Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury

The costs of any injury do not stop at the first round of medical bills. Ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, missed work, lost business opportunities, and the decreased ability to participate in physical activities can affect an injury victim’s enjoyment of life for years to come. When an injury is severe or permanent, these hidden costs can escalate quickly.
For victims of spinal cord injuries, the effects of the injury can be catastrophic. Even spinal cord injuries which do not result in death or paralysis can incur significant expenses for the rest of the victim’s life. Injury victims have a legal right to be compensated for all their losses by the person who caused the injury. It takes an experienced personal injury attorney to carefully identify all the hidden costs of a spinal cord injury and ensure that the victim is fully and fairly compensated for all of them.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, contact the Dolman Law Group today. Our spinal cord injury attorneys have extensive experience in protecting the rights of spinal cord injury victims across southern Florida.
The Many Types of Legal Losses
Florida law protects the rights of injury victims to be compensated for all their losses by the person, persons, or legal entities which caused their injury. The value of these losses is known as the victim’s “legal damages”. There are many different types of losses which are sustained in an accident, and victims have a right to be compensated for all of them.
Medical Bills: Medical expenses are the easiest loss to value. Often, a victim has specific invoices which show the exact dollar amount spent on medical treatment related to the accident. This can include an initial ambulance response, treatment in an emergency department or urgent care facility, hospitalization, consultations with neurological experts, diagnostic testing, follow up appointments, and any other medical expenses that were incurred as a result of the accident.
Ongoing Treatment: Spinal cord injuries are severe, and they often result in medical treatment that is required for years to come. This can include pain management services, occupational or physical therapy, neuropsychological testing and treatment, and other services related to long-term care. The amount of such expenses can be difficult to calculate, as the cost of future medical treatment cannot be determined precisely at the time a claim is negotiated. Nonetheless, all such services are compensable by the person responsible for causing the injury.  
Lost Wages: Many spinal cord injury victims miss a significant period of work immediately following an accident. Lost wages are simple to calculate for a defined portion of time, by calculating the employee’s hourly wage multiplied by the hours of work that were missed. However, a lost wage claim becomes more complicated when an injured worker loses bonuses, performance incentives, or other financial opportunities lost as a result of the accident. It can be difficult to prove the exact amount of such incentives – and to prove that they were only lost because of the accident, and not due to any other factors. Nonetheless, they are a compensable loss sustained by injury victims.
Lost wage valuations also become more complicated with a permanent injury, such as damage to the spinal cord. The employee is entitled to be compensated for all future time lost from work due to ongoing medical appointments, but this is nearly impossible to determine with any accuracy. Furthermore, if an employee’s symptoms are significant, he or she may suffer a permanent impairment to income as a result of the accident. In such a case, the injured employee is entitled to be compensated for his or her decreased future earning potential.
Pain and Suffering: An accident victim’s pain and suffering is often the largest component of a personal injury award. It is also the most subjective and can be the most difficult to prove. This is why many insurance companies attempt to reduce a personal injury award by targeting the pain and suffering component and attacking its value.
Spinal cord and other nerve injuries are notoriously painful. There is extensive research on the pain associated with nerve injuries, and this can be used to defend an injury victim’s pain and suffering award. A skilled attorney will ensure that all past, present and future suffering is fully compensated by the responsible party.
Permanent Impairment: An injury victim is entitled to be compensated for any permanent impairment that he or she will suffer. This can be something as simple as a scar, or as complex as a pianist’s inability to play the instrument after a spinal cord injury. These, too, are incredibly subjective losses that do not lend themselves to an easy valuation. They can also be the most devastating loss an injury victim sustains. With a strong legal argument supported by case law and research data, an injury victim can obtain the compensation he or she deserves for these permanent losses.
It is also important to note that a single treatment can result in several different forms of compensation. For example, many spinal cord injury patients must be temporarily immobilized in order to stabilize or realign the spine (or both). There are set costs for this service (hospitalization, equipment, etc.). Immobilization also results in lost wages, and loss of enjoyment of other social activities (such as sports). And it is almost inevitable that the immobilization procedure will result in pain and suffering. All of these losses are separate, compensable legal damages.
The Right Legal Representation for your Personal Injury Claim
Whether your spinal cord injury was caused by a car accident, workplace accident, medical malpractice, or other factors, you need an experienced spinal cord injury attorney who will aggressively defend your right to be compensated for your losses. The Dolman Law Group has over forty-six years of experience in protecting the rights of injury victims in and around the St. Petersburg area. Call (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Injury victims across southern Florida trust our professional staff, comprehensive legal expertise, and superior customer service.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How to Know if You Should Call an Attorney after an Accident

Automobile accidents can be very scary experiences for everyone involved. If you have never been involved in a car accident before, the entire claims experience can be even more overwhelming.

