Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled to From My Florida Personal Injury Claim?

    If you have been injured in a Florida accident, such as a motor vehicle accident or even a serious slip and fall, you may be entitled to recover damages. By filing a Florida injury claim against the liable party or parties, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering among other accident related expenses. While your insurance company may cover the cost of some of your medical treatments, you can go after the responsible driver to get reimbursed for the remainder of your expenses. Damages you may recover related to medical expenses include your past medical bills (that were not covered by your insurance policy) and future medical costs.

    Future expenses may include rehabilitation, massage therapy, or surgeries that may be required at a later date. Your personal injury lawyer may work with a medical expert to estimate the cost of future medical treatments.

    If you were unable to work as a result of your injuries, you may also recover damages for your lost wages. Some injuries may make it impossible for a person to go back to work, while some injuries may mean that a person has to choose a different profession. If this is the case, you may request compensation for the loss of future earning capacity.

  • What are the Florida Statutes for Aggressive Driving Through a Crosswalk?

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as, “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses to endanger other persons or property.” There are several Florida statutes that address what could be considered aggressive driving through a crosswalk.

    According to Florida Statute 316.1923, aggressive careless driving involves at least 2 of the following:

    • Speeding;
    • Improperly or unsafely changing lanes;
    • Following too closely;
    • Failing to yield the right-of-way;
    • Improperly passing; or
    • Failing to obey traffic signs and signals.

    Florida Rules for Driving Through a Crosswalk

    • Drivers are required to stop before reaching the crosswalk when approaching a red light. If there is a person in or at the crosswalk, drivers must allow the pedestrian who has the proper signal to cross the street. If there is no crosswalk, drivers must stop before reaching the intersection.
       
    • When the traffic signal facing the pedestrian is a solid green light the pedestrian has the right to proceed across a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Motor vehicles with the green light must proceed cautiously straight or make a left or right turn, if permitted and yield (stop or slow down) to any pedestrians in the intersection or crosswalk.
       
    • Vehicles are allowed to enter the intersection when they have a green light or turn arrow but they must yield to any pedestrians in a crosswalk.
       
    • If a driver has been in the intersection waiting to make a left turn on a steady yellow light, the driver must yield to pedestrians.
       
    • Drivers must stop completely if ever a visually impaired pedestrian is guided by a dog or is carrying a white cane in an extended or raised position. Drivers must also stop if someone using a wheelchair, service animal or other mobility aid crosses a roadway.

    There is a theme to these rules. Vehicles, both motorized ones and bicycles, must yield to people on foot. Why is that? People don’t wear armor as they walk the streets. They need the law to protect them from drivers who are protected by seat belts, airbags, helmets in the case of cyclists and various other safety features. Pedestrians almost always have the right of way in a crosswalk.

    If someone was displaying aggressive driving behavior and caused you injury in Florida, you may be able to hold them accountable for your injuries. Insurance adjusters are looking to settle claims quickly and for far less value than the injured person usually deserves. Don’t let them scare you off with a low ball settlement offer. See how we have helped people get far more than they were initially offered.

    Request our free book on pedestrian accidents and call us to discuss your unique situation before you go any further.

    Have You Been Injured In A Pedestrian Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a pedestrian accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.

  • What are Structured Settlements?

    A structured settlement is a large settlement that may be paid over the course of several years rather than being paid in one large lump sum. If you win a settlement in a Florida personal injury lawsuit, your payments may be structured so that you get paid monthly, annually, or receive a large settlement periodically. It is left to the discretion of the parties involved to determine the frequency and amount of the payments.

    Structured settlements have certain advantages. For example, you may avoid the high taxes. A structured settlement can also ensure that an injury victim does not spend his or her recovery money at one time; since the payments are spread out, they can help the victim pay for his or her medical treatments and for future care.

    The disadvantage of choosing a structured settlement is that you may be unable to pay off your medical expenses as quickly as you would like, because the money comes in smaller installments.

  • What are Some of the Potential Long-Term Effects of a Severe Brain Injury After a Car Accident?

    After an accident, brain injury can occur, which often times leads to long-term effects including motor damage and certain neurological diseases.

