Looking for a personal injury lawyer Port St Lucie?
Why should you hire one?
Want a list of crucial things to know when you are injured?
In this article, we will look at all you need to know about a Personal Injury Lawyer in Port St Lucie, what they do, if you need one, how much they cost, how to become one, what salary they make, how to find the best one for your case and more.
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let’s dig into the personal injury law profession to find out!
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Let’s get started!
What does a personal injury lawyer do
First things first, what does a personal injury lawyer do?
Personal injury lawyer role
Personal injury lawyers represent plaintiffs suing for damages following an accident or after having suffered injuries due to the negligence of another.
The flip side of the coin is that they may also provide legal defense to defendants sued by a person claiming damages for suffered injuries.
Typically, personal injury attorneys are solicited in the following ways:
- Provide legal consultation on a person’s rights and obligations
- Investigate a possible claim
- Speak to possible witnesses
- Gather evidence and records of an event or accident
- Speak to medical practitioners, healthcare professionals and doctors
- Assess possible damages that may be claimed
- Evaluate the strength of a case
- Identify the applicable legal theories
- File a personal injury lawsuit
- Handle discovery
- Go through possible mediation
- Negotiate a settlement with different parties like defendant or insurance company
- Go to trial if the case cannot settle out of court
Personal injury attorneys practice in the area of personal injury law and tort law but will often need to have competencies in other areas as well, such as:
- Court rules of procedure
- Rules of evidence
- Insurance laws and injury-related claims
- Pleadings before a judge or jury
There are many ways a person can suffer damages following an accident or due to a negligent act.
Here are a few examples of accidents that may cause injuries:
- Car accident
- Workplace accidents
- Accidents at home
- Dog bites
- Bike accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Traffic collisions
- Defective products
The list can get quite long.
Prior to the filing of a lawsuit, it’s important to investigate the facts, gather the evidence, understand the circumstances of an accident, understand the legal basis and quantify how much the victim may claim in damages if a lawsuit is filed.
The objective is to ensure that the legal action can be filed and structured in the most optimal way to ensure the best possible outcome.
Following an accident, the victim can suffer property damages (material damages), physical damages (bodily injuries) or psychological (immaterial damages).
Physical damages are easy to recognize, they are bodily injuries like broken bones, burns, fractures, whiplash, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, back injuries or other physically apparent damages.
Psychological damages relate to a person’s mental state and include things like anxiety, stress, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-physical injuries.
From a legal standpoint, a personal injury attorney can assess and quantify in dollar value the amount of damages whether they qualify as material, physical and psychological damages.
Personal injury lawsuit
In addition to the pre-filing investigation and assessment, you’ll need to have a legal professional well-versed and experienced in actually filing a lawsuit and dealing with the court proceedings.
To file a personal injury lawsuit and successfully try the case, you need top-notch preparation and legal representation prior to and during the commencement of legal proceedings.
No matter the nature of the injury, a personal injury attorney’s main duty is to:
- Provide injured individuals with legal advice and representation to get compensation from the negligent party
- Defend a person sued for negligence or for damages resulting from an alleged injury
- Represent the plaintiff before the judge or jury
- Present evidence to the court to prove the facts surrounding the accident, the responsibility of the defendant and the damages caused
You may also have heard of the term “trial lawyers”.
Many refer to personal injury lawyers as trial lawyers instead.
However, a trial lawyer is a broad term referring to lawyers that litigate in court and represent clients in trial.
That can be in personal injury cases but also other types of cases as well.
Port St Lucie lawyers
Port St Lucie is a beautiful area in Florida’s Treasure Coast.
It is a city in the St. Lucie County, Florida and it is located between Orlando (125 miles) and Miami (113 miles).
The Port St. Lucie Metropolitan Area includes the counties of St. Lucie and Martin.
It has its City Hall located at 121 SW. Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.
Its nearby cities are:
- Fort Pierce
- Palm City
- Jensen Beach
- Vero Beach
The name “St Lucie” comes from the name of a settlement near Jupiter Inlet founded on the St. Lucia day in 1566.
It’s a vibrant city with great natural beauties.
May law firms and lawyers practice personal injury law in Port St. Lucie and can provide legal support and guidance to individuals in the area or in the nearby cities.
Personal injury law
Personal injury law is a set of legal statutes, rules, regulations, case laws, legislation and common law (all known as tort law) designed to protect individuals and their property from damages, injuries or harm caused by negligent acts or omissions of others.
Personal injury laws
Statutes are legal rules and requirements adopted by the legislator governing the decision of the courts.
Common law is the general law of fairness and justice developed over time by the courts through their decisions.
The objective of personal injury law is to ensure that the person or entity responsible for causing damages compensates the injuries caused to the victim.
The victim must be made whole again and put back (to the best extent possible) in a state prior to the accident or injury.
