With so many personal injury attorneys across Southern Florida, it can be difficult to know which one to choose to represent your personal injury claim. Experience is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an attorney. With experience, a Clearwater personal injury attorney will be able to anticipate problems before they occur, and effectively defend arguments against a victim’s compensation. This helps victims have better access to the compensation to which the law entitles them for their injuries and financial losses. For years, the Dolman Law Group has worked hard to protect the legal rights of accident victims in the Clearwater area.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help at Each Step of the Case Process
Before a claim has ever been filed, an attorney can begin protecting your legal rights. Injury victims are not always aware of the many things they can say or do to hurt their case. Lately, social media has become a big problem for accident victims. This is because any statements, pictures, or other information posted about an accident can be used by an insurance company as evidence against the defendant. It can be used to try to accuse the victim of being at fault for causing the accident. It can be used to refute claims of pain and suffering so that the insurance company can pay less to the victim for these very real and compensable losses. It can be used in many ways which can easily overwhelm a person who has not been through the claims process before. An experienced attorney will provide guidance on what to say and not say about an accident.
Next, the insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine which driver was at fault. Fault can be assigned to one driver, apportioned among multiple drivers, or even assigned to a company (such as an auto manufacturer which made defective car parts). This, too, is an area in which experience matters. If an insurance company denies liability, an attorney must be able to make a legal argument in support of the defendant’s liability. The attorney may also have to defend against claims that the victim was also partially at fault for the accident.
Liability is a complex legal doctrine which arises from a combination of both statutes and case law. Attorneys must be able to use these statutes and cases effectively to make the case for liability. Inexperienced attorneys may not be able to develop a strong legal argument for liability. This is especially problematic if the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer and the case must proceed to trial. In that situation, the attorney must make a case for liability that will convince a jury. Litigating claims in court require a more advanced skill set, and attorneys often spend years building and refining those skills.
Much like liability, an injury victim must also prove the value of his or her claim. The value of the claim is determined by adding all financial losses the victim sustained as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Some of the objective losses – such as medical bills or lost wages – are easy to calculate. Others are far more subjective. Pain and suffering is often the largest component of a personal injury award, but it is also the most subjective. Claims adjusters know this. They often make lowball offers to unrepresented claimants, knowing that they are unlikely to receive effective legal arguments in support of pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can do this, which is why claimants who are represented by an attorney often receive larger settlements than those who file a claim themselves.
When a Lack of Experienced Lawyers Becomes a “Constitutional Crisis”
Personal injury is not the only area of law which can suffer from litigants represented by inexperienced attorneys. In rural Bayfield County, Wisconsin, an estimated fifteen thousand residents are served by only 14 active attorneys. This may be problematic for residents with civil claims, but it has created a life-threatening emergency for cases arising out of the nationwide opioid crisis. Isthmus spoke with the county’s only judge, who reported that defendants must wait for four to eight weeks to be assigned a public defender. These defendants are placed back into the community with serious addiction problems while awaiting to be assigned an attorney. Many commit additional offenses, or overdose in the interim. Some are left waiting in jail. No progress can be made on their case while they sit in jail, simply waiting to be assigned an attorney. Many of the attorneys who are eventually assigned do not have adequate experience in criminal defense.
Wisconsin faces a particular shortage of public defenders due to the fact that the state pays the lowest rate in the country for court-appointed work. In discussing the funding issue, the Wisconsin Supreme Court opined that the state faced “a constitutional crisis that could compromise the integrity of our justice system.”
Much like the criminal justice system, the American civil justice system relies on experienced attorneys who can competently bring and defend claims. The civil justice system holds individuals, small businesses, and large corporations accountable for negligent conduct in order to prevent future harm to other innocent victims. Without experienced attorneys, the integrity of this system is also compromised, and the public is left less safe as a result.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys to Aggressively Defend Your Claim
Personal injury victims have legal rights under Florida law. They are legally entitled to be compensated for all losses resulting from their injuries, including short and long-term medical costs, decreased future earning potential, and other costs that may be attributable to another party’s negligence. The Dolman Law Group has years of experience in protecting the rights of injured accident victims in and around the Clearwater area. Call (727) 451-6900 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, aggressive personal injury attorney.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765