There are several benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney following an accident. First and foremost, in the state of Florida, personal injury attorneys are required to handle these cases on a contingency fee basis meaning that you will not owe them a fee or costs unless your case results in a positive settlement. Meaning, you can consult and hire a personal injury attorney free of charge and will only owe a fee and/or costs if your attorney wins your case. There are also many other benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys are prepared for all of the games, tricks, and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying the full value of your case.
When considering all of the facts, hiring an attorney for your accident should not be a very difficult decision. Personal injury attorneys have the resources and a highly trained staff in place ready to battle for your rights and because of this can avoid the delays that insurance companies often place on victims before providing them with the benefits they deserve under the law. Our in-depth knowledge of the law, refined negotiation abilities, and excellent reputation in the area of personal injury pays dividends to all of our clients by:
1) ensuring a faster settlement and resolution,
2) eliminating your need to stress the day to day dealings with tricky insurance adjusters, and
3) getting you the maximum settlement given the facts of your case
What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Attorney Fees in Florida
Contingent Fee Agreement
This type of fee agreement makes an attorney’s fee contingent on the positive settlement of your claim and should this contingency never come to light then you will never be obligated to pay attorney’s fees or costs expended during your representation. Should this contingency be met through a positive resolution of your claim, you will be required to pay a percentage agreed upon at the case’s inception as the fee to your attorney. Additionally, you will be obligated by contract to reimburse your attorney for any costs/expenditures made on your behalf during his/her representation of you.
As previously mentioned, you will only be required to pay your attorney a fee or percentage of your gross settlement in the event the settlement is procured. This is where the “no fee unless we win your case” promise comes from an attorney’s advertisements. A contingent fee agreement is actually a requirement by the Florida Bar, and these advertisements only outline what Injury Attorneys are required to do in these cases.
An attorney will advance costs during their representation of you to help represent you to the best of their ability and protect your rights as a victim. These costs typically revolve around paying for medical records, investigation fees, and other fees relating to filing a lawsuit and the like. These costs can range anywhere from less than $100 to many thousands of dollars depending on the difficulty of your case to settle and the lengths of which an attorney must take to adequately and zealously represent you to the best of their ability.
At the conclusion of your case, you will go over a Settlement Agreement with your attorney and this document will itemize all the fees, costs and medical bills among other things that will be deducted from your gross settlement. You will need to approve this document before the settlement monies can be disbursed.
At the conclusion of your case you will also be required to sign a Release, prepared by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for the at-fault party in exchange for the settlement monies. Your attorney will review this Release and advise if it should be signed or if changes should be proposed.
My staff and I are highly trained to guide you through all these stages and steps during our representation of you and through the eventual settlement of your claim. We will prepare and review the documents listed, and we do our very best to protect your interests and put you in the best possible position to get the best and highest settlement possible given the facts of your case.
Why Understanding the Ins and Outs of Personal Injury Law Is Important
Injury law if our primary area of practice and as a result, we are highly skilled and knowledgeable of the laws which will affect your case in a positive or adverse way. We stay current on the laws as they change and how this may or may not affect your case in particular and/or all of our practice as a whole.
What a Personal Injury Lawyer Should Pay Attention to During Your Case
Oftentimes, adjusters will try to play tricks with a victim to pay them less in all aspects of their claim in an effort to save money for their employer. Our firm is well versed in recognizing these tricks and have many protocols in place to combat these underhanded tactics as soon as they are recognized. We have seen basically every trick they’ve attempted many times over and are ready, willing and able to fight these tricks head on which results in a quicker and more advantageous settlement for you, the injured client.
Our firm handles things differently than most firms when it comes to the handling of property damage. Because Personal Injury attorneys are precluded, by The Florida Bar, from a fee on most Property Damage claims, they typically leave their clients to navigate these waters on their own. The Andriotis Law Firm will not leave you to handle this on your own regardless of the fact that we cannot recover a fee. We believe we are ethically obligated as your attorney to help you get your car fixed, obtain a rental car and get the most that we can for the property damage your vehicle sustained should it be a total loss. We pride ourselves in helping our clients with every single aspect of your accident and resulting losses both to your person and to your property. In our opinion, it’s just the right thing to do, and we believe attorneys who leave their clients to their own for property damage claims are shorting their clients when they should be helping them.
I hear stories from new clients about the nightmare it was to get a rental car after their car was undrivable following an accident. Our firm will make obtaining a rental car quickly and without any hassle to our clients.
In Florida, an injured party following an accident must have sustained a permanent injury to be eligible for a settlement following an accident. Our firm is well aware of this threshold and will guide our clients through the process of determining if this threshold has been met. We will not drag the process to the client’s detriment should it not be legally possible to procure a positive settlement for our clients.
What to Look for from a Personal Injury Law Firm
Our lawyers are highly trained and well prepared to give you the advice you need following an accident to get you the best settlement possible and more importantly lead you in the right direction to get your injuries assessed and treated with professionals trained in the types of injuries accident victims typically sustain.
