Finding a good car accident lawyer in Florida can feel like a needle in a haystack. One simple internet search can bring up countless law firms, all of which claim to have the best personal injury lawyers in the state.
In order to give yourself the best shot at a positive outcome, you need to do some due diligence before making your final decision about which lawyer to hire to take on your car accident case. For example, does the lawyer have a good reputation for handling personal injury cases? Does the practice have the financial resources to retain the proper experts? Does your law firm have a reputation for trying personal injury cases before juries? How much does the law firm charge for a successful or an unsuccessful case?
Here, we have provided some information about what you should be looking for in a car accident lawyer, but for more information, you can contact us at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
The Importance of a Good Lawyer
If the insurance companies of each party have failed to cover all of your losses, a lawyer is the logical next step. But you should not make this decision lightly. Having the right Florida car accident attorney on your side can make all the difference to your financial recovery. Receiving enough compensation for your unexpected medical bills, lost wages, and other losses will relieve you from financial stress so that you can focus on your recovery.
Avoid Personal Injury Settlement Mills
A good way to start understanding what makes a good lawyer is to understand what a personal injury settlement mill is and how to avoid them.
A personal injury settlement mill is a law firm that takes on an exceptionally high volume of personal injury cases and is known to evaluate all of them according to a “cookie-cutter” formula and rarely ever takes their cases to trial, even if it means the client losses out. They will spend millions in advertising each year to gain a regular and impressive flow of clients. This large advertising budget is necessary because, unlike more prestigious practices, there are very few referrals from other attorneys in the area and previous clients.
These personal injury settlement mills can actually harm your case. They do not invest any time in determining the value of your individual situation like a good firm would and are known for assigning the legal work to paralegals. The paralegals are given weekly quotas and are expected to handle a large volume of cases. This overload tends to lead to mistakes and the acceptance of low settlement offers.
Ask for Recommendations!
When we are looking for a professional service, we will usually ask friends and colleagues for referrals, and this should be the same when you are hiring a lawyer. You are bound to know someone who has used a lawyer before, and this is a great place to start. You can even ask lawyers which law firms they would personally recommend during your free consultations. Most professional attorneys are happy to pass on this information.
Meet With Several Personal Injury Lawyers
It’s a good idea to meet with several personal injury lawyers. You can get a feel for the firm and the lawyer you might be working with. Remember, you’ll work very closely with your lawyer, so you must be comfortable with them.
A good lawyer will offer to conduct your first free case evaluation in person. Take a list of questions to your meeting, such as:
- If you sustained injuries in a car accident, who would you hire if you could not represent yourself?
- Will you be able to handle my specific case? A good lawyer won’t take on a case they do not specialize in.
- What other areas of law do you specialize in? It’s a plus if they focus on personal injury cases only so that they have the experience needed to handle the insurance companies and their tactics.
- Have you taken a personal injury case to court before? A good lawyer is willing to do whatever it takes to secure a fair settlement.
- Will you handle all aspects of my case? If they send a paralegal to your first consultation, this is a red flag.
- How much is the contingency fee? A good lawyer should work on a contingency fee basis.
Ensure That the Law Firm Regularly Handles Car Accident Claims
If the firm or car accident attorney you hire does not have a reputation for frequently litigating car accident claims, the insurance companies will see this as an opportunity to advantage of you. Your insurance company, and the insurance company of the other driver, will be aware of which firms have a proven track record for litigating cases and those who are known as personal injury settlement mills. You need to ensure that you do not hire a Florida car accident lawyer who habitually settles cases for far less than their full value. If you have been injured in a car accident, you deserve to be compensated in full for your losses.
It is good to choose a lawyer who mainly focuses on personal injury cases. Specialization is important in this case as they can use their experience in personal injury law to spot the common defense tactics that are used by insurance companies.
At The Law Place, all of our attorneys have a wealth of experience in litigating cases and securing a full settlement for their clients.
Don’t Pick a Personal Injury Attorney Based on a Television Commercial
Just because a firm is being advertised on TV, this doesn’t mean that they are the best. Many of the advertisements you see are for personal injury settlement mills that are constantly striving to secure a high volume of clients to bring in as much revenue as possible. A reputable law practice works in a completely different manner and will avoid taking on more cases than it can reasonably handle so that they can give the personal attention necessary to their clients.
At The Law Place, our lawyers work directly with their clients and seek to build a strong relationship with them for the benefit of the case. Furthermore, most of our clients come to us through a referral, so we have no need to pay for flashy advertisements.
Ask About the Contingency Fee
By the time many accident victims seek the help of a lawyer, they have probably accrued some amount of debt due to their injuries, so paying for a lawyer when a settlement has not been reached is an issue. However, a good personal injury lawyer will work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you will only have to pay for the legal fees if they win your case. The contingency fee will typically be around 33-40% of the compensation won, but this can be less in some situations. Be wary of law firms who offer a much lower fee. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Check That the Firm Has the Necessary Financial Resources to Take on Your Case
In order to investigate your case adequately, a good law firm will hire a number of different experts, such as crash scene investigators and medical professionals. If your lawyer cuts corners to save money, you could miss out on compensation that you are rightfully owed. A good law firm will ensure no stone is left unturned when it comes to investigating your case and will not ask for money upfront.
Ensure Your Lawyer Is Up to Date on the Law
Some law firms become lazy, complacent, and fail to keep up to date with the law, which changes constantly. A good lawyer will attend legal education seminars to stay up to date and improve their skills. At The Law Place, this is something that we take pride in, and we can guarantee that our lawyers are always striving to improve their skills and expand their knowledge in order to provide the best legal support possible.
