Winter Haven Personal Injury Lawyers Providing Skilled Legal Assistance for Accident Victims
An accident can happen in a flash, but the consequences can linger for months, years, or even a lifetime. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an accident that was wholly or partially caused by the negligent actions of another, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your losses. While it is possible for individuals to file personal injury claims on their own, enlisting the help of a lawyer can significantly simplify the process. With the legal assistance of a lawyer from Jiles Law, you can rest easy knowing that your case is being meticulously handled by experienced personal injury attorneys whose sole goal is to get you the maximum compensation for your damages. Contact our Winter Haven law office today to set up a free case evaluation to learn more about your legal options: 863-875-6900.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer is a legal representative for accident victims. They protect a victim’s rights by intervening on their behalf in negotiations with insurance companies. They anticipate and deftly handle any legal issues that arise during this process. A personal injury lawyer provides victims with a buffer between them and the insurance adjusters, bill collectors, and others who may be reaching out with questions. Our personal injury lawyers at Jiles Law take pride in mitigating the stress our clients are experiencing after their accident so they can focus solely on their recovery.
To ensure that our clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their injuries, our personal injury attorneys take the time to listen to the details of the client’s accident and its impact on their life. Then we thoroughly investigate the case, collecting necessary evidence such as police reports, eyewitness interviews, photos of the accident site, and more. This evidence enables us to build a strong case on their behalf, which allows us to negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance companies involved. Most cases can be settled without a trial, but when necessary, we will aggressively pursue legal proceedings to get our clients the justice and compensation they deserve.
What Practice Areas Do Our Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
When people think of personal injury cases, they often think of automobile crashes. While car accidents can undoubtedly result in personal injury cases, there are also many other aspects to personal injury law. Any situation where a victim has been harmed due to the negligent actions of another person or entity could potentially result in a personal injury claim. Some of the practice areas our lawyers at Jiles Law can assist you with include:
- Accidents resulting in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Car accidents
- Dog bites
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrians accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
How Can an Accident Affect Your Life?
Whether you’ve suffered a dog bite on the beach, experienced an auto accident on the way to work, or been affected by any other kind of personal injury, it can significantly impact your life. The physical consequences alone can be immense. The damage to your body caused by an accident can range from minor discomfort to catastrophic injuries, which are defined as injuries that are likely to impact a victim for the rest of their lives. Some of the severe injuries commonly seen as a result of an accident include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed or crushed limbs
If you experience serious injuries, you will likely need extensive medical treatment as part of your recovery. This can lead to hefty medical expenses and bills for things such as transportation to and from your appointments, charges for accessibility modifications to your home and vehicle, and costs for in-home help (such as cleaning services). These expenses can rapidly snowball into an immense financial burden, especially if you’ve had to miss work or leave your job due to your injuries. Adding to this stress are the challenges of dealing with less-than-helpful or outright hostile insurance adjusters and the potential for mental distress from chronic pain and traumatic memories from the accident. It’s no wonder many accident victims battle mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression after their accident.
But you do not have to face these challenges alone. A personal injury attorney from Jiles Law can be there to fight for full and fair compensation for all your damages, whether they are financial, physical, or mental. We care about our clients and want to see them made whole after their accident. Reach out today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you on your recovery journey.
What Are the Key Actions to Take After an Accident?
Because accidents can happen so quickly during an otherwise ordinary day, you may find yourself disoriented or in shock after they occur. Having a plan for what you would do after an accident before one happens can be very helpful if you are in this frightening situation. While the following steps are highly relevant to car accidents, they can also be helpful in other accident situations.
Remember that the safety and health of those involved in the accident is paramount. Call 911 immediately if anyone has a serious injury. Follow the dispatcher’s instructions and the advice of any paramedics or law enforcement personnel who arrive on the scene. If they recommend medical treatment, do not refuse it. If you have ensured that the medical needs of everyone present are sufficiently handled, and you are capable of safely taking the following steps, they can help protect your legal rights:
- Contact the police: The police should be notified of the incident so they can file an accident report. Ask how you can get a copy of the report once it is finished because it can be crucial to your personal injury claim.
- Collect insurance information: Get insurance information from the other people involved in the accident. If the vehicle is a commercial or rideshare vehicle, write down the registration information.
- Gather contact information from eyewitnesses: Record names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Document the accident scene: Take many photos and videos of the location of the accident from several different angles. If you must get immediate medical attention, ask a trusted person to go to the accident site to gather the images. These images can be crucial for future reconstructions of the accident.
- Get prompt medical care: Even seemingly minor accidents can result in debilitating injuries. Your body can be damaged in ways that may not be immediately apparent due to the masking effects of adrenaline and shock. You should always get a medical evaluation as soon as possible after your accident to protect your health and preserve your right to seek compensation for any potential injuries.
- Contact a personal injury law firm: Call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They can immediately begin investigating before evidence is lost or destroyed. Your lawyer will inform you of any further steps you need to take.
It is also important to remember the things you should never do after an accident:
- Do not agree to any insurance settlement before consulting an attorney: Insurance companies are interested in settling quickly and may not offer you fair compensation for your injuries, which means you could wind up stuck with large medical bills or other financial losses. A personal injury attorney can assist you in navigating questions and dealing with the insurance company.
