How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?

How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?

Most attorneys work on an hourly basis, charging clients an agreed upon hourly fee for the work performed.  For instance, if you were to hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce or to defend you against a criminal charge you can expect to pay, on average, about $200 per hour.  Personal injury attorneys are different in this regard, as most work on what is known as a “contingency fee.”

What is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is an agreement whereby an attorney takes on a case based on the agreement that if the attorney is successful in recovering damages for the client, the attorney receives a percentage of the recovered amount as a fee for services.  Most personal injury attorneys in Florida charge 33.33% of the gross recovery amount as a fee for cases where a lawsuit is not filed.  Most often the fee goes up to 40% of the gross recovery in cases where a lawsuit is filed, and the case is litigated through the court system.  For instance, if a car accident attorney recovers $10,000.00 for an auto accident client and didn’t have to file a lawsuit, the attorney fee would be $3,333.33.  In the same situation where a lawsuit is filed, the attorney fee would be $4,000.00.

It is also important to keep in mind that if an attorney pays cost for certain things throughout the case, such as: ordering medical records, postage, filing fees, expert fees, etc., the attorney is entitled to recoup those fees out of the recovery as well.  Those costs are deducted in addition to the fees paid for the attorney services.  For instance, using the example above, if an attorney is recovers $10,000.00 for an auto accident client without a lawsuit, and spent $500 in costs getting the case to the point of settlement, the attorney fee would be $3,333.33 and the attorney would also be entitled to an additional $500 out of the $10,000.00 recovery to recoup costs.

On the flip side, if an attorney takes on a case and is unable to recover money damages for the client, the client does not owe the attorney a thing.  This is true even in situations where the attorney has spent hundreds of hours and spent thousands of dollars on the case.  In many ways, when a personal injury lawyer agrees to accept a case, the attorney is betting on himself to be able to get a recovery.

Additionally, most injury lawyers offer free consultations to discuss the facts and likelihood of success of a case before signing it up.  The personal injury attorneys of Barrett Nonni & Homola are no exception.  If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of negligence, call our Tallahassee Personal Injury Lawyers today. Give us a call at 850-601-1111 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.

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What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Do I Need It?

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Do I Need It?

Purchasing auto insurance can be a confusing and expensive experience, which so many insurance companies to chose from and the seemingly endless types of coverage, the whole process can be a bit overwhelming.  One of the questions that often comes up after an auto accident in Florida is what exactly is underinsured/underinsured motorist coverage?  To answer that question, it is important to first understand bodily injury coverage. 

What is Bodily Injury Coverage?

Bodily injury coverage is the insurance coverage that pays for injuries caused by an at-fault driver.  In other words, if you are involved in an auto collision and sustain injuries, when you make a claim against the at-fault driver for those injuries, you will be making a claim against that person’s bodily injury coverage.  However, Florida’s auto insurance system is unique in that it is one of only two states in the country that does not require its drivers to carry bodily injury coverage (Florida drivers are only required to carry no-fault (personal injury protection) coverage and property damage coverage).  What results is a system where drivers without bodily injury coverage cause accidents and leave injured parties little to no recourse in recouping damages for their injuries. 

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play.  Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance coverage on YOUR OWN auto policy that will “step into the shoes” of an at-fault party who doesn’t carry bodily injury coverage and pay for damages on behalf of the at-fault party.  For instance, say you are involved in an auto wreck that is not your fault and break your arm.  Soon after the wreck you find out the at-fault party did not have bodily injury coverage on their policy.  In this situation, you would be entitled to make a claim on your own uninsured motorist coverage for the damages caused by the at-fault party. 

Further, when you purchase uninsured motorist coverage in Florida you also receive underinsured motorist coverage.  This coverage operates in the same way as uninsured motorist coverage but comes into play when the at-fault driver has bodily injury coverage limits that do not cover your damages.  Take the same scenario as above, you are involved in a collision and break your arm, but now, imagine the at-fault driver does have bodily injury coverage with a limit of $10,000.00.  That’s great, but your medical bills are $40,000.00.  In this situation, you can make a claim for the $10,000.00 from the at-fault party and then make a claim for remaining damages on your underinsured motorist coverage.      

