Cernitzlaw FAQ

Welcome to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of Cernitz Law, a personal injury law firm in Florida that specializes in car accident cases. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida that resulted in personal injury or property damage, you may have questions about your legal options and how to recover compensation for your losses. We’ve compiled some commonly asked questions to provide you with helpful information and guidance. Please note that our expertise is limited to personal injury law and property damage claims in Florida.

Personal Injury Law in Florida

Personal injury law in Florida is a complex and specialized area of practice that covers a wide range of cases involving physical or emotional harm caused by another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful conduct. If you have been injured in an accident or suffered a loss due to someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, pursuing a personal injury claim in Florida can be challenging and requires the guidance and representation of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.

Here are some common questions answered by Cernitzlaw about personal injury law in Florida that can help you understand your rights and options:

How much do personal injury lawyers charge in Florida?

At Cernitzlaw, we understand how personal injuries can be life-changing and want to help. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if we win your case or obtain a settlement for you. Our fees typically range from 25% to 40% of the recovery, depending on the case’s complexity. In addition to our fees, there may be additional costs and expenses, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, medical records fees, and other necessary costs. We believe in transparency and honesty, so please don’t hesitate to ask us about our fee structure and expenses before hiring us.

Can you sue for personal injury in Florida?

Yes, you can sue for personal injury in Florida if you have suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. However, you must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is the time limit set by law for bringing a legal action. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally four years from the date of the accident or injury. Still, there may be exceptions or extensions depending on the circumstances. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you may lose your right to sue.

When should I hire a personal injury lawyer in Florida?

At Cernitzlaw, we highly recommend hiring a personal injury lawyer in Florida at the earliest after an accident or injury. Our experienced legal team can assist you in safeguarding your rights, preserving evidence, investigating the cause and liability of the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, and pursuing the maximum compensation for your damages. We understand that time is of the essence in such cases, and that’s why we urge you to reach out to us as soon as possible. With our legal expertise, we can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

How does personal injury work in Florida?

Personal injury works in Florida by allowing you to seek compensation from the party or parties responsible for your harm. To do so, you must prove that they owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty by acting negligently or intentionally, that their breach caused your injury, and that you suffered damages. You can recover economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc. However, Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that your recovery may be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if you were 20% at fault for the accident and your damages were $100,000, you would only receive $80,000.

How long does a personal injury lawsuit take in Florida?

The length of a personal injury lawsuit in Florida depends on many factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the complexity of the case, the availability of evidence and witnesses, the cooperation of the parties involved, the backlog of the court system, etc. Some cases may settle quickly out of court, while others may go to trial and take months or even years to resolve. On average, a personal injury lawsuit in Florida may take anywhere from six months to two years or more.

What percentage of personal injury cases go to trial in Florida?

The percentage of personal injury cases that go to trial in Florida is relatively low compared to other cases. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court through negotiations between the parties or mediation. 

How much is pain and suffering worth in Florida?

Pain and suffering is one of the non-economic damages that you can recover in a personal injury case in Florida. Pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional distress that you have endured as a result of your injury. The value of pain and suffering depends on various factors, such as the nature and extent of your injuries, the impact on your quality of life, your age, your occupation, etc. There is no fixed formula or cap for calculating pain and suffering in Florida. However, some methods that are commonly used include multiplying your economic damages by a certain number (usually between 1.5 and 5), applying a per diem rate (a daily amount) for each day that you have suffered pain and suffering, or using jury verdicts from similar cases as a reference.

Does Florida pay for pain and suffering?

Yes, Florida pays for pain and suffering as part of the non-economic damages you can recover in a personal injury case. However, you must prove that your pain and suffering are accurate and reasonable and that the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing caused it. You may also need to provide evidence of your pain and suffering, such as medical records and testimony from doctors, therapists, family members, friends, etc.

How are personal injury settlements paid out in Florida?

Personal injury settlements are paid out in Florida as a lump sum or a structured settlement. A lump sum is a one-time payment that covers all your damages. A structured settlement is a series of payments made over time, usually in the form of an annuity. Each option’s advantages and disadvantages depend on your situation and needs. You should consult your lawyer and a financial advisor before deciding which option is best for you.

Is a personal injury settlement considered income in Florida?

Generally, a personal injury settlement is not considered income in Florida for tax purposes. This means you do not have to pay federal or state income taxes on the portion of your settlement that compensates you for your physical injuries or illness. However, there may be some exceptions or exclusions, such as:

  •   The portion of your settlement that compensates you for lost wages or profits
  •   The portion of your settlement that compensates you for punitive damages
  •   The portion of your settlement that compensates you for interest or penalties
  •   The portion of your settlement that exceeds the actual cost of your medical expenses

You should consult a tax professional to determine the tax implications of your personal injury settlement in Florida.

What is considered a serious injury in Florida?

A severe injury in Florida is an injury that results in significant and permanent loss of an essential bodily function, substantial and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death. A severe injury may also qualify you for additional benefits or compensation under specific laws or policies, such as:

  1.   The Florida no-fault law requires every driver to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers up to $10,000 of medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault. However, if you have a serious injury, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for additional damages beyond PIP.
  2.   The Florida wrongful death law allows the surviving family members of a person who died due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act to sue for damages such as funeral expenses, loss of support and services, loss of companionship and protection, etc.
  3.   The Florida workers’ compensation law provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. However, suppose you have a serious injury caused by the intentional or gross negligence of your employer or a third party. In that case, you may be able to sue for additional damages beyond workers’ compensation.

Do I have to pay taxes on a settlement in Florida?

