Tina Willis Law – Orlando https://injuryattorneyflorida.com Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer & Car Accident Attorney Mon, 21 Jan 2019 23:50:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Florida Legislature Taking Aim At Personal Injury & Med Mal Victims, Again https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-legislature-taking-aim-at-personal-injury-med-mal-victims-again/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-legislature-taking-aim-at-personal-injury-med-mal-victims-again/#respond Mon, 21 Jan 2019 23:27:51 +0000 https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=12663 Although legislators who have, for many years, demonstrated by their votes that they care much more about businesses and insurance companies than injured or dead accident victims. So they have been chomping at every legal bit since the midterm elections in 2018. With the swearing in of the conservatives’ wildest dreams, in all three branches [...]

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New Florida Legislature Medical Malpractice 2019

Although legislators who have, for many years, demonstrated by their votes that they care much more about businesses and insurance companies than injured or dead accident victims. So they have been chomping at every legal bit since the midterm elections in 2018.

With the swearing in of the conservatives’ wildest dreams, in all three branches of government in Florida, it hasn’t taken long for the best Orlando personal injury lawyers, and Florida medical malpractice lawyers, to see immediate legislative proposals that, if passed, and upheld by the new & more conservative Florida Supreme Court, will significantly limit and/or destroy many of our future clients’ claims.

As far as new laws go, they have decided to first take aim at medical malpractice victims. My fear is that auto accident victims may not be far behind (and, in fact, insurance company lobbying papers, published this year, have expressed a very clear desire to significantly limit any and all injured or killed victims’ ability to recover a fair amount).

(I hope that I will not scare you away if you are one of my potential conservative clients — I promise that I work equally hard for all of my clients (not to mention, I come from a family full of conservatives). I also understand that many accident victims have no idea how their votes may directly impact their financial recovery after some random accident that they never expected to have in the first place.)

The fact is, truth be told, conservative lawmakers have long tried to undermine personal injury lawyers and their clients (because their primary donors, namely corporations and insurance companies, don’t like paying their claims). So they have long done everything possible to pass laws to make financial recovery difficult and/or impossible for victims of many types of tragic accidents.

Therefore, if they are being honest, you will not find any Orlando personal injury attorneys who are conservative. Our future clients can’t afford to have us sit on the sidelines silently, as lawmakers destroy the legitimate claims of so many of our future potential clients, including the ability to recover from a negligent person or doctor, after an accident.

Anyway, at the moment, Florida legislators are trying to pass a bill that would limit medical bill recovery to the amount actually paid, rather than the amount billed.

(As a side note, I was cautiously yet pleasantly surprised that they are only targeting med mal victims with this particular bill. Insurance industry (published) buzz has indicated that they will be coming after traffic accident victims, and many other potential insurance claimants (like hurricane property damage victims) soon.)

In any event, if you aren’t an insider, limiting medical bills to the amount actually paid (by the client, or his or her insurance company) might sound perfectly reasonable, unless you understand the practical implications. One big problem with laws of this nature is that, the vast majority of the time, most people have no idea about the practical implications.

Anyway, usually the difference between the amount billed, versus the amount actually paid, is the absolute necessary difference for clients to get a fair recovery. And whenever the top Florida personal injury attorneys don’t think their clients can get a fair or reasonable recovery, we decide to stop accepting the types of cases that will lead to unhappy clients in the end. In other words, if this bill passes, more potential med mal clients will not be able to find lawyers (this was already a crisis in med mal, before this election, because lawyers already to reject 99+% of cases due to outrageously unfair med mal laws passed by previous Florida legislators and governors.)

The good news, if there could be anything “good” about being an auto accident or medical malpractice victim, is that, until and unless these horrendously unfair laws pass, Florida’s existing laws will still protect many accident victims. And new laws will not apply to then-pending cases (meaning new laws will never be retroactive, so until and unless they pass, nothing will have changed).

So I keep holding my breath, hoping the legislature doesn’t do what they have long wanted, and destroy my ability to recover money for far too many of my potential clients.

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Florida Insurance Lobby Targeting Auto Accident Victims in 2019 https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-auto-insurance-lobby-2019/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-auto-insurance-lobby-2019/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 23:13:40 +0000 https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=12492 Insurance Industry Proposed Changes to Florida Auto Accident Law in 2019 Most people who have never been victims of any accident have no idea how Florida laws might impact their potential auto insurance claims.  Unfortunately, over the last 20 years, conservative Florida lawmakers have directly targeted injury victims by passing many laws designed to weaken [...]

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Insurance Industry Proposed Changes to Florida Auto Accident Law in 2019

Scary Changes To Florida's Auto Accident Laws 2019Most people who have never been victims of any accident have no idea how Florida laws might impact their potential auto insurance claims.  Unfortunately, over the last 20 years, conservative Florida lawmakers have directly targeted injury victims by passing many laws designed to weaken the value of accident cases.  

As a result, the insurance lobby has been licking their chops after the 2018 midterm election, because conservative lawmakers have always supported their efforts to curb victim rights in court.

This same insurance industry lobby recently published a white paper, detailing the legislative changes that they want from the Florida legislature in 2019.  They make their goals sound lofty — to reduce insurance premiums for all Floridians. Who could argue with a reduction in premiums?

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

How Florida Insurance Companies Have Targeted Accident Victims For Years

Well, once you’ve advocated for an accident victim, you start to understand the much more tragic side of the story.  Since the mid 1990’s, insurance companies have enjoyed crazy high profits, helped along by an industry-wide policy of “delay, deny and defend.”  There is a lot of evidence about the insurance industry changes, which hurt consumers, starting around 1993. Some high profile lawsuits revealed insurance industry secrets, including things like how insurance companies required their adjusters to devalue accident victim claims on a massive scale, and created industry-wide software that significantly lowered accident victim payouts, regardless of case merit, and other similar case-devaluing techniques.

They have achieved their end result, which was to increase shareholder profits, by complete and total lies about widespread “frivolous” lawsuits, all the while attacking the claims of the most seriously injured victims, because their claims are always worth the most.

These insurance industry tactics mean you might pay your insurance bill for many years.  Then have your claim denied, or greatly devalued, if you are ever injured. That leaves you with no choice but to hire a lawyer, even though paying a car accident lawyer shouldn’t be required. Even we lawyers have had to change our approach over those years — claims that previously could have been settled out-of-court now require a couple of years of litigation.

Because we have already been fighting conservative laws for many years, Florida’s accident victim laws were already anti-victim, compared to most other states.

Legal Changes To Auto Accident Laws, Which Insurance Companies Recently Proposed

After the 2018 midterms, the insurance companies want a variety of additional changes to some obscure Florida laws.  If you aren’t a lawyer, you probably will not know how those might impact future claims. This complexity helps the insurance industry’s agenda because, when people don’t understand the inner-workings of the technical legalities, the insurance industry can (and will) exploit victims without most people having the first clue what’s really happening.

The reality is that many types of auto accident lawsuits, which are the only way victims currently get what they deserve from these cases, could largely disappear in the coming years.  My prediction is, after conservative judges are appointed to Florida’s Supreme Court, and a Republican administration and Congress take over, Florida personal injury and accident lawyers will be forced to pursue a narrower and narrower class of cases.  That means many victims will have not be able to find a lawyer after they are injured, even seriously injured, and need legal help.

I hope I’m wrong.  I fear I’m not.

Next year, the insurance lobby will pursue various complicated reforms.

Insurance Companies Want To Change Florida Bad Faith Law

The first involves changes to something called bad faith law in Florida.  This is a law that requires insurers to settle claims in good faith.  If insurers do not act in good faith during the claims process, then, under current law, the best Orlando personal injury lawyers file lawsuits, and sometimes recover more than the policy amount.  

As a more specific example, let’s say an at-fault driver has a $100,000 auto insurance policy, and clearly caused an accident.  Then this driver injured someone in another vehicle, who suffered a tragic spinal cord injury leading to paralysis. Since paralysis requires a lifetime of medical care, this claim would easily exceed 100K.  In those cases, under current law, the insurance company would be required to handle the claim in good faith, meaning settle the case for 100K very quickly. If the insurance company failed to do so, then they could be sued potentially for millions of dollars (meaning the actual value of the case) because they failed to settle when they should have.

Bad faith cases are rare, relative to the number of auto accident cases in Florida.  However, the bad faith laws are the only real threat the best Orlando car accident lawyers have against insurance companies.  Without bad faith, most auto accident cases would settle for far less than they currently do (which is already never enough, largely because far too many people are driving around without enough insurance coverage, which is another way conservative laws have hurt accident victims).  Not surprisingly, after the 2018 midterm elections, the insurance lobby, supported by conservative lawmakers, has quickly moved to try to dismantle this critical legal protection for Florida consumers & auto accident victims.

Insurance Companies Want To Change Amounts Reimbursed For Medical Bills In Florida Auto Accident Cases

In addition to changing bad faith laws, the insurance lobby wants to reduce medical payments from auto accidents, from what medical providers bill auto accident patients, to what they actually pay. This sounds reasonable enough.

However, the potential gap between what medical providers bill, and what they pay, is part of how auto accident victims get money in their pockets after accidents (rather than just having their bills paid — which is totally unfair because paying their bills, and nothing else, does nothing for their pain and suffering — especially considering auto accident victims must reimburse medical providers for any medical bills, from their insurance settlements or verdicts).

Florida Injury Lawyers Tried To Get Law Requiring Floridians To Carry Bodily Injury Insurance

The personal injury lawyers’ lobby tried during last year’s session to get Florida lawmakers to pass a requirement that Florida drivers carry bodily insurance (“BI”) coverage.  BI coverage is required in many other states, but not Florida. Under current Florida law, drivers are not required to carry one penny of coverage for any drivers they injure. That often results in tragically unfair results for accident victims, because, unless the driver who injures them has sufficient insurance coverage, there is no way to get victims the money they deserve.

In their recent white paper, the Florida insurance lobby made clear they would not support that much needed reform (to require bodily injury insurance coverage in Florida), under the new Republican administration.

Insurance Lobby Wants To Further Limit Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

The insurance lobby also wants to further erode what are already horribly unfair odds of having a successful medical malpractice or workers compensation case in Florida.  Florida medical malpractice lawyers, as a group, are already forced to reject 99+% of med mal cases, and most stopped accepting workers’ comp cases years ago, with a few narrow exceptions.  Those laws were already far too anti-victim, resulting in tragic results where catastrophically injured people couldn’t file suits, or get any legal help at all.  Lawyers have been forced to reject these cases in record high numbers, for many, many years. Now they want to cut even more from victims. Sadly, they will probably get their wish.

