What Are Some Of The Most Common Types Of Personal Injury Cases That Your Firm Handles?
We most commonly handle car crash personal injury cases. It should be noted that I intentionally used the word ‘crash’ as opposed to ‘accident,’ because in most cases, car crashes aren’t accidental. A person who violates an important safety rule, such as by speeding, following too closely, or driving recklessly is not making a mistake, but intentionally engaging in a particular behavior. This is not to say that the person intended to hurt another person, but it is a crash, not an accident.
We also handle a lot of trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall cases. Often, these involve sidewalk defects. For example, the height differential between two slabs of sidewalk might be great enough to cause someone to trip, fall, and sustain an injury. Of course, we handle traditional slip-and-fall cases involving people who slipped on a slippery substance or tripped over a misplaced item in a grocery store.
We handle product liability cases, workplace injury cases, retaliation cases, negligent security cases, dog bite cases, and pretty much every other type of general negligence case wherein a person or corporation needlessly endangered the public or an individual.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents harm individuals to the point that they ultimately die. In these wrongful death cases, we handle everything from setting up the estate to trying the case to verdict.
What Are Some Of The Biggest Misconceptions People Have When It Comes To Personal Injury Cases?
A very common misconception is that the insurance company is going to do the right thing and pay a fair value. I have to educate my clients and help them understand that insurance companies don’t care about them as a human being. The insurance industry is a profit-driven billion-dollar industry. The moral aspect of a case rarely comes into play when dealing with insurance companies. They’re going to suggest that plaintiffs are liars, thieves, and cheats—that they are faking injuries just to get money. We call that jackpot justice, which is a direct result of tort reform.
People hear the term “personal injury lawyer” and think ambulance chaser. They think personal injury lawyers are just “greedy bastards” who only care about the money. Why do people have this perception? It is because as a society, we’ve been conditioned by corporations and insurance companies to believe that every single case is just a jackpot justice case, and that’s a big misconception.
Another common misconception is that the case will settle, which is very dangerous thinking for personal injury trial lawyers. While it may be true that most of our cases do settle, and while we might hope that they settle for a fair amount, we always have to be prepared and willing to go to trial, if need be. Lawyers who fear the risk of trial often spread that fear to their clients, and I’ve seen this happen many times.
Much of this fear results from poor preparation and the assumption that a case will settle. When an attorney fails to prepare a case for trial well in advance of it actually going to trial, they’ll almost definitely get their butt kicked. An attorney who prepares from day one as though the case is going to trial is going to have a huge advantage over the defense, because defense attorneys have hundreds of files, whereas a plaintiff’s lawyer can focus intensely on just one particular person.
By preparing to go to trial from day one, an attorney increases the likelihood of a good settlement. I always remind clients that the very top personal injury lawyers in the world regularly lose cases. Trial practice is really hard work, but real trial lawyers are willing to try the tough cases to verdict.
It is common for people to think that if they know someone who had a similar case and received a certain amount of money, then they too should receive that amount of money. This is another opportunity for me to inform and educate my clients. It is important for people to understand that every case is different, just like fingerprints and snowflakes. Every courtroom, jurisdiction, judge, and jury is different. All too often, people lump things together and assume that every case is the same. While there are general similarities among cases, every case is different, and there are no shortcuts.
Yet another misconception is that jurors understand and know how to evaluate injuries. One of the biggest challenges we face as trial lawyers is educating jurors on how much value to place on something that can’t be seen, like pain and suffering, or the loss of enjoyment of life suffered by a plaintiff who can no longer play baseball with their son. How can mental anguish be measured?
Jury instructions in Florida don’t provide much help. In fact, they say that there is no exact standard, which doesn’t help plaintiffs’ lawyers. When educating jurors on the evaluation of damages, we are really educating them on the fair market value of exchange. Kelley Blue Book is just one of many fair market value publications that deal with motor vehicles and the value of particular vehicles. In a similar way, this is what we are trying to do when it comes to valuing injuries.
I often use a metaphor that goes like this:
Imagine just before a crash, a guy in a limousine comes out, and he is holding a briefcase that contains a certain amount of cash. He knocks on your door just before the crash and says, “You can have whatever money is in this briefcase, but first you have to undergo a herniated disc to your spine that’ll never go away. You have to go through months of therapy, injections, the uncertainty of a dangerous surgery, and being called a liar by the defense.” The question then becomes, “How much money would it cost to have to go through all of those things?” The amount will be higher for some than others, but in general, this metaphor helps people understand their job as an evaluator of harms and losses.
To recap, the three primary misconceptions are that (1) cases settle easily, without too much work; (2) the insurance company is going to be fair and honest; and (3) if someone else received a certain amount of money from their personal injury case, then the same or a similar amount of money can be expected in another personal injury case.
For more information on Personal Injury In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 546-7608 today.