Speak with Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers to Get the Compensation You Deserve
Help After an Accident or Negligence in Florida
Being injured in an accident is a difficult, stressful and often painful experience. Accidents can also raise a number of complicated questions about who is to blame. That is why it is vital for you to have seasoned Florida personal injury lawyers by your side.
At Searcy Denney, our injury attorneys have helped people injured in accidents recover billions in damages via settlements and court verdicts. We assist clients by fighting for the full compensation available under the law. We also provide our clients with the confidence to focus on their physical recuperation, knowing that our team is working aggressively to protect their rights.
Whether you have been injured in a car accident, a collision with a truck, a slip and fall or you have had a mishap with a defective product, we have the resources and experience to ensure that those responsible are held fully accountable. We take the time to understand each client’s personal situation and we craft an approach that is tailored to their specific needs.
How Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help Your Case
Most personal injury claims have three primary stages: (i) investigating the claim, (ii) preparing the claim, and (iii) negotiating a settlement. However, if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to settle, then there may be additional stages involved as well – including taking your claim to court. Here is an introduction to what you can expect along the way when you work with one of our Florida personal injury lawyers:
1. Preparing Your Claim
Preparing your claim is the most important stage of the process. Preparation involves gathering all of the documentation needed to convince the insurance company to settle (such as medical and employment records) and determining the total amount that you are entitled to recover.
When filing an insurance claim, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and if you do not have the evidence to support your claim or you ask for less than you deserve, then you are going to give the insurance company the upper hand.
2. Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Once our attorneys thoroughly prepare your claim, we will submit a demand for payment to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This will start the negotiation process, which will involve our attorneys going back and forth with an insurance adjuster to try to arrive at a mutually-agreeable settlement amount. If the insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, we will calculate exactly how much you will take home so that you can make an informed decision about resolving your claim.
3. Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer during these negotiations, then our injury attorneys will file a lawsuit in court. While this will result in a trial date being set, settlement negotiations will continue, and there is still a good chance that your claim will settle before trial.
4. Pursuing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
In some cases, pursuing a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration, may provide the most-efficient means of securing a favorable result. If this is a viable option in your case, our personal injury attorneys will represent you throughout the process.
5. Going to Trial
Finally, if the insurance company simply refuses to offer a fair settlement, then our attorneys will take your case to trial. Our Florida personal injury lawyers will present all of the relevant evidence in court, and we will hire expert witnesses to paint a clear picture of exactly what happened. At the end of trial, the judge or jury will render a decision. If you are satisfied with the decision, your case will likely be over. If you are not, your Florida personal injury lawyer can determine if you have grounds to file an appeal.
What Damages Will My Florida Personal Injury Attorney Pursue?
Florida law gives people injured in accidents the right to seek compensation from those responsible.
The money damages typically available in accident cases are generally designed to compensate people for the financial impact of an injury. That includes covering current and future doctor’s bills and other medical costs. Additional compensation is also usually available for lost wages while recuperating and any impact that the injuries may have on your future earning capacity.
In certain cases involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct, extra punitive damages may be imposed as a way to punish those responsible for recklessly causing your injuries.
In tragic cases in which a person is killed in an accident, his or her family members have the right to seek similar compensation for wrongful death. They can seek much of the same money damages that would have been available for their loved one had the person survived, as well as funeral and burial costs.
To obtain this compensation, you have to first prove that the person or entity responsible for your injuries is legally liable. A seasoned Florida personal injury attorney can help you build the strongest possible case.
Establishing Fault with the Help of Your Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
Most personal injury cases are based on claims of negligence, which is a legal theory that holds people and entities responsible for failing to live up to a “duty of care.” The infographic below and the following information reveal the basics of negligence that your Florida injury attorney will try to prove.
A person alleging negligence has to prove that the person or entity he or she is suing didn’t live up to a specific duty of care. That means you must first show that there was a duty and then explain how it was breached. A well-versed Florida personal injury lawyer can make the appropriate arguments on your behalf. For example, police reports, witness testimony and – in some cases – accident reconstruction evidence is often central to proving negligence in car crash cases. On the other hand, observations from people who witness a slip and fall on a slick floor in a grocery store aisle, as well as testimony from employees about the floor’s condition before that accident, can also go a long way in premises liability cases.
