What You Must Consider Before Selecting A Car Accident Lawyer
1.) Does the car accident attorney or injury law firm have a reputation for taking cases to trial when necessary? An auto accident attorney or firm that does not regularly litigate serious injury claims and take cases to trial is similar to a dog who barks a lot but never bites. The applicable car insurance company has detailed notes on all law firms they have dealt with. Oftentimes the settlement offers provided by an insurance carrier are based on the risk they face if the car accident victim refuses to settle and the applicable lawyer has the financial resources necessary to retain the best experts. 2.) Sibley Dolman Gipe is often called upon by fellow car accident attorneys to assist on the biggest cases with the highest potential for a large recovery. We have handled numerous catastrophic injury claims and lawsuits over the past decade. Our law firm has the financial resources to take on the biggest corporations. In fact, we have litigated lawsuits against Walmart, Walt Disney World, Publix, Winn Dixie, McDonald’s, Amazon, Uber, State Farm, Allstate, Geico, and practically every car insurance carrier one can think of. This firm has the necessary financial resources, experience, and expertise to handle any size personal injury claim. 3.) Do NOT select your auto accident lawyer based solely on a television commercial, radio spot, or billboard. Many of the biggest advertisers are considered settlement mills by auto insurance carriers. Further, high volume law firms have difficulty providing personal attention to their clients. In fact, a common complaint we receive from clients who retained Sibley Dolman Gipe, after firing a large advertising law firm is they never met with nor spoke with their previous lawyer.
Accident Attorneys Who Handle Serious Car Accident Cases
If you have been physically injured as a result of a car crash, the advice and representation of a Clearwater car accident attorney will help you navigate the array of legal issues that will likely surface. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. (hereinafter referred to as “Sibley Dolman Gipe”), 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.
Issues That Arise After A Clearwater Car Accident
- 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 a 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 Clearwater injury victims.
Reported Car Accidents Involving Injuries in Clearwater, FL
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A.
We are a Clearwater law firm committed to obtaining the maximum recovery possible for our Tampa Bay area 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 car accident lawyers 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 of 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.
Choosing the Right Florida Car Accident Lawyer
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 Clearwater and the surrounding areas. Every case is different, with its own set of underlying circumstances and its own set of challenges afterward. Responsible car accident lawyers cannot guarantee you a specific payout for your particular case. An experienced car crash lawyer can, however, help to advocate and work to get you the compensation to which the law entitles you. Sibley Dolman Gipe has 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. Injured? Get Help.
Sibley Dolman Gipe 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 the quality of representation. They want to handle as many cases as possible, with as little effort as possible, to maximize their own profits.
Settlement Mills Are An Embarrassment To Car Accident Lawyers
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 every 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 Sibley Dolman Gipe, we have a full-time investigator on staff with significant experience investigating the cause of a motor vehicle collision. 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 thorough and diligent in each case we work on.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Works Closely With Our Clients
A client should be able to promptly get a hold of their attorney. All of our Sibley Dolman Gipe car accident lawyers 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 Sibley Dolman Gipe. We do this so our clients have the accessibility to communicate with their attorneys. 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 full staff 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 About Car Accidents
At Sibley Dolman Gipe, 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 Clearwater Accident Attorney?
First things first. Should I get an attorney for my car accident? 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 Clearwater Accident 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 Clearwater Accident 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 A Clearwater Car Accident?
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 Clearwater Accident Attorney Cost?
Generally, car accident 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 our accident attorneys is free. So you will not have to pay by the hour for legal assistance and you will not have to pay massive fees upfront to get an attorney when the reason you are seeking legal help in the first place is due to the financial harm you suffered because of a car accident injury. Contingency fees will typically consist of a percentage of the compensation that a car accident lawyer gets you through a settlement or case judgment. This percentage will vary depending on the case and the attorney but will usually sit around 33%. This system not only helps people injured in car accidents get legal assistance despite struggle with economic damages caused by injuries but it also ensures that car accident lawyers have a personal vested interest in the outcome of your case. The harder your attorney works and the more compensation they get a client then the more money they make with their contingent fee. It is also important to note that if your accident lawyer fails to get you compensation then they get nothing and you do not owe them a contingency fee.
How Much Time Do I Have After My Clearwater Car 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 auto 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 Personal Injury Protection 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 A Clearwater Car 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 use 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 Sibley Dolman Gipe
If you were in a Clearwater car accident, contact the attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach the car accident lawyers of Sibley Dolman Gipe 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.
Why Sibley Dolman Gipe?
Our car accident lawyers have over 100 plus years of experience representing victims of a motor vehicle collision. Matthew Dolman has served a lead counsel on over 1000 serious injury lawsuits across the State of Florida. He is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for results he has obtained both in excess of $1,000,000.00 and $2,000,000.00 on separate occasions. Mr. Dolman has also been named a Florida Superlawyer and Florida Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Stanley Gipe is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. Sibley Dolman Gipe represents victims of a car accident, motorcycle and truck accidents, medical malpractice with a focus on birth injury cases, victims of premises liability and negligent security, human trafficking, and Florida residential claims related to castiron pipes, lawsuits against the manufacturer of Zantac, and AFFF Firefighting Foam.