Personal Injury FAQ
Get the Help You Need After a Tampa Accident
If you have been injured and are suffering physical, emotional and financial
damages, you may be entitled to recover a significant amount of monetary
compensation from the responsible party. After an accident of any kind,
you likely have numerous questions about your case and your legal options. At
Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your
case, and we have included some frequently asked questions on this page,
for your convenience.
What is a personal injury?
An injury that is sustained in an accident or other incident caused by
negligence , recklessness or wrongdoing is typically classified as a
personal injury . This may be physical or psychological in nature and may entitle the victim
or the victim's family to take legal action in civil court against
the responsible party.
What is negligence?
One of the most important parts of your case will be proving the negligence
of the other party. A person or party acts negligently when they fail
in one way or another to take all reasonable precautions to prevent harm
to another person. In a personal injury case, there are typically four
main parts of negligence:
- The accused negligent party owed the victim a certain duty of care.
- The accused person violated that duty.
- The victim’s injuries were a direct result of the accused’s
- The damaged that was caused by the injuries can be proven.
Is there a difference between a claim and a lawsuit?
Victims often do not know which route they should take when pursuing compensation
for their injuries, and it can be very helpful to understand the differences
between the options. If you are trying to determine which option is best
for your situation, please call our firm to have one of our knowledgeable
attorneys assess your case.
- A claim is a filed with the negligent party’s insurance company by
the victim to seek fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Filing
a claim is an informal process that allows the victim to submit their
claim with the insurer to pursue informal resolution. If the case cannot
be properly resolved through the claim process, a lawsuit may be the next step.
- A lawsuit is a legal action taken by the victim against the negligent person,
corporation, government entity, or insurance company in an effort to recover
damages for their injuries and losses. This action is a formal process
that takes the case before the court and asks a jury to rule on the case’s
merit. It is not uncommon for the party accused of negligence to seek
to settle the case rather than take the issue to court.
What will my case be worth?
value of a personal injury case will be worth will vary greatly depending upon the nature of the accident,
the extent of injury, and even the intentions of the responsible party.
A personal injury lawyer can review your particular case to determine
what it may be worth and can then pursue that amount in full by way of
an insurance claim or lawsuit in civil court.
My child was bitten by a dog after trying to pet the animal. Can we still
Dog owners have a responsibility to protect the public from their animals,
and if they fail to do so and their pet hurts someone, they could be held
liable. The issues that must be evaluated in a
dog bite case are whether your child provoked the
animal in some way and whether the child was hurt as a result of improper supervision.
Under Florida law, children below the age of six are considered incapable
of knowingly putting themselves in danger, and would not realize they
were at risk of being bitten. If the child is over the age of six, the
jury will have to decide whether the child acted negligently by approaching
or provoking the dog in some way. The other issue is whether the attack
could have been prevented if the child had been supervised properly. If
you are considering pursuing damages for your child’s dog injuries,
you should speak with an experienced attorney at the firm to learn more
about your options.
The insurance company for the driver who caused my accident called to offer
me a settlement. Should I take it?
After a car accident
, many insurance companies are quick to contact the dazed victims and try
to convince them to accept the settlement so that they will not pursue
further legal action. Before considering their offer, you must understand
that the insurer’s top priority is their profits, not adequately
compensating victims. The settlement offered by the insurance company
is likely to be far less than you need or deserve for the injuries and
losses sustained in the accident, so it would be wise to retain proven
representation before making any choices. Our attorney can assess the
circumstances and the extent of your injuries to determine how large of
a settlement you may be entitled to.
What does it cost to work with an attorney at your firm?
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we
secure a settlement or judgment on your behalf. If you would like to learn
more about our fees, please contact us to talk to an attorney about your
Can I take legal action if I lost a family member?
Under Florida law, a close family member or representative of a person's
estate may take legal action against the party whose negligent conduct
led to an accidental or
. In these situations, the family may be able to bring the responsible
party to justice and recover financial compensation for funeral expenses,
medical bills, loss of companionship, and more.
To learn more,
contact a Tampa personal injury attorney
for a free case evaluation.