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Your Clearwater and St. Petersburg Personal Injury Law Firm

Clearwater Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been physically injured as a result of a car accident, the advice and representation of a Clearwater medical injury attorney will help you navigate the array of legal issues that will likely surface.  Dolman Law Group is a plaintiff law firm that focuses solely on personal injury law.

We have seen first-hand the devastating consequences an automobile accident can have on innocent victims and their families. Just a few of the issues that arise after a car accident include:
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Car repairs
  • Florida’s No Fault Insurance System
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Our attorneys have significant experience in handling car accident and medical injury claims along with recovering compensation for Tampa Bay injury victims 

What do I Need to Know about PIP?

All Florida motor vehicle owners are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in accordance with Statute 627.736.  As a vehicle owner you must carry $10,000.00 in PIP coverage.  At the Dolman Law Group, we have five attorneys who predominantly handle car accident claims.  Further, we also have a department that handles Florida PIP claims on behalf of car accident victims and the medical providers who render services.  Thus, we are extremely proficient in our understanding of the interplay of PIP coverage and auto accidents.  Further, our injury attorneys have a thorough understanding of the amendments made to the PIP Statute in Florida that went into effect on January 1, 2013.

Based on the amendments to the Florida PIP Statute, an injured party must commence treatment within 14 days after an accident with a licensed physician, which includes Chiropractors but now restricts Massage Therapists.  Under the new PIP Statute, a Medical Doctor must opine that the claimant has sustained an injury that meets the threshold of an emergency medical condition (EMC) as defined under Florida Statute 627.732(16) which in pertinent part states:

“Emergency medical condition” means a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:

(a) Serious jeopardy to patient health.
(b) Serious impairment to bodily functions.
(c) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

If the claimant is determined to have sustained an emergency medical condition, PIP will cover 80% of the medical bills up to $10,000.00 and 60% of lost wages. If the patient is deemed to not have suffered an injury that meets the definition of an emergency medical condition, they are capped at $2500.00 in PIP benefits.  It is our objective to ensure that the applicable insurance carrier abides by Florida Statute and that you receive all PIP benefits available.

The Dolman Law Approach

We are a Clearwater law firm committed to obtaining the maximum recovery possible for our clients. Our goal is to literally maximize the damages in your case to ensure you are properly compensated for your physical injuries, loss of income, inability to perform specific duties while injured, out of pocket expenses and potentially permanent issues. We understand it is our duty to illustrate your injuries and present a clear picture to the insurance carrier as to how this car wreck has impacted your quality of life.

Further, once a Dolman Law Group attorney commences representation; we will thoroughly investigate the claim and attempt to do the following:

1.)        Interview all available witnesses.
2.)        Obtain photographs of the scene if liability is at issue via our investigator.
3.)        Obtain photographs depicting the property damage involved to all vehicles.
4.)        Perform a background check on the defendant including their criminal history.
5.)        Obtain all medical records prior to and after the accident.
6.)        Retain competent experts to assist us in presenting our case if the claim proceeds to litigation.
7.)        Procure and review cell phone records if we have reason to suspect the at-fault party was using their phone at the time of the car wreck.

Many attorneys represent auto accident injury victims while handling multiple additional areas of practice, including criminal defense and family law. It is very difficult for an attorney to handle a number of different areas of practice, stay up to date on the most recent changes in each discipline, all while developing a strong level of competence in representing auto accident victims. It is our earnest belief that by focusing only on the area of personal injury law we can avoid being a “jack of all trades and master of none.” We are proud of the reputation we have earned as aggressive advocates for the injured throughout Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area.

Personal injury is one of the easiest areas to practice in.  However, it is one of the more difficult areas to perform at a high level of competence.  We often take over cases from other law firms who have failed to locate all available insurance policies, lines of coverage, contact all available witnesses, investigate the accident or taken time to speak with each treating physician in order to obtain a thorough understanding of our client’s injuries and future course of medical treatment.

Dolman Law Group is not a Settlement Mill

Any lawyer can send out a demand to the insurance carrier and generally speaking, very few clients have any idea when their attorney is leaving money on the table in negotiations.  Many personal injury practices are little more than “settlement mills.” Please read the following article to learn more about such types of law firms that typically settle cases for only a fraction of their true value and rely more on volume as opposed to quality of representation:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2010/12/03/study-of-settlement-mills-shows-insurers-like-them/

In fact, we tend to see a number of settlement mills in the context of the law firms that heavily advertise on television and radio.  It is difficult for any lawyer or firm to handle such a volume of cases.

In the above referenced Forbes article, insurance carriers love “settlement mills” as they work together to resolve the bigger catastrophic cases at a discount to ensure that the smaller cases are paid out quickly (often at a discount as well).  The bigger advertising law firms often tend too not concern themselves with the effort of maximizing damages on each single case. It is far more efficient within their respective business models to settle cases at a discount without much time invested in litigation, as they must meet their expensive monthly budget for mass advertising.

At Dolman Law Group, we have a full-time investigator on staff with significant experience investigating the cause of car accidents. Further, we communicate with and retain highly regarded medical experts and automobile accident reconstruction experts to enable us to properly work up the case. Our goal is to maximize the compensation you may recover for injuries sustained as a result of the auto accident. Thus, as Clearwater car accident attorneys, we are both as thorough and diligent in each case we work on.