At Tina Willis Law, we currently must reject a very high number of cases from people who call our office, largely because insurance laws in Florida are already so anti-victim.  I do not say this lightly and, when discussing the law, I absolutely strive to make impartial & accurate statements. Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans control our government, I want whatever is best for accident victims. But I honestly and very seriously fear this new administration could put the nail in the coffin for 99% of injury victims, over the next few years.  In other words, I fear a future where 99% of auto accident victims will get pennies on the dollar, because they will not be able to find lawyers to take their cases (because these laws will destroy the value needed to justify the time and expense of lawsuits). Most other Florida injury attorneys feel the same way.

We will continue to represent as many accident victims as we can, until and unless the laws make bringing a successful case impossible. That absolutely might happen in the near future, but hasn’t happened yet.  Going forward, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

Related Posts:

Why Insurance Companies Do Not Pay Auto Accident Claims Quickly

How Has Tort Reform Hurt Consumers?

Do Personal Injury Lawyers Accept Frivolous Cases (Part I)?

Do Personal Injury Lawyers Accept Frivolous Cases (Part II)?

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Florida Bad Faith: Insurance Company Must Help With Reasonable Settlement Requests https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-bad-faith/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-bad-faith/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 21:16:07 +0000 https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=12470 Florida Bad Faith Law: Insurance Company Must Do More Than Simply Write A Check Last month, the Florida Supreme Court made new bad faith law that will help auto accident victims.   In Harvey v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 1705 (Fla. 2018), the Florida high court ruled that insurance companies can still [...]

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Florida Bad Faith Law

Florida Bad Faith Law: Insurance Company Must Do More Than Simply Write A Check

Last month, the Florida Supreme Court made new bad faith law that will help auto accident victims.  

In Harvey v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 1705 (Fla. 2018), the Florida high court ruled that insurance companies can still be liable for bad faith even if the actions of their insured were also to blame for an excess judgment above policy limits.  The case establishes that insurance companies do not have a “contributory negligence” type defense to bad faith claims based on the actions of their insureds. 

In layman’s terms, that means, even if the at-fault driver with insurance makes a mistake, the insurance company can still be held liable, for the full value of the jury verdict, above any insurance policy limits, if they refused to cooperate as needed in settling the case.

What Happened In This Bad Faith Case?

The petitioner, James Harvey, was in a car accident in 2006 which caused the death of the other driver – John Potts.  Mr. Potts was 51 years old and left behind a wife and 3 kids. Just an awful tragedy. At the time of the fatal accident Harvey was covered by a $100,000 liability policy with GEICO.  The accident was promptly reported to GEICO and their investigation quickly confirmed that their insured, Mr. Harvey, was at fault.

An attorney for the estate of the deceased driver, Mr. Potts, notified GEICO that they were looking into a wrongful death claim.  The attorney for the Potts estate contacted GEICO and requested a recorded statement from Mr. Harvey. The purpose of the requested statement from Harvey was to determine if he had any additional insurance or financial assets.  In other words, the Potts estate wanted to find out if there was any point in going after Harvey for more than just the $100,000 limit under his GEICO policy.

Mixed Fault: Both Geico & The At-Fault Driver Made Mistakes

GEICO did not immediately advise Mr. Harvey that the Potts estate wanted to get a formal statement from him about potential assets.  Instead, GEICO denied the request for a statement from Harvey and sent a check for the $100,000 policy limit in exchange for settlement of the estate’s claim.  

The Potts estate informed GEICO that they were not willing to settle the matter for the GEICO policy limits without knowing if Harvey had other coverage or assets.  GEICO did not inform Harvey of the request for a statement until 2 weeks into the process. Harvey told the GEICO claims adjuster he had retained his own lawyer but his lawyer was not back from vacation until the following week.  The GEICO adjuster was supposed to relay this information to the Potts estate but she never did. After hearing nothing back, and without a statement from Harvey, the Potts estate returned GEICO’s check and filed a wrongful death suit against Harvey. The case went to trial and resulted in a judgment against Harvey for $8.4 million.  

When An Insurance Company Fails To Cooperate, In Bad Faith, Victims Can Sometimes Recover The Entire Jury Verdict

Harvey subsequently sued GEICO for bad faith based on the judgment in excess of his $100,000 policy limit.  Now, as a practical matter, Harvey is not really the one suing. The plaintiffs and their lawyer are stepping into their shoes because they are the ones that really stand to benefit from the bad faith claim because the money awarded would go the family.  

The bad faith action went to trial and a jury found that GEICO acted in bad faith and awarded Harvey $9.2 million. However, the judgment against GEICO was overturned on appeal.  The intermediate appellate court explained that GEICO could not be liable for bad faith when the excess judgment was caused, at least in part, by the actions/inactions of the insured (i.e., Harvey’s failure to provide a statement).  

Florida Supreme Court Reverses The Lower Court In This Bad Faith Case

Harvey appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.  A divided court ruled in favor of Harvey, and affirmed the trial court’s decision that GEICO had acted in bad faith.  The majority noted that there was more than enough evidence to support the jury’s finding that under the “totality of the circumstances,” GEICO failed to act with the required level of diligence and good faith.  The court also rejected the notion that the actions or inactions of the insured can provide an affirmative defense to a bad faith claim:

“[n]othing in our precedent can be read to suggest that an insurer cannot be found liable for bad faith merely because the insured could have attempted on his own to avoid the excess judgment.  In fact, our precedent states just the opposite, as it is the insurer who owes a fiduciary obligation to the insured to [act] in good faith and with due regard for the interests of the insured.”

Harvey at *16.

Lessons Regarding Future Florida Bad Faith Cases

The decision in Harvey will serve as a reminder to insurance companies and their adjusters that they can’t always cut a check, and bail out, in big cases that will clearly exceed policy limits, without serious ramifications.  The GEICO claims adjuster at the center of this case apparently had a history of difficulty in properly handling claims. Her performance reviews repeatedly found that she struggled to manage her case load and had issues with poor communication.  When she realized that the claim against Mr. Harvey would clearly exceed policy limits, the GEICO adjuster appears to have decided that once she sent out a check for the policy limits, she didn’t need to do much else on behalf of the insured. The testimony at trial made it pretty clear that all the GEICO adjuster needed to do was communicate with the attorney for the Potts estate regarding their request for a statement from Harvey.  

The attorney for the estate testified that if they had obtained the requested statement from Harvey and learned that he had no other coverage or assets, they would have settled for policy limits and never filed the wrongful death action.  The Harvey decision will hopefully serve to remind insurers that their obligations on behalf of their insureds go beyond the monetary policy limits.

About the Author

Ron Miller is a personal injury attorney in Baltimore, Maryland. He is founding partner of the firm Miller & Zois in Baltimore, Maryland.  Miller & Zois is widely regarded as one of the leading personal injury firms in Maryland.  The lawyers at Miller & Zois focus exclusively on representing plaintiffs in cases involving very serious injury, birth injury, and wrongful death.  Miller & Zois have extensive experience in auto tort claims as well as bad faith claims against auto insurance carriers.

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Is Failure To Perform Necessary Surgery Medical Malpractice? https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/necessary-surgery-medical-malpractice/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/necessary-surgery-medical-malpractice/#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 22:48:21 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=11637 Doctors Who Fail To Perform Surgery: Medical Malpractice? As a medical malpractice lawyer based in Orlando, Florida, one question I hear regularly from potential clients is whether a doctor’s failure to perform necessary surgery is medical malpractice. The answer is a resounding “it depends.” First Med Mal Question: How Serious Were the Resulting Injuries? First, [...]

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Doctors Who Fail To Perform Surgery: Medical Malpractice?

Failure Perform Surgery Medical Malpractice

As a medical malpractice lawyer based in Orlando, Florida, one question I hear regularly from potential clients is whether a doctor’s failure to perform necessary surgery is medical malpractice.

The answer is a resounding “it depends.”

Text or Call 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

First Med Mal Question: How Serious Were the Resulting Injuries?

First, as with all medical malpractice cases, we must determine how serious the resulting permanent injuries are.  In other words, we want to know what the RESULT of the doctor’s failure to perform surgery was.  If the result is “just” that another surgery was needed, and there were no permanent injuries, then most malpractice lawyers will be forced to reject the case.

(Incidentally, we do not mean to minimize the horrible outcome when someone must endure multiple surgeries as a result of doctor negligence.  But the reality is that without permanent, catastrophic injury, no malpractice lawsuit makes sense in terms of cost & benefit to the client.  This is because Florida’s legislature has placed unreasonable restrictions on the rights of malpractice victims to pursue their cases, which have led to extremely high costs for pursuing the cases (such as requirements that expensive doctor’s must be paid for pre-suit opinions).)

As a practical matter, because of Florida’s extensive & very limiting medical malpractice statutes, no malpractice case is worth pursuing unless the damages are catastrophic or deadly.  In other words, unless the victim suffered a permanent, life-altering injury, or death, most Orlando medical malpractice lawyers will be forced to reject the case.

Second Med Mal Question: Who Wants To Sue?

If the failure to perform necessary surgery DID cause catastrophic injury or death, the next question is whether the proper person wants to sue.  The injured person may sue, as long as they are still alive.  If the failure to perform necessary surgery lead to wrongful death, then only certain family members are entitled to sue.  Therefore, when you call us, if someone died, we will have to ask about their age, and your relationship to them.

Text or Call 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

Third Med Mal Question: Did The Doctor Do Anything Wrong?

Assuming the person entitled to file a lawsuit calls us, and assuming the injuries are sufficiently catastrophic, the next question is whether the doctor’s behavior fell below the professional standard of care for similar doctors in the community.  To make that determination, after a preliminary review of the facts to determine whether we believe that standard was likely breached, medical malpractice lawyers often must request the medical records, then have a physician expert review the records to give us an opinion.  In short, to determine whether a doctor did something that a doctor shouldn’t do, we often ask another doctor.  Indeed, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, we are required to provide an affidavit (which is a sworn statement under oath) from another doctor.

