Comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions
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A personal injury claim may arise when you or someone you love suffers an injury caused by another negligent person or entity. Negligence means doing something wrong that causes someone else to get injured. For instance, in a car accident, the negligent driver is the person who caused the accident. You also need a lawyer to assist you if an insurance carrier denies a rightful claim. At Law Office of Tammy Strohl P.A., in Naples, FL, we will take every necessary step to help you file a timely claim and recover the full compensation you and your family deserve.

There is a four-year statute of limitations (time limit) for personal injury claims in Florida. After the time limit expires, you cannot bring a claim. Opportunities to get around the statute of limitations are very limited, so it’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as you think you may have been injured.

Many people are injured more than once over the course of their lives. In some cases, a new injury may make an old injury worse or re-aggravate it. If a prior injury is bothering you after an accident, the insurance company may try to claim that your injuries are pre-existing and weren’t caused by your accident. We can help you challenge the insurance carrier and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Immediately after an accident, it’s important to seek medical attention to document your injuries and losses. You have to document that the injury you have suffered is related to your claim because it’s your burden to prove your injuries. If you have sought medical treatment in the past but are still suffering side effects from an injury, you may need additional medical assessments and treatment to ensure that you recover your full compensation.

To have a valid personal injury claim, Florida has a personal threshold injury requirement. You need to consult with a doctor who has knowledge and experience in personal injury. However, it’s important to recognize that many types of injuries can be permanent. Even soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, can become permanent. You should never give up your right to pursue a personal injury claim without consulting a lawyer.

The value of your claim will depend on the full extent of your losses. As your attorney, we’ll work with appropriate experts and take a comprehensive approach to collect compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, and any additional personal losses you have endured. It’s important to consult with an attorney before settling with an insurance company so that you do not waive your rights to future claims and compensation. Contact us for a FREE consultation.

Personal Injury Case Procedure

There are several important considerations in hiring an attorney. These include experience, focus, and personal attention. You have the right to know the experience of the attorney that will be handling your case. Ask for written qualifications and results obtained by that attorney. Ask who will be handling your case and who’ll be representing you in court if your case needs to go before a jury. You may be surprised to learn that the face you see on television or the voice that you hear on the radio may not actually be the one that handles your case or represents you in front of a jury, if your case needs to go to trial. You have a right to know who will be handling your case if a trial is necessary, and the experience, skill and qualification of that attorney. You have the right to know the number of cases that the firm handles. You may be surprised to learn that some of the firms that you see on the television handle thousands of cases at one time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand answers, your case is extremely important to you and you have the right to have trust and confidence in the Law firm that represents you.

Yes, Tammy Strohl will personally handle your case.

If another party’s recklessness, carelessness or negligence has caused you to suffer a serious personal injury, you should contact a lawyer. Typically, victims who attempt to recoup compensation on their own receive smaller settlements than those who enlist the services of experienced personal injury attorneys. At Law Office Of Tammy Strohl P.A., our personal injury attorneys handle claims involving, among other things:

  • Auto accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Victims of drunk drivers
  • Uninsured motorists
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Premise liability
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and falls

To have a personal injury case, you must be able to show that you have been injured physically by someone else under a negligence, strict liability or intentional misconduct theory. This means someone or some business was at fault for the injury.

Seek medical help immediately and report your injuries. Call your insurance company to report the accident but do not give them a recorded statement without first calling Law Office of Tammy Strohl P.A.

Compensation for your injuries depends on several factors, including physical and mental pain and suffering, economic hardship or financial loss, decreased earning potential and physical impairment, including disfigurement. Depending on the type and extent of your personal injury, you may be eligible for compensatory (actual) damages, and punitive (punishment) damages.

The damages may include the following:
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent scars
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Embarrassment
  • Mental disability
  • Property damage
  • Out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, house cleaning, grass cutting, and others)

The statute of limitations is a time period within which you must take action in order to preserve your rights in a claim. The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in the State of Florida is four (4) years.

Anyone who suffers a personal injury due to the recklessness or negligent actions of someone else may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Whether your injury was sustained in a motor vehicle accident or premises liability accident, you can bring a claim against the responsible party. Additionally, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim if you have lost a loved one.

The answer to this question is primarily determined by the complexity of the case. The last thing we want to do is resolve a case, while our client is still healing or does not have a good understanding of what their future medical condition will entail. It’s not a benefit to our clients to rush settlement of an injury case and then find out post-settlement that they need additional surgery or will have ongoing future medical expenses. Often the average auto accident injury claim, premise liability case or another type of general negligence case is resolved within anywhere from 6 to 12 months after completion of the recommended course of medical treatment. However, if your case is forced into the court system to trial, it may take considerably longer.