- Do not apologize to anyone or discuss fault after an accident: For many people, our first instinct is to apologize when something goes wrong to make the other person feel better, even if we weren’t at fault. However, these statements could be twisted by the insurance company into an admission of guilt, so it is best to stick to the facts when discussing the accident.
Are There Time Limits on Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
A statute of limitations is the state law that governs how long a victim has to bring legal proceedings against a defendant. This law prevents claims from becoming excessively drawn out and ensures that the evidence is still fresh enough to be relevant. Certain special circumstances can extend the filing period for a claim beyond the ordinary statute of limitations. But typically, if you attempt to bring a claim to the court after the window of time has elapsed, the court will immediately dismiss it. Promptly contacting a personal injury attorney after your accident is the best way to safeguard your right to file a claim for your damages.
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit for most personal injury claims, including car accidents, slips and fall cases, construction accidents, and more. However, for wrongful death lawsuits and medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is only two years from the date of the victim’s death or when the medical malpractice was discovered. The window can become even shorter for cases where the defendant is a government entity. If you have questions or concerns about the viability of your claim and whether it falls within the statute of limitations, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you.
Are You Eligible to File a Claim Even if You Were Partly At-fault for the Accident?
If you were partially at fault for your accident, you might fear that there is no avenue for you to recover compensation for your injuries. Luckily, personal injury cases in Florida are covered by the state’s comparative fault rules. Under comparative fault, a victim can seek damages for all accidents where they were not 100% responsible. However, the damages awarded to the victim will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. For example, if you were awarded $50,000 in damages but were also found to be 10% responsible for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by $5,000, so you would only collect $45,000 in damages.
There are benefits and drawbacks to comparative fault. On the one hand, it provides all victims with a chance to seek compensation for their injuries, even if they share responsibility for the accident. The downside is that insurance companies often use the tactic of unfairly shifting blame onto the accident victim to reduce their settlement amount. You should not allow the insurance company to put the responsibility for the accident onto your shoulders and deprive you of the full compensation you deserve. A personal injury attorney from Jiles Law can fight back against this blame-shifting by collecting evidence and building a solid case to prove where the fault truly lies in your accident.
How Can You Get the Most Out of Your Initial Consultation?
A free consultation is an opportunity to learn more about your legal options for your personal injury claim. It’s also a time to learn more about the law firm and personal injury attorney you’re speaking with to ensure they are the right fit for your needs. To make the most of this meeting, you should have all the relevant documents and evidence for your case available so the lawyer can give an informed opinion on your claim. It is crucial for you to be completely honest with your lawyer about all aspects of your case, even if you feel like they may reflect poorly upon you. You can be sure that the defendant’s insurance will latch onto any weakness in your case, so you need to give your lawyer a chance to prepare for that eventuality.
As part of your consultation, you should ask the personal injury lawyer questions to learn more about how they operate and whether you feel comfortable hiring them for your case. Some helpful questions include:
- Do you have experience with cases like mine? Did they go to trial? If so, what were their outcomes?
- What is the typical settlement range for a case like mine?
- How long do you think it could take for my case to reach a resolution?
- How do you and your law firm communicate with clients?
- How are your fees structured?
- What legal expenses might I be expected to pay?
- What is your opinion of my case?
Remember that everything you say is confidential because it is protected by attorney-client privilege. You are also under no obligation to hire a lawyer just because you discussed your case with them.
What Compensation Could You Recover With a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
An accident can be a devastating blow physically, economically, and emotionally. When you are struggling to recover from an accident, you need a personal injury attorney who will take the time to fully understand your case so they can calculate a proper valuation for your losses. These losses and their associated compensation can be split into three main categories:
- Economic damages: Awarded for the tangible financial losses caused by your injury. They can include lost wages, current and future medical costs, loss of future earning capacity, property replacement or repair, and more.
- Non-economic damages: Damages that can be calculated by looking at bills and pay stubs are not the only kind of losses an injury can cause. Non-economic damages are just as real and harmful to a victim’s life. Mental anguish, pain and suffering, and scarring or disfigurement are all considered non-economic damages. The compensation awarded for these losses may vary widely but often increases with the severity of the injuries and the length of time they are expected to impact the victim.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages may be assessed by the court if they find that the defendant’s negligent actions were done out of malice or if they displayed a wanton disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are meant to dissuade others from committing the same actions and putting families through similar heartbreak.
Why is Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer So Critical?
Your lawyer is your voice during settlement negotiations and any necessary court proceedings. A personal injury lawyer should always have your best interests in mind and be tireless in seeking justice for your losses. At Jiles Law, our personal injury lawyers will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve so that you can stop worrying about how you will pay bills or provide for your family after your accident. We take the time to get to know you to understand the extent of your damages, and we conscientiously investigate the circumstances of your accident to build the most robust possible case.
Insurance companies do not act for the benefit of victims. They are for-profit businesses that are interested in maintaining their bottom line and have entire teams of lawyers dedicated to fighting claims from injured individuals. A personal injury lawyer from Jiles Law can help level the playing field because we can bring our experience, legal knowledge, and resources to bear on your case.
Our firm is conveniently located in Winter Haven, FL, between 6th Street SW and US Highway 17 just 12 minutes from the Winter Haven Regional Airport (GIF) and 8 minutes from Lake Howard Park. Call us at 863-875-6900 today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.