Quite often people calling us have spoken with another medical provider, who told them that a doctor should have performed surgery.  Sometimes the failure to provide surgery, or a timely surgical consultation, can lead to permanent catastrophic injury or death.

One Example: Failure To Provide Neonatal Surgical Consult Led To Death

As just one of many examples, here is a Florida case in which a doctor failed to provide a neonatal surgical consultation to a baby who suffered from necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a gastrointestinal condition that can be fatal without surgical intervention.  The jury determined that the doctor in that case failed to provide a surgical consultation in a timely manner, which the jury believed led to the death of the infant.  That’s a perfect example of a failure to provide a necessary surgical consultation, with death as the outcome, which most definitely was medical malpractice.

Bottom Line: We Need To Carefully Evaluate Lots of Facts

The bottom line is that whether failure to perform a necessary surgery would justify a medical malpractice lawsuit is an extremely fact-intensive question.  In other words, we have to learn a whole bunch of facts to determine whether a lawsuit would be justified, anytime a doctor fails to perform necessary surgery.

If you believe that your doctor, or your loved one’s doctor, negligently failed to perform necessary surgery, please give us a call to discuss your case at no cost.  We never charge any fee until & unless we recover money for you.

Text or Call 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139


Why Should You Hire Tina?

Basics & Pitfalls Of Medical Malpractice Cases

What Is The Value Of Your Med Mal Case?

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Attorneys Fees In Bad Faith Florida Car Accident Cases https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/attorneys-fees-bad-faith/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/attorneys-fees-bad-faith/#respond Fri, 25 Mar 2016 14:40:38 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=11271 Bad Faith Attorneys’ Fees In Florida Car Accident Cases Sometimes, in car accident cases, an Orlando personal injury attorney needs to prove that an insurance company acted in bad faith against their insured.  This can allow their clients to collect more than the policy limits in some cases (mind you, this assumes that you hire [...]

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Bad Faith Attorneys’ Fees In Florida Car Accident Cases

Sometimes, in car accident cases, an Orlando personal injury attorney needs to prove that an insurance company acted in bad faith against their insured.  This can allow their clients to collect more than the policy limits in some cases (mind you, this assumes that you hire a lawyer who will file a lawsuit when needed; some definitely will not). For example, if the damages in a case were clearly more than the insurance policy held by the defendant, but the insurance company refused to pay the policy limits, then a jury later might determine that the insurance company acted in bad faith.

florida bad faith attorneys fees

Florida’s Insurance Bad Faith Law

To explain further, Florida has a statute that requires insurance companies to act in good faith when settling insurance claims.  That means that insurance companies are required to settle when “under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly towards its insured and with due regard for the insured’s interest.”

Many people have no idea that insurance companies do everything possible to pay the least amount of money to auto accident victims.  That includes insurance companies owned by the at-fault drivers, and uninsured motorist policies actually purchased by the victim before the accident.

So Florida law has a remedy, which is the bad faith statute.  Now, mind you, the bad faith statute has many shortcomings, not the least of which is that an attorney can only pursue a bad faith lawsuit after the underlying car accident lawsuit has gone to verdict.  So the process can take many years.  But at least the threat of bad faith keeps some insurers from completely walking all over the rights of injured victims during settlement negotiations.

Another thing most non-lawyers (and many lawyers) do not realize is that laws protecting consumers and accident victims have been largely watered down over the past 20+ years.  I have to reject far more cases than I accept for this reason.

But sometimes something goes right in the development of the law, and that happened recently.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

Florida Supreme Court Helps Florida Car Accident Victims

Non-lawyers also may not know that once statutes are passed, unclear language in those statute is interpreted by courts.  Those courts issue lengthy opinions explaining how laws will be interpreted and implemented.  So that means that courts essentially play a very big role in lawmaking.  And laws are constantly evolving based on changing court opinions.  Orlando personal injury attorneys have to stay current on these laws, and research known issues again with new cases to make sure the law hasn’t changed.

Today I’m happy to announce some good news on that front, for car accident victims.  This might not impact a huge percentage of cases, because bad faith only arises in a narrow class of car accident cases.  Arguing that an insurance company acted in bad faith really only becomes possible when the plaintiff’s injuries, and the value of their damages, clearly exceeds whatever car insurance policy limits are involved.

How Florida’s Bad Faith Statute Might Come Into Play: A Simplified Example

For example, let’s say the at-fault driver had a $25,000 insurance policy.  Then let’s say the plaintiff was injured in a car accident with very clear liability (proof of fault), such as a rear-end collision, and needed surgery with a price tag of $100,000.  In that case, the plaintiff’s damages clearly exceed the policy limits.  If the insurance company refused to pay, assuming they were given reasonable time to investigate, and settlement offers and terms were clearly communicated, then it might be possible for the plaintiff’s lawyer to utilize the bad faith statute to obtain a verdict in excess of the policy limits — for the full amount of the plaintiff’s damages (because that’s what the bad faith statute allows a plaintiff to do).

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

Florida Supreme Court Makes The Bad Faith Fight Just A Little Easier For Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

Recently the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ arsenal was strengthened by the Florida Supreme Court.  The court decided that plaintiffs’ attorneys could obtain the time records of the insurance company attorneys during any bad faith litigation.  This is important because plaintiffs’ attorneys are entitled to get their attorneys fees paid if they can prove bad faith.  But then they have to prove that the amount of their fees is reasonable.  Sometimes insurance companies argue (during bad faith lawsuits) that plaintiffs’ attorneys fees aren’t reasonable, particularly if they claim to have spent many hours fighting over a lower value claim.

But the Florida Supreme Court has now ruled that plaintiffs’ attorneys can get the time records of insurance defense attorneys to help prove that their own time was reasonable.  The thinking is that if the insurance company lawyer spent many hours on any particular case, then that supports the idea that a plaintiffs’ lawyer acted reasonably in spending a similar number of hours.

How Does Helping Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Help Car Accident Victims?

So why is this a victory for plaintiffs?  The reason is because plaintiffs lawyers have to get paid for their time, or they can’t pursue cases.  Many laws have greatly eroded the ability of plaintiffs’ lawyers to get paid in a wide variety of accident & injury cases.  That means they have to reject or not pursue cases, even when the injured victim really needs a lawyer, and can’t afford to pay their attorneys’ fees without an agreement to pay fees contingent upon the attorney recovering money for them.

If you were involved in a car accident case, or need an attorney to review a potential Florida bad faith claim, please give me a call, send me a text, or send me an email.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

My Answers To Many Common Car Accident Victim Questions

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Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amounts https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-motorcycle-accident-settlements/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/florida-motorcycle-accident-settlements/#respond Mon, 07 Mar 2016 16:05:06 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=10723 Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement Values As an Orlando auto accident attorney, I often consult verdict and settlement reporters to help myself and my team to advise clients regarding the possible value of their case.  This list includes Florida motorcycle accident settlement & verdict amounts.  I have also included my thoughts on the likely reasons for [...]

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Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement Values

Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement ValuesAs an Orlando auto accident attorney, I often consult verdict and settlement reporters to help myself and my team to advise clients regarding the possible value of their case.  This list includes Florida motorcycle accident settlement & verdict amounts.  I have also included my thoughts on the likely reasons for high or low awards.  This is exactly how diligent & thorough Orlando motorcycle accident attorneys evaluate cases when advising clients what to accept.  We handle biker crash cases throughout the state of Florida.

If you were recently injured in a motorcycle accident, you might want to read more about how motorcycle accident cases are handled in our courts, and how to get the most money from your motorcycle accident case.

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Below is a summary of reported Florida motorcycle accident verdicts and settlements.  This research included many of the most relevant reported case results for motorcycle accident verdicts in Florida, starting with the past 3 years (as of Jan 2016).  The post is not complete, but gives you a snapshot view.  This is *exactly* the information that lawyers research when determining case value, although some case valuation is based on experience, because many cases are not reported.  However, it would be absolutely foolish to try to evaluate or handle a moderate to serious injury or wrongful death case yourself.  I’m providing this to educate, not suggest that you can or should handle your own case.  You need a motorcycle accident attorney, if you were injured, or someone was killed.

(This post will be periodically updated, at the end of the post, after 2016.)

Where reported, I have given the amount of the verdict, a short summary of the injuries and treatment involved (which is often the biggest factor in damages calculations), and explained any likely reasons for high or low verdicts.  Note that the value of a case depends a lot on the injuries & treatment.

Most verdicts and settlements are NOT reported.  But reported verdicts, along with experience, still give lawyers an idea of the range of values, and the reasons cases fall within certain value points.  Also, every jury can be different, and juries are unpredictable, which is why 98% of cases settle before trial.

Many Factors Impact Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement Values

Top Factors Re Motorcycle Accident Case ValueThere are many factors that impact motorcycle case accident value, such as the amount of available insurance, and how clear it is that the defendant driver CAUSED the accident, any positive or negative witnesses, as well as whether any pre-existing injuries might be the cause of current plaintiff suffering.  But, again, this list will give you a rough snapshot of some verdict and settlement amounts from Florida motorcycle accident cases.  This research results below show the type of research that attorneys can do to determine case value (if the law firm is not a high volume settlement mill, and has a lawyer actually working on your case).  Experience with similar cases also informs case settlement discussions.

Throughout the summaries below, I have written the verdict amounts in bold, for quick review.  After the bullet points, I have shared my thoughts about what might have made these motorcycle accident verdict values high or low.

Do You Want To Learn How To Increase Your Motorcycle Accident Case Value?

If you would like a detailed analysis of the facts of your case, then please give me a call, or send me a text, 24 hours a day, to schedule a free telephone consultation.  If yours is a case that I can accept, I will explain the factors that might impact case value in your specific case.  I will also tell you how to get the most money possible from your motorcycle accident case.

Also, the cases below were handled by many different attorneys from around the state of Florida.

Since injury case value often turns on the type of injury and treatment, the larger headings summarize those things for your quick review.

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Shoulder Fracture With Surgery, Lumbar Disc Bulges & Road Rash, Defendant Apologized At Scene: $476,416.00

(1) Vinci v. Tosti.

Jury Verdict: $476,416.00.  DOV: 2013.

  • Verdict reduced by 20% due to comparative negligence (jury found plaintiff 20% at fault).

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Accident Collision

Injuries & Treatment:  Lumbar disc bulges, shoulder fracture with arthroscopic surgery, and road rash.  

