When choosing a personal injury lawyer in Largo, make sure that the firm you choose handles cases that are similar to yours. A personal injury lawyer may handle just a few types of personal injuries or could handle a wide variety of cases. If you suffered injuries in a vehicle wreck, if a loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home abuse case, or if you suffered injuries in a workplace accident, you want a firm with experience in those areas.
Contact a Largo personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for a free case evaluation after suffering accident or incident injuries or if you lost a loved one because of an accident or incident.
Types of Cases a Largo Personal Injury Lawyer Handles at Sibley Dolman Gipe
When you need to recover compensation after an accident to cover the full cost of your injuries, you need an attorney who gets you big firm results with small firm personal attention. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we provide just that for:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Boat accidents
- Train accidents
- Birth injuries
- Burn injuries
- Slip and trip or fall injuries
- Nursing home and/or assisted living abuse
- Business interruptions
- Cast iron pipe damage
- Sexual abuse
- Child injuries
- Product liability, including defective medications and harmful drugs
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
While you might think that all vehicle accidents are the same, they are not. A truck accident is different from a car accident, because the former usually involves a commercial entity, which means that individuals and entities other than the driver could share the liability for your injuries. Additionally, trucks generally weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more, and all that weight often causes catastrophic injuries.
A motorcycle accident is different in that a motorcycle rider has a significantly higher risk of suffering catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. The motorcycle rider has much less protection than the driver of a car or a truck.
What To Look For in a Largo Personal Injury Law Firm
In addition to making sure that the personal injury firm you choose handles the type of case that you’re dealing with, you also need to make sure that the firm has succeeded in the past in these types of cases. You do not want a firm that is only good at one or the other, because you will most likely start out trying to settle. If insurance companies do not offer a fair and reasonable settlement, you want an attorney who has plenty of experience in the courtroom and isn’t afraid to take your case to trial, if necessary.
The legal team at Sibley Doman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, proudly publishes its past results, including settlements, litigated cases, and even cases where the insurance company refused a fair and reasonable offer but settled after the plaintiff filed a lawsuit.
Some of our results include:
- $3.2 million for a truck accident that resulted in a brain injury.
- $1.4 million for a motorcycle accident that resulted in several serious injuries.
- $1.75 million for a truck accident that resulted in a shoulder injury and a mild traumatic brain injury.
- $1.58 million in a car accident that resulted in back and spinal cord injuries.
- $1 million in a car accident.
- $1 million in a rideshare accident.
We invite you to review more of our past results here.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
If you cannot move without causing more pain or additional injury, call first responders, but only if you can reach your phone or have hands-free capability.
If you can move, you should:
- Check on others involved in the accident.
- Call first responders.
- Take photos of the accident, including damage to fences, mailboxes, real property, and utility poles.
- Obtain other drivers’ licenses, insurance, and registration information from all other parties involved in the accident.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw, but don’t force them to provide any statements.
- Allow the emergency medical technicians to check you over, even if you feel that you haven’t sustained any serious injuries.
- Give the police your version of the facts.
- Get immediate medical attention at the hospital. Let doctors know you were in a wreck. Keep in mind that some injuries might not manifest for hours or even a day or two after an accident.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident, but only give it your name, policy number, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information.
Why You Should Retain a Largo Personal Injury Attorney
People often wonder if they can settle their personal injury cases themselves. While it is possible, most leave money on the table. Insurance companies are in the business to make money. Whenever they have to pay a claim, especially a seven-figure claim, it cuts right into their bottom lines.
When you call an insurance company to notify it of an accident, it will try to get you to give a statement about the accident. No matter how much pressure the insurance company representative applies, refer the representative to your attorney. One of an insurance company’s favorite tricks is to twist what you tell it and use this as a reason to deny your claim. At the very least, the company will likely offer you a pittance that might not even cover your medical expenses.
Steps in a Personal Injury Case
Once you find a personal injury attorney that you believe is the best firm to protect your interests, you’ll be ready to take the next steps. Your attorney will ask you many questions about your case. He or she might investigate the matter before he contacts the insurance company. This depends on how detailed the police report is and whether she has access to other evidence, such as photos of the accident scene and medical records.
Settling a Personal Injury Case
Once the attorney has reviewed your case, he or she will draft a demand letter for the insurance company. The letter might describe the accident and your injuries. It will also ask the insurance company to settle for an amount that you and your attorney agree is fair and reasonable.
The demand letter also gives the insurance company a set number of days to respond. If the insurance company does not respond, you may proceed to litigation. If it responds with a counteroffer, and you accept the counteroffer, the attorney or insurance company will draft a settlement agreement. If you decide that the insurance company’s offer does not cover the full cost of your injuries, you can counteroffer on its counteroffer, or you can notify the insurance company that you will take legal action.
