Orlando, Orange County and Central Florida Personal Injury and Complex Litigation Attorneys
FAQs, Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I pay my attorney?
Your case will be handled on a "contingent fee" basis. A “contingent" fee is based on a percentage of the gross recovery obtained on your behalf. If there is no recovery, you will owe us no fee. However, if there is a recovery, the attorney's fee will be deducted from the gross recovery in accordance with the Authority to Represent. In catastrophic cases, the attorney's fee is typically reduced from what might otherwise be expected. We do not ask for any cost deposits or up-front money from you to go towards the cost of investigation, expert witnesses, and/or litigation. Once again, if no recovery is made, you will not owe us anything in reference to costs we have expended on your behalf. However, if a recovery is made, any expenses we have incurred in the investigation and handling of your case will be deducted from your share of the recovery after the deduction of attorney's fees from the gross amount of the recovery. and you will pay an attorney's fee only if there is a recovery.
Q. What is my case worth?
Before it can be determined what your case is worth, several things must occur. First, you must reach a point of what is known as "maximum medical improvement." This is the level where medically your condition has stabilized and the physicians involved in your care are able to reduce to writing the level of impairment you have sustained and how this impairment is going to impact you now and in the future. Second, the liability picture must be fully investigated and established with due regard for any claims of comparative negligence being accounted for. Third, economic losses in the present and future, if any, must be substantiated. Fourth, an assessment must be made in reference to the adversary you are dealing with. Once these issues have been addressed, it is then possible to give you a reasonable opinion as to the value of your claim based on our experience and the results we have previously obtained. Obviously, based on the foregoing, it takes some period of time to develop the information necessary to provide a reasonable opinion. You should be cautious in dealing with any lawyer who promises you up front a settlement or result which is not based on fact, experience, or common sense.
Q. What kind of experience do you have handling a case such as mine?
We have handled virtually every conceivable type of case in the fields of personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability litigation, consumer fraud, employment law and commercial litigation. We have made a niche for ourselves in handling very difficult and complex cases, which has enhanced our ability to obtain better results in all cases. We have also been involved in significant litigation on a national level, for example, class action litigation involving defective products. Some of this litigation has lasted in excess of ten (10) years. To persevere physically, emotionally, and financially in this type of litigation makes the handling of routine litigation all that much easier. We like to say it does not take a very good lawyer to settle a five million dollar case for two million dollars, however, it takes an excellent lawyer to resolve a two million dollar case for five million dollars.
Q. Will my case go to court?
Most cases do settle without a trial. Some even settle without the necessity of filing a lawsuit. If the adverse party and/or insurance carrier deals fairly with us and you, we feel confident in our ability to achieve a successful settlement. If, on the other hand, they do not deal with us fairly, it is likely your case will go to trial and we have no problem seeing it through a successful trial.
Q. Will the other party's insurance company pay for my medical treatment related to an automobile accident?
No, Florida is a no-fault state. Regardless of fault, in an automobile collision, your automobile insurance carrier will make payment towards your medical expenses. Typically, your automobile insurance carrier will pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you have additional coverage (medical payments coverage), your insurance carrier may pay the additional amounts not covered by the PIP portion of the policy.
Out of pocket expenses, including out of pocket expenses not paid by your automobile insurance carrier, will ultimately be presented as part of the damages you have sustained when a demand is made on the adverse party.
Q. Is the adverse insurance carrier responsible for providing me a rental car if my car is damaged?
Typically, the answer to this question is "yes." The adverse insurance carrier, assuming liability is not a problem, is responsible for your "loss of use" of your vehicle. It is responsible to provide you with transportation "similar" to the transportation you had. In other words, if you were driving a Cadillac and the Cadillac was damaged, it cannot respond by renting a Volkswagen for you. It must provide you similar transportation.
Q. What if my vehicle is totaled in the accident and I do not agree with the amount offered by the adverse insurance carrier?
You can document the value of your vehicle in several ways. The best way is to go to the dealership or service center where your vehicle was routinely maintained and have the dealership or service manager execute a statement as to the fair market value of your vehicle. You can similarly obtain information from reviewing the classified ads of the local newspapers to establish what similar vehicles sell for. You can also utilize a number of research tools (which are available on the Internet) including, but not limited to, the Edmunds' catalog. The NADA book is also another guide and is available at many car dealerships and banks. You are not obligated to accept any offer tendered by the insurance carrier. The offer tendered must truly approach the "fair market value" of the vehicle you have lost.
Q. If I elect to have my vehicle repaired, should I take photographs of it?
Yes, you should take an entire roll of photographs of your vehicle documenting every element of damage to the best extent possible.
Q. How do I know if the insurance coverage I have is truly adequate to protect me and my family?
We will be glad to review in detail any and all insurance coverage to ascertain whether, in fact, your insurance coverage provides the protection you need.
Q. Should I keep a diary?
Yes, to the extent possible you should keep a diary of visits to doctors, time lost from work, and particular days where your injuries make it difficult for you to function normally. You should also include in this diary a list of all expenses you attribute to your accident.
Q. What should I tell any doctors, insurance carriers, or others about my accident if they might not otherwise find out about my accident right away?
If you treat, for example, with a physician for something unrelated to the injuries caused in your accident (dentist, OB/GYN, cardiologist, etc.), you should make sure on any patient questionnaire or form you identify the accident you experienced and the related problems. Sometimes, it is important for this other physician to understand the injuries or problems sustained even though it may appear to you to be unrelated. Similarly, in a litigation setting, it is important you identify a complete and accurate medical history to every health care provider who treats you. If, on the other hand, you fill out an application for insurance benefits such as life insurance or disability benefits, you similarly need to make sure you identify the accident in question. You do not want to mislead any insurance carrier and, once again, you want to document the significance of the accident you experienced. You never want it to appear you have tried to mislead or avoid providing all appropriate information.
Q. Should I discuss my case with anyone other than my lawyer?
As noted previously, your discussions with your lawyer are confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege. However, discussions you have with others are not confidential and may be discovered by the adverse party. You should, therefore, seek our advice before discussing your accident in any detail whatsoever with anyone else.
Q. Should I tell my lawyer about any prior accidents, claims, or injuries?
A. Yes, by all means you should tell your lawyer about every prior accident, claim, or injury you have sustained. The insurance carrier will "index" you and will have available the documentation to substantiate all prior accidents, claims, and injuries. Rest assured, your name will be in the "index" if you have had any prior claims or sustained any significant prior injuries.
Q. Will we be naming the adverse insurance carrier as a defendant if we file a lawsuit?
No. The Florida Legislature long ago determined the adverse insurance carrier should not be "named" as a defendant in the litigation related to an automobile accident, wrongful death claim, general personal injury claim, medical malpractice claim, or product liability claim. Though we would certainly like to name the insurance carrier, we are prevented from doing so. Most jurors, however, understand there is "insurance" involved and thus under most circumstances they realize the individual defendant is not going to be paying the claim out of his or her pocket.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your situation. We are here to help.
Allen & Murphy. determined. 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