Frequently asked questions

What is my case worth?


There is no easy formula to determining the value of your case. Instead, the value is based on a careful analysis of the facts, legal liability, nature and extent of injuries, as well as medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, physical impairment and other damages. Based on our proven track record and experience, we are able to evaluate cases and provide a range of value. At The Salameh Law Group, P.A., the initial attorney case evaluation is always free and we will be glad to personally answer any questions you have regarding your case with straightforward, honest answers.




I don't have any money, will The Salameh Law Group, P.A. still help me?


Yes. Personal injury attorneys generally charge their clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay your attorney only if you win compensation. Your attorney is paid a percentage of the total amount recovered. If your case is accepted, you will sign a retainer or fee agreement with The Salameh Law Group, P.A., clarifying all fees and charges.




What is a contingency fee?


In a contingency fee arrangement, you pay your attorney only if you win. You do not pay any out-of-pocket money upfront. Our office agrees to accept a fixed percentage (often one-third) of the amount recovered. If you win the case, our fee comes out of the money awarded to you. If you lose, neither you nor The Salameh Law Group, P.A. will get any money, and you will not be required to pay our firm for the work done on the case. By entering into a contingency fee agreement, both you and our office expect to collect some unknown amount of money. Because many personal injury actions involve considerable and often complicated investigation and work by The Salameh Law Group, P.A. this may be less expensive than paying an hourly rate.




What can I expect after the first consultation?


If a Salameh Law Group, P.A. attorney believes your claim is insurable and one on which you can recover, we will proceed to gather information about your claim. In order to arrive at a figure for damages, we will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages. The Salameh Law Group, P.A. will then provide your damages figure to the insurer of the person who injured you. If the insurer considers it a valid claim, the case is likely to be resolved and will not be tried in court.




I was in a car accident and the person who hit me didn't have any insurance. Can I still be compensated for my injuries?


Yes, especially if you have uninsured motorist coverage. That is insurance you purchase that will pay you when the at-fault driver does not have insurance or enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries.

Under Florida law, your insurance company must offer you uninsured motorist coverage. Also you must sign a document authorized by the Florida Department of Insurance if you choose to reject uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage typically is not expensive and protects you against uninsured drivers, which in Florida may be as high as one in four.

There is something else to consider. If your child or a member of your household is walking or riding a bike and is struck by a hit-and-run driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will compensate you for the injuries. And if you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle and there is a collision and you suffer injuries, your uninsured motorist coverage would cover treatment of your injuries if the car’s owner was underinsured or had no insurance.

This is why Attorney Mark Salameh and The Salameh Law Group, P.A. always advise our clients to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.




Who determines what doctor I go see after an auto accident?


The good thing about Personal Injury Protection, or PIP insurance is that it allows you to choose your own doctor unlike an HMO where a gatekeeper determines whether you can or cannot be directed to see a specialist for treatment. You can use your PIP insurance to find your own doctor who can help you with your injuries.

At The Salameh Law Group, P.A., we ensure our clients are getting the proper treatment for their injuries. Having helped many clients over the years, Attorney Mark Salameh and his team can assist you in selecting doctors who are well-qualified to treat your particular type of injury.




What is PIP?


Personal Injury Protection, or PIP insurance covers you (and in some cases any relative living in your household) if injured in a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident, your medical bills and lost wages must be first submitted to your own insurance company. This is why PIP insurance is also known as "no-fault insurance". Regardless of fault, your own insurance company will pay a percentage of your medical bills and lost wages. Under Florida law, PIP insurance must pay 80% of your medical expenses and/or 60% of your lost wages. But that is not all that PIP covers. PIP covers a percentage of other expenses such as lawn maintenance, housekeeping necessitated by injuries caused in a motor vehicle accident, as well as mileage expenses for travel associated with medical care treatment.




What is medical payment coverage(MED-PAY)?


Remember that PIP only pays 80% of your medical bills. Many people also purchase additional coverage known as "Medical Payments Coverage" (or MedPay). This type of coverage supplements PIP insurance and pays the additional 20% of the medical bills not covered under your PIP policy. It is preferable to purchase Medical Payments Coverage when renewing or purchasing an automobile insurance policy.




