If you have been physically injured as a result of a car crash, the advice and representation of a Clearwater personal 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.
Not sure if you even need an auto accident attorney? Read our article where we sort out the difference between when you need an attorney and when you can handle the claim yourself.
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. Your first concern after being involved in an auto accident, of course, is your health. But while you focus on getting better, the bills can start piling up—ambulance ride, emergency room visit, individual doctor bills, and more. The full extent of the damage may not initially be clear, from internal bleeding to potential chronic pain resulting from a lingering injury that could necessitate follow-up tests, visits, and medications. That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor immediately after the accident, even though this can be costly.
- Car repairs. If you were in a Clearwater car accident severe enough to cause physical injury, your car was almost certainly damaged as well. You’ll need someone to restore it to safe, working order once you’re back on your feet and able to drive again.
- Lost wages. If the extent of your injuries is dire enough, you may not return to work immediately, or return to your full workload, or in some cases a permanent disability may prevent you from working in any profession. You may be entitled to compensation for some portion of that lost revenue, but a layperson may find the laws surrounding disability and insurance difficult to navigate.
- Florida’s no-fault insurance system. In America, insurance laws vary from state to state. Florida is one of several states operating under a no-fault car insurance system, in which drivers carry insurance to cover the cost of an accident for themselves rather than turn to the driver responsible for the wreck. That does not mean, however, that you cannot necessarily seek further damages once you have reached the caps on your own insurance payouts.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). This is a type of no-fault insurance coverage that helps pay the medical costs and even lost wages of a driver injured in an accident. PIP insurance may not cover damages if the injured driver isn’t treated within 14 days of the crash. There can also be limits on PIP insurance payouts, although this does not necessarily mean you can’t potentially seek additional compensation. This is why it is so vital that, following your accident, you seek medical care immediately and contact motor vehicle lawyer as soon as possible.
Our attorneys have significant experience in handling automobile accident and medical injury claims along with recovering compensation for Tampa Bay injury victims.
Reported Car Accidents Involving Injuries in Clearwater, FL
The Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman Approach
We are a Clearwater law firm committed to obtaining the maximum recovery possible for our clients. Our goal is to maximize the damages in your case to ensure you recover proper compensation 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.
Once our attorneys commence representation, we will thoroughly investigate the claim. If possible or appropriate, we may:
- Interview all available witnesses. Time is always a factor with witnesses. Memories fade and people move around or out of state, making wrangling them and getting their statements a top priority.
- Obtain photographs of the scene if liability is at issue, via our investigators. The increased prevalence of private security cameras at nearby businesses may also provide relevant footage of the crash.
- Obtain photographs depicting the property damage involved to all vehicles. Photographic evidence helps preserve the exact state of a car’s damage immediately afterward, as well as help confirm the nature of the crash itself.
- Perform a background check on the defendant, including their criminal history. Incidents in the other driver’s legal past, including potential suspensions or revocations of their license, may have bearing on your case.
- Obtain all medical records before and after the accident. Some drivers may rely on medicines or have underlying medical conditions that impair their ability to be behind the wheel, which could serve as evidence that they failed to comply with what is legally known as their “duty to care” when operating a motor vehicle.
- Retain competent experts to assist us in presenting our case if the claim proceeds to litigation. An experienced car accident lawyer will have access to a bevy of outside experts who can help explain the complicated causes and complications from an auto accident.
- 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. Distracted driving is an increasingly common cause of auto accidents. A history of the driver’s phone activity just before the accident can be used to prove negligence and is accessible for those with the technical know-how.
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 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 the Clearwater area.
Every case is different, with its own set of underlying circumstances and its own set of challenges afterward. No responsible attorney can guarantee you a specific payout for your particular accident. An experienced car crash lawyer can, however, help to advocate for you and attempt to see that you receive the compensation to which the law entitles you.
The Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman have a history of positive case results. Again, no two cases are exactly alike—even one truck accident resulting in a shoulder injury may be different than the next—but in the past we have helped clients be awarded significant damages, including:
- $3.2 million for a semi-truck accident resulting in a brain injury
- $1.58 million for an auto accident resulting in a spinal injury
- $1 million for a father killed in a rideshare vehicle
Click here to learn more about our past case results.
Personal injury is one of the easiest areas to practice in—but 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 take time to speak with each treating physician to obtain a thorough understanding of our client’s injuries and future course of medical treatment.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 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. Settlement mills is an unofficial term for a type of law firm that typically settles cases for only a fraction of their true value and relies more on volume than quality of representation. They want to handle as many cases as possible, with as little effort as possible, to maximize their own profits.
