Know Your Rights and Obligations
Knowing your rights and obligations after an accident can help you minimize aggravation and expenses. It will also help protect you and your family when necessary. The information on these pages can help you if you are involved in an accident. Yet there is no substitute for having an experienced Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh attorney on your side. He can recommend appropriate medical treatment and negotiate repair and/or replacement of your vehicle. Most importantly, he will negotiate a full and fair settlement with the insurance company, taking into account all of your damages, including pain and suffering.
Why A Quick Settlement May Not Be A Fair Settlement
Insurance companies employ teams of claim adjusters and lawyers to settle auto accident claims quickly and keep their costs down. With a Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh attorney working for you, you will often receive a substantially larger settlement than one you could negotiate yourself. This means more money for your pain and suffering, even after attorney’s fees are paid.
Remember, experienced personal injury lawyers such as Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh have resources that report jury verdicts in similar cases. This helps us make an informed decision about the value of your case. Choosing us to represent you shows the insurance company that you are serious about your rights. The peace of mind you gain with an attorney may even allow you to get back to your life with as few delays as possible, and with a possible settlement that fairly compensates you for the accident.
Legal Help Without Legal Fees
Since Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh usually charges a percentage of the gross settlement of your case, you will rarely pay us a fee. This “contingent fee” is quite common in Florida. You simply pay a percentage of the amount your attorney obtains in your case. This fee is paid from the settlement, so you do not pay any money out of your own pocket to get aggressive protection of your rights. Usually, if there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee. You will be advised if your attorney requires any costs of your case reimbursed, regardless of the outcome of the case. In most instances, we do not require that you pay any costs or fees out of your own pocket.
At the initial meeting with your attorney the “Contingency Fee Agreement” will be reviewed with you. Florida attorneys usually charge 33.3 percent of the gross recovery if the case is settled without a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed, your attorney's fee may increase to 40 percent of the gross recovery. Both percentages apply in gross recoveries of up to one million dollars. There are many circumstances your fee will vary. Your attorney will review these circumstances and also review “The Statement of Client’s Rights” with you. This document discusses your rights as a personal injury client.
When to Settle. When to Sue.
If you choose Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh to represent you after an accident caused by a drunk driver, your attorney will send a “demand package”, not unlike an insurance claim, to the opposing insurance company. This consists of your medical bills, medical narrative reports and a detailed explanation of your damages.
If the insurance company offers a settlement which you feel is unreasonable, you may file a lawsuit to protect your rights. Our experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can help you determine the value of your case. They will also give you a fair assessment of your chances for a successful trial. While your attorney will give you the best possible legal advice, it is still your claim and your injury. You make the final decision to settle or go to trial.
If your case is resolved, you have the right to receive and approve a Closing Statement before any money is distributed. The statement will list all of the expenses incurred in your case, including attorney’s fees. Until you approve the Closing Statement, you need not pay any money to anyone, including your attorney. After your initial meeting with your attorney, you should be fully informed as to what to expect in your case.