Find out about the tax implications of receiving a lawsuit settlement and what you can do to protect your money.
After getting involved in a rough accident, you and the offender decided to settle out of court. This means that they take liability for your injuries, and they are willing to compensate for any damages they dealt with you. Now, you signed a settlement release so you can get your settlement money.
But a question popped in your head. Are lawsuit settlements taxable?
This is a common question for any plaintiff who agreed to settle out of the court. The answer to this question is vague and complicated. Settlement taxability differs from case to case. Let's discuss how lawsuit settlements are taxed and what are the non-taxable and taxable settlements.
The Internal Revenue Systems or IRS determines if a personal settlement claim is subjected to tax. Generally, the IRS will consider your settlement money as taxable income once it enters your account. But, exceptions exist even in this rule. Personal injury settlements are considered non-taxable by the administering department.
It all boils down to the "origin of the claim." If the nature of your settlement is for seeking a settlement for lost wages, it is taxable. But if the nature of your settlement is for seeking compensation for the damages sustained by accident, it is non-taxable. But, settlements for non-physical injuries such as mental anguish are taxable by the IRS.
Allocating settlement funds is a good strategy to reduce tax implications. The majority of legal issues cover multiple concerns. For example, a victim could claim that he sustained a physical injury from the car accident, developed a trauma from the damages caused by the event, and lost daily earnings because of the accident. The issue for this event revolves around the car accident, but the settlement could cover several facets.
This is why both parties must agree on the tax treatment of the settlement fund. The settlement agreement should discuss in detail how much is allocated for each of the victim's disputes.
Personal injury settlements also cover the attorney fees. If a plaintiff hires a contingency-fee-basis lawyer, they will not get paid until the victim recovers money from the case. Even if the defendant pays the attorney's contingency fees, the settlement money will still be subjected to the attorney fee taxes.
If the claim covers physical injury or sickness, there should not be any trouble with the tax treatment. But, if the claim is non-physical sickness or injury, then it is subjected to tax. Later on, we will discuss more on the attorney fees in this article.
In a nutshell, all physical injuries or physical damages settlements are tax-free. But, since emotional distress is not 'physical,' it may be subjected to tax depending on the nature of the case. Punitive damages and attorney fees are also subjected to tax treatment.
The best strategy to minimize the settlement tax deduction is to have a settlement agreement between the defendant and the victim. This would help them see which allocated settlement funds will be taxed.
As mentioned above, settlements originating from physical injury are tax-free. Listed below are some of the examples of settlements exempted from tax.
A personal or physical injury settlement is considered a tax-free settlement. The basis of the IRS in settlement taxability is basically if the victim exhibits physical injuries. As long as there is observable bodily harm, the IRS exempts these settlements of tax.
The Internal Revenue Systems published a document stating that emotional distress settlements are spared from tax if the emotional distress damages originate from a physical injury or physical sickness. But, if an existing physical injury does not cause mental anguish, it will be taxed.
The same document states that medical expenses spent on physical sickness or emotional distress are non-taxable if the victim did not take an itemized deduction for these expenses from the previous year. But, if the victim receives the personal injury settlement as reimbursement for previously deducted medical expenses, then it is taxable.
Settlement payments originating from causes other than personal physical injury are subjected to tax.
The court awards punitive damages as a punishment for the person liable for the accident. In most cases, these damages are given in extreme cases, usually involving fraud or negligence. This is not meant to compensate the victim. Instead, these damages are meant only as a form of penalty against the violator. In this sense, punitive damages are subjected to a tax deduction.
As established earlier in this article, claims not originating from physical injuries or physical sickness are subjected to tax payments. Non-injury claims could include claims for property damages, lost wages, or interests. Property damages, lost wages claims, and punitive damages should be listed as 'Other Income' of Form 1040. While interests should be classified as 'Interest Income.'
Most states in the United States require an interest to be added on a pending verdict. The interest increases the longer the verdict is left unpaid. These interests are taxable by the IRS. The defendant will pay the awaiting verdict along with the interests included.
The attorney fee is a complicated area in taxable settlements. If an attorney representing you in a case functions on a contingency basis, you must pay taxes as the entire money recovered from the case. Even if the case defendant pays the lawyer's contingency fee, you are still subjected to tax payment by the total amount of compensation if the nature of the settlement is not physical injury.
For example, a plaintiff settled an amount of $100,000 for emotional distress, and the attorney fee cost you $40,000. You are then left with a $60,000 settlement money. Usually, you would assume that you would only record $60,000 as your income from your settlement. But, the law states that you should declare the total $100,000 as taxable income.
To understand how a settlement agreement affects taxable settlements, let us first define the settlement agreement.
Settlement agreements are a legal contract agreed upon by the defendant and the plaintiff. If a victim declares several claims from the accident, it is helpful for both parties to decide which amount would go to the different claims.
For example, a victim could request compensation for mental trauma, physical damages, and lost wages caused by an accident. It is helpful to know which amount would cover each category. A settlement agreement is ideal in this scenario.
A good settlement agreement would include the following information:
Settlement agreements can also include the agreed tax treatment between both parties. Though the IRS and the court are not mandated to follow the settlement agreement, they can incorporate the decision of both parties on what tax consequences both parties agreed upon.
The court may not add any terms to the agreement and only accept what is included in the document. This is why both parties must specify what they want to go in the settlement agreement. As much as possible, avoid accepting a contract with a lot of ambiguous terms.
An experienced settlement agreement lawyer can help you set your desired terms to get the best outcome with your case. They can go over the other party's agreement and advise you if the document is detrimental on your end.
As established in the earlier sections, the best strategy for minimizing tax deductions in your settlement money is to divide the funds in each category of claims.
When a victim receives the settlement money, the IRS will consider this settlement as income. An income settlement is taxable by the IRS. But, if the nature of the settlement originates from observable harm or physical sickness, then the IRS can exempt this settlement from tax consequences.
