Thursday, July 18, 2019

Why You Shouldn’t Represent Yourself In Your Accident Claim

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Don’t Attempt Handling an Injury Claim Alone

In the aftermath of an accident regardless of whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall, or even a medical error, people will often have to contend with a number of damages that are caused by their accident injuries. These injuries can range from life-threatening to permanent disability. In many cases, these injuries are the result of accidents directly caused by the negligence of a liable party. These liable parties could consist of drunk drivers, part manufacturers, the owners of a business, etc. and they may all owe you compensation. People that have to deal with the fallout of accident injuries may elect to file a personal injury claim in order to seek the compensation they need to cope with damages but sometimes people make the mistake of thinking they can take on a claim all on their own. 

St. Petersburg Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims are no simple process. Every single personal injury claim is different in its own way with its own sets of damages, plaintiffs, liable parties, etc. that need to be taken into account before demanding compensation for damages. Handling a claim on your own often proves to be a bigger undertaking than many people anticipate and they end up making mistakes that end up hurting their claim and the size of the settlement they could have possibly gotten. 
Consider Dolman Law Group as your legal representation in this difficult time. Our lawyers have the experience you need to ensure that your case stands the best chance possible at getting the settlement that you need to cover things like medical bills and lost wages. Dolman Law Group offers a free consultation to those wanting to know what legal options may be available to them after an accident. To schedule your free consultation with Dolman Law Group today contact us online or call our St. Petersburg office at (727) 222-6922.

Reasons Why You Handling a Claim Alone is a Bad Idea

You Don’t Know How to Calculate Damages

When it comes to personal injury claims, the core motive is to seek compensation. In order to do this, a plaintiff needs to be prepared to outline what exactly needs to be compensated and exactly how much. Not only do they have to do this but they also have to back up these claimed damages with proof that they were calculated fairly and thoroughly. Many people think that they can simply write down a number that they think will cover the damages they suffered and that is adequate enough for those that will have to end up paying the settlement. 
Calculating the damages of a personal injury claim is much more complicated than this and is a lot of work in itself. Many people that try to handle their claims on their own even end up missing out on damages that they didn’t even know applied to them. An experienced personal injury attorney knows exactly what to look for and what kind of damages you may be eligible to receive compensation for. They can also calculate your damages with the array or resources at their disposal. Sometimes the calculation of damages may require the assistance of an expert economist or there may be a legal precedent set forth when it comes to a certain type of damage. Overall, it is best to consult with an attorney on matters such as these. 

Negotiating a Settlement Takes Experience

One aspect of a claim that will often catch those handling them alone unaware is the negotiation. Most personal injury cases end up settling out of court since a trial can make the process especially tedious not to mention costly. However, this can work for both sides of the negotiating table. When those representing the insurance company see that you are handling your claim on your own they know that they may have the opportunity to try all kinds of underhanded tactics that can diminish the value of your claim. Negotiating with these people takes experience since matters such as the average value of a type of case, typical insurance policies in regard to settlements, and the likelihood of a case winning should it go to trial play an important role in determining a fair settlement. 

You Don’t Know What Evidence You Need to Prove Your Case

In order to prove that a liable party was negligent and caused the accident that injured you, strong evidence is required. This evidence can run the gamut from witness testimony to video footage of an accident occurring. Depending on the accident, different evidence may be needed to help support a claim and may or may not be available. Experienced lawyers will know exactly what to look for depending on a case and how to go about securing that evidence. Many people that try to handle claims on their own may know that there is a piece of evidence that can help them but can run into walls when it comes to obtaining it. They may also not be aware that there are certain techniques such as accident reconstruction that are possible and can help strengthen a claim. 

Seek an Experienced St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered an injury because of an accident, do not try to handle your claim on your own! Working with a lawyer can help increase the amount of your claim, ease your stress, and make it easier for you to handle many of the challenges that come your way as you recover from the accident. 
Dolman Law Group has been representing injured accident victims successfully for years. Our lawyers have the skill, experience, and resources to help ensure your claim has the best chance possible at getting you the compensation that you not only need but deserve as well. Regardless of the path a case takes, we will always aggressively pursue the best possible outcome. Call the Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg at (727) 222-6922 or fill out an online contact form for a free consultation to learn your rights when seeking compensation through a personal injury claim.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Why Was My Injury Claim Denied?

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Reasons Insurance Companies Use to Deny Claims

It is a story that personal injury attorneys hear all too often. A person is involved in an accident of some kind and suffers a severe injury that causes them significant damages. In an attempt to get compensation for these damages, the injured accident victim files a claim with the insurance company only to be outright denied. If you have experienced this, you are absolutely not alone. Insurance companies regularly deny claims and will continue to do so whenever given the opportunity. They will typically do this for a couple of common reasons that plaintiffs should make sure to be aware of if they want to ensure their claim stands as good a chance as possible at recovering them compensation for their injuries.