Our staff is highly trained to handle all of your needs and are also aware of their duty to get you in touch with your supervising attorney when you have a legal question. We pride ourselves on attention to detail and on client communication and compassion. We are here to help you with every single need you have following an accident and have the skills necessary to solve most of your problems with one phone call.
After years of practicing primarily in the area of Personal Injury, we have a voluminous document database, and because of this, we are able to quickly generate documents to address the various questions, needs, and situations that arise during a personal injury claim. This results in an expedited representation process but not so quick as to miss any aspect or benefit you are afforded under the law.
Our attorneys and staff are highly skilled and trained to evaluate, negotiate, and settle a victim’s claim. Our attorneys oversee all of the settlement negotiations and are involved in the negotiation process from beginning to end and because of our years of experience, and many dealing with the same insurance carriers and adjusters have developed a reputation for maximizing the value of a case resulting in a higher settlement for our clients.
The Case Value for Your Personal Injury Claim
We have seen almost every type of claim countless times during our years of representing victims in the Tampa Bay Area. As a result, we are specifically tuned in to what a case’s typical value is and what factors with positively or adversely affect this value.
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It has been proven time and time again through study after study that victims who are represented by specialized attorneys obtain 2-3 times the settlements of similarly situated victims who are unrepresented. This fact alone is reason enough to hire our firm to represent you during your time of need and let us not only alleviate all of the stress of dealing with attorneys and insurance adjusters but also obtaining you a significantly higher settlement than you would on your own.
Interplay with a Fee – Is It Worth It?
As outlined above, it is proven that represented clients get 2-3 times the settlement of unrepresented clients. That being said, and knowing a typical fee is 33% of the gross settlement, it is mathematically justifiable to hire a personal injury attorney and even considering the attorney’s fee you will still net more than you would on your own.
As an example, let’s say your settlement without an attorney is $10,000. This would be all yours without a fee to pay. With a personal injury attorney’s representation, you would receive $20,000 at a minimum or twice what you would have received on your own. If the fee is 33%, you would owe a fee of $6,666,67, and you would net $13,333.33 resulting in $3,333.33 more in your pocket and without all of the headaches dealing with the claim on your own and without help.
Understanding the Value of Your Claim
As outlined above, we have seen almost every injury and almost every trick insurance companies play in defending claims. Because of this knowledge obtained over many years, we are able to evaluate your claim quickly and as a result, know when we are in the realm of settlement figures which are fair and just given the facts of your case. Handling your own claim without this basis of knowledge is like walking in the dark without a flashlight. A victim has no way of knowing the value of their claim and as a result, will get shorted time and time again from crafty insurance adjusters who see victims as easy targets for low settlements.
As the victim of an accident, you will have sustained injuries that will require medical attention. Being that we deal with the same or similar injuries on a daily basis with other clients/victims, we can guide you through the various treatments and doctors you will need to see to properly and adequately evaluate your medical condition. These treatments and doctor’s visits will result in medical bills, and with our guidance, we can help you avoid any unnecessary treatment and resulting billing.
At the conclusion of your claim, we will contact all medical providers and propose reductions to their medical billing these reductions are often 50% of the original billing which results in more money going to you, the victim. These reductions are not something you will be able to do without legal representation typically, and as a result, your net settlement will be even lower because of the medical bills that must come out of your gross settlement. This is another major reason to hire us to represent you in your claim. Our relationships with medical facilities and doctors are priceless to you at the time of settlement.
Decisions Which May Affect You for Life
Future medical bills
One of the most important long-term reasons to hire us to represent you for your personal injury claim is the fact that an unrepresented client typically only gets offered the past medical bills and a little for pain and suffering. The insurance adjusters are well aware that a few thousand dollars offer quickly following an accident is very enticing for a victim who is overwhelmed and incurring medical bills they cannot pay. Personal injury attorneys not only fight for your past medical bills and pain and suffering but also for your future medical bills you are likely to incur as a result of the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own. More times than not, a victim’s future medical bills will add up to many times what past medical bills are, and after your case is settled and the Release is signed in favor of the at-fault party, you will not be able to go after medical bills you incur in the future legally.
One of the most dangerous and prejudicial things a victim can do without having an attorney to protect them is to sign a Release. Insurance adjusters are quick to offer monies with a Release to be signed in exchange for their offer to settle, and the signing of this Release ends the case altogether. Insurance adjusters are highly trained to manipulate victims following an accident and to quickly make an offer accompanied by a Release and without the knowledge that this will end a case said Release is signed and the claim is over before a victim is fully aware of the totality of their injuries. Please hire an attorney to review the Release at a minimum. At the Andriotis Law Firm, we will review the Release free of charge and advise you as to whether or not you are giving away all of your rights for an offer that is minuscule in comparison to your injuries.
As you can see, it is clear that there is great value in hiring a personal injury attorney following an accident. There is no fee unless you win, it is proven that you will get a higher settlement and you do not have to deal with the tricky tactics of insurance adjusters on a daily basis. Our firm handles every single aspect of your case from its inception until it settles so that you can concentrate on getting yourself healthy and the other important things in life which shouldn’t be placed on hold due to someone else’s negligence.