The common way to compensate a victim of an accident having suffered property damage or bodily injuries is through the award of monetary damages.
Burden of proof
When a personal injury lawsuit is initiated by a person (the plaintiff), he or she has the burden of proof to demonstrate the negligence of the defendant and the damages suffered.
To get compensation, the plaintiff will need to specifically prove:
- The defendant is the negligent party
- The negligence caused personal injury
- The injury resulted in harm that must be compensated by damages
To have a better chance of succeeding in a personal injury action, many will retain the services of a personal injury lawyer to provide them guidance and legal assistance as it relates to personal injury laws.
Tort law can be divided into several categories:
- Product liability
- Intentional torts
- Dignitary torts
How much does a personal injury attorney cost
Depending on the lawyer’s experience or the law firm you select, the price you’ll pay for a personal injury attorney may vary.
The most traditional fee arrangement charged by lawyers, in general, is on an hourly basis.
Essentially, the lawyer will charge you an agreed rate for every hour he or she spends time on your case.
Very often, clients do not like such a fee arrangement as it’s difficult to predict how much a case may eventually cost.
When you start legal action, you don’t know if the lawyer will spend 100, 500 or 1,000 on your case.
In this type of fee arrangement, the lawyer does not share any risk with the client and will be paid strictly an hourly rate regardless of whether the client wins the case or not.
In personal injury cases when a person suffers physical or mental injuries, they may lose their job, not be able to work full time, lose money by paying for doctors and medical bills and are likely in a state of financial hardship.
For this reason, lawyers have come up with an alternative fee arrangement called the contingency fee arrangement.
Under a contingency fee, the plaintiff does not pay anything to the lawyer but if the lawyer settles the case or gets a recovery of some kind, the sums recovered will be shared between the plaintiff and the lawyer.
Just because the client does not pay anything for the filing of the legal proceedings does not make the legal fees any cheaper.
The lawyers can charge contingency fees that may range between 25% to 40% of the case.
In some jurisdictions, lawyers are legally capped to a set percentage and cannot exceed that threshold.
For example, if the lawyer has a 25% contingency fee arrangement, a settlement of $10,000 will cost the client $2,500.
A settlement of $100,000 will cost the client $25,000.
Do you need a personal injury attorney
When faced with a legal issue or question, many wonder if they need a lawyer to advise them or represent them.
The most common questions asked are:
- Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
- When to call a personal injury attorney?
- Can I handle the legal matter myself?
- Is it worth it hiring a lawyer?
Although it is not mandatory to hire a lawyer to pursue a personal injury matter in court or deal with various parties involved following an injury or accident, in some cases, it may be worth it to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
To successfully prosecute a claim or to navigate the legal complexities surrounding a personal injury matter when dealing with the at-fault party, insurance carriers, courts, doctors, experts and other stakeholders, a personal injury lawyer can be a true ally.
Filing a lawsuit can be complex, confusing and daunting for someone who has been recently injured.
Let’s face it, dealing with an injury and navigating the legal system can be exhausting and extremely stressful.
Having a trained and knowledgeable professional do the heavy-lifting for you can be not only valuable in itself but can also increase your chances of getting a proper settlement or court judgment.
A personal injury attorney Port St Lucie may very well be the legal professional you need to fight for you and get the maximum settlement or compensation in your case.
Choosing a lawyer
In a nutshell, when it’s time to evaluate whether you need a lawyer, many will choose a lawyer that fits with the following characteristics:
- They trust the lawyer and are comfortable with the lawyer’s advice
- They sense that the lawyer is interested in their case
- The lawyer has a good reputation
- The lawyer has strong credentials
- The lawyer may have worked on similar cases in the past
- The lawyer’s fees are reasonable and the cost is well-structured
- The lawyer’s office is conveniently located
Questions to ask
In the process of hiring a lawyer, here are some key questions that you should make sure you ask:
- For how many years are you practicing law?
- Do you practice solely in personal injury law?
- Have you dealt with a similar case in the past?
- How many cases in personal injury have you handled?
- What are your fees?
- Do you offer contingency fee arrangements?
- What do you need from me to get started?
Common personal injury claims
What are the most common types of personal injury claims filed in Port St. Lucie?
There are many situations that can potentially lead to personal injury.
Many legal claims and lawsuits filed related to:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Traffic collisions
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Product defects
- Service liability
- Medical injuries
- Health service malpractice
- Dog bites
- Negligent security
- Nursing home neglect
- Construction accidents
- Boat accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Swimming pool accident
An accident or event can drastically change someone’s life causing serious injuries, disability, financial hardship or psychological anguish and suffering.
A person suffering an important or life-changing accident or serious damage should consult with a qualified attorney to have a better understanding of their legal rights.
Personal injury statistics in Port St. Lucie
If we look at auto accidents and vehicle related accidents, in a 2018 study based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States resulting in 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
Motor vehicle accidents and injuries suffered from traffic collisions represents a large segment of the personal injury lawsuits in the United States.
