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When Should you Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida?

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

While our offices are located in Dothan, Alabama we often hear from folks who are seeking the services of a personal injury attorney while in Florida. Florida represents fun in the sun for so many from Alabama and between the beaches and amusement parks it is a frequent vacation stop for those from our state.

But you are not immune to traffic accidents, suffering an injury on a premise, a fall in an unsecured property, suffering a dog bite, or being charged with a DUI.  Smith & McGhee’s focus is on criminal law, premises liability, and personal injury law both in Alabama and Florida.

Yes, we can help.

We are licensed to practice in our neighboring state, Florida, and have found that to be a tremendous help to vacationing clients and those who reside in the Sunshine State.

Some examples:

Premises Liability

Let’s say it is vacation time and you and your family drive to the beaches of Pensacola, Florida.

You’re climbing the stairs of the beachside hotel and find that one of the steps is not secured. You fall, break a leg, and your belongings inside a cooler tumble to the ground floor, breaking everything inside.

Call us.

This is known as premises liability and it applies to a situation where you are a visitor and are injured on someone else’s property.

That business has an obligation to keep the premise in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. In this instance, it has failed in that responsibility.

This would be a situation in which the owner of the property either knew or should have known that the stairwell was unsafe. The manager of the property may be very nice and his insurance company may offer you a check on the spot. 

But that solution doesn’t remedy the problem for the next person. The insurance company is not on your side, they just want you to go away. And the insurance company is not thinking about your future medical needs as well as the pain and suffering you experienced and the lost vacation time with your family.

Let us speak to the insurance company to protect your rights to receive the compensation you deserve for your injury both now and in the future. 

Another example:

Florida Auto Accident

You are driving in Florida and are hit by a vehicle from the rear where the driver was texting while driving.  You believe you are injured but are not sure.  Often soft tissue injuries will show up in a day or two and can deliver a lifetime of pain if not addressed immediately.

Call us.

We will make sure you see a medical professional immediately. We will make sure that the driver of the other vehicle is cited for the accident. What type of auto insurance coverage does he have?  Many drivers in Florida are uninsured which complicates your case. 

Traffic laws differ in each state. In Florida, like in most other states, distracted driving (e.g., texting while driving) is illegal.  

While Alabama laws allow one party to blame the other for an auto accident and recover compensation for losses, Florida is a no-fault state. That limits the right to sue because drivers in Florida are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP), a minimum auto insurance policy that covers accidents for $10,000. Additionally PIP provides a $5,000 death benefit.

That means the at-fault driver needs to seek financial recovery through his own insurance, regardless of who was at fault.

But what if your medical needs and replacing lost property exceed that amount?

Your auto insurance should follow you in the state you are visiting, but the accident was not your fault and you don’t want your insurance rates to increase as a result.

Despite being in a no-fault state, we can file civil charges against the other driver if the crash caused serious bodily injury that is defined as leaving you with a permanent injury or disability or incurring medical bills that meet a certain monetary threshold.

Let Us Help You in Florida

Smith & McGhee is licensed to handle personal injury cases in Florida. Please do not hesitate to call us at our Dothan office at 334-377-1674 if you are injured in Florida for a complimentary consultation and case assessment.