Personal Injury FAQs How do I know if I have a claim?
You may seek to
recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident if the accident was caused due to another’s fault and not your own. If your actions contributed to the accident, any recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
Three main components to look for include liability (fault of another), damages (your injuries) and ability to recover compensation for your damages (typically from insurance). These three components need to be evaluated to determine if you have a pursuable claim.
How much does it cost to hire The Benenati Law Firm to represent me in my personal injury claim?
It does not cost you anything to hire The Benenati Law Firm as your attorneys. The Benenati Law Firm accepts accident claims on a contingency fee basis, which means no fee is paid up front, but instead the fee is a percentage of what is recovered in the settlement or trial of your case. If the case is not successful, The Benenati Law Firm does not recover an attorney fee.
I have just retained The Benenati Law Firm to represent me in a motor vehicle negligence case. What is the process from this point?
The first step is to begin the investigation surrounding the facts of the accident. We must determine if there is only one responsible party or a number of contributing causes to the accident. In some circumstances, The Benenati Law Firm may employ various experts including accident reconstructionists, doctors, economists or vocational rehabilitation specialists to provide opinions on the issues of liability and damages.
The Benenati Law Firm will proactively seek copies of your medical records, medical bills and wage information. We will gather evidence to present to the responsible party or insurance company. During this phase, the client will be actively treating with the appropriate medical specialists in an effort to recover from the injuries. If the client is unable to fully recover and has sustained permanent injuries, The Benenati Law Firm will determine whether the best decision is to attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement or file a lawsuit and litigate the claim.
During this time it is extremely important for you to keep a diary of the events in your everyday life that are being affected by your injury. Track any difficulties you experience in your activities of daily living and how this makes you feel. You must document difficult situations encountered and any frustrations along with any issues arising with others due to your injury.
What is an out-of-court settlement?
An out-of-court settlement is a resolution of your case that occurs before trial. It is possible to reach a settlement at numerous times during the claim, even after the necessity of filing a lawsuit. It is only through a negotiated settlement that the parties can control the decision making regarding the value of the claim. At trial, the decision making is taken away from the parties and placed in the hands of the jury.
What can I receive compensation for?
If you have been injured by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to receive compensation. The most common type of damage is compensatory damages. These are money damages made by the defendant for injury to a person or property that has been damaged due to negligence. Compensatory damages includes economic (lost wages, medical bills and other expenses) and non-economic (pain & suffering) damages. Examples include:
Medical expenses incurred in the diagnosis and treatment of your injuries, including all hospital, physician, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescription and attendant care expenses. Any future medical costs necessary for your injury. Compensation for actual loss of wages. Loss of future wages and earning capacity. Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life. Damages for mental pain and anguish. Compensation for past and future pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident. Compensation for scarring and disfigurement. Your spouse may be entitled to consortium benefits in order to compensate for the loss of services, companionship, love, affection and sexual relations enjoyed before the accident.
Another type of damage is known as punitive damages. This type of damage is not common and intended to punish the defendant for outrageous misconduct and act as a deterrent for similar misbehavior. These damages go beyond what is necessary to compensate the injured party. To receive this type of damage, the conduct resulting in the injury must rise above simple negligence. There must be some type of intentional misconduct gross negligence or bad faith.
Who makes the final decision to settle my case?
The Benenati Law Firm will provide valuation estimates and advice on a reasonable settlement amount or potential jury verdict, but only the client can make the final decision to settle the case.
How long does will it take to resolve my claim?
There is no set timeframe as it will vary depending on the facts and issues within any given case. At The Benenati Law Firm our goal is to bring our clients personal injury claims to a fast resolution with the maximum compensation possible. We will work diligently on your claim to move it along as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind that in some cases, it takes longer to develop the facts necessary to achieve the maximum recovery possible for your injuries.
Resolution depends on a number of legal and factual issues. Our experience has proven to be a great asset in moving our clients’ cases along quickly. However, in some instances, we may feel that attempting to settle your case too early may hurt your case or may not bring you the maximum recovery possible. As the case progresses, our attorneys will discuss with you the factors that may affect the timing of the case, including the type of case you have, the nature of the defendant, or the complexity of issues. The Benenati Law Firm must remain cognizant of the balance between moving the case along quickly and providing top notch representation to achieve the maximum recovery possible in a reasonable period of time.
Notwithstanding the above, our experience shows that most cases resolve between 6-24 months, depending on the complexity of the issues and whether a jury trial is necessary.
What is a statute of limitation?
A statute of limitation is a restriction on the time frame for which to file a claim. If a claim is untimely filed, the defendant can raise the statute of limitations defense to defeat the claim. Most negligence actions in Florida have a 4 year statute of limitation. However, certain claims including medical malpractice and wrongful death have a 2 year statute of limitations which may be lengthened depending on the facts of the case. Statutes of limitation may vary depending on the facts of the claim and you should discuss any concerns with an attorney immediately.
What is a deposition?
Depositions are out-of-court testimony made under oath and recorded by a court reporter for later use in court. Depositions are one way for the parties in a lawsuit to ask questions of each other and any witnesses prior to the trial of the case.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an informal dispute resolution process during which the parties come together in the presence of a neutral party called a mediator. The parties will each present their side of the case to the mediator, who will then attempt to facilitate negotiations, get the parties to focus on the issues at hand and ultimately reach an out-of-court settlement. Mediation is a tool to help parties attempt to reach a compromise and avoid the necessity of going to jury trial. In some circumstances mediation is required prior to going to trial.
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