Consider Dolman Law as Your Personal Injury Attorney

Those that have suffered significant injuries have the right to seek compensation for the damages that they suffered by filing a personal injury claim in the event that the party responsible for the accident caused it with their negligence. Personal injury claims can often prove to be quite complex requiring investigation into the accident, extensive negotiation with the insurance company, and knowledge of the legal process. Insurance companies know the average person may have trouble with some of these things and capitalize on the situation by sometimes outright denying a claim.
Consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney such as Dolman Law Group. Our lawyers can assist you with your case and send a message to the insurance company that you mean business all while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Don’t let something like a denied claim get in the way of your pursuit of compensation. Dolman Law Group provides free consultations to people in these exact situations. To schedule your free consultation with a Dolman Law Group attorney you can contact our office by filling out an online contact form or calling us at (727) 222-6922.

Insurance Companies and the Bottom Line

One of the most important things to remember when dealing with an insurance company is that their primary objective is not to help you but to make money. If they can do both then they don’t mind but when it comes down to it, Insurance companies are for-profit entities that exist to make money for their shareholders. To do this they employ a variety of resources such as extensive access to many records databases, insurance adjusters, and some tricky language in their policies to ensure they don’t have to pay out any more money than they need to. Whenever an insurance company has an opportunity to not pay money out to someone making a claim they will take it since that means more money in their pocket and higher profits. As many people, unfortunately, find out, this bottom line means that the insurance company can and will deny your claim by exploiting any stipulation in a policy possible. The more common things that an insurance company will use to deny someone’s claim include:

Prior Injuries or Surgeries

In the aftermath of an accident, an insurance company may try to get in contact with you so that they can obtain your authorization to look through your medical records. It is imperative that you do not sign away the privacy of your medical history without talking to a personal injury attorney because insurance companies may try to full unhindered access to your medical history. They will try to do this so that they can find any injuries or surgeries in your past that they can possibly blame as the reason you suffered an injury rather than the accident your claim is about. If the insurance company manages to do this then they might be able to deny your claim and any right you may have to compensation.

Lapses in Time Between Injury and Treatment

If you have suffered an injury because you were involved in an accident of some kind then you should make sure that you seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Not only is this important for your personal health but the longer you wait to seek medical treatment for accident injuries, the more likely an insurance company may deny your claim. When you wait to seek medical assistance after suffering an injury, the insurance company will find out and they will try to make the argument that your injuries may have been caused by another accident that occurred in the intervening time between accident and treatment. It also makes your claim seem much less credible since severe injuries require immediate treatment. The insurance company may reason that since you didn’t seek immediate treatment, then your injuries must not have been that severe.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If an insurance company is able to find out that you have some kind of pre-existing health condition, then they may try to argue that your injuries were caused by a complication of that condition rather than the accident. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition that affects your back, an insurance company would try to argue your back injury was caused by an exacerbation of that condition instead of the accident you were involved in.

Seek an Experienced St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney

An insurance company might deny your injury claim for many reasons. The issues that surround this denial of your claim can often prove to be too complicated to handle on your own. At Dolman Law Group, we have the experience to address your claim problems and resolve your case.
Our attorneys have used our firm’s resources to construct winning strategies. We have worked diligently to overcome insurance company denials and recover damages for our injured clients. We welcome the opportunity to determine if we can help you.
Regardless of the path a case takes, we will always aggressively pursue the best possible outcome. Call the Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg at (727) 222-6922 or fill out an online contact form for a free consultation to learn your rights when seeking compensation through a personal injury claim.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Child Birth Injuries Suffered During Delivery

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Child Delivery Mistakes and the Injuries They Cause to Babies

The miracle of childbirth is a natural phenomenon that signals the beginning of a family for many people across the planet. It is a sensitive, exciting, and sometimes stressful time where a lot of preparation is undertaken in anticipation of the big day. The delivery of a child is no easy thing and requires expert assistance in order to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. Medical professionals specializing in child delivery can often prove instrumental in ensuring that a child’s birth is handled correctly so that any complication or curveballs can be addressed properly. However, there are many instances where the opposite occurs and medical professionals end up causing an injury either to the baby that they are delivering or to the mother.

Birth Injury Medical Malpractice

Injury to a child during delivery can be extremely dangerous. Anything that happens to a child in such an early and delicate stage comes with a risk of severe complication that can alter the course of their life. Doctors have a duty to their patients to take every precaution necessary to minimize the risks of something happening to a child during delivery. Yet, many medical professionals and other liable parties exhibit negligence that results in injury to a child or mother during birth. The parents or legal guardians of a newborn child that has suffered an injury during delivery because of the negligence of a liable party have the right to seek compensation for the damages caused by such an injury by filing a medical malpractice claim.
In order to sue a doctor that caused a birth injury to their child, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the physician whose care they were under was negligent and violated the standard of care expected of them. The standard of care is the expected level of professional and reasonable medical care provided by a physician as determined by comparison to that physician’s colleagues in the same field of medicine. Medical malpractice cases can take a lot. The proper legal procedure must be followed, the evidence must be gathered to build a case, negotiations must take place, and much more all while a plaintiff is usually recovering and trying to get their affairs in order. Consider hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney such as Dolman Law that can provide expert legal advice and resources to help secure you the compensation that you and your child need and deserve. To schedule a free consultation on your case contact Dolman Law Group online or call us at (727) 222-6922.

