Questions on Personal Injury Claims
Why choose Staum & Ostfeld to handle your Personal Injury case?
We only represent individuals and families (NOT INSURANCE COMPANIES) everywhere in Florida. Consequently there are no conflicts of interest that could hurt an injured person's recovery. Evan personally returns calls and e-mails (days, nights and on weekends). In fact, he even provides his personal cell phone number to valued clients! Your case is not simply "handed off" to support staff. Moreover we have nearly 35 years of combined experience in this complicated area of the law. Finally, part of our practice philosophy and as a courtesy to the public, is to offer an initial case evaluation at no cost to the prospective client.
Will your firm handle my Personal Injury case?
This is the question for the "would be" client. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, not every injury case can be legally pursued by Staum & Ostfeld. Generally for the most part, there must be a permanent injury in addition to liability on the part of the responsible party or parties causing the accident. Before we agree to take an injury case, these factors among others, must be considered. Fortunately Staum & Ostfeld offers a free no obligation initial consultation to assess your individual situation.
What is liability?
Liability refers to the responsible party or parties that caused the client's injuries or accident and to what degree that they are at fault. Do note that multiple parties can be deemed to be liable including yourself. In order for you to collect any money damages, the defendants must have at least contributed to a part of the incident.
Types of damages which are recoverable:
Damages are an equivalent to monies paid by the at fault party or parties responsible for the injuries suffered by the client. The types of damages include: pain and suffering, loss of consortium or companionship, past, current and future medical expenses, lost wages (including the time spent going to and from doctor appointments), permanent disfigurement/scarring, property damage, emotional distress, (including anxiety or depression) and the cost of attendant care (hiring someone to help with your personal needs) when you could not perform them as a direct result of your injuries. It is by considering these various case factors that we come up with a rough estimation of the "value" of your file.
How do I get paid for my damages?
Generally, there are three strategies for obtaining money for your personal injuries. They include: the filing of a lawsuit which allows for the possibility of a jury deciding the case's value, resolving the case at mediation for a specified amount of money or reaching a settlement agreement without the need for a trial and or mediation.
In any of the scenarios referenced, rest assured that all of the defendants will have legal counsel to protect their interests. Consequently, it is wise to secure Staum & Ostfeld as soon as possible to insure a "level playing field". In the vast majority of cases the parties will in fact settle. Even after a lawsuit has been filed, settlements often do occur. In seeking full recovery for damages however one should be prepared to go all the way to mediation and trial, if necessary. Of course Evan always consults with his clients to see what is their desired course of action since litigation is often lengthy and quite stressful.
How long will it take to obtain a fair settlement?
The answer is determined by many factors including the nature of the case, severity of injuries, number of responsible parties and amount of available insurance coverage. Every file is therefore unique and presents its own different challenges. During our initial meeting, we should be able to give you a better understanding of the process. Do note that injury cases can vary in length from months to years in some instances. As such, Staum & Ostfeld thoroughly investigates the facts and informs you and or your family every step of the way so an informed decision can be made at the appropriate time.
Will I have to go to court?
It really depends. Suffice it to say that should the insurance company for the defendant(s) agree to pay a reasonable settlement for your injuries based on "our assessment", then the case gets resolved by way of a settlement without litigation. Some personal injury firms however just try to settle your claims quickly and do not want to go to trial. If the insurance company refuses to pay this fair amount, then a law suit may need to be filed. Rest assured that Staum & Ostfeld knows how much you're entitled to and therefore we'll make sure you're fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
What is a premises liability action?
Generally, the term "premises liability" refers to accidents that occur due to negligent maintenance, unsafe or dangerous conditions upon property owned by someone other than the accident victim. Florida's laws generally require landowners, business owners and homeowners to maintain their property in a safe manner that does not cause injury to others.
What is a "Slip&Fall" or "Trip&Fall" accident?
A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" are terms for injuries which occur when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous hazardous condition(s) on someone else's property. It includes falls as a result of water, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, a hidden hazard (such as a gap/crack on a walkway, covered hole, etc.) and or the failure to warn someone of an unknown dangerous condition. If you are on someone else's property and injure yourself as outlined above, traditionally the landowner, homeowner and or business owner may be liable for your injuries.
Suppose the other at fault person's insurance company offers to settle with me?
Ask yourself some of these important questions. Do you know the full extent of your injuries? How long the recovery process will take? Can you determine the amount of future income loss? The amount of money traditionally offered for these types of claims? Probably not. As such, you would be negotiating in the "dark" without any idea of what damages that you may be entitled to recover. Evan would therefore guide you throughout the entire process and make recommendations in your best interests.
Should I talk with the insurance company and or provide a signed release?
No. It is always best to talk with Staum & Ostfeld before considering this approach. The insurance company is out to do one thing and that is to limit the amount of money it pays out on a claim like yours! They are not your "good neighbor", you a not "in good hands", nor are they "on your side". Consequently, you should NEVER sign any releases (medical or otherwise) before consulting with an experienced personal injury attorneys like Staum & Ostfeld .
How do I pay for legal assistance?
