HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SETTLE MY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
A personal injury claim cannot be settled until you have completed your medical evaluations and treatment. This means that you have reached maximum medical improvement and your doctors are satisfied that they have determined the nature and extent of all of your injuries. The length of time necessary to compete your medical evaluation and treatment will vary greatly with the type of injury you sustained. Obviously if your injuries are significant the time may be considerably longer for recovery. It is important not to attempt to settle your personal injury claim until you have completed all medical treatment and reached maximum medical improvement.
In Florida there is a four year Statute of Limitations for actions arising in negligence but Statutes of Limitations vary depending upon the the type of case and where the case is being handled; therefore it is important to consult with a lawyer and to act quickly to protect your rights.
This excerpt is from an article about Special Needs Trusts by Danny Alvarez which appeared in the September 2009 edition of the Paraclete - a publication of the St. Petersburg Bar Association:
What is a SNT (Special Needs Trust)? An SNT is a government benefits preservation vehicle. It helps to keep a beneficiary's assets in trust while maintaining their government provided assistance.
Which type of trust should you use? Essentially there are three types: Disability trusts (42 U.S.C. §1396(d)(4(a)), Pooled Trusts (42 U.S.C. §1396(d)(4(c)) and Third Party SNTs.
* Beneficiary must be under 65 and disabled as defined by U.S.C. §1382c(3)(A).
*Can be established by court order, parent, grandparent and legal guardian.
*Must be established with beneficiary's assets including settlement proceeds.
* Must be administed for the sole benefit of the beneficiary.
* Must include a payback provision at death or termination of trust to reimburse the government. If there are any funds left after reimbursement, the grantor can determine the residual beneficiary.
* No age requirement.
* Must be disabled as defined by U.S.C. §1382c(3)(A).
* Can be established by court order, parent, grandparent, legal guardian and/or the beneficiary.
* Must be established with the beneficiary's assets.
* Must be administered for the sole benefit of the beneficiary.
* Includes a payback provision at the death of the beneficiary to reimburse the government. If there are any funds left after reimbursement, the non-profit will retain the funds and distribute them to other non-profits.
* Trust must be administered by a non-profit organization.
Third Party Trust:
* Similar to a traditional trust with special needs turst language included.
* No age restriction.
* Funded with third party assets.
*No payback provisions. The grantor is free to direct how the remaining assets with be distributed at the beneficiary's death.
Who Needs a Special Needs Trust? Mr. Alvarez lists examples including: someone with a physical disability; a young couple with an autistic child; a legal guardian of an elder ward; a young man disabled in an auto accident; or a family looking to care for a mentally ill loved one. The possibilities are many with a common element being a defined disability.
If you are interested in learning more about Special Needs Trusts, you can read Mr. Alvarez's full article in the Paraclete or email him at [email protected] or [email protected].
The value of your personal injury claim is going to be determined by the nature and extent of the personal injuries you sustained. If you have no injuries then the value of your claim may be limited to your property damage such as the damage to your car.
Therefore it is essential that anyone injured by the negligence of others seek medical attention. The objective is not to create injuries that are not there but rather to diagnose and determine the extent of your injuries. The nature and extent of your injuries can only be determined through examination by qualified doctors as well as appropriate medical testing such as X-Rays and MRI scans. Depending on the type of injury you sustained, you may have been evaluated in a hospital emergency room, or you may have been seen by your family physician, chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon or other specialist.
Often one doctor such as your chiropractor or family physician will coordinate your care and medical testing, and may refer you out for evaluation by other specialists or for an MRI scan. Once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) your family doctor or chiropractor will then prepare a final report summarizing the nature, extent, and permanency of your injuries, and may state an opinion as to the permanency of any injury you may have. The final report will state the basis for any such opinion, supported by medical evaluations, treatments, and tests that were conducted.
The value of your claim will be based upon the nature and extent of your injuries as well as the permanency of any injury you may have, plus any future medical care you may need.
In addition the value of your claim may be determined by any of the following; loss of consortium (spousal services), loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to enjoy certain activities, hobbies, or sports, pain, suffering and mental anguish as a result of the injuries sustained as a result of the accident, time lost from work, loss of job as a result of the injury, travel time to and from your doctor, and out of pocket losses.