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Frequently Asked Questions in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Since 1955, Levin Papantonio Rafferty has earned a reputation as one of the most successful personal injury law firms in the nation, winning more than $4 billion in jury verdicts and settlements.

Our lawyers represent individuals throughout the country who have been harmed by prescription drugs, medical devices, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, and all other types of injury claims.

Below is a list of the questions that clients most often ask.


What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim filed by an individual who has suffered physical injury or death because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another individual, company, or governmental entity. It typically occurs with auto accidents, medical malpractice, workers compensation, prescription drugs, medical devices and defective products.


What Compensation Does the Law Provide in a Personal Injury Case

In a personal injury claim, damages include past and future physical pain and suffering; mental pain and suffering; medical expenses; wage loss; and loss of the ability to earn income.

If you were married at the time of your injury, then your spouse is entitled to loss of consortium damages; which is the loss of services, assistance, aid, and companionship of the injured spouse.

If the personal injury results in death, then a wrongful death claim is filed. The damages in this type of case include medical and funeral expenses; mental pain and suffering for the surviving spouse and minor children; loss of support; and loss of future estate.

If the company or person causing your harm acted in an intentional or reckless manner, you also might be entitled to recover punitive damages.


What Do I Have to Prove to Win a Personal Injury Case

In order to succeed in your personal injury claim, you will need to prove three things: (1) the other side acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentional manner; (2) the other side caused your injury; and (3) the amount of your damages.

In regard to the first thing you need to prove, negligence is the failure of the person at fault to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would have used under the same circumstances.

The second thing you need to prove is causation, which means the other side caused your injury, or substantially contributed to causing your injury. The third thing you need to prove is your damages.

It's our job to gather all the evidence to prove your claim, and then present your best case possible to the insurance company; and if necessary, to a judge and jury.


What is a Bellwether Trial

Bellwether trials are jury trials designed to help determine the value of a large group of similar cases. Bellwether trials are often used in mass tort cases where thousands of people have been injured by the same drug, medical device, or product.

The trial judge will select a few plaintiffs from the thousands of filed cases who best represent the different types of potential liability and causation issues. The purpose is to see how juries perceive the facts of these cases from a liability and damage standpoint so that the attorneys for both sides can better understand the risks and determine fair settlement values.


What Will Levin Papantonio Rafferty Do To Maximize My Claim

Immediately after you retain our services, we will begin taking the following actions in order to prove your claim and damages, and prevent the insurance company and opposing side from minimizing your claim.

  1. We will take photographs and video of the scene where the injury occurred; your injuries; and all objects involved in the incident (such as the motor vehicles involved).
  2. We will collect all government reports on the incident, such as police, fire, and EMS records.
  3. We will question and record statements of witnesses.
  4. We will reconstruct the incident, such as the speed and movement of the vehicles, and each driver's actions and reactions.
  5. We will gather all your medical records and bills, analyze them, and speak with your treating doctors.
  6. We will calculate your loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
  7. We will speak with the insurance companies on your behalf, and negotiate your compensation.
  8. We will retain expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
  9. If we can't settle your case to your satisfaction, then we will file your lawsuit, conduct discovery, and present your case to a judge or jury.


What Does Levin Papantonio Rafferty Charge for its Services

In every type of personal injury case, we represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay us any fees or costs unless you first recover. This is true no matter how much time, effort, and expense we incur on your behalf.

The fee we charge depends upon the amount of money we recover for you, and whether we have to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial.

If we recover for you before the opposing side responds to your lawsuit, our attorneys’ fee will be: 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; and 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million. OR

If we recover for you after the opposing side responds to your lawsuit, our attorneys’ fee will be: 40% of any recovery up to $1 million; 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; and 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million. OR

If the opposing side admits liability at the time of filing a response to your lawsuit, our attorneys’ fee will be: 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; 20% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; and 15% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

As stated above, if you do not recover, you do not owe us any fees or costs.


How Long Do I Have to Bring a Personal Injury Lawsuit

There is no easy answer to this question because it depends on many factors, such as where the injury occurred, the type of injury, and who caused the injury.

As an example, if an auto accident occurs in Florida, the injured person has four years to file a lawsuit for injuries, but only two years if the accident causes death.

If an injury is caused by a Florida governmental entity, there are papers that need to be filed at least six months before the lawsuit is filed, and the maximum time period in which the lawsuit can be filed is three years.

The most important thing is that you immediately seek free legal advice when you become aware of a potential injury caused by the fault of another, even if you decide not to hire a lawyer. It costs you nothing, but provides you much protection.


What Should I Do After an Automobile Accident

First and foremost, if you or anyone else has sustained a personal injury in an auto collision, call 911 to get law enforcement and medical help! Health and safety are of primary importance.

If you or someone with you is capable, try to do the following:

  1. Write down all the details of the other vehicles involved in the accident (for example, make, model, year, license tag number).
  2. Get the other driver's name, contact information (telephone and e-mail), license number, and insurance information, as well as the name and contact information for all passengers.
  3. Write down anything the other driver and passengers say (for example, I'm so sorry; I didn't see you; I was in a hurry).
  4. Get the names and contact information (telephone and emails) for all witnesses to the vehicle accident.
  5. Take photos and video of the accident scene and all vehicles involved (remember, you likely have a cell phone with these capabilities).
  6. Make a list of all your personal injuries. Many times, an injury will not show up until days or weeks later; be sure to write them down as they occur.
  7. Keep a list of all your doctor and hospital visits and all other medical expenses. Write down the dates, the name of the doctor, and the nature of the visit.
  8. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident.
  9. If you receive a call from anyone associated with the other automobile or insurance company, it is best for you not to provide them any statements without first consulting a personal injury lawyer who focuses on auto accident litigation. Remember, auto accident lawyers should not be charging you for a consultation. Take advantage of this, even if you choose not to hire an injury lawyer.
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