Attorney and client shaking hands

Life poses several challenges for each of us. One of these is finding a reputable attorney.

We might need legal advice from a law firm. Or we might need an experienced lawyer to handle a personal dispute or litigation.

Getting the right lawyer is crucial to winning your case or helping you with the legal process and documentation.

Most of us try to find a potential lawyer by browsing Google or hiring one based on word-of-mouth references. But, if you want your lawyer to be the right one, you need to know some basic information.

7 Factors to consider before hiring a lawyer

Area of expertise

One lawyer cannot handle all types of law cases. For example, you need an accident lawyer or a personal injury attorney in a hit-and-run case. For a marital dispute, you need a divorce attorney. For property litigation, a real estate lawyer is the person you must reach out to.

Identify what type of lawyer you need before you hire one. Contact a law firm and check what specialization the lawyer might need to handle the case. Do some research and find the right lawyer based on his expertise and not on his availability or proximity to you.

Experience and track record

Some think hiring a beginner attorney or a legal assistant is best to cut costs. They fail to understand those beginner lawyers or law interns are novices who lack the experience to handle the legal process. They also lack the commitment to see the case through. This is where an experienced lawyer comes in with a commitment to winning the case.

To win a case, you don’t just need an experienced lawyer but also an attorney who wins cases. Check the track record of the lawyer to ascertain his winning percentage. The higher the number of wins, the better legal representation you have.

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Style of legal representation

Before you hire a lawyer, know what their style is. Some may be gentle and diplomatic, but they may be average lawyers handling the case. An aggressive lawyer may be able to win the case for you. Yet he might give you a difficult time.

The lawyer’s style plays a significant role as it impacts the course of the case. If you are involved in a felony case, you need an aggressive lawyer to save you. But if you are in a custody case, you need a compassionate lawyer to pull you through.

Find a professional lawyer to handle the case well and maintain an excellent attorney-client relationship with them.

Legal fees

This is a crucial factor when hiring an attorney. Attorneys may charge by the hour or with a flat fee per case. Probate lawyers may also charge a percentage of the estate value. Personal injury attorneys might charge a contingency fee of 33% of the recovered amount. Depending on the complexity, bankruptcy lawyers charge by the case or hourly and must disclose the amount to the court.

Accreditation

Most importantly, check the lawyer’s accreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA). It is not enough if the lawyer just attends a law school. To be accredited, every professional lawyer must pass the Bar exam held by the ABA. Some states allow only accredited lawyers to practice in the state.

The next thing to be aware of is that the Uniform Bar Exam is not valid forever but only for 5 years. Every lawyer must have these scores transferred or renewed periodically by showing proof that they are regularly practicing.

It’s best not to hire a lawyer who has no ABA accreditation. All reputable law firms have ABA-accredited lawyers. Check this crucial factor before hiring an attorney.

Professional reputation

A lawyer’s credibility is based on his professional reputation. What his peers and colleagues think of him gives you a fair idea of how trustworthy a lawyer is.

Inquire about the lawyer online and with the state bar. A lawyer who handles his professional relationships well is a lawyer you can trust.

rating, user, survey

Responsibility for the case

If you are handing your case to a larger law firm, the case might be handled by any of the law firm’s associates. The legal documentation is often taken care of by the paralegals.

If you hire an individual lawyer, he takes responsibility for the entire case- the documentation, case filing, etc.

It is best to know who is handling what, as far as your case is concerned. This will ensure that you can keep track of the case and not lose vital legal documents.

While hiring lawyers, most of us browse by location and online reviews. The above factors are crucial when hiring a lawyer and must not be overlooked.

Choose your legal team wisely

Winning your case depends heavily on the attorney you choose. Choose your legal team wisely based on the above factors. The team at Florida Law Advisers in Tampa & Orlando works hard and pledges to fight every inch of the way to get you the judgment and settlement you deserve.

Florida Legal Advice P.A., Gavel

At one point in time, every one of us, whether residing in Florida or other states, needs an experienced lawyer. It might be to write a will, make a settlement, get a divorce or child custody, bankruptcy filing, etc.

