We don’t just care about personal injury law.
We care about you.
Don’t you hate having to wait for your insurance settlement?
It can be terrible when the insurance company constantly makes lowball settlement offers. It doesn’t have to be that way. We have helped hundreds of people recover the full compensation they deserve for their injury claims. We want to help you.
We don’t just care about personal injury law.
We care about you.
Don’t you hate having to wait for your insurance settlement?
It can be terrible when the insurance company constantly makes lowball settlement offers. It doesn’t have to be that way. We know how to fix this problem. We have helped hundreds of people recover the full compensation they deserve for their injury claims. We want to help you.
Perenich The Law Firm
Address: 111 2nd Avenue NE #360, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The St. Petersburg, FL personal injury attorneys at PERENICH The Law Firm are experienced, well-qualified, and offer you professional help and the personal attention you deserve. We are an established law practice that always puts client service and the unique needs of each client first.
Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL
After an accident that leaves you injured, you may be feeling frustrated that you are drowning in medical bills and are unable to go back to work because someone else was careless. We understand and we’re here to guide you through your case.
Accidents We Represent
At Perenich The Law Firm, our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL handled a wide variety of personal injury cases and have deep and extensive expertise in each category. If you are suffering injuries from any of the following incidents or accidents, you may be eligible for compensation and we encourage you to set up a free consultation with us as soon as possible. We handle:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bike accidents
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites
- Construction accidents
- Wrongful death
- Nursing home negligence
- Boating accidents
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
Each of these accidents carry with it their own unique set of injuries. They range from minor injuries such as bruises or cuts, all the way to the worst injuries including paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and in the worst of the worst cases, death. What you should be aware of in cases where there is a surviving victim, your compensation will go up in relation to how severe your injuries are. You will be compensated in a way that covers your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
First Steps After an Accident
The very first thing you should do after an accident, and probably will want to do, is seek medical attention. There are some instances where people get in an accident of some sort and try to shake it off and get on with their day. They walk away from the scene of the accident and ignore the pain they’re in. That is a huge mistake. Not only are you risking your wellbeing, you’re risking losing any compensation. An essential part of determining how much your case is worth revolves around the state of your wellbeing. A doctor needs to document your condition and your treatment plan. If you go to the insurance without ever having seen a doctor, they could throw away your case. They’ll say you couldn’t possible be all that injured if you’ve avoided seeking medical treatment.
After an accident, there is evidence that you need to document. If it’s an auto accident, there might be tire marks on the road. If it’s a slip and fall, there might be a liquid that you slipped on. If it’s a dog bite, there may be a broken gate the animal escaped from. Every accident has a cause and you need to do your due diligence to document it. Whether you do it yourself, having a police officer on the scene do it, or call upon a friend or even an Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL to do it for you, it is an essential step. The only reason you would not be able to do it yourself is if you are too injured to take photos and videos of the scene. Either that or you were taken in an ambulance. In those instances, you will have to rely on help from others.
Do Not Delay
A successful case is both well-planned and prepared timely. When you are told not to delay, that doesn’t necessarily mean to rush through the process. What you need to know is that in Florida, after most accidents you have a statute of limitations of four years from the date of the accident to bring your claim. Now, if you were to procrastinate and talk to Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL three and a half years after your accident, your case will not be as strong or as valid as it would be if you called Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL a few days after your accident. Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you should take it. Your witnesses will forget what happened to you after a few years. Your evidence could complete disappear after a few weeks. If you were injured on a construction site, even waiting a few days could be detrimental to your case if it’s an active site that changes daily. Also be aware that if you’re involved in an accident with a government entity such as a government bus, or slipping on government property, your statute of limitations may be shorter. To be sure, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to get them on your case with plenty of time to make it a success.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
There is one big misconception that you should be aware of. If, for instance, you are pursuing a slip and fall claim or a dog bite claim at a friend or acquaintance’s house, you might be worried about having to bring a lawsuit against them. That is a huge misconception with these cases. You’re not actually suing your friend, you’re pursuing an award from their insurance company. This money is not coming out of your friend’s pocket. Their insurance company is providing them coverage, and they bought coverage for these exact reasons. There’s nothing to feel guilty about if you have a reason to bring a claim.
The people you need to be concerned with are the insurance adjusters. The person they designate to take your case is more than likely going to talk to you after the accident and ask for a recorded statement. The worst thing you can do is comply. This is not like a job interview where you’re trying to sell yourself. The questions the insurance adjuster asks you is going to very much be designed to get answers from you that will paint you in an unfavorable light. They want to get you to back yourself in a corner and take the blame for the accident. They are not looking to help you out, they’re looking to deny or reduce your claim. The best thing you can do is refer them to your Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL.
St. Petersburg, FL Compensation Laws
Florida follows pure comparative negligence rules which basically means you can collect a reward even if you are 99% at fault for your accident. If you were to be found 99% at fault, that means you only get to collect 1% of the compensation you are rewarded. An example of how this rule works would be if you were walking across the street, and you glanced at your phone after you looked both ways, but a car blows a stop sign coming around the corner, didn’t see you and you didn’t see them. Let’s say in that case you’re 20% at fault. Then your injuries are awarded $100,000. You would be collecting $80,000 to account for your part in the accident. With the help of a skilled Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL, they will reduce or eliminate fault on your end of the accident and help you get full and fair compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
I’ve been asked about what steps there are involved in a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. It’s important, first of all, that a person who’s injured in an accident gets medical treatment. The next thing to do is begin to protect legal rights by retaining an experienced Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL who can prosecute the case. Along the case, the person will be getting medical treatment and the Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL will be investigating the claim, gathering medical records and then ultimately engaging in a dialogue with the insurance companies to negotiate with the claim. If those efforts are unsuccessful, then an experienced trial attorney won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit and take the case all the way to a jury trial if necessary.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
I’ve been asked, “Is it okay to give a recorded statement to the insurance company?” The answer is unequivocally no. Do not engage in a dialogue with the insurance company. The insurance company has one goal, and that is to settle the claim with the least amount of effort and money. Some of them will send investigators right to the scene with a check in hand to offer to the client. Don’t take that money and don’t communicate with the insurance company. It’s better that you contact Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL first so that we can talk about your case, and we will assist in a discussion with the insurance company to protect your interests.
What If an Attorney Dropped My Case?
There are a host of reasons why an attorney may discharge a client, and sometimes the attorney ethically cannot even reveal all of those reasons. For example, in the situation of a conflict of interest, an attorney has an affirmative duty to discharge a client and to keep any information he or she may have learned in the prosecution of the case confidential. Don’t assume just because you’ve been dropped by your attorney that that means you don’t have a viable case. Please give us a call. Let’s sit down, talk about your case, and determine whether or not this is something that we should take on and prosecute.
Can I Be Compensated for Emotional Damages?
Florida Law allows for people who’ve been injured by the negligence of others to recover all of their losses. Commonly, we think about that in terms of monetary losses including missed time at work and medical bills. Many times, people come to our firm and they don’t even want to talk about their accident because they’ve suffered horrendous emotional trauma because of an injury. An injury can be extremely painful, limit your lifestyle, and it can affect your relationships. All those things are what we call the emotional damages. All of the emotional damages are fully compensable under Florida law in a personal injury action.
Our job is to work them up. We want to have mental health counselors or therapists help document those losses and talk to the other family members and see how sometimes an injury can change the personality of our clients, and it has a ripple effect that can be adverse and reach far into the future. Our job, when we have a personal injury claim, is to make sure that we get compensation for all the damages, including the emotional damages.
Is There a Minimum Amount of Medical Bills?
A client once asked me if there was a minimum amount of medical bills that one has to have in order to prosecute a claim for personal injury. The answer is that there’s really no legal minimum. A person can be injured and they can have all of their medical bills paid for by health insurance, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a claim. The most important thing that a person can do when they’re injured in an accident is to get medical help, regardless of what that person may think the cost would be. The next step is to get an experienced Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL who can help investigate and prosecute the claim.
How Long Do We Have to Resolve the Claim?
When I meet with new clients, one of the main questions I get asked is, “How long will it take for my case to get resolved?” That can be a complex question to answer.
In general, when we represent people on personal injury cases, we have a four-year statute of limitations that applies. A different statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice claims and some other claims as well. We want to make sure, when we pursue that claim, that we know within reasonable certainty what harms, losses, and damages you have sustained. We also need to know that, to be able to show what the long-lasting effects of the injuries are, and how those losses and injuries will impact a person’s life in the future and their future earning capacity.
We want to be able to make those determinations so what we tell our clients is, as soon as we have a very solid idea and we’re able to determine what your losses are from the injuries that you have sustained, then we’re going to be in a position to pursue the claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. In general, that might take a year or less. Sometimes it can take up to two years. Sometimes, if the case is quite complicated, it can take longer than two years.
We want to make sure that, when we decide to pursue the claim and file our demand with the insurance company, that we have a very good understanding of what your losses are, how those injuries affect you in your day-to-day life, in your relationships with your family, and in your occupation. Those are the things that we’re going to want to know, and when we have a very good understanding of what that is; we’re going to be able to pursue that claim.
What if I Have Preexisting Conditions?
Many people misunderstand preexisting conditions to mean that once you’ve been injured in that part of your body, you can never make a claim for any other injury from that point going forward. The fact that somebody has suffered an injury does not insulate them against future injury.
If you have been subjected to injury because of trauma to any part of your body, that part of your body is not stronger because of the injury, it’s made weaker, which means that it’s more vulnerable to being injured even worse by subsequent trauma. Contrary to the idea from the insurance companies that somehow once somebody has a preexisting condition or preexisting injury, that they’re insulated from injury, they are actually made vulnerable to greater injury, and the extent that we can prove that trauma has caused a worsening of a condition, aggravation or exacerbation of a condition.
A client who has a bad back, but has never been given a surgical recommendation before gets in an automobile accident in St. Petersburg, and then the doctor says they have to have surgery. It doesn’t matter that they had a bad back before, that surgery and all the medical expenses associated from the new accident are completely compensable, regardless as to whether or not the client had preexisting conditions.
Can I Switch Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL?