But, if the settlement received originates from non-physical injury claims, this is subjected to tax deductions. Non-physical injury claims include mental anguish and distress from the situation. But, if the victim developed these mental health damages from the sustained physical injuries, it is not taxable.
Most legal cases have many damages compensable by the law. A car accident can bring severe physical injuries to the victim, and they could develop anxiety disorders because of the event. Wrongful death can bring emotional distress and loss of consortium. Some of these damages are taxable, while some are not.
Allocating settlement for these damages reduces the number of tax consequences from the payment. For example, the total compensation recovered by the victim is $100,000, then they could divide $60,000 for physical injuries and $40,000 from taxable loss of income. An agreement between both parties should be made before the settlement fund could be distributed between the damages.
Before settling for an amount outside the court, both parties should sign a settlement agreement. This document is helpful in making decisions on how both parties would like the settlement money to be treated.
A victim should provide solid evidence to connect the mental health damages from the physical injuries obtained.
Taxes are a perpetually confusing topic to understand. The laws surrounding this matter are complicated because it contains many technicalities that are too hard to understand.
Protect your settlement money by hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. A highly experienced personal injury attorney can walk you through the entire process of acquiring your settlement proceeds. They can help you easily comprehend the complicated tax rules surrounding your compensation.
Hiring a good attorney can also help you create an effective settlement agreement. They can help you avoid delays in getting your funds and avoid settlement taxes. An attorney with a vast knowledge of taxation law can provide astute legal advice to help you minimize or completely eradicate taxes on your settlement fund.
Our personal injury attorney at The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys has the necessary skillsets to help you achieve the best outcome for your case. Our Miami attorney has a proven background in helping clients avoid the tax consequences for their settlement.
At The Soffer Firm, we know exactly the situation you are facing, and we understand the goal you want to achieve for your case. We guarantee the best result in every case we handle. Settlement taxes are not new territory to us. We have years of successful experience in handling out-of-court settlements.
If you are interested in our service, call us at (786) 788-7344 for a free case consultation. You may also fill out this form on our website. You can also check our webpage for other services we offer.
We emphasize that, whether or not you are legally required to wear a seat belt, you should still wear a seat belt. Seat belts are legally required to be worn in Florida per Florida Seat Belt Laws. Your seatbelts can be located attached to the car seat.
There are plenty of dangers when on the road, and driving without a seat belt can result in severe injuries for everyone who isn't wearing one. Even when going out for a quick drive-thru, all drivers and front-seat passengers are legally required to wear a seatbelt at all times.
The Florida Seatbelt Law legally requires motor vehicle drivers, front-seat passengers, and children under 18 to wear seat belts as well as child restraint devices. A safety belt is a safety device designed to secure the driver or passenger against getting injured in a crash or a sudden stop.
The safety belt law in Florida is a primary enforcement law. Police officers can stop motor vehicles and issue tickets for not wearing seat belts.
Children aged five and under are required to be appropriately secured in child restraint devices under Florida Seat Belt Laws. The children should be in the rear seats on a separate carrier, integrated child seat, or booster seat until the age of 12 because front-seat airbags are dangerous to them.
You can read the official Florida Driver's License Handbook for more information on seat belts, child restraints, and recalls. We emphasize that drivers, front passengers, and backseat passengers wear seatbelts no matter where they are planning to go to avoid getting injured during accidents.
If you are aged 18 and above, you do not have to use a seat belt in the backseat. However, minors are still required to wear a safety belt, even in the back seat. Florida seat belt laws require children to wear a seatbelt attached to the car seat or use a booster seat.
Regardless of whether or not it's required, we emphasize that you should always wear seat belts as drivers, front passengers, or backseat passengers. You can prevent severe injuries from happening during a car accident.
Generally speaking, seatbelts are safe as much as they are essential. In a car accident, lives are saved because of wearing seatbelts. Although it is legally required, we emphasize that you should wear it even if it's not.
Lap and chest seatbelts should prevent you from flying through your windshield during a car accident. It also helps passengers from getting severe injuries by colliding with the car's interior. Seatbelts secure people to their seats and make them slow down or stop with the motor vehicles during an immediate stop or a car crash.
Per the Florida seatbelt laws, not wearing a seatbelt is a primary traffic violation and is considered a primary offense. Police officers can pull you over for this and issue you a ticket for a fine of $35. It will also become a secondary traffic offense if you already got pulled over for a primary violation. Courts and counties can also apply additional fines.
The driver is held responsible and will pay the fine for all under 18 who are not wearing a seatbelt or required child safety seat. Moreover, the driver will receive 3 points on their license for the seat belt violation and can be avoided by taking driver safety school.
However, if the driver violates the child safety seat law, the fine will be higher. It can go up to $60 per violation and 3 points to the driver's license. You can contact our lawyers for help and a free consultation about Florida Seat Belt Laws.
Per Florida law, people over the age of 18 are not required to wear a seat belt. Minors diagnosed with medical conditions may not use a seat belt. However, they must present the doctor's note to the police officer serving the ticket or to the court to dispute it.
The Florida seatbelt law requires all drivers and passengers to use a seat belt except employees of a newspaper home delivery service, school buses purchased before December 31, 2000, buses used for transporting people for compensation, farm equipment, and trucks with a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
Florida is a secondary seatbelt law state where police officers can serve a ticket to drivers pulled over for a different offense, such as speeding. The police will serve a ticket to drivers and front-seat passengers for not wearing a seat belt.
The police at local law enforcement agencies can also ticket drivers for the minors in their vehicle who are not using a safety belt or have improper child safety restraints. Under the Florida safety belt law, you are legally required to use a seatbelt.
However, suppose your car seat seatbelt is not working and results in serious injuries or death. In that case, you can contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. We can start building your personal injury or wrongful death case to get you the proper compensation you need for a seatbelt failure.
We emphasize that whether or not wearing a seatbelt is legally required, you should still use a seat belt. A seat belt keeps you from being ejected from your car be thrown against other passengers during a crash.