Common Birth Injuries Suffered During Delivery

Birth Fractures

During birth, a baby is very physically fragile and vulnerable to suffering fractures to their tiny developing bones. The most commonly fractured bones of newborns are the clavicle and collarbone. Sometimes these fractures are unavoidable but in some cases, doctors should have been able to tell that a c-section was called for to avoid serious fractures.

Erb’s Palsy

Also called brachial plexus birth palsy, Erb’s palsy is a nerve-related injury that occurs when a baby’s neck or shoulder is stretched too far during the delivery process. The stretching damages a cluster of nerves in the baby’s neck which can cause numbness, weakness, and loss of motion in the baby’s arms. In some cases, the baby will recover movement of their arms and feeling given enough time but there is a risk that they will require surgery or physical therapy if no progress is shown towards recovery on their own.

Caput Succedaneum

In some deliveries, a baby may end up with swelling of the scalp caused by the pressure of a prolonged head-first birth or vacuum extraction procedure. This is called caput succedaneum and its characteristic swelling is often accompanied by bruising.    

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

During delivery, small blood vessels in the baby’s eye may rupture due to a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The baby will have a small red patch on the white of the eye and is caused by different pressures placed on the baby’s body during delivery. Normally the child’s eyes will not sustain any permanent damage but there is a risk that complications may occur.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, is the brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, also commonly known as intrapartum asphyxia. As a result of this lack of oxygen to the brain, brain cells will begin to die off and the brain will suffer damage. Babies that suffer Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can exhibit developmental problems, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and can even die should their condition not be addressed promptly by a physician.


A Cephalohematoma is a type of birth injury that can occur because of vacuum extraction used during the delivery process. Cephalohematoma occurs when blood collects between the baby’s skin and the cranial bone. This condition can be a precursor to jaundice but often goes away on its own after a few weeks or months.

Call Dolman Law Group if Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury During Delivery

If you or a loved one have had a child and know or suspect that the baby or mother was harmed during or before labor and delivery, you can contact a reputable and experienced birth injury lawyer to assist you with your case. It is possible that your doctor or other healthcare providers acted negligently.
At Dolman Law Group, we take the time that is needed to hear our clients’ stories and, if appropriate, seek compensation for their losses. We are proud to offer compassionate help to our clients during an extremely difficult time.
If you have experienced a child delivery that caused injury to you or your infant, contact Dolman Law Group’s St. Petersburg office online or by phone at (727) 222-6922 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts and circumstances of your preterm delivery.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Monday, May 13, 2019

Types of Florida Product Liability Claims

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Different Product Liability Claim Characteristics

As consumers, we are allowed a certain duty of care when it comes to the products that we purchase and use in our everyday lives. Everything from the car you drive to the food you eat can potentially cause injuries in the event that they have some kind of defect. People can suffer severe injuries as a result of the negligence of several possible parties that failed to provide safe products. It is because of this that there are what are called product liability claims to hold those responsible for these injuries accountable for their actions.

St. Petersburg Product Liability Claims

These different types of product liability claims all have the potential to secure compensation for significant damages suffered by consumers in the form large medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and disability. A product liability claim holds those responsible for the dangerous products provided to consumers by proving their negligence and negotiating an appropriate settlement based on the level of damages that a plaintiff has suffered. When considering filing a product liability claim after suffering an injury because of a defective product, contact an experienced product liability attorney. Not just any kind of attorney, specifically an attorney that specializes in handling product liability claims. They can assist you in determining exactly who is liable for your injuries, determining the value of your claim, investigating the nature of a product’s defects, and negotiating with insurance to secure you a settlement you can be comfortable with. Matthew Dolman and the attorneys of Dolman Law Group can give your product liability claim the best chance possible of success. For a free consultation on your claim contact Dolman Law Group online or call us at (727) 222-6922.

Manufacturing Defect Product Liability Claims

The most common cause of product liability claims and a common cause of consumer injuries is manufacturing defects. A manufacturing defect product liability claim deals with when a product that would otherwise be perfectly fine design wise has a defect as a result of something that went wrong during the manufacturing process. For example, a child could be injured by choking on a small part from a toy that was improperly assembled in the factory. The product was defective because there was an issue with its assembly or manufacturing and not with its design that would have been totally safe had the manufacturing issue not occurred.
Since the manufacturing process caused an injury then the liability would fall on the manufacturer but could also lie with the general maker of the product itself. It all depends on the product since many companies like car companies manufacture their products as well as design and market them while other companies may design a product but the manufacturing is done by a totally different company. Regardless, if a manufacturing issue results in a product that is harmful to a consumer, then the manufacturer is liable since it was their negligence that caused the injury.