I’ve been asked if a client can change his or her attorney midway through the prosecution of the case. The answer is yes, absolutely. The client is the one who owns the case. The client has the absolute right to accept a settlement offer that’s been proposed and has the absolute right to know all of the settlement offers that have been put on the table, and to instruct the Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL whether or not to accept the settlement. Attorneys have to take their marching orders from clients, and it’s important that a client is comfortable with his or her Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL. One of the things that sets us apart is that we make sure that the client is informed on all aspects of the case.
Should I Take the First Settlement Offer?
You may be unsure if you need Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL if you have received a call from the insurance company of the negligent person who caused your injury, and they made an offer. You may think that offer is good enough and that there really doesn’t have to be anything else. What you may not understand is that there are certain consequences of accepting an offer from an insurance company, not to mention that the insurance company is never going to pay anything close to full and fair value on a claim.
As Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL, we have a reputation of prosecuting our claims fully and completely, including going to court and having the jury determine the value of a claim, not the insurance company. That’s important to understand, because the insurance company who talks to an un-represented client thinks they can get away with something before Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL from our firm can come in and assess the true value of the loss.
It takes time to understand the extent of the injuries, and how those injuries are going to affect somebody. Keep in mind, when you settle a claim, you don’t get to come back in five years and say, “I didn’t know that my doctor was going to tell me that I needed surgery.” We’re going to make sure that we’re accounting for all of the damages that will affect somebody, not just in the present but for the rest of their life. It’s a very bad idea to even consider accepting a claim that is just offered from the insurance company the first time.
Will I Have to Testify in Court?
You may wonder, “If my case goes to trial, will I have to testify?” Sometimes that question is based on the client’s anxiety about getting up in front of people and having to go into a courtroom and open up their life and testify. What I tell my clients is to not worry about that; we’re going to be with you every step of the way. If your case does go to trial, there is a very good chance that we will be putting you on the witness stand to testify. I tell my clients that it’s very simple – all you have to do is tell the truth. That is what the jury is looking for, and your credibility and honesty will shine through in that courtroom.
You’re going to know exactly what the questions are going to be, not only from me, but you’re going to have an excellent understanding and idea what the opposing attorney will be asking you as well. There’s nothing to fear when you have the truth on your side. There’s no need for any worry or anxiety.
Will My Injury Case Go to Trial?
You may be curious if your case will go to trial. We’re not going to know that until we know more about your case. We take great pride in doing everything possible to try to resolve a case without it having to go to trial. Trials are time consuming, expensive, and many clients don’t want to go through the process of a jury trial. However, we don’t know right away if the insurance company is going to be reasonable and understanding.
If they don’t accept your damages, for whatever reason, and it’s an unwarranted position, then we will indeed recommend that we file a lawsuit. Many times when we file lawsuits, the cases don’t end up going to trial. We go through alternative dispute resolution, which is mediation or arbitration to trying to avoid trial. It’s required under many circuit civil cases that we undertake, and we’re doing everything we can to try to avoid putting our client in the risk of having to go through a trial.
Nonetheless, we will indeed go to trial. We try cases frequently, and we’re going to do everything we can in a courtroom to prevail if that case does go to trial. We’re not going to know the answer to that question at the beginning of the case, but we’ll have a better understanding of the answer to that question as the case progresses and as we learn whether the insurance company is going to be reasonable and understanding and paying proper, reasonable compensation for your losses, injuries, and for how those injuries have affected you.
Call Our St. Petersburg, FL Office Today
If you were hurt in an accident, please call our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL today for a free consultation! We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Car Accident Lawyers St. Petersburg, FL
Car accidents are terribly serious and can leave you too injured to return to your normal life and that can be really frustrating. If you are feeling worried about your physical wellbeing and your financial stability, you probably want to pursue a car accident claim. We want to guide you through that legal process to a successful outcome.
Here in the St. Petersburg, FL Area, and especially along dangerous roads like U.S. Hwy. 19, Interstate 4, and Dale Mabry, the most common reasons for catastrophic car accidents often include driver inattention due to cell phones and blatant disregard of traffic laws. In the worst cases, drivers are inebriated by alcohol or drugs and have recklessly decided to put innocent motorists at risk by getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. While unsafe road conditions such as dense fog, heavy rains or brush fires are often contributing factors to auto accidents, of all the reasons the most common factor is simply driver negligence.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL at PERENICH The Law Firm have devoted their professional careers to representing the innocent victims of auto accidents. Our car wreck attorneys are dedicated to restoring your life and the hope of a bright future. As practicing Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL, we’re acutely skilled and experienced in all types of automobile accident cases, even those involving whiplash, paralysis, permanent disability and death.
First Steps to Follow After an Accident
After an accident, the top priority should always be your safety and your health. If you are able to, move your car to a safe location away from traffic, but near the scene of the accident. Getting the police on the scene right away to secure the evidence and make sure everyone is safe is important. If you are not whisked away on an ambulance and your injuries aren’t life threatening, it is important to take photos, videos, and collect names and information from witnesses and the other driver(s). You want to secure this information for your claim to be successful. If you are seriously injured and cannot do this, a police officer, friend, or Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL can do it for you.
After you have left the scene of the accident with your evidence and information, and you need to see a doctor. Do not skip this vital step to start treatment for your injuries. It also is important because you want medical proof of your injuries to show the insurance company you deserve compensation. After this, you should call an experienced attorney to take on your case.
You want to ensure that you act quickly on all of this because there is a statute of limitations you need to be considerate of. In Florida, it’s a little bit longer but that does not mean you should wait longer. From the date of your accident, you have four years to get your claim brought or to have it settled. If your accident was with a government vehicle, you may have a shorter statute of limitations. Once this time limit runs out, you will lose your right to a claim and compensation.
Rear End Accidents
The most common motor vehicle accident is the rear-end accident. This usually results when a vehicle slows or stops for traffic on the road, and the driver behind him fails to stop in time, and crashes into the back of the vehicle in front of him.
Florida law previously recognized a presumption of negligence on the part of the driver of the rear-ending motor vehicle. With this presumption, the rear-end accident victim had a head start on proving that the rear-ending motor vehicle operator was negligent, and therefore would be held responsible for the injuries caused to the occupant of the vehicle that was impacted from behind. The idea was that automobile drivers have the responsibility to be on the lookout for traffic in front of them. This concept recognized that the driver in the front wouldn’t be able to prevent an accident that resulted from what happened with the motor vehicle that was behind him.
However, in recent years, this presumption has been eliminated. Florida law recognizes the legal concept of comparative fault. In short, this means that when an accident results, the cause of the accident can be shared by more than one person and that not every driver is necessarily either 100% at fault or 0% blameless.
Although many times, an accident happens because of the sole and exclusive fault of one driver, there are many instances when fault can be shared and a jury is charged with the task of apportioning the fault to more than one person, even the victim who had the least responsibility in the circumstances that led to his or her injuries.
With Florida now embracing comparative fault, the courts have decided that the presumption of fault for rear-end accidents no longer applies. If a rear-end accident happens, a jury should consider whether or not the vehicle in front contributed to causing the accident in any way.
So, now insurance companies who should be taking full responsibility for their policyholders who cause rear-end accidents, and they look for any way to avoid taking responsibility and instead blame the innocent injured person.
Texting While Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents, and as the prevalence of texting has increased, this percentage has continued to increase. Texting and driving is incredibly dangerous and puts lives in jeopardy. Texting and driving is illegal in the state of Florida. This type of distracted driving leads to, at the very least, a traffic citation, and at the very worst, an injurious or fatal accident.
Obviously, keeping your eyes on the road is the best way to avoid an auto accident. Unfortunately, you can’t control everyone else on the road. One driver’s foolish mistakes can dramatically impact one’s life. It is important that your rights are upheld when you or someone you love has become a victim of an auto accident caused due to a texting driver.
A driver needs cognitive focus, manual focus, and visual focus to be fully in control of their motor vehicle. Texting while driving means that the driver does not have both hands on the wheel, and their attention is not focused on the road where it belongs. These two distractions reduce awareness and reaction time.
When someone else’s texting and driving negligence has caused an accident, it is important that the victim’s rights are upheld and justice is served. Florida’s distraction law states that an individual should not be texting and driving. If negligent behavior causes you or a loved one pain, injury, or death, then you should be fairly compensated.
Passenger in an Auto Accident
Being a passenger in an auto accident is devastating. You had no control over what happened and now you probably feel like you are at the whims of an auto insurance company with which you have no connection. Being a passenger in an automobile accident allows you the same rights as any other parties involved. The most important things an auto accident passenger can do is ask questions and document the accident. If no one involved in the accident wants the call the police, call the police yourself. Without a police report of the accident it will be very hard to get an insurance company to pay for your injuries.
Talking to the Insurance Company
If you are worried about ruining your case before it really even gets started, you need to know that the worst thing you can do is make a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company adjuster. They will be calling you right after your accident and, without a doubt, they are looking to get answers out of you that will wash their hands clean of any responsibility for the accident. You might think you’re being helpful by talking to them, but they’re looking out for themselves, not you, and they will do whatever it takes to drop your claim or reduce the amount of compensation they owe you.
Available Compensation Options
There are two avenues available to you for compensation when you’re in a car crash in Florida. We are one of the few states who practice no-fault. That is a type of insurance that you will have on your own policy that will give you compensation for your medical expenses, your lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. This is available to you regardless of who caused the accident.
If the crash ended in serious injury and no-fault won’t cover your injuries, only then you can pursue a claim against the other driver. The exact definition of “serious injury” needs to be hammered out with Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL. But after that, you are allowed to bring on a car accident claim. When you seek compensation through a claim, there are rules that can reduce your award. However, Florida allows for you to get compensation even if you are almost entirely at fault through pure comparative negligence. The way this works is that if you were deemed to be 15% at fault for your accident and you are awarded $10,000, you would be able to take $8,500 of that award.
The types of possible injuries in a car accident include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord damage
The list certainly extends past this and what you should know is that the worse your injuries are, the more you may be compensated. Just to reiterate, it is extremely difficult to pursue a car accident claim if you don’t get your injuries looked at. The insurance is hounding for ways to reject your claim and that would be the easiest thing to turn you down for. Even if you go to urgent care, general practitioner, or the ER, you need to get your injuries treated.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Pick the Best Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL?
You may be asking yourself, “How do I know if I’ve selected the absolute best Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL?” You should look at the person’s web page, check out their experience, and their history. Someone who comes right out of law school may or may not appreciate all the nuances that are involved in a car accident case.