If you are the driver, your seat belt can also keep you behind the wheel to control the car. Wear your seat belt around your hips and across your chest; otherwise, it won't work. Airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts.
Accidents happen when driving at high speeds, and the unrestrained passenger can be ejected from their seat and can result in a serious injury.
41% of people in Florida car crashes chose not to wear their seat belts. Hundreds of people who died in those car crashes had the option to wear their seat belts, but they chose not to wear one.
Men are twice as likely to be killed in a car crash than females for not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts can help prevent serious injuries or, worse, death. Your injuries from car accidents may lead to a harmful medical condition that will stop you from ever getting behind the steering wheel again.
Every time you and other people get into your motor vehicles, you should tell them always to use a seat belt. Teach your kids that no one is too young or too old to wear a seatbelt, no matter how short the trip can be. Seat belt laws require, but you can help other people make it a habit to prevent them from getting into serious harm.
The Click It or Ticket (CIOT) campaign is a high-visibility enforcement effort designed to detect violators of Florida's traffic laws, emphasizing occupant protection.
An intense paid media campaign is conducted concurrently with high-visibility enforcement to elevate the importance of the benefits of safety belt use. This campaign includes the issuance of citations for safety belt violations.
Here are the frequently asked questions regarding Florida Seat Belt Laws:
The seatbelt laws in Florida are pretty straightforward. According to Florida laws, drivers and front passengers are required to wear seatbelts.
Florida laws also state that backseat passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear seatbelts. If they have a medical condition, they may present it to the police officer citing the offense or in court to dispute the offense.
Drivers who fail to wear their seatbelts will get 3 points on their driver's license. These drivers can also face traffic school and can face increased car insurance prices.
Drivers and passengers over 18 can be cited if other passengers under 18 are not wearing their seatbelts.
Not wearing a seatbelt in Florida is now a primary traffic offense. Police can now stop any vehicle and issue tickets for drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.
This law was passed in 2009, making wearing a seatbelt a requirement for all drivers and passengers over 18.
Sometimes a seat belt fails to work and can cause a severe injury or even death. Get a ticket or are seriously injured in car accidents with seatbelt issues. You can contact us at (786) 788-7344 for a free consultation to start building a personal injury or wrongful death case.
If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, the first thing that will likely come to mind is how long I can expect my personal injury settlement check. This article explains what goes into getting your money and why it may take some time to claim it.
Personal injury settlements are agreements of compensation made outside the court. This means that the defendant accepted to take full responsibility for the accident and agreed to provide compensation to the affected victim.
When both parties decide to settle out of court, they will no longer push for trial litigation. A personal injury settlement should include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, psychological trauma, and pain of loss and suffering.
Agreeing in a personal injury settlement can be beneficial for mutual parties. When they decide to settle out of court, they will avoid the expensive cost of litigation and its lengthy process. Please read below to know how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check.
Personal injury settlements can be issued for different types of personal injury cases. This includes car accidents, wrongful death, and bicycle accidents. The victim can demand settlement funds if they suffer in an accident caused by the defendant.
When both the defendant and the victim agreed on a settlement, they would need to follow the steps listed below:
Most settlement checks will take around six weeks for the entire process.
Delays in the processing of a personal injury settlement check are uncommon. But, it can still happen. When a personal injury claim is delayed, several factors can cause its hold up. Below are the most common reasons for the delay:
Talk to your personal injury attorney if you are experiencing an extensive delay in processing your personal injury settlement. They can explain the situation to you so you can better understand the delay.
A legal statement is documentation of facts and accounts of the accident. Legal statements should only contain factual descriptions of the event. They should not contain any personal opinions and arguments directed to the defendant. The goal of these documents is to provide accurate descriptions of the event. A legal statement should establish your point of view in the situation.
Understand that a legal statement should only contain an accurate and factual description of the accident. It should include the dates and the time when the accident occurred. This statement should also contain accounts the led up to the event. Both party's information must be included in a legal statement. The author of the statement should establish the connection between the defendant and the accident.
An excellent legal statement should be understandable by anyone who reads it. It should also establish the accounts of the accident and amplify the facts that support the author's case. Mention any relevant information in your legal statement. But, don't make any recommendations or request a biased conclusion.
Legal statements are necessary for establishing liability against the at-fault party.
Signing a settlement release means that you agree to the settlement offer made by the insurance company. After the release signing, the defendant's insurer will process the personal injury claim.
Once the insurance company completes the process, they will send the settlement proceeds to the attorney. The attorney will then settle any unpaid debts or liens for the victim's case. After all the existing liens are paid, the lawyer will deduct the legal services fees agreed by the attorney and the client before the case.
A personal injury lawyer estimates the amount of compensation for your injuries. They will check your case and consider any factors that would need compensation. The lawyer will handle the communication with the insurance company. This ensures that you can get the best compensation for your damages.
Generally speaking, the amount of a personal injury settlement varies from each case. Insurance companies would need to look at different factors when estimating a settlement. A minor accident without any injury can get a much lower value than someone involved in a serious car crash.
However, the average amount of a personal injury settlement could range from $3,000 to $75,000. As mentioned above, many factors come into play when estimating a personal injury settlement amount. Often, the settlement funds could go over the rate mentioned above.
Factors such as medical bills, lost wages, cost of repair (if a car is involved), and emotional or psychological damages are considered. If a victim dies because of the accident, their loved ones are qualified for a settlement claim.
Keep in mind that the amount of your settlement depends greatly on your attorney. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can be beneficial for your case. A good lawyer will take a closer look at your case and examine every factor. They will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you get the best compensation possible.
The Internal Revenue Services released a document for settlement taxability. This document specifies if a specific settlement fund is taxable or not.
It is important to discuss this matter with your attorney when agreeing to a settlement.
Pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case refer to damages other than physical injuries and non-monetary losses. Usually, an insurance company will compensate for these types of damages. Emotional distress can be identified as follows:
Though pain and suffering is a subjective claim, a victim still needs to produce solid evidence to support their claim. A victim can provide the following evidence to prove their pain and suffering:
Photographic evidence of the damage could help establish the connection between the mental health problems and the accident. Compensation for emotional suffering is non-taxable, according to the law. But, the victim would need to prove that the emotional distress is caused by the accident.
