Personal Injury Claims in Lakeland
There are several types of personal injury cases––and Dismuke Law focuses its practice on handling cases involving injury due to the negligence of others. Whether you’ve been involved in a Lakeland car crash or slip and fall accident, understanding the types of accidents and what to expect from the aftermath can help you regain your feet.
Recovering emotionally, physically, and financially from an accident takes time, and an experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you need to return to your normal life. David C. Dismuke is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and focuses his practice on personal injury cases throughout Central Florida. A Lakeland personal injury lawyer from his team can fight for the compensation you need.
For a free legal consultation with a personal injury lawyer serving Lakeland, call 863-250-5050
Our Lakeland Personal Injury Team Offers Free Case Reviews
If you are ready to find out how Dismuke Law can assist you, please do not hesitate to call our offices. We believe in standing up against large corporations and insurance companies, helping regular people – good people – recover fair compensation for the injuries they have experienced. Our Lakeland personal injury attorneys aren’t afraid to face any opponent in these cases if it is in the best interests of our clients.
Lakeland Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me 863-250-5050
What Constitutes a Personal Injury in Lakeland?
In the United States, injuries fall under tort law, which involves one party (the plaintiff) bringing another party (the defendant) to court over harm caused to their body or mind. The plaintiff and the defendant can partner with lawyers who advocate for their interests.
To recover damages, either through a claim or lawsuit, your attorney must demonstrate that:
The Other Party Had a Duty of Care to Act With Reasonable Caution
To use an example, imagine Steve is driving in Lakeland, and another driver rear-ends him. Assuming Steve had a right to be on the road, the second driver was responsible for driving safely and obeying traffic rules.
The Other Party Failed to Employ Reasonable Care
If the second driver knew Steve was before him yet failed to brake properly, there is a clear breach of duty. The driver should have stopped, kept a safe distance, and practiced defensive driving. However, even if the other driver did not know about Steve being in front of him if he reasonably should have, there may still be a liability on his part. The other driver may still be held liable for negligence.
The Plaintiff Suffered Harm Because of the Other Party
If Steve needed hospitalization as a result of the crash, there might have been a host of social, emotional, and financial problems that followed. This misfortune may lead him to seek a personal injury attorney to pursue the other Lakeland driver in court.
The Plaintiff Has Damages
More often than not, injuries cause a loss of money, which is a necessary component for personal injury suits. More severe injuries tend to lead to higher settlements. Our firm can demonstrate these elements when you entrust us with your case. We gather evidence, interview witnesses, and take other measures to prove these factors.
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How Long Does a Lakeland Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
While there are exceptions to every rule, typically, you can settle your personal injury claim at any time as long as you are willing to accept less money. What is important to consider is the amount of money you may be giving up for a quick settlement. A personal injury case can take anywhere from days to years. The most common factors in determining how long a personal injury case will take are:
Is Liability Clear?
If the defendant denies liability for the accident, it can significantly delay a claim as the insurance company is unlikely to make a reasonable. In these situations, your attorney must often take the depositions of the defendant(s) and any witnesses. It may even become necessary to hire an accident reconstructionist to review the evidence and recreate the accident to determine who was at fault.
Have You Reached Maximum Medical Improvement From Your Injuries?
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a term used by treating physicians to describe how much your body can heal from an injury. As you continue to heal, your medical bills increase, making it impossible for an attorney or insurance representative to determine the full value of your personal injury case until you have reached MMI.
What Are the Insurance Coverage Limits?
Typically, the more insurance coverage available, the longer it takes to get a full-value offer. Insurance companies are unlikely to cut big checks without thoroughly investigating a claim, including taking your deposition, having their retained physician examine you, or even hiring a surveillance team to follow you. Often, insurers delay a settlement to get you to accept less money for a speedy resolution.
How Much Compensation Are You Requesting?
For your attorney to properly begin the negotiation process with the insurance company, they must collect all your medical records and bills from your treating physicians. The information in your medical records (i.e., complaints, diagnoses, and treatment plans) is the most important variable in determining the value of your case. Typically, these documents are obtained from your treating physicians through a written request and are received through U.S. mail. Collecting these records can be timely but is vital to your case.
Once a settlement demand is sent to the insurance company with the relevant medical records and bills, it takes some time for the insurance company to read each document and evaluate the claim. Typically, receiving the first offer from the insurer takes about 20 to 30 days. More often than not, the first offer is a “lowball” offer to dissuade the claimant from moving their case further. This means it becomes necessary to send a counter-demand or file a lawsuit.
Do You Need to File a Lawsuit?
While filing a lawsuit could yield compensation, it can cause a significant delay in the settlement timeline. When a lawsuit is filed, the process server has 120 days to obtain service on the defendant(s), at which point the defendant(s) has an additional 20 days to file an Answer to the lawsuit.
The filing of an Answer begins the discovery portion of a lawsuit, which typically includes an exchange of written questions, the scheduling of depositions, and hiring experts. While negotiations can occur throughout the process, the insurance company does not typically give its best or highest offer until discovery is complete and both parties have gathered all discoverable information.
