The best time to hire an attorney after your Tampa car accident is early on. Why should you hire an attorney early on? To avoid any costly mistakes.
The deadline for filing personal injury claims in Florida is 4 years. Because you may need to pay for medical bills and/or cover lost wages, the sooner you contact a Tampa injury attorney the better.
Should you contact an attorney for a car accident?
We highly recommend you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the accident, especially in Tampa, Florida. Technically, you could represent yourself, but there are many legal, medical and financial aspects to consider. There is also a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, meaning after a certain period of time has passed, you will no longer be able to file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries. Hiring a qualified Tampa injury lawyer can make all of the difference between a good resolution and a bad.
Can I get free advice from a lawyer?
If you cannot afford a lawyer and you have been injured in a car accident, but still need legal representation or even have questions about your legal rights, you can get free legal advice and only pay the attorney if you collect. The benefit of hiring an injury lawyer this way is that you only pay the lawyer if you collect and the more the lawyer collects for you, the more the lawyer makes. Also, since you do not pay the attorney until the attorney collects, it gives the attorney an incentive to move your file along.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
You are not required to hire a lawyer after a car accident that was not your fault. But doing so can help you receive the highest compensation for which you are eligible and avoid liability for the crash.
After a car accident, you may have to get your car repaired, visit a doctor for rehabilitation, or be forced to miss work. You have a life and you need to live it. You most likely have a job, bills to pay, or a family to take feed. Everyone has responsibilities, so when you are injured by someone else’s negligent driving, you should not have to take on the responsibility of handling that case on your own. It costs you nothing to have a trained and qualified Tampa accident attorney handle every aspect of your car accident case. All you should be worried about is treating your injuries and handling your responsibilities. Let a car accident lawyer handle everything else.
A Tampa accident attorney— especially a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney—can help you go up against big auto insurance companies and their team of lawyers and adjusters. Your attorney already knows the personal injury laws and procedural rules and can effectively handle all the legwork for you. Your injury lawyer will act as your advocate throughout the entire case. Remember, insurance companies are in the “risk business” and they don’t lose.
What are the advantages of paying a lawyer only when the lawyer collects?
Hiring a lawyer and only paying the lawyer when the lawyer collects (also known as a “contingency fee”).
There are at least four advantages of contingency fees.
- The contingent fee is the one device in law that gives injured people of limited resources or financial means a chance to hire a lawyer and fight giant corporations and insurance companies. Few people after a car accident can afford to pay an experienced lawyer $500 per hour or more for a couple of years of challenging litigation. This levels the playing field against those companies.
- Contingent fees gives the attorney the incentive to seek the highest recovery in your case, move the case quickly, and successfully collect on your claim. In other words, you only pay your attorney if your attorney collects; the more you make, the more your attorney makes; and because you do not pay your attorney until you collect, your attorney wants to win and collect. This perfectly aligns the lawyer’s incentive with results for the client, and the lawyer’s pay is directly proportional to results obtained for the client. A lawyer who knows he will not be paid unless his client is successful is highly motivated to get the optimal result for the client. By contrast, an hourly fee arrangement can encourage delay, inefficiency, and unnecessary action unless there is an incentive to earn future business from the same client.
- Contingent fees weed out cases that lack substantial merit. Experienced attorneys will not waste their time on a lawsuit that does not have enough merit to justify investment of their time. We take a calculated risk. However, any lawyer who repeatedly bets on cases that have no value may soon go broke.
- Expenses of litigation as well as fees can be prohibitively high for injury victims. Lawyers who work for contingent fees typically also advance the expenses of litigation (filing fees, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, court reporters, videographers, medical illustrations, exhibit preparation, travel costs, etc.), knowing that most clients are unable to do so, and are reimbursed for the costs out of money recovered for the client. Experienced in the rough estimation of costs and benefits, and knowing they will get that money back only if they win for the client, sensible lawyers are motivated to be prudent and spend only as much as necessary.
Contingency fees percentages are pretty standard across Florida. Typically, experienced car accident lawyers charge (on the first million dollars) 33⅓% and 40% if there is a lawsuit. The percentages go down if your lawyer collects more than one million dollars. These percentages are established by the Florida Bar. This is why we always reiterate that experience and results matter.
If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, call now for a free consultation. Martin J. Hernandez, Esq. 813-229-5353