A client should be able to promptly get a hold of their attorney. All of our Dolman Law Group attorneys list their cell phone numbers and email addresses on their business cards. It’s rare for an attorney to provide his/her client with their personal cell phone number, but this is common at Dolman Law Group. This ensures that our clients always have accessibility to communicate with their attorney.  When we are asked to step in after a client fires their former attorney, the #1 reason given to us for the dismissal is lack of communication.

A licensed attorney, as opposed to a Paralegal, should handle your case. While we employ a staff full of Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Clerks, and Investigators, the Clearwater car accident attorney will control the decisions and strategies related to the handling of a claim or case. The staff simply assists the attorney. It is that simple and that is what you pay for.

The Car Accident Was Not My Fault? 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, let us review your case and provide you with a free, no obligation and confidential consultation. If you want an auto accident attorney you can talk to that understands your situation, maintains an active litigation practice and is committed to zealously handling your claim, contact us today.

1.) Check for injuries to you, passengers, and the other party.
2.) Call 911 to ensure that medical professionals come to the scene to assess and treat injuries. Further, it is important for law enforcement to be dispatched to clear the scene and properly record all relevant information concerning the auto accident.
3.) Obtain the name, address, phone number and insurance information for the other party—as well as all the information of all witnesses of the accident.
4.) Take photos of both your car and the other party’s automobile. It is essential that we can illustrate the extent of damage that each automobile sustained. Take photos of your injuries if bruising, abrasions or anything else is visible as a result of the auto accident.
5.) Report the accident to your insurance carrier.
6.) Do not provide a recorded statement. These statements can later be utilized against you and it is common for such statements to be taken out of context.
7.)  Get checked out by a physician immediately.
8.)  Consult with an experienced injury lawyer.

How Do Insurance Carriers Handle Car Accident cases?

Time is of the essence when you are involved in a car accident. The at-fault party’s insurance carrier will try to contact you and secure a quick settlement that fails to account for whether you have suffered a permanent injury and the likelihood that you may require future ongoing medical care. Further, it may take time to determine the extent of your injuries and how you respond to treatment. Thus, it is essential that you avoid a premature settlement.

The insurance company begins with an enormous advantage due to its vast army of attorneys and adjusters who are trained to minimize the amount your claim is worth. An insurance carrier has tremendous financial resources and their Claim Adjusters are armed with a laundry list of excuses and arguments they will utilize to reduce or deny compensation to an injured party.

A Florida insurance carrier will also look at their history of dealings with the particular attorney or law firm to determine the likelihood that the claim will be litigated or whether the lawyer is likely to settle the case for pennies on the dollar.

It is also important to note that if you are a victim of an auto accident involving minor property damage, it is possible to suffer a painful and often permanent injury as a result. The insurance company will likely offer very little compensation, as it will argue that it is impossible or highly unlikely to be injured as a result of an alleged minor accident or minor impact. Insurance companies are notorious for denying, delaying and attempting to minimize such claims.

The majority of cases our Florida accident lawyers handle are serious and often catastrophic injury claims. The car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group have a track record of success in obtaining fruitful recoveries for Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota, New Port Richey, Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Safety Harbor injury victims. Our law firm has successfully settled and resolved injury claims of all types and recovered in excess of $30,000,000 for auto accident victims.

The insurance carrier often has attorneys on staff reviewing their exposure and working diligently to minimize their exposure. Thus, it is essential that you retain a competent Clearwater car accident attorney that is well versed in the tricks and methods employed by insurance adjusters. We routinely represent Tampa Bay and Clearwater auto accident victims; the insurance carriers are well aware of our reputation for maximizing the amount the case is worth. Our attorneys are all too familiar with the tactics employed by insurance carriesr to protect their own financial interests. If necessary, we will take a case to trial if the insurance carrier is not willing to provide a reasonable settlement offer.

Serious bodily injury can be sustained not only from the initial contact with another vehicle, but also from the secondary impact within your own vehicle (i.e., the dashboard or steering wheel, etc.). Automobile accidents remain the leading cause of death among young adults. Under Florida Statutes, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills; lost wages, car rentals and repairs, and any pain and suffering you’ve endured as a Florida car accident victim. Many car accident victims expect their respective insurance carrier to settle their claim in a prompt and fair manner. However, the insurance company answers to their shareholders and policyholders. Sadly it is common for the insurance company to negotiate in bad faith when attempting to resolve an automobile or other personal injury claim. Bad faith can be defined as unreasonable or unfair claims handling by an insurance company.

If you have been injured in Florida as a result of an automobile accident, contact Dolman Law Group for a Clearwater car accident attorney and/or personal injury attorney available to speak with you today. With offices located in Clearwater and Bradenton, we are able to advocate for our clients throughout the State of Florida and more specifically in Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County, Sarasota County and Charlotte County. The Dolman Law Group represents injury victims residing in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton, Sarasota, Pinellas Park, Largo, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Ozona, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Spring Hill, Trinity, and Clearwater Beach. Located in central Pinellas County, our office is only a short drive from both Tampa and St. Petersburg.

We offer a free consultation and will gladly explain how Florida no-fault insurance works, the facts of your accident and scope of our representation. For more information, please call Dolman Law Group at: (727) 451-6900 or email us at: matt@dolmanlaw.com