Some Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL may spend a lot of money advertising on radio, television, or billboards. That does not make them the best Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL. We take special pride in how much we care about our clients. We want to help them in the best way possible. We aggressively approach the case, not just in terms of collecting evidence, but also in terms of our discussions with the adjusters and our presentation of the case at trial.
What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
You may be wondering, “What are the main steps that we need to undertake to be able to pursue this claim successfully?” You need to get good medical care and treatment for your injuries. Not just for your case but because you need to know that your health is way more important than your wealth. We want to make sure that you are getting good medical care and treatment by the very best medical professionals in the community here. We’re going to be discussing that with you to make sure that indeed you are getting that medical care and treatment, and you’re following a plan of care.
Then step two is allowing us to analyze what that medical care and treatment is to determine what your losses are. Finding out if your injuries will be permanent is important because if you don’t have a permanent injury physical scarring, or loss of an important bodily function, then you’re not going to be entitled to your non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are your pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, any resulting disfigurement, or loss of the capacity for you to enjoy your life in your normal lifestyle. Then the third step is putting that together. The insurance company demands a comprehensive demand to the insurance company for the at-fault party to try to resolve your claim. We want to do everything that we can to make sure that we are presenting every piece of information to that insurance adjuster and to the claim adjuster to make sure that they understand what your injuries, losses, and damages are.
Only then will we be in a position to try to resolve your case. If we can’t, then we file a lawsuit with your permission. If the case ends up going to trial, we’re going to be there with you every step of the way to prevail and ensure that we have done everything to make sure that you have received your reasonable, justifiable compensation for your losses and injuries.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When I meet with new clients, I am frequently asked how much an automobile accident injury claim is worth. When we look at that, we’re not going to have a complete understanding when we meet with the client at the very beginning of the case. What I would tell you if you were asking me that question is we’re going to need to know the extent of your injuries. We’re going to need to know if those injuries are of a permanent nature. Is there a mental anguish or phycological component to those injuries where there’s mental suffering because of that? Sometimes that’s something that happens when a person has physical injuries.
We’re also going to look to see how much the medical bills and expenses are that you owe for incurring reasonable and appropriate medical care and treatment. We’re going to have to have a reasonable estimation of what the future costs for those injuries are to medically and appropriately treat them.
We’re going to also be looking to see what economic losses you have suffered. Have you missed work? Has this resulted in you being unable to perform your job to the level that you were performing it before you were injured in that auto accident?
It’s impossible to give a specific answer of the value of that auto injury claim at the very beginning of the case, but as we work on the case and have a better understanding of what your injuries and losses are, we’re going to be able to project to you what the value of that claim is.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Sometimes the reason why clients call us is because they realize that they’re going to be faced with medical bills that they didn’t plan for and they’re concerned about that. We prosecute these claims in the St. Petersburg, FL area. We will recover the payment of medical bills from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That can be a lot of different things. It can be even with one’s own insurance company through uninsured motorist coverage.
Under no circumstances will we ever give up on making sure that our client’s medical bills are properly paid for by the responsible party. That means that our clients should not worry about the medical bills, and they should focus on getting better and taking care of themselves and their family through this difficult time. Let us worry about getting your medical bills paid for.
How Long Will This Case Take?
Every time I meet with a client, one of the questions that always comes up is, “How long is this process going to take?” That depends on a lot of different things. One of the most important considerations for our firm is making sure that we maximize our client’s damages. We want to make the biggest recovery that we can.
We want to get complete and total compensation for all the losses that our client has suffered in an automobile accident claim. That means that the client has to take the time to get good medical care. That medical care is part of the investigation of your injuries; what they are, and what those injuries are going to mean for you in the future.
Typically, you would hope that you’d get a handle on that in four to six months, but in all cases, it’s not the same. Our firm is not in any hurry to try to make that decision if it’s going to mean less value to our client. Our fundamental focus is to give the client the opportunity to get full medical care at least to the extent that we have a very good handle on all of their injuries and all of the future medical needs that will go along with those injuries. Of course, sometimes it can take years. You need to hire a law firm that understands this and is willing to take the time and be patient to assist a client for what can be a very long process.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
One of the first questions clients have is, “How long do we have to file the case?” In Florida, if you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, in general, we have four years to properly and timely file the claim. That means that we have four years from the date of the accident to file the claim, or an action in court. There’s an extra year that will apply if we’re pursuing your own insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits because there is a five-year statute of limitations that applies in an uninsured motorist claim.
An uninsured motorist claim applies when the at-fault party’s insurance is not enough to fully pay your damages for your injuries. In the event that you have uninsured motorists or underinsured motorist coverage, then that will apply as well. The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a claim for automobile accident injuries is four years from the date of the accident.
Are My Lost Wages Covered?
I am commonly asked whether or not somebody’s lost wages can be compensated when they’ve been injured in an automobile accident. It’s a good question because most people, unfortunately, can’t go one or two weeks without a paycheck. The challenge, of course, when there’s an injury claim and the injury has prevented our client from working is, “How are they going to be able to pay their bills while they wait for their personal injury claim to develop?”
There’s an answer. Florida is a no-fault state. Under the Florida no-fault law, your medical bills can be reimbursed up to a certain amount, as well as your lost wages. That’s important to know. If a client is in a vulnerable situation where missing a week or two of a paycheck can have dire consequences for them, it’s really the responsibility of the Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL to advise the client that they have a right to reserve money on their no-fault coverage to pay for lost wages.
If the no-fault money, which is $10,000 in the state of Florida, all goes to pay medical bills, and my client ends up being evicted from their home or having their electricity turned off, it doesn’t matter whether they got good medical care or not if they can’t take care of themselves or their family. You can talk to the insurance company adjuster on the no-fault side and ask that they set aside a set amount of money so that when you present lost income and the lost wages, you can be compensated and continue to take care of your family.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
Sometimes I’m asked what the big mistakes are that people make when they’re involved in car accidents here in Florida. It’s heartbreaking to see these mistakes. One thing that a person can do is delay medical treatment. That is sometimes fatal to a case.
Ultimately, we have to prove to either an adjuster or to a jury that you’ve been injured. The best way to do that is through the medical documentation. The person who turns away the ambulance or decides that they don’t have time to go to the hospital can be making a big mistake. Sometimes we don’t always understand how badly we’ve been injured when the adrenaline is still flowing right after the accident. Sometimes it takes time for our body to finally feel and experience the pain and suffering that has been inflicted upon us by the other driver’s inattentiveness.
Another big mistake is to not hire the right Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL. There are many Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL out there who do personal injury law, but not many appreciate all the nuances that it involves. I’ve seen many situations that I wish I could get in a time machine and have the client do things differently.
What Do I Do If I’m Hurt in an Accident?
I’m often asked, “What should I do if I’ve been injured in a car accident here in Florida?” First and foremost, get medical treatment. After the crash, you may be hyped up on the adrenaline. You may not even feel all of the injuries that you’ve taken on. Don’t automatically turn away the ambulance. They call paramedics and the EMT people to the accident scene because car accidents are dangerous and they involve typically very serious injuries, even low-impact/low-speed collisions.
The next thing to do is to call an experienced trial counsel to help you navigate your case. A good Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL will understand that evidence can grow stale. What we do is we send an investigator out to the scene to take photographs of both vehicles.
If you’ve been involved in the accident and you have your cell phone, take photographs. Take photographs of all areas of your vehicle that were involved. Same with the other car, including the license plate. Get names and take photographs of the driver licenses of any witnesses that have contact information. Those are the critical things that a person should do when he or she has been involved in a motor vehicle accident here in Florida.
What If I’m Hurt in an Uber?
I had a client who was injured while she was in an Uber. Her concern was that there was not going to be any coverage for her injuries. Anybody who’s in an accident, regardless of whether it was a Lift or Uber, have to call the police. The Uber driver doesn’t want to call the police. The Uber driver wants to just resolve it and have everybody go on their way. They don’t have regard for the passengers or whether their passengers are injured.
The Uber driver may be negligent. The other motorist may be negligent. Ultimately, you may have a claim against the Uber corporation itself if they had a role in this. Those are things that are going to have to be investigated and fully prosecuted by a firm to get full compensation in a case where somebody’s been injured as a passenger in a Lift or Uber.
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
You may be worried if the other driver who hit you didn’t have bodily injury liability coverage. Maybe that coverage lapsed or they didn’t have it to begin with. We’re going to do our investigation and determine for a fact whether the at-fault party had bodily injury liability coverage. We’re going to make sure that, if that person was driving a vehicle that was owned by someone else and whether or not the owner of that vehicle had bodily injury liability coverage.
In St. Petersburg, FL, a person who owns a motor vehicle or drives a motor vehicle isn’t specifically required under Florida law to have bodily injury liability coverage. It’s not a required type of coverage to drive a car. The only type of coverage that’s required is property damage liability which won’t cover your personal injuries.
We’re going to be telling you from the very beginning, if indeed it’s determined that the at-fault person who was driving the car that caused your injuries didn’t have liability coverage. Then we’re going to be moving to step two of our investigation which is to determine if you have uninsured motorist coverage under your policy or if you’re residing with a resident relative that owns a motor vehicle that has uninsured motorist coverage that we can look to try to recover for your injuries, damages, and losses. We’re going to be looking to that step if that person either didn’t have any liability coverage or didn’t have sufficient liability coverage. Then we’re going to be looking to determine if you have uninsured motorist coverage that would protect you.
Under Florida law, an insurance company cannot legally raise your insurance premiums for you pursuing an uninsured motorist claim for an accident that was not your fault. They cannot do that solely on the basis of you pursuing an uninsured motorist claim.
Call Our St. Petersburg, FL Office Today
If you have been involved in a serious car accident and you are suffering from injuries, please call our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL today to set up a free consultation. We are willing and able to take your case all the way.
Bicycle Accident Lawyers St. Petersburg, FL
If you have been involved in a bike accident here in the St. Petersburg area, you may be feeling frightened about what the future holds for you. There may be medical bills you are having a hard time paying because of missed time at work. There may be no way for you to get around if your bike is ruined and your body is too injured to perform that kind of physical activity.
