Did you know that about 27% of the adult population in the United States has a disability? Of these individuals, nearly 13% have cognition issues. Another 12% have mobility issues. Some of those people have become permanently disabled after an accident on the road. After all, as many as six million motor vehicle accidents occur in the U.S. yearly. If you now have a permanent disability after a car accident yourself, you may be able to get compensation. However, you must first take steps to recover damages.
To that end, we created this guide on filing a permanent injury claim for a car accident. Read on to discover what you must do to get the compensation you deserve.
File a First-Party Insurance Claim
Some states, including Florida, require all motorists to carry personal injury protection (PIP). It’s also known as no-fault insurance.
PIP coverage helps pay 80% of the policyholder’s crash-related medical costs. This must kick in regardless of who caused or was at fault for the incident.
The above means you must first file a claim with your PIP provider to receive medical benefits. For your claim to be valid, you must have had initial care within 14 days of the incident.
Support Your permanent disability Claim With Medical Documentation
To receive PIP benefits, you must support your claim with medical evidence. This includes doctors’ diagnoses, treatment records, and professional outlook. Please keep and organize all these documents, as you’ll need them when you file a lawsuit.
As a crash victim, you can still file a lawsuit against at-fault parties, even in a no-fault state like Florida. You can do so if the cost of your treatment exceeds your PIP’s limits. Likewise, you can sue if your injuries meet the definition of a permanent disability.
Under Florida statutes, permanent disabilities result from significant and permanent bodily function loss. They can also be due to scarring, disfigurement, or permanent injury.
But just like with PIP, you must have medical evidence that warrants filing a lawsuit. For this reason, you must obtain confirmation from your doctors about your disability. They must explain in writing not only their diagnosis but also their prognosis.
Prognosis refers to a doctor’s judgment of a condition’s likely or expected development. It also states the potential future health situation of a patient.
Suppose a doctor diagnoses a crash victim with moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Moderate TBIs can lead to lifelong physical, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional impacts. They can even be fatal in some cases.
In that case, the prognosis could be that the patient’s TBI may affect their cognition. This could affect how they work and their chances of gainful employment. It could also affect their ability to enjoy life.
Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer
Filing a compensation claim or suing outside of PIP would require you to prove fault. This means you must establish the negligence of the other driver. You must also show that your permanent disability resulted from their doing.
Those tasks are complex enough for an average person but more so for someone with a disability. Fortunately, you don’t have to do them yourself; you can rely on an auto accident lawyer.
Here’s what an experienced lawyer can do to help you get your deserved compensation.
Assess the Worth of Your Case
The worth of your permanent injury case should cover past and future expenses. These include (but are not limited to) the following economic damages:
- All previous and expected future hospital bills due to the disability
- Long-term over-the-counter and prescription medication costs
- Compensation for rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Coverage for long-term specialty or in-home care
- Expenses related to making home and vehicle modifications to accommodate the disability
- Coverage for reduced or lost earnings due to the disabling injury
A car accident attorney will also factor in past and future non-economic damages. These non-financial damages are more difficult to assign a monetary value to. They may include coverage for the following things your permanent disability may cause:
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
Your lawyer may also account for punitive damages depending on your accident’s circumstances. While a jury may award these to you, they’re more of a punishment for the defendant. Courts typically award them when they find a defendant’s behavior egregious.
An example of egregious behavior is driving while severely intoxicated. Another is reckless driving.
Gather Evidence Supporting Your permanent disability Claim
Once you hire a car accident lawyer, they’ll gather evidence to build your claim or lawsuit. They’ll use these documents to help establish the other party’s (or parties’) negligence.
To build a strong claim or lawsuit, your lawyer may perform the following:
- Investigate the crash site to find more physical evidence
- Acquire medical records and police reports
- Reach out to potential witnesses and obtain their testimonies
- Gather video records from surveillance, traffic, and dash cameras
- Check the driving and legal history of the other parties involved
Your attorney will likely also work with accident reconstruction experts. Together, they’ll reconstruct the car accident to investigate and analyze it better. This allows them to make educated conclusions about its causes, events, and consequences.
Your auto accident lawyer will represent you throughout the entire case. They’ll take over all correspondence and communication on your behalf.
For example, your legal team will speak with all the other parties involved. They’ll also negotiate with insurance companies and protect you from low-ball offers.
If your side and the other parties fail to settle, your lawyer can proceed to file a lawsuit. They’ll represent and fight for you and your rights in court.
Protect Your Rights as a Permanently Disabled Crash Victim
Getting permanently disabled can result in long-term physical and mental suffering. However, it’s far worse if the disability resulted from someone else’s negligence.
So, if that has happened to you or a loved one, please know that it’s your every right to seek compensation.
Our team of highly experienced car accident attorneys here at RHINO Lawyers can help. We’re available 24/7, so please don’t hesitate to contact us now. We can provide you with a free consultation regarding your permanent disability case.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.