Victims should enlist the help of a legal professional if they are suffering from mental health issues caused by the accident. Our lawyer at The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys can help you get proper compensation for your damages. Emotional damages are also damages, and this can prevent the victim from getting his life back.
Medical liens are the demand of repayment by the party who shouldered the cost of medical expenses of the victim. In more simple terms, liens can be considered as debt paid by the settlement money. This is usually collected by the victim's insurance company. The injured party is required to pay back these liens to prevent any future legal problems.
Liens can be negotiable. An insurance company can receive less than the amount they spend for the victim's medical expenses. Consult with your case attorney to know about the different ways they can lessen the amount of lien deducted from your settlement fund. An experienced lawyer can effectively negotiate a lower price from the requesting entity.
Lien law can be highly complicated for normal people. This is why it's important to inform your lawyer of any entities requesting liens from your medical treatment. They can negotiate a lower price or even completely eliminate a lien request.
As stated above, the processing of a settlement can get delayed. Though uncommon, this can still happen. And several factors are affecting the prolonged process. In a nutshell, these factors include:
Some insurance companies may even delay a settlement by purpose. They do this to lower the amount of payment a victim can receive. Victims should consult with their attorney if they are experiencing a delay. Unjustifiable delays are detrimental to the victim who needs compensation to cover his medical expenses.
The attorney handling your case usually knows what is causing the delay. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help speed up the settlement process if the at-fault's party fails to communicate the reason behind the delay.
A key for a faster transaction is to have an assertive lawyer at your side. Our Soffer Firm lawyer knows exactly how to talk to these insurance companies for a quicker transaction. We do our best to meet our client's needs and ensure that they receive the best outcome.
Accidents are everywhere, and they happen at the most unexpected time. Some accidents cause severe injuries that could permanently alter a victim's way of living their life.
Not to mention the exorbitant cost of medical procedures and the loss of the victim's source of income. This can all be overwhelming for the injured victim. At The Soffer Firm, we understand that this is a challenging point in the victim's life.
We know the hardships you are facing, and we know exactly how we can help. Our experienced personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling personal injury cases. Our lawyer knows his way around the court and fights aggressively to ensure our clients will meet the justice they deserve!
We stop at nothing until our client's best interests are met. Our client's splendid experience with us is the reason why we are the "go-to" firm for personal injury cases. We offer legal assistance from the initial free case evaluation up to winning a lawsuit. At The Soffer Firm, we fight for our clients because they are our cause.
Although it may not be pleasant to think about your options after getting into a car accident, it's important to be prepared. You don't want to end up making the wrong decisions in a moment of panic. One of the first things you'll need to consider if you get into an auto-accident is if you need a car accident attorney.
Although an attorney is a great option for many people after an accident, there are circumstances in which you won't need one.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
As you may know, not every car accident is the same, which means that the severity of damage can vary. Some accidents require immediate medical assistance as well as an attorney to handle complicated legal issues involved. Others are small fender benders, and both owners decide there's no harm done.
If you have recently been in an auto accident and there were no significant losses, this means minimal damages or injuries; you may decide that calling an attorney is not necessary. Generally, these accidents are small enough where neither parties feel the need to file a claim.
When the damage is significant, then you'll want to talk to an attorney, but if you find yourself thinking 'no big deal,' then it might be a waste of time for both you and the lawyer to pursue the driver at fault.
One of the biggest headaches of dealing with an auto accident is insurance. The best car accident attorney is going to be a huge weight off your shoulders when it comes to dealing with all that complicated paperwork.
However, you might be the type of person who knows insurance really well. This means you know what is covered, how the claims process works, and what the terms in your contract mean. Additionally, you're aware of how different insurance policies coordinate coverage, specifically in your state.
These different complexities are best left for an experienced car accident attorney. But if you are savvy about how to use insurance, you might be able to handle your own claim. Be aware that this is a risky move, especially if your injuries are significant.
With that said, you can save a lot of time and money if you're confident in your insurance knowledge.
Many accidents do not result in injuries, sometimes they leave you a little startled, but that's about it. You might have been in an accident that happened at a low speed, resulting in minimal or no injuries. There may be some damage to your belongings, but you are not physically hurt.
In this case, you probably don't need a lawyer. If you don't require medical attention and need to get your car fixed, it's easier to work directly with insurance companies.
There's a chance your injuries are minor, and you might still have a personal injury claim; this is simple enough to handle on your own as well. It is better to hire a car accident attorney when their expertise and experience are necessary for more complicated incidents.
When there are minor injuries or no injuries at all, you don't need a lawyer.
Accidents happen and sometimes, you're the person at fault. If this is the case, you may not need to hire a personal injury attorney.
Your insurance company should be able to provide you with a car accident defense attorney. Many of these lawyers have a close relationship with insurance companies, and this defense might be provided to you without charge since your automobile insurance covers it.
Things get a little more complicated if you caused the accident and also suffered injuries. This means you can't make a claim against anyone else. The laws are different depending on the state, so this can vary, but that is generally the case.
If you do have significant injuries, it's best to talk to a car accident lawyer. They'll be able to help you sort through the complex legal process so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.
One thing you might not know about pursuing a claim is that it is a time-consuming process. You have the option to pursue your own claim without a lawyer, but that's only a good option if you have the time. Lawyers have the experience to help do an efficient and professional job, but that doesn't mean that handling a claim is beyond your abilities.
If you have the time to do all of the research and learn how to represent yourself in a claim against the at-fault party, you can certainly take steps to do so. Get ready to make many phone calls, retrieve the right documents and stand your ground so you don't get taken advantage of.
With enough time on your hands and the right attitude, you won't need an attorney. Just be sure you understand what you are signing up for because it will consume a lot of your time.