The consequences of this accident may be with you forever, and we want to say how sorry we are that you have to deal with it. At Perenich The Law Firm, our Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL want to help you get compensation for your injuries in the fullest amount to help you go back to your normal life, or as close to it as you can get. After learning more about your claim, we would be more than happy to sit down with you to discuss your case during a free consultation.
What to Do After an Accident
The first moments after an accident are vital to your wellbeing and your claim. The priority over absolutely anything else is your health and your safety. If you are in a life-threatening situation, you need to seek medical attention. You might even be taken away on an ambulance if you were knocked unconscious upon impact. If it is not a life or death emergency, and you won’t be worsening your condition, you should stay on the scene and collect evidence for future reference but only if you are able to.
The evidence that will need to be collected mainly comes in the form of videos and photos that you take. You will also want contact information from the witnesses at the scene as well as insurance information from the driver who hit you. Again, if you’re not able to stay at the scene, you can have a friend, family member, or Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL collect evidence for you. The police should also be called on the scene and they will do their due diligence as well.
How Compensation Works
In the state of Florida, there are negligence rules that dictate how much compensation you can get in the event that you are blamed for part of the accident. For a bike accident, there can be circumstances that would put the bike rider at fault. For instance, perhaps they swerved into the road to avoid pedestrians and ended up getting hit by a car. The good news with Florida laws is that you can get compensation even if you mostly caused the accident. You will just have a reduced award. If you were responsible for 20% of the accident and you get a reward of $10,000 then you will be able to collect $8,000 to account for that 20% of fault you had. The way to avoid this reduction happening to you is to get a great Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL to protect your rights.
Something you should also be aware of that might relieve you is that you will get a compensation reward that is going to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses that you may have incurred as a result of the accident. Luckily, the amount of compensation will go up to reflect how much your injuries have set you back. Hopefully you can take ease knowing that fact. We will do everything we can to make that compensation reward as full and extensive as it should be, because you don’t deserve to be financially burden by something that didn’t have to happen.
Be warned, however, that if you don’t get your case rolling right away, it might hurt your chances at compensation. You have a statute of limitations of four years from the date of your accident to either bring a claim or to settle it. If you wait longer than that, you cannot be compensated. You also don’t want to delay before contact an Personal Injury Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL because your evidence and witness memories will be compromised.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
One sure fire way to avoid case-ruining mistakes is to avoid talking to the insurance company. They want to get a recorded statement from you after the accident and they may even call you while you’re still recovering in the hospital in a vulnerable state. You don’t want to give them any information. Any questions or statements they’re looking for, they can ask your attorney when you hire one. Besides telling them that you were the person involved in the accident and to contact your attorney, you have absolutely no obligation to speak with them and you certainly shouldn’t.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL?
I’m asked many times, “What are the most important things to look for in an attorney if I’ve been injured in a bicycle accident?” You have to look to the reputation of the firm and the experience of the Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL. You have to look to see what their track record is and if they are actually embedded in the community.
Those are the things that you want to look at. Our firm tries cases in this community and stands up to insurance companies when they don’t want to do the right thing and pay a proper compensation.
It’s important for you to know that our firm will be with you every step of the way.
How is a Bike Accident Different Than a Car Accident Claim?
People often ask how a bicycle claim is different than a car accident. It’s an interesting question because, on the one hand, there are certain similarities that a bicycle claim has to a car accident case. There’s a four-year statute of limitations. We still have the same burden of proving negligence. It’s also different because, in Florida, motor vehicles have a reasonability to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s really important that you talk to an experienced trial attorney who can take on the case, gather the evidence, and properly prosecute the claim.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Florida law recognizes that a pedestrian including a bicyclist is indeed subject to Florida no-fault law. That means that if that person who is injured on a bicycle either being struck by a car or by potentially some other modes of transportation, that person’s automobile insurance company has to pay under the no-fault law which is $10,000 of medical benefits on an 80% basis as well as a component of lost wages of up to 60% up to that same $10,000 under the no-fault statutes.
Your automobile insurance is critically important here. In fact, it may even apply with regard to what we call uninsured motorist coverage as well, especially if there’s a hit and run situation. We frequently do look to automobile liability insurances when a person is injured on a bicycle.
It’s important that you check your insurance to make sure that your coverage is adequate. If you have any question relating to whether your coverage is adequate, I urge you to contact this firm.
Should I Communicate with Insurance Companies?
One of the worst things that somebody can do after they’ve been injured on a bicycle is talk to the insurance company for the car that hit them. That insurance company has one goal and one goal only, which is either to minimize or eliminate any potential claim that injured client has.
Under no circumstances should a statement be given to the insurance company for the negligent motorist that causes the bicyclist to sustain an injury. There’s no requirement under the law that you have to give a statement. The person who represents the insurance company never has the interest of the bicyclist in mind when they’re getting that statement.
Of course, the rules of the road are going to play a large measure in determining who’s negligent and who’s responsible. People can make statements that they don’t mean to make because they don’t understand how the accident happened or they don’t understand the specific laws that the motorist may have broken. You can actually jeopardize your claim in a significant and serious way by speaking to the insurance company of the motorist that caused you to suffer an injury.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
A common mistake that people make in response to being injured while operating bicycles is that they don’t contact a Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL quickly enough. It is critical that they do so. Our firm is exceedingly responsive to the client who comes in after having suffered a bicyclist injury. The reason we do that is because we know that there is evidence that can be lost unless we vigorously and quickly investigate what that evidence is to support the claim.
Another common mistake is the bicyclist injury client doesn’t select the right firm. It is critical that the person who’s been injured while riding a bicycle selects a firm that knows about how to prove the case in court, how to gather that evidence to put that proof together, and of course, knows the laws that are governing traffic.
The worst common mistake is the bicyclist injury client doesn’t get medical care right away. Most of the claims where somebody’s been injured on a bicycle are because they’ve been injured by the negligence of a motorist. That means that Florida automobile no-fault law provides a manner of paying for the medical care. They’ll either get their medical bills paid through their own automobile insurance or if they don’t own a car, from the automobile insurance of the car that hit them. It would be paid right away which affords the injured client to get medical care the day of the injury. Those are the three common mistakes that we see.
What If I Partially Caused the Accident?
In Florida, there is something called comparative fault. When someone is partially at fault for causing their accident, we can still pursue the claim, but the issue of comparative fault may indeed apply if a jury or a judge determines that person also failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances. That’s what negligence is defined as under Florida law.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a claim for injuries related to a bicycle accident and you’re concerned that you believe that you may have been partially responsible, it’s best that you contact our firm so that we can evaluate the case to determine what, if any, comparative fault you may have had in that. We can make a determination on that. Comparative fault will apply in bicycle accidents, but it should not dissuade you from contacting our firm for us to evaluate the case to see if your injuries may still be partially or fully compensable depending upon the facts of the case in our investigation. Let us look into it for you and we’ll be able to give you our best advice and recommendations.
How Much is My Case Worth?
In Florida, the value of a bicycle injury claim is determined by a lot of different factors. First of all, it’s important to understand that trial advocacy is more of an art than a science. We can’t punch in numbers and expect a formula to come out on the other side in terms of what the value of the case is. When there’s clear negligence and when the person has been severely injured, then that’s typically a situation where that’s a very valuable claim.
It’s important to get to the bottom of those things as quickly as possible. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, get help medically. The next thing that you need to do is call up an experienced trial attorney who can help you to preserve the evidence and prosecute your claim.
How Long Will This Case Take?
We like to distinguish our firm from other firms in that we are not in a hurry to try to get a claim resolved quickly. What drives the timeline for resolving a claim is the medical situation of our injured client.
We have to have a full and complete understanding of all of their injuries. That’s called the diagnosis. That takes time because it’s actually through medical care and treatment that doctors are able to formulate better defined and longstanding diagnosis of the injuries of their patients.
The doctors are going to be the witnesses who are going to tell us and ultimately a jury what the future is going to hold for our injured client. That means they have to have an opportunity to see the course of healing that the patient has and what that is going to mean for them in the future. That’s what we call the prognosis of the injury.
We don’t want to rush that at all. It’s not that we don’t want to draw out the claim or prosecute it quickly and vigorously, but we’ll never do so at the expense of losing the fundamental understanding of all of the medical losses that a client may have because they need time to get that sorted out through their care treatment of their physicians.
How Long Do I Have to File the Claim?
I have a client who came to me recently who was injured in a bicycle accident. She was asking how long she has to prosecute a bicycle accident claim. It’s four years from the date of the accident that the claimant actually has to file a lawsuit.
Having said that, it’s critically important that we not wait. Evidence fades over time and so do witnesses’ memories. Opportunities are lost when the claimant waits, so it’s important not to. Although there are four-years, the first thing that a person should do when they’re injured in a bicycle accident is get medical treatment. Then the next most important thing is getting an experienced trial attorney on your side.
Call Our St. Petersburg, FL Office Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been a victim of a bike accident in Florida, and you are seeking a strong, dedicated St. Petersburg, FL bike accident attorney, please call our office today. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and detail what you need to know to have a successful claim. We won’t give up on your case and we’ll take you all the way to get you the fullest and most fair compensation award possible. You don’t deserve to deal with the financial burden of an accident that could have been avoided. We will champion your case.
Bus Accident Lawyers St. Petersburg, FL
If you have been involved in a bus accident, it might have taken a huge toll on your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. You may also be feeling financially burdened by these unexpected medical bills that you might be having trouble paying if you’re being forced to miss time at work. Our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL is here to help you through this legal obstacle course to win you the compensation you need and deserve. Please call our office today for a free consultation.
Necessary First Steps
The first step after an accident is to get medical attention. You may be in a lot of pain in the moments after the accident and it is important for you to get in front of a doctor as soon as possible. You do not want to wait to see a doctor as there is a possibility that your condition will get worse if you don’t get treatment when you need it. You don’t want to brush off the pain you may be in, thinking it will go away, for two reasons. As mentioned, you could get worse. Also, if you don’t get the treatment you should be getting, the insurance company will be more than happy to say you don’t need compensation for injuries that they won’t believe exist.
The next important step after your accident that you really should not leave the scene before doing, especially if you’re a passenger on the bus, is to tell authorities or the bus company that you were involved in the accident so that they have record of you being there. If you are able to stay, you should take photos and videos and talk to witnesses so that you can start compiling your evidence. You can use all of this evidence to protect your right to compensation.
