MAXIMIZE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT

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1 MAXIMIZE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT

2 Part I: Find Insurance Coverage: Look at Accident Report & Write Letters People injured in a car accident in Florida should easily be able to locate car insurance that may pay for their injuries. Florida Crash Reports list the insurance company for all people who were driving and involved in the auto accident. Be aware that the owner and driver of the car that caused your accident may have different car insurance and both may be responsible to pay for your injuries. If the driver who hit you was working at the time of the accident, their employer may be responsible as well. If you were not involved in a motor vehicle accident, you can write a letter to the business or person who caused your injuries. This is described more in detail in the How To Section Below.

3 How to Find Insurance Coverage: Accident Report STEP 1: Make sure you have the crash report- This should have been given to you at the scene of the accident. If you were not given the accident report, you can request it from the police department that investigated the accident. STEP 2 Write a letter, or fax to the insurance company who insures the at fault party. This includes both the driver and owner of the at fault car. Request the information that the insurance company needs to provide to you according to Florida Statute 627.xxx

4 Part II: Investigate Liability What is a liability? Liability is who was at fault for the accident. Without Liability on the person who you believe caused your accident, you do not have a personal injury claim. How to Investigate Liability? STEP 1: If you were involved in a car accident, look at the accident report. The crash report should give a basic version of how the police officer believes the accident happened. The crash report will give witness contact information. You should contact witnesses immediately following the accident to get their statement. Witnesses often forget how the accident happened as time passes. Witnesses become more unwilling to cooperate as time passes. STEP 2: Take picture of the accident scene. Accident scenes change as time passes. Hire an accident reconstructionist immediately if the case warrants it. Send written letters, s and/or faxes to the at fault party asking them to preserve evidence (if applicable).

5 Part III: Establish Causation & Damages What is a causation? Causation is whether the other person caused your injuries. What are damages? Damages are your injuries. They are your past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish. STEP 1: Make sure that the doctor that you are treating with is not a hired defense doctor who will destroy your case. You should informally ask the doctor whether he agrees that your injuries were caused by the accident. You should know whether the doctor will help document your injury claim. If necessary, have the doctor sign an affidavit describing whether he/she believes your injuries were caused by your accident. STEP 2: If applicable, have your doctor state in writing the cost for your future medical care. If applicable, have your doctor state in writing the effect that your injuries will have on your life including your future limitations. Hire a vocational rehabilitation specialist if necessary.

6 Part IV: Provide Insurance Adjuster with your Medical Bills & Records Injured accident victims should provide the at fault party s insurance adjuster (or the uninsured/underinsured motorist insurer) with their medical records and bills as soon as possible following the accident. You need to request your medical records and bills from the hospital, doctor s office and therapy, etc.

7 How to Provide the Insurance Adjuster with your Medical Bills & Records? STEP 1: Make sure you get the proper address or fax of where to send your request to. Include a signed HIPPA compliant patient authorization and check for costs of records/bills. If you are seriously injured, continuously forward your medical records and bills to the insurance adjuster as soon as you receive them from your medical providers.

8 Part V: Negotiate with the insurance adjuster after you are done treating After you are finished treating you are ready to see if the insurance adjuster will make a fair offer before you file a lawsuit. Most insurance adjusters are much, much more experienced at negotiation that the average injured person. Insurance adjusters have a range of money that they can offer you to settle your claim. The goal is to get them to the highest number in their range. STEP 1: After the insurance company has all of your medical records and bills, ask the adjuster to make you an offer. Keep in mind that unless you are dealing with a policy limits case, their first offer is almost never their top offer. Never make the first offer. Don t settle the claim in less than 3 phone calls. Never take a lowball offer personally. Put your ego aside. Be polite but assertive. Ask the insurance adjuster if he/she has all the information that they need to make you their highest offer. (If they need more information, you should gather and submit it to them).

9 Part VI: Reduce Your Medical Bills & Health Insurance Lien (if applicable) After you are finished treating with your medical providers, you are in a position to formally reduce your medical bills. Note: You can informally attempt to reduce your medical bills prior to settling your personal injury claim but you may have to turn over to the defense anything in writing should you file a lawsuit against the at fault party.

10 Part VI: Reduce Your Medical Bills & Health Insurance Lien (if applicable) STEP 1: Most medical providers will reduce your medical bills Call the medical provider and ask them what is the least amount of $ they will accept to settle your medical bills owed. Keep in mind that their first offer may not be there top offer. Never make the first offer. Don t settle the claim in less than 3 phone calls. If you pay by check, the check should state Accord and Satisfaction of any and all medical bills. File a lawsuit against the provider if the amount that they have billed is unreasonable. STEP 2: When you decide to make a personal injury claim, you should send a letter via certified mail to your health insurance carrier, Medicare and Medicaid (if applicable) advising them that you are making a personal injury claim and asking them whether they wish to subrogate. If a non-employer plan health insurance company fails to respond to said letter within 30 days, they waive their claim for reimbursement. Ask the court to decide the amount of their lien (if applicable)

11 Part VII: Personal Injury Claim Resources JZ helps JZ helps (www.jzhelps.com ) Florida injury lawyer that helps you attempt to get as much money as possible from those responsible for your injuries. Contact Me Justin JZ Ziegler Attorney Serving Florida JZ helps 1450 Madruga Avenue Suite 200 Coral Gables, Florida JZ-helps ( )

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