Staum & Ostfeld handles all of our cases on a contingency basis. This means that you don't have to pay our firm anything unless and until we win or settle your claim. Our fees and costs will be deducted from your settlement or award. Simply, if there is no recovery, our law firm does not get paid any fees and costs from the client.
What if I am not able to come to your main Coral Spring office?
No problem. In the event your injury prevents you from traveling to our principal location, we have many satellite offices throughout Florida for your convenience. Alternatively, we'll gladly meet with you at a place of your own choosing, including your home or hospital.
What to do in case of a Personal Injury accident:
When injured by someone else's carelessness, it is extremely important that you take all of the necessary steps outlined below to insure that the injury claim can be pursued properly. As such, Staum & Ostfeld will be in a better position to help you obtain the maximum recovery due for all of your damages.
In motor vehicle injury cases, Florida law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to immediately stop at the scene. Secondly, dial 911, contact the police department, a police service aide and or fire rescue/ambulance so the event can be properly documented and medical assistance can be rendered if necessary. Third, try not to block traffic any or more than necessary. Of course, indicate that your vehicle is disabled by raising your trunk and hood while activating your hazard lights. Should you nevertheless be forced to move the cars involved, try to take as many photographs of the scene as possible before hand; using a cell phone camera will of course do nicely.
In Slip&Fall, Trip&Fall, Cruise Lines and or Premises Liability accidents, notify the security department, management and or the owner of the facility as soon as possible! Moreover if you require immediate medical attention, request it from the scene and or dial 911 yourself whenever possible.
The prompt alerting of such personal injury event is extremely important so that a proper accident and or injury report is recorded. If no one however wishes to take down your information, undertake the following steps to create your own form. Make sure that you include the date of the accident, sign it, make two originals, record the name(s) and or title(s) of any persons that you tried to report it to, obtain the owner/management/corporate/franchise information and lastly provide one of the originals to someone at the scene.
It is essential that you carefully take notes, photographs and or make diagrams of the area shortly thereafter the event. This will insure that important details are recorded while they remain fresh in your mind. If you've been injured on a Cruise Ship, please also keep your ticket, trip itinerary, out-of-pocket expenses and any travel insurance policy/claim information if applicable. Your legal rights are actually governed by some of these documents.
You are also encouraged to provide to the at fault/negligent party or parties, police entity, security guard company, establishment/store/premises owner, etc. with the following information if applicable: your name, address, phone number, time, place, location of the accident, witness contact details and or any vehicular insurance information if applicable.
With the exception of providing the above basic information and or as directed by the police.
DO NOT give a recorded or written statement about what happened. Just provide a very BRIEF outline of the incident. Keep your notes, diagrams and or pictures (if any) to yourself. DO NOT admit that you were wrong or careless to any degree. Such comments made in the tension and excitement of the moment MAY NOT even be accurate! Further they could prove to be damaging against your eventual personal injury recovery. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the potential witnesses. Attempt to have them write down or at least state to you what they know, at the scene.
Personal injuries do not always cause initial symptoms. It would therefore be wise to seek immediate medical treatment at a hospital, walk-in clinic and or have your own personal doctor perform at least an initial examination. This will allow him/her to accurately document your injuries and the surrounding facts about the accident. Moreover, if you were injured by a motor vehicle while as a driver / passenger of a another car, operating a bicycle or as a pedestrian, a portion of your medical expenses may be covered by insurance.
Florida has Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) insurance which is known as "No-Fault". It is required by law of all motor vehicle owners. P.I.P. will therefore potentially reimburse expenses up to $10,000; 80% for all reasonable necessary medical expenses and 60% of any lost wages. The remaining 40% of lost wages could later be secured when attempting to resolve the entire case. Some persons also have medical payments coverage or "MED PAY". When an injury claim is filed under P.I.P., the insurance company must send you a "bill of rights"- a state-approved form explaining precisely what benefits you are entitled to and how quickly the company must pay them. The law further provides for interest, penalties, fines and or attorney's fees against your P.I.P. Insurance Company on these benefits if they are not timely paid to you or to your various doctors! Consequently, feel free to contact Staum & Ostfeld for additional details to help insure that your medical providers are paid timely. Why should there be outstanding medical bills left for an accident that you did not even cause?
Please be advised that you may purchase additional policies to cover other potential loses. They may include: GAP insurance (to protect the value of your vehicle versus an outstanding car loan) and most importantly Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage or "U.M." This type of insurance protects you in the event that the at fault party or parties did not carry any liability insurance or simply that their insurance coverage was insufficient to cover the extent of your injuries. If you or someone else under your policy was seriously injured, a claim could therefore be made against your own UM carrier for all damages due you and recognized under Florida law. Moreover, U.M. should seriously be considered when purchasing your auto insurance and may be one of the best "bargains" in the insurance industry. Of course Staum & Ostfeld will be more than happy to review your automobile insurance policy for free in order to make sure that you and your family are protected.
The information disseminated at this website is generalized. It does not constitute legal advice. Moreover, no formal Attorney-Client relationship exists. For questions about your specific legal problem, contact us immediately! The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on an advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.
Copyright © 2013 by The Law Offices of Staum and Ostfeld, P.A. All rights reserved.