Last big step is to hire an attorney who you trust to start working on your case right away. There are several extremely important roles a St. Petersburg, FL bus accident attorney will play in your case. They will help put your evidence to good use, make sure you stay on track to get everything done in time, and protect you from the insurance company so that you get the most compensation possible.
Dealing with Obstacles
The biggest and most worrisome obstacle that you should be aware of is the insurance company and their role in all of this. Their biggest goal is not to help you out, but to either throw out your claim or reduce the amount of compensation that they will have to give you. They do this by trying to get you to ruin your own case. They will call you soon after the accident and start asking for you for a recorded statement. If you want full and fair compensation, the best thing to do is tell them to contact your attorney for information. You should never give them a statement so that you don’t have to worry about them twisting your words. Don’t give them any reasons to ruin your case. When they call you, you can confirm you were involved in the accident, but past that, they can be referred to your attorney.
Injuries You May Have
A bus accident does not always mean the bus crashed and you got hurt. Sometimes you get hurt in an accident that is unrelated to a crash. You might have been hurt getting on or off the bus or you might have slipped at the bus stop. With a crash, you may be the driver of a vehicle that was involved in the accident with the bus, or a passenger on the bus during the accident. All of those circumstances would warrant a bus accident claim if you were injured. The types of injuries you may have had include:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Bruising or cuts
- Concussion or brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Scarring or disfigurement
Again, regardless if you were injured in a slip and fall at the bus stop, as a passenger on the bus during the crash, or as a driver of a vehicle that collided with the bus, you are eligible to file a bus accident claim. As mentioned, you need to get your injuries checked out as soon as possible because you might worsen your condition if you wait to see a doctor. You need to make your health a priority.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
I’ve been asked, “What do you look for to hire the best attorney to help you with your bus accident case?” This is, perhaps, the most important decision that you can make along the way. Find an attorney who is willing to take your case to trial, and who has the experience litigating these cases all the way to trial. Insurance companies know which attorneys will settle the case before going to trial and which of them are willing to take it all the way to a jury verdict.
That’s because they know which attorneys are willing to go the distance and they actually may give you a better settlement result without even having to go to trial, because they know the attorney is willing to go the distance. Don’t hire a general practitioner. Don’t assume just because you see this person’s name on a billboard all over town throughout Florida that they’re the best person. Having advertising dollars does not mean the best outcome for you.
What Do I Need to Do to File a Claim?
You may be asking yourself, “What are the steps that we need to take to file a bus accident claim?” We’ve got to do our investigation like we would do any investigation. You need to get your medical care and treatment which is first and foremost and you need to make sure that you’re following all the steps of your doctors.
We need to be going out there and getting photographs of the vehicles, preserving evidence of the scene of the accident, and conferring with the entity that owns the bus company to make sure that if there’s any video on the bus that’s being preserved. If there is a vehicle black box, or event data recorder, we need to make sure that our letters go out to that company to make sure that electronic information is being preserved.
Those are all the steps that we’re going to take initially. Once we understand the dynamics of what happened, and we understand who failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances in causing that accident to occur, then from there we’re going to be putting your medical information together in a comprehensive demand to the at-fault party and their insurance company to ensure that you indeed receive your full and fair compensation.
What Mistakes Do I Need to Avoid Making?
One of the biggest mistakes clients make is that they don’t let anybody know that they’ve been injured. That’s probably the first thing that happens.
You need to tell the bus driver, EMT, or law enforcement that you’ve been injured in a bus accident. Tell the person around you. Take photographs with your cell phone if you can.
The next mistake would be turning away the ambulance. You should go to the hospital and make sure you get checked out. Even if you feel okay, you may not be okay.
The most serious mistake a person can make in a bus accident claim is they don’t hire the right attorney. It’s important that you hire an attorney who has experience and who’s willing to take the case from the very beginning all the way to a jury verdict. Don’t delay hiring that attorney because evidence begins to evaporate and witnesses memories begin to fade. Evidence by its very nature tends to dry up. It’s important that you hire an attorney at the very beginning, at the earliest opportunity.
What If a Bus Hits My Car?
You may be wanting to ask, “What if I’m injured in a car accident where a bus strikes my vehicle?” In Florida, that is a very special and unique situation because if you’re injured in an accident where you’re struck by a bus either as a pedestrian or as an occupant of another motor vehicle, we have to put that entity on notice within a very specific time period. That’s what we call the Florida Sovereign Immunity Law which requires us to give them a notice of claim within three years from the date that accident occurred.
That situation involves a bus accident where the bus is owned by either a municipality or a county or some other entity. There’s also the instance where you might be injured by a bus from a school. That relates to the school board that bus driver was working for. Whether it’s the school board of Pinellas County, or the school board of Pasco County, or Hillsboro county, the same rule applies because the rules of Sovereign Immunity will apply to that claim. We have to put that entity on notice within that three-year time period.
Otherwise, your own insurance will apply as well, specifically your no-fault coverage. Your personal injury protection coverage which covers you up to 80% of your reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000, and 60% of any of your lost income or lost wages up to that same $10,000. If you’re injured in a bus accident, please give us a call. We’re here to help you and make sure that your rights are protected and you receive full compensation for your injuries.
What is the Difference Between a Bus and Car Accident Claim?
You may be wondering about the differences between a bus accident claim and a claim involving just another motor vehicle. There are similarities and there are differences. In either case, it’s important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to prosecute the claim.
The differences with the bus accident are that you want to make known to everyone around you that you’ve been injured. Sometimes a person can be injured in a bus accident, and for whatever reason, there’s no record at all that they were even on the bus. Make it known to those around you including the driver, law enforcement who comes to investigate the scene, and the EMT who’s there to help. Let them know who you are so that there’s actual documentation that you’ve been involved in the accident and that you’ve been injured.
The next important thing is to make sure that you get medical treatment. Don’t turn away the ambulance because it could manifest later as a really bad injury.
What Should I Know About the Insurance Investigation?
You may be wondering whether it is okay, after a bus accident, to talk to the insurance company or the attorney who was representing the entity that operated the bus. The answer is, without exception, absolutely not. You do not want to talk to an insurance company or the attorney for the other side. They are not your friend. They have one goal, and that is to settle the claim as quickly as possible for the least amount of money.
The best thing that you can do is get medical attention. Number two, make sure that everybody that you come in contact with knows that you were involved in that bus accident; not just the law enforcement, but the EMT, and the bus driver. Number three, do not delay getting an experienced trial advocate who can help you prosecute that claim.
Should I Take a Settlement Offer?
You may be worried about if you should take the first offer that’s been presented to you after you have submitted a demand. To address this concern, we need to know what the full and fair value of your case is. In general, we work with the opposing side to try to resolve your case without having to file a lawsuit. It’s not because we don’t want to file a lawsuit or represent you in a courtroom. We love representing our clients in a courtroom but ee also know that the practicality of the case is such that it’s going to serve your interest to try to resolve that case fully and fairly without filing a lawsuit if we can get that done.
If we’re presented with an offer after we’ve presented that demand, and if that offer represents the true value of the case, then we may indeed recommend that we accept it. If it doesn’t, then we’re going to enter into negotiations to do everything so that you receive full and fair compensation.
How Long Will This Case Take?
You may be hoping to ask, “How long is this whole process going to take for me to get this claim resolved?” The short answer is it is entirely up to you, but if you want to get the best possible results, then we’re going to take as long as we need to.
You’ve been injured in a bus accident and you are just now starting to appreciate what’s happened to you. What you think has happened to you today may be completely different from what you realize has happened to you six months from now or a year from now. The doctors are not going to know until they’ve had an opportunity to fully examine you, to treat you, to see how you respond to that treatment, and to see what your future medical needs may be.
Those are the critical parts of your claim that we’re going to take our time with to make sure that are fully understood before we determine the value of the claim. Determining the value cannot be figured out today. It’s going to take time for your medical case to develop. Over time, once it develops and we have relatively good confidence that we understand the full extent of your injuries and how they’ll affect you the rest of your life, only then will we be in a position to resolve your claim or be in the process to resolve your claim.
What If My Kid is Hurt on a School Bus?
A frequently asked question is whether or not a school can be held responsible if a child is injured on a school bus. The answer is yes. Florida law does allow for people to sue the school or the school district if the driver has been negligent or the school did something that they were not supposed to do that resulted in injury to a child on a school bus.
There are limitations because you’re suing a subdivision of the state of Florida. In order to make the best of that, the Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL has to know what they’re doing. They have to have experience prosecuting claims that are despite the limited waiver of sovereign immunity that you have in the state of Florida, but certainly, there is no deterrent for our firm to take on cases where a child has been injured on a school bus.
What Are My Rights to Compensation?
You may be wondering how to protect your rights to compensation after being injured as a passenger on a bus. First and foremost, it’s very important that you tell the investigating police officers and the driver of that bus who you are so that they know that you were indeed injured on that bus. Many times, people will just leave the bus which is a huge mistake.
They may think maybe they’re not hurt. They don’t give their information to the police or bus company and let them know that there are definite injuries that are involved. Please make sure that information is transmitted so that your identity is there.
Then, of course, it’s very important in this process that you contact your own insurance company right away so that they’re aware of that. Your own insurance may apply in that instance. Then let us help you through that process, because we want to make sure that the bus company is put on notice of your injury right away.
Many times, in a bus accident case, if you’re a passenger, there’s video on that bus. We want to make sure that video is preserved as well. We want to get our letter of representation out as soon as possible to the company to make sure that video is preserved, because many times it will show the actual mechanism of injury that you sustained during that accident which can be a critical piece of evidence in the case.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When you are injured in a bus accident, you may be wondering how we determine the value of your claim. We’re going to prosecute your claim to the fullest extent of the law and that the value would depend on what your losses were and what they will be. That would include past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past lost wages, future lost wages, and of course, any pain and suffering from the time of the accident that you may have to endure the rest of your life.
That’s how we assess the value. It’s different for every client of ours. Each case is unique. They have different expectations for the happiness that they want to achieve in their lives, and to the extent that an injury affects it even a little bit of it, it can affect the value of a claim. That’s how we determine the value. It’s all about getting a full understanding of our client in every way in which that accident and that injury has affected them.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
These accidents can cause you a lot of hardship and you shouldn’t have to pay the consequences for an accident you wouldn’t have been in if it weren’t for the carelessness of someone else. At Perenich The Law Firm, we want to help you to get the compensation you deserve. We won’t allow the insurance company to bully you out of your claim. We will protect you and give you the dedicated support that you will need to get through this case successfully. Please call us today for a free consultation.
