If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in an accident, you must protect your legal rights. The experienced Land O’ Lakes personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers know how to fight hard for injury victims.
Let us handle the legal paperwork so you can focus on making the best recovery possible from your injuries. We handle all communications with the insurance company, so you do not have to worry about saying something to a claims adjuster that could hurt your claim. Learn more about what a personal injury lawyer can do to protect your rights after any type of accident.
Land O’ Lakes contains many fantastic tourist attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities. The Conner and Cypress Creek Preserves allow residents and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. The Dupree Gardens also include a historical marker and ruins. Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park hosts many different outdoor activities, and there are many opportunities for water sports on Lake Como and Lake Park.
While there are many opportunities here for good family fun out in Florida’s natural beauty, there are also opportunities to sustain injuries from boating, hiking, playing sports, or engaging in other recreational activities.
Residents should also be careful on our major thoroughfares. Heavier traffic means it is more likely a collision involving at least one motor vehicle will occur. Land O’Lakes’ local hot spots for auto accidents are along the Suncoast Parkway, U.S. Route 41, State Route 54, and 597 (the Dale Mabry Highway), and the Collier Parkway.
Each personal injury case is different, and our legal team is ready to handle any type of claim that involves the following and more:
Some accident victims choose to handle their personal injury claim without the help of a lawyer. While it is your right to do so, there are many reasons you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer handling your accident claim instead. Injury victims with representation consistently receive more compensation for their losses than injury victims who settle their claims without a lawyer’s advice.
What follows are some of the many essential functions a lawyer will perform to protect your right to compensation.
As soon as the insurance company receives official notification that you have a lawyer, they are no longer allowed to contact you about the accident. All communications must go through your attorney’s office.
In addition to freeing up your time, the new communication chain is a critical protection for you. Many accident victims accidentally say things to claims adjusters that can be used by an insurance adjuster to devalue the claim. By acting as an intermediary with the insurance company, your attorney shields you from people who are working against you. The insurance company represents the person or entity that caused your injuries, and they want to pay you as little as possible.
This is why it is vital to have a lawyer who is on your side and protecting your rights. One of the most basic – and critical – protections you will have is not having to speak to your opponents at the insurance company.
It is vital that the insurance company properly receives your personal injury claim. If you do open the claim without an attorney, the insurance company will likely request a recorded statement from you concerning what happened in the accident.
The insurance company might then try to use portions of your statement to justify denying their driver was at fault, claim that you were partly at fault, or say that your injuries aren’t as bad as you said they are. A personal injury attorney will prevent this from happening.
Your claim must have sufficient evidence and documentation to support the amount of compensation you are formally requesting. Your attorney will ensure that your medical records, specialists’ recommendations, and rehabilitation reports are all in order. They will know how to prove who was at fault for the accident, in the event the defendant’s insurance company tries to deny liability.
Sometimes, it takes an expert witness, such as an accident reconstructionist, to prove who was actually at fault for an accident. Your attorney will find the right experts and evidence to prove fault and begin settlement negotiations.
Because the insurance company is not on your side, they will not offer you the fair value of your claim. Claims adjusters receive thorough training in strategies for paying as little as possible on as few claims as possible. They are almost certain to make a lowball offer while stating that you couldn’t do any better at trial and that there’s no reason your claim could be worth more.
You should never take this type of legal advice from someone who is on the defendant’s side. Only your own lawyer can tell you what your claim is fairly worth.
Your lawyer will determine the fair value of your claim by comparing it to similar accident cases. They will also evaluate factors that could affect how much a jury would award if your case went to trial. Many things can affect a jury’s perception of the case. How well the jury relates to you, how credible the defendant appears, how bad the defendant’s conduct was, and the lasting effects of your injuries all play a part in determining your case’s projected worth at trial. Again, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to advise you about these intangible factors.