There is no guarantee of compensatory damages that could be awarded during personal injury litigation since these types of cases can vary greatly. However, the following are some of the considerations when verdicts and settlements are awarded:
  • Medical expense
  • Lost wages or earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Long-term case costs
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain
  • Loss of mental anguish
  • Loss of life and companionship
  • Disfigurement

Yes. In many cases, accident victims can recover money even if they are partly to blame for the accident. There are, however, many factors that go into attributing a certain percentage of fault to each party involved. You should consult an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

Things that could hurt your case are: Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company without consulting a lawyer can badly damage or destroy your case. Exaggerating or underestimating the extent of your injuries. Talking to anyone about your case (except us and your doctors treating you for the incident). Assuming the insurance adjuster wants to help you – the adjuster’s sole job is to save the insurance company’s money. Witnesses and evidence must be secured and maintained immediately after an accident, or they will be lost forever.

Absolutely. You should call the local police, sheriff’s office or highway patrol. At your first opportunity, report the accident to your insurance company. Within ten days, you and the other driver must report the accident to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles if the damage to either case is more than $500.00 or anyone is injured. You should get a copy of the accident report from the police or insurance company.

It’s important that we immediately start gathering the evidence to build the best case for you, and this includes taking statements of witnesses, carefully analyzing information on the crash report, obtaining insurance information to find all sources of monetary recovery, taking photographs and preserving evidence before it’s destroyed. Dealing with the insurance companies involved. Making a decision on which insurance applies, finding all available sources of compensation for you, making decisions on how to maximize your recovery for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of the enjoyment of life due to the accident.

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important that certain action is taken. The name and address of the operator of each vehicle should be obtained. Additionally, the name and address of the owner of each vehicle involved should be obtained and the license plate number of all vehicles should be recorded. Lastly, the name of the automobile insurance company for each vehicle should be obtained. If possible, obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Obtain photos of the damage to both cars, if possible, or make arrangements to get such photos. If there has been any type of injury, the police should be called to investigate the accident. The police officer will write a report which includes the details of the accident and the nature and extent of any damages and injuries. Insurance companies will require that a report of the accident be obtained before providing any benefits. It’s important to immediately contact your own vehicle insurance company to report any property damage or personal injury. If you or a passenger is injured in a motor vehicle accident, prompt medical attention should be obtained.
  • Do not leave the scene until police or medical aid arrives. (If you have hit a parked car, leave a note and an explanation along with your address and phone number)
  • If there is an injury, seek medical help immediately. If you know first aid and are able to help, do so. If circumstance allows, you may drive an injured party to medical aid. If the party is in danger by remaining where they are, but they are too injured to move, you should move them out of harm’s way
  • Gather all the information you can such as: the name of the other driver; their address; vehicle registration; name of the owner or owners of the vehicle, if not the driver; driver’s license number with state and expiration date; birth date; phone numbers (office / home / cell phone); insurance company; names, addresses, and phone numbers of passengers
  • If you are aware of witnesses, get their identification information. If they drive off before you speak with them, try to get their license plate number
  • If you are given a traffic ticket, is okay to sign it as this is not an admission of guilt. But, be sure to contact your attorney before you pay any fine or appear in court
  • Take note of the date, time, location, road conditions and weather conditions
  • Draw a diagram of the accident scene
  • Take photos of damage to both cars and any damage caused to any other property
  • Write down the facts as you remember them as soon as it’s possible to do so
  • Describe, in writing, any injuries you may have sustained and keep a running list of any medical providers with whom you treat

Law Office of Tammy Strohl, P.A. frequently helps its clients locate the names of specialists in the community that will represent accident victims on a “letter of protection”, which means that the doctor will not require payment until the case settles. Please also keep in mind that all standard motor vehicle policies in Florida provide $10,000 of PIP coverage towards your medical bills and lost wages. Some automobile insurance policies also provide additional coverages.

There are several potential sources of insurance available to provide coverage in accident cases. This is why it’s very important to consult the Law Office of Tammy Strohl, P.A. immediately to discuss your rights. Those sources of available insurance include bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, umbrella or excess coverage, personal injury protection coverage, medical payments coverage, health insurance, and other sources of insurance coverage.

This is a very important question that should be answered by immediately scheduling an appointment with Tammy Strohl. In some instances, insurance companies in Florida act in “bad faith” by not settling a claim when they could have and should have done so had they acted fairly and honestly toward their insured. When an insurance company acts in “bad faith,” this can give rise to additional damages which exceed the insurance policy limits.

Even when our client is in an accident that is based on the negligence of another person, we still make a claim for personal injury protection benefits, more commonly known as PIP. This is the “no fault” insurance that the Florida Legislature designated would pay 80% of a person’s medical bills and 60% of a person’s lost wages, up to $10,000.00, whether or not they are at fault. Some people have chosen to exclude wages on their policy, so you would have to come in with your insurance policy to verify coverage. Your personal injury insurance also becomes increasingly important in the unfortunate situation where a negligent person causes an accident and they are uninsured or underinsured. You can then make a claim, provided you have paid a premium for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage with your own insurance company. In these cases, your damages would be paid by your own insurance company as if they have stepped into the shoes of the responsible party. Your insurance rates do not go up in these instances.

Because the full extent of many injuries may not be known for quite some time after the accident, an attorney can help you evaluate your potential losses. It’s devastating to sign away your rights only to later discover that your injuries and losses were worse than you originally thought.