Navigating what to do after an auto accident can be frustrating, time-consuming, and costly. It doesn't help that there are so many different types of car accidents, with mixed advice floating around on what to do if you're involved in one. It may be tempting to call a car accident attorney right away, but there are circumstances in which you may not need one.
You don't need to get an attorney for a car accident if no one got hurt, if the accident is your fault or if you're able to handle the claim on your own.
Handling a claim on your own is still complicated, so if you're looking for experienced car accident attorneys to make your life easier, you'll want to contact us.
According to the CDC, over 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the U.S every year. A car crash can be a scary experience, especially if you also need to file an injury claim.
Hiring a car accident attorney to represent you after an accident can impact the outcome of your case. Additionally, the documents you share with your attorney could also impact your case's outcome. The type of documents you share with your lawyer will increase your chances of winning the case.
Car accident lawyers use these documents to understand your case and fight for you in court. Below are eight essential documents you must share with your attorney:
If you have insurance for your car, share proof of the policy with your car accident attorney. They will use it to assess the kind of insurance recovery you're eligible for.
If you don't have a copy of your insurance with you, don't panic. Car accident lawyers can get proof of insurance from your insurance company with written consent from you.
Driving your car without insurance is illegal. You may lose your case if you have an expired policy or your cover doesn't meet your home state's minimum standards. That's because the other party may use this against you in court.
If you have an insurance cover and you've been paying your premiums on time, the attorney will need evidence of the payments. Insurance companies send periodic notifications and reminders to inform you when premiums are due.
Give your attorney all the correspondence you have with the insurance company and proof of payment. You can use receipts, credit card statements, or canceled checks. This will act as proof that your premium payments are up-to-date and your policy is still in effect.
In certain situations, individuals share social media information and email addresses instead of their phone numbers or physical addresses. Any information you gathered after the accident should be presented to your attorney.
Most people call the police immediately after an accident happens. The police are obligated to create an accident report that includes a rough drawing of the pedestrians’ and cars’ positions at the accident scene. An accident report also includes the officer's first impression of the accident and its cause.
Sharing this information with your lawyer will help them better understand your case. Share with them anything that the police drafted, including a copy of the accident report and traffic tickets. If you don't have the report, your lawyer will obtain one from the police on your behalf.
One or more parties involved in the accident may receive traffic tickets from the police. This especially happens if either driver was:
• Driving under the influence
• Texting behind the wheel
• Driving in an unsafe way
The other party's lawyer could use traffic tickets against you, especially if they were injured in the accident. But your attorney can review the ticket and create an argument against it, explaining why it shouldn't increase your responsibility for the crash.
If the accident resulted in you losing time from work and your wages, your lawyer might help you get compensation. They will do this by using your pre-accident and post-accident paychecks. The paychecks will help them compare and calculate your lost wages as a result of the accident.
If you suffered physical injuries resulting from the accident, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately. When filing a personal injury claim, ensure you show medical records to your attorney. The records will help the lawyer understand the extent of your injuries and how long you will need to recover.
If you don't have a copy of the medical records, your attorney may obtain them on your behalf. However, they will require written approval. Share with the attorney the contact information and physical address of any doctor you have seen to make their job easier.
Did the accident have a psychological or emotional impact on you? If so, you may need to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Share with your attorney any psychological treatment records as well.
If your vehicle was damaged or dented during the accident, ensure you take pictures of the damage. However, if you were not in a position to take pictures, check whether the other party or the insurance adjuster took any pictures.
Provide any photos and videos you have of the accident scene to your attorney. If the insurance adjuster also took photos, tell your attorney to obtain the photos or videos.
After an accident, insurance adjusters contact the parties involved for their statements. If you were contacted and choose to give a statement, ensure the insurance company shares with you a copy of the same.
Share the copy of the statement with your attorney. However, if you don't have one, inform your attorney so that they can obtain a copy from the insurance company on your behalf.
It's always good to note that you're not obligated under the law to give a statement to the insurance company. If you have retained an attorney, consult them before giving any statement to an insurance adjuster. The insurance company may use the statement against you in the future.
In 2019, there are 6,664 bicycle accidents and 154 bicycle fatalities in Florida. For every individual in an accident, those costs add up. In fact, the costs related to non-fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S. have gone up by $789 million annually.
In other words? The cyclist is the one who bears the brunt of medical costs in bike accidents, even though the driver is often the one at fault.
This is why calculating damages is so important. It's not just about paying medical bills—it's about taking your life back. The good news is that while damages are calculated based on individual cases, there are some constants you can use to get an idea of where you stand, whether you were hurt by an Uber driver or a family car, in an intersection, or your own suburb. Here's what you need to know about calculating damages in bicycle accidents.
In personal injury, there are two broad types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are damages that can be easily quantified by a dollar amount. Medical bills are a good example of economic damages, as well as lost wages, property damage, and the cost of medication, to name a few.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify, but they're equally important for your quality of life. For example, not being able to hold your baby because of a shattered arm and collarbone injury would fall under this category. More generally, non-economic damages deal with things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Beyond this broad classification, there are six types of damages:
Most of the time, you're dealing with compensatory damages, which are paid to the injured party as compensation for the negligent act or for an act that should have been performed but was not, resulting in injury. However, in cases where the court deems the defendant's actions especially egregious.
Compensatory damages are based on the notion of making someone whole and righting a wrong after an incident. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their actions and to act as a deterrent for others who might behave similarly.
Calculating damages for a bicycle accident involves adding up your economic and non-economic damages. That algebra is trickier than it sounds.
Adding up your economic damages is pretty straightforward. Simply add up your lost wages and other costs associated with the accident, including costs you will likely incur in the future as a direct result of the accident. This includes things like:
Once you add these together, you'll have the total potential economic damages. Things get messy with non-economic damages. This is for one simple reason: the time it takes to recover, your pain and suffering as a result of the accident, and similar non-economic consequences are difficult to quantify and harder to prove than, say, a hospital visit.
That's why you need an attorney to help calculate damages.
