If you have suffered a serious personal injury, you’ve probably got dozens of questions about your rights and how you go about recovering the compensation you deserve. Our injury attorneys at Vassallo, Bilotta & Davis are eager to assist you, as we have so many clients since 1976. To get you started, we offer answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about personal injury claims:
Your personal injury case deserves experienced and determined representation. Please call Vassallo, Bilotta & Davis at 561-471-2800 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients throughout South Florida from our offices in West Palm Beach and Stuart.
In personal injury cases, the term “damages” refers to both economic and noneconomic losses the injured victim has sustained. Economic losses include your medical bills, lost income, property damage, and other costs related to your injuries. You can even ask for compensation for future economic losses if your condition will need ongoing or recurring treatment, if you will continue to miss work, if your injury will force you to earn less in the future at another occupation, and if you will continue to have additional expenses related to your injury. Your noneconomic damages represent real but intangible losses, such as your physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
One of the most important tasks of a personal injury attorney is to calculate the damages to ask for. We look at your current economic losses and ask financial experts to project your future losses based on your medical prognosis. Your noneconomic losses are not as easy to put a dollar amount to. Here, we rely primarily on our knowledge of what juries have awarded for similar injuries and what previous cases have settled for. Since the terms of many settlements are confidential, an attorney’s best information is often personal experience with his or her own cases. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced attorney, who can give you a reliable estimate. But it’s also important to remember that an estimate is not a guarantee — countless facts can make a difference to your case, because no two cases are ever exactly alike.
Comparative negligence is the legal theory of recovery that applies in cases where an injured plaintiff bears some of the responsibility for having caused the accident. Florida uses a system of pure comparative negligence, which allows at-fault plaintiffs to recover damages from defendants as long as they are less to blame for causing the accident than the defendant. However, the amount an at-fault plaintiff can recover is reduced in proportion to their share of the fault. For example, if total damages are $80,000, but the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent at fault, the defendant is only liable for 75 percent of the total, so the plaintiff can recover only $60,000.
Personal injury cases can take anywhere from a few months to several years to resolve. Factors that influence the duration of a case include the strength of the evidence proving liability, the severity of the injuries, and the willingness of the insurance company to be reasonable.
Under most circumstances an employee’s only remedy for a workplace injury is workers’ compensation. However, if someone with whom you do not have an employer-employee or coworker relationship caused your accident, you may be able to sue for negligence and recover full personal injury damages. A knowledgeable lawyer at our firm can investigate the circumstances of your injury and evaluate your case for free.
There is no upfront cost in a personal injury case. Our firm does not charge for consultations and initial case evaluations, so you can come in and talk to us at no risk. If you retain our services, we finance the case, which means we do not charge legal fees throughout the process. Instead, we work on a contingency basis, which allows us to recover our expenses and a percentage of the damage award after the case settles or we win at trial. If we do not win your case, you owe us nothing.