Litigating a Personal Injury Case
When you decide that it is better to end settlement negotiations and litigate your case, your attorney will draft a complaint. Your attorney will then file it with the court and have a process server serve the insurance company with the lawsuit. The insurance company has 20 days to file responsive pleadings.
If it answers and files a counterclaim, the discovery process starts. If it files other responsive pleadings, such as a motion to dismiss, the court hears the motion before the case can move forward. The court will determine if the defendant’s motion is warranted. If not, it will direct the defendant to respond to the complaint. If the court agrees with the defendant’s motion, it will ask the plaintiff to file an amended complaint with the corrections the defendant asked for.
In most cases, the defendant files an answer and counterclaim to the plaintiff’s amended complaint.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In most cases, you have two years to file a personal injury case or a wrongful death case. However, don’t wait. You are more likely to remember pertinent facts soon after the wreck.
If you are in the hospital, we can arrange for a free case evaluation by phone or video call. We can even visit you in the hospital.
In Florida, you can recover two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Special damages, often referred to as economic damages, have a monetary value. The court orders economic damages in an attempt to make you financially whole again. Economic damages include:
- Past medical expenses for those incurred because of an accident and before a settlement or trial award.
- Future medical expenses for those incurred because of an accident and after a settlement or a trial award.
- Past lost wages for those lost because of accident injuries before a settlement or a trial award.
- Future lost wages for those lost because of accident injuries after a settlement or a trial award. You could also collect partial future lost wages if you can return to work, but your injuries and/or disabilities prevent you from making the same salary or hourly wage that you earned before the accident.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property or real property.
- Burial, funeral, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one in an accident.
General damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value. The court may order non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again, although the money does not remove your injuries or bring back a loved one. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress for those who suffered injuries in an accident or incident.
- Emotional distress for those who lost a loved one in an accident or incident.
- Loss of quality of life if your injuries caused long-term or permanent disabilities that require medication or the use of ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy or take part in family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a hand or foot.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight or bladder control.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, such as lawn maintenance, house cleaning, grocery shopping, and home repair and maintenance.
Courts only order defendants to pay punitive damages if a plaintiff can prove that a defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. Punitive damages punish the defendant’s actions or inactions that caused your injuries. Additionally, the court will not grant punitive damages unless it also grants compensatory damages.
To recover punitive damages, you have to go through a bifurcated trial. During the first part of the trial, the jury decides whether to award compensatory damages and, if so, how much. You then go through the second part of the trial, usually with the same judge and jury, to determine whether the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent. If the jury rules in your favor, it will make a recommendation for punitive damages and the amount that the defendant should pay.
Largo Personal Injury FAQ
After a personal injury accident, such as a car or truck accident, workplace accident, or a slip and fall accident, you should seek medical attention then contact a Largo personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe.
Some people attempt to settle with their insurance companies themselves but end up not even coming close to covering the cost of their injuries.
Florida follows general no-fault laws, which means that your insurance company pays regardless of who caused a motor vehicle accident (No-fault or PIP insurance does not apply to motorcycle accidents or other types of personal injuries, like slips and falls or medical malpractice.) However, do not make the mistake of thinking that your insurance company has the same allegiance to you as you have to it. You will want our help even with minor car accidents if the insurance company refuses to pay or tries to reduce what it pays you.
If you have questions, we have answers. The following only addresses general topics and the answers may not apply to your situation. Should you have questions that we don’t address below, or want to know how the law applies to your Largo accident, give Sibley Dolman Gipe a call today.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Case in Largo?
The statute of limitations depends on the type of personal injury case you have. For most personal injury cases, you have four years to file a case. However, if the case involves wrongful death, regardless of the type of accident, or medical malpractice, you generally have two years to file a case.
What if I Only Sustained Minor Injuries?
Never assume that you do not have serious injuries after an accident. Adrenaline might keep you from feeling pain. After an accident, always obtain medical attention from the hospital and ask for a thorough checkup, including x-rays and scans to check for fractures and internal injuries. If you hit your head, you should notify doctors so that they can check for a concussion and other brain injuries.
What Do I Tell the Insurance Company?
Even though you likely have already had to deal with your insurance company, you should only give it your contact information, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information. Insurance companies want to make money, not pay out claims. Paying claims reduces an insurance company’s profits. Thus, it will find any reason, including twisting your words, to deny a claim or to offer you a pittance of a settlement.
How Do I Pay Medical Bills Until I Receive My Settlement or Trial Award?