The Service of an Attorney

You should consult an attorney as soon as possible after being injured. In most cases, there are time limits for filing claims after an injury occurs, and if this deadline passes, your claim could be dismissed. You should seek an attorney’s advice before admitting guilt or any responsibility for the accident and any resulting injuries, including your own. In addition, finding witnesses and gathering evidence to support your case becomes more difficult the longer you wait.

The success of personal injury attorneys is based on several factors, including education, legal skill and experience. The attorney you retain should have a proven record of winning cases similar to yours and should be willing to thoroughly explain his or her recommendations based on the specific details of your case. Your attorney should also have extensive experience settling cases through negotiation and trying cases in court. Another very important factor is for you to feel comfortable with your attorney, and confident that your interests will be a top priority. The hiring of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based on advertising alone. You should ask the questions set forth above to ensure the attorney you hire has the experience your case may require.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when a person’s death was caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another, such as careless driving or a deliberate murder. In addition to injuring the person who died, people who depend on the deceased for financial or emotional support may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death. The State of Florida has enacted a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died as a result of a wrongful act. We give all our clients the same amount of effort it takes to present their case for the maximum amount.

Fees & Costs

Our fee is based on a percentage of the total recovery that we obtain for you. You do not owe us any attorney’s fees or costs unless we recover money for you. There are no upfront costs, and we advance all costs on your behalf throughout the litigation.

As set forth in our Authority to Represent, our fees in a personal injury case are contingent upon the financial recovery in your case. The fees are in accordance with guidelines set by the Florida Supreme Court. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. Therefore, we share a common objective of obtaining a favorable result in your case. Costs are incurred in the pursuit of your case. We do not ask you for a cost deposit up front and we do not bill you for the costs as they are incurred. The costs are reimbursed to us at the end of the case. The most common costs are for investigation and medical records. Our financial arrangement will be clearly and fully explained at the initial interview.

Our firm utilizes the standard contingency fee contract established by the Florida Bar. Your initial consultation is free in all personal injury matters. In Florida, attorneys who handle personal injury claims are paid on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t have to pay anything unless and until we obtain a recovery on your behalf. Our fees will be deducted from your settlement or award. If there is no recovery, personal injury attorneys don’t get paid.

Filing Suit

Filing suit is an actual act of filing legal papers at the courthouse. This is done only with the client’s permission after all efforts have been made to resolve the case in pre-suit negotiations. If the insurance company for the party at fault agrees to pay what we believe your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then you don’t have to go to court. If the insurance company refuses to pay the amount acceptable to you, then we have to proceed in court. I make sure you’re fairly compensated for your injuries and losses. When a lawsuit is filed, it does not necessarily mean that you will one day be walking up the courthouse steps with one of our lawyers. However, it does mean that it’s a possibility. Many injury claims can be settled for their full value through negotiation, mediation or arbitration, without you having to go to court. However, some complex cases may require that you participate in legal proceedings. Although most cases resolve before trial, there is a possibility that once a lawsuit is filed in your case, it can go to trial. Regardless of when in the legal process a case settles, we strive to keep the client informed of their options during the entire process. If the case needs to be tried, we are prepared to try it.
We cannot predict whether a personal injury case will settle or wind up in front of a jury in a courtroom. Generally, most cases settle out of court because settling reduces risk and is cost-effective for all parties. Whether legal action is ultimately necessary to bring your case to its final disposition is something that is determined after all efforts to settle the case are exhausted. Although the majority of cases are settled, we prepare every case as if it were going to trial. That preparation assists in facilitating a settlement.

Odds & Ends

In many instances, people with more serious injuries do not have insurance coverage or have exhausted their PIP benefits. When that is the situation some medical facilities and physicians are willing to take a “letter of protection”. This is a document that gives the patient the ability to keep treating without paying for the medical bills immediately or at the time of treatment. These letters of protection typically, if accepted by the facility or physician, allow the patient to keep treating and once a recovery is made, the doctor or health care facility is reimbursed. However, it’s always made clear to the client that even with a letter of protection in their medical file, they are ultimately responsible for the medical bills in the event the case does not resolve as expected.

This is the abbreviation for “Maximum Medical Improvement” and simply means that you are as good as you are going to get. This is not to say you are as good as you were before the accident, but that your condition is stabilized and you have a loss. It’s at that point that some doctors assign, and insurance companies’ request, a permanent impairment rating. This is generally done pursuant to AMA guidelines. In Florida, to be compensated for pain and suffering in an auto accident case, it is required that a treating doctor state that a permanent injury exists. Therefore, upon completion of the doctor’s recommended course of treatment, your attorney will specifically request a final report indicating a permanency rating from the doctor.

Premise Liability

First report the accident and get an incident report. Immediately take pictures of the scene and your injury if possible. Then call us and get us involved. Most businesses and homeowners carry liability insurance to protect them in the event that someone is injured while on their property. The owner or possessor of a residence, land or place of business has the duty to exercise reasonable care for the protection of those individuals who are invited to come upon the premises, i.e., individuals visiting for business or pleasure. In such cases, the owner, company or person must inspect the premises to discover and dangerous conditions and warn the invitee of dangers upon said premises. Those injured by a negligent owner or possessor of a premise may recover damages for their injuries, including loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.