Insurance companies may find it attractive to work with these settlement mills, which seems counterintuitive. Insurance companies don’t want to pay out more than they have to, of course. They’re willing to tolerate a higher rate of smaller settlements in exchange for more easily resolving cases that could be more significant. The damages on these more catastrophic cases can be exponentially higher, so it’s in the insurance company’s interest to group those in with the smaller payouts.
Many prominently advertising law firms often tend not to 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. It is difficult for any lawyer or firm to handle such a volume of cases.
What does this mean for you, the accident victim? It means you may be entitled to more compensation than you realize, and more than the insurance adjuster is going to propose. The way to be certain is to hire a law firm that will give time and attention to your individual case.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we have a full-time investigator on staff with significant experience investigating the cause of car collisions. 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 motor vehicle 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 and Sibley Dolman 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 and Sibley Dolman. This ses 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 only assists the attorney. It is that simple and that is what you pay for.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman, we receive calls from people with any concerns about what to do after a car accident. This is smart—if you have a legal question, never hesitate to call someone with knowledge of the law. These are some of our most frequently asked questions:
Do I need a lawyer?
Not sure if you even need an auto accident attorney? Read our article where we sort out the difference between when you need an attorney and when you can handle the claim yourself. Keep in mind that, in any auto accident litigation, you’ll deal with an insurance company that employs a team of lawyers and adjusters whose primary job is to minimize payouts and maximize profits for the company. This is what they do all day. When in doubt, contact an experienced attorney who will give you an initial consultation at no cost.
What can a lawyer do for me?
Experienced motor vehicle attorneys are, first and foremost, your personal representation. Their only goal is to maximize the damages to which you are legally entitled. In a no-fault state like Florida, you turn first to your own insurance company for compensation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance company is on your side. They are not in the business of maximizing payouts, but minimizing them, and their professional insurance adjusters are trained in techniques to help them achieve this. Do not speak with an insurance adjuster on your own, even if it’s a seemingly friendly conversation. Even making small talk can be hazardous; if they ask how you’re feeling and you say, “I’m feeling fine,” that can be admissible in court. It’s best to let your car accident lawyer deal with the insurance company.
Should I accept a settlement?
It’s possible, early on, that an insurance company may offer you a settlement for your Clearwater traffic accident. This may seem like a good thing at first—money in hand, with no hassle!—but in fact it could be a trap. Insurance companies seek to minimize their payouts, and thus any initial settlement is potentially significantly lower than the amount to which you are entitled. Further, a settlement generally excludes you from seeking any further damages. By accepting the initial settlement, you are exempting the insurance company from covering longer-term complications, such as chronic pain or a lingering disability, which you may not even be aware of at the time of the settlement.
What injuries are most common from car accidents?
A wide range of injuries is possible depending on the type and severity of the accident itself—was it a T-bone, a head-on crash, a rear-end collision—but the nature of your injuries might not correspond to the seeming seriousness of the accident itself. Cuts, bruises, and even broken bones may be more readily apparent to the untrained eye. Other common injuries from car wrecks can include a “whiplash” injury to the soft tissue of the neck and back, spinal damage or herniated discs, internal bleeding, a head injury or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms of some of these injuries may not immediately appear, or may linger and worsen as time goes on. That’s why you must seek medical attention immediately following an accident, and why an experienced car accident lawyer can help you plan for outcomes you may not have immediately foreseen.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
Generally personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning their compensation is a designated portion of whatever damages you receive. There may be some additional court fees and expenses as well, depending on the case. However, a consultation with the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman is free.
How much time do I have after my accident to file a lawsuit?
Statutes of limitation vary from state to state. A statute of limitation is the maximum amount of time you have to file a given complaint. In Florida, an accident victim has four years to file a lawsuit against an at-fault person and five years to file a claim against their own insurance carrier (for example, if PIP covers you). However, the legal process can be long, and the more time passes, the more difficult it can be to make a successful case. Witness memories may fade, witnesses may move out of state altogether, you may lose some of your records. Start the process as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible outcome.
What can I do to protect my rights following an accident?
Your first priority, of course, is seeking proper medical care, both to make sure that your health is being seen to, and to document any injuries. Report the accident immediately to the police and obtain a copy of their report when it is made available. Get the names and badge numbers or names of the officers on the scene if you can. If it is safe to do so, take photos or videos of the accident scene, which may useful later. Do not post them online or comment on social media that may hinder your case later. Try to keep your copies of the police report, your medical records, and receipts for any other expenses incurred as a result of the accident altogether. Your lawyer can walk you through all these steps and more.
Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman Today
If you were in a Clearwater car accident, contact the attorneys at the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page for your free consultation. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can use their years of experience to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to under the law, and we’re ready to talk to you right now.