Design Defect Product Liability Claims

Some products make it onto shelves and are sold for quite some time until someone is harmed by some manner of a design defect. One of the most infamous examples of a product with a faulty design that injured many people is the Ford Pinto. Its defective design leads to an issue where if it was rear-ended, there was an enormous risk that the gas tank at the rear of the car would explode to destructive effect. Product designers have a duty to consumers to ensure that their product does not pose a danger to them when used as intended.
If someone is injured by a product that’s design created an unnecessary risk of danger when the product was used as intended, then that injured consumer could potentially seek compensation for their injuries with a product liability claim. That plaintiff of a product liability claim would have to demonstrate that the product was within their possession and distributed by the liable party that the claim has been filed against. In addition, they would have to show that it was the product’s design that created an unnecessary risk of danger when the product is used as intended. A defendant in these claims will attempt to make counter claims that a plaintiff perhaps had used the product incorrectly or that the product was damaged or altered in some way by the plaintiff so that it created a risk rather than its inherent design.  

Improper Labeling or Warning Product Liability Claims

Warning and caution labels are something everyone has become so accustomed to seeing on a wide range of products and we sometimes might take for granted how important they really are. Many companies make a point of covering all their bases when it comes to ensuring that consumers are adequately informed of all the potential danger’s their products may pose. This is because a consumer may occasionally be injured by a product because there was no warning label to alert them of some manner of danger that could lead to injury. Consumers injured by products that lack adequate warning or caution labels to inform them of dangers the product may pose to their health have a right to seek compensation for their injuries through a product liability claim. For example, flammable substances are especially dangerous and should always have the proper labeling to let consumers know they shouldn’t store the product in hot areas, under pressurize, or near sparks or flames.

Seek an Experienced St. Petersburg Product Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured by a product that failed when it was used as intended, contact the seasoned and dedicated product liability legal team of Dolman Law Group today. We are available online or by phone at (727) 222-6922. We offer free consultations to discuss your product liability situation, and in appropriate cases may agree to represent clients on a contingency fee basis in which we collect our legal fees only if we recover a settlement or judgment for our client. When products fail and harm consumers, Dolman Law Group is ready to help.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712


Monday, April 29, 2019

Can I Handle My Uber Car Accident Claim On My Own? No.

You called for an Uber ride, trusting it would provide safe transportation to your destination. Unfortunately, during your ride, your Uber got into an accident, and now you’ve been burdened with injuries and costs you never expected. You need money to help you recover, but you don’t know the best way to obtain it from Uber, insurance companies, or other parties who have legal liability.

Some Uber accident victims wonder, “Can I handle my car accident claim on my own?” They think handling a claim on their own might be quicker and cheaper than seeking the help of a lawyer. We understand why they feel that way, but the fact is, trying to handle a car accident claim on your own is almost guaranteed to be a costly mistake for most people, especially after an accident involving an Uber ride.

Working with a lawyer experienced in pursuing claims against ride-sharing companies, their insurance companies, and other parties, is the best way to ensure you recover the maximum compensation due to you under the law.

Working With a Lawyer Helps Figure out How Much Money You Deserve

Most insurance companies have a formula for determining how much money to offer car accident victims as a settlement. The formula takes into account factors such as the type and severity of the injuries involved and the victims’ age, family situation, and employment status. They also calculate the probability of a victim winning a claim in court, and estimate how badly a victim needs money right now. Then, insurance companies offer the lowest settlement they think they need to offer to make a claim “go away.”

Personal injury lawyers, like insurance companies, have years of experience estimating the amount of damages caused by a car accident claim. Unlike insurance companies, however, these attorneys don’t look for ways to make a claim “go away.” Instead, they look for all of the ways a car accident has harmed a victim and place realistic estimates on how much money victims need to recover. A lawyer will consider, for instance:

Payment for medical expenses. Medical costs pile up quickly after an accident involving severe injuries. Even when a car accident victim has insurance to cover the cost of emergency care, a bad car accident can inflict medical costs that exceed insurance policy limits, especially when victims need surgical care, long hospitalizations, expensive medications, and medical equipment, or when an accident causes disabilities that will require a lifetime of care and treatment.

Compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can account for a large portion of the damages accident victims deserve to recover. Working with a lawyer can help you establish how to put a dollar value on your pain and suffering by analyzing:

  • The limitations your injuries have caused on your daily life.
  • The embarrassment caused by your injuries, such as the inconvenience of life in a wheelchair or errors made after a traumatic brain injury.
  • Your lack of enjoyment for activities that would have previously given you joy.
  • Lost wages. After a serious injury in an Uber accident, you may miss a lot of time at work. Initially, you may miss work due to hospitalization, surgeries, or rehabilitation. In some cases, your doctor may not clear you to return to work immediately. That lost time at work represents a devastating loss of income at a time when bills add up quickly. Working with a lawyer can help you assess how many hours you have lost at work.
  • Lost income potential. Ideally, you would like to return to your job after your accident. Unfortunately, some injuries prevent you from returning to work altogether, or if you can return, you have a diminished capacity to do your job. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury during your accident, for example, you may struggle to return to normal daily activities. An attorney can help you measure the impact of your injuries on your future earning potential.

