Frequently Asked Questions
"My settlement was for $1.25 million. The accident changed my life, and Tom made sure that my injuries were identified, and my interests protected."
"Tom's excellent negotiation skills at the near day long mediation brought us a $650,000 settlement."
"Their dedication and proactive strategy was vital in the successful resolution of my situation. Honesty and fairness are the cornerstones of this firm's core values."
We know that you have a question or two, so we've provided some of the most common answers here. Questions specific to your case? We'd love to chat, give us a call.
This is one of the hardest questions for a plaintiff's attorney to answer. Determining the worth of your personal injury claim will depend on the severity of your injuries, the details of the case, insurance limits and the identity of the defendant. A case's worth is based on five areas, assuming that the liability issue is straightforward. These areas include:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
There is no blueprint for determining a case's value; it is based on evidence, such as whether there are discrepancies in the testimony, medical records, or other pieces that may detract from the integrity of the injured party's case. However, based on our experience with past cases in Florida, we may be able to estimate the value of your case once we have gathered all medical records and statements and have an idea as to whether the client's physical and mental state has improved or worsened from the date of injury. The following factors will be considered when determining the amount of compensation owed for your injuries: the severity of your injuries; the details of your accident; your degree of fault; your employment history; your ability to work; and your life expectancy. The manner in which you obtain medical treatment, your lifestyle, and your litigation history will also be considered.
It's difficult to determine how long it will take to resolve a personal injury lawsuit. Each case is unique; therefore, no general timetable can be established for personal injury cases. A personal injury lawsuit may settle in a few months without the need for a trial, while others can take years to complete.
Some questions that may be asked during a deposition may include the following:
- What types of illnesses and injuries have you suffered from during the course of your life?
- Have you previously been involved in any other lawsuits or legal claims (i.e. workers compensation)?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
- Did you file an insurance claim?
- What is the nature of your injury?
- What is your job history?
- How has your injury affected your life?
- When was your last treatment?
An attorney can prepare you for a deposition by reviewing documents, such as police reports or medical records, which are related to your personal injury claim. He or she will also prepare you for questions that may be asked during the deposition and will be there during the questioning to assist you.
At Stathopoulos Law Group, we abide by the contingency fee contract, which is approved by the Florida Bar. This means that we will only collect if the case is successful. We accept a fixed percentage, typically one-third, of the recovery.
You should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Injury victims only have a short period of time to file a claim. Failure to file within this time period, known as the statute of limitations, can bar the victim from ever recovering compensation for their injuries.
To have a viable personal injury claim, the victim must have been injured from the negligence of another individual or entity. Negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others. If a person fails to act as a reasonable person would, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages.
It depends on your jurisdiction. In a few areas, individuals cannot recover compensation if their negligence partially contributed to their injuries. However, most jurisdictions maintain that victims can still receive compensation if they were partially at fault for their injuries. In these cases, the amount of compensation awarded to the victim may be decreased in accordance with the victim's degree of negligence.
To determine liability, it's important to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. More than one person may be responsible for your injuries. Depending on your type of personal injury, the liability may rest on a hospital, doctor, motor vehicle driver, truck driver, employer or drug manufacturer.
Before signing anything, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. If you sign a release, you may be unable to recover future damages. In some instances, the insurer may offer an early settlement, which may not fully compensate the victim, as he or she may still be unaware of the extent and future costs of their injuries.
Oftentimes, people are lacking insurance coverage, or their PIP benefits have been depleted. When this happens, medical facilities and doctors will sometimes accept a "letter of protection," which is a document allowing the patient to continue treatment without having to pay for it until a later date. Normally, there is no reimbursement made until the patient reaches a full recovery. It is essential that the client understands that if the case is not resolved in their favor, a letter of protection on file does not warrant them exemption from paying off their medical bills.
Many drivers believe they have full coverage, but are not insured under certain circumstances. There are several different types of insurance coverage, and failing to have a particular one may limit recovery. In many cases, our clients often find that even though they believe they have “full coverage,” they do not have underinsured or uninsured coverage, which will cover you in the event of an accident where the other party cannot pay. Contact your insurance company and discuss what coverage you have, when the coverage is applicable, and, if necessary, hire an attorney if you believe your insurance company is trying to avoid paying a valid claim.
If this is not the case, and you do have full insurance coverage, you may not be satisfactorily compensated because your insurance company wants to minimize payouts. There are often disagreements about specific language in your insurance contract, how much a claim is worth, and whether any other parties are involved who may be responsible. If other insurance or health insurance companies are involved, there may be disagreements over who is responsible for payment. These issues can cause serious delays in compensation.
When you've concluded your treatment of an injury with a doctor, we request a final narrative. At this time, the physician has determined that the patient has reached MMI, or maximum medical improvement. This means that the patient has reached a point where they are as healthy as they can be; they may not be in the condition that they were prior to the accident, but their health has stabilized. If that is the case, a doctor may assign the patient a permanent impairment rating according to American Medical Association guidelines. Although it is not necessary to have available during courtroom proceedings, car insurance companies may want access to the permanent impairment rating as part of their case evaluation.
Under Florida’s no-fault law, car owners are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. When choosing a plan, you have the option of paying a low monthly premium with no deductible—should you be in an accident. You also have the option of purchasing PIP insurance with deductibles ranging from $250 up to $2000. If you have a deductible, your premium will be higher, depending on the amount you choose. If you choose to have a deductible, you are agreeing to pay that amount up front in the event of an accident before the PIP insurance will begin coverage.
The act of filing legal papers at the courthouse is called "filing suit." The client gives the authorization to file suit after all other options have been exhausted during pre-suit. Over the last decade, the insurance industry has stepped up its aggressive defense of these cases, and the number of clients we are undertaking is steadily increasing. When a case is filed with the court, it does not necessarily mean you will be accompanying your lawyer to court. Most cases are able to be resolved before trials begin, but some still reach the courtroom.