Our Personal Injury FAQs

When you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have lots of questions about how to hold the at-fault party responsible and how to get the money you need for the medical bills that are piling up. Read our FAQs to learn the basics and then call us if you have more questions. We are happy to help you get on the road to recovery.

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  • Can I Sue My Own Car Insurance Company After A Car Accident?

    Blue car with smashed front end

    Can You Sue Your Own Insurance Company?

    Yes, under certain circumstances and if you have the right coverage. In most car crash cases, you would seek compensation from the other driver's insurance company, but what if the other driver doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages? This scenario is more common than you think. I have a tough case now where my client was walking and run over by a drunk driver, however my client doesn't have car insurance, therefore no uninsured motorist coverage. The drunk driver has minimal coverage that doesn't come close to covering the extensive medical costs. I'm in the process of investigating every possible pathway for liability to try to make a recovery for my severely injured client. 

    Florida Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    In Florida, UM (uninsured motorist coverage) provides compensation to a person who is seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This can be very important coverage to get through your car insurance.

    When injured in a car crash, you will seek damages from the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver does not have insurance or has very minimal coverage, you will not be able to recover the full amount you may be owed. UM is provided by your insurance company to protect you in such a situation.

    You can try to sue the at-fault person, but it is often difficult to recover money from an individual since they may not have much. If you have UM coverage, you can avoid suing an individual by filing a claim with your own insurance company instead.

    You may also be entitled to additional money through the stacking of coverage. If a person under one insurance policy owns two or more vehicles, they can combine or stack the coverage for each vehicle insured on the policy. All you have to do is call your insurance company and talk to them about your options. For example, I have two vehicles. I have $100,000 in UM coverage on each vehicle and chose to have this coverage stacked, meaning I now have $200,000 in available coverage if I'm seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It took me only minutes to get this done when I called my insurance company. You may not be able to afford all the bells and whistles in an insurance policy, but you should at least consider some form of UM coverage in the event of a car crash.

    With the example of my own client, if he had car insurance and uninsured motorist coverage, even though he was a pedestrian, we could make a claim to recover against his insurance. 

    If You Have Questions About a Car Accident or Any Other Injury You Suffered

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

  • I Can’t Work, What About My Lost Wages?

    Man opening wallet with money

    How You Can Help Recover Your Lost Wages

    Being injured is not only painful, it can also be costly. Many people find them selves on unable to work or having to work less hours due to the injury and pain. There are ways to recover percentages of your lost wages. An attorney will need to address the issue of lost wages with all insurance companies involved and you can help by providing the necessary information.

    In order to make a strong demand for your lost wages, your attorney will need the following:

    1. A medical report. It is not enough to simply not feel like going to work after a crash. You must have a doctor’s assessment that says you were medically unable to perform your job duties as a direct result of the injuries caused by the crash. That is why seeking immediate medical attention after the incident is vital to a complete financial recovery.
    2. Wage documents. You will also need to verify through a W-2 or paystub what you were earning before the crash and how much you lost by not working.
    3. V​erification from your employer. You will need your employer to write a letter confirming important information such as the dates you missed work, your rate of pay, and the number of hours you should have worked during the time you were injured.

    If You Have Questions About a Car Accident or Any Other Injury You Suffered

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

  • What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect?

    Woman on cell phone looking very serious

    What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect?

    Anyone can and should report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you think a child is being mistreated, take immediate action.

    If you suspect abuse in Jacksonville, Florida, you can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families or call the the Florida Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1-800-962-2873 or fill out an online form

    The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides the following advice. 

    Information to Provide When Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect.

    When you call to make a report, you will be asked for specific information, such as the following:

    • The child’s name and location • The name and relationship (if known) of the person you believe is abusing the child

    • What you have seen or heard regarding the abuse or neglect

    • The names of any other people who might know about the abuse

    • Your name and phone number (voluntary)

    Reporting the situation may protect the child and get additional help for the family. Many nonprofit, public, education, social service, and child care organizations in your community play a role in providing supports and services to children, youth, and families. Parenting education, crisis/respite care, transitional housing, and literacy programs as well as family resource centers, teen parent support groups, fatherhood groups, and marriage education classes support families in important ways.

    If You or a Loved One Has Been the Victim of Sexual Abuse and You Have Questions

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

  • What Are Some Signs of Child Sex Abuse?

    There are few things worse than the abuse of a child. As a parent, I'm of course protective of my children, but what about all the other children we come in contact with. Whether it be at school events, sports, work or just around the neighborhood. How can I help if I think something is wrong? What should I look for? The Child Welfare Information Gateway has an enormous amount of information regarding sexual and physical abuse of children and how to spot suspected abuse. They have compiled the list below. 

    If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect him or her and get help for the family. Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Reporting your concerns is not making an accusation; rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed. 