As mentioned above, you generally do not have to pay taxes on a settlement in Florida that compensates you for your physical injuries or illness. However, you may have to pay taxes on other portions of your settlement, considered income or taxable gains. You should consult with a tax professional to determine the tax implications of your settlement in Florida.

Can creditors take my personal injury settlement in Florida?

Usually, creditors can only take your personal injury settlement in Florida if they have a valid lien or judgment against you. A lien is a legal claim on your property or assets that gives the creditor the right to seize them if you do not pay your debt. A judgment is a court order that requires you to spend a certain amount of money on the creditor. Some examples of creditors who may have liens or judgments against you include:

  •   Medical providers who treated you for your injuries
  •   Health insurance companies who paid for your medical expenses
  •   Government agencies who provided you with public benefits
  •   Child support agencies who enforce child support obligations

You should consult with your lawyer and a financial advisor to determine if any creditors have liens or judgments against you and how they may affect your personal injury settlement in Florida.

Can a personal injury settlement be garnished in Florida?

A personal injury settlement is a type of income that may be subject to garnishment in Florida. Garnishment is a legal process that allows a creditor to take a portion of your income or assets to satisfy a debt. However, some exemptions and limitations may protect your personal injury settlement from garnishment in Florida. For example, if your settlement is for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium, it may be exempt from garnishment. Additionally, if your settlement is less than $60,000 and you have no other income or assets, it may be protected by the head of household exemption. To determine whether your personal injury settlement can be garnished in Florida, consult an experienced attorney at Cernitzlaw; we are a law firm specializing in personal injury law and property damage claims in Florida. We can help you protect your rights and interests and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Property Damage Law in Florida

If you have suffered property damage in Florida, you may have questions about your legal rights and options. Cernitzlaw is a law firm specializing in personal injury law and property damage claims in Florida. We have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the complex process of dealing with insurance companies and pursuing compensation for your losses. Here are some common questions and answers about property damage law in Florida:

Can you sue your homeowner’s insurance company in Florida?

 Yes, you can sue your homeowner’s insurance company in Florida if they deny, delay, or underpay your claim without a valid reason. This is known as a breach of contract claim. You may also have a bad faith claim if the insurance company acts dishonestly, unfairly, or unreasonably in handling your claim.

How long does an insurance company have to settle a property claim in Florida? 

According to Florida law, an insurance company has 14 days to acknowledge your claim, 30 days to investigate it, and 90 days to pay or deny it. However, these deadlines may be extended for various reasons, such as additional information requests, natural disasters, or litigation.

What is the statute of limitations on property insurance in Florida? 

The statute of limitations on property insurance in Florida is five years from the date of loss. You have five years to file a lawsuit against your insurance company if they breach the contract or act in bad faith. You must complete this deadline to retain your right to sue.

What is the bad faith law in Florida?

The bad faith law in Florida is a set of rules that govern how insurance companies must treat their policyholders. The law requires insurance companies to act in good faith and with fair dealing when handling claims. This means they must not deny, delay, or underpay claims without a reasonable basis or engage in any other conduct that would frustrate the policy’s purpose. If an insurance company violates the bad faith law, it may be liable for additional damages beyond the policy limits.

Who holds insurance companies accountable in Florida? 

Insurance companies are regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), which oversees their financial stability, rates, forms, and market conduct. The OIR also handles consumer complaints and enforces the laws and rules governing insurance companies. If you have a problem with your insurance company, you can file a complaint with the OIR online or by phone.

How do I file a complaint against an insurance company in Florida? 

To file a complaint against an insurance company in Florida, you can use the online complaint form on the OIR website or call their toll-free number at  1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236). You will need to provide information about your policy, your claim, and the issue you are having with the insurance company. The OIR will review your complaint and contact the insurance company to resolve the matter.

What is the 90-day rule in Florida insurance?

The 90-day rule in Florida insurance is a provision that allows an insured person to cancel their policy without penalty within 90 days of its effective date. This rule applies to most personal lines policies, such as auto, homeowners, renters, and condo insurance. The rule does not apply to commercial lines policies or policies issued by surplus lines insurers.

Can someone sue you after insurance pays Florida?

Yes, someone can sue you after insurance pays Florida if they are not satisfied with the amount or terms of the settlement. For example, if you cause a car accident and your insurance pays the other driver’s medical bills, but they still have pain and suffering or lost wages, they can sue you for those damages. However, if you have adequate liability coverage, your insurance company will defend you and pay for any judgment up to your policy limits.

Can I lose my house in a lawsuit in Florida?

It depends on whether the homestead exemption in Florida protects your house. The homestead exemption is a constitutional right that shields your primary residence from creditors and lawsuits. The exemption applies to any property you own and occupy as your permanent home, up to half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere. The exemption does not protect your house from liens for taxes, mortgages, or improvements.

What assets are protected in a lawsuit in Florida?

In addition to the homestead exemption, Florida law provides several other exemptions that protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits. Some of these exemptions include:

  •   Personal property up to $4,000 or $1,000 if you claim the homestead exemption
  •   Wages up to $750 per week or 30 times the federal minimum wage
  •   Retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, and annuities
  •   Life insurance policies and proceeds
  •   Disability benefits and workers’ compensation
  •   Social security benefits and public assistance

These exemptions are subject to certain limitations and exceptions depending on the type and source of the debt or claim. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Cernitzlaw, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you protect your assets and rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your legal matter.

How can I contact Cernitz Law?

You can contact Cernitz Law by calling us at (305) 370-3255 or filling out our online form for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and discuss your case.

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