When looking for a law firm that offers a wide range of legal services in Florida, you need experienced lawyers who handle the legal process efficiently and at a reasonable cost.

Florida Law Advisers, P.A. is just the law firm to suit all your legal needs.

Reasons why Florida Law Advisers, P.A. is the right choice to meet your legal needs

Florida Law Advisers P.A. has its headquarters in Tampa Bay but caters to most cities and counties in Florida. They serve Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee Counties, and even the Orlando area.

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Comprehensive services

It’s best to have a legal firm that offers a wide range of legal services. Florida Law Advisers P.A. is a Central Florida Law Firm handling complete legal services, including Bankruptcy Law, Personal Injury Law, Family/Divorce Law, Foreclosure Law & Wage Garnishments.

Accredited and Recognized

Having an accredited law firm by your side makes you feel more confident about winning the case.

Florida Law Advisers P.A. is an accredited law firm affiliated with the Florida Bar Association. They’re known throughout Florida for their exemplary work and reputation. Over 400 testimonials online give them an average 4.9 rating out of 5, and they are A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau.

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Extensive Legal Experience

Legal cases are tricky and have a lot of risks and repercussions. You need an experienced attorney with vast and varied experience to handle your legal matters with tact and cleverness.

Florida Law Advisers P.A. has a team of attorneys, each with a unique specialization. They have family law attorneys with comprehensive experience handling family matters and debt counseling. They also have foreclosure attorneys and lawyers to handle bankruptcy clients.

The collective experience of their legal team makes Florida Law Advisers the perfect law firm to handle your legal needs.

Exemplary track record

When you choose a law firm, you must check its track record. A legal firm that has a high success rate is the one that can win your case for you.

That is why you must choose Florida Law Advisers, P.A. It has a proven record of success and a reputation for winning cases.

Efficient legal representation at a reasonable cost

Good lawyers are plenty, but they might charge you more for their expert services. You need a law firm that does not believe in overcharging its clients.

Florida Law Advisers is one such law firm that believes in offering high-quality legal counsel at affordable rates. Each lawyer is picked and chosen after a series of tests.

This legal firm believes its clients need solutions, not just heavy bills. So, their legal fees are nominal and affordable.

Flexible to suit your busy schedule

Who has time to wait for hours at the lawyer’s office? We need a law firm that is easily accessible and flexible to accommodate our busy schedules.

Florida Law Advisers, P.A. is a law firm that understands the hectic schedule of its clients. They offer both morning and evening appointments to serve their busy clients. They also provide online appointments for your convenience.

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Quick legal solutions & settlements

Certain lawyers believe in prolonging the case to pile up additional costs. This typically happens in divorce transactions during the distribution of assets.

Florida Law Advisers is not a firm that aims for protracted litigation. It offers quick solutions to its legal clients to help them gain peace of mind. Even in property litigations, attorneys can help clients settle the case quickly and amicably.

Free Consultation

Florida Law Advisers offers a free consultation to learn more about you and if your case needs legal attention. In that consultation, we can identify whether legal counsel will benefit you or if it’s something you don’t need an attorney for.

Trustworthy and confidential

Every professional law firm must keep its clients’ matters private. Florida Law Advisers P.A. keeps its customer contact information confidential.

Choosing a law firm can be a life-changing decision as it can make or break the case for you. Think of Florida Law Advisers in Tampa when you select a law firm to represent you in a challenging legal situation.

 

Florida Personal Injury Law Ambulance

Damages caused by someone else’s negligence are more rampant than you think. Knowing the basics of the Personal Injury Law in Florida can go a long way.

Such personal injuries can disrupt your daily life and cause severe emotional distress, which is why you’re afforded the remedy of filing a lawsuit as the victim.

Not only is this an enforcement of your rights, but also a reasonable way to recover compensation from your losses.

Overview of Florida Personal Injury Law

Florida Statutes Title XLV (torts) and Florida Statutes Chapter 768 (Negligence) encompass personal injury cases in Florida.

Torts are civil liabilities that arise when civilians cause injuries to one another. They’re NOT intentional crimes, but there are damages incurred nonetheless.

Negligence, on the other hand, is the failure to perform a duty that results in severe injuries to another person.