In summary, working with an attorney helps you assess your financial damages as a result of the accident: not just the physical items you lost but, more importantly, the present and future value of all of the costs an injury has inflicted on your life.

Working With an Attorney Eases Your Stress

It’s stressful dealing with injuries caused by an Uber accident! All of a sudden, your already-busy life has to accommodate unplanned doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, financial complications, and physical pain. Trying to handle your claim on your own don’t do anything but add to that stress. Working with a lawyer, in contrast, can help ease your stress in at least two critically important ways:

  • A lawyer will take over negotiations with the insurance company. Instead of dealing with negotiations yourself, you can put those negotiations in experienced, professional hands. You will not have to worry about making yourself available to take a call at any moment, nor will you have to stress about saying exactly the right thing. Instead, you can leave that to a lawyer who has negotiated on behalf of many clients in the past and will bring that experience to your negotiation.
  • A lawyer will relieve you of uncertainty about how much your claim is “worth.” Are you worried you won’t get enough for your Uber accident claim? Do you lose sleep over the thought that the amount an insurance company offers will not be enough to pay the bills you’ve already accumulated (let alone the ones you know you’ll face in the future)? 

Lawyers can ease these stressors by giving you the best possible shot at recovering the maximum compensation available under the law, by:

  • Showing the insurance company you mean business. Many times, simply bringing a lawyer to the table can increase the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate.
  • Identifying every potential source of payment of damages, from insurance policies to liable parties.
  • Helping you explain difficult concepts and navigate legal complexity.

When you work with an attorney, you do not have to go through the legal process alone. That alone can take significant stress off of your shoulders and make it easier for you to move forward with your life following your injuries.

An Attorney Provides Valuable Legal Advice

When you hire an attorney to help you pursue an Uber accident claim, you get a professional with years of schooling and experience with the legal system, who has a duty to represent your best interests above all others. The attorney-client relationship is a special one protected by detailed rules and centuries of tradition. An experienced car accident attorney gives advice and counsel on topics you may not even have thought of, but which could have a material impact on the value of your case, such as:

Information about what you can post on social media. Your claim could hinge on the details you post on social media, from pictures of you enjoying your favorite activities to information about the accident or your claim. By working with an attorney, you will decrease the odds that your social media posts will come back to bite you when you least expect it.

Advice about the claim amount you should expect—and when you should settle. Sometimes, the insurance company will provide a settlement offer significantly lower than the funds you think you should receive. A lawyer will provide valuable advice about what you should really expect from your claim—and when to take the offer.

Information about when to expect your claim process to resolve. Working with a lawyer may streamline the process, helping you get the funds you need in your hands faster. While your lawyer cannot predict exactly how long it will take to get the money from your claim, a lawyer can help give you a better idea of what to expect. This can make it easier for you to plan your life moving forward after your accident, from deciding how to handle a return to work to deciding how to juggle your finances during this very difficult time.

Advice about how and when to talk to the insurance company. Are you required to give a statement to the insurance company? Should you give a statement to the insurance company, even if you do not have to? Working with a lawyer can help answer these critical questions. If you do decide to talk with the insurance company, a lawyer can help you determine what you should say to help maximize your claim amount and prevent saying anything that could decrease the amount of your claim.

Uber Claims Present Unique Challenges

In general, you should consider consulting with a lawyer any time you suffered injuries in an accident. Victims of Uber accidents, however, may need to consider unique challenges as they prepare their claims.

Who bears responsibility for paying for the accident? In general, Uber drivers must carry special car insurance that allows them to operate their vehicle as a service, rather than driving it for personal use alone. Depending on the insurance they carry, drivers may have different policies for the hours when they drive passengers versus the time they spend driving to pick up a passenger or waiting for a fare. Uber may also offer coverage for its drivers when they actively drive passengers. You may need to ask several questions to determine who must pay for the accident.

Did the Uber driver carry appropriate coverage? Had that coverage been allowed to lapse?

Were you a passenger in the Uber vehicle at the time of the accident, or were you a driver or passenger in another vehicle?

Did your Uber driver cause the accident?

Did extenuating circumstances contribute to the accident? In some cases, the Uber driver may not bear full responsibility for the accident. If other factors contributed to the accident—another driver’s actions, geographic problems, or conditions specific to your accident, for example—someone else may bear partial liability in the accident. Working with an attorney can help you better identify exactly who bears responsibility for paying for your injuries and give you the tools you need to go after the right parties, rather than trying to place full responsibility on the Uber driver regardless of circumstance.