Of course, there are several other factors that weigh into your calculation, which is the other reason why you need an experienced attorney to help you.
You're likely familiar with the concept of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". That's the burden of proof in criminal cases—the jury must be absolutely certain that the defendant committed a crime before delivering a sentence. In personal injury, the burden of proof is much lower—"more likely than not", or "by a preponderance of evidence", which is a legalese way of saying the jury must be at least 51% certain that your side of the story is true.
Here's the catch: the defendant is not required to prove that their version of the story is true (just that the plaintiff's story is at least 50% false or inaccurate) and the higher the percentage of certainty, the higher the damage award.
There are also some practical difficulties that may complicate your side of the story. Here are three of the most common.
Florida is a comparative liability state, which is a legal theory some states use to assign blame (and thus damages) in cases where both parties are at least somewhat at fault. Under this rule, the fault of each party is based on their contribution to the accident. Based on this assessment, each party is assigned a percentage of blame and pays damages to the other party based on that percentage.
Keep in mind that you can still get a fair settlement, even if comparative liability is on the table. However, it becomes even more critical to have persuasive evidence of the other party's fault.
Unfortunately, personal injury is much more subjective than criminal law. Because the other side needs to sow doubt about your side of the story rather than proving themselves wholly innocent, factual disputes are the most common complication in a bicycle accident case (and any other personal injury lawsuit, for that matter).
This is why you need an experienced attorney on your side. Half of your battle is not allowing the other side to sow unreasonable doubt about your version of events. A capable attorney can prevent such arguments from gaining traction.
Some factors determining your damage amount have nothing to do with fault or what you are reasonably owed. It might not sound fair, but it's basic logic.
In order to compensate you for your injury, the other party must have the resources to do so. If your accident cost $70,000 but the other party only has $20,000 in assets, the court cannot reasonably expect them to magic the rest out of thin air.
That said, you may still get a reasonable settlement even if the other party has limited resources. There are other ways to collect damages. A knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through your options.
Ultimately, when it comes to calculating damages (and navigating your entire bicycle accident case) the moral of the story is the same: you need an experienced bicycle accident attorney on your side.
That's where we can help. The Soffer Firm is a respected Miami law firm with extensive experience helping families like yours fight for their rights and recover the settlements they deserve. We know what it takes to win, and we won't stop until we get your best possible outcome.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your case, schedule your free consultation today.
Ever since its introduction around 2010, Uber has grown in popularity at a breakneck pace, and it now has over 93 million active users. With the press of a button, you can head out for a night on the town, hail a ride to the airport, or even get food from your favorite restaurant delivered to you. There are a lot of great reasons to use rideshare technology, but they don't come without risk.
Accidents happen, even when you're in the car with the safest Miami Uber drivers. If you're injured in the accident, or if your property is damaged, then you're probably wondering if you can sue Uber. Read on to learn about how to recover from your Uber accident.
Every person on the road owes a duty of care to their passengers and to other drivers. Some drivers carry a greater level of responsibility, however.
In Florida, shared transportation operators like buses and taxi drivers are known as common carriers. Uber and other rideshare drivers were also initially classified as common carriers.
The statute that regulates common carriers places a greater duty of care on them. This means that the drivers need to be extra vigilant about getting their passengers safely from point A to point B.
Unfortunately, Uber worked hard to get their drivers out of the common carrier designation, and they won. This means that you are owed a lower duty of care in an Uber than you would otherwise have in a traditional taxi.
If you were in an accident because a driver for a plumbing company ran a stop sign, you would probably opt to bypass suing the drive and choose to sue the plumbing company directly. This process is known as vicarious liability. You would essentially be holding an employer responsible for the negligent acts of their employees.
In order to prevail in a lawsuit where you are seeking repayment from an employer, you have to demonstrate that the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
For example, if the plumber was on the way to make a house call or buying supplies, then he was acting within the scope of employment. On the other hand, if the plumber was heading out for drinks after work in the work truck, he was not doing anything related to work. In that case, you would not be able to recover from the employer.
A company as savvy as Uber undoubtedly foresaw the potential liability that comes with having employees across the country driving people around. As a result, Uber got around vicarious liability by classifying all of their drivers as independent contractors.
In order for vicarious liability to apply, the person who caused the accident must be classified as an employee. Companies cannot be liable for the negligent acts of independent contractors. So, how do you determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor?
Florida courts use a "right of control" test to help suss out the difference. There are a number of factors that apply, but it boils down to how much control the employer has over the person performing the work. If the employer sets specific hours in which a person needs to be working and provides all the tools necessary for the job, then they're more likely to be classified as an employee.
Uber works hard to keep its drivers classified as independent contractors, and there's no doubt that they will continue to do so.
Now that you know that it's unlikely that you'll be able to recover directly from Uber for accidents caused by their drivers, you're probably wondering what your options are. Don't worry, there are still some protections in place for you.
Florida and Uber's guidelines require that Uber provides their rideshare drivers with liability insurance when they're working. This means you don't have to worry about not being able to get compensation from an uninsured Uber driver. While you won't be able to recover from Uber, you will still be able to recover from a third-party insurance company.
In order for the rideshare driver to use the insurance, however, they must be actively working for Uber at the time of the accident, and the Uber app must be open. If these conditions aren't met, then you must file a claim with the driver's personal auto insurance.
As you can tell, recovering from an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver in Miami is a complicated one. Thankfully, this is familiar territory for Miami Uber accident attorneys.
The first thing you should do after you've been in a rideshare accident is to contact an attorney to help you navigate the process. Insurance companies, even the ones Uber works with, are notoriously difficult to deal with, and they are motivated to pay out as little as possible. Your rideshare attorney will advocate on your behalf and help you recover what you deserve.
Getting into an Uber accident is a traumatic and unexpected event. After the dust has settled, it's important to reach out to an attorney who can help you recover from the accident and get the compensation you deserve. While you may not be able to seek compensation from Uber itself, your attorney can determine which way to go in an Uber accident lawsuit.