  • The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon said that the plaintiff had a permanent back injury, and his pain management doctor said he would need continuing pain management.

Details

The plaintiff was a young man in his early 20s who was riding a motorcycle.  He claimed he was struck from behind by the defendant.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s motorcycle suddenly cut in front of the car.  (This is a typical defense argument to avoid liability in a motorcycle accident.)  The good news is that the defendant apologized at the scene, and admitted that she had been looking at a map at the time of the accident.  This is an admission — and great admissible evidence against the defendant driver.

The defense also argued that the accident did not cause the plaintiff’s low back injuries (another common defense argument — either based on pre-existing conditions that could have caused similar symptoms, or conflicting doctor / expert opinions that the pain simply wasn’t caused by the accident).
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida (note South Florida often has higher verdicts than Central or North Florida, very generally speaking, because of more liberal jury pools; however, that is not always the case).
Note on motorcycle case value: MANY factors can influence motorcycle accident case value up or down.  So motorcycle accident injuries do NOT have a “set” value in the law. Not at ALL.  Things that change case values up or down:  pre-existing conditions, strength of doctor opinion, quality of doctor credentials and opinion, conflicting doctor opinions, arguments about fault or cause of the accident, witness differences in opinion, lack of witnesses, admissions of guilt or apologies by defendant drivers, drunk drivers, drivers texting while driving, value of insurance policy, and many other factors.
Notable fact: there was only 25K in liability coverage, and the case was settled after the verdict for an undisclosed amount.  Generally attorneys can seek a higher amount of coverage than a policy allows if the insurance company should have settled earlier for the full amount, but didn’t.

Traumatic Brain Injury & Facial Fractures, But No Helmet: Zero Verdict

(2) Shannon v. Filsaime.
ZERO Verdict (defense verdict).  DOV: April 2014, Broward County.
Most likely reason for zero verdict: plaintiff not wearing a full face helmet, and doctor said that helmet would have prevented her particular injury.  Also, the defense questioned whether she really had the injury she was claiming.
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Motorcycle collision
What happened?
The plaintiff was a woman in her 50s who was riding her motorcycle with a group of motorcycle riders, including the defendant (also a motorcycle rider).  When she sued the defendant, she claimed that the defendant cut in front of her motorcycle, which caused her to strike the back of the defendant’s motorcycle.  The defendant argued that the driver of the lead motorcycle had hand-signaled for all of the motorcyclists to pull over, but the plaintiff had ignored that instruction.   He claimed he was following the instruction, just like everyone else, and trying to pull off the road, when the plaintiff struck the back of his motorcycle.
The defendant’s expert neurologist testified that the plaintiff’s hemorrhage had resolved without any injury to the brain (so the plaintiff and defendant experts disagreed, and the jury heard testimony from both, and had to decide who they believed).  The defense attorney also argued that a full face helmet would have prevented plaintiff’s facial fractures.  As a bit of strange coincidence (and frankly bad luck), the plaintiff actually operated a motorcycle shop that sold full face helmets.

Quadriceps Rupture, But Plaintiff Speeding & Weaving: Zero Verdict

(3) Poe v. Peterson.
ZERO Verdict (defense verdict).  DOV: May 2014 in Miami-Dade County.
Most likely reason for defense verdict: there were two witnesses who said that the plaintiff was speeding and weaving in and out of other vehicles before the motorcycle / auto collision.
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision
What happened?
The plaintiff motorcycle rider said that the defendant made a faulty left turn, coming from the opposite direction, which caused the collision with the plaintiff’s motorcycle.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff was speeding, weaving in and out of other vehicles, and blocked from the defendant’s vision by a double-parked bus.  The worst part of the case (for the plaintiff) was that the defendant had two eye-witnesses, who both told the jury that the plaintiff was speeding, and weaving in and out between vehicles.
Note: every case is different, witnesses may or may not be available, and other evidence can vary a great deal.  But you have real reason to be concerned about financial recovery if you were driving like a maniac before any accident that caused your injuries.   The real questions in every motorcycle accident case are what caused the accident, what caused your injuries, what are your injuries, how serious are your injuries, and what has been your treatment.  Those factors determine motorcycle case verdict or settlement value.
But these zero verdict cases can give you an idea of the types of factors that might cause your attorney to recommend settling a case, rather than going to trial.  The admissible evidence against you influences that decision.

Aggravation of Previous Neck & Back Injuries, Facet Joint & Radiculopathy, Plaintiff Had Supporting Witnesses: $348,472.00

(4) Nelson v. Lonnie Jones Trucking.
Plaintiff verdict of $348,472.  DOV: Jan 2015 in Duval County.
Type of Accident: Auto / Motorcycle Collision.  Motorcycle swerved to avoid hitting a stopped dump truck.
Injuries: Aggravation of preexisting neck and back conditions, Facet Joint & Radiculopathy
What Happened?
The plaintiff was a 54 year old motorcycle rider driving south on I-95 at dusk.  The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s dump truck was stopped in the travel lane, which forced him to swerve to the right, and hit another vehicle.  The defendant denied that the dump truck was stopped.  He said that the dump truck had just slowed down to turn into a construction site.  The good news for the plaintiff in this particular case was that he had supporting witnesses.  He called another motorcycle rider who had been riding in his same lane, as well as the driver of the vehicle behind him.  Both of those witnesses testified that the dump truck was stuck in the travel lane of the highway.  So they supported the plaintiff’s version of the facts.  Also, the accident happened 200 yards south of the access to the construction site.
What were the plaintiff’s claimed injuries?  The plaintiff said that the injury aggravated his pre-existing neck and back injuries, and injured the facet joint at L4-L5 of his spine, which caused radiculopathy (often numbness / tingling and/or weakness) into his leg.
The defense argued that the truck was slowing, not stopped.  The defense also argued that the plaintiff injuries dated back to 1984, including a lumbar fusion in 1999.  So the defendant’s medical expert testified that the plaintiff’s condition was not CAUSED by this particular accident.  Instead, any accident related injuries resolved within 6-12 weeks.  Note: we do have to prove that an accident actually caused injuries, but pre-existing conditions *usually* cut both ways in terms of helping and hurting the case.  They help because they show that the plaintiff was more vulnerable to a new injury; they hurt because some of the injury was, by definition, not caused by the accident.  Overall, they should not concern you, but they might cause a reduction in the amount of recommended settlement.
Obviously the jury believed the plaintiff and his witnesses.  They found the defendant 100% responsible for the accident (under Florida law, they could have assigned some percentage blame to the plaintiff, but they did not).

Multiple Fractures, Pneumothorax & Multiple Surgeries, But Witnesses Said Plaintiff Speeding: Zero Verdict

(5)  Aspillaga v. Villamonte.
ZERO verdict (defense verdict).  DOV: Sept 2015 in Miami-Dade County.
Type of Accident: Auto / Motorcycle Collision — Alleged Negligent Left Turn
 
Injuries: Multiple fractures – Pneumothorax – Multiple surgeries.
 
What happened?
The plaintiff said that he was driving his motorcycle at the legal speed limit when the defendant made a negligent left turn on a green light and hit him.  The defendant argued that he started his left turn before he could see the plaintiff’s motorcycle. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff was traveling at least twice the legal speed limit, and so caused the accident.
The accident happened on 74th Street Connector in Hialeah, Florida.  The plaintiff actually said he couldn’t remember the accident.  But he hired an expert, called an accident reconstruction expert, who had the opinion that the plaintiff had been traveling between 39 and 32 mpw at the time of the impact.  The speed limit was 45 mph.  The plaintiff said he had the right-of-way on a solid green light when the defendant turned directly into his path.
This accident involved very serious injuries.  The plaintiff was airlifted from the accident scene to the hospital. His injuries included: a left humeral fracture, left scapular fracture, multiple rib fractures, pneumothorax, and multiple carpal and metacarpal fractures in the left hand. He went through multiple surgeries, and his surgeon said that he would need more in the future.
The defendant said that he never saw the plaintiff’s motorcycle.  He was just about finished with his turn, when he heard a noise, and felt the collision.  The defendant also had a witness who testified that the plaintiff’s motorcycle passed him going at least 80 mph.  And the defendant had his own accident reconstruction expert, who estimated the plaintiff was traveling between 79 and 89 mph at the time of the accident.
The defendant also tried to devalue the plaintiff’s injuries by arguing that the plaintiff did not get recommended follow-up medical treatment or physical therapy.  Also, the plaintiff himself admitted during the trial that he did not intend to get any more surgeries.
The jury never reached the question of the value of the plaintiff’s injuries because they decided that the defendant didn’t do anything wrong.  In other words, the jurors believed that the defendant was not negligent, and did not cause the accident.  My opinion is that the witness who testified about the plaintiff’s speed was the most critical negative evidence.
This case demonstrates that even very serious motorcycle accident cases might have ZERO value if the evidence is not in your favor.  Also, it is extremely important to hire an attorney who will do everything possible to anticipate and counter negative evidence with more helpful evidence or testimony.  Otherwise, a high value case can lead to zilch.

Neck & Back Injuries, Sacroiliac Joint Injury, 2 Plaintiffs, Very Low Impact Collision, Negative Facebook Posts, Combined Verdict: $43,855.00

(6) Gengler v. Potts
Combined (2 plaintiff) verdict: $43,855  DOV: July 2015
Alleged injuries: Neck and back injuries claimed by two plaintiffs – Sacroiliac (SI) joint injury
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Accident Collision
What happened?
A man was driving his motorcycle with a female passenger.  Both were injured and both were plaintiffs in this case.  They were in their late 20’s.  A vehicle hit them from behind.  The defendant admitted that he was at fault (note that this would lower the attorney’s percentage of the recovery under most Florida attorney fee agreements).
So the jury in this case only had to decide the amount of damages.
After the accident, the male plaintiff received medical treatment the day after the accident, and the female started treatment several days later.  Both of the plaintiff said they had disc herniations of the cervical and lumbar spine.  Both had surgical recommendations.  The female also claimed a sacroiliac joint injury, and her doctor said that would require surgery.
The defendant said that he barely touched their motorcycle, which didn’t move or fall.  The defendant’s engineer said the defendant’s car was only moving 3.2 to 3.7 mph at the time of the accident, generating forces equivalent to those of plopping on your living room couch.
To make matters worse:
  • the female plaintiff’s sacroiliac joint injury wasn’t diagnosed until a week before trial;
  • both plaintiffs were involved in other accidents, before AND after this particular accident (but before trial); obviously those other accidents could have contributed to their injuries;
  • the male plaintiff was able to continue wake boarding
  • the female plaintiff was able to continue working as a personal trainer
  • the defendant introduce “Facebook” posts showing the female plaintiff working as a fitness instructor, which photos were inconsistent with the plaintiff’s pain complaints.

