Trusted Representation In Florida Since 1987

Q&A – Personal Injury (Attorney James Adams)

How much does a personal injury attorney charge?

33 1/3% of the gross settlement pre-suit, if a lawsuit is filed and the Defendant files an Answer the fee is 40%.

What do personal injury attorneys do?

Personal injury attorneys represent people who have been injured due to the negligent conduct of others. The goal is to settle the claim for money or, in the alternative, to try the case to a jury and secure an award of money in favor of the injured party (the Plaintiff). In the state of Florida personal injury claimants/Plaintiffs may recover money for pain, suffering, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, scarring, disfigurement, mental anguish, aggravation of a preexisting condition, past medical expenses, future/anticipated medical expenses, wage loss, and potential loss of ability to earn. To recover money for the Plaintiff, the attorney must gather the facts of the accident and determine the potential compensable losses, investigate all evidence connected to the loss and when possible, attempt to resolve the matter for money whether pre-suit or through litigation. Of course, the Plaintiff must be able to prove the losses and injuries. Proof of injury flows from the findings of the Plaintiff’s medical providers. One cannot simply assert “I’m hurt!”. There must be medical support for the claim.

How to choose the right personal injury attorney?

Before choosing an attorney, the victim should find out how long the attorney has been practicing law in the state of Florida, ask the attorney about his or her litigation history, what types of cases the attorney has tried, the attorney’s reputation for injury representation, and ask for examples of results achieved by the attorney.

What is the process of filing a personal injury claim?

Contact an attorney, substantiate claims of injury, provide proof that medical care has begun, proof of liability on the part of the defendant side (who is at fault?), assess the expected maximum recovery and assess the availability of insurance coverage.

Do I have a valid personal injury case?

General speaking, liability damages and coverages go a long way toward establishing that you have a valid claim. Your lawyer will need to prove that the other party was negligent, prove that you sustained an injury, and find a source of monetary recovery.

What compensation can I expect from a personal injury claim?

Fee is 33 1/3 if the matter is settled prior to filing a suit. If a suit is filed and the Defendant files an Answer, the fee is 40%.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?

Many factors play into this equation. A case could be resolved relatively quickly in the event of obvious liability on the part of the negligent party coupled with a severe injury and minimal coverage. For example, the Plaintiff is rear ended while stopped at a red light and both his legs are broken. The at-fault party has only minimal coverage (say $10,000) and the injured party has no Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage. But that’s not an outcome that anyone wants. Assume that instead of broken legs the injured driver sustained a severe back injury. Further assume that the at-fault party was a commercial vehicle with $1 million in coverage and a $1 million umbrella policy. Broken legs can be quickly diagnosed and treated. Back injuries take time to diagnose and time to treat. Neither doctors nor patients are eager to rush right into a back surgery. Many months may pass while the patient treats, and the doctor contemplates treatment possibilities. In this example, suppose the patient ultimately undergoes a surgery or surgeries that require months and months until the patient can resume normal activities. Or that the patient may never return to normal activities. This case would take much longer, and the likely outcome would result in substantially more money for the Plaintiff than in the prior example. The pace of the case is important, but it should not be the driving force behind the claim. Generally speaking, the more severe the injuries, the longer a case will be open.

What evidence is needed for a personal injury claim?

Competent, credible, evidence to prove that the Defendant was at fault, proof of a compensable injury, existence of insurance or some other source of monetary recovery.

What should I do immediately after a personal injury incident?

Immediately gather as much information as you can. Confirm the date, time, and location of the loss. Seek medical treatment, contact your insurance company to report the loss, find out the name and contact information of the at fault party, take pictures when practical, gather witnesses’ information. When law enforcement is involved, get the name of the law enforcement agency. Pictures of all automobiles involved or the scene of the event when it does not involve an automobile accident (example: slip and fall). General conditions at the time of an incident.

Can I switch personal injury attorneys during my case?

Yes, you may switch attorneys and the fee structure does not change. The injured party will not have to pay the 33 1/3% (or 40%) to every attorney. In other words, if you were to part ways with your first attorney, you would not owe that attorney 33 1/3% AND the new attorney 33 1/3%. The attorneys fee remains the same, and it’s up to the lawyers or the Court to work out any division of
the fee.