Once your lawyer has determined the fair value of your claim, negotiations can begin. Accepting a settlement offer is your decision. Your lawyer will provide an honest assessment as to if they think the offer is fair and how your case would likely perform at trial, but it is ultimately up to you to decide whether to accept the offer. If the two parties cannot reach a settlement, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
If the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer, your next option is to file a lawsuit against the defendant in civil court. The insurance company is then contractually obligated to defend the lawsuit. Sometimes, the mere act of filing a lawsuit is enough to get the insurance company to increase its settlement offer to a fair amount. Other times, your attorney will have to continue litigating the case and take it through to trial for a jury to decide what your claim is worth.
Our personal injury lawyers can file your lawsuit properly the first time and prevent the court from dismissing your case due to errors.
Once you file a lawsuit, the defendant has a short time to file an official response to the allegations in your complaint. The filing of the answer triggers many other important deadlines.
At that point, both parties begin investigating the case through a process called discovery. Discovery involves written questions, oral depositions, expert witness reports, photographs, and other evidence. Each party exchanges evidence it intends to use at trial, in a process known as disclosure. You cannot admit inadequately disclosed evidence at trial.
Your attorney will field requests for evidence from the defense attorney, make requests for evidence from the defendant, lodge any necessary objections to improper requests, and help prepare you for your oral deposition.
The court will schedule status conferences to check on the progress of the case periodically. You will not need to testify at these administrative conferences. The lawyers may also dispute the evidence. If, for example, the attorneys cannot agree on what statements to admit at trial, the court may have to schedule a hearing to decide the matter.
Your attorney will determine whether such a hearing is necessary. If it is, they will prepare you for what will happen and let you know if you will need to provide any evidence that day.
The pretrial process is lengthy and uncovers critical evidence that tells each attorney about their case’s strengths and weaknesses. Because of a thorough process, many cases settle during the discovery process. If you still can’t get a fair settlement offer, however, your attorney may take your case to trial.
This step requires detailed preparation of documents, photographs, and other physical evidence. Your attorney will also determine who will testify at trial, including expert witnesses to testify about your injuries or economic losses, friends and family members to testify about your pain and suffering, and co-workers to testify about how your ability to work has been impacted by your injuries.
You may need to testify about your injuries and losses, and answer questions about what happened on the day of the accident. Your personal injury lawyer will thoroughly prepare you for trial before it occurs.
Taking your case to trial is a significant undertaking. Your lawyer will spend lots of time and money preparing evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing depositions, and getting you ready for trial.
You must also prepare for the toll a trial can take. Not only will you need to invest time and effort into the trial, but it will be emotionally taxing as well. You may need to relive the pain and suffering you endured after the accident and may have to discuss embarrassing medical details. Your family may testify about how they miss the relationship they had with you before the accident.
Additionally, it is almost certain that the defense lawyer will assert or imply something hurtful about you, your family, your job, or your injuries. You must be ready for the emotional toll of the trial so that you prepare for what will happen in the courtroom.
So what will happen in the courtroom? First, attorneys and the judge can question prospective jurors to determine whether they are fair and impartial.
After impaneling the jury, the judge will give it instructions, and the attorneys will make their opening statements.
Your lawyer will then present your case by calling witnesses and introducing evidence. The defense lawyer will have the right to cross-examine these witnesses. The defense lawyer will follow with the defendant’s case, and your attorney can cross-examine the defense witnesses.
When each side has finished presenting its case, the lawyers will make their closing statements, and the judge will give the jury its final instructions. The jurors will then deliberate until they make a decision. If deliberations go on for an extended period of time without reaching a consensus, the court might allow the case to result in a hung jury (this is uncommon). Usually, a judge will offer any assistance that is allowed to help a jury come to a verdict.
As you can see, there are many important things an accident lawyer can do to protect your legal rights after an accident. You have the legal right to full and fair compensation for all the injuries and losses you sustain in an accident caused by someone else.
The Land O’ Lakes personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have helped many Florida injury victims get fair compensation for their accident claims. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. The sooner you have an experienced injury lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
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