What about lost wages?


One great benefit of owning a PIP policy is the fact that it will pay 60% of your lost wages if you are hurt. Insurance companies require proof from your doctor that you are unable to work and completion of a "Wage & Salary Verification Form" by your employer before your lost wages will be paid. Once the insurance company has that information, within thirty days, they must begin paying your lost wages. As long as you are unable to work and your insurance company is kept apprized of that fact by your doctor, you will be entitled to a check from your insurance company every two weeks. Remember that PIP pays only 60% of your lost wages. You are entitled to this regardless of who caused the accident. The negligent driver responsible for the accident will also be responsible for the remaining 40% of your lost wages unpaid by PIP. However, you will not be entitled to the 40% of your unpaid wages until your case is closed.




Deductibles?


Most PIP policies provide for $10,000.00 in benefits although more expensive coverage can be purchased for a price. Unfortunately, PIP insurance can be expensive. Because Florida law requires PIP insurance on any operational automobile, sometimes consumers have to resort to purchasing PIP insurance containing a deductible. The standard deductible on PIP policies is $2,000.00. While this type of coverage may appear to be less expensive in the short run, in the long run if you are involved in an accident, the deductible will cost you a large sum of money. Remember that PIP only pays 80% of your medical bills. Until the $2,000.00 deductible has been satisfied, your PIP policy will pay no benefits for medical bills, lost wages, housekeeping or mileage. In actuality, the deductible is greater than $2,000.00. Until 80% of your total medical expenses equals $2,000.00, no benefits will be paid. Therefore, if you choose a $2,000.00 deductible, your policy will not begin making payments until the total of your bills and lost wages exceed $2,500.00. This is because 80% x $2,500.00 = $2,000.00, which is the amount of the deductible.

Deductibles can be very damaging in more than one way. Under Florida law, if you elect to purchase a deductible, you are responsible for that deductible amount. In other words, if you are injured by the negligence of someone else, because you purchased a deductible on your PIP policy, Florida law says that you are not entitled to recover the amount of the deductible from the negligent driver. This means that if you have a $2,000.00 deductible, you will automatically be responsible for $2,500.00 in medical bills. You will have no right to recover that from the person who caused your accident.

As you can see, deductibles are very deceptive. You should think very carefully before selecting a policy with a deductible. If a deductible is necessary, you should choose the smallest deductible within your budget.




What is property damage liablity coverage?


The other type of insurance required under Florida law is "Property Damage Liability Coverage." This insurance covers damage to property caused by the negligence of another motorist. In other words, it protects the other guy in an accident. Property damage liability coverage does not protect your car if it is damaged in the accident. It only protects the property of the other person in the accident.

So what is "full coverage?" If you go to your insurance agent and ask for full coverage, you may only be given a PIP and Property Damage Liability Policy. Under Florida law, this would be considered the full coverage required. However, it will only protect you minimally if you are in an accident. Many other coverages are available such as :

- Collision Coverage which covers your car if it is damaged in an accident, regardless of fault
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage which applies if you have the misfortune of injuring someone in an accident
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage which applies if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist

In reality, the inclusion of these types of insurance will give you "full coverage". How much insurance to purchase is a personal decision. Remember, you want to feel comfortable that you have enough insurance to protect you under any reasonable circumstance.




What is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?


Uninsured Motorist Coverage protects the policy holder and other eligible persons from personal injury damages suffered as a result of the negligence of another motorist that either does not have any Bodily Injury insurance coverage or has insufficient Bodily Injury liability coverage to compensate the injured party for their damages.

Remember, Florida law does not require Bodily Injury Liability protection. The effect of this is that there are many drivers operating vehicles in the State of Florida that do not have any Bodily Injury Liability coverage whatsoever. If one of these uninsured motorists causes a collision which results in injuries, then unless you have Uninsured or Under Insured Motorist Coverage, you will not be able to recover any damages for your injuries other than medical expenses and lost wages under PIP. This is the case regardless of how severe the injuries may be. Nearly one-third of all cars on the road have NO Bodily Injury Liability Coverage!