If you've been in an accident involving a rideshare driver, then you're probably looking for the best Uber accident attorney in Miami. The Soffer Firm has the expertise you're looking for and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.
You might not have known this but it is the responsibility of restaurants to ensure that they are serving healthy and contamination-free foods to their customers.
If they serve you food that gives you food poisoning or makes you sick in any way, you can sue a restaurant.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that every year an estimated 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses.
Let's read on to see how and why you should sue a restaurant for negligence if you get food poisoning from eating their foods.
Some cases of food poisoning are mild enough that they might not even be noticed, or they might be severe enough to result in diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches.
But the most severe of cases can result in hospitalization, and even in the worst cases, death.
That's the real issue here, that you could get extremely ill, lose out on work and pay, have emotional trauma, and more merely from eating a restaurant.
The main reason why you might end up with food poisoning after eating at a restaurant is because of negligent behavior on the part of the restaurant.
There are 5 main ways they could have been negligent:
The gist of it is that the restaurant has a real duty to serve you healthy and safe food. You are paying them for the pleasure of eating in a nice atmosphere, but also for the hope of eating safe food.
If you can prove that the restaurant was negligent and served you tainted food that caused illness, you can sue the restaurant to get fair compensation.
The types of damages that you could potentially recover are:
Remember that some of the symptoms of food poisoning to watch out for are stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and also sometimes fever and a general sense of feeling unwell.
The most important thing to do when you get food poisoning after eating at a restaurant is to go to a doctor right away and get a stool sample done. This way you will be able to see which bacteria caused your illness.
This can help you build an even stronger case against the restaurant and its negligent behavior.
Also, create a detailed log of all the food ingested that day, how it was prepared, and where it was prepared. The more detailed your records can be, the better it is for when you sue a restaurant.
If you think you have a real situation at hand, then make sure you speak to a food safety lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to help you sue for food poisoning.
This is especially important because an experienced food safety attorney will be invaluable in helping you fight your case against the negligent restaurant. They will be able to do things that you might not be able to, on your own.
For example, they would be able to help preserve evidence of the restaurant's negligence, like the food ingested, the ingredients used, and more.
They would be able to direct the best course of action in the particular situation and help navigate the confusing legalities, whilst also building a strong case against the restaurant.
They will also be able to guide you with regards to your legal rights, and whether there is a real case at hand or not.
Also, they would be able to focus on fighting the case against the restaurant, while you can focus on resting and recuperating. You've been through enough with the food poisoning.
It's time for you to let someone else take on the burden of the fight.
If you decide to sue a restaurant for food poisoning negligence and are successful, then who would be liable in such a case?
Well, it would be the restaurant in almost all cases. Sometimes, the employee who was responsible for preparing the food would be at fault as well, but it's hard to pinpoint the exact person in most situations.
Additionally, there are strict penalties issued by agencies (like the CDC, FDA, USDA) responsible for ensuring food safety, handling, and preparation.
This is to ensure that the restaurant at fault will be deterred from repeating their mistakes and putting other future customers at risk with their tainted food.
Don't hesitate to sue a restaurant if you think you suffered food poisoning due to their negligence.
If you are unsure of the next steps or the recourse, then a food safety attorney will be able to guide you.
This way you can rest assured knowing that you did everything possible when suffering from restaurant negligence. Don't hesitate to contact us today!
When personal injury or accidental death is involved, any company will do what it can to save its reputation and coffers. Take Uber, for example, when they tried to silence Jason West because of a fatal hit-and-run in San Francisco.
In 2018 in the USA, 36,560 traffic fatalities were recorded. According to Uber’s own data, they contributed 97 fatal crashes with 107 total fatalities.
What we don’t know is how many other crashes there were with injury settlements that have privacy clauses.
How much can you get from a personal injury case with Uber? Where should you seek legal help if you were hurt in an Uber accident?
Keep reading to find out the answers.
In the executive report from Uber we shared above, they highlight their commitment to transparency. However, in the same report, they don’t admit to how many people have been injured in accidents caused by or involving Uber drivers.
In fact, they may not even be telling the whole truth. Since 2011, there’s been a 2% to 3% increase in traffic deaths. That means about 1,100 mortalities a year more than previous years.
This 2011 study shows that the increase in accidents to motorists and pedestrians indicates a trend that will continue because of ridesharing. What was the human cost of life during that time?
The answer is an astounding range from $5.3 billion to as much as $13.24 billion annually. This is more than Uber’s revenue even 10 years later.
How is it possible to have such a different result from Uber’s study?
For one, they only counted the time they had a passenger in the car. In reality, for every mile of personal driving that Uber drivers removed, they added 2.8 new miles of their own. This added 5.7 billion miles of driving to major cities, including Miami.
In short, the odds you’ll be in an accident because of the increase of traffic due to ridesharing has tripled.
Most of the money you’ll receive from a personal injury case will come from insurance companies. The basic rundown of the insurance policies that Uber employs looks like this:
The more active and engaged an Uber driver is in the job with the passenger, the more liability Uber takes on.
Before and after they have a passenger, they are on their own auto insurance policy coverage. If they’re on the way to pick up a passenger, they are also covered for up to $100,000 in personal injury and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Lastly, when they actively have a fare, they are covered by two separate $1 million policies. One is for liability coverage and the other is in case a party lacks insurance coverage.
If the Uber vehicle crashed and you didn't sustain any injuries as a passenger, you’ll probably be asked by law enforcement or the insurance company about your version of events. Otherwise, your liability ends there.
If you’re injured, there's a potential for up to $1 million in coverage. This coverage is in place to protect Uber and open the way to suing the driver directly for negligence or recklessness. Depending on whether the courts decide Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors, the liability may extend to Uber.
The caveat, though, is that Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that Uber isn’t required to cover passengers with PIP insurance.
Pedestrians, bystanders, and other vehicles are the third party here. If the driver had a passenger at the time of the accident, the $1 million policy covers the company.
If there is no passenger or the driver was off duty, then the driver’s own policy is in effect (with a possible contingent liability coverage in play).
