Your Experienced Sunrise Personal Injury Lawyer Understands Insurance Companies
The Florida civil compensation system is brutally adversarial. Put simply, it is no place for the faint of heart. Complex and arcane rules of civil procedure and evidence can befuddle many people. These rules, on their surface, can seem very arbitrary and irrational. Indeed, the contrast between a full-scale personal injury dispute and small claims court couldn’t be starker.
Every word you speak has consequences, and the opposing party will seize upon any weakness in your case like a rabid dog. That’s just the way things are when money and reputations are at stake. Unfortunately, when you are hospitalized with an injury, you are in the worst position, both physically and emotionally, to deal with it all. That is where the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. can help.
Settlement vs. Combat
None of this “no-holds-barred competitiveness” gets mitigated simply because you are seeking an out-of-court settlement. The only way to persuade a defendant to settle a personal injury claim is to convince him you can win in court. Defendants, particularly insurance companies, laugh at defendants who lack legal representation or whose lawyers have never demonstrated the ability to win in court.
All other things being equal, reaching a settlement is better than going to trial, and most personal injury claims are indeed resolved through settlement. Sometimes, however, the defendant or his insurance company will refuse to offer an adequate settlement amount. When that happens, it is almost always better to go to court than to settle for less than what your claim is worth.
Insurance Companies are Not “On Your Side”
An insurance company is your friend when they are trying to sell you a policy, but not when you are trying to collect a personal injury claim. An experienced insurance claims adjustor has negotiated thousands of claims. Their sole purpose is to save their employer, the insurance company, as much money as possible, and not to give you the justice you deserve.
Insurance Company Tricks
There are probably hundreds of tricks that an insurance adjustor can pull on a claimant. Some of the most common are:
- Setting an arbitrary deadline to accept their lowball offer.
- Initiating endless delays, hoping to lull you into missing the legal deadline for filing a lawsuit.
- Confirming that they will “accept liability”, waiting until you have incurred large medical expenses, and then nickel-and-diming away your claim using a multitude of excuses.
- Suckering you into granting them unlimited access to your medical history, so that they can go on a “fishing expedition” looking for excuses to deny your claim (a pre-existing injury, for example).
- Having you make a recorded statement where they ask you trick questions designed to elicit answers that harm your claim.
The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A. serve all of Florida including the cities of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Hialeah, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Miami Gardens, and Miramar.
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- Auto Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Personal Injury
- Slip and Fall/Premises Liability
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation
- Trucking Accidents
- Wrongful Death:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I win a claim against a business owner if an employee ignored his order to remedy the dangerous condition that injured me?
Yes, you can, and you can do so without proving that the business owner was personally at fault. Under Florida law, employers are strictly liable for the wrongful on-duty acts of their employees.
Can I sue Uber or a similar ride-sharing company for a personal injury claim caused by one of its drivers?
Not unless you can prove that Uber itself was negligent or otherwise engaged in wrongful conduct (which is very difficult to do). That is because Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. Uber provides excellent liability insurance to its drivers, however, and therefore, you can still file a claim and get compensated for your injuries.
Can I still obtain compensation for an accident that was partly my fault?
Yes, technically you can, as long as you were not 100 percent at fault. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault system, you can recover the percentage of your damages that represents the defendant’s percentage of fault – 60 percent of your damages if he was 60 percent at fault, for example. Keep in mind that in this situation, the defendant could also sue you for 40 percent of his own damages.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim?
In Florida, you generally have four years from the date of the injury. Certain exceptions apply:
- You generally have only two years to file a medical malpractice claim (minors have more time than this)
- The deadline can be extended if you were reasonably unaware of your injury until after it occurred.
- Certainly, these are basic guidelines and therefore, if you have questions, you should consult an attorney to discuss your particular situation.
If an accident victim dies from his injuries, who files the wrongful death claim?
The personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a claim under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. The personal representative is either named in the deceased’s last will and testament, or appointed by the court. The court usually appoints a close relative of the deceased.
Can I win a claim against a trucking company for an accident caused by one of its drivers?
Probably not, unless you can prove that the trucking company itself was negligent (by hiring a driver with a bad driving record, for example). You could win without that if the driver was an employee of the trucking company – however, most truck drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees.
Can I win punitive damages?
Punitive damages are awarded in unusual cases to punish a defendant for particularly wrongful conduct (an intentional injury, for example). Although courts are reluctant to award punitive damages, they sometimes do. Punitive damages are added to normal compensatory damages.
How does a workers’ compensation claim compare to an ordinary personal injury claim?
The main advantages of a workers’ compensation claim is that you do not have to prove that the defendant was at fault to win, and in addition, you get free medical care and compensation when you are unable to work. In some cases, however, you can pursue an ordinary personal injury claim for a workplace accident.
If I can prove that the defendant was breaking the law at the time of the accident, will I win my claim?
You can use the violation of a safety statute to prove that the defendant was acting negligently at the time of the accident. Once you prove negligence, however, you will still have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. Driving on an expired driver’s license, for example, is not usually thought to be the cause of a traffic accident.
You Pay Nothing Unless We Win
Naturally, all of the eloquent arguments and theoretical brilliance in the world will mean absolutely nothing if you walk away empty-handed. You don’t like paying for nothing, of course, and I don’t think you should have to. That is why I charge no upfront fees for my representation and nothing at all, ever, if you don’t get compensated for your injuries.
If I do win compensation for you (like I do for the vast majority of my clients), my legal bill will be calculated as a percentage of your recovery, so that you are guaranteed to come out ahead. I don’t win unless you do, and that’s just the way I like it.
Get Things Started Today; Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney in Sunrise
If you have suffered a personal injury that you believe may have been someone else’s fault, or if your loved one has died from an injury inflicted by someone else’s misconduct, it is important that you get your claim started as soon as possible by retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer.
For a free initial consultation, call David M. Benenfeld at 954-677-0155, or complete my online contact form, so that we can discuss your options and I can address your concerns and answer your questions.