Frequently Asked Questions
Click on any of the questions to get the answer.
- How Much is My Case Worth?
- How Much do I Have to pay?
- Who Decides Whether to Accept a Settlement Offer?
- How Will My Doctor Bills be Paid?
- How Will I pay My Living Expenses?
- Can My Attorney Loan Me Money While the Case is Pending?
- How Long Will My Case Take?
- What if I was in an Car Accident and I was not Wearing a Seatbelt?
- What if I was Injured in an Accident That was not My Fault, but I was Issued a Ticket?
- Do I Have to Attend Court Hearings and Depositions of Witnesses in My Case?
- How Many Days Will the Trial Take?
- Are You a Lawyer Referral Service?
- If I Have a Preexisting Injury Will That Effect How Much I can Recover?
- What is a Soft Tissue Case?
- Will the Jury Find out About a Criminal Conviction?
- If I was Injured on the job, can I sue My Employer?
- I Work for a Subcontractor and was Injured on the Job by Another Subcontracter. Can I sue the Subcontractor That Caused My Injuries?
1. How Much is My Case Worth?
ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. Factors that have to be considered are:
- The injuries you suffered.
- The amount of your medical bills.
- The estimated amount of your future medical bills. In severe cases, we hire a life care plan expert, along with your doctors and economist to testify as to the amount needed to care for you through the remainder of your expected life.
- The amount of time you have missed from work and how much time you will expect to miss in the future.
- The affect your injuries have on your activities of daily living.
- Whether the at-fault party has the ability to pay.
- Whether the at-fault party has insurance coverage.
- If the at-fault party does not have the ability to pay or no insurance or low policy limits, then in car accident cases we will examine your insurance to determine whether you purchased coverage referred to as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
- Whether you may be partially to blame for causing your own injuries. For example, if you were not wearing your seatbelt the jury may consider whether you would not have suffered some or all of your injuries if you had worn a seatbelt.
From the first meeting and throughout our representation, you should never hesitate to ask this question. We may not be able to give you a precise answer, but together we will identify your goals for the case.
2. How Much do I Have to pay?
ANSWER: We only charge if you receive a recovery. This is referred to as a contingency fee agreement. The Florida Bar Association Rule 4-1.5(f) provides guidelines for attorneys to follow. The Rule authorizes the following:
If Settled Before A Lawsuit is Filed:
Up to $1 million = 331/3%
$1 million to $2 million = 30%
Over $2 million = 20%
After A Lawsuit Is Filed And Defendant(s) Deny Liability:
Up to $1 million = 40%
$1 Million to $2 Million = 30%
Over $2 million = 20%
3. Who Decides Whether to Accept a Settlement Offer?
ANSWER: The decision is always 100% yours. If you receive a settlement offer, we will quickly communicate the offer to you and give you our advice as to whether to accept, reject or make a counteroffer. Keep in mind, we work for you. If you are not satisfied with an offer, you don’t have to accept it.
4. How Will My Doctor Bills be Paid?
ANSWER: If you cannot afford to pay or do not have insurance to pay, we will contact your doctors to work out a deferred payment agreement. This is referred to as a Letter of Protection. Once your case is resolved, the medical bills are paid from the recovery.
5. How Will I pay My Living Expenses?
ANSWER: If your injuries prevent you from working and you cannot afford to pay your monthly living expenses, there are several sources of money from your employer along with State and Federal assistance programs that you may be eligible to receive. They include:
- Personal Injury Protection (a/k/a PIP) Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Short Term Disability Insurance
- Long Term Disability Insurance
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Security Income
- Woman Infants & Children
- Temporary Cash Assistance
- Food Assistance Program
In addition, there are several companies that will lend you money based upon their estimated value of your case. The interest and fees that are assessed are very high. Accordingly, we typically counsel clients against utilizing these funding sources. However, if your circumstances necessitate borrowing money while your case is pending, we can help you select the right company to work with.
6. Can My Attorney Loan Me Money While the Case is Pending?
ANSWER: No, it is a violation of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. Except for advancing court costs and expenses of litigation, the Florida Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit lawyers from providing any financial assistance to a client.
Rule 4-1.8(e): A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that: (1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and (20 a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.