Considering all of the factors mentioned above, there are no concrete answers for how long a personal injury case will take. If you have questions about your case, our team stands ready to answer them.
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Why You Should Never Speak with an Insurance Adjuster Without a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been the victim in an accident, you must receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages you incurred. One thing that could stand in the way of this is speaking to insurance adjusters without an attorney.
It’s no secret that insurance companies will try to do everything in their power to pay out the least amount possible for your injuries, which is why you want a lawyer who will fight to ensure you receive every dollar you’re entitled to.
Tricks Used by Insurance Adjusters
These are some of the tactics that insurance adjusters use to avoid paying you the full amount you deserve:
Contacting You After Your Accident
Insurance companies will contact you immediately following your accident and try to get you to agree to a settlement. This offer is almost always a mere fraction of the full amount you are entitled to. By trying to get to you early, insurers hope you will accept whatever amount they offer to save yourself the “hassle,” possibly without knowing the full extent of your injuries.
Don’t fall for this. A recent survey found that people whose cases were handled by lawyers received an average payout of $77,600. Those who did not hire legal representation received an average of $17,600. That’s a sixty-thousand-dollar difference! Don’t let an insurance adjuster cheat you out of this money.
Trying to Deter You From Hiring a Lawyer
Insurance adjusters will also try to tell you that the settlement they offer is superior to what you could get with an attorney. They will tell you that the contingency fees you would owe your lawyer would leave you with even less than the amount they offered. This is just not the case. Even after these costs, you could still be much better off than if you had gone through the process without representation. The survey above also found that, even after deducting contingency fees, people who hired attorneys received an average of three times larger payouts than those without representation.
Convincing You to Sign Restricting Documents
Another trick insurance adjusters use is getting you to sign documents that strip you of your rights to negotiate for a higher settlement amount. By signing these documents, you have limited your potential settlement amount to whatever the insurance company is willing to offer. Don’t fall for this. You should never sign anything from an insurance company without reviewing the documents with your attorney.
Asking You to Give a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters sometimes try to record you during a phone call or conversation. They may try to say that calls are recorded for “quality assurance” or something similar. Don’t let them. They will do everything they can to use statements you make against you. Even just one accidentally misspoken detail could be enough to hurt your settlement drastically. If the insurance company tries this, you should say that you won’t make a statement without your attorney present.
This is not to say that insurance is not important. If you drive a vehicle, auto insurance is a must. However, it is something of a necessary evil. Try as they might, insurance companies cannot get away with paying you less than you deserve unless you allow them to. Don’t let them cheat you out of the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Can I Appeal My Personal Injury Judgment in Lakeland?
Losing a personal injury case can be heartbreaking for either party. Whether the lawsuit is over a car accident, wrongful death, premises liability incident, or workplace accident, both sides often feel that they are in the right and deserve a judgment in their favor. Nonetheless, lawsuits almost always end with one party winning the case and the other losing.
However, if you find yourself on the losing end of a personal injury case, you may not be out of options. Depending on the details of your case, you may be entitled to an appeal.
What Is an Appeal?
An appeal is a request for a higher court to review the judgment handed down by a lower court. It is important to know that an appeal is not a second trial of your case.
When reviewing your case, the appellate court looks over the transcript, documents, and evidence from your trial in the lower court to find out whether or not any legal errors occurred. If any legal errors in the initial lawsuit are discovered, the appellate court then determines if those errors hurt the outcome of your case.
How Do I Know if My Case’s Decision Can Be Appealed?
Dissatisfaction with the judgment you received is not enough to constitute an appeal. For you to appeal the initial verdict, there must have been legal errors in the proceedings of your case that were detrimental to its outcome.
Errors that would constitute an appeal include:
- Prejudicial errors
- Mistakes made by the judge regarding the law
- Incorrect jury instructions
- Misconduct/errors committed by lawyers or the jury
- No substantial evidence
You can ask the appellate court to look into whether or not there is substantial evidence to support the lower court’s decision.
We’re Proud of the Results We’ve Achieved for Injured Claimants in Florida
During your case’s progression, you want to breathe easy knowing you have an experienced lawyer. With Dismuke Law, you can do more than put your worries aside; you can feel confident about your case’s outcome.
We’ve won countless cases, from car accident claims to wrongful death lawsuits. Some of our previous case results include the following:
- Our client suffered a parent’s worst nightmare: the death of a young child. At first, the liable insurance company didn’t offer a dime. By filing a lawsuit, however, we secured $16.5 million.
- Attorney Dave C. Dismuke wouldn’t accept an insurance company’s $25,000 offer after a drunk driver hurt his client. The at-fault driver was compelled to pay $10 million in damages through a consent judgment to which all parties agreed.
- The police didn’t press criminal charges when an intoxicated driver killed our client’s loved one in a fatal crash. That did not stop us from pursuing financial justice. A jury awarded our client $7.25 million for their losses.
These are just some of the outcomes we’ve achieved for people in situations like yours.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Lakeland, FL
When considering appealing a personal injury judgment, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney who can review your case and determine a course of action.
If you have received a personal injury judgment that you believe was negatively affected by legal errors or have any further questions, call us.
Call or text 863-250-5050 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form