are due, and waive important rights that help to protect your interests.
Who is going to pay for my medical expenses?

Issues encountered by people filing personal injury claims fall into three categories: (1) Liability (who is at fault and the extent to which they are to blame for the accident), (2) Damages (including personal injuries and damage to vehicles and property), and (3) Insurance Coverage (what the insurance companies are willing to pay to compensate the injured parties). Carelessness and negligence are sometimes to blame, and in the worst cases, accidents are caused by recklessness or even intent to harm.
My doctor has determined that my injuries from my auto accident are permanent. How can I protect my future?

We will fight for the financial compensation you need and deserve now and in the future. You may be entitled to compensation from the person who caused the accident, or their insurance company, to cover your current and future medical bills.
I rear-ended another vehicle. Is the accident automatically my fault?

According to Florida law, you must keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you, so if the other car stops, you can slow down and stop safely. So yes―typically, you would be at fault. However, there are some exceptions, particularly if the other driver makes a sudden and unexpected stop, or if you are involved in a chain-reaction accident.

Still, Florida recognizes "comparative negligence" laws, which means that each party may be held accountable for their role in the accident. After determining the percentage of fault by each party, the compensation by the insurance company is adjusted accordingly.
I wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Can I still recover damages?

In Florida, state law is very specific when it comes to seat belts: All front seat occupants must be buckled up, regardless of age. The driver is responsible for passengers under 16 years who are not buckled up. Passengers 16 years of age or older may be individually fined if they are not buckled up.

If you were not wearing your seat belt, this can have a negative impact on your ability to recover full damages from your injuries. Since people suffer more severe and complicated injuries when they are not wearing a seat belt, potential compensation can sometimes be reduced accordingly. Belt or no belt, it is the "fault" of the negligent party that is the primary determining factor in car accident lawsuits.
If I was hit by a commercial vehicle, is the employer also responsible?

Possibly. There are several ways that a business can be held liable for the actions of its employees. All are known as vicarious liability, where the company is responsible for negligent acts committed during the course and scope of normal activities in service to the company.

The owner of a vehicle can be held responsible for negligently entrusting the vehicle to another driver whose driving causes an automobile accident.
Do I really need a lawyer if I was injured in car accident?

The law does not restrict you from handling your own claim. However, you should keep in mind that the insurance company employees and attorneys are professionals trained to resolve the potential "liability" by paying as little as possible to you.

Many valuable rights have been lost because the injured person believed what he or she was told by the insurance company. Just remember, the only person truly working in your best interests is the lawyer you hire.
What if the cause of a traffic accident is not obvious?

When circumstances are not that clear, the experience of attorney Howard Herskowitz can help to determine responsibility in your accident, so that we can best represent your position.
Can I receive money even if the accident was my fault?

In Florida, regardless of fault, if you have PIP insurance, your PIP carrier may be held responsible to pay the first $10,000 of your medical bills and lost income for any claim that is related to a motor vehicle accident.
Should I accept a check from the at-fault driver or insurance company?

Not before speaking with attorney Howard Herskowitz. Accepting a check may be construed as a settlement that prohibits you from obtaining any additional amounts from the at-fault driver or their insurance company.  Do not accept a check or sign a release from an at-fault driver or his/her insurance company until after you have conferred with a
personal injury attorney
Typically, an experienced attorney will encourage you to wait until your medical treatment is completed, before accepting a settlement check.  That way you know you have received an amount that adequately covers your medical bills and any damages.  An insurance adjuster may push you to settle the claim for the lowest possible amount and may discourage you from contacting an attorney.  If so, you should ignore his or her advice, and consult a qualified Florida personal injury attorney immediately before accepting any payment, signing a release, or otherwise settling your claim, to ensure that you are receiving fair compensation and not jeopardizing your right to a full and fair recovery.
How soon must I bring my claim?

In Florida, you usually have four years to bring your personal injury action. Even within Florida, the time period may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as the plaintiff's age, the type of personal injury claim, the particular facts giving rise to the injury, and when the injury is discovered.  You must be certain that you know the statute of limitations that applies to you, or you risk jeopardizing your legal rights.
Do I have to see a doctor?

If you, or a family member were injured in Florida as a result of a car accident, motorcycle accident, bus accident, taxi cab accident, jitney accident, or any other motor vehicle accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.  Whether or not you have a claim, you should be examined by a doctor for your own peace of mind and to document the injury to support your claim.  Many times after an accident, injured parties do not report immediate injuries; however, after your adrenaline calms down your actual injuries become more apparent.  When symptoms first appear, you should go to your family doctor, a hospital emergency room, or another medical professional to obtain medical help.
Will I have to go to court because of this car accident?

Not necessarily.  This is the biggest misconception in Florida personal injury cases.  Many people think that you need to sue someone to get a settlement in a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or trailer accident case.  In many cases, we are able to get a settlement without filing an actual lawsuit.  A pre-trial settlement avoids the costs and delays of a trial and may result in a greater net recovery.  However, if the case cannot be settled on satisfactory terms, it may be necessary to go to trial.
Who can I sue to recover my damages?

In some cases, an accident victim may be able to recover monies or sue parties other than the at-fault driver.  For example, if the at-fault driver did not own the car, the car's owner may also be liable for your damages In some cases, you may be able to bring an action against another party, such as an automobile manufacturer or construction company, if a defect in the vehicle or the roadway caused the accident.  If the accident involved a tractor-trailer, the driver's violation of rules and regulations may be the basis for a lawsuit against the driver or his or her employer.  Many times, we can successfully resolve a majority of cases with negotiations and without the need for an actual lawsuit.
How much money will I get?

We are asked this question almost every day.  The answer is usually unknown, the monetary outcome of a case depends on a variety of factors and cannot be determined without analyzing information regarding the injury, medical bills, loss of income, out of pocket expenses, and permanency of the injury.  There is no rule of thumb, and each set of facts results in a different amount of damages.
What does property damage liability cover and under what conditions?

Property damage liability coverage, which is also required under Florida law, pays damage (up to the limit of the policy) that you or anyone covered under your policy cause to another person's property with an automobile.  It only covers damage for which you or anyone insured under your policy are legally liable.
If I am in an accident, will my lost wages be covered?

The short answer is yes, PIP will cover up to 60% of disability benefits for lost gross income and earning capacity, after payment for medical expenses, up to the $10,000 limit.  This assumes that you followed Florida law and you had valid PIP coverage on your policy at the time of the accident.
If I have health insurance coverage, do I really need auto insurance coverage as well?

Yes.  By law, you must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
What happens if I am injured by an at-fault driver who does not have auto insurance?

PIP will cover medical payments, up to the limits stated above, for you and each passenger in your vehicle regardless of who is at fault unless the passengers in your car maintain their own Florida PIP coverage. It is most advisable to also carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM), for permanent injuries and other expenses not covered by your PIP or your health insurance.
 
Howard Herskowitz
P.O. Box 22004
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33335
Phone Number: 954-764-4750
Fax Number: 954-764-3291
HHLaw@HowardHerskowitzLaw.com
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