    Brain injuries can affect cognitive, physical and psychological skills. In addition to the direct symptoms and effects of a brain injury, such as loss of consciousness, mental confusion and blurred vision, numerous long-term effects may develop over time.

    Post-Injury Problems of Brain Injury from Car Accident

    • Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s, a chronic and progressive disorder, may develop after a brain injury as a result of damage to the basal ganglia, a brain structure that controls movement.
    • Alzheimer’s Disease – the more severe the head injury, the higher the chances are of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, neurodegenerative disease.
    • Dementia – dementia, which is characterized by long-term memory problems, can result from accidents that cause a coma-inducing brain injury.

    Life can change in the blink of an eye when you or a loved one is involved in a car accident. Getting the best medical treatment available, both immediate and long-term, is vital to maintaining the highest possible degree of health.

    To seek compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, including long-term medical treatments, speak with a Florida brain injury attorney. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying for expensive medical treatments when someone else may be to blame for your injuries.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are Florida’s No Fault Death Benefits?

    If your loved one was killed in a Florida car accident involving a vehicle, whether they were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist, they are entitled to $5,000 in Florida no-fault death benefits. Which insurance company pays this amount is dependent on the coverage of the individuals involved. These benefits are generally paid directly to the family of the deceased to help with funeral expenses.

    If the deceased owned their own vehicle and carried no-fault (PIP) coverage then their own insurance company would pay the no-fault death benefits following a fatal Florida car accident. The no-fault death benefits carry over whether the victim was the driver, a passenger in another car, or a pedestrian/bicyclist. The no-fault death benefits are not tied to the vehicle, but rather the insured person themselves.

    If the deceased did not carry no-fault coverage then the insurance company of the driver of the car that caused the Florida car accident would pay the no-fault death benefits. When a car accident occurs in the deceased’s own car their own insurance company pays the no-fault death benefits, whether the accident was caused by another negligent driver or if it was a single-car accident.

    When no-fault death benefits are paid for a Florida car accident, they generally go directly to the family of the deceased. This is to allow for help in funeral expenses and other immediate financial stresses. Most insurance companies will require a copy of the death certificate and proof that the death was caused by a car accident.

    It is important to understand how the insurance companies impact your wrongful death claim when you have lost a loved one in a car accident. Before accepting a settlement offer, order a FREE copy of my consumer guide, Survivor’s Guide to Florida Wrongful Death Claims or contact Jim Dodson Law to schedule a complimentary case review at 888-207-0905.

    Has A Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If your loved one has died due to the negligence of someone else an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you hold them responsible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are Florida’s Laws for Rear-End Collisions?

    Every rear-end collision is unique, but in most cases Florida law finds that the driver who hits the other vehicle is liable for the crash. If you have been involved in a rear-end collision in Florida it’s best to contact a injury attorney to examine your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim.

    Usually the Driver Who Causes the Rear-End Collision Is at Fault

    Florida traffic laws state that drivers must maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them to avoid a rear-end accident. If you are following too closely and the car in front of you has to stop abruptly you increase the chances of causing a rear-end car accident.

    There Are Instances Where the Following Driver May Not Be at Fault in a Rear-End Accident

    However, there are some instances in which you may not have been liable for the rear-end collision, even if you were the driver who hit the other vehicle. If the other driver was driving recklessly and needlessly stopped without allowing you proper time to react, you may not be at fault.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are Costs of a Florida Accident Case and How are They Paid?

    Costs are the expenses required to prove your accident case. They typically include fees paid to medical providers for records and reports, any investigative expenses required to obtain witness statements or photographs, fees paid to experts for their evaluations and opinions, as well as, the expenses involved in pursuing your case in court, should that be required. Each case is not alike and the costs required for each case will vary. Rest assured no costs will be spent unnecessarily.

    When we accept your case, we advance the costs required on your behalf. We will gladly discuss the costs we anticipate will be required and will give you a detailed list of any costs we have paid at any time. If your case is unsuccessful, we will not ask for reimbursement of costs.

  • What are the Common Mistakes That Can Ruin My Florida Personal Injury Claim?

