Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 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.

  • I was Hurt on a Crushed Sidewalk at My Apartment Complex. What Steps Do I Need to Take?

    While the circumstances are different in every case, here are some guidelines of what generally must be done. You should be sure to take good, clear photographs of the sidewalk defect which caused your fall as well as the surrounding area putting the defect in perspective.

    If emergency medical personnel were not called to the scene at the time you fell and you do not know if the property owner was put on notice of your fall, you should report the fact to them. If you report it in person, get the name of the person taking the information. When you go to the hospital or doctor be very precise in what you say about how you were injured and make certain they take down your description accurately. A mistake in the medical record describing what caused your fall can seriously hurt your case.

    These issues and many more are fully discussed in Jim Dodson's book, Dangerous Trips to Avoid in Your Fall Case. Get your free copy today.

    Have You Been Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a slip and fall 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.

  • How Long Will it Take to Settle My Florida Slip and Fall Claim Related to a Slip and Fall Accident in Clearwater?

    If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, then you may decide to seek compensation through a slip and fall claim. The time frame in reaching a settlement in a Florida slip and fall claim will depend on the specifics of your case.

    Each case will be different, with a variety of circumstances that may come into play. Some cases are more complex and will involve additional time to collect the evidence and pinpoint negligence. Other cases may be more easily settled within a short period of time.

    It is not uncommon for an insurer to do everything it can to either diminish or delay your settlement . They want to make sure that you either settle quickly for a low amount, or they will delay so that eventually you may decide that it isn’t worth pursuing.

    Of course, no one can give a concrete answer of how long you can expect before a settlement is reached. There are factors that will come into play and influence the outcome of your slip and fall claim.

    Have You Been Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a slip and fall 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.

  • How is Fault Decided in Florida and How Does the Comparative Fault Affect My Personal Injury Case?

    After a car accident in Florida, negligence is determined when insurance companies investigate each party’s degree of fault, or in a court of law if the claim goes to trial. Under Florida’s law of comparative negligence, the victim’s compensation will be reduced by their own percentage of fault. In essence, Florida law reduces the total amount of damages you are awarded in a personal injury case based on how much you contributed to your own injuries.

    This is different from Florida’s No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection.

    Here is How it Works

    For example, if you were injured in a car accident when another vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign, but you were speeding at the time of the crash, then it may be determined that you were partially at fault for the accident. Let’s say you were 25% at fault. In this case, your compensation would be reduced by a total of 25%. If a jury awards you $100,000, you would actually receive a $75,000 award.

    Getting your Case Settled

    To better understand Florida’s comparative negligence law, you can get the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. With the guidance of an attorney, you may claim damages for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages, as well as other losses.

    Recovering from your injuries after a Florida accident should be your main priority, not dealing with insurance adjusters and complicated legal paperwork. Before accepting a lowball settlement offer from an adjuster who just wants your case to go away, order a complimentary copy of our consumer guide, Five Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case and contact us to set up a no-cost consultation at 727-446-0840.

    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.

  • Are There Exceptions to PIP Coverage in Florida?

    Yes, there are absolutely exceptions to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. But in order to understand these exceptions you must first understand what PIP insurance does cover.

    PIP Insurance Coverage

    PIP, or “no fault,” auto insurance is required for all motor vehicle owners in the state of Florida. As the owner of the vehicle, you are named on your Florida PIP insurance policy and are covered as the “named insured.”

    Aside from yourself, as the driver of a vehicle in Florida, there are several other conditions and parties that are covered under your PIP insurance. Other covered parties and conditions include:

    • Yourself, as a pedestrian outside of your vehicle, struck by another vehicle;
    • Yourself, as a passenger in another’s vehicle;
    • Your children living with you, as drivers, pedestrians or passengers; and
    • Any other relatives living with you, as drivers, pedestrians or passengers.

    Coverage will apply out of state so long as you, your children or relatives are injured in your insured vehicle.

    Exceptions to PIP Coverage

    Unfortunately, the above listed parties and conditions included in Florida PIP insurance coverage are not absolute. The exceptions to Florida PIP insurance coverage include:

    • Your relatives residing with you or passengers in your vehicle who have their own vehicle licensed in Florida; or
    • Your relatives residing with you or passengers in your vehicle who have their own vehicle that is required to be licensed in Florida.

    These individuals are not covered by your Florida PIP insurance because they are required by state laws to have PIP insurance of their own.

    The final exception to your coverage comes into play if you are out of state and not in your own insured vehicle. If you are not in your own vehicle and not in the state of Florida, your Florida PIP insurance will not cover 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.

  • Am I Required to Go to a Compulsory Medical Examination Requested By My Insurer After a Florida Car Accident?

    In most cases, you will have to undergo what was once called an independent medical examination (IME) after a Florida car accident. It is now referred to as a compulsory medical examination (CME) because ‘independent’ was a misnomer. Many accident victims are skeptical of the CME, and rightfully so, since it is essentially an examination with a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing.

    Although an CME is just a one-time appointment, it can unfortunately be used as a way to stop or deny benefits you could receive from a personal injury claim. This means if the treatment you’ve been receiving after your accident really has been helping you, and the physician performing the compulsory medical examination deems future treatment unnecessary, you may be left to shoulder any future costs yourself.

