Maybe you already feel confident that you need to consult a lawyer, based on your injuries, lost time from work, or other factors. If so, then you should know that the next step in your process is to determine whether or not you have a good case.
This is critical! Your injury might be severe, or the accident might have been outrageous, but you (and your lawyer) still need to know whether or not there is a realistic chance that money will be recovered for you.
The 3-Legged Stool
In fact, lawyers often talk about the “three-legged stool” of a personal injury car accident case. Why a 3-legged stool? Because there are three important elements to these cases. And if one (or more!) of the “legs” is missing, everything falls to the ground. You don’t have a case that will “stand up.” So we need to ask these 3 questions:
1. Are there serious damages from your accident?
How severe were your injuries? If you only needed to see a doctor once or twice, or if things are generally not too bad, you likely do not have much of a case. We talked about this in Do I Need a Lawyer?
2. Who was at fault?
In order to recover damages, it typically needs to be clear that the other party was at fault in the accident. You cannot recover damages if you caused the accident. In addition, sometimes accidents happen which cannot be blamed on anyone in particular. For example, maybe it was pouring rain, several drivers were driving at an unsafe speed, and an accident happened that appears to be everyone’s fault.
3. Is there a source of funds?
Even if your case is very clear, there is no point to pursuing it unless there is money for you to recover. We will need to know what, if any, insurance you and the other party have.
- “PIP” insurance is required in the state of Florida. It pays 80% of your medical and/or 60% of your provable lost wages up to a maximum of $10,000. This policy covers you regardless of who is at fault.
- Bodily injury insurance is not required under Florida law. However, most people carry $10,000 or more in BI insurance. This is the type of insurance coverage that we pursue a settlement out of.
- Uninsured motorist insurance is coverage you purchase. It works similarly to Bodily Injury coverage and provides funds to pursue if the other person did not carry any or enough Bodily Injury coverage.
So, if you think you have a 3-legged stool that stands up, please contact us online or call (352) 376-1200. We can let you know what we think.