Was a specific driver known to have a high accident history? Uber demands certain standards from its drivers. Drivers must have a reasonably clean record, without excessive accidents. They cannot have a history of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nor can they have many traffic tickets. Unfortunately, sometimes, Uber drivers may continue driving in spite of a high accident rate or other problems with their driving. If you discover that Uber knew about the problem and took no action to remove the driver from the road, Uber may bear a higher level of responsibility for the accident.

Did you help contribute to the accident? Most of the time, passengers in a vehicle bear no liability for the accident. In some cases, however, passengers in Uber vehicles may offer unique distractions. If, for example, you summoned an Uber vehicle because of inebriation and you became sick during the drive, or if you caused an excessive distraction while the driver was on the road, you may still bear partial liability for your own accident. Even if you did not do anything to cause the accident, the insurance company may attempt to prove that you contributed—and working with a lawyer can help you protect yourself.

Get the Legal Help You Need After an Uber Accident

If you suffered an injury during an Uber ride, do not try to handle your claim on your own! Working with a lawyer can help increase the amount of your claim, ease your stress, and make it easier for you to handle many of the challenges that come your way as you recover from the accident. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at (727) 222-6922. Our experienced team of attorneys cannot guarantee results, but we will work with our clients to help ensure that they get the best possible outcome after a car accident. Schedule your free consultation now to learn more about the help we can provide, how we can work with you, and what your rights look like after an Uber accident.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Understanding Your Car Insurance: What’s Covered and What’s Not

Most drivers understand that car insurance exists to protect them financially from the consequences of an accident. Fewer drivers understand just what their insurance covers, and what it doesn’t, in various car accident scenarios. In this guide, we aim to help you understand what to expect your own car insurance to cover, and what someone else’s policy might cover, after a St. Petersburg-area car accident leaves you injured and in need of financial support.

Fault and Insurance in Florida

Before exploring what an auto insurance policy will cover, it helps to start by discussing the effect of fault on car insurance coverage in Florida. As you likely know, Florida is (for now) what is known as a no fault auto insurance state. What that means is that drivers and others who sustain personal injuries in a car accident must look first to their own car insurance to cover those injuries, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, before seeking compensation from insurance carried by anyone else.

The legislature enacted no fault insurance laws as a tort reform measure to cut down on personal injury lawsuits. The laws were supposed to slash the cost of insurance by reducing the probability of an expensive court battle over who bore the fault for someone’s injuries. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things turned out. Insurance rates stayed higher than expected because no-fault insurance led to a rash of fraudulent insurance claims. Worse, the laws often left accident victims struggling to obtain the compensation they deserved for their injuries. As a result, the legislature has tried repeatedly to do away the no fault laws in recent years, and may yet pass reforms. But, for the time being, in order to register a car in Florida, you still must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover at least the first $10,000 of your own injuries in any car accident.

The staying power of Florida’s no fault laws does not mean, however, that the concept of fault has no place in Florida car accident cases involving personal injuries. Considering the high cost of healthcare these days, the statutory minimum PIP coverage of $10,000 rarely covers much more than minor injuries and hospitalizations. When Floridians suffer severe injuries in car accidents, or when someone dies as a result of an accident, Florida law permits those injured and the families of those killed to seek compensation from the at fault driver in more-or-less the same manner that accident victims in most other states can. In those cases, insurance carried by the at fault party may cover the victims’ injuries and losses.

Typical Florida Auto Insurance Policy Coverages

Drivers in Florida must buy two types of car insurance. They also have a wide range of other, optional coverage to choose from. Below, we summarize the two mandatory coverages and some common types of optional insurance.

Mandatory Car Insurance Coverages

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - As discussed above, by law every driver must carry at least $10,000 worth of PIP coverage to serve as the primary coverage for personal injuries and lost wages the driver sustains because of an accident, regardless of fault. Many people choose personal injury protection insurance with a $1,000 deductible.

Property Damage Liability (PDL) - All drivers must also carry at least $10,000 in PDL coverage, which pays for property damage they cause to others in an auto accident, such as damage to another vehicle. This coverage does not cover damage to your own property, which you must purchase separately.

Optional Car Insurance Coverages

Personal injury liability - this coverage protects you against liability for personal injuries you cause to others as the at fault party in an auto accident. As noted above, it becomes available to the other party if the accident causes someone severe injuries or results in a wrongful death. Drivers purchase this insurance to protect against having to pay damages to someone else out of their personal assets.

Collision -
Covers damage to your own vehicle in an accident that is your fault. If you took out a loan to pay for your car, the lender may require you to carry collision insurance. Collision insurance usually carries a deductible.

Comprehensive - Covers non-accident damage to your vehicle, such as might result from the theft of your car, from a weather event like a tornado, hurricane, or hailstorm, or from striking an animal in the road. Some loan companies require borrowers to carry comprehensive insurance for the life of the car’s loan.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist - Covers your personal injuries and property damage in the event the other driver was at fault but did not carry any or sufficient insurance to compensate you for the harm you sustained. Because of Florida’s no-fault rules, this coverage becomes available in circumstances in which the other driver fails to carry mandatory PDL coverage and/or optional personal injury liability coverage.

