Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What is the Spinal Cord and What Causes a Spinal Cord Injury?

    The spinal cord is a long, thin tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells which extend from the brain down the middle of the back. It is surrounded and protected by the bony vertebral column. The brain and the spinal cord together make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. These messages allow you to move and to feel touch, among other things. A spinal cord injury stops the flow of messages below the site of the injury. The closer the injury is to the brain, the more the body is affected.

    What Causes a Spinal Cord Injury?

    In addition to disease, a spinal cord injury commonly occurs as the result of trauma caused by a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a slip and fall accident, or a child injury.

    What Exactly is a Herniated Lumbar Disc?

    The lower spine has a series of vertebra through which the spinal cord runs. Each vertebra is separated by a disc which cushions the vertebra and promotes comfortable movement of the disc as we bend. Nerves controlling muscle function for the lower body branch off the spinal cord and pass through spaces in the vertebra as they connect to various muscles. The discs separating the vertebra are made up of a jelly-like center disc material encased in a strong fibrous like covering. If the disc covering is damaged, it allows the disc material to partially escape. When that happens, the disc material often comes into contact with an adjacent nerve root coming off the spinal cord. It may also touch or impinge upon the spinal cord itself. Contact with these nerves causes pain which manifests itself in many different ways. It is the escape of the disc material from within a lumbar disc which is being described as a “herniated” lumbar disc.

    Radiologists distinguish how much the disc material is pushing out of the disc with terms such as disc bulge (the least amount), disc protrusion, disc herniation and frank herniation (total escape of the material.) These conditions may be caused by the wear and tear process of disc degeneration as we age, an injury from trauma, or from a combination of the two.

    What are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?

    Low back pain is the initial symptom for most people with a herniated disc. The pain may last for a few days, then improve. Many times this is followed by the eventual onset of additional symptoms such as numbness, weakness and leg pain. This leg pain typically involves the leg below the knee, and foot and ankle. It is described as moving from the back or buttock down the leg into the foot. Symptoms may be one or all of the following: back pain, leg and/or foot pain (sciatica), weakness in the leg and/or foot, numbness in the leg and/or foot.

  • What is an Out of Court Settlement or a Negotiated Settlement?

    An out of court settlement, otherwise known as a negotiated settlement, is an arrangement that can be set up by your personal injury lawyer to establish the outcome of your suit without the inclusion of a judge, jury or the trial process. Both attorneys are involved in the process and it sometimes can be more preferable than a long court case.

    Insurance companies prefer to settle out of court because it reduces their court costs. They are more likely to agree to a settlement without the inclusion of the judge and jury. It is not recommended that you accept an out of court offer from an insurance company without the advice of your personal injury lawyer.

    It is imperative that you allow your personal injury lawyer to discuss the terms of your out of court settlement with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum compensation allowable.

    Without representation, the insurance company may try to low-ball you. It is in the insurance company’s interest to maintain its profits, and that includes retaining as much money as possible when negotiating settlements.

    An out of court settlement can be a positive experience for all involved, if properly negotiated. Remember, once you agree to an out of court settlement, you relinquish all rights to a trial. Confer with your lawyer before taking any serious legal actions.