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state. That means that a person who is partly to blame for his or her own injuries can still obtain some damages. A person who runs through a cluttered or wet grocery store aisle, for example, may be considered 35 percent responsible for a slip and fall. Still, that person may obtain up to 65 percent of the available money damages with the help of a Florida personal injury lawyer.
Proving Causation for Your Florida Accident
A person seeking compensation for injuries sustained in an accident also must prove what courts refer to as “causation.” To be clear, this means that you have to show that the negligence specifically caused you to be injured.
Take, for instance, a person who suffers whiplash and a broken arm when the car he is driving collides with a speeding truck. An insurance company or the trucker’s employer may try to explore whether the injured person already had some or all of those injuries before the crash. Alternatively, they may argue that the injuries were caused by another source, like a faulty seatbelt.
Causation is just one of the complicated legal issues that can arise in these types of cases. It is another area in which a Florida injury attorney with a strong track record in personal injury litigation can provide important assistance. You, however, can assist your Florida personal injury lawyers by using our checklists to keep your possible evidence organized.
What to Do After an Accident to Maximize Your Potential Compensation
As soon as possible, after being involved in an accident in Florida you should:
1. See a Doctor
After any type of accident, one of the first things you should do is see a doctor. In order to protect your health and your legal rights, you need to receive a comprehensive diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you have a claim, your health and treatment of your injuries are the most important thing.
2. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Once you receive medical advice, you should either (i) follow your doctor’s advice carefully, or (ii) seek a second opinion if you have concerns about the quality of the treatment you received. In addition to prolonging your recovery, ignoring your doctor’s advice can have significant negative repercussions for your personal injury claim.
3. Preserve Important Evidence
If you took photos or video, if you have damaged clothing or other personal items, or if you have any other evidence from the accident, you should preserve it. Keep it in a safe place, and be prepared to give it to your attorney at the first available opportunity.
4. Do Not Talk to Insurance Companies
If you were involved in a car accident, you may need to file an insurance claim promptly. But, other than this, you should avoid the insurance companies unless and until otherwise advised by your attorney. Most likely, your attorney will handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf.
5. Contact an Injury Law Firm in Florida
To make sure you collect evidence right away and complete all necessary steps, you will need to contact an injury law firm in Florida as soon as possible. Our firm accepts new cases 24/7, and we can put a personal injury attorney on your case immediately if necessary.
What to Do While Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys Fight for Your Case
While your law firm will be able to handle many aspects of your claim for you, there are steps that you personally can take as well. In fact, the more involved you are throughout the process, the greater your chances of maximizing your compensation as quickly as possible. Here are five tips for helping your attorneys achieve a favorable result on your behalf:
1. Avoid Resuming Activity or Returning to Work Too Soon
After suffering traumatic injuries in an accident, you need to take your recovery seriously. Rest as recommended by your doctor, and make sure you do not resume activity or return to work too soon.
2. Refer All Inquiries Regarding Your Case to Your Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
If you are contacted by insurance adjusters (or anyone else) regarding your case, you should refer all inquiries to your attorney.
3. Keep an Injury Journal and File
Try to keep a daily journal in which you record all of the various ways your injuries impact your life. Also, keep a file in which you place all records, receipts, scans and other documents related to your personal injury claim.
4. Stay Off of Social Media
While your personal injury case is pending, stay off of social media. The insurance companies will be watching; and, even if your profiles are private, the insurance companies’ lawyers may still be able to gain access through the courts.
5. Stay Involved in Your Case by Actively Communication with Your Lawyer
Finally, stay involved in your case. Your lawyer will need to speak with you regularly, and the more engaged you are, the better your outcome will be.
Our Injury Attorneys in Florida are Standing By
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in the Sunshine State, you have the legal right to seek money damages from those responsible. It is crucial that you have a proven Florida injury attorney in your corner.
At Searcy Denney, our Florida personal injury law firm has decades of combined experience fighting for the people we represent in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. We know how courts and juries often look at these cases and we understand the strategies that insurance companies often employ to try to reduce or avoid payouts. Our track record of success speaks for itself.
We are pleased to be able to provide comprehensive and personalized services for our clients. That includes helping you find medical care, dealing with your employer, haggling with insurance companies and litigating lawsuits in court when needed.
Our team of dedicated legal professionals is ready to fight for you. Our offices are conveniently located in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. Call us toll-free at 888-549-7011 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.