    Signs of Sexual Abuse 

    Signs in a Child: 

    • Has difficulty walking or sitting 
    • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities 
    • Reports nightmares or bedwetting 
    • Experiences a sudden change in appetite 
    • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior 
    • Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14 
    • Runs away 
    • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver 
    • Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment 

    Signs in parent or other adult caregiver: 

    • Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
    • Is secretive and isolated 
    • Is jealous or controlling with family members

    How To Report Abuse in Jacksonville, Florida

    If you suspect abuse in Jacksonville, Florida, you can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families or call the the Florida Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1-800-962-2873 or fill out an online form

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    If You or a Loved One Has Been the Victim of Sexual Abuse and You Have Questions

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

     

  • Not Wearing a Seat Belt; Can I Still Sue?

    person buckling seat belt

    Yes, you can still sue the other driver when injured in a car accident, even though you wear not wearing your seat belt. 

    However, your poor decision can effect the amount of money you may be able to recover. Florida has what is called the Florida Safety Belt Law

    Florida Safety Belt Law

    It is unlawful for any person:

    • To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle or autocycle under the age of 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device.
    • To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.
    • It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle or an autocycle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle or autocycle is in motion.

    In addition; a violation of the Safety Belt Law may be considered as evidence of comparative negligence, in any civil action.

    Seat Belts and Comparative Negligence

    In Florida, the money you recover in trial can be reduced by the percentage a jury believed you were at fault. A jury will decide whether your injuries were 100% the other drivers fault or if some action by you may have also contributed to the accident, for example, speeding or talking on your cell phone. If a jury decides you were partially at fault, say 20%, than any money rewarded would be reduced by 20%, (a $100,000 jury verdict is now $80,000 because you were 20% at fault for the accident). This percentage of fault is called comparative negligence. 

    If you are injured in an automobile accident and were not wearing your seat belt, the other driver may argue the defense of comparative negligence. So not only is it unsafe to not wear your seat belt, but it could also cost you financially if you are injured in an accident. 

    If You Have Questions About a Car Accident or Any Other Injury You Suffered

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

  • How Long Until My Personal Injury Case Is Settled?

    Hour glass pink sand

    How Long Until My Personal Injury Case Is Settled?

    You have been injured, you are seeing a doctor and following their treatment plan, you have missed some work and maybe are still out of work and you are wondering when, if ever, your case will be settled and you will be compensated. You have waited months and are starting to think there will never be an end.

    You, the client, will have to show extreme patience, your case may take 6 months or it could be several years. Do you want a quick result or the best result?  A personal injury case can best be described as a marathon not a sprint. There is a steady pace to the case but a long way to the finish line.

    So Why Does A Personal Injury Case Take So Long?

    The most important part of an injury claim is your medical treatment. In order to gauge how much your case is worth, an attorney will need to know the complete cost of your medical treatment. If you are still treating, it is difficult to tell how much money will be necessary to complete your treatment. Will you need future treatment or surgery? If so, those costs need to be calculated in and if they are unknown and arise after you settle, you could be out a substantial amount of money due to having to pay for that treatment or surgery. Patience and concentrating on getting better should be your goals. 

    An attorney will need to have a full picture of your medical history and future in order to properly negotiate with the insurance company. Insurance will demand documentation to back up any claims and demands for compensation. In addition, it will take time to realize the full extent of possible lost wages. 

    Quick Case Outline

    Your case will begin with your treatment. Making sure you are getting the medical care you need. It may take months to fully recover and have a doctor state that you have completed treatment. It may take a year or two to reach that point, but a full picture of medical cost and future medical care is necessary to not only make sure you are better but also that you are compensated for all the cost that medical care brings along. 

    Your attorney will also be negotiating with the insurance company. Your attorney will share medical records and demand what they and you believe to be a reasonable amount. Negotiations may take a few months, may take a year. 

    If the insurance company is unreasonable and will only provide a small settlement, then you may need to file a lawsuit. Taking a case to trial could add on another year or two to your timeline due to everything that will have to be done before trial, including depositions, mediations and the probable delay tactics of the defense attorneys. 

    So What Can I Do?

    You should concentrate on getting better physically, mentally and getting your life back on track. Allow an attorney to handle your case and take that burden from you. An attorney will help getting you paid for lost wages and medical bills and will fight for you against the insurance company. 

    If You Have Any Questions Regarding An Injury In Florida

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883

     

  • How Much Does A Personal Injury Attorney Cost?

    two people signing a contract

    How Much Does A Personal Injury Attorney Cost?

    The majority of personal injury attorneys in Florida will take a case on a contingency fee basis. In other words, the attorney gets paid a percentage of what he/she is able to recover for you. You will not need to pay anything up front. 

    Florida rules require A contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial, or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. 

    Sample Percentage Agreements

    As compensation (attorneys’ fees) for services, the client hereby agree to pay said attorneys from the amount of money awarded by the Court or from the gross proceeds of any recovery the following fee, whichever is greater.                                   

    (a)        Before the filing of an Complaint:

    • 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
    • 30% of any portion of the recovery between $ 1 million and $2 million; plus.
    • 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

    (b)        After the filing of a Complaint:

    • 40% of any recovery up to $ 1 million; plus
    • 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
    • 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

    (c)        If all defendants admit liability at the time of filing their answers and request a trial only damages.