Contact our Tallahassee Auto Accident Attorneys Today For Help 

This coverage is invaluable, especially in Florida, where thousands of drivers are on the road with inadequate insurance coverages.  However, most consumers purchasing auto insurance either have no idea what is, or they are confused about what it covers.  If you have questions about your insurance coverage, the Tallahassee car accident lawyers at Barrett Nonni & Homola are happy to discuss your options free of charge. Call us today at 850-601-1111.

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5 Steps to Take After a Hurricane in Tallahassee

  1. Document the Damage: Documenting the storm damage that your home or business sustained due to Hurricane Michael is the most important part of this entire process.  Take photos of anything that you think may have been storm damaged by the storm, such as holes or cracks in the roof, shingles or tiles on the ground, grit from shingles in the flower beds, broken windows, etc.  In addition to taking photos of the outside of your roof, go up into your attic, if you’re able to do it safely, and take photos of the inside of your roof as well. Also, keep in mind that storm damage to the facade of your home or business is covered by insurance too, so look for storm damage to the wood, vinyl, brick, or stucco that surrounds your building.  Take photos of everything, even if you aren’t sure what you’re taking photos of; the importance of these photos in proving your claim cannot be overstated.
  2. Report the Damage: Your insurance policy contains information explaining what you’re supposed to do if your property sustained storm damage due to Hurricane Michael.  So, review your policy and make sure you understand that process. Then, call your homeowners’ insurance company or commercial property insurance company, file a claim, and provide them with copies of all the photos and other documentation you’ve gathered.  
  3. Mitigate the Damage: You have a duty to mitigate your storm damages, which means that you are required to take reasonable steps to prevent the storm damage to your home or business from getting worse over time.  If you fail to mitigate your storm damages, then the insurance company may deny your claim. For example, if there’s a hole in your roof and you’re able to hire someone to cover the hole with a tarp or you’re able to purchase a tarp and cover the hole yourself, then you are required to do so in order to prevent further water storm damage.  That being said, it’s important to remember that you only have a duty to act reasonably, so if you can’t afford to hire someone or you can’t afford to purchase a tarp or you aren’t physically able to cover the hole yourself, then you aren’t required to do so. Additionally, don’t attempt to repair any of the storm damage until after you’ve documented the storm damage and you’ve given the insurance adjuster an opportunity to inspect the storm damage.  
  4. Attend the Inspection: Shortly after you file the claim, your insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect your property and assess the storm damage.  You should be present during this inspection and you should point out to the adjuster any storm damage that you think he or she may have missed.  It’s very important that all of your property storm damage is documented during this inspection. If the adjuster fails to document some of your property storm damage and you report the storm damage to the insurance company at a later date, the insurance company may deny that portion of your claim.  For example, winds over 48 miles per hour are strong enough to lift shingles away from the roof and allow water to penetrate the building without actually ripping the singles off the roof. Then, once the storm passes, the shingles often fall back down onto the roof. In this type of situation, the roof system has been destroyed and needs to be replaced but the storm damage is not obvious to the naked eye, especially from the ground.  So, if your home or business sustained winds over 48 miles per hour during Hurricane Michael, when the adjuster comes to inspect your property, you should insist that he or she check the roof even if there isn’t any obvious storm damage.
  5. Follow-Up on the Claim: After the inspection, the insurance company will review all of the information and make a decision regarding your claim.  Continue to follow-up with the insurance company until they inform you of their decision in writing. If the insurance company denies all or any part of your claim, or if they approve your claim but the amount of money they offer you is less than the total cost of all the repairs, then it’s time to hire an experienced attorney to make sure that the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.  The Tallahassee storm damage attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola have years of experience with all aspects of storm storm damage claims, from documenting the storm damage, to dealing with insurance companies and hiring the best experts to prove your case, to negotiating fair settlements or winning your case at trial.

We hope your process is smooth and without heckling from the insurance company; however, we all know that similar to natural disasters, unexpected events can occur. If you find yourself in a place where the insurance claim is stalled or the insurance company isn’t cooperating, Let us fight for you! We have a way of making insurance companies cooperate and helping insurance claims file smoothly. Give us a call at 850-601-1111 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.

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