    There are 5 mistakes that can potentially ruin your Florida personal injury claim. This is why it is always best to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

    1. One of the first mistakes you can make in your personal injury claim is to misrepresent your injuries. This may mean exaggerating symptoms or claiming you are unable to participate in an activity when that isn’t true.

      It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to investigate a claimant to determine if they are truly unable to do the things they have stated they cannot. If you are caught on camera participating in the very activity you claimed you were unable to do, you are likely to ruin your personal injury claim.
       
    2. The second way to ruin your Florida personal injury claim is to let the insurance company record your conversations. Despite what a claims adjuster may tell you, you are under no obligation to let them record your conversations. The only reason they are even interested in such recordings is to get you to say something on tape that will allow them to reduce or deny your claim. Your Clearwater personal injury lawyer can help you learn what you should and should not say to insurance adjusters and can even take over communication for you.
       
    3. The third way to ruin your Florida personal injury claim is to miss important appointments related to your injuries such as the doctor or therapy. This demonstrates that you are not serious about treating your injuries, which means the insurance company will not take your claim seriously.
       
    4. The fourth way you can ruin your Florida personal injury claim is to not follow through on treatment recommendations from your doctor or to stop treatment too soon.
       
    5. Finally, if you fail to adequately document your pain and symptoms, then you may ruin your Florida personal injury claim. Documentation is important evidence to prove the extent of your injuries. Keeping a pain journal is an excellent way to show how your accident injuries are affecting your everyday life as you recover.

    If you want to learn more about the Florida injury claims process, start by requesting a complimentary copy of our car accident guide, Five Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. Or, if you prefer to speak to us right away, contact us today for a no-cost evaluation of your case at 727-446-0840.

  • The surgeon was supposed to operate on my right foot, but instead, operated on my left foot and I had to have multiple surgeries to correct all of the subsequent issues. Can I file a Florida medical malpractice claim?

    Surgeons OperatingWhen a wrong site surgery at a hospital occurs, it usually happens because of medical negligence by the surgeon, medical staff or both. A personal injury lawyer will review your case and give you guidance in filing a Florida medical malpractice claim.

    Medical Negligence in Wrong Site Surgery

    Before surgery takes place, the surgeon and medical staff need to take certain precautions. There are 3 steps that may be overlooked that can often be the reason for your wrong site surgery at a hospital:

    • Pre-verification – the surgeon and medical staff should go over the patient’s medical record to verify all aspects of the surgery taking place.
    • Marking the surgery site – someone from the medical staff should correctly and accurately mark the surgery site so the surgeon and other medical assistants are aware of the area.
    • Reassurance – the surgeon and medical staff should carefully review who they are working on, the correct surgery site they are working on, and the surgery procedure they will be conducting.

    You should be able to file a Florida medical malpractice claim if your surgeon and medical staff failed to acknowledge the importance of going over these steps. A wrong site surgery at a hospital can leave medical malpractice liability on more than just the surgeon and his/her medical staff. You may also be able to collect compensation from the hospital. To pursue a full and fair amount of compensation from your Florida medical malpractice claim, an experienced lawyer can evaluate present and future financial, physical, and emotional costs.

    If you believe you may have a Florida medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, in order to comply with Florida’s pre-suit investigation requirements, and the strict time limits involved.  Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.815.6398 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Even if we are unable to take on your case, we always do our best to suggest other attorneys who can assist you.

    It's important to keep in mind, in order to have a solid medical malpractice claim your doctor or surgeon must have been negligent in performing their services or diagnosis. Not every case will qualify as medical malpractice.

  • Is a Car Making a Left Turn Always at Fault in a Florida Accident?

    If you were injured in a car accident when someone made a left turn, the car that made the left turn will most likely be held liable. In left turn accidents, the fault is almost always placed on the person who made the left turn.

    According to Florida traffic laws, a car making a left turn should yield to oncoming vehicles and only turn when it is safe. Therefore, a motor vehicle accident is often the fault of the driver making the left turn. The only times this rule may not apply are when:

    • the other driver was driving above the speed limit;
    • the other driver failed to stop at a red traffic signal; or
    • an unexpected event caused the car to stop during the left turn.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.