Other - Your car insurance can also help protect you in some very specific circumstances, if you elect to spend the extra money for protection against them, such as:

Coverage that pays for a rental car if you can’t drive your vehicle

Roadside assistance, which will cover the need for help if your car breaks down on the road. Roadside assistance may include towing, help with a car that will not start, or locksmith services.

  • Glass coverage, which will cover your windshield or windows if they break
  • Gap insurance, which will cover paying for a car loan that exceeds the amount the car is worth
  • Ridesharing coverage, which will specifically pay for a vehicle used during ridesharing services

Car Accident Damages Covered

In a car accident that does not result in severe injuries or a loss of life, your own PIP insurance covers your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages if you must miss work because of a car accident. In a collision with another vehicle, the other driver’s PDL will cover damage to your car.

In car accidents where the other driver was at fault for causing severe injuries or a wrongful death, after your exhaust your own PIP coverage the other driver’s insurance coverage may pay additional damages (depending on the types of insurance coverage that driver carries). The damages the other driver’s car insurance may pay in those cases can include:

  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses, which can include:
  • Immediate hospitalization, including ambulance transport to the hospital if needed.
  • Any surgeries or procedures needed to repair your injuries.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Ongoing medical care for severe injuries such as paralysis or traumatic brain injuries.
  • Medical equipment and modifications to your home or transportation to accommodate a disability caused by the accident.
  • Pain and suffering, to compensate you for the physical and emotional pain caused by severe injuries. Pain is subjective, so the amount of money you should receive for pain and suffering can vary. Typically, insurance companies use a sliding scale, based on the extent of your injuries, to determine what they will offer a settlement for your pain and suffering. A lawyer can help you determine whether the insurance company has been fair in its estimate of these damages.
  • Loss of consortium/life enjoyment. The damages you deserve to recover after a car accident can include compensation for the loss of your ability to enjoy engaging in life activities that are important to you and/or for the negative impact severe injuries have on your personal relationships.
  • Lost wages or lost earning potential: Serious injuries can impact your ability to return to work after an accident. You may need to take time off from work while you recover physically and emotionally. Even when you’re able to return, injuries can affect whether you can go back to the same job function you had before the accident. For example, an accident that leaves you with a disability may prevent you from doing the same job you did in the past. A traumatic brain injury could make it difficult for you to sustain a level of activity throughout the day. In some cases, these injuries are permanent and impact your ability to earn a living. The other driver’s insurance should compensate you for all wages you lost, and all wages you cannot earn in the future because of your injuries.
  • Property damage: After a car accident, the insurance company will cover property damage to either or both vehicles, depending on the type of coverage carried by the responsible party. Most policies have limits to the property damage they will cover per accident. Property damage in an accident may also include expensive items that suffered damage in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

What’s Not Covered

In Florida, there is a danger of some car accident expenses not being covered by adequate insurance. As we explained above, you are not entitled to seek compensation from the other, at-fault driver in Florida unless your injuries meet a threshold of severity (such as being permanently disabled or disfigured). That means that even if you suffer extreme pain from an injury in a car accident, the law may still bar you from seeking compensation from the other driver if the pain results from an injury that will heal. Instead, you will be limited to the medical expense and partial lost-wages benefit of your PIP policy.

In other words, when an accident does not result in injuries that are severe enough to fall under the exception to the no-fault insurance law allowing for a lawsuit against the at-fault party, a person can be left with inadequate PIP coverage to meet their needs if they haven’t purchased enough of it. Likewise, if a person fails to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, they can be left without an insurance policy to cover them in the event they suffer severe injuries in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Because of this loophole, Florida drivers must think carefully about their potential needs when buying auto insurance. $10,000 of PIP coverage is the minimum required by law, but it can leave Florida drivers and passengers without adequate protection when their injuries aren’t severe enough to entitle them to sue the at-fault driver in an accident.

Hire Our Law Firm After a Car Accident

Because of the complexity and pitfalls of car insurance in Florida, hiring an attorney after an accident can make a big difference in whether you recover the funds you deserve for your injuries. An attorney can negotiate directly with insurance companies to help you recover the maximum compensation due under your own PIP policy, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and the other driver’s insurance (if it’s available). And, an attorney can advise you when it’s time to reject an insurance company’s offer and pursue legal action instead.

An attorney can also help you if it turns out your own and the other driver’s insurance policies aren’t sufficient to cover your losses. Insurance plays an important role in compensating car accident victims, but it’s not the only source of funds to pay damages. Sometimes, other parties have liability for causing an accident. Other times, an uninsured driver may have personal assets from which damages can be paid. An attorney can help you uncover these potential sources of funds to help make sure you have the best shot at recovering every dollar you deserve.

