Frequently Asked Questions
Attorneys You Can Turn to for Answers
Whibbs Stone Barnett ensures clients are fully informed about personal injury law. The answers to the following questions are just the beginning. Once you have read them, you are invited to discuss your injury with a qualified Pensacola injury lawyer at our firm.
- What are some common myths about accident cases?
- What should I prepare for my first meeting with a lawyer?
- What questions should I ask when selecting an attorney?
- Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?
- Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?
- How much will the legal process cost?
- What determines the amount I might recover?
- What are PIP benefits in Florida?
- A dog bit me. Who do I tell?
- What is the “one free bite” rule?
- How long will my case take?
When You Need a Pensacola Accident Injury Attorney You Can Trust
If you require assistance with common questions related to an injury accident, do not hesitate to contact Whibbs Stone Barnett, Attorneys at Law online or at (850) 434-5395 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION on all personal injury claims with our personal injury law firm in Pensacola, FL and Fort Walton Beach, FL.
We look forward to delivering the service you expect and the compensation you deserve. We really can help.
What are some common myths about accident cases?
Myth: There is no time limit for when I can make a claim.
Fact: The statute of limitations defines a specific deadline by which you must file your personal injury lawsuit. Different statutes of limitations may apply to your case, depending on the type of claim.
Myth: I have no obvious injuries from the accident, so I cannot make a claim.
Fact: Some injuries are not noticeable until days or even weeks after an accident. Therefore, it is crucial to have a medical examination and consult an attorney as soon as you can after the accident.
Myth: I do not need to file a lawsuit because my insurance company will provide compensation.
Fact: Unfortunately, insurance companies usually put their own interests over their policyholders’. To obtain fair compensation, it is always advantageous to consult an attorney.
What should I prepare for my first meeting with a lawyer?
Getting ready to meet with a lawyer for the first time can be intimidating, particularly if you have never needed legal aid before. Be sure to bring:
- Copies of accident reports describing your injuries and what happened
- Copies of hospital and other medical bills
- Any diagnoses or prescriptions from the doctor
- A description of any communication between you and your insurance company
What questions should I ask when selecting an attorney?
Of course, one of the most important things to bring is a list of questions you have regarding the process of making an accident injury claim or about Pensacola accident laws in general. Common questions to ask include:
- How much experience do you have in accident litigation in Pensacola?
- Do you usually represent victims or defendants in Pensacola accident litigation?
- How much will you charge?
- Do you charge if the case is unsuccessful?
Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?
It is in your best interests to provide only your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement.
Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?
About 95 percent of personal injury cases settle prior to trial.
How much will the legal process cost?
Whibbs Stone Barnett will be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation evaluation of your prospective personal injury claim.
We accept personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you pay no legal fees unless we recover money for you. We understand that families can be ruined, both physically and financially, when a loved one is seriously injured in an accident. Medical bills can mount quickly, and in many instances, the injured family member misses work because of the injuries, causing even greater financial hardship for the family. A contingency-fee arrangement allows you and your family to receive assistance at the time you need it most.
What determines the amount I might recover?
Every case addresses three issues:
- Liability — establishing someone’s negligence
- Damages — the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
- Source of collection — insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered
What are PIP benefits in Florida?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are paid by your insurance company after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Each vehicle owner on the road is required by Florida law to carry $10,000 of PIP insurance coverage.
PIP insurance pays 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages, up to $10,000. The remainder must be covered by you or by another driver who was at fault in the accident.
Beginning in January 2013, car crash victims must seek medical help from a doctor or an emergency room within 14 days of an accident in order to be eligible for PIP benefits. You can no longer seek medical care directly from a chiropractor, physical therapist or other alternative care provider. You may be covered by PIP for such treatment only if your medical doctor recommends such treatment.
There is no PIP coverage for motorcycle accidents.
A dog bit me. Who do I tell?
Contact your local animal control agency or the police.
What is the “one free bite” rule?
In Florida, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior — biting or otherwise displaying a “vicious propensity” — the owner can be held liable. One of our dog bite accident attorneys can analyze your case without charge to you.
How long will my case take?
It depends. Usually it takes several months to gather all the necessary medical records and obtain expert opinions from specialists willing to testify under oath.
Our experience is that if the case is not settled promptly, it takes about 18 months to two years from the time suit is filed until trial. The time can be a little more or a little less. Our Pensacola accident lawyers find that most of our cases usually settle somewhere along the way to trial. We believe the reasons we are able to settle — which eliminates the considerable gamble of a jury trial — are that we evaluate and select our cases carefully and we work them up and prepare them carefully so the defendants are willing to pay to eliminate their risk of an adverse jury verdict.