Damages arising from negligence tort don’t have to be physical injury only; they can also be emotional distress, lost income, or anything that leads to permanent scarring.

These two concepts let us further understand what Florida Personal Injury Laws entail.

Basically, it is a lawsuit when someone causes you serious injury because of their negligent acts.

We’ll discuss the other concepts of this Florida law below.

1. Florida No-Fault Insurance System

The most common premise for personal injury claims is car accident cases. While it’s valid, note that Florida has a “No-Fault Insurance System” for minor vehicle accidents.

In an automobile accident, the car insurance company shoulders the damages. All drivers are required to secure a $10,000 personal injury protection for this purpose.

Personal injury protection covers medical bills, lost income, and other damages.

But if the injuries sustained are severe and critical, you can now file a Florida personal injury case against the one who caused the accident.

What constitutes a serious injury? It can be:

  • Death
  • Permanent Injury
  • Significant and Permanent Disfigurement
  • Significant and Permanent Loss

If the injured person dies or loses bodily functions permanently, or her injuries are irreversible, personal injury lawsuits are enforceable.

2. Product Liability Claims

These pertain to defective and dangerous products that cause harm to the customer. Manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe for use and are otherwise held liable.

While it is difficult to go against big corporations, Florida personal injury lawyers can help you prove your injury claim as long as you have sufficient evidence of damages.

3. Strict Liability for Dog Bites/Attacks

Unlike other states, Florida upholds strict liability for dog bites. The dog owner will be held liable regardless of the dog’s past behavior when an attack occurs.

The dog owner should compensate the victim for the injuries suffered, which can include medical treatment and further assistance related to the attack.

Of course, the state also takes the victims’ actions into account. It can reduce the dog owner’s liability if it’s proven that the victim’s faults resulted in the attack.

4. Florida Comparative Negligence Rules

The above example of a reduced liability is the best way to explain the comparative negligence rule. When both parties contributed to the incident, it just so happens that one suffered more than the other.

For instance, the victim accidentally trespassed on the property. While we may still hold the dog owner liable, the pure comparative negligence rule tells us that the victim also contributed to his own injuries.

The compensation can be lowered and adjusted to what is fair to both parties. This also applies to various Florida personal injury cases (car accidents, malpractice, etc.).

An experienced attorney will usually employ insurance adjusters and expert witnesses to help convince the court that the damages they seek are fair and appropriate.

Talking to your Florida personal injury attorneys or trial lawyers is best to smooth out the details and receive justifiable compensation.

What are the 5 Most Common Personal Injury Cases in Florida?

The cases are not limited to the list below but are the most common personal injury cases in Florida.

1. Automobile or Car Accident

Car accidents happen daily, which is why the “no-fault” system of Florida law makes perfect sense. However, some accidents are more severe than others, causing permanent injury.

If severe, the one at fault should shoulder the medical expenses and other compensations suffered by the victim.

pulling out people from a car accident in Florida

2. Dog Bites and Attacks

You’d be surprised how common dog attacks are. But the injuries sustained can be fatal, and the medical expenses can skyrocket unexpectedly.

If the personal injury victim abides by lawful acts (e.g., staying on the property with permission, not harming the dog in any way, the dog escaping, etc.), it’s clear that the owner is generally negligent.

3. Workplace Accidents

There are accident-prone workplaces like factories and construction sites.

Though many of these are supposedly covered by an insurance company, some cases qualify as personal injury.

But many of these cases are tricky. We advise you to seek a personal injury attorney for such clarifications. Many personal injury lawyers provide free consultation sessions.

4. Medical Malpractice Cases

Although it shouldn’t be, medical malpractice is quite usual. Florida personal injury laws give you the right to seek compensation and hold the healthcare worker liable for the mistake.

While some incur non-economic damages (no monetary impact on the victim), some mistakes can be critical and cause complications that add to your medical expenses.

Again, it’s best to consult a Florida personal injury lawyer to break down the specifics. If money is an issue, look for those with free case evaluation services.

5. Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is when a victim passes away from the personal injuries they’ve sustained.