    If an insurance company has asked you to submit to an CME, you may want to consider hiring a car accident lawyer to prevent insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you during this vulnerable time. You attorney will make sure certain steps are taken and restrictions imposed on the examination to protect you.

    Your lawyer will do the following:

    • Review your insurance policy – you may not have to submit to an independent medical examination, depending on your policy’s stipulations.
    • Insist on videotaping the examination – this way, if a doctor makes a questionable diagnosis, you can have another physician review the footage or show the exam to a jury. We have seen doctors write up 12 page reports on a patient after a quick 15 minute examination.
    • Brief you before the exam – your Tampa car accident lawyer knows what the insurance company is looking to hear, and that the doctor may be looking for any discrepancies between your story and your current injuries.

    The car accident claims process can be daunting, to say the least. If a CME is unavoidable in your case, your lawyer will work with you to make sure you don’t inadvertently damage your personal injury claim.

    How We Can Help

    If you or someone you know was hurt in a vehicle accident, you should be aware of your rights you have through the insurance company. Your own PIP/No-fault insurance will pay for up to $10,000 in medical expenses and wage losses if you meet certain requirements.

    However, negotiations with the other driver’s insurance adjuster and possibly your own adjuster for Uninsured Motorist coverage are trickier. We can handle these discussions so you don’t have to worry about the back and forth of recorded phone calls and confusing questions designed to trick you into admitting liability.

    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.

  • Does an MRI Help in a Neck Injury Claim in Florida?

    When you suffer a neck injury and experience chronic pain, you may have a disc injury that is best detected by an MRI scan. Your primary doctor, or even a chiropractor, can order an MRI to determine the extent of your injuries. If you are filing a Florida personal injury claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer you will find the results of an MRI can be a critical part of your claim evidence.

    After you have the MRI, it will be read by a professional technician or doctor. The scan will be conducted at an outpatient imaging center, a hospital, or even in some doctors’ offices. You will want to request a copy of the MRI as well as the report for your lawyer to use in your claim.

    If your MRI shows signs of a serious neck injury such as tears in the neck ligaments, herniated discs between the neck vertebra or bulging spinal discs, this can be excellent evidence for your Florida personal injury claim. The more medical evidence you have of your neck injury the better as it will help your personal injury lawyer support your claim.

    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 is Cervical Spinal Fusion Surgery?

    After a rear end collision, an injury that sometimes occurs when the car you are in is hit from behind, is a herniated disc in the neck area, or cervical spine. This can cause considerable pain and limitation in the victim’s daily activities.

    Understanding What a Herniated Disc Is

    The spine is formed of bones called vertebrae, which are cushioned by small, spongy discs. The discs are shock absorbers for the spine and help maintain its flexibility. When the neck is injured in a rear-end car accident, this may cause a disc to bulge from between the vertebrae or to rupture. This is what is referred to as a herniated disc or a ruptured disc. The most common locations for herniations of the cervical spine are at the C5 – C6 level and the C6 -C7 level. The next most common is the C4 – C5 level.

    What are the Signs of a Cervical Herniated Disc?

    A herniated disc in the neck, or cervical spine, causes painful pressure on the nerves in the neck. The pain often radiates into the shoulders and arms and down into the hand, causing numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. You should report these symptoms to your doctor, who will perform additional tests, usually an MRI or a CT scan, to determine if you have a herniated disc.

    How Will My Doctor Treat a Herniated Disc in My Cervical Spine?

    Doctors will start with conservative treatment, including ice and heat, cervical traction, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, a short round of steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotics, steroid injections, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants. Physical therapy, exercise, or osteopathic manipulation can sometimes help.

    Surgical Treatment

    When conservative treatments fail to stop the symptoms, it may become necessary to undergo cervical spinal fusion surgery to relieve the pain caused by nerve impingement and to create space for the decompressed spinal cord and nerve roots.

    How is Cervical Spinal Fusion Surgery Done?

    There are two kinds of cervical spinal fusion surgery: anterior and posterior. Anterior cervical fusion is when the surgeon reaches the cervical spine through an incision in the front of the neck. Posterior cervical fusion is performed through the back of the neck. The surgeon uses a special microscope while removing the disc to eliminate the pressure on the nerve and inserts a bone graft that will fuse the vertebrae. The bone graft may come from the patient’s own hip or pelvis, from a cadaver, or may be synthetic.

    The neurosurgeon generally uses metal plates or pins to ensure that bones fuse properly.

    Are There Risks to Having Spine Surgery?

    Cervical spinal fusion surgery must be undertaken with caution. Complications sometimes occur. These could include anesthesia problems, infection, thrombophlebitis, or nerve damage.

    What Should I Expect After the Surgery?

    In the first days following the surgery you will usually remain in the hospital where you will rest in bed and be given anti-inflammatory medications. You may also receive intravenous antibiotics. Once the inflammation has subsided, you’ll get out of bed and begin to walk.

    You will then begin to take short walks, and will progress to mild exercises and finally to physical therapy.

    The outcome will depend on how well you follow your physical therapist’s instructions and maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially avoiding smoking, which interferes with the grafting process.

    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.