Orlando, Orange County and Central Florida Personal Injury and Complex Litigation Attorneys
What is my personal injury case worth?
Q. How strong is the liability? In other words, what are the chances of proving the Defendant was at fault?
A) Florida is what we call a "comparative negligence" State. The opposing party and/or ultimately the jury will have to determine whether you contributed to causing your own injuries. To the extent you contributed, your recovery will be accordingly reduced.
B) Medical malpractice cases are far more difficult. You have to first prove the physician, hospital, or health care provider deviated from the prevailing and accepted standard of care. In other words , you have to prove the medical treatment provided was inadequate when compared to what a reasonably prudent physician, hospital, or health care provider would provide under similar circumstances. The health care providers are not held to the standard of providing the best medicine; average medicine is unfortunately enough. After proving the deviation, you must next prove the deviation "caused" the injuries sustained. You must not only prove the deviation, but also prove the deviation made a difference in the outcome and caused injury.
Q. How much at fault were you in contributing to the accident in question or the injuries or damages sustained?
As noted, the percentage of fault assigned to you will reduce your recovery accordingly. Factors such as speeding, drinking, failing to wear a seat belt, failing to use reasonable care, failing to follow the advice of your physicians, and the like, can result in reducing your recovery.
Q. What kind of appearance are you going to make before a jury and is the jury going to be sympathetic and understanding towards you?
Credibility is the single most important factor for a claimant in the litigation process. Your credibility will be on trial and, therefore, it is extremely important to always tell the truth so as to not provide your adversary with any unnecessary ammunition. In terms of presentation, it is okay to be nervous as most people appearing before a jury for the first time will be nervous.
Q. How much sympathy will the jury potentially have for the Defendant?
A) In medical malpractice cases, we know from studies performed juries start out the case tending to side with the physician. Physicians win 80%, or more, of the medical malpractice cases which go to trial. Medical malpractice cases are also extremely expensive to litigate and try. Credibility becomes an even more important factor in a medical malpractice case.
B) How serious and objectively demonstrable are your injuries? Objective injuries are those which can be viewed and documented by observation and/or objective testing. Subjective injuries are those involving how you "feel" as a result of an accident. It is more difficult obviously to substantiate injuries related to what you "feel" as opposed to what can be seen and documented.
Q. Are there any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions similar to the injuries sustained in this incident?
A) The defense utilizes an indexing system, whereby information concerning every claim you may ever have filed related to an accident or injury can be obtained. When asked, you have to recite each and every prior accident or claim you have had so as to not allow the defense to impeach your credibility.
B) Even though you may have a pre-existing injury or condition, if it was aggravated in the subject incident, the law permits you to recover for that aggravation.
Q. Are your out of pocket expenses well-documented?
It is important to keep accurate records concerning all out of pocket expenses as the defense is interested in determining what you have actually paid personally out of pocket as opposed to what insurance may have paid. Insurance benefits are referred to as "collateral sources" and many times the defense is given a "credit" for expenses paid by your insurance carrier.
Q. If you have lost wages or sustained an inability to earn wages in the future, have these losses been appropriately documented with tax returns and related records?
Many times when an injury is severe the involved individual will no longer be able to work or will not be able to work at the same level as prior to the incident or accident in question. In these situations, we utilize well-respected economic and vocational rehabilitation experts to substantiate these losses; it is, however, very important to make sure you have all available tax returns and related documents.
Q. Are there any legal obstacles we will need to overcome?
For example, has the Statute of Limitations run out? You only have a certain amount of time prescribed by law in which to file and pursue your claim.
Q. How long will the injuries and damages sustained be experienced?
We utilize "life expectancy" tables to ascertain how long an individual is expected to live. These life expectancy or mortality tables help us to identify how long you may be expected to live with the injuries and damages suffered.
Q. How strong a defense will we encounter and who can we likely expect to be defending our adversary?
Based on the involved insurance carrier, we can many times tell you up front who we expect to be defending the case. Different firms behave differently; some are interested in generating as much paperwork as possible so as to enhance their income, while others prefer to get to the point. In medical negligence cases, based on the involved insurance carrier and/or health care provider, we similarly will likely be able to tell you up front who will be defending the case.
Q. Is the prospective defendant adequately insured or does the prospective defendant have assets if insurance coverage is inadequate?
Unfortunately, we sometimes encounter cases where there is little or no insurance on the other side and little or no likelihood of being able to pursue a claim successfully. It is very difficult to pursue a claim against someone with little or no assets. We try to ascertain the insurance coverage information and/or assets information early on in the process because it does impact our strategy in reference to how to proceed.
Q. How long will it take to prosecute your case?
Properly handled cases are not resolved very often within a couple of months. Poorly handled cases, on the other hand, can be resolved more quickly, but obviously the result is not what many people expect or deserve. To properly handle and prepare a case takes time and, inasmuch as each case is different, the amount of time required varies significantly.
Q. What will it cost to prosecute your case?
A) In medical malpractice cases, it frequently costs in excess of $100,000.00, to litigate and try a case.
B) In the more routine automobile accident case, it can still cost $25,000.00, or more, to go to trial. The more serious the injury and more complex the type of case the more expensive it is. We try to evaluate each case with common sense so as to determine what reasonably needs to be expended to achieve the best result.
Q. Are your expectations realistic?
Not every case is worth one million dollars. Some people, regardless of the information they receive ,have expectations which are not realistic. We have been as successful as any firm in reference to the results we have obtained. With this background in mind, we will provide you with a realistic analysis as to what you can potentially expect.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your situation. We are here to help.
Allen & Murphy — driven. focused. fearless.
Orlando Law Firm serving: Orange County • Seminole County • Volusia County • Osceola County • Brevard County • Lake County • Hillsborough County • Duval County • Polk County • Sumter County • Marion County • Kissimmee • St. Cloud • Winter Park • Winter Haven • Lakeland • Clermont • Deland • Ocala