The Florida personal injury lawyer helps the family and loved ones recover the damages. If the victim is a breadwinner, the compensation will likely be higher since the family will suffer more significant losses.

NOTE: These Cases Should Be Unintentional

It’s crucial to understand that many of these cases are unintentional for them to be counted as personal injury cases. If it’s intentional, it’s considered a criminal case.

Civil negligence and criminal negligence are different. The cases discussed above are civil negligence, wherein the wrongdoer was only careless.

In a criminal negligence case, the wrongdoer was aware of the risks but did it anyway.

A personal injury lawsuit is based on the premise of civil negligence.

What are the Qualifications of a Personal Injury Claim?

As repeatedly mentioned, negligence must be proven to determine the enforceability of a personal injury case. And to do that, we look for these components.

Let us use the pet owner example to make it easier to understand.

1. Breached Duty of Care

The main element that must be present is the breached duty of care.

This shows that the defendant (wrongdoer) had a duty and failed to do it, thus causing personal injuries to the plaintiff (victim).

For instance, a pet owner should keep the animal on a leash or the gates closed. They forget to do so, and the pet escapes their home, attacking a civilian on the streets.

The owner had a responsibility to keep their pets secured but was careless. Ergo, they breached their duty of care.

2. Victim Suffered Damages

Of course, the personal injury must be present. The victim must prove the losses incurred, such as medical bills, hindered income because they couldn’t work, etc.

It can also be non-economic damages like mental health effects. For example, the victim developed a phobia of dogs and could no longer perform daily functions.

It’s best to preserve evidence as much as you can. Take photos of the accident scene, document the developments, and turn them over to your personal injury attorney or law firm.

3. The Breached Duty of Care Is the Main Cause for Damages

Another vital element is the direct correlation of the breached duty to the damages suffered by the victim.

The victim’s injury should prove that it resulted from the dog attack. The most direct evidence is the actual bites or wounds that weren’t already there.

A victim cannot blame the defendant for an injury that was already present without any connection to the animal. A must cause B.

But the victim can claim that the attack made her existing injuries worse. For example, he was recovering from a fractured leg, and the dog attack made him stumble again, triggering the damage.

There are many loopholes and nuances in these cases, which is why the assistance of a personal injury attorney will be helpful to sort out your situation correctly.

4. Reasonable Care

After proving the correlation and validity of these elements, the defendant is responsible for providing adequate medical care and compensation to the victim.

The compensation must still be reasonable and connected to the situation. The victim cannot ask for an unreasonable amount or demand ridiculous returns.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida

Looking to file for a case? Here’s what you need to know.

Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The thing with lawsuits is that evidence is crucial. Matters must be proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence.

Collecting as much evidence as possible will do you well if you’re involved in a personal injury case. Here are some good examples:

Medical Bills

Collect all hospital bills incurred from treatments, checkups, and surgeries (if applicable). If the case is proven valid, you’ll be compensated fairly.

Other than the financial aspect, the medical expenses also show the severity of your suffering. For example, a victim rushed to the ICU proves that the injury was fatal.

If you’re the defendant, note that you’ll still pay the decided amount even if the insurance company shouldered all or portions of the bill.

Projected Bills

It’s also helpful to present price quotations for your future expenses. These are reasonably projected expenses that you’ll incur because of your injury claim.

It will help your case to show that your inability to perform or attend to some issues will significantly ramp up your bills, which counts as damages.

Lost Financial Opportunities

If the injury caused you to leave your job or have no-work-no-pay employment, you have the right to demand lost income compensation.

We all know the importance of financial income for necessities and bills, and its loss will significantly impact your livelihood.

You can also prove that you’re the primary provider of the household, and the lost money affects not only you but also your family.

Inability to Work

Some injuries are permanent (i.e., paralysis, lost bodily functions, etc.), leaving the victim unable to work for good.

You can demand a justifiable provision to compensate for the lost opportunities and further complications that are expected to occur.

Physical DAMAGE

Physical damages are the easiest to prove. You can show the wounds, fractures, medical results, and hospital bills. You can also present documents from your insurance company.