The standard Uninsured-Under Insured Motorist Policy usually provides coverage to the named insured, their spouse, and all relatives residing in the named insured's household. The policies also usually provide coverage to any other person who is occupying the named insured's vehicle at the time of the collision. The effect of this is that if you purchase Uninsured or Under Insured Motorist coverage, you will provide coverage not only for yourself, but for members of your family and any passengers that may be in your vehicle. The UM-UIM coverage follows the person rather than the vehicle. What this means is that if the insured person is injured anywhere by an uninsured motor vehicle, then his own UM coverage will apply and compensate him for damages as long as he meets the legal requirements for recovery. This includes persons who are injured while pedestrians, occupants of someone else's vehicle that does not have UM coverage, or while on a bicycle or in some cases on a motorcycle.

The coverage applies to situations where the injuries are caused by: (1) a vehicle with no Bodily Injury Liability insurance, (2) vehicles that hit and run and cannot be identified and (3) phantom vehicles such as the situation where someone "cuts you off" and causes you to run off the road, or otherwise have a collision that causes injury. In these situations if you do not have UM coverage, even if you are seriously injured, you will not be able to recover anything other than medical expenses and lost wages.




Do I have the right insurance?


Uninsured Motorist Coverage protects the policy holder and other eligible persons from personal injury damages suffered as a result of the negligence of another motorist that either does not have any Bodily Injury insurance coverage or has insufficient Bodily Injury liability coverage to compensate the injured party for their damages.

Remember, Florida law does not require Bodily Injury Liability protection. The effect of this is that there are many drivers operating vehicles in the State of Florida that do not have any Bodily Injury Liability coverage whatsoever. If one of these uninsured motorists causes a collision which results in injuries, then unless you have Uninsured or Under Insured Motorist Coverage, you will not be able to recover any damages for your injuries other than medical expenses and lost wages under PIP. This is the case regardless of how severe the injuries may be. Nearly one-third of all cars on the road have NO Bodily Injury Liability Coverage!

The standard Uninsured-Under Insured Motorist Policy usually provides coverage to the named insured, their spouse, and all relatives residing in the named insured's household. The policies also usually provide coverage to any other person who is occupying the named insured's vehicle at the time of the collision. The effect of this is that if you purchase Uninsured or Under Insured Motorist coverage, you will provide coverage not only for yourself, but for members of your family and any passengers that may be in your vehicle. The UM-UIM coverage follows the person rather than the vehicle. What this means is that if the insured person is injured anywhere by an uninsured motor vehicle, then his own UM coverage will apply and compensate him for damages as long as he meets the legal requirements for recovery. This includes persons who are injured while pedestrians, occupants of someone else's vehicle that does not have UM coverage, or while on a bicycle or in some cases on a motorcycle.

The coverage applies to situations where the injuries are caused by: (1) a vehicle with no Bodily Injury Liability insurance, (2) vehicles that hit and run and cannot be identified and (3) phantom vehicles such as the situation where someone "cuts you off" and causes you to run off the road, or otherwise have a collision that causes injury. In these situations if you do not have UM coverage, even if you are seriously injured, you will not be able to recover anything other than medical expenses and lost wages.




Why Should I Speak With an Attorney If I've Been in a Car Accident?


Car accidents can be traumatic events, especially if you or a loved one gets injured. Serious injures can wind up being very costly, and can exceed the $10,000 insurance coverage. You or a loved one may have to file suit against the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company. When you speak with a Fort Myers accident attorney, they can inform you of all your legal options, help file a lawsuit, and guide you every step of the way.




How Can a Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?


The last thing anyone wants to do when they've been injured in a car accident, or any accident for that matter, is deal with insurance companies. Insurances companies spend millions of dollars on legal representation to make sure that they pay out the lease amount of damages towards you. A Fort Myers car accident attorney, such as The Salameh Law Group, P.A. will fight for you at no cost until we win the case and you receive the settlement you deserve. Let us handle the dirty work for you and allow you to fully concentrate on what really matters, your health and recovery.