Construction Accident Lawyers St. Petersburg, FL
People with jobs that require sitting at a desk for eight hours don’t understand the danger that is involved at a construction job. If you’re here, you know that construction is a high-risk job and when things don’t go right, they can cause catastrophic injury and sometimes result in death. We want to let you know that, at Perenich The Law Firm, we will take your case as far as it needs to go to get you the compensation you deserve. While you may be feeling extremely nervous about what the future has to offer, we want you to know that you will be in good hands when you are with us.
Causes of Accidents and Injuries
As mentioned, it’s dangerous work to be on a construction site. There are so many moving parts, raw materials, heavy operated machinery, and a constantly changing environment. When a job that is so physical is given obstacles like this, accidents can happen and it truly can be the worst of the worst injuries. Some of the accidents include:
- Falling from heights
- Heavy objects falling on a worker
- Electrical accidents
- Slip and Falls
- Auto accidents
These are just some of the possible accidents that can happen. Every workplace accident has the potential to cause serious and even permanent injury. Some of these injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injury
- Scarring and disfigurement
Having these injuries can cost you a lot of money in medical bills, leave you unable to return to work (perhaps for the rest of your life if you can’t go back to the same type of work), and perhaps a change in your life forever.
Compensation Available to You
These cases can be quite different than other accidents that result in injuries such as a car accident. Most of the time for car accidents, you will always have a liable party to bring a claim against, but due to the nature of construction accidents, you can’t always bring a claim. This is a worker’s compensation claim for most people as you cannot sue your employer. (It would be different if you were a passerby walking down the street and got injured at a construction site you didn’t work at.) Worker’s compensation will cover your medical expenses and lost wages which is if your employer carries this coverage. If they do not, they can get into a lot of trouble. They also need to be running their site in accordance to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If they do not follow OSHA laws, you may have a personal injury claim. There are other ways you would be eligible for a personal injury claim including malicious intent that caused your accident, serious negligence, or a liable third party. You may be eligible for a third party claim if your accident involved:
- A third party contractor (who would not be your employer) whom you can file a claim against
- A product manufacturer whose product had a defect that injured you (that product could be a tool or scaffolding)
- A designer or engineer that was negligent and caused you injury
- The property owner who was negligent about hazards on their property (your claim would be for premises liability against them)
The best way to figure out if you should pursue a claim is to sit down with an experienced St. Petersburg, FL construction accident attorney. Our law firm is dedicated to helping victims like you find the route to compensation that makes the most sense and will give them what they need to have a full and fair recovery.
If you have established that you’re eligible for a third party or personal injury claim, there are some liability rules that you should be aware of. Florida follows pure comparative negligence laws that affect your compensation. First, if you are found to be at fault for the accident, your award may be reduced. Second, in the unlikely event that you are found to be 100% at fault, you will be barred from receiving compensation. The way it works is, if you had some part in the accident, then you might be deemed partially responsible. Let’s say you were found to be 10% at fault and you were awarded $100,000. Because of Florida’s laws, your award will be reduced to $90,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know I Have the Right Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL?
You may be hoping to ask, “What should I be looking for to hire the most qualified construction accident attorney?” First and foremost, select an attorney that has experience in handling construction accident injury cases. Please do not hire a Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL that does just general practice or that does family law and a little bit of personal injury on the side. You want to be hiring a law firm that is devoted exclusively to personal injury cases and has a focus on construction accident cases and construction litigation.
In construction accident cases, there are certain rules that apply. You have something called OSHA regulations. You also have an employer that’s involved that generally has a duty to ensure that there is a safe work site. You potentially have others involved that are not co-employees that might have been involved in the accident.
An example would be if you were at work on a construction site and another employee that might be hired by a completely different company somehow does something that results in your injury, we’re not only going to be looking at that employee, we’re going to be looking at the employer of that person. We’re going to be looking to whether or not the OSHA regulations were being followed. Those are very important things that we’re going to be looking at in a construction accident injury case. We have to document that scene very quickly. We’re going to be discussing the case with the OSHA regulators to make sure that OSHA regulations were followed in a given case.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When somebody has been injured on a construction site, the most important thing that we have to do as Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL is figure out who bears responsibility for causing that injury. We cannot assume that it’s one person or one company when our client is injured on a construction site. It’s usually a lot of different companies or contractors who are all involved in a construction project. That means each and every one of them bears some responsibility in creating the environment that contributed to our client’s injury.
It also means that each one of those contractors or companies has available insurance by which they can pay for damages that our client has suffered. To fully assess what the value of a claim is in a construction accident case, we’re going to do everything that we do in all of our cases. We’re going to make sure our clients get full medical care, that we account for all future medical care, we account for all the ways in which the injuries have affected our client’s life whether it’s lost income, or lost ability to enjoy life the way they had previously planned to do it, and then making sure that every single company and contractor that had a role in causing that dangerous condition is held accountable.
What Benefits Do I Have?
You may be wondering, “What benefits do I have available to me if I’ve been injured in a construction accident case? First and foremost, if you are in the course and scope of your employment, then you have your right to workers’ compensation. There’s no determination of fault when it comes to workers’ compensation. They’re benefits that apply as long as you have been injured in the course and scope of your employment.
You also have what’s called the indemnity benefits. If you’re not working, you’re entitled to a percentage of your lost wages and medical benefits under workers’ compensation.
Then in addition to that, you have what’s called impairment benefits through that workers’ compensation process. Impairment benefits are determined based on whether or not you have sustained an injury considered to be permanent under the Florida guides for the evaluation of permanent impairment in the state of Florida. That’s something that your treating physicians will make a determination of once you have reached maximum medical improvement.
If your injuries were caused by the failure to use reasonable care by someone who is not your employer or co-employee or if it was caused by a third-party, consult with us, because you’re also entitled to pursue that claim against that third-party under Florida law because workers’ compensation doesn’t provide for all your injuries, damages, and losses. For example, workers’ compensation does not pay for your pain and suffering, mental anguish, or your loss of your capacity for you to enjoy your life in your normal lifestyle. Those are the kinds of damages that we’re able to recover against an at-fault party that caused or contributed to that particular accident that caused your injury on a construction site.
What If I’m Seriously Injured?
I’ve been asked, “If I’ve been seriously injured in a construction accident here in Florida, what is the most important thing that I do?” Number One, get medical treatment And go to the hospital.
If an ambulance shows up, don’t assume that you’re okay. Don’t try to brush it off that you’re going to just recover immediately. Sometimes it takes time for these injuries to set in to where you’re fully aware of the extent that you’ve been injured.
The next thing that you need to do is call an attorney who has experience in construction accident cases. An attorney who has experience like we do with these kinds of cases understands the importance of collecting the evidence early on. The other thing that you should be mindful of is, if no one is there to help you, do whatever you can to document that you’ve actually been injured. Let somebody nearby know what happened.
Sometimes people will walk away from a construction site and then later decide to go to a hospital without even talking to anybody on the site which is a big mistake. You’ve got to let people know that you’ve been injured, and you need to ask somebody to call 9-1-1.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
If you are hurt in a construction accident, a person from either your employer’s or another insurance company person will contact you. They will want to take a recorded statement from you. You may be wondering if you should get them one.
It’s critical that, before you give a statement, whether it’s recorded or non-recorded to anybody investigating a construction accident, that you have legal representation with you before you give that statement. The reason is because you don’t want to go in and give a statement and be confronted with questions for the very first time about how the construction accident occurred, or about your potentially prior conditions or medical care and treatment before you’ve had an opportunity to review those things with an experienced Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL that does construction accident cases. We cooperate 100% with insurance companies and their investigators and claims adjusters in terms of providing statements from our clients in construction accident cases. However, it’s better being there with you side by side to ensure that you are fully prepared before you give a recorded or non-recorded interview to your employer or to some other person who is investigating that construction accident case.
Who is Liable for My Injury?
Workers’ comp only prevents you from suing your employer. In a construction injury claim, most of the time the person who’s working in that setting is not working alongside coworkers.
They’re usually actually working alongside other contractors who can be negligent if they did things that contributed to the injury that our client suffers. What’s critical to understand is that we’re not going to just assume that this is workers’ comp and that we can’t help people make claims for injuries against negligent actors in a construction setting accident claim. We successfully prosecute these claims, not against our client’s employer or any of their coworkers; it is sometimes actually against the other contractors who had been negligent in what they had done that contributed to an injury.
How Long Will This Case Take?
Our law firm is focused on what’s right for our clients. We have an absolute fundamental duty to make sure that our clients get the best recovery they can and that there is complete and total compensation for their entire losses. In a construction accident case, we also know that the injuries can be lifelong. That means we’ve got to take our time. We’ve got to give the doctors the opportunity to fully assess what the injuries are.
When the question of how long this will take comes up, understand that if you want us to do the best job possible we’re not going to rush this. We’re going to let the doctors that work with us give full investigation and exploration of every way in which that accident has caused injury to you. Only by doing that are we going to be able to maximize the recovery for our clients.
We’re going to take as long as it takes. Sometimes it can be six months or it can be six years. Every client should want a law firm that understands that you cannot rush those claims if you’re trying to get the best compensation for what the client has suffered and what the client will suffer in the future.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
I’ve been asked, “What are the biggest mistakes a person could make in an accident at a construction site?” The biggest mistake would be to delay medical treatment.
Have somebody on site call 9-1-1. When an ambulance shows up, don’t turn the ambulance away. Go to the hospital and get proper medical attention. Don’t assume that you’re okay just because it doesn’t hurt immediately.
It’s important that you also follow your doctor’s instruction. A doctor may say that you need to come in for the next six weeks, three days a week. Don’t put that off. Going to a doctor or going to a hospital can be inconveniences, but they can make a big difference in protecting your legal rights in a case. The other biggest mistake, perhaps the worst of all the mistakes is to delay hiring an attorney or to hire the wrong attorney. It’s important that you hire an attorney who has experience in prosecuting construction accident cases and can best help you protect your rights.