    • 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus.
    • 20% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $ 2 million; plus.
    • 15% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

    Understand Your Rights As A Client

    Remember all contingent fee agreements must be in writing. In addition, before a lawyer enters into a contingent fee contract for representation of a client the lawyer shall provide the client with a copy of the statement of client’s rights and shall afford the client a full and complete opportunity to understand each of the rights as set forth therein.

    If You Have Questions About An Injury You Suffered

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

  • Do I Need To Payback My Health Insurance?

    Hand Holding Stack of $100 Bills

    Do I Need To Payback My Health Insurance?

    The simple answer is often times "yes". The amount you owe will depend on the details of your insurance contract or certain provisions of state and federal law if you have Medicare or Medicaid. 

    Often times when someone is injured in an accident, their own health insurance will kick in and cover the cost for their medical care, as it should. Many personal injury cases could take months and often years to resolve. While both sides try to figure out an agreement on liability and damages, the injured party can not just wait for medical care. This is why your health insurance picks up the cost.

    However, your health insurer will also have a lien or right to reimbursement, meaning that when you settle your case or receive a jury award, you will also need to pay back your insurance. 

    How a Lawyer Helps

    Part of the lawyers responsibility in resolving a claim is to make sure all liens are also paid off. The last thing a client needs is to have received money and then get hit with a bill for past medical care. Your lawyer should review all insurance contracts you have entered, assist in having your bills paid and upon resolution of your case, a lawyer can negotiate with your health insurance and health care providers on any outstanding bills and liens. This could result in you paying less then what may be initially owed. 

    If You Have Any Questions Regarding a Car Accident In Florida or Any Other Injury

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.  

  • Do I Need Uninsured Motorist - UM - Coverage In Florida?

    Back Tail Ligth of Classic Car

    Do I Need Uninsured Motorist - UM - Coverage In Florida? 

    In most car accident cases, you would seek compensation from the other driver's insurance company, but what if the other driver doesn't have insurance. 

    This is why having UM coverage is important. You purchase UM coverage through your own insurance policy and it protects you from a situation where the other driver doesn't have insurance or the other driver's insurance limits are too low to cover your damages. UM provides compensation to a person who is seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

    You are not required to have UM coverage in Florida and you can deny it when you sign up for your policy. However, it is a low cost coverage that can have a significant value if you are unfortunately seriously hurt in a car accident.

    What Can I Do If I'm Hit By An Uninsured Motorist?

    • You can try to sue the person personally, but often if a person has no insurance, they probably don't have any assets either. 
    • If you have UM coverage, you then file a claim with your own insurance company.

    What Is Stacking? 

    Stacking is a way for you to get as much benefit as possible out of their UM coverage. A person under one insurance policy that owns two or more vehicles can combine or stack the coverage for each vehicle insured on the policy. 

    For example, I have two vehicles. I have $100,000 in UM coverage on each vehicle and chose to have this coverage stacked, meaning I now have $200,000 in available coverage if I'm seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It took me only a couple minutes to get this done. 

    How Do I Check To See If I Have UM?

    Most insurance companies have a client section on their website. You are looking for your policy's declaration page. This page will show you all the details of your coverage, including how much bodily injury coverage you have, if you have UM coverage and if your UM coverage is stacked. If you can not find a copy of this on your insurance company's webpage, call them and ask for a copy of your declaration page. 

    If You Have Any Questions Regarding UM Coverage Or A Car Accident In Florida

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883

     

  • How long do I have to file a lawsuit for car accident?

    Classic Clock

    How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a car accident in Jacksonville, Florida?

    After suffering an injury due to a car accident, it is wise to consult with an attorney as soon as possible about your options. There is a statute of limitations regarding how long you have the right to file a lawsuit and claim damages. The statute of limitations exists so cases are brought forth when there is fresh, reliable information. The witnesses’ memories are clearer, documents are more readily available, and the events are more recent.

    In Florida, you have 4 years from the date of the injury to bring an action on a motor vehicle accident. There are different time periods for different injuries, for example wrongful death claims must be brought within 2 years. In a lawsuit against the state or city, you have to provide the required notice of claim within 3 years after such claim accrues.

    The date of injury is when a personal knows or should have known of the injury or date of the wrongful or negligent act. 

    There may be times when circumstances prevent a case from moving forward, and it is not the victims fault. A statute of limitations can be "tolled" to allow a temporary pause on time in the interest of justice. This can be due to the mental competency of a victim or their age as a minor. 

    This answer involves motor vehicle accidents; different statutes, rules, "tolling" examples and numerous other factors can play into an injury case. If you have been in a car accident or slip and fall, are a victim of medical malpractice, injured because of someone else negligence or a victim of sexual or physical abuse you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible in order to better understand the time limitations in your particular case. Most attorney's offer free consultations so you have nothing to lose by making a phone call and everything to lose by waiting and being unsure.

    If You Have Any Questions Regarding a Car Accident In Florida or Any Other Injury

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883