Because of these negative aspects of the case, the jury decided only to pay for each plaintiff’s past medical expenses (they received nothing for pain and suffering, or future medical expenses).  Those amounts were $20,533 to the male plaintiff, and $23,322 to the female plaintiff for a combined total of $43,855.

Note: BEWARE of social media posts.  ANY social media posts while you have a case pending are bad news, whether they are “private” or not.  Defense attorneys can get this evidence.  And they can twist the meaning of photos in ways you would not imagine.  How much you were hurting when smiling and having fun often just does not matter much.  On the other hand, you can’t just delete posts that are already there.  Attorneys can access that information, too.  And that makes your case even worse.  So talk with your attorney about existing posts, and DO NOT POST anything else, at all, until your case has concluded.  Also remove the ability to allow friends to “tag” you.

This case also illustrates that juries are skeptical of very low impact collisions.  The thinking is that low impact collisions don’t usually lead to serious injuries.  The flip side is also true: juries are more likely to believe injuries are significant in high impact motorcycle or other vehicle accidents.

Lastly, surgical recommendations do not increase case value nearly as much as actual surgeries.  Some people call who would rather not get surgery.  That’s fine.  But that will reduce your motorcycle accident case value.  The reason is that many people never get recommended surgery because they aren’t hurting enough to justify surgery.

Unspecified But Permanent Injuries & Scarring, Plaintiff Not Wearing A Helmet & “He Said, She Said” Regarding Fault: Zero Verdict

(7) Shannon v. Filsaime

ZERO verdict (defense verdict).  DOV: April 2014 in Broward County

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Motorcycle Collision

Injuries: Unspecified although the plaintiff claimed a permanent injury, scarring and disfigurement

Plaintiff and defendant were riding their motorcycles as part of a group on US 27 in Weston, Florida.  They were nearing mile marker 49 when their motorcycles crashed into each other.  The plaintiff sued the Defendant, saying that his bad driving caused the motorcycle accident.

The defendant said that the plaintiff rear-ended his motorcycle, and caused the collision.  The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the plaintiff not wearing a helmet.

Crushed Heel, Broken Hand & Fingers, Other Head, Neck & Back Injuries: Zero Verdict For Unknown Reasons

(8) Babij v. Hertz

ZERO verdict (defense verdict).  DOV: Feb. 2013 in Miami-Dade

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision

Injuries: The plaintiff said that he suffered a crushed heel, broken hand and fingers, and other injuries to his head, neck and back, and was rendered disabled.

What happened?

The plaintiff was driving his motorcycle south on SR A1A.  He was approaching an intersection (13th street) when he said the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign.  He said that’s what caused the accident.  The defendant denied negligence, and the jury returned a zero verdict.

(This was one of those frustrating cases where the verdict summary didn’t give enough information for us attorneys to determine WHY the jury awarded the plaintiff nothing.)

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Unspecified Permanent Bodily Injuries, No Negative Evidence Reported: $350,000.00

(9) Maldonado v. Flint

Plaintiff verdict: $350,000.00  DOV: May 2013 in Fort Myers (Lee County) Florida

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision

Injuries: Not clearly specified in reported verdict, but the plaintiff did allege permanent bodily injuries

The plaintiff had been driving her motorcycle on Buckingham Road and Cemetery Road when she was hit by the defendant’s car.

(Now we don’t know why the jury awarded this high of a verdict.  However, from experience I would guess that the plaintiff would have had significant injuries, and almost certainly one or multiple surgeries that did not fully resolve her pain. The reason is that cases with more serious injuries, more medical treatment, higher medical bills, and certain types of surgeries generally lead to the higher value cases.)

Unspecified Injuries Requiring Multiple Surgeries, No Evidence Of Negligence: Case Dismissed Before Trial (Zero For Plaintiff)

(10) Cotterill v. Graham

Case Dismissed By Judge Before Trial (Nothing For Plaintiff) In Sept of 2014

Type Of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision

Injuries: Nonspecified but multiple injuries requiring multiple surgeries

Short version: Plaintiff was riding his motorcycle on SR 54 in Florida.  Defendant #1 was also driving a motorcycle in front of the plaintiff, when he ran out of gas and stopped in the middle of the road.  Defendant #2 was driving a car, also in front of the plaintiff, and had just changed lanes when he slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting Defendant #1.  Plaintiff struck Defendant #2 (a car) from behind.  Plaintiff argued that D #1 was negligent because he was driving without enough gas and D #2 was negligent by changing lanes without looking properly.  The judge dismissed the cases against both Defendants without a trial.  There is no reason for why D #1 was dismissed.  But the case against D #2 was dismissed because there was no evidence that D #2 was driving negligently.  He testified that he slowed his vehicle when he noticed D # 1 slowing down.  Then he said that he didn’t slam on his brakes and his car was still moving when the plaintiff hit him from behind.  The court concluded that there was no evidence that the lane change had been performed in a negligent manner.

Notable: cases absolutely can be dismissed by judges before trial based on motions arguing that no jury could find negligence, with any version of the facts.  So make sure you hire an Orlando car accident lawyer who is on the ball when it comes to motion drafting and replies–although that may not be easy to do!

Spinal Fractures, Multiple Disc Herniations, Traumatic Brain Injury, But Conflicting Evidence Regarding Whether Plaintiff Had Been Speeding: Zero Verdict

(11) Mendez v. Tracton

Result: Zero (Defense) Verdict, Feb. 2014, Miami-Dade

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision, Negligent Left Turn

Injuries: (Serious): Compression Fractures Of Thoracic & Lumbar Spine, Spinous Cervical Fracture, Multiple Disc Herniations (No Surgery), Traumatic Brain Injury

What Happened?

The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle with the right-of-way when he claimed the defendant made a negligent left turn in front of him to turn into a driveway.  The plaintiff testified that he had to lay down his motorcycle and his head struck the defendant’s vehicle.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff was speeding and not watching where he was going.  The plaintiff was wearing a helmet.  The plaintiff had “accident reconstruction experts” who testified that the plaintiff was driving 30 mph or less at the time of the accident, the defendant’s experts said that the plaintiff was driving at least 43 mph.  The speed limit was 30 mph.

There was also a battle of medical experts.  The plaintiff’s experts claimed the accident caused all injuries.  The defendant’s experts said that the disc herniations existed before the accident, the fractures had healed, and the MRI films did not show a traumatic brain injury.

The jury decided that the defendant was not negligent, and awarded the plaintiff nothing.

Near Loss Of Left Leg, Five Surgeries To Keep Leg, Motorcycle / Cable Van Accident, Some Negative Evidence: $2,600,000.00

(12) Graham v. Meyer

Result: $2,600,000 Verdict, Nov. 2014, Sarasota

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Cable Van Collision

Injuries / Treatment: Near Loss Of Left Leg, Five Surgeries To Save Plaintiff’s Leg

What Happened?

The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle eastbound on a dark, two lane road in Venice, Florida.  The defendant, driving a Comcast Van westbound, made a left turn into the side of plaintiff’s motorcycle.  Surprisingly, the plaintiff admitted that he had drank a few alcoholic drinks at dinner, celebrating his engagement.  Not surprisingly, the defendant argued that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and that the defendant had not seen the plaintiff because the plaintiff’s headlights were not turned on.  The plaintiff counter-argued that his headlights were turned on, and that he had not been over the legal blood-alcohol (BAC) limit of .08 at the time of the accident.

The jury found that the Defendant was driving negligently, and awarded the plaintiff $2,600,000 for pain and suffering, and the five surgeries he experienced to save his left leg.

Attorney Commentary: I am not personally familiar with the more detailed facts of this case. But my hunch is that the plaintiff presented as a nice, credible (believable) person when he testified before the jury, which is the likely reason they would have believed his testimony, despite evidence that he had been drinking.  The “likeability” factor of the plaintiff is something defense and plaintiff attorneys carefully evaluate in a serious injury case.

Motorcycle Accident, Shoulder Rotator Cuff & Labrum Tear, $766,456.00 Reduced To $551,848.00

(13) Hanzi v. Mack

Results: $766,456.00 Gross Verdict

  • Nov. 2014, West Palm Beach
  • Plaintiff Found 20% Partially Responsible (So Verdict Reduced by That Amount)

Type Of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision, Negligent Left Turn

Injuries & Treatment: Rotator Cuff & Labrum Tear, Treatment Not Reported But Ligament Tears Often Require Surgery

What Happened?

The plaintiff said that he was riding his motorcycle on Military Trial in Jupiter, Florida.  He claimed to have the right-of-way, when the defendant, who had been driving in the opposite direction, suddenly turned in front of him.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff could have avoided the collision, so was partially responsible.  The plaintiff said that he was riding through an intersection with a green light, when suddenly the defendant turned left in front of him.  He said there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting the defendant’s car.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff was riding at least 10 mph over the posted 45 mph speed limit.  The defense attorney also argued that the plaintiff could have avoided the accident by braking his motorcycle, rather than attempting to ride around the defendant’s left turning car.
The jury found the defendant 72% negligent, and the plaintiff 28% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $766,456 in gross damages, reduced to a net recovery of $551,848.