Every car accident is different, and that includes the mix of insurance coverages available to compensate those injured. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers PA, we are committed to providing high-quality legal services to our clients, including providing valuable advice about the compensation you should expect from an insurance company following an accident. When our clients need to take their cases to court, we fight with passion and diligence to make sure they receive what they deserve. Contact us today online or at (727) 222-6922 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team of top quality car accident attorneys.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712
(727) 222-6922

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

St. Petersburg Renter Injured by Toxic Black Mold in Home

St. Petersburg Toxic Black Mold rent landlord injury lawsuit lawyer

Landlord Liability for Black Mold Injuries on Property

A St. Petersburg tenant of a rental property developed a fungal infection requiring sinus surgery after being exposed to dangerous amounts of black mold on the property. Renter David Sawyer and his roommates moved into a property located on 74th Avenue NE in St. Petersburg in the Summer of 2018.

Toxic Mold Severely Injures Renter

Upon moving into the property they began to experience issues such as the air conditioning unit failing which would bring the temperature of the house up to scorching 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the dead of Summer. The property management company in possession of the building called, Invitation Homes, took a week to get back to the tenants who had to suffer through the heat. Invitation Homes eventually fixed the air conditioning and some additional plumbing issues that David Sawyer reported to cause raw sewage to be pushed up through the shower drain.
Soon after these terrible conditions were experienced by David Sawyer and his fellow tenants, he began to develop symptoms such as headaches, extreme drainage from his nose, as well as nose bleeds that would require an entire box of tissues a day to address. A private inspector was hired by David Sawyer to check his home for a possible cause. The private inspector documented toxic black mold in his bathroom and strongly recommended that he leave the building as soon as possible.
According to David Sawyer, it took a while to finally get in contact with Invitation Homes about the severe toxic black mold situation on the property. It apparently took a full 20 days for David Sawyer and his fellow tenants to not hear from anyone at invitation homes before they decided to pack up and leave the building in the interest of preserving their health. David Sawyer is now recovering from sinus surgery undertaken to address the fungal infection he suffered likely as a result of exposure to toxic black mold.

Toxic Black Mold and Landlord Lawsuits

When someone rents a property out to someone, they do so with the expected assurance that the conditions of the property are within the expected standards of safety for a tenant. Should someone rent a property out to a tenant and negligently leave conditions in a way that can injure them then they may be liable in a premises liability lawsuit. There are a number of harmful conditions that can exist on a property. Poorly maintained structure, uneven flooring, lack of basic security features, and of course toxic black mold all can cause serious injuries that can be the focus of a premises liability claim.

What is Toxic Black Mold?

Most of us have encountered mold or fungus in some variety either out in the wild or within some manner of building. The basics of mold are fairly simple. It is an organism that subsists off of the decomposition of biological materials and exists primarily in dark damp areas that can be either cool or very warm and reproduce by releasing spores into the air. Stachybotrys more commonly known as black mold is a particularly dangerous type of mold that releases spores that are toxic if ingested in sufficient amounts.

Black Mold Injuries

Believe it or not, people inhale mold spores almost every day. They are much more common than we realize and for the most part, it is completely harmless. However, more toxic molds like black mold exist and can cause serious injuries to all that are exposed. Black mold is prone to grow in dark damp and generally neglected areas in buildings like in crawlspaces, attics, basements, and ventilation systems.
When someone breathes in black mold spores they run the risk of suffering a number of injuries including.
Irritant Effects: Generally the exposure to black mold can cause wheezing, sniffing, congestion, coughing, nasal drainage, headaches, sore throat, and a host of other respiratory related symptoms.
Allergic Reactions: Some people have especially bad allergic reactions to black mold in even the smallest of quantities. These reactions depend on the person and can range from itchy skin and irritated throat to respiratory issues that can endanger someone's ability to breathe.
Infections: Black mold spores that are inhaled have a chance to cause respiratory infections that can be particularly painful. These infections can even land people in the hospital where they require heavy antibiotics or even surgery depending on the intensity of the infection.
Toxic Effects: Black Mold itself is a toxic organism that can cause serious damage to the throat and lungs of those that are exposed to it. This toxicity can cause long term breathing issues among those exposed depending on the length and intensity of the exposure.

Seek an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury on a property that you were renting because of the negligence of a landlord or other liable party then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about a free consultation on your claim. Our lawyers are more than happy to meet with you and discuss the details of your potential claim so that we can offer some legal insight into your situation and offer some options on how you can take legal action.
Injuries on rental properties can come from a variety of sources other than just black mold and those injuries can cause significant damages. Those that are injured can be stuck with extensive medical bills, lost wages, disability, as well as pain and suffering over a long period. When someone faces the financial repercussions of these damages they will likely have to turn to legal action in order to seek compensation which is where Dolman Law Group can come in and provide you experienced legal representation.
When you hire Dolman Law Group to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit, you are ensuring that your case stands the best chance possible at recovering the compensation you need and deserve after suffering an injury because of a liable party’s negligence. Dolman Law Group offers clients the personal attention expected from smaller firms with big law firm results.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712