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Q: What should I do if I am injured in a motor vehicle accident?

A: The first thing you should do is report the accident to police. You should also obtain names and contact information from any witnesses. If you have been injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. If possible and only in a safe location, you should use your cell phone camera or any other camera and take photographs of the vehicles involved in the collision and of the accident scene. You should also report the accident to your insurance company and make sure that the accident is reported to the insurance company for the at-fault driver. You should not give any recorded statements to the adverse insurance company but you should cooperate fully and give any necessary statements to your own insurance company. Do not sign any releases or other documentation without seeking the advice of an attorney.

Q: What should I do if I am injured on someone else’s property?

A: When you are injured on someone else’s property, it is important to determine the cause of those injuries. Often, a person injured on business property, will not determine the condition that caused the injury. If possible, photographs should be taken of the condition that caused the injury.

Additionally, you should get names and contact information of any witnesses. You should report the injury to the business owner. If you are asked to fill out an incident report, you should ask for a copy. You should not give any recorded statements. You should seek immediate medical attention for your injuries.

Q: What does it mean when people refer to Florida as a “No Fault” State?

A: Florida is considered a “No Fault” state because drivers in the state are required to purchase personal injury protection insurance coverage that pays for their medical expenses and wage loss resulting from injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Specifically, this “PIP” insurance typically pays 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to a $10,000 limit. The “No Fault” system does allow an injured person to bring a claim for unreimbursed medical expenses and lost wages, and “pain and suffering” against an at-fault driver if the injured person suffers a permanent injury or permanent scarring.

Q: What happens when an uninsured person causes an accident that injures someone?

A: Under Florida law, motor vehicle owners are not required to purchase bodily injury insurance. Many drivers in the State of Florida purchase automobile insurance without bodily injury coverage. Therefore, you should protect yourself against being the victim of a driver who does not maintain bodily injury coverage by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage allows you to be compensated for your injuries just as if the uninsured person who caused your accident had purchased bodily injury coverage. It is relatively affordable and offers important protection against uninsured drivers.

Q: If I am injured on someone else’s property, are they responsible for my medical expenses and other damages?

A: It depends on the circumstances. Some businesses and homeowners maintain insurance to pay medical expenses for anyone injured on their property up to certain limits regardless of fault. Should you be injured on someone else’s property, it is important to determine whether the property owner has this medical payments coverage. Beyond that medical payments coverage, a person or business is responsible for your injuries on their property only when they have not maintained their property in a safe condition. Property owners are responsible for dangerous conditions on their property when they know of the condition or reasonably should know of the condition.

Q: If I am injured, how long do I have to bring a claim?

A: The amount of time you are given to bring a claim is governed by the statute of limitations. With respect to most negligence claims such as automobile accidents, there is a four-year statute of limitations. This means that you must file a lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident. If your claim is against a governmental entity such as the city or state, you are required to give written notice within three years of the date of the accident. Professional negligence claims, such as medical malpractice, have a two-year statute of limitations. The same is true for negligence claims that result in a death.

Q: What are some examples of nursing home negligence or abuse that your office has seen?

  • Failing to provide food or water or failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration

  • Failing to assist in personal hygiene

  • Failing to provide safe, clean and decent living conditions

  • Failing to provide adequate treatment and services for incontinent residents

  • Failing to provide appropriate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents

  • Failing to provide adequate medical care and acquire and dispense proper medications, as well as failure to ensure that residents are free from serious medication errors

  • Failing to prevent a resident from developing pressure sores; or, if a resident already has pressure sores, failure to provide proper treatment to promote healing.