Your health insurance and vehicle insurance will cover medical expenses and, depending on the insurance company, might cover lost wages until you receive your settlement or trial award.
Do I Have to Go to Trial For My Largo Personal Injury Claim?
Not necessarily. Most personal injury cases settle before the plaintiff files a lawsuit. In some cases, where the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation before litigation, it might offer a fair and reasonable settlement after you file a lawsuit but before it goes to trial.
How Do I Maximize My Personal Injury Settlement?
Since you have to show that the defendant injured you and caused other damages, you can ensure that you recover compensation to cover the full cost of your injuries by:
- Providing all medical records related to your accident injuries for all medical appointments, including therapy appointments.
- Providing witness testimony of the accident.
- Providing an accurate accounting to the police officer at the scene.
- Obtaining medical attention immediately after the accident. If you wait too long, the defendant could accuse you of faking your injuries or argue that your injuries stem from a subsequent event.
- Allowing others to testify on your behalf regarding the care they provide and about your mental health after the accident.
- Continuing attending doctors’ appointments, including therapy appointments.
- Providing any other documentation showing how the accident and your injuries affected your financial standing.
Why Did the Insurance Company Total My Car?
If the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds the vehicle’s value, the insurance company will total your vehicle. The amount of money you get from the insurance company will depend on the value of the vehicle based on its age, mileage, and condition before the accident.
What if My Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover the Damages and Losses Caused by the Defendant?
If you do not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages, you can opt to sue the defendant and/or the at-fault insurance company for any amount that your insurance company will not cover. For example, if your insurance policy maxes out at $1,000,000 for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, but you suffered catastrophic injuries that will cost $5,000,000, then you can recover some or all of the difference from the defendant’s insurance company and/or the defendant.
What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Calls Me After I Retain Legal Representation?
Do not give the insurance company any other information about your case. Remind the insurance company that you provided your attorney’s contact information and that it should no longer call you regarding the accident.
Immediately contact your attorney and let him or her know that the insurance company contacted you in an attempt to get you to make a statement. Also, if the insurance company asks you to sign anything, advise the insurance company to forward the document to your attorney.
How Do I Pay a Personal Injury Attorney?
When you contact a personal injury attorney after an accident, you will likely receive a free initial case evaluation. Additionally, we do not charge you for our services unless we win your case. The sooner you contact a personal injury attorney, the sooner we can start working on your case, including investigating the accident and starting settlement negotiations.
Should I Retain a Largo Personal Injury Attorney?
If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one in an accident, you should contact an experienced Largo personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe to ask questions about your case. Our local attorneys will know what to expect and how to build a winning claim.
How Do I Choose a Largo Personal Injury Attorney?
You can start by researching different firms online. Look up the attorney on the Florida Bar Association’s website to make sure the attorney remains in good standing. Check the attorney’s website for information about the firm. Most attorneys feature their biographies on their websites. You can also look for referrals and recommendations by searching the attorney’s name.
Write down any questions you have for the attorney. You might find this information on the attorney’s website. If not, when you schedule a case evaluation, you can ask the attorney your questions.
You should ask:
- How many cases like mine have you settled?
- How many cases like mine went to court? How many of those cases did you win?
- What average payout have you received for cases with similar injuries?
- Do you work on a contingency basis?
- Do you offer free initial case evaluations?
- How long before you can start working on my case?
- If I incur hard expenses, such as those for expert witnesses, depositions, arbitration, and court filing fees, when do I have to pay those expenses?
- How many attorneys will work on my case?
You might have additional questions. Write all of your questions down so that you do not forget to ask anything during your initial case evaluation.
How Soon Should I Contact a Largo Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you continue to receive treatment in the hospital, we can arrange to meet you there or arrange a video call. If you wait to contact a personal injury lawyer, you risk forgetting important facts about your case—facts that could make a difference in winning (or losing) your case.
Additionally, while you have two to four years to file a lawsuit, most insurance companies give you much less time—sometimes as little as 15 to 30 days—to file a claim with them. You might notify the insurance company of the accident, but some might not consider that as starting a claim. In most cases, the attorney should file the claim with your insurance company, because the insurance company often twists what you say to fit its agenda—denying your claim or offering you so little that the money does not even cover your medical expenses.
Contact a Largo Personal Injury Lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe
When another person or entity injures you or causes the death of a loved one because of negligent actions or inactions, you should seek to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Choosing a law firm with attorneys experienced in cases like yours makes a significant difference in ensuring that you receive maximum compensation given your specific circumstances. The legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has experience in several areas of personal injury. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe online or at (727) 351-6615 for a free case evaluation today.