Check Their AVVO Rating
Whether they know about it or not, all attorneys in Florida are likely to have a profile on AVVO.com, and therefore, have an AVVO rating. AVVO.com is an online directory of lawyers that rates individual attorneys using the contents of their AVVO profile and gives them a score of between 1.00 and 10.00.
Any reputable law firm will ensure that the AVVO profiles of all of their attorneys are fully filled out. They will include any awards, speaking engagements, client reviews, and recommendations from other attorneys. These ratings can be found via search engines and will show up when you search for an attorney. The rating can provide invaluable information when you are doing your research to find a lawyer.
Most of the accident attorneys at The Law Place have an AVVO score of 10.00, the highest possible rating on the site.
Find Out What Damages They Will Claim For
Economic damages refer to any expenses that are directly related to the accident. Examples of some of the most common forms of economic damages include:
- Past and current medical costs – All medical expenses incurred from the date of the accident will be included in your compensation settlement. This could be costs for an ambulance, healthcare, surgery, traveling to any follow-up appointments, as well as any prescriptions and supplies.
- Future medical costs – If you require long term care or need any future medical procedures, you can be compensated for these expenses as well.
- Physical therapy and home health care services – Any physical therapy and home health care that is required will also be considered. Accident victims should be given the financial means to access any services needed to help them make a full physical recovery.
- Loss of wages and other employer contributions –Any earnings that you lose as a direct result of the car accident should be included in your compensation settlement. A good attorney will also fight for any other employer contributions, such as lost vacation days and other benefits.
- Cost of lost services – If your injury means that you are unable to perform certain tasks as you normally would, such as cleaning the house, running errands, or mowing the lawn, a good attorney will seek compensation for the cost of having to pay someone to provide these services for you, whether this will be in the short or long term.
- Childcare expenses – If you have incurred any additional childcare expenses because of the car accident, you can also claim for these expenses.
- Property damage – Your settlement will also cover repair for damage to your vehicle and any personal property that was in the car at the time of the car accident.
A good personal injury attorney will work closely with you to establish the full extent of your economic losses. They will also consider any future losses and ensure that these are included in your compensation package. Economic losses are different for every victim, and the amount will depend largely on the extent of your injuries. One of our accident lawyers can explain in detail what types of compensation you are entitled to under Florida law during your free consultation, so call us today to find out more.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary, subjective losses. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering – Car accident victims are likely to endure a great deal of physical and mental pain as a result of their injuries. This could have been endured at the time of the car accident and also during the recovery period. Some victims may even endure life-long suffering.
- Mental and emotional suffering – Following a traumatic car accident, many victims will suffer from stress and anxiety, and a good attorney will seek compensation for this mental anguish. For some victims, this emotional distress can have long-lasting effects.
- Disfigurement – Accident victims can seek additional compensation for loss of limbs, loss of hearing, loss of eyesight, loss of fingers, noticeable scarring, and any bodily changes that are a result of the car accident.
- Physical impairment – You may have lost the ability to do certain things because of your injuries. If you are restricted in any way because of the car accident, this is classed as physical impairment. Compensation for this will be based on the extent of the restriction, if you can recover from it, and how much it is likely to affect your future.
- Loss of consortium – Close family such as the spouse or children of a loved one who is killed in a car accident can seek compensation in a wrongful death They can be compensated for losing their ability to interact with their family member, funeral costs, and for a loss of income to a family household.
A good attorney will not underestimate the importance of non-economic damages and the difference compensation for these losses can make to your life. Call The Law Place for a free consultation, and one of our personal injury attorneys can explain what types of damages you may be entitled to claim.
Punitive damages are a form of a financial penalty that the court imposes to punish the responsible party if they believe that an act of gross negligence caused the car accident. These types of damages are awarded in very rare cases. However, if your accident was caused by a person who was driving under the influence of alcohol, texting while driving, or driving recklessly, a good attorney will seek these damages on your behalf.
Florida places a limit of $500,000 on punitive damages, or three times the amount of any compensatory damages, whichever amount is greater.
The Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Florida
After a certain amount of time has passed, you cannot file personal injury lawsuits. This is because there are legal time limits known as the “statute of limitations” that apply to legal actions. In the State of Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is four years.
These restrictions are in place to ensure that victims take action whilst evidence and witness testimonies are still reliable. Furthermore, they prevent defendants from having lawsuits hanging over them for an extended period.
A personal injury lawyer from our law firm can explain how the statute of limitations applies to your case. Call us now for a free case evaluation.
Why Choose The Law Place to Handle Your Personal Injury Case?
Our practice has a reputation for holding insurance companies accountable for car accident damages and for securing compensation settlements. It is common for us to have cases referred to us by other personal injury lawyers in the area who trust and value our service. Insurance companies have been known to give better offers to our clients because we are known for aggressively and successfully litigating their claims. If you choose to work with us, we will work tirelessly until you are offered a compensation settlement that is fair and reflective of your many losses.
What Makes The Law Place Different From Other Florida Law Firms?
The Law Place is a prestigious and respected law practice that is highly recommended by clients and peers. Our car accident attorneys have over 75 years of experience between them and have worked on countless car accident cases throughout the State of Florida. They always strive to stay up on the law and are constantly working to improve their skills. With a personal injury lawyer from our law firm by your side, you can secure a settlement that will allow you to recover from your injuries without the stress and worry of paying for your medical bills and missing time off work.
Call The Law Place Today
If you have been injured in a car accident and are in need of legal representation, it is important that you take the time to understand what makes a good car accident lawyer. Ask for referrals, do some research, and speak to a lawyer face to face. The right lawyer should offer you an attorney-client relationship that is based on trust and understanding. They should make you feel valued and take the time to understand your individual accident case.
For more information, call us at (941) 444-4444 for a free case evaluation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.