The $100,000 on this policy is the cap for all injuries sustained, but each injury has its own cap of $50,000. $25,000 is the cap for property damage like a vehicle or bicycle involved in the accident.
Remember the case of Jason West mentioned at the outset?
Uber offered $3,000 for injury and $3,000 as a confidentiality agreement. Accepting that kind of offer will only net you a measly total of $6,000. It also alleviates Uber from any further liability in the case.
If you’re a passenger, don’t immediately complete the Uber accident form. Always dial 911 first and get the police involved, at the very least. You don’t know if someone has been injured, even if they don’t appear to be at first glance.
The ambulance plays its part in making sure you get immediate medical care. You want to claim that you sought medical care and observation as soon as possible.
Next, get consultations with personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Then, retrieve your vehicle immediately if it’s been towed and have your insurance company inspect it as soon as possible.
Don’t speak with Uber’s insurance adjusters unless you’ve got your lawyer’s permission.
After reading this, no doubt you realize the convenience of having the right personal injury lawyer on speed dial.
At The Soffer Firm, Jesse Blake Soffer leads the way. Originally hailing from Washington D.C., Soffer has had Miami in his heart since graduating from the U of M School of Law.
He handles personal injury cases ranging from medical malpractice to Uber accidents. Having become an active member of the Miami-Dade community, he works hard to protect that community.
Looking for a way to get what you deserve in your Miami Uber accident case? Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.
Are you dealing with the aftermath of a cruise ship accident? If so, you should take the following steps: document the evidence, notify the cruise line, and contact an attorney. You should file your lawsuit as soon as possible while your memory is fresh.
Filing at a later date can discredit your claim. That said, not every cruise accident entitles you to compensation.
This article will convey how you can prove your case in a court of law. Let's explore.
Slips and falls are the most common forms of accidents on a cruise. For instance, there could be clutter in the hall that causes you to fall. This would constitute negligence on the part of the cruise line and would entitle you to compensation.
Slippery floors also cause slip-and-fall mishaps. If there's no proper signage indicating a wet floor, or any type of hazard, the cruise company may be at fault.
Falls can also occur near elevators. A malfunctioning elevator can also cause limbs to become trapped within crevices, leading to severe injury or death.
Slips are also common near swimming areas. Plus, slips and falls near swimming pools can cause a person to drown.
Plus, swimming pools can contain bacteria that can cause legionnaires' disease. Bacteria can spread if maintenance crews fail to maintain the pool.
Fires are common hazards as well, especially if passengers don't have access to a fire extinguisher. Further, cruises tend to have small medical facilities that cannot treat burns efficiently.
Regardless, all of these injuries are legitimate claims in a court of law. That said, certain types of injuries are exempted.
Before filing a claim, do as much research as you can on maritime law. Additionally, read over the cruise contract if you signed one. If you signed a contract, you may not be able to sue the company in certain cases. This type of contract is common for celebrity cruise lines.
If you sustain an injury while partying too hard, for example, you may not have a legitimate claim. However, you can claim compensation if a hazard exists on the cruise line.
If a loose handrail caused an injury, you have a strong case. If you fell ill because of an undercooked meal, you have a viable case.
When it comes to the law, cruise lines must abide by carrier laws. This means carriers must protect their passengers. Some basic protections include:
• Protecting passengers from fire hazards
• Protecting passengers from assaults
• Protecting passengers from hazardous environments
• Providing safe food to eat
• Providing access to life-saving equipment
• Navigating the boat in a safe manner
Cruise operators have a duty to care for the wellbeing of passengers. If they breach this duty, their actions amount to negligence.
As the claimant, you must make a direct correlation between the negligence of the cruise liner and your injuries. More importantly, you must make your case in a timely manner.
The statute of limitations for cruise liner cases is different from the statute of limitations of most personal injury claims. In Florida, you usually have four years from the date of the injury to file a claim. For cruise liners, you usually have a year to file a claim. Moreover, you must adhere to notification procedures.
If you were on a celebrity cruise, for example, notify the cruise line within six months from the day of the injury. This is known as a 'statement of particulars,' and this rule applies to many other cruise lines. Then, you'll have a year to file a civil suit against the celebrity cruise line.
Each cruise line has different standards regarding the statement of particulars and lawsuit deadlines. Therefore, research the terms and conditions before proceeding with a lawsuit.
Cruise liners have insurance companies that will try to minimize your claim as much as possible. If there are any weaknesses within your case, the insurance carrier can reject your claim altogether. Collect as much physical evidence as you can in the following ways:
• Take photos or videos: Take photos of your injuries and the accident scene if possible. Document your injuries daily to showcase your suffering. Doing so may entitle you to pain-and-suffering damages.
• Find witnesses: If possible, try to get in touch with witnesses who witnessed the accident. Insurance companies will have trouble refuting eyewitness accounts.
• Save all of your medical bills: Have a doctor document your injuries extensively. Moreover, keep all of your medical bills as proof of your injuries.
Above all contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you organize the evidence and streamline the lawsuit process.
Before your case goes to a civil trial, you may deal with the cruise liner's insurance company. The insurance carrier may offer a settlement before the case goes to trial. If this happens, be wary, as insurance companies usually offer lower payouts. Sadly, many victims accept low-ball offers.
Instead, seek a cruise ship accident lawyer for assistance. They can determine if the sum offered is satisfactory. If not, they will negotiate for a higher settlement on your behalf. If negotiations fail, your attorney will advise you to proceed with a lawsuit.
A lawyer will be invaluable in the courtroom because they can argue your case to a judge or jury effectively. More importantly, they will handle most of the legal work while you focus on the healing process.
Proving a cruise ship accident claim requires hard evidence in the form of medical documents, pictures, and photos. The cruise company's insurance carrier will try to save money at every turn.
Cruise ship injuries can be serious, which is why you need the highest settlement possible to contend with long-term injuries.
Are you dealing with injuries due to a cruise ship safety issue? Click here to learn about cruise accidents.