Before I became a plaintiff’s lawyer, fighting exclusively on the side of injured people, I worked on the defense side for the insurance companies. One of the most gut-wrenching parts of that job was talking to the clients about how much differently their defense would be handled based on one thing: the amount of insurance they had.
So many people mistakenly believe that “having insurance” – in any amount – means they are fully protected. It’s easy to understand why. When someone makes a claim against you, your insurance company assumes your defense. You don’t get to pick your lawyer neighbor, the lawyer you go to church with, or the lawyer you play golf with. Your insurance company decides when and whether to hire an attorney to defend you. If they do, they will assign a lawyer from a panel of attorneys they have vetted who have agreed to work at a certain rate and under very specific conditions.
While the investigating officer’s determination of fault has bearing on whether you have to pay a ticket, get points on your license, or pay more for your insurance, it’s not determinative in a civil case. Remember that the officer is only at the scene for a short period of time. Insurance companies need more before they are willing to pay out money on a claim. It could be that both parties share some fault. In Florida, you pay for your share of the damage you cause, even if you’re the injured party. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in injuries and harm but a thorough investigation reveals you were actually 20% at fault in the accident, your recovery against the other person would be $80,000.
When clients come to us after being injured in a car or motorcycle accident, by medical malpractice, or at the hands of a violent predator, we conduct a full investigation of the entire claim. Often there is more than one party responsible for the harm. It could be another driver or owner, it could be the company that employs the at-fault person, and it could be the business or dwelling where the incident occurred. Once we determine what really happened, we make a claim against the at-fault party. They are almost always defended by an insurance company that will ultimately decide whether to pay any money on the claim.
Often the amount of insurance you have determines the outcome of the claim more so than the facts of the case. If you are in an accident and the other party is extracted by the jaws of life and airlifted to the hospital and you only have $25,000 in coverage, you can expect the insurance company to tender your full policy limits right away, rather than fight to defend you. That’s because your potential exposure is far greater than the coverage you have, even if a jury were to find you only 10%, 20% or 50% at fault for the crash.
At Fasig Brooks, you can expect a full evaluation of all of your potential claims. We know that this is your one chance to be made whole again. We make sure you aren’t victimized twice by choosing the wrong firm to represent you. If you’ve been hurt, call us today. Fasig Brooks. (850) 222-3232.