Should I Report My Accident?
You may be wondering if it is important to let management know that you’ve been injured at a construction site accident here in Florida. The answer is, absolutely yes. You have to let management know because ultimately, we need to prove if the accident actually occurred. Management, if they do their job, will take down the information. Make sure that they write it down and that they take down your contact information.
Tell them exactly what happened. Don’t assume that it was your fault. It’s important simply that the injury be documented. Go get medical treatment, then call an attorney with experience in construction accident cases.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
There may be certain limitations about what you are going to be able to get because of Florida’s workers’ compensation system. You might not get all the damages that you would normally get in a personal injury action or a car accident case. You won’t get any pain and suffering damages, and you’ll have limitation of recovery fundamentally to whatever disability rating you get or the medical care that is contemplated for you in the future.
What we want to do when we get a workers’ compensation claim is help the client navigate through that process so that they can make good decisions, and do the best with a difficult system. It’s not going to be great, but a Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL who knows how to make the right decisions in the workers’ comp setting can actually do some good things for a client.
Contact Our Office Today
As you can tell, these issues can be extremely complicated, and talking to an attorney is going to be the best option if you want to get the most compensation possible. We will guide you every step of the way and protect your rights. While this can be a particularly stressful time in your life, we want you to relax knowing that you are in good hands and we will ensure you are taken good care of. Please call our experienced St. Petersburg, FL construction accident attorney today for a free consultation.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers St. Petersburg, FL
If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, we just want to say how very sorry we are that you have to deal with the pain, the financial burden, and the loss of your normal daily life due to this tragic accident. You deserve to be compensated in full by the negligent medical care professional who perhaps ruined your body, your mental health, and maybe even your life. Our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL is here to guide you through this particularly difficult time. Here is what you need to know about medical malpractice before you call us to set up a free case evaluation.
Types of Medical Malpractice Injuries
All forms of medical malpractice can be truly devastating and cause you some serious trauma. To be sure about whether or not you have a medical malpractice claim, you first have to figure out what exactly happened to you and what category your accident/incident falls under. There are several categories of medical malpractice that include:
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis – You may have a claim if your doctor either did not assess you properly to get your condition treated or they diagnosed you with the wrong condition, causing you harm with unneeded treatment (as well as a lack of treatment for what was really ailing you).
- Failure to treat – This sounds like an act malicious intent, but sometimes your doctor just does not tell you about a treatment that you should have been getting which leads to a worsened condition, not necessarily to hurt you but because they either did not know or they forgot.
- Surgical errors – These injuries can be severe and life-changing. You might have gotten the wrong procedure done, had damage to your body during surgery, gotten the wrong dose of anesthesia, etc.
- Medical product liability – This mostly pertains to the equipment used on you during a medical procedure that caused you injury, and this negligent party is not necessarily your doctor, but maybe is the company that owns the product.
- Birth injury – These tragic incidents happen when prenatal care was not up to par for the mother or the baby either before, during, or after birth.
All of these injuries are totally preventable and can cause a lot of grief for you and your family. When you meet with an attorney, you should explain every detail about your case so that you and your attorney can talk about how to proceed.
St. Petersburg, FL Time Limitations
The rules for medical malpractice make it tougher for you to bring a suit. The statute of limitations for any other injury-causing accident (such as a car accident) is four years. For medical malpractice in Florida, you only have two years to bring your claim. It becomes even trickier for you because there are steps you need to take for medical malpractice claims before you can officially file. You have 90 days from the date of your injury to put the health care provider on notice. That requires especially fast action. You also need to have an affidavit from another medical professional confirming that you indeed have a good claim before you can bring one against your medical provider. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the quicker you can accomplish all of these steps and ensure you are protecting your right to sue.
Ways to Get Compensation
The best way to make sure that you are going to get the best compensation available to you is to hire an experienced and dedicated St. Petersburg, FL medical malpractice attorney. You will be pursuing compensation for your lost wages, medical bills for treatment and care, future lost earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship, anxiety and depression, and disfigurement. All of these injuries are considered, for the most part, to be severe.
Thankfully, only a few years ago, the cap for compensation was deemed to be unconstitutional because it was holding back compensation for people who, in dire instances, deserved more than what the caps would have provided for them. Prior to the ruling in 2017, it used to be that you couldn’t collect more than $500,000 for non-economic damages, which includes pain and suffering as well as loss of normal life. You also would be capped at $1,000,000 if the medical malpractice resulted in death or if a loved one was left in a vegetative state. The ruling to make this cap unconstitutional is huge for those who are truly deserving of more compensation. As mentioned, these cases are brutally tragic and can result in such carnage, it’s as if someone’s worst nightmare is being played out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Arbitration?
You may be wondering, “How does arbitration work with respect to medical malpractice claims?” More often than not, arbitration is required in medical malpractice case. When a doctor renders service, they require the patient to sign a form consenting to arbitration. The courts prefer that cases go to arbitration because it lessens the docket load, and judges have fewer cases to decide. The arbitration itself works a little bit like a trial, but there are three arbitrators who look at the evidence and who can converse to come up with an award for the injured claimant. Once that award is determined, then it’s the circuit court that actually enforces that award.
What Can We Do for a Birth Injury?
You may need to know if there can be a claim for a child’s injury that occurs during delivery or birth that can be actionable as medical malpractice. It can be, and we’ve successfully prosecuted those claims a number of times. We hire experts to examine whether or not there was a failure of care, either in preparation for or during delivery where the doctor could have avoided it had they done what was proper.
Some deliveries are going to be complicated and they’re going to have certain expected complications, but in no way does that absolve any medical care provider of negligence. If a medical care provider, including the physician who delivers the child, has failed to do what is required by the standard of care, then we do have a claim for medical malpractice.
How Do We Prove a Breach of Duty?
Under the law, there has to be a duty of care that’s owed by a doctor. In order to prove a claim for medical malpractice, there has to be a breach of that duty of care, meaning a deviation by the medical provider below the professional prevailing standard of care. That is what a breach of that duty is. The other elements to proving malpractice are causation and proof of damages.
What is Causation?
There is a standard that we have to follow to prove damages. The plaintiff who’s bringing a medical malpractice claim has to prove that there was a breach of the prevailing standard of care by the medical doctor or the hospital that caused that person’s loss or damages. We have to prove that to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and that’s what the causation element requires under Florida law.
What is Contributory Negligence?
In Florida, we have something called comparative negligence. Comparative negligence says that a person or an entity that’s being sued is saying that they may be responsible for this, but the person who’s bringing the claim is also responsible. If a jury finds that that person contributed to their own losses or damages by failing to heed the advice of a doctor or doing things that were contrary to medical indication and recommendations, they indeed can be held comparatively negligent.
In Florida, comparative negligence means that a jury will be apportioning fault between the medical provider and the person who’s bringing the claim. When we bring these claims, it’s not only important that we prove that there was a breach of the prevailing standard of care and that that doctor or hospital was negligent, but we also establish that our client was not comparatively at fault.
How Do We Determine Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case?
The value of a medical malpractice case is going to range due to all kinds of variables. Florida law does say that, to the extent that anyone has suffered a loss due to another’s negligence, they are entitled to be compensated for that loss. Our firm makes it our fundamental purpose to ensure that we have complete and total compensation for any loss that we can prove in court. That means that we want to have an understanding about how an injury in a medical malpractice setting has affected somebody’s income and ability to earn money in the future, provide for their family, or pay for any future medical bills that may be necessitated because of an injury.
What makes us uniquely human is how we live our life and where we find our joy, and an injury can often result in pain and limitations that can take that away. Those are what we call non-economic damages, and while they can’t be easily quantified, it doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable or that they don’t mean something to the person who has lost them. In our civil justice system, any loss that results in taking away that ability to live your life fully, without pain, is compensable, and it’s our job to prove to a jury that there is value in it.
Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
The most important thing that a person can do if he or she wants to know if they have a good medical malpractice case is to talk to an attorney with experience early on. The worst thing a client can do is to wait or to put it off. First of all, there’s a statute of limitations. The practice of law is more an art than a science, so there’s no way to absolutely know what the value of the case is in the early stages of the case. As the plaintiff, we have to prove the damages. It’s ultimately determined, most often by a jury.
Do Most Medical Malpractice Cases Go to Trial?
Not every indication of a bad medical outcome indicates bad medicine, so there’s a tremendous amount of investigation that we take on as a law firm to determine whether or not your doctor even breached the standard of care. Once there is a viable medical malpractice case, frequently the other side takes the case all the way to trial. These cases are very complex and doctors typically resist any sort of settlement because they don’t want it to impact their record.
What if There Was a Failure to Diagnose?
Florida has a law, called the Good Samaritan Law that would require a heightened standard of care or proof to establish any claim for compensation that occurs in an emergency room setting if it is being administered because of an urgent situation.
All of these claims are dependent on the details of the facts. Our job is to understand the medicine and have a full investigation of all of the facts that have led to the injury, because you can suffer injury in an emergency room that is not covered by the Good Samaritan Law if it is not in response to an urgent situation. Regardless as to whether or not an injury is suffered in an emergency room, we will prosecute it to the full extent of the law.
Can You File a Malpractice Suit Against Someone Who Isn’t a Doctor?
In Florida, the medical malpractice statute applies to doctors, hospitals, nurses, chiropractors, as well as a whole host of individuals who people may not consider specifically to be a doctor. It’s a very broad statute, and the key point about that statute is, if your case involves a physician or a hospital or a nurse that failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances, it’s very important to contact an attorney right away because there is a limited amount of time to pursue that claim.
What is Informed Consent?
Florida has a unique statute that applies to informed consent. When we file medical malpractice cases, especially cases that involve surgery or procedures that require consent for that treatment, it’s very important to establish that, if there has not been fully informed consent by the patient in deciding to undergo that procedure, that is a separate claim of medical malpractice, and we file it as a separate claim within the same lawsuit.
What happens with this under Florida law is that the physician who is proposing that a patient undergo a procedure has to fully explain the material risks that could happen in that procedure and not just tell the patient what those potential risks are, but also tell them about what other alternatives that patient has other than the procedure that’s being proposed. The patient has a right to know what their options are. They have the right to make a knowing and voluntary decision about what medical treatment they choose to undergo, and if that informed consent is not properly provided to the patient, it’s another way that we can prove a medical malpractice claim.