7. How Long Will My Case Take?
ANSWER: The amount of time it takes to handle your case depends upon the type of case and severity of your injuries. For example if you were in an car accident and suffer a broken wrist that has to be surgically repaired, then you are expected to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) is just a few months and a claim can be submitted very quickly. However, if you suffered a closed head injury, you may not reach MMI for up to a year or longer. This will determine when a claim is ready to be submitted. In car accident cases, the jury is not allowed to award you non-economic damages (i.e. pain & suffering) unless you suffer: (1) a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; or (2) a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; or (3) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement. Once you have reached MMI, then your doctor will be able to determine whether you have suffered a permanent disability, loss of important bodily function or permanent scarring or disfigurement. Accordingly, in most car accident cases, before a claim is submitted, you must wait until MMI is reached before submitting the claim.
8. What if I was in an Car Accident and I was not Wearing a Seatbelt?
ANSWER: If you were injured in a car accident and did not wear a seatbelt, this does not prevent you from pursuing a claim against the at fault driver. However, it may limit your recovery. Florida law requires that all drivers, passengers in the front seat and passengers that are under the age of 18 that are not in the front seat wear a seatbelt. If you were hurt in a car accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt the defense will be allowed to argue to the jury that your injuries were either caused or enhanced by the failure to wear a seatbelt.
9. What if I was Injured in an Accident That was not My Fault, but I was Issued a Ticket
ANSWER: First, do not argue with the officer. Be polite and calmly explain your version of what happened. If you are given a citation, we can go to court and fight it. Second, if you file a lawsuit to recover for your injuries, under Florida law, the jury is never permitted to hear about who was given a citation. The jury is the finder of fact. The jurors must come to their own conclusion as to who caused the accident, without being prejudiced by the findings of the law enforcement officer.
10. Do I Have to Attend Court Hearings and Depositions of Witnesses in My Case?
ANSWER: No. However, we will keep you informed of all of the events that will take place in your case. We encourage you to attend any of the hearings and depositions of the witnesses in your case.
11. How Many Days Will the Trial Take?
ANSWER: Most civil jury trials take 4 to 5 days. However, it may take substantially longer if your case involves complex issues of liability, causation of your injuries, or involves numerous litigating parties.
12. Are You a Lawyer Referral Service?
ANSWER: Absolutely Not. We refuse to pay the catchy jingle companies for referrals. Our referrals come from other lawyers, doctors and former clients that have a friend or relative that has been injured.
13. If I Have a Preexisting Injury Will That Effect How Much I can Recover?
ANSWER: The jury is permitted to know about your preexisting condition. However, it does not prevent you from obtaining a recovery if your preexisting condition has been aggravated due to the accident. In many car accident cases, injuries to the neck and back involve aggravation of a preexisting condition.
14. What is a Soft Tissue Case?
ANSWER: Insurance adjusters and the lawyers they hire like to refer to a case as as "soft tissue" case when your injuries involve the vertebral discs in your neck and back. By coining the phrase "soft tissue" they attempt to prejudice the jury into believing that your case does not involve serious injuries. It is a mistake for anyone to believe that a soft tissue injury is less painful or debilitating than a case involving a broken bone. Often times, broken bones can be repaired and will fully heal. However, a herniated disc in your neck or back cannot be repaired. It’s permanent, and can be extremely painful. When we take a case to trial, we will bring your doctors in front of the jury to fully explain your injuries. The doctors will have the use of models, posters and videos to show the jury that there is no such thing as a minor soft tissue case.
15. Will the Jury Find out About a Criminal Conviction?
ANSWER: When you are on the witness stand, the defense is allowed to cross examine you. During the cross examination, the Florida Evidence Code allows the defense to ask you whether you have been convicted of any felonies or crimes of dishonesty. If you answer yes, that is the end of the inquiry. However, prior to the trial, we meet with the judge assigned to the case and request that the judge enter an order preventing the defense lawyers from attempting to embarrass you at trial with irrelevant information. If the judge determines that the criminal conviction was too remote in time, or too prejudicial to your civil case, the judge will not allow the defense to bring it up at trial.
16. If I was Injured on the job, can I sue My Employer?
ANSWER: If your employer provides work comp insurance, in most cases you cannot sue your employer. However, if your employer did something that made it virtually certain that you would be injured or killed, then you may sue your employer.
17. I Work for a Subcontractor and was Injured on the Job by Another Subcontracter. Can I sue the Subcontractor That Caused My Injuries?
If the conduct of the other subcontractor rose to the level of gross negligence, and it was a substantial contributing cause of your injuries, then you may sue the other subcontractor.