Frequently Asked Questions for Personal Injury Claims
When someone sustains an injury because of another person’s negligent or wrongful actions, Florida law allows the injured party to recoup losses resulting from the injury. Sadly, the process of seeking compensation through a personal injury claim is not as simple as most people think. That’s why the Zimmet & Zimmet legal team has put together answers to some of the frequently asked questions about a personal injury to help you know what to expect.
By working on a contingency fee basis, personal injury attorneys only get paid a certain percentage if they win your case.
The amount of the contingency fee varies from one law firm to the next, but it’s generally in the 30 to 40 percent range (with 33 percent the most common arrangement).
Using a 33 percent contingency fee, here’s an example of how things may play out with a personal injury settlement in Florida:
If you receive an offer of $200,000 from the at fault party’s insurance company, you’ll receive $134,000 and your attorney will receive $66,000.
As noted above, if your attorney doesn’t win your case, you’re not on the hook for any costs.
The average cost of a personal injury lawyer varies from one lawyer and case to the next but in general, it takes into account two factors:
For example, if you receive a $200,000 settlement with a contingency fee arrangement of 33 percent, your personal injury attorney will receive $66,000.
With a contingency fee arrangement, you’re not taking any financial risk. If your attorney wins, you receive compensation; otherwise, you’re not responsible for paying any money.
Although you have the right to seek compensation without the assistance of an attorney, there are real benefits that make it worth getting a personal injury lawyer.
With the guidance of an experienced injury attorney, you’ll get answers to all the most important questions regarding your case. Additionally, your attorney will manage your case from beginning to end, which allows you and your family to focus on your health and physical recovery.
Your personal injury lawyer will handle all communications with the involved parties, including the at-fault individual’s insurance company, so you don’t have to stress about making a small mistake that possibly ruins your case.
When you add the fact that a personal injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, everything is working in your favor. There’s no risk on your end.
Personal injury lawyers take on a variety of cases, such as:
These are broad categories; many types of accidents fall under each one. For example, a car accident could include accidents caused by a drunk or distracted driver, rear-ended accidents, and more.
If you’re not sure what type of category your accident falls under, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help.
There’s a big difference between a “good” (reasonable) settlement offer and one that leaves much to be desired.
However, there’s no simple way to define exactly what is a good settlement offer, as it depends on many factors such as: the type of accident, the severity of injuries and other damages, and your ability to collect strong enough evidence to back up your claim.
One thing to remember is that insurance companies want you to settle your case for the smallest amount of money possible. Because of this, a good settlement offer doesn’t happen the first time around.
Considering these factors, it’s recommended to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can collect the right evidence for your claim and negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies to get you a good settlement offer.
If you’re negotiating with the other party’s insurance company, a settlement will typically be paid out in the form of a check. In most cases, this check will go to your attorney first.
Your attorney will take their percentage, deduct any applicable legal fees and expenses, and then forward the appropriate remaining amount to you.
After receiving a settlement, you’ll sign a release that absolves the defendant and their insurance company from any additional liability. This is why you should think long and hard about accepting a “final payment” from an insurance company.
Filing a personal injury claim does not cost you any money up front. You only pay afterwards if your attorney wins your case.
Of course, this doesn’t mean there are no expenses associated with making a personal injury claim but these will be covered by your personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will spend money in a variety of ways with the goal of winning your case so that both of you receive compensation. These expenses can include hiring experts, investigating the accident, and administrative work. Again, you don’t have to pay any of these fees up front.
If you’re moving forward with a personal injury claim, your primary financial focus should be on the total amount of your settlement or jury award.
If you want to hire a good personal injury lawyer, some of the steps you can take to improve your odds of success include:
Once you find a good personal injury lawyer, review the agreement they present to you. This will ensure that you’re familiar with the terms and conditions of your arrangement, including the contingency fee.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, pain and suffering can be a big part of your settlement. However, obtaining compensation for pain and suffering is challenging because it’s difficult to calculate exactly how much money you should receive for this type of damages.
Thankfully, you can rely on a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine how much money you can sue for pain and suffering. As a general rule of thumb, 5x the amount of out-of-pocket damages is a good jumping-off point but you may be able to ask for more.
The best time to hire a personal injury lawyer is immediately after an accident where you suffered losses due to another person’s negligence.
The sooner you consult with a lawyer, the sooner he or she can preserve evidence for your claim, determine the full value of your case, and begin negotiations with the insurance company in your favor.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to manage the accident claims process on your own, as insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of you. Hire a personal injury attorney early on to protect your legal rights and pursue maximum compensation.
As noted above, it’s not easy to collect compensation for pain and suffering, as placing a monetary value on this type of damage is challenging. Generally, there are two ways to calculate pain and suffering damage:
There are three types of damages associated with a personal injury case:
The circumstances of your accident, injuries, and damages will determine the types of compensation that you can pursue.
A personal injury is any injury that results from the negligence of another party. Here are some examples of personal injuries:
Even if you feel okay after an accident, always seek medical attention to see if you have any internal or hidden injuries. Sometimes these types of invisible injuries don’t manifest until days, weeks, or months after an accident. Make sure to see a doctor and keep all medical records.
The only way to know for sure if your accident qualifies as a personal injury case is to consult with an experienced attorney near you who is familiar with the local laws regarding personal injury.
Your attorney will review your personal injury case and collect information to help determine if you should move forward in filing a claim.
There’s a lot that goes into winning a personal injury case, such as proving that you suffered losses as a result of someone else’s negligent actions. Proving this can be extremely difficult so speak with an attorney to make sure you have a strong enough case.
A bodily injury claim is a request for compensation related to physical injuries, such as broken bones or a concussion.
Generally, bodily injury claims cover medical expenses and lost wages, typically paid out by your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If you’re seeking compensation for a bodily injury claim, be sure to take these steps:
While bodily injury and personal injury appear to be the same, there’s one major difference.
Bodily injury describes a type of damage you can collect compensation for, while a personal injury is a type of claim that you file.
Think about it this way: bodily injury entails any damages suffered in an accident. (You’ll also see this phrase in insurance policies, as it refers to a specific type of coverage.) On the other hand, personal injury describes a type of civil court claim filed against a negligent party.
There’s no guaranteed way to win a personal injury claim, but there are steps you can take to improve your odds.
In addition to consulting with a personal injury lawyer, the following steps can strengthen your chances of winning a personal injury claim:
These steps will put you on the path to building a strong personal injury claim and receiving maximum compensation.
If your personal injury attorney wins your case, you want to receive money from the settlement as soon as possible.
While many factors impact exactly how long it takes, you should expect to receive your compensation within eight weeks.
But remember, your payout may go to your attorney first. They will process the compensation by deducting their contingency fee percentage as well as any legal fees and expenses, and then send you the remaining money based on your agreement.