How Much Are Legal Fees?
Sometimes I’m asked, “How much does a Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL cost in the context of a medical malpractice case?” Our firm works on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that if we don’t make a recovery for you, we don’t get paid. Along the way, by the way, we’re paying money to prosecute the case; we’re hiring witnesses, we’re taking depositions, we’re paying filing fees, and none of that is chargeable to the client if we don’t make a recovery.
Who is Liable for My Injuries?
Sometimes a client will ask whether or not a doctor is automatically responsible if an operation or a procedure doesn’t go well. On the one hand, a bad medical outcome doesn’t automatically indicate bad medicine. On the other hand, we really need to look at the procedures that were involved in the case and make sure that the hospital or those that were attending the procedure were doing what they should have done.
Oftentimes, doctors are required to adhere to checklists, and so we want to not only make sure that the hospital had all the right checklists in place and all the right procedures, but that those were actually followed. That’s what’s important, and it’s critically important that the client consult with the attorney who has experience, who has handled these types of cases, and who can navigate the medical intricacies involved in these things to determine whether there is medical malpractice.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is the opportunity for each side to go to the table, in a confidential setting, and discuss the merits of their case. One thing that I tell all of my clients in preparing for mediation is that we want to go to the table in good faith, but not expect a settlement. Mediation used to be a very opportune moment to explore and accomplish settlement. Now, it seems that the insurance companies who are involved in setting up the defense are less inclined to mediate the case. They prefer the case proceed to trial, and it’s often not until the week before the trial that they even take a fair look at the case.
Are There Caps for Rewards?
People often ask me if there is a cap on medical malpractice damages. There are caps that are actually being litigated in our court system, even though they were passed merely a decade ago or longer. The reality is that those caps are only for the non-economic damages. Rather than talking about what those are and how they might affect the claim, we try to pursue every course of recovery to actually get total compensation for each client. There would not be caps, for example, that would affect a patient’s lost earning ability or a patient’s future medical expenses, or any other damages that would be part of the claim. There may be caps for non-economic damages, which we commonly refer to as pain and suffering, but that is still being litigated, and we expect to prosecute those whether they’re limited or not.
How Long Will This Case Take?
When I’m asked the question, “How long will it take to resolve a medical malpractice case in Florida?” what I tell my clients is that every case is different and it takes a long time, especially with a medical malpractice case because typically they are vigorously defended by the other side. What’s really important is we don’t want to shortchange a client’s case by trying to settle it too quickly. A Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL has the responsibility of getting together all of the evidence and ultimately proving the case, so it’s very important that we take our time and we do it the correct way, and we equip ourselves to present the case thoroughly at trial.
It can be frustrating for a client if a case takes too long, but on the other hand, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to prosecute a case. Once a case is settled or determined at a jury verdict, we can’t go back years later and say things are worse than we even thought, so now we want more compensation. It’s just not possible. The most important thing is that you hire an established, experienced trial attorney who can help you navigate the difficulties and the intricacies of your medical malpractice case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
When I meet with clients that are entertaining whether they want to pursue a claim for medical malpractice, the question that frequently comes up is, “What is the statute of limitations to bring a claim for medical malpractice?” In Florida, we generally have a two-year statute of limitations, which says that a person has to properly file their claim within two years from the date that they knew or reasonably should have known that there was an act of medical malpractice, but no further out than four years.
If an act of medical malpractice occurs on January 1 of the year, two years after that, if the person knew about that on the date that it occurred, that’s when the statute of limitations would run out. If they didn’t know about it for say another two years after that, then they would have an additional two years because that’s the four-year statute of repose. In general, Florida medical malpractice law states the claim has to be brought within two years from the date that the patient knew or reasonably should have known about the act of medical malpractice, but no longer than four years from the date that the malpractice actually occurred. There’s a different statute of limitations that applies in instances when the patient has been defrauded or the doctor has not advised the patient about certain things that have occurred to the patient, and there’s another special statute of limitations that applies to minors as well. We can go over your case and give you a clear answer.
What Are Medication Errors?
When you’re dealing with an injury because of medication errors, you need to understand the science behind what medications can do to a patient. Every medication, while it may be designed to be ingested by a person, can have adverse effects if the dosage is wrong or if it’s not the right medication. If someone is dealing with a problem and seeks help from their physician, and they get a prescription, they could be further harmed if the dosage isn’t right or it’s not the right type of medication and it can have all types of horrible consequences for a patient. We’ve had some tragic cases where medications were administered improperly and the consequences have been devastating for our clients. We will hold accountable anybody who has a duty under the law to make sure that medications are properly administered, that it is the right dosage, and it is the right prescription.
Do I Have a Claim for Misdiagnosis?
You may be wondering whether you have a claim for medical malpractice if the doctor misdiagnosed your condition. In truth, it can be the basis for a claim. The ultimate issue is, of course, whether or not that misdiagnosis has resulted in added harm. I had a case like this where a woman who was not diagnosed in time with breast cancer had advanced degeneration of her condition because of the failure to timely diagnose her condition.
In addition to the fact that you are going to have to deal with the disease that you currently have, the doctor’s failure can add to that and make it worse if not treated timely or treating another wrong condition has somehow added harm to the patient. It can be actionable, and we investigate those cases thoroughly. We have experts who we rely on to help us in prosecuting these claims for medical malpractice.
Do I Still Have a Claim if I Wasn’t Following Doctors Orders?
I’ve had clients ask, “Is it possible that I could lose my right to pursue a medical malpractice claim if I’m not compliant with what the doctor is asking me to do, or if I fail to follow the instructions that I’m given?” That is different that the doctors’ duty to use reasonable care and abide by their standard of care. However, in the defense of a medical malpractice case, many times, the defense will bring up that issue, which is that the claimant or the person who’s bringing the case did not mitigate their damages, did not mitigate or reduce their losses because they failed to follow the specific instructions of a physician. If you believe that you have been the victim of a medical malpractice, and you’re concerned that the instructions that are given to you by a doctor will cause you more harm, it’s important for you to seek legal advice immediately.
Do I Have a Claim for a Pharmacy Error?
The pharmacist has a responsibility to properly fill your prescription. Nobody ends up in a pharmacy unless they’re dealing with a problem to begin with and getting an improper medication usually means that they’re original problem doesn’t get better and having a misfilled prescription can actually create new problems. If you have worsening of an original injury or sickness, or you’re now suffering a new injury, the pharmacist can be responsible if they have not properly filled out that prescription. That is actually a claim that we’ve successfully prosecuted here in our firm, and it’s critical that we have that opportunity to hold pharmacists accountable too. The pharmacy negligence case or the misfilled prescription case is a viable cause of action in Florida, and we vigorously prosecute those claims.
How Do You Prevent Negligence?
Our firm is focused on safety. The work that we do here, where we hold negligent actors accountable, is fundamentally for the purpose of all of us living in a safer society. Along with that goal of a safe society, we routinely counsel our clients about how to make sure that they can avoid injury in medical settings. If it’s in a hospital setting or anything else, what I tell my clients is be your own advocate, and do not ever take your hands off the steering wheel. You have to be the person, or sometimes if it’s on behalf of a loved one, making sure that there is appropriate care being administered for the situation.
A lot of us really find ourselves feeling kind of like it’s not our place to speak out in medical settings, but doctors and all medical care professionals really owe it to each patient to be able to communicate what the situation is and also to advise every patient about the potential risks. Only if there’s full communication and there’s diligence on the part of a patient can there be efforts undertaken to avoid injury that could occur in a medical setting.
How Do You Prove Fault in Medical Malpractice?
Sometimes I’m asked, “What do I do if I think my doctor may have caused further injury to me?” It’s critically important, number one, to get proper medicine. If you’re injured by your doctor, go see another doctor to find out what can be done to make your situation better. The next important thing is that you go see an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. Oftentimes, there are volumes of medical records that we need to pour through to navigate the intricacies of the medicine to see whether or not a doctor or the hospital made some mistakes that resulted in your injury, so it’s important that you do that.
Can a Case Get Turned Down?
In Florida, we have a medical malpractice statute that requires the person bring the claim of medical malpractice to have verified medical opinions from qualified doctors. That is an expensive process. When we look at cases involving medical malpractice, we know it’s going to be expert-driven, and we utilize some of the best experts in the United States from highly educated institutions and very reputable institutions. Many of them teach at medical schools and so forth.
One of the key issues that we look at in medical malpractice cases is if there was a breach of the prevailing standard of care and if there was harm done to that patient because of that medical malpractice. Causation is extremely important in proving those damages. Our firm incurs the costs as the case is being pursued, and we know that it has to be something that is economically reasonable, not just for the law firm, but for the patient and the patient’s family to pursue to be able to establish that claim. Florida has a very special statute that requires experts to execute affidavits to establish medical malpractice and testify at trial.
How Do You Use Experts in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
You may be wondering, “How will I know if we have a viable or provable medical malpractice claim?” We’re not going to know that until we obtain all the medical records. What happens is we get all those records, we review them, and then we will have them reviewed by experts. We have a number of experts that we use right here in the St. Petersburg, FL community, and all across the United States that we rely on to help us review the case. We have to establish, by the greater weight of the evidence, that there was a breach of professional standard of care that, more likely than not, caused injuries and damages due to that medical malpractice.
We’re going to be focused on those medical records, and we’re going to be looking at those records extremely carefully along with our experts to determine if there was indeed a breach of that prevailing standard of care. The records are extremely important in determining if indeed there is a sustainable, provable, and winnable medical malpractice case.
Will My Medical Malpractice Case Settle or Go to Trial?
I’ve been asked in my practice whether or not a medical malpractice case is more likely to go to a jury trial or if it will settle in advance of a trial. It’s important that when we take on a case, we expect it to go to a trial, because if we expect it to go to a trial, then we’re going to do everything that we need to do in the event that it does go to a trial. Whether it ultimately goes to a trial or not, we don’t know until we’re actually there.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL Today
If you were the victim of medical malpractice, you have every right to compensation in the fullest possible amount. Please do not hesitate to contact our Personal Injury Attorneys St. Petersburg, FL today to set up your free, confidential case evaluation. Let us help you to pursue this case successfully and allow us to protect your rights.