Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What Future Medical Expenses Can Be Considered in My Settlement?

    Calculator, money and a stethescopeIt is very common for treating doctors to tell patients they may need surgery or therapy in the future. As humans, we naturally focus on what the future might bring. With that in mind, what future medical expenses can be considered in sizing up the settlement value of a case?

    The law in Florida is very clear. Only future medical expenses which are “reasonably certain to be incurred in the future” may be considered by a jury. Claims adjusters use the same standard. This requires the doctor to say in their opinion “beyond a medical certainty” future treatment would be required. This means “probably” or “more likely than not” the patient will need the treatment.

    It may sound like a subtle difference between “surgery might be necessary”  or “will be required,” but it is a huge distinction. Treatment which “might” or “could” be necessary in the future does not meet the standard. What we are looking for is for the doctor to say surgery  “will be necessary” or “will probably be required.” When phrased in this way it means the future treatment should be compensated. 

    If you need help following a personal injury please contact us online or call us directly at 727-446-0840 for your free evaluation.

  • As a Renter in Florida, Should I Have Renters Insurance?

    The Insurance Information Institute reports only about 31% of renters nationwide have renter’s insurance. Many people have never heard of it, think they don’t need it or simply hope nothing will happen to them. In our office alone, we know two families who lost everything they owned when their rented house or apartment burned because they were not insured.

    When you rent a house or apartment the landlord will have a type of home owners policy which will protect them and the property; it will pay you nothing in the event of a loss. Renters insurance is cheap and will give you essentially the same protection you would have with homeowner’s insurance if you owned the property.

    Here are the Things to Look for with a Renters Insurance Policy:

    • Personal property protection. This covers everything  you own in your apartment or house (except cars or boats.) Imagine what it would cost you to replace all your possessions after a fire; furniture and furnishings, appliances, clothing, gear, and more. It even protects your things lost or stolen while traveling.
       
    • Personal liability protection. Liability insurance covers you if you accidentally hurt someone on or off your rented apartment or house. That’s right, it follows you wherever you go and protects you if you injure someone while riding your bicycle or when your kid hits a rock through a neighbor’s window.
       
    • Emergency living expenses. When disaster happens the last thing you need to worry about is how to pay for a place to stay while your house or apartment is repaired or rebuilt. These kinds of expenses can be part of a renter’s policy.

    Although several companies also offer it, Allstate represents online this type of policy costs as little as $15 per month. If you aren’t covered, now is the time to do something about it.

  • Why Shouldn’t I Hire an Out of State Attorney for My Florida Injury Case?

    By hiring an attorney who is not licensed to practice law in Florida, you are positioning yourself at an enormous disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. To file a lawsuit in Florida, attorneys must be licensed by the state of Florida. That means your out of state attorney cannot file a lawsuit for you without hiring a Florida attorney and the claims adjusters know this.

    You are also entrusting the outcome of your case to someone who may not know Florida law. The rules for filing documents, disclosing photographs and documents and even your rights as someone who was injured are different in Florida. Imagine how upsetting it would be to lose your chance at a recovery because your attorney from back home didn’t know the law in Florida that controlled whether you had a claim or not.

  • How Will I Communicate with an Attorney in Florida if I Live in Another State?

    We believe communication is the key to fantastic legal representation. By getting to know our clients we pick up on details that seem minute, but can make a world of a difference when drafting a settlement package or negotiating with the insurance company.

    That being said, according to surveys by the Florida Bar, the biggest complaint clients have with attorneys is not returning their phone calls. In contrast, we promise every client in writing we will return every call promptly, never longer than 24 hours from their initial call.

    Our office takes advantage of technology to keep in touch with our long distance clients. In fact, many clients who live close to our office prefer to use email and phone as primary means of communication even though they live just minutes away.

    You see, hiring a lawyer who lives around the block doesn’t do any good if he or she doesn’t answer the phone when you call. We make sure to be available and responsive throughout your entire representation. Living in another state doesn’t change a thing. No matter where you live, you will get our full attention.

    You don’t have to take our word on this. Our clients say it best. Check out our testimonials about how our clients feel they were treated.

  • Can You Take My Florida Accident Case if I Live in a Different City or State?

    Yes. Whether you were on vacation in Florida or here on a business trip, if you were injured in a Florida accident you need an experienced Florida attorney. We can represent you regardless of where you live. In fact, we often represent clients who live across the state, in other states and even in other countries!

    Every accident, whether it is a motor vehicle accident involving bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians, involves a special set of circumstances. Some of our clients are too injured to visit us in the office so we meet them in their homes, while others prefer electronic communication. Distance is never a factor when it comes to your representation.

  • So Your Lawyer Insists on You Seeing Their Doctor… Is this a Good Idea?

    It is common for people injured in accidents to be confused and not know where to get help. Many times they run to an attorney before seeing a doctor. Some believe it is best for their case if a lawyer sends them to “their lawyer’s” doctor.

    It’s really not, let me tell you why.

    The law in Florida has always provided that if a witness is shown to be biased it can damage his or her believability even if they may be telling the truth. In a case decided in 2014 the court expanded the ability to look into the potential for bias in doctor/lawyer relationships during a case.

    The court reasoned that lawyers in a civil suit have a limited ability to look into how much money an expert has been paid by the party who hired them. But the rules do not prevent discovery of potential bias of the witness.

    This allows attorneys to investigate potential bias of treating doctors by looking into direct referrals to and from law firms including the percentage of income the doctor earned from the relationship.

    The theory behind this is that a physician’s financial stake in treating patients referred by law firms could create a bias to provide favorable testimony for their patients so the physician gets more referrals from law firms.

    While many attorneys have a long list of objectives and well trained doctors they could recommend to you without harming your case, you must be wary of attorneys that insist on helping you find treatment or will not take your case unless you use their doctors. This kind of “service” can kill the value of your case if it turns out every case the lawyer gets is referred to a certain doctor.

    If your lawyer insists on you only seeing “their doctor,” beware.

  • Should I Hire a Small Law Firm or a Big Firm to Handle My Accident Case?

    I met with a potential new client recently to talk about her accident case. After talking a while, she said she had already met with a lawyer at a big law firm in town. Then, she asked an interesting question I am always more than happy to answer.

    “Why should I hire a small law firm instead of a large firm?” I answered without hesitation.

    First of all, I asked her if the big firm had offered to give her any free information about how an accident case works. "No, I didn't get any information from them," she said, "but I remember you answered lots of questions when I first called your office. Then, I went to your website and saw all your videos and felt like I knew you before we met and when I first came to your office I was given a copy of your book, Five Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case, along with some other useful information – this was all before I had even decided to hire you.”

    I said “I know you interviewed with a big firm but do you know which lawyer and paralegal would be handling your case there?” She told me that while she had met with a lawyer, she had no idea which paralegal she would be dealing with or if she would have the same one throughout her case. By now, she knew she would be dealing with me as her lawyer in addition to my paralegal of 27 years and when she called the office; she would never be asked “how do you spell your name." I assured her my paralegal knows every client and the daily status of their case and she responds to calls and emails immediately, not the next day or week. 

    "If you want to be another fish in the big firm’s pool," I told her," I'm sure you'll be happy with them. Our practice also consists of an experienced team, beyond what you see in the office, to assist in evaluating, litigating and settling our client’s cases, while giving you the personal attention your case deserves.”

    The client went on to hire us and recently mentioned how extremely happy she was with her decision.

  • What Damages Can I Recover Through 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 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 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.