Motorcycle Accident, Vertebra fracture, Closed Head Injury, Defense Expert Said Plaintiff Speeding, Zero Verdict

(14) Mendez v. Tracton

Results: Zero (Defense) Verdict

  • Feb. 2014, Miami

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision, Alleged Negligent Left Turn

Injuries & Treatment:  Vertebra fracture at three levels, closed head injury

Details:

The plaintiff was a 38 year old motorcycle rider, who claimed he was driving within the posted speed limit, when the defendant made a left turn in front of him from the opposite direction.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff had been speeding, and not watching the road.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with vertebra fractures at T1, T3, and C7, and disc herniations, which his doctor testified would require future surgery.  The plaintiff also claimed he suffered a closed head injury, with negative effects on his brain functioning, which prevented him from going back to his job as a cook.  The plaintiff’s attorney requested $3,400,000.00 in total damages at the trial.
The defendant had an accident reconstruction expert who testified that, just prior to the accident, the plaintiff was driving 48 mph.  The defense also argue that the plaintiff did not have disc herniations or brain function limits, and that his fractures had healed.  The plaintiff had been wearing a helmet.
The jury decided that the defendant was not negligent, and awarded the plaintiff nothing.  My guess is the jury believed that the plaintiff had been speeding, so caused the accident.
(15) Thompson v. Merriweather

Results: $2,635,741.58 Verdict

  • Reduced by 39% because the jury thought the plaintiff was partially responsible
  • March 2014 Jacksonville / Duval County
  • Verdict Breakdown: $850,649, past medical expenses, $651,767 future medical expenses, $138,087 past lost wages, $710,846 future lost wages, $15,419.72 past pain & suffering, $79,377.80 future pain & suffering, $15,419.72 past loss of consortium to wife, $79,377.80 future loss of consortium to wife, $5,139.91 past loss of parental consortium to each of three minor children, $26,459.27 future loss of parental consortium to each of three children.

Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Bus Collision, Bus Failure To Yield

Injuries & Treatment: Facial Fractures & Orthopedic Injuries Requiring Multiple Surgeries, Traumatic Brain Injury, Traumatic Disruption of Plaintiff’s Thoracic Aorta, Lost Wages, Additional Losses Of Companionship To Wife & Children

Details:

The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when a bus failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic at the intersection of Golfair Blvd. & I-95 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The plaintiff said the bus turned left directly into his riding path.
The plaintiff sued the bus driver, individually, and the bus company.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff, and other non-parties, were responsible for the accident.  The parties agreed before trial that the plaintiff was riding 40 mph in a 35 mph speed zone.  The plaintiff’s attorney filed several pre-trial motions to excluded harmful evidence, including: (1) evidence of a 2008 DUI conviction, (2) evidence about a 2009 motorcycle accident, his related injuries, and whether he was charged with any alcohol related offenses in relation to the 2009 accident, and (3) evidence that the City of Jacksonville hadn’t complied with FDOT design standards (which would make the City of Jacksonville partially responsible, and reduce the responsibility of the defendant–NOT a good thing for the plaintiff given extreme caps and limits on lawsuits against government agencies.  (Note: the importance of these motions to exclude evidence is one of many reasons you absolutely must ensure that your Orlando personal injury attorney is a great legal writer!)
The jury found the defendant 61% responsible and the plaintiff 39% responsible, so the judge reduced the jury verdict amount by 39%.

Brain Injury, Pelvic Fracture, Cervical & Lumbar Injuries, No Helmet, Disputed Liability, Zero Verdict

(16) Richards v. Axelband
Result:  Zero (defense) verdict.  May 2013, Ft. Lauderdale (Miami-Dade)
 
Type of Accident:  Motorcycle / car collision
 
Injuries & Treatment: Pelvic fracture, claimed brain injury, cervical & lumbar injuries
 
Details:
The plaintiff was a man in his early 50s.  He said that he was riding his motorcycle and the defendant’s car had been driving to his left, then entered his lane, and hit him.  The defendant said that the plaintiff was improperly using the center turn lane as a travel lane, which was the real cause of the accident.
The plaintiff claimed that the accident gave him a head injury that caused permanent brain injury.  He was also diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, and herniations of his cervical and lumbar spine.  His doctors said those injuries were caused by the accident.  The plaintiff alleged that he couldn’t go back to his job in construction because of the accident.  So his ability to earn money in the future was harmed.
Unfortunately, the plaintiff had not been wearing a helmet.  And the defendant’s medical expert testified that the plaintiff’s injuries would have been reduced by 80% to 95% if he had been wearing a helmet.
The defendant’s orthopedic surgeon also said that his back and neck injury were minor, and had healed.  And the defense disputed that the plaintiff sustained a permanent brain injury.  Finally, the defense argued that any loss of income was related to licensing problems, not the accident.
The jury found that the defendant was not negligent, so awarded the plaintiff nothing.
(17) Brown v. Peraza
Results: $191,639.00 Gross Verdict, reduced by 57.5% due to partial plaintiff fault.  May 2015, in Broward County
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision
Injuries & Treatment: Fractured pelvis with surgery inserting plates and screws
Details:
The plaintiff was a man in his mid-50s, who happened to work at a motorcycle shop.  On his way to work, while riding his motorcycle, he started to pass the defendant’s car on the left side, when the defendant (a 16 year old driving his mother’s car) made a left turn.  The plaintiff was thrown from the motorcycle.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, which required surgery to install an orthopedic plate and screws.  After the surgery, the plaintiff still complained of pain and limited motion.
The defendant argued that he was making a legal left turn, and the plaintiff had been negligent when trying to pass him in the turn lane.  The defense also argued that the plaintiff had recovered well from the pelvic fracture, and that he needed pain medication for chronic back pain that he had 20 years before the accident.
The jury found the defendant 42.5% negligent and the plaintiff 57.5% negligent.  Their gross verdict was $191,639, but was reduced by 57.5% by the judge.
 (18) Rolon v. Herrera
Results:  Judge Verdict for $34,905 and Jury Verdict For $50,000, for a combined $84,905.  April 2014 in Miami.
Type of Accident:    Motorcycle / Car Crash, Negligent Left Turn From Opposite Direction
Injuries & Treatment: Wrist Fracture With Surgery including open reduction and internal fixation
Details:
The plaintiff was an 18 year old motorcycle rider, who had the right of way, when the defendant’s van negligently made an illegal left turn in front of him from the opposite direction.  The case went to trial on damages only (something called a “default judgment” was entered as to liability because the defendant did not answer the plaintiff’s complaint in court).
The plaintiff was in a coma for several days after the accident.  But there was a dispute regarding whether the coma was medically induced due to the plaintiff’s other injuries.  The plaintiff needed write surgery, and complained afterward of ongoing wrist pain, and restriction of motion.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff had recovered well, and had no permanent loss of function.  The judge decided the past medical expenses before trial based on the available records, and the jury awarded another $50,000 for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
This list is incomplete, but gives you an idea of the types of issues and case values.  Post will be updated periodically.
If you need a motorcycle accident attorney who handles serious cases with the attention they deserve, here’s why I think you should call me.  You might also read what I think about the best and worst Florida personal injury attorneys.

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Daytona Bike Week Motorcycle Accident Attorney https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/daytona-bike-week-motorcycle-accident-attorney/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/daytona-bike-week-motorcycle-accident-attorney/#respond Mon, 07 Mar 2016 14:53:18 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=11125 Daytona Bike Week Motorcycle Accident Attorney As a Daytona Bike Week motorcycle accident attorney, I have already received my first call from a seriously injured biker this morning.  Bike week started this weekend.  My mind always goes to the numbers of tragic deaths suffered by motorcycle riders every year during bike week.  I’m keeping this [...]

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Daytona Bike Week Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Daytona Bike Week Motorcycle Accident AttorneyAs a Daytona Bike Week motorcycle accident attorney, I have already received my first call from a seriously injured biker this morning.  Bike week started this weekend.  My mind always goes to the numbers of tragic deaths suffered by motorcycle riders every year during bike week.  I’m keeping this post short because I am in a hurry this morning.  But, bottom line, if you were involved in a motorcycle accident, were not at fault (or were only partially responsible), and suffered injuries, then there are several things you need to know to get the most money for your injuries.

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After A Motorcycle Accident During Daytona Bike Week

Immediately after the accident, you should:

  • get immediate medical attention (this isn’t just for your well-being; prompt medical treatment matters A LOT to case value).
  • mention everything that is hurting to the doctor (again, not just for your well-being — this advice relates to case value).
  • do not talk to any insurance adjuster — they can hurt your case value and that is their real goal, regardless of what they tell you.
  • get the police report if possible, or at least the report number from the police officer.
  • oh, yeah, call the police if someone hasn’t already.
  • get the names, and full contact information, for any witnesses.  If they refuse, try to get their tag number.
  • get the insurance information of the at-fault driver, and the drivers of any other vehicles involved in the accident.
  • take photos of the vehicles, your motorcycle, any tattered clothes or helmet, your injuries, and you being transported by ambulance or at the hospital, if you went.
  • if you do not go to the hospital, go somewhere for treatment right away.  If you didn’t, and are just reading this, go now.
  • speak to a Daytona Bike Week motorcycle accident attorney before contacting any insurance adjuster.
  • you are required to speak with your own insurance company, typically within 30 days.  But you should speak to a motorcycle accident attorney first.
  • you are not required, ever, to speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  They will give you a different impression, and might be aggressive in attempting to speak with you.  Do not fall for their tricks.
  • there are many high volume law firms in Central Florida.  Unless you want advice from non-lawyer call center sales people, you might want to call my firm, where you can speak with an actual lawyer (usually: me).

Daytona Bike Week By The Numbers

Over 500,000 motorcyclists visit Daytona Beach each year for Bike Week, which is actually a ten day event drawing crowds from across the country.  Most have a great time, enjoying riding along the coast, or maybe The Loop, which is a beautiful scenic route between Daytona & Ormond Beach.  The problem is, Daytona is not the safest community.  Even during normal times of the year, with regular traffic, there is a much higher incidence of speeding and reckless driving in Daytona, than other parts of the state.  Pedestrian fatalities from people crossing the streets are, very sadly, not uncommon.  Also, The Loop, which is very popular, isn’t designed to handle heavy volumes of traffic.  That can be a very dangerous stretch, particularly for people on bicycles, but also in many ways for motorcycle riders.

How Motorcycle Accident Cases Are Handled

In many ways, a motorcycle accident is handled exactly the same as any other auto accident.  But there are some differences related to helmet usage, insurance, and some slight differences in the applicable laws.  You can read all about those here.  You can read how wearing or not wearing your helmet might affect your case here.  Finally, you can read the basics regarding how motorcycle accident fault is determined here.

If you were injured during an accident, I hope you will call or text me to learn more about the best way to handle your case.  Here’s why I think you should hire me.  And my thoughts on the best & worst accident attorneys in Central Florida.

