There is no law that says you must hire – or be provided with the services of – a personal injury lawyer. However, if you have suffered serious injuries, it’s important to understand that the legal rules implicated in many Florida personal injury cases can be complex. In some instances, insurance companies refuse to settle in good faith. In trying to handle the matter on your own without the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer, you may soon find that you’re in over your head. Worse, it can cost you more than the attorney’s fees you’d pay.
The civil justice system makes personal injury representation more accessible by stipulating that Florida injury cases must be accepted on a contingency fee basis. What that means is plaintiff’s don’t pay attorney’s fees up front – or at all if they don’t win. Attorneys have incentive to be honest with you about the merits of your case, the extent of your damages and your chances at winning a favorable settlement or verdict.
That said, you might not need an attorney, particularly if your injuries are very minor. An injury lawyer will tell you will tell you upfront in a free initial consultation whether you can benefit from their services – or not.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do, Exactly?
An injury lawyer has many functions in civil tort cases. These include:
- Providing advice. The legal system can be a bureaucratic beast for someone who isn’t familiar with it. We can help.
- Explaining your rights. You may not realize how many individuals/businesses owed you a responsibility to use greater care. You may not recognize the potential for numerous claims. You may not grasp how much money you are actually entitled to claim. And chances are, you probably don’t know how to prove it all or establish that the defense’s evidence is suspect. This is where our objective, knowledgeable perspective and negotiation experience proves extremely helpful.
- Leveling the playing field. You can bet that the insurance company, grocery store, product maker, trucking company, hospital, etc. is going to have the benefit of a strong legal defense with experience. If you’re hoping for fair resolution, you should have the same.
We commit to being your investigator, your negotiator, your advocate and your voice. We file motions, conduct depositions (sworn questioning of witnesses), scrutinize insurance policies, track down and review your medical records, assess your damages, file any necessary claims forms, negotiate with insurers, guide you through mediation, prepare the complaint, create trial exhibits, represent you in court and determine if an appeal is necessary.
Signs You Should Hire a Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer
If your damages are minimal and you have no serious injuries and the monetary offer the insurance company makes seems reasonable, you may not need a South Florida injury lawyer. However, there are some scenarios for which it is almost imperative that you hire one. Some of those include:
- Your injuries are serious. The extent of your damages is going to depend heavily on how badly you were hurt, how high your medical bills are and how long it takes you to recover. But that doesn’t always mean those involved are eager to pay you what you’re owed. It’s important to hire a lawyer who can make sure you receive the total amount of compensation you deserve from all responsible parties.
- Your injuries disabling long-term or permanently. If you have to take more than a couple weeks off work, if you’ve been hospitalized or broken a bone that’s going to take months to heal or suffered some kind of disfigurement or loss of function – you should talk to a lawyer. The initial consultation should be free, and should give you an idea of the strength of your case and extent of your damages.
- It’s not clear who was at fault or there are multiple parties involved. In general, the more people who are claiming injuries from the same incident, the more complicated it’s going to be to resolve. If liability (fault) is not clear or if you are accused of being at least partially to blame (which can reduce your damage award), it’s best to hire an injury lawyer to handle it.
- The insurer won’t pay or is engaging in bad faith. Bad faith insurance, as outlined in F.S. 624.155(1), is a serious problem. It occurs when an insurer denies a legitimate claim for no reason, tries to get injured parties to settle for far less than a case is worth and generally doesn’t conduct its business fairly and honestly.
If you are questioning whether you should hire a lawyer, chances are good it’s worth at least consulting with one or two to help you make your decision.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
When Do I Need a Lawyer? June 7, 2018, American Bar Association
More Blog Entries:
Exploring High Tech Florida Truck Accident Investigations, May 15, 2020, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Blog