1. Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Florida’s “No-Fault” law provides that no matter who was at fault in an auto accident case, your auto insurance pays a set percentage of your medical bills and lost wages up to $10,000.
2. What Is PIP?
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. It is the required no-fault coverage that pays 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages up to $10,000. For more information on PIP, click here.
3. What About The 20 Percent Of My Medical Bills And 40 Percent Of Lost Wages That PIP Does Not Cover?
There is a supplemental coverage that you can purchase called “Medical Payments” which pays the 20 percent that your basic PIP does not cover and extends past the $10,000 standard limit. Additional compensation for lost wages and medical bills may be obtained from the at-fault’s bodily injury liability coverage.
4. Can I Recover From The Other Driver For My Injuries?
If the other driver was at fault and has bodily injury liability coverage, you can recover for unpaid medical bills and unpaid lost wages; you can recover for your pain and suffering if you suffer a permanent or significant injury.
5. Who Pays For My Property Damage?
There are two different ways to collect for property damage to your vehicle. If you have collision coverage on your policy, you can go to your own insurance company (subject to your deductible), or you can make a recovery from the at-fault driver’s insurance company if he or she is liable. To assess the value of your vehicle in a total loss situation, you may wish to go to the following websites: Kelley bluebook.com or Edmunds.com.
6. What If The At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can still collect for the property damage through your collision coverage, your medical bills and lost wages through your PIP coverage and permanent injuries, unpaid medical bills, and unpaid lost wages through your UM (uninsured motorist coverage). To learn more about the various types of insurance plans available to better equip you with more cushion in your time of need, click here.
7. What Happens If I Do Not Have My Own Insurance?
If you do not have your own insurance and you do not own an operable motor vehicle, you can still collect from the PIP of the car that you were in at the time of the accident or if you were a pedestrian from the car that struck you.
8. Do I Have To Pay In Advance To Hire An Attorney In Auto Accident Cases?
No. At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, we accept these cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we get paid only if we win your case.
9. What Is a “Wrongful Death”?
When a death is caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person or company it is called a “wrongful death.” No matter the cause, whether momentary negligence or carelessness or an intentional or reckless act, the results are devastating. It can be the act of a single person or of a corporation. The law provides for the compensation of the survivors when a wrongful death occurs.
10. Who Are The Survivors Who Have A Right To Be Compensated For A Wrongful Death?
The laws of each state identify the people entitled to compensation for a wrongful death. It is common for the list of survivors (sometimes called “beneficiaries”) to include the spouse and minor children of an adult deceased. In Florida, the definition of minor children includes persons older than 18. The parents of a minor child are also survivors when a child dies. Again, Florida uses an expanded definition of “minor children.” The estate of a deceased may have rights to compensation as well. Florida and some other states also recognize the rights of relatives other than those mentioned if they were dependent upon the deceased for support or services.
11. Who Has The Right And The Responsibility To Make The Claims For A Wrongful Death?
In order to be certain that proper care is given to the rights of each survivor or beneficiary the law provides that a particular category of person has the right and responsibility to make a claim for the loss.
In Florida, the statutes require that the Personal Representative of the Estate of the loved one bring any claim and assure that the interests of each survivor and the estate be protected. (FS § 768.20) The Personal Representative is frequently a spouse or parent of the deceased. The will of the deceased love one or Florida Statutes dictate who the appropriate personal representative of the estate should be.
Even in situations where normally no Estate is needed for probate purposes it is still necessary to open an Estate to make a claim for wrongful death.
12. What Are The Losses Or Damages That Can Be Claimed For Wrongful Death?
The losses or damages vary somewhat from state to state. In Florida, a spouse is entitled to be compensated for the loss of the love, affection, companionship, support, and services of the deceased for the period of his or her joint life expectancy and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. A “minor” child (who might actually be in his or her twenties) and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. (FS § 768.21)
The law endeavors to provide compensation for the actual losses that have been experienced by each individual survivor.
The Estate has the right to seek compensation for the loss of money the Estate would have accumulated had the wrongful death not happened. (FS § 768.21(6))
Lastly, medical and funeral expenses are normally recoverable by the Estate or the person who has paid or is obligated to pay them. (FS § 768.21(5))
13. Who Should Start The Investigation Of A Potential Wrongful Death Claim?
Any person who believes he or she may be a survivor or beneficiary entitled to compensation because of a wrongful death has the right to consider starting the investigation of a potential claim. Sometimes the most logical person to investigate or start a claim, such as a widow, is not willing or able to look into the matter. In such a situation, any survivor or beneficiary should contact an attorney experienced in handling serious injury or wrongful death claims. If you contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we can ascertain whether the claim has merit and what categories of compensation would be permitted under the law. We will also be able to determine who should be appointed as Personal Representative of the Estate of the deceased if the Estate has not been previously opened.
14. What Should I Expect From Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., When I Hire Them To Investigate, Develop, And Present A Claim For A Wrongful Death?
No two cases are exactly alike, and therefore no two cases are taken care of in the same way. There are, however, certain things that clients of Fine Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., can expect on each and every case.
Communication is the key to a successful attorney/client relationship. We pride ourselves on keeping our clients informed, making ourselves available whenever necessary, and really listening to our clients. You should expect the attorney and his or her staff to be sensitive to your particular emotional state and keep you informed.
A team approach is applied to every case we handle. Our clients are always assured of having experienced people at their disposal to answer questions and solve problems. A partner in the firm handles all our cases. We use trained investigators, legal secretaries and law clerks to assist us.
Attention to detail and imagination on every case. We follow every reasonable lead, hire the best available experts, and utilize when appropriate the most current and innovative technology to do the best work we can on your case. Through diligent preparation, some of our cases are won before lawsuits even get filed and others settle without the necessity of a trial. In every case we will battle long and hard to obtain just, full and fair compensation for you, our client.
Knowledge and experience is vital to effective representation. Obviously, you should expect your attorney to be familiar with the governing statutes and cases that concern wrongful death claims. He or she should be very familiar with the categories of survivors and the rights of each category concerning compensation for losses.
Our guidance and support is there to give you peace of mind in a difficult time. We will guide you through the requirements of the appointment of a Personal Representative of the Estate of the deceased. In our firm we offer the probate of the Estate as part of our representation, so you will not have to hire a separate probate attorney.
The thorough investigation of the underlying facts that demonstrate the misconduct as well as those that prove the wrongful death occurred as a result of the misconduct will be the focus of your attorney almost immediately. This may involve consultation with experts with knowledge in accident reconstruction, product defects, medical malpractice, pathology, and other fields. It may require personal research by the attorney and his or her staff in law libraries, on the Internet, and in special databases.
A complete analysis of your case with expert preparation of all issues will help you obtain the best result possible. Your attorney will also devote considerable time to understanding and developing the losses experienced by each of the survivors. The eventual presentation of these losses in negotiation or litigation in a complete and persuasive manner is the goal.
Obviously, you have the right to expect that we will seek to maximize the compensation of you and all other survivors to the extent permitted by the law.
If a settlement is reached we have the obligation to obtain the necessary court approval (which is required in Florida) of the total sum and its distribution among the survivors. This is a critical step to assure that your rights and the rights of all survivors have been protected (FS § 768.25).
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we go to great lengths to serve our clients’ best interests. We take pride in the fact that hundreds of former clients consider us friends and stay in touch with us long after their cases are concluded.