Call Or Text 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

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The Best & Worst Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/best-worst-orlando-personal-injury-attorney/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/best-worst-orlando-personal-injury-attorney/#respond Mon, 07 Mar 2016 04:02:25 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=11098 The Best & Worst Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys My thoughts on who are the worst and best Orlando personal injury attorney have been mounting again this past week.  You would not believe the stories I have heard over the past few years.  Plus, this past couple of weeks, I’ve heard many reviews and stories about one [...]

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The Best & Worst Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys

My thoughts on who are the worst and best Orlando personal injury attorney have been mounting again this past week.  You would not believe the stories I have heard over the past few years.  Plus, this past couple of weeks, I’ve heard many reviews and stories about one of the largest & most recognized Orlando personal injury law firms in Orlando (Florida).  Sorry, I can’t mention their name.  But, if you want to hire the best Orlando personal injury attorney, and avoid the worst, then you need to read the stories below.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

Strike One:Call Center For Numerous Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys

Worst Orlando Personal Injury Attorney ReviewsA couple of weeks ago, I went to lunch with a group of Orlando attorneys, all either solo or small firm attorneys.  One of them told me that he had lunch with a fairly well known Orlando personal injury attorney recently.  On their way to lunch, they passed the “call center,” which was a huge room taking up almost an entire floor of a large building.  About 2/3 of the floor were those taking calls from injured people.  These were trained operators who had a script that they ran through for each caller, depending on the type of accident (e.g., one set of questions for car accident victims, another for slip and fall, another for medical malpractice, etc).  He learned that one of the largest and most recognizable firms in this city, with a heavy advertising budget, owns the call center.  To make matters worse, several other very well known attorneys (which appear to be operating as solo / small firms) utilize this call center, and other services.  I talked about related issues this earlier “big warning” post.

I don’t know about you.  But I wouldn’t want to talk to an operator, who would then send a NON-LAWYER “investigator” to my home, hotel or hospital, to sign me up, without answering my questions.  (Investigator is another word for person paid to transport documents back and forth, and trained to do nothing else.)

This Craig’s List ad describes what large personal injury law firms expect from call center employees (this ad was NOT from Orlando but you get the picture).  Since the ad may be deleted, here’s what it said:

Law Firm Call Center/Sales
Now Hiring! Bilingual Preferred (SPANISH)!

Consumer law firm looking for dynamic sales professionals that are self-motivated, trustworthy and can quickly adapt to change in a fast-paced environment.

Primary Purpose and Essential Functions: High volume incoming calls from prospective clients. Clearly and concisely explain our services and enter client/case data in our proprietary system. Timely follow-up with clients (outgoing calls). Majority of call volume is incoming. No cold calls.

Skills: Ability to work on multiple tasks, work under pressure, excellent verbal and written communication skills, must be self-motivated and able to work independently, meet deadlines and quotas, and work effectively in a team environment.
* Communicate clearly and respectfully with clients (in person and phone).
* 100% data input accuracy.
* Client follow-up with case status and sales disposition.
* Possess a high level of professionalism.
*Proven experience in overcoming unexpected difficulties and using logical problem solving skills.
* Ability to understand and empathize with customer’s issues.
* Maintain broad knowledge of products, pricing, promotions, procedures, and other important issues.
* Greet customers in a courteous, friendly, and professional manner using agreed upon procedures.
* Listen attentively to customer needs and concerns; demonstrate empathy while maximizing opportunity to build rapport with the customer.
* Conduct needs-based selling by using scripted techniques.
* Strong sales closure techniques, confidence in products and advocate skills.
* Courteous with strong customer service orientation.

CALL CENTER ENVIRONMENT, PHYSICAL & OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Ability to perform hand activity work at a computer/telephone station in an office environment. Position is primarily sedentary. May stretch or stand at workstation for short periods at employee’s option, as long as such activity does not detract from the employee’s work, or interfere with other employees.

REQUIREMENTS
* Sales experience with proven close record
* Telemarketing or call center experience
* High School Diploma or equivalent certificate, some college coursework preferred
* Minimum 2 years customer service experience

Salary commensurate with experience.

In other words, they want the call center to tell you about their services, conduct “needs based selling,” call you back if necessary, and get you to hire the law firm, all based on whatever a non-lawyer call center employee tells you about your case (based on a script designed to “close” the sale).  And they only want to hire people who have proven that they can close prospects using sales techniques!  This is not what I learned in law school.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

Strike Two: Call From New Potential Orlando Personal Injury Client Last Week

A potential client called me last week after a family member had been involved in a serious accident.  He said that he called me after he called a much bigger law firm, and speaking with someone he had the impression was part of a call center.  I’ve heard this type of statement many times before.

Strike Three: Clients Who Have Called Me After Hiring Another Orlando Personal Injury Attorney

We regularly have clients hire us after being hugely disappointed with a prior Orlando personal injury law firm.  The typical story is that an attorney only explained the contract.  Then a paralegal gave all further instructions (and was usually overworked).  Make no mistake: to get the most money from your case, you need to speak with an attorney if you have moderate to serious injuries, or a death is involved.  Unfortunately, depending on the stage of the case, you may or may not be able to cancel your contract.  Don’t put yourself in this position.  Just avoid hiring a settlement mill firm, and you will have much better odds.

I know they should be out after three strikes, but the terrible stories continue.

Strike Four: Desperate Text From Potential Orlando Personal Injury Client Tonight

The straw that broke the camel’s back, and made me write this post, was a text from a potential client.  Obviously I cannot reveal the name of the person or the firm.  But this person was talking about one of the best known Orlando personal injury law firms in town, when he wrote (details omitted to protect confidentiality):

Good evening. I just called this number and left a message.  The recording said to text a message onto this number as well.  Please, I have a personal injury / premises liability case (not a car accident).  I’m in the formal demand stage & Friday that just past was their 30th day to respond back but they haven’t yet.  I had an attorney on the case but he got hired over to work for [one of the largest Orlando personal injury firms, with many billboards all over town].  It’s a year now. . . .I only met with the attorney once for 20 minutes & that’s it.  I have a great case but the communication is never there & this attorney is doing things without me being a part of it all & without speaking to me, no matter how many times I’ve addressed this.

This is a very busy attorney.  That’s what I’ve been told over & over & over again.  His paralegal called me back Friday right before 5 p.m. telling me that the attorney told her to tell me that perhaps it was best to find someone else who had more time for me.  I couldn’t believe he told her to tell me.  She, his paralegal, said that she didn’t have enough time to reach out to the right person at the defendant’s insurance company. . . . I could tell she was bothered & uncomfortable in telling me this. . . .I’m just feeling a bunch of things & I’m pretty shocked cause they have everything they needed. . . .That’s when I started to read & research and bumped into you this weekend in the process.

That Story Is Definitely Not Unique

I have heard similar stories MANY times by phone.  This was just a little different because I had the text to share, and read with your own eyes. To give yourself the best chance of recovering the most money, you absolutely must hire a lawyer who has time for your case.  There is nothing magical about big numbers on billboards.  Big numbers follow serious injuries, if they exist, and if the lawyer spends the needed time on your case.  Lawyers on billboards or television have no special powers or skills (at all), other than the ability to advertise to generate massive volumes of calls, which each lawyer cannot possibly handle with the care needed.

Are All Small Orlando Personal Injury Firms Better?

Unfortunately, many small firms, and even solo lawyers, also have a very high volume approach.  I would have to say that volume is the rule for large and small Orlando personal injury law firms, not the exception.  Here are some examples:

  •  I have spoken privately with several personal injury lawyers, from large and small firms, who freely admitted they only speak with clients long enough to introduce themselves, and explain the contract.  Then they hand the client over to their overworked paralegal.  You need to know that paralegals are file managers.  They are not educated in the law, and cannot give you reliable legal advice.
  • Before I developed a list of TRUSTED attorneys to whom I send referrals when I cannot accept a case, I repeatedly had great difficulty getting anyone to return my calls from numerous firms — and sometimes for very serious injury or even death cases.
  • I have had many clients and potential clients tell me of their great difficulty talking to an attorney for any decent amount of time about their cases.  This has included many small and large Orlando personal injury law firms.

Which Is The Best Orlando Personal Injury Attorney?

Of course I have my opinion about who is the best Orlando personal injury attorney. But I am not allowed to tell you.  So you are just going to have to judge for yourself.  I will say that your lawyer should be telling you exactly how to get the most money from your personal injury case.  There are numerous steps involved, which YOU must understand.  Your case value is not set on the day of the accident.  Many things after the accident can raise or lower the value.  One common trait of the best lawyers is that they talk to their clients, and give them advice about the process. If the advice makes sense, then you probably have found a good lawyer.

If you’d like to know why I think you should call me, you can read more about my background here.  Unfortunately, I must decline some of the calls that I receive, because I do not have a high volume approach.   This number goes up and down, depending on my schedule and case intake.  We are more lenient with car, truck & motorcycle accident cases than slip and fall / premises liability cases, because of the amount of time & work needed to prove the cases. However, if for any reason I cannot help you, then I might be able to help you find who I believe would be the BEST Orlando personal injury lawyer who can.  I do not think you should trust yourself to make that determination because you really have no way to evaluate a lawyer.  On the other hand, I work in this industry, so I have an insider’s view of who is genuinely fighting hard for their clients, and who isn’t.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139


 

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When Should You Get An Orlando FL Car Accident Attorney? https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/when-get-orlando-car-accident/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/when-get-orlando-car-accident/#respond Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:32:23 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=10954 When Should You Get An Orlando Car Accident Attorney? You probably never thought you would need to get an Orlando car accident attorney. Thankfully many people never do. But if you have been involved in any vehicle accident, and you have any injuries, no matter how major or minor, then you need to call an [...]

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When Should You Get An Orlando Car Accident Attorney?

When Should You Get An Orlando Car Accident LawyerYou probably never thought you would need to get an Orlando car accident attorney. Thankfully many people never do. But if you have been involved in any vehicle accident, and you have any injuries, no matter how major or minor, then you need to call an Orlando vehicle crash law firm.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

When Don’t You Need A Central Florida Auto Crash Attorney?

The only time someone really doesn’t need an attorney is when there are no injuries whatsoever.  In those cases, like when you just have vehicle damage, most attorneys will not take the case anyway.  That’s because there is no way for the lawyer to get paid based only on vehicle damage.  Just make triple sure you really, really aren’t injured. Sometimes pain develops in the days and weeks following an accident.  If that happens, get to the doctor ASAP.