Emotional Distress

Unlike physical effects, it can be challenging to show emotional distress. Some tangible pieces of evidence are therapist prescriptions, witness accounts of your distress, proof of episodes, etc.

But in some cases, emotional turmoil can be easily proven depending on the situation.

Negative Impact on Personal Life

Some personal injuries have chain effects on an individual’s life. Loss of consortium is a good example, wherein spouses can no longer provide intimacy for their partners.

Other examples are effects on family life. For example, a parent cannot perform their duties or spend time with their children anymore.

These will be more difficult to prove, so having a personal injury lawyer can help immensely.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Florida is four (4) years.

The statute of limitations is the duration of your case’s validity. From the occurrence of the accident, you have four (4) years to file a lawsuit against the defendant. If you file against a government agency, you have three (3) years.

But there are exceptions to these deadlines. In some cases, the court allows extensions. The maximum statute of limitations is seven (7) years. These are the exceptions below.

Late Discovery of the Injury

The injury doesn’t show up immediately in some cases. The victim could have been fine at the moment of the accident and later discovered an internal problem or long-term trauma.

For these situations, a two-year extension will be granted. You can prove your case quickly with the help of doctors, professionals, and insurance company documents.

The extension also applies if fraudulent actions hinder the victim from discovering the injuries.

Absence of Defendant

If the defendant fled Florida and avoided the case, the victim would also be granted an extension. Of course, additional consequences for the defendant may apply for escaping.

Incapacity of Victim

An incapacitated victim cannot immediately file a personal injury lawsuit, especially if it’s mental incapacity.

For these scenarios, the victim may be given more time to file a lawsuit.

But note that the maximum duration is still seven (7) years. If the mental effect is severe and renders the victim permanently incapacitated, the family can fight the case on his behalf.

Damage Caps

Florida laws also do their best to extend protection to the defendants. There are limitations to the damage compensations, depending on the severity of the personal injury claims.

Damage caps commonly apply to non-economic damages since they’re “intangible” and more challenging to measure.

But it’s chiefly enforced to limit compensation for punitive damages ($500,000 limit) awarded to defendants to prevent similar acts from happening again.

It serves as a lesson for everyone and a basis for future cases of similar nature. These apply to unique and “bizarre” issues.

What to Do After Suffering Personal Injury in Florida

Leave all of the legal technicalities to your lawyers, but there are some ways to help address your case easier.

Step 1: Collect Evidence

Since you’re involved first-hand, you have the leverage to collect evidence that can later be useful for legal purposes.

We’re talking about documenting the accident scene (taking pictures, videos, and recordings) and compiling paperwork.

It works both ways, too. Both defendant and the plaintiff can benefit from this.

Remember that everyone’s innocent until presumed guilty – defendants can still prove that the other party also contributed to the accident.

Of course, collecting evidence should only be second to safety. If the victim sustains serious injuries, prioritize getting any necessary medical attention.

Step 2: Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer

Consult with legal professionals to help you deal with these cases lawfully. They’re more familiar with the technicalities.

If budget-constrained, look for free consultations or public trial lawyers.

Step 3: File the Case ASAP

If you know that compensation is necessary, file the case immediately. Don’t exceed the statute of limitations (four years); the exemptions don’t apply to everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Let’s answer some of the FAQs.

How Much Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Florida?

The courts determine the awards for pain and suffering – there’s no one amount for all. It depends on your medical expenses, bills, and other damages.

It could even reach millions if the injuries suffered are severe and critical.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

You have four (4) years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Extensions can be granted for some exemptions: Late discovery of the injury, absent defendant, incapacitated victim.

Overall, the maximum period is seven (7) years. Your lawyer may help you extend the 4-year statute of limitations within allowable circumstances.

Can You Sue for Personal Injury in Florida?

Yes, you can sue for personal injury in Florida under the Florida Statutes Title XLV (torts) and Florida Statutes Chapter 768 (Negligence).

The laws seek to protect the parties involved and arrive at fair solutions for defendants and plaintiffs.

Conclusion

We hope we have made personal injury laws easier for you to understand.

This guide aims to simplify the big word and help you get your needed assistance.

While lawsuits are intimidating, Florida’s laws are here to protect your rights. Good luck!