Over the years, we have found that most of our clients have the same questions and concerns about pursuing a personal injury case. For the benefit of my readers, we are providing answers to the questions that we are most frequently asked.
Is there a cost for Englander Peebles to determine whether I have a claim?
Absolutely not! Englander Peebles provides 100% free and confidential consultations at its office, over the phone, or at a location convenient for you. During the consultation, we will discuss the facts of your case and make a determination as to whether we are able to assist. Don't hesitate to contact us, even if you think your question is silly. Believe me, we have heard it all!
What should I bring to the initial consultation?
You should bring the following:
(1) A copy of the police report (if available).
(2) Any photographs of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, or your injuries.
(3) Any medical reports (if you sought treatment).
(4) Your Automobile Insurance Card (if you have insurance).
(5) Your Health Insurance Card (if you have insurance).
Where does Englander Peebles handle cases?
Englander Peebles is based out of Fort Lauderdale. We regularly handle cases throughout the state of Florida.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
Those who have been injured in an accident have the legal right to represent themselves. But is that a good idea? Corporations and Insurance companies have adjusters and experienced lawyers protecting their interests. Pursuing an injury claim can be very difficult. Those who are not experienced can make mistakes that can harm or even destroy their cases. Just as you would go to a doctor when you are sick, you should speak with an attorney immediately to protect your legal rights after an accident.
What if I already have an attorney?
I get calls constantly from people who have hired a lawyer only to find that he or she is not happy with the service they are providing. Thankfully, you have the right to fire your current lawyer if you do not believe that he or she is doing a good job on your behalf. In most circumstances, your lawyer will be entitled to a "lien" on your file. What this means is that your current lawyer will be entitled to get paid for the time that he or she spent working on your case as well as get reimbursed for any costs paid on your behalf. Rest assured, if you fire your lawyer and hire another lawyer, you will not be responsible for additional attorneys' fees. Your prior lawyer's attorneys' fee will come out of your new lawyer's fee.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The Statute of Limitations is a law which provides the time in which a lawsuit must be filed. If a lawsuit is not filed within a particular amount of time, you forfeit your rights to recover.
How can I be sure that Englander Peebles knows what it is doing?
Englander Peebles is 'AV' Peer Rated by the prestigious Martindale Hubbell. Its attorneys have tried several jury and non-jury trials. We have assisted hundreds of accident victims.
How do you get paid for your services?
We work exclusively on a contingency basis. We do not get paid unless we make a recovery on your behalf. We front any and all costs on your behalf and only recoup the costs if we are successful in obtaining a recovery. You will never have to pay us anything out of your own pocket.
What if an insurance company makes me an offer to settle my case?
If a insurance company makes you an offer to resolve your case, you should immediately consult with an experienced attorney. Insurance companies are only looking out for the interests of their insureds. An experienced attorney can let you know if the insurance company's offer is reasonable under the circumstances.
What is “litigation?”
The term litigation means that a lawsuit has been filed and that the case has entered the court process.
Will my case have to go into litigation?
The decision to file a lawsuit is entirely up to you. Generally, a lawsuit will need to be filed if the offer made by the insurance company is too low given the extent of your injuries. This can happen under the following circumstances: there is a dispute as to who is at fault for the accident, you have pre-existing injuries, or your file is assigned to an unreasonable adjuster. Litigation gives us the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions that the insurance company may have about your claim.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
It really depends. Englander Peebles strives to settle our client's cases efficiently and effectively. However, there are times when an insurance company may make low-ball or unreasonable offers. When this occurs, we will discuss the reasons given by the insurance company for the low offer, and we will decide the best course of action for you. Many times, this means filing a lawsuit.
Who makes the decision to settle my case?
When the insurance company makes an offer, you will be immediately notified. The decision to settle your case is entirely up to you. We will advise you whether the settlement offer is fair and reasonable given the unique circumstances of your case. You will never be pressured into taking any offer.
Will I need to attend court hearings?
The answer is, generally no. If your case goes into litigation, you will be responsible for attending the following: a deposition, a compulsory medical examination, and mediation. Only if your case goes to trial will you have to attend court. We will attend all necessary court hearings on your behalf.
Will my case go to trial?
Probably not. Most cases settle before going to trial. However, in the event that your case requires a trial, our attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who are able to present your claim to a judge or jury.
What is “negligence?”
Negligence is the failure of an individual to act in a way that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. In any negligence case, the victim must prove the following four elements:
(1) Duty. That the at-fault person had a legal obligation to act in a certain manner.
(2) Breach. That the at-fault person failed to act in accordance with his/her legal duty.
(3) Causation. There are two levels of causation that must be proven. First, is the “but for” test. You need to show that “but for” the at-fault party’s actions, you would not have been injured. Second, is the “foreseeability” test. You need to show that the at-fault party should have foreseen that his/her actions would result in your injury.
(4) Damages. That you were injured by the at-fault person’s breach of duty.
What is my case worth?
The value of your case will depend on the following:
(1) The type of accident.
(2) Your injuries.
(3) The insurance company involved and the policy limits.
(4) Whether you lost any wages or the ability to work.
(5) Pain and suffering.
There is no mathematical formula that is used to determine a value of a case. Rather, all of the circumstances of your case must be evaluated. The attorneys at Englander Peebles uses its experience to provide clients with an idea as to the value of their cases. Many times, however, it may take some time to determine the value as depositions or witness statements might need to occur. Rest assured, we will stay in constant contact with you during your claim.
Can I still recover compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes! Florida is a "comparative fault" state. This means that a victim can, in certain situations, obtain compensation for injuries even if he or she was partially at fault. However, the amount of the compensation will be reduced by the percentage in which the victim was found to be at fault. For example, if a jury awards a victim $100,000 in compensation, but finds the victim to have been 30% at fault, the victim would be awarded $70,000.
What if I have a question that was not listed here?
If you have been in an accident or just have questions about the personal injury process, give us a call at (954) 500-4878. We would be happy to assist!