If you have sustained injuries and damages in a St. Petersburg motor vehicle accident, you should consider retaining a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to represent you in your case. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group can offer you some peace of mind and may be able to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve under Florida law.

The first thing you should focus on after being involved in a Florida car accident is seeking medical treatment and recovering from your injuries. The second thing you should do is to seek the services of a skilled personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can help to streamline the negotiation, settlement, and litigation processes for you, so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

How to Know Whether a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney May be Right for You

If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident and are thinking about taking legal action, it is best to proceed forward with a knowledgeable attorney on board. Florida personal injury law is complex, filing deadlines apply, and time may be of the essence. A personal injury attorney may be able to assist you in some of the following ways:

  • Recommending treatment options and referring you to healthcare providers and specialists who offer that kind of treatment
  • Obtaining copies of your medical records and bills (and submitting them to the insurance company)
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters on your behalf
  • Filing suit on your behalf in a timely manner
  • Pursuing cost-effective alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or arbitration
  • Representing you at trial if your case does not settle

First Steps to Take after Being Involved in an Automobile Accident

The first thing you should do after being involved in an auto accident is to contact the police by calling 9-1-1. You should also exchange insurance information with the other driver and obtain contact information from any eyewitnesses to the accident.

Finally, you should seek immediate follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. This is true even if you are not in serious pain following your accident. It is important to seek follow-up medical care because pain and symptoms do not always manifest themselves immediately. In fact, in many cases, symptoms do not become evident until days – or even weeks – after the date of the accident. In short, it is better to be safe than sorry and to

go ahead and seek medical treatment.

Learning More about Treatment Options

If you have been injured and are contemplating filing a claim or lawsuit for personal injuries, a Florida personal injury attorney may be able to recommend treatment and/or refer you to a specific healthcare provider or specialist.

An attorney may also be able to refer you to a healthcare provider in order to obtain a permanency evaluation. A good permanency evaluation will establish the level of permanent whole body impairment that you sustained as a result of the accident.

Knowing Whether or not to provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company’s Adjuster

A Florida personal injury lawyer will be able to offer you some advice on recorded statements. Contrary to their generally friendly demeanor when dealing with you on the phone, insurance adjusters are not working for you. Rather, they are working for their insurance companies and are not interested in fully and fairly compensating you for your injuries or making you whole. Although the adjuster may make it seem like a recorded statement is mandatory, that is not the case.

You should never provide a recorded statement to an insurance company’s adjuster without first contacting an attorney – or without having the attorney physically present (or on the phone with you) during the recorded statement.

Making Sure that Claims and Lawsuits are Filed in a Timely Manner

The State of Florida enforces a four-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accidents in which the driver or passengers sustain injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence. This means that absent some limited exceptions, such as disabilities, the injured plaintiff must ordinarily file a claim or lawsuit within four years of the date on which the injury or injuries were sustained. Otherwise, the plaintiff is forever barred from seeking monetary recovery for those injuries or from filing a claim or lawsuit.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to ensure that a claim or lawsuit is filed in a timely manner and that the proper parties are brought into the case. For example, if the driver of another vehicle was negligent in causing an accident, the owner of that vehicle may also be liable for damages caused to the injured plaintiff, under Florida agency law.

The owner of the other vehicle could also potentially be liable for negligent entrustment of the vehicle to the driver. This might be true in a case where the driver was known for driving recklessly on a previous occasion or received a citation or conviction for reckless driving in the past.

Proving Negligence in a Florida Car Accident Case

If you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence on the roadway, you may be entitled to legal compensation under a negligence theory of recovery. In order to prove negligence, you must successfully demonstrate that the defendant driver failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner, thereby causing the accident which led to your personal injuries and damages. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to assist you with meeting your burden of proof in a personal injury auto accident case.

Contact a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Florida auto accidents sometimes create more questions than answers. A skilled Florida auto accident personal injury lawyer will be able to streamline the process for you and can represent you throughout settlement negotiations, litigation, and trial. If the insurance company refuses to place a favorable settlement offer on the table, our experienced attorneys are not afraid to take your case to trial.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a personal injury attorney, please call us today or contact us online.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Negligent Hiring of Truck Drivers Causes Injuries

Fast and heavy trucks, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks have the potential to cause very serious motor vehicle accidents on Florida highways and roadways. Trucking accidents can potentially lead to severe – and sometimes catastrophic – personal injuries and damages. If you have been injured in a St. Petersburg truck accident that was caused by a truck driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law.