But bodily injuries are a different story.  Any passenger, driver, or bystander who was injured by an at-fault driver may be entitled to financial recovery after an accident.  Those people are entitled to past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering, caused by the accident.  The value of pain and suffering varies a lot, but generally depends on how much you are hurting, your diagnosis, what type of treatment you need, how long you need treatment, whether your injuries are permanent, whether you shared any blame for the accident, and several other factors.

What Needs To Happen Fast In Serious Injury Or Fatal Accident Cases

If the injuries are more serious, or the accident caused a fatality, then you would be crazy not to call a lawyer right this minute.  The stakes are high, and important evidence needs to be collected very, very quickly.  You should never try to handle an injury case without a lawyer.  But you are taking a much, much bigger risk when the accident is serious.  The insurance company will quickly jump into action to do everything possible to get the case value lower.  They will talk to witnesses. They will get black boxes from trucks.  They may seek phone records to prove (or disprove) distracted driving.  They will try to talk to you (and, if you are like most people, you will wrongly assume that you know how best to answer their questions — big mistake).  On the other hand, we Orlando serious accident and death lawyers may need to talk to experts about reconstructing the accident, talk to witnesses, and gather any other evidence that may be essential in proving your case.  Plus, you need instructions about dealing with medical providers, witnesses, and insurance adjusters.

Do You Need A Lawyer For A Smaller Value Case?

Well that depends.  If there are no injuries, then you probably can’t get a lawyer anyway.  If there are only minor, non-permanent injuries, then the value isn’t very high.  But if you aren’t sure about the extent of your injuries, then you need a lawyer.  Only a lawyer can tell you how best to protect yourself if you realize later that your neck or back pain now is a seriously big medical issue for you.  If you are eventually going to hire a lawyer, then hiring one quickly is the best move.  That’s because we can do our jobs best when we get involved immediately after an accident.  We need evidence to prove your case.  The best time to get that evidence is now.  You also need to know how to interact with doctors, therapists, and health and auto insurance companies.

When Can’t You Get An Orlando Car Wreck Lawyer?

Usually a lawyer will not take your case if you were clearly, 100% at fault, or you aren’t injured (at all).  But don’t assume anything about fault if there is any doubt.  Drivers can share fault, and still recover money from the other driver.  That’s a common situation.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

Should You Talk To An Insurance Adjuster After An Orlando Accident Involving Injuries?

If you were involved in a major accident, you need help getting through the maze of medical providers and insurance adjusters. There are some major scams involved in the car accident business in Orlando. For example, some medical providers only want to give you chiropractic treatment until they exhaust your 10K in PIP damages. Also, ALL auto insurance adjusters want to pay you the smallest amount possible for your injuries.

This article says that you don’t need an attorney for “simple, clear cut” cases.  I strongly disagree, especially if you have moderate to serious injuries, or, heaven forbid, someone died.  The liability (fault) may be simple.  But the amount of damages is never simple.  The best bet is to let the lawyer decide whether you need one.  Believe it or not, we reject far more cases than we accept.  So your best bet is not to decide for yourself.  But to call or text me, and ask.

If You Caused The Accident, Should You Still Get An Orlando Car Accident Lawyer?

If you were injured, and you caused the accident, then an Orlando car accident attorney may or may not be able to help you. You might think you were to blame, and you might be. But lawyers get paid for a reason. Sometimes there are creative ways to argue that blame should be shared. (This is more difficult in rear-end collision cases.) Definitely any injured bystanders, pedestrians, or bicycle riders should call a Central Florida auto crash law firm ASAP.

Even a minor car accident in Orlando can change your life. An auto accident can lead to serious pain, life-long disability, or even death. But an Orlando vehicle crash lawyer can help get you the most money possible, beat insurance companies at their own game, get needed medical care, and start you on the road to getting life back to normal.

Wondering why you should hire Tina?

Text Or Call 24 Hour Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

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Quick Tips For Injured Car Accident Passengers | Orlando Florida https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/orlando-accident-passengers/ https://injuryattorneyflorida.com/orlando-accident-passengers/#respond Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:44:39 +0000 http://injuryattorneyflorida.com/?p=9577 Accident Passengers May Recover Money For Their Injuries, Even If Their Driver Was To Blame | Orlando Florida As a Florida personal injury attorney, I sometimes think about how car accident victims in the news should be handling their cases.  (If you just want my best tips, scroll to the end for my quick tip [...]

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Quick Tips Injured Auto Accident Passengers

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Accident Passengers May Recover Money For Their Injuries, Even If Their Driver Was To Blame | Orlando Florida

As a Florida personal injury attorney, I sometimes think about how car accident victims in the news should be handling their cases.  (If you just want my best tips, scroll to the end for my quick tip list for Orlando car accident passengers.)

Orlando Florida Car Accident Led To Injured Passenger

This week, there was a crash on SR 408, on the East/West Expressway, near Orange Blossom Trail. The crash happened after dark, at 9:35 p.m.

The driver and his passenger were riding in a pickup truck, when they crashed into an electrical equipment box, crossed the travel lanes, and hit the center road median.  The driver’s side made impact.

I was amazed that the injuries weren’t more serious from this car crash.  I mean, the Orlando Fire Department had to cut the driver out of the truck.  Anytime you read the words “extrication” in a car crash news report, usually the reported injuries are serious or catastrophic.  But police said that both people in the pickup didn’t have life-threatening injuries.

My guess is they will be hurting after a few days, if they aren’t already.  Because injuries often feel worse a few days after an accident, it is imperative that drivers with any possibility of the slightest injury get IMMEDIATE medical treatment.  Delaying medical treatment, even a few days, can lower the value of any car accident case.  Quick medical treatment is essential to proving car accident case value.

Call Or Text 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 38032139

Can Orlando Car Accident Passengers Sue Their Own Drivers?

In this Orlando car accident case, there was a passenger.  He may not realize that he could recover money for his injuries.  But, if his driver caused the accident, then he is entitled to sue his friend for his injuries.  Sometimes accident passengers do not think that they can sue their own driver.  But they can.

Sometimes the driver can argue that accident passengers contributed to the accident, let’s say by distracting the driver.  However, that is rare, and usually an uphill battle.

What Are The Most Common Orlando Car Accident Causes?

The cause of this Orlando car accident is unknown.  Very often, in single vehicle crashes, either distracted driving, or drunk driving, are the causes of a high percentage of Orlando car accident cases.  Also, if drunk driving is suspected, police are usually pretty good about giving field sobriety tests, and following those with blood alcohol testing in local medical facilities.  Since neither of those were reported, I’m going to guess that distracted driving might have been involved.  Orlando accident passengers can often tell us what caused a crash, since they are often good witnesses.

Why Distracted Driving And Texting While Driving Are Not The Same Thing

Many people thinking of distracted driving as only being texting while driving. But that’s not true.  Distracted driving includes many forms of distractions, including talking to a passenger, eating food, changing the radio station, setting GPS coordinates, talking on the phone, putting on make-up, handling pets or children, or even crazy things like reading, or watching television.  The list is practically endless.

Proving distracted driving may or may not be important, depending on the severity of the injuries, and damages you might incur.  But, again, accident passengers can often tell the story, unless they are too injured to speak, or were tragically killed.  (In wrongful death cases, proving damages is more complex.)

Call Or Text 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 803-2139

Is The Driver Always Responsible For A Single Vehicle Collision?

I suppose it is possible that another vehicle caused the driver in this Orlando truck accident to veer off the road.  That happens sometimes.  When it does, both driver and passenger may be able to get money for their injuries.  In those situations, try to get the tag number, and a description, of the offending vehicle.

What’s My Best Advice For All Auto Accident Victims?

Why Call Lawyer After Auto Accident Orlando FloridaMy advice to anyone who did not cause an Orlando car accident would be to follow my top ten ways to get the most money from your auto accident, very carefully.  That short & sweet cheat sheet tells auto accident victims everything they need to know, to get the most money from their Orlando car accidents.  Additionally, you really should read my personal injury lawsuit basics.  That’s a great compilation of my top tips for hiring a Florida accident attorney, and dealing with insurance companies.

What’s My Best Advice If You Think Someone Else In Your Car Caused The Accident?

If you think there is any chance that someone in your car caused the accident, then you really shouldn’t talk to them about the accident, or your injuries.  I realize that might be extremely difficult or impossible.  But they can testify against you. And, if you have serious injuries, then you may need to sue them.

Should You Sue Friends Or Family For Your Injuries?

You should realize that, although an at-fault driver may be scared of a lawsuit, really Orlando car accident attorneys would be trying to recover money from his insurance company.  We very rarely seek defendant assets because of the combination of Florida’s collection laws, and bankruptcy protection.  The laws make collection against income and assets almost impossible, or totally impossible, in most situations.  Besides, many Orlando drivers don’t have enough income or assets to cover next month’s rent, much less serious injuries from an Orlando car accident.

Also, Good Lord, never (ever, ever, ever) talk to an insurance company after a car accident involving injuries without calling me first.

Quick Tips For Accident Passengers

After an accident, anyone injured should:

  • get immediate medical treatment
  • take photos of all damaged vehicles
  • take photos of anything showing their injuries
  • not talk to any insurance company (including your own) without first talking to a lawyer
  • remember you may have to notify your insurance company of the accident within a short time period, so call a lawyer quickly
  • not delay talking to a lawyer because of the need to notify your insurance company, and collect evidence quickly
  • not be afraid of suing family or friends
  • not talk to anyone about the accident or their injuries without first talking to a lawyer
  • not tell any medical providers that you feel fine, or aren’t very injured (this could change later, but you wouldn’t want that comment in your medical records).
  • remember Orlando accident attorneys prove your injuries with medical records.  No records, no case.
  • Stay away from social media entirely!  Whatever you post, publicly or privately, becomes evidence relevant to how you are feeling, or how the accident happened.
  • read my top ten tips for getting the most money from your Orlando car accident case.

If were injured from an Orlando car accident, I provide one free telephone consultation, with no obligation whatsoever.  Just give me a call or text, to get a quick appointment.

Call Or Text 24 Hr Attorney Hotline (407) 383-7290

Related Posts:

Personal Injury Lawsuit Basics

Why You Shouldn’t Speak To An Insurance Adjuster Without A Lawyer

Dangers Of Hiring High Volume Personal Injury Law Firm

Why Hire Tina?

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