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Personal Injury

Do I have a strong case?

I have fully recovered from my injuries. Do I still have a case?

How does my attorney get paid?

How long will my lawsuit take?

What is my role in the lawsuit?





Q: Do I have a strong case?

Whether or not you have a strong case depends on a variety of factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries or property damage, who is at fault and whether the defendant has sizable assets or adequate insurance coverage, and how long ago the accident or injury occurred. An attorney can evaluate your case in light of these and other factors, and give you a realistic assessment of what you can expect.


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Q: I have fully recovered from my injuries. Do I still have a case?

Whether you have a case is never entirely dependent on whether you have fully recovered from your injuries, but if you sustained your injury in a Florida motor vehicle accident, it may have a substantial affect on what damages you may claim.    

The State of Florida has prescribed special rules for injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents.  If your personal injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Florida and you do not have a permanent injury, your potential recovery may be limited to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, if any, that exceed the $10,000 limit of your Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") policy. You also may have additional insurance coverage, such as Medpay coverage, that provides you with other benefits under your auto insurance policy.  

In other types of personal injury cases, you may additionally receive payment for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, regardless of whether you have a permanent injury.    


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Q: How does my attorney get paid?

The contingency fee system, which is almost universally used in personal injury cases, allows injured persons to seek compensation for their injuries without having to pay out of their own pockets the attorney's fees and costs of pursuing the claim. Instead, contingency fees are paid to the attorney out of any recovery made on a claim. If an attorney makes a recovery for his client, the attorney is entitled to a portion of the recovery for his fees. However, if no recovery is made, then the attorney gets nothing; not even his costs are repaid.

Almost all law firms charge a contingency fee ranging from 33% to 40% of the total recovery. Typically, the 33% fee is charged if the case settles before suit is filed or a demand for arbitration is made. The 40% fee comes into effect if the client rejects any pre-suit settlement offers and suit is filed.    However, these fees are negotiable.  We may agree to accept a lower fee depending on the circumstances of the case. You should always remember that there is no legal requirement that a lawyer charge a client a set fee or a percentage of money recovered in a case. You have the right to talk with the lawyer about the proposed fee and to bargain about the rate or percentage as in any other contract.

Whatever the percentage charged, the attorney's fee is calculated on the total amount recovered from the at-fault party or his insurance carrier. Next, the costs the attorney incurred in investigating and prosecuting the claim are deducted from the recovery. The balance of the recovery is then paid to the client or on the client's behalf.


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Q: How long will my lawsuit take?

This, too, depends on many factors.  In our experience, most meritorious cases settle prior to trial and most meritorious motor vehicle negligence cases settle prior to the filing of a lawsuit.  However, even with motor vehicle cases, it may take several months or even a year or longer to finalize a settlement depending on whether the  full extent of the client's damages are known.   For example, if you are scheduled for a future surgery, it may be necessary to wait for the completion of the surgery and a subsequent healing period to know the full extent of your permanent injuries.  

If a settlement is not reached prior the filing of a lawsuit, it may take a year or longer to force the defendant to a court ordered mediation.  Pretrial mediation is mandatory in Florida and many cases settle at this stage.  Typically, if the mediation is unsuccessful, the trial takes place a few months later., 
 


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Q: What is my role in the lawsuit?

Your attorney will take care of all of the legal aspects of your case. You may be asked to participate in discovery by answering written questions or giving oral testimony in a deposition. If your case goes to trial, you will likely be expected to appear in court. Throughout the duration of your case, you must obtain appropriate medical care and make your doctor, physical therapy, or other appointments.
 


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