SHOULD YOU HIRE A LAWYER?
Absolutely. The average person does not have the experience necessary to prepare a personal injury case, navigate the intricacies of personal injury law, or value a personal injury case. For example, do you know how to handle a lawsuit? Are you familiar with all the Florida statutes and case law applicable to your case? Do you know how to obtain and evaluate how much insurance (e.g. BI, UM, PIP, etc.) is available to resolve your claim? Do you know which, if any, of your collateral source providers (e.g. a health insurer, Medicare or Medicaid) must be reimbursed from your personal injury settlement or what to do if the collateral source isn’t being responsive or reasonable? An experienced attorney will be familiar with applicable Florida laws and how they apply to your particular circumstance. Moreover, an experienced attorney should be able to add value to your personal injury claim by recovering more than you would have recovered if you had not hired the lawyer.
WHAT DOES A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY DO FOR CLIENTS?
This is a non-exhaustive list of things a personal attorney handles for clients: (1) Investigate the claim, such as: obtain the police report, if any; obtain photographs of the accident scene and other relevant items, such as the vehicles involved in an accident; obtain and analyze all of the client’s medical records; interview witnesses, including experts and medical providers; obtain and evaluate all applicable insurance policies; research applicable law; and deal with the the at fault party and their insurer, as appropriate, including filing and overseeing a lawsuit if necessary. (2) Advance all the litigation costs incurred in pursuing the claim. Litigation costs generally include things like charges for copies of medical bills, costs charged by the Court, court reporters, and process servers, and costs charged by experts. In cases that go to trial, litigation costs are often tens of thousands of dollars. (3) Represent the client in dealings with the client’s own insurance company, potentially including PIP claims, property damage claims, and UM claims. (4) Represent the client in dealings with the at-fault driver and their insurance company. (5) Represent the client in Court. (6) Negotiate and oversee any settlement. (7) 7. Negotiate resolution of outstanding liens and medical bills following settlement.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT THE CLOUD LAW FIRM ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
Immediately! The attorney, Mia Cloud, will provide a Free Consultation and, if you retain us, get to work immediately on your case. The sooner the better. The at fault party’s insurer begins collecting information, documents, photographs, and conducting witness interviews right away. Don’t let them get there first. More importantly, if you wait too long, important evidence and witnesses will go missing. Call the Cloud Law Firm today!
HOW LONG DOES A PERSONAL INJURY CASE TAKE TO RESOLVE?
This depends on a lot of variables that are outside the client and attorney’s control, including: the client’s injuries and course of treatment, the amount of insurance coverage available, the number of parties and insurers involved, and the insurers’ willingness to discuss a reasonable settlement. The harder the insurance companies fight, the longer it takes. With these factors in mind, a standard personal injury case can take anywhere from months to years to complete. One of the reasons it takes so long is because it is unwise to settle before the accident victim substantially completes their treatment as you only get one bite at the apple and cannot go back for more later if it turns out you need additional treatment. Also, if the case goes into litigation, it can take more than a year to push the case through the congested court system.
WHAT ITEMS OF DAMAGES ARE YOU ENTITLED TO RECOVER?
Accident victims are generally entitled to recover the following types of damages: (1) MEDICAL BILLS: You are generally entitled to recover payment for all of your medical bills which are reasonable and causally related to the accident. This includes future medical costs which are necessitated by your injuries. (2) LOST WAGES: You are generally entitled to recover payment for all of your lost wages which are causally related to the accident. This includes wages lost in the past, as well as loss of future earning capacity. (3) PAIN AND SUFFERING: You are generally entitled to recover for all of your pain and suffering related to the accident, both past and future. Pain and suffering damages should not be considered lightly. Depending on the circumstances, pain and suffering awards can sometimes be quite significant. (4) OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES: You are entitled to recover all of your out of pocket expenses, including mileage to and from treating physicians and the costs associated with prescription medications. Be sure and keep track of these amounts as they can be difficult to reconstruct. (5) PUNITIVE DAMAGES: Under some circumstances, such as the case of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer for gross negligence and/or intentional acts. The Florida legislature has passed several statues which serve to define and limit the award of punitive damages. However, you should know that under proper circumstances, punitive damages are recoverable.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR CASE WORTH?
Your top priority should be your health. If you are in pain or are experiencing symptoms/limitations, you should seek medical treatment regardless of the potential positive or negative effects to the value of your claim. Setting that aside, the value of your case depends on numerous factors, such as the following: the facts of the accident (inflammatory facts makes the value go up), the degree to the victim shares comparative fault in causing the accident, the credibility and likeability of the parties and witnesses, the victim’s age, injuries, course of medical treatment, and future prognosis, the total medical bills, liens and write-offs, and may other factors. An experienced accident attorney will consider the circumstances of your case and help you evaluate the settlement value of your case.
DO YOU HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
Not always, but it is sometime necessary to obtain the maximum recovery. Many clients want to avoid going to court and we are generally able to secure a reasonable settlement offer without filing a lawsuit. However, insurance companies can be stubborn and sometimes a lawsuit must be filed before the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer. For instance, we recently handled a case in which we made a demand for $100,000 insurance policy limits. The insurance company for the at fault party offered only $8,000 to settle the case. We filed a lawsuit and quickly pushed the case toward trial. Just six months later, the insurance company tendered the $100,000 policy limits to our client. Nothing about the case changed, we simply had to force the insurance company to do the right thing. Please see our results for information about some of our settlements and verdicts.
HOW MUCH ARE THE CLOUD LAW FIRM’S FEES?
The Cloud Law Firm provides services to accident victims for a “contingent fee.” We get paid only if we win your case by obtaining a settlement or jury verdict in your favor. If we win your claim, the fee is 33.3% to 40% of the gross recovery, depending on whether we had to file a lawsuit to resolve your claim.
WHAT IF YOUR INJURY IS WORK RELATED?
If you have been injured at work the circumstances are typically different than in a standard personal injury case. When it is a workplace injury it is best to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Sebring, FL, or whatever community is closest to you.
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What Our Clients Are Saying:
“Attorney Cloud and her staff where wonderful! Attorney Cloud was professional yet caring of me and the situation. She was honest and open and did a great job with providing me options for my case. She walked me through the entire process with knowledge and experience and I was extremely pleased with the outcome! I would highly recommend Attorney Cloud if you have been physically injured!”
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Our Firm Serves all of Central Florida
The Cloud Law Firm serves clients throughout central Florida, including Citrus County, Desoto County, Hardee County, Highlands County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Lake County, Manatee County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Sarasota County, Sumter County, and their encompassed cities.