In many truck accident cases, the trucking company is also a named defendant in any lawsuit that is filed in the Florida court system. This is because the trucking company could be deemed liable under agency law for the acts or omissions of its employees. The trucking company may also be deemed liable for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of the negligent truck driver. The good news about trucking companies is that they usually maintain insurance coverage with very high limits of liability – usually in excess of one million dollars.

A skilled and knowledgeable St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve under the law. If the trucking company’s insurance adjuster refuses to place an acceptable settlement offer on the table, our experienced attorneys are not afraid to litigate your case, take it to trial, or explore opportunities for alternative dispute resolution.

Large Trucks Cause Severe Accidents

Tractor-trailers, big rigs, semi-trucks, and other large trucks weigh many tons and are able to travel at very fast speeds on Florida roadways. When large trucks travel at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or greater on the Florida highway system, a smaller vehicle does not stand a chance in a collision and the results can be catastrophic.

Truck Driver Negligence

On highways, truck drivers often drive like they are the ‘kings of the road.’ Common examples of negligent truck driving include switching travel lanes often, exceeding the posted speed limit, and attempting to quickly maneuver around slower vehicles with the goal of arriving at their destinations sooner.

There is a strong financial incentive for both trucking companies and their drivers when drivers arrive at their destinations ahead of schedule. Many truck drivers will receive large financial bonuses for driving fast and delivering cargo quickly. However, truck drivers still have an affirmative duty to drive reasonably and carefully when they operate their vehicles on Florida roadways. When they fail to do so and cause a motor vehicle accident, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause to injured accident victims.

Potential Liability of Trucking Companies

Trucking companies can be held secondarily liable for a trucking accident under a vicarious liability theory of recovery. Depending upon the circumstances, the trucking company could also be on the line for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision of a negligent employee truck driver – especially in cases where the truck driver has caused similar accidents in the past.

It is important to note that trucking companies are not only responsible for dispatching competent, careful, and safe truck drivers, but they are also responsible for ensuring that these drivers (as well as the companies themselves) comply with all applicable state and federal trucking regulations.

All too often, however, trucking companies prioritize profits over safety, thereby endangering the lives of all other drivers on the roadway. What follows are just a few ways in which trucking companies may be held responsible for an employee truck driver’s negligence:

  • The trucking company fails to train drivers appropriately and thoroughly regarding proper driving techniques, safety concerns, emergency procedures, and defensive driving skills and tactics.
  • The trucking company fails to thoroughly screen driver applicants by researching their driving histories (including criminal histories of drunk driving or other alcohol-related driving offenses and reckless/negligent driving convictions).
  • The trucking company offers bonuses or other monetary compensation when truck drivers deliver their cargo to its destination sooner, encouraging them to drive fast and to drive even while fatigued.
  • The trucking company creates unrealistic driving schedules and expectations, encouraging truck drivers to drive in a hurried, careless, or reckless manner. 
  • The trucking company fails to equip trucks with the necessary safety equipment, including blinking lights, reflective lights, undercarriage lights – or to properly and timely replace lights that have burnt out. 
  • The trucking company fails to adequately supervise employee drivers, monitor their driving performance, and ensure that drivers keep up with all CDL requirements.
  • The trucking company fails to terminate truck drivers who sustain one or more careless, reckless, or drunk driving convictions over the course of their employment with the trucking company.
  • The trucking company fails to ensure that timely and adequate repairs are made on trucks, tractor-trailers, or big rigs.

Common Injuries Sustained by Truck Accident Victims

When trucking companies take shortcuts during the hiring process or fail to adequately supervise their employees, serious accidents can result. While smaller-scale rear-end collisions and other minor car accidents tend to result in only soft tissue injuries, truck accidents have the potential to bring about more severe and catastrophic injuries and damages – due in part to the large size of the truck and the potential hard and fast impact.

Serious injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents involving trucks oftentimes include concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s), fractures, muscular tears, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and other types of permanent impairment, including death.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Truck Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

If you or someone you love has sustained severe and catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation on  

your side throughout your case. You should know that many insurance companies try to undervalue truck accident cases and attempt to shift some – or all – of the blame for the accident on the innocent accident victim. The insurance companies do this by pointing to an accident victim’s prior injuries or preexisting conditions, if any, or to the plaintiff’s negligence while driving.

An experienced Florida truck accident attorney at Dolman Law Group will have the necessary skills and legal expertise to combat the insurance company and can help you to receive a fair value for your case via settlement, alternative dispute resolution, or trial. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a truck accident attorney, please call us today or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922