Preventable accidents are responsible for millions of dollars of lost productivity and medical expenses, not to mention the untold human suffering involved with severe injuries. Fortunately for accident victims, Florida law allows people who are injured by the negligence of others to recover for their economic and non-economic losses by filing a personal injury claim.
The kinds of losses that are often compensated in Florida personal injury cases include damages for medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning potential, and pain and suffering, just to name a few. While a personal injury settlement or award cannot change what happened, it can provide peace of mind as well as a sense of justice for victims and their families.
The most effective way to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve after a preventable accident is to retain the services of an experienced Safety Harbor personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
We Practice in a Wide Range of Personal Injury Matters
Accidents giving rise to personal injury cases can be highly varied and can happen to anyone. However, the fundamental legal issue that will determine whether a victim's losses are compensable is whether the accident was caused by someone else's negligent act or omission.
In some cases, establishing negligence can be a legally complicated matter, so it is essential to retain an attorney who has experience in handling personal injury matters. Some examples of the kinds of accident cases we take include the following:
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective products cases
- Pedestrian accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Brain injury cases
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Truck accidents
- Dog bite injuries
- Injuries caused by defective drugs
- Neck injuries
- Birth injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Burn injuries
- Medical malpractice claims
- Boating accidents
- Wrongful death suits
- Spinal cord injuries
- Workplace accidents
Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney For Your Personal Injury Claim?
Anyone can experience a life-changing injury at home, in the workplace, or due to an accident. Generally, the complexity of your case is related to the severity of your injuries.
If your injuries are severe, you will likely benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer to manage the claims process in your case.
Your Part in a Lawsuit
As a prospective client in a personal injury case, you have only a few responsibilities, including:
- Never admitting fault for the accident or your injuries
- Continuing your medical care
- Carefully documenting physical restrictions, changes in lifestyle, or other issues related to your injuries
Present your attorney with any information or any documentation you possess that may help them assess your case, such as videos, photos, insurance provider documents, or witness statements.
What Your Personal Injury Lawyer Does
Your lawyer and legal team work together fighting to protect your rights and get you a fair settlement for injuries or damages. The first thing your accident lawyers will do is conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine the best strategy for winning. They will:
- Measure the scope of your injuries and damages and the extent to which negligence was involved.
- Investigate the accident scene.
- Take witness statements.
- Review the incident report.
- Examine the police report.
- Analyze medical records.
- Work with healthcare and medical experts.
- Review any videos, photos, or documents.
- Work with accident scene reconstruction specialists.
Your lawyer will then use these details to build a case and go head-to-head with the insurance company investigators or the defendant's legal representation. They will try to get you the maximum compensation for injuries caused by the defendant.
Often this occurs in a settlement meeting. However, if the insurance company, large corporation, or negligent driver won't budge on their position, our lawyers are experienced and ready to take the matter in front of a judge.
Whether it's settled after negotiations or litigated in court, our lawyers have extensive experience winning compensation following the defense team's preliminary lowball offer.
What to Expect After Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Once you've consulted a medical professional and started thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit, here are a few standard steps to take. They are central to cases involving slip and fall injuries, motor vehicle accidents, catastrophic injury, and other medical malpractice or negligence claims.
- Contact a personal injury law firm: Talk to an experienced lawyer with multiple years of personal injury litigation or negotiation experience. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to assess your case strategically and ascertain whether you can pursue a personal injury claim. They will also calculate how much you can potentially receive in the case.
- Your attorney will begin building your case: Once you've signed a retainer, your legal team will comb through every aspect of your case. This will include your injuries and the circumstances that caused them, your family situation, your employment history, and your wages. Anything that will strengthen your position.
- Negotiations for settlement: Your lawyer will send out a demand letter to your insurance carrier or other involved parties, spelling your claim for damage awards. Depending on the insurance company you're up against, this is often where your attorney can secure compensation for damages that will help you feel better about your circumstances.
- Filing your personal injury claim: If the insurance carrier or other party offers you a lowball settlement amount or rejects a reasonable settlement crafted by you and your lawyer, your team will change tactics and file a lawsuit. This will ensure you receive the greatest financial compensation possible.
- The discovery process: The discovery period is when the plaintiff and defendant share evidence from your case. During this period, your lawyer will attempt to obtain any portion of documentation that might bolster your case.
- The trial: When your legal team and the opposing side fail to find a workable solution, your case will go before a jury and judge. Due to our proven track record of getting results by securing millions of dollars for our clients, insurance companies are reluctant to meet us in a courtroom.
What to Expect From a Personal Injury Settlement
As stated, a personal injury settlement will occur when your legal team and the opposing attorney agree on an award of damages to pay for missed wages, medical bills, and other injury-related expenses.
Your settlement amount will depend on a multitude of circumstances, including:
- The bills you've accumulated due to another person's negligence
- The severity of your injuries
- Your employment situation
- The accident type you were involved with
The process may take time. Your lawyer likely won't take the first amount offered but will negotiate back and forth with the insurance carrier or opposing counsel to obtain a larger settlement.
As soon as your side and the opposing side agree on fair compensation, it may take a month and a half or so to receive your money.
Are Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlements Taxable?
Personal injury lawsuit settlements are not taxable under federal or state law. However, if you have an outstanding tax liability, your settlement payments could be considered income.
This is because you didn't earn the money as a form of income for your labor. Instead, you received it by filing a lawsuit against someone who injured you. And because settlements are typically repaying the money you lost, they are considered a liability and can't be taxed, according to the IRS.
Despite this, there are rare exceptions when the IRS can tax a personal injury settlement:
- Lost wages: If you were granted lost wages for the year of work you missed due to your injuries, that portion could be taxed.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and are not tied to loss; therefore, the IRS nearly always views them as taxable income.
- Unique non-economic damages: The IRS may tax specific forms of non-economic damages that are not related to an injury. For instance, if you are awarded compensation due to emotional distress the negligence lawsuit has caused you, that portion of your settlement may be taxed.
- Interest earned: If compensation is paid out over several years, and accrues interest like a loan, the interest, not the underlying settlement, can be taxed.
Always consult with a tax professional to determine what impact, if any, your compensatory funds will have on your taxes.
How Much does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Personal injury attorneys, like those from Dolman Law Group, don't charge an hourly rate or any upfront fees. Instead, they are paid through a contingency fee agreement. This means that your legal team only gets paid if it wins your case.
When this happens, your lawyer will take a reasonable fee from your financial recovery; however, in some cases the defendant will be required to pay your attorney fees.
A contingency basis is ideal for plaintiffs because it allows negligence victims to hire a legal firm they might not otherwise have been able to afford at an hourly rate.
Helping Victims of Florida Injuries Recover
A significant portion of our legal practice is dedicated to helping people injured in car accidents caused by someone else's negligence. Motor vehicle accidents have the potential to cause serious injury and can even be fatal in some instances.
It is therefore extremely important for victims to retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With our state's no-fault insurance laws, it is vital to hire a lawyer familiar with the legal rules found in Florida statutes.
Contact a Safety Harbor Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Victims of negligence and their families may be entitled to significant compensation after a preventable accident. The personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, are dedicated to helping those injured by the negligence of others recover from their losses.
Just minutes from Safety Harbor, our Clearwater office is easily accessible by taking FL-590 West to Belcher Road. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765