Particularly, in Florida, with a population of 21,299,325 in 2018, there were 2,915 fatal crashes and 3,133 deaths resulting in a state average of 14.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
Furthermore, the study finds that in Florida there were:
- 1,009 car occupant deaths
- 562 pickup and SUV occupant deaths
- 42 large truck occupant deaths
- 574 motorcyclist deaths representing 18% of the motor vehicle deaths
- 704 pedestrian deaths representing 22% of the traffic fatalities
- 160 bicyclist deaths
- 52% of fatal crashes involved a single vehicle
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a good source of data with regards to national statistics involving motor vehicle and traffic accidents.
Here is the link to the crash statistics available up to 2018.
According to the Florida Health, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury in Port St. Lucie and the third-highest cause of accidental deaths in Florida.
According to the Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report of 2017, in St. Lucie, 5,062 crashes took place in 2017 where 2,113 resulted in injuries and 42 deaths.
In addition to the traffic collisions and accidents resulting in significant cause of injury and deaths, Florida Health statistics show on other factors contributing to fatal and non-fatal injuries in Florida:
- 71,246 cases of falls, including slip and falls
- 11,758 cases of drug overdose
- 1,294 cases of pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- 533 cases of gunshots
- 141 cases of Animal bites
- 90 cases of Drowning
How to file a personal injury claim
You’ve been injured due to the fault or negligence of another, what happens next?
What do you need to do to file a personal injury claim?
Here is a short guide on what to do after an accident in light of a potential filing of a claim:
- Gather your evidence
- Speak to a personal injury attorney
- File a claim with the insurance company
- File a personal injury claim
Step 1: Gather your evidence
So in step 1, you’ll need to gather all the details, evidence and documentation relating to the accident and what transpired.
You’ll need to collect things like:
- Medical bills
- Medical reports
- Insurance papers
- Witness names
- Police reports
Step 2: Contact a personal injury attorney
Once you’ve gathered the essential documents, it’s advisable that you speak with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney.
The advantage of talking with a lawyer is that you can get quick and immediate guidance on what to do, what not to do and what to keep in mind.
They know the Florida laws and can immediately advise on your rights and recourses.
Florida has statute of limitation laws limiting the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim in court.
It’s important not to delay the process and contact an attorney as soon as possible to avoid losing the opportunity to get compensated for the damages you suffered.
Step 3: File a claim with the insurance carriers
In some cases, the victim of the accident or the defendant may have an insurance policy that may cover the damages resulting from the accident.
In that case, the next step is to consider filing a claim with the applicable insurance carrier.
Although this step does not require you to have a lawyer represent you, keep in mind that insurance law and the insurance claim process can get quite complex.
As such, you may want to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer to support you when navigating the insurance rules and procedures.
Your lawyer can provide you legal assistance in regards to:
- Communicating with the insurance companies involved
- Speaking with the investigators of the accident
- Speaking with the designated insurance representative
- Strategically guiding you in pursuing your claim
- Dealing with the insurance adjuster in a beneficial way for you
If you handle your insurance claim yourself, you may do or say something that can either result in the denial of your claim or drastically reduce the compensation that you would have been entitled to.
There are some who are capable of self-representing (pro se litigants), but that will require dedication, effort and discipline to stay on top of your case at all times.
If you don’t want to pay for the services of a lawyer during this stage, it’s advisable to at least have an in-person consultation or a telephone consultation with a qualified attorney.
Step 4: File a personal injury claim
Filing a claim to get compensation for personal injuries suffered requires the evaluation of many factors.
A thorough factual and legal investigation is crucial to ensure that all the chances are on your side to win the case.
A court case in tort will formally begin when the plaintiff files a complaint and serves a copy to the defendant.
A Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyer can be hired to file your personal injury claim as:
- They understand the Florida law regarding personal injury cases
- They can assess your damages prior to filing your claim
- They can file the best possible claim in light of the factual basis of your case
- They may bring additional co-defendants into the action to maximize your chances of recovery
Knowing the legal terms, the ramification of such terms and how to leverage such theories in a lawsuit is crucial.
Top lawyers in Port St Lucie
When confronted with a legal issue, many of you will decide to contact a lawyer for advice, consultation or representation.
In this process, here are the most common questions that come to mind when looking for a lawyer:
- Where can I find top-rated personal injury attorney?
- How do I find the best personal injury lawyer in Port Saint Lucie?
- Who is the best personal injury attorney near me?
If you suffered a personal injury in a place of business or elsewhere or you suffered property damage due to another’s negligence and careless behavior, you should reach out to an attorney specialized in tort law, personal injury law and negligence.
There are certain websites that provide you with a list of lawyers per area of practice, state and city.
You can search for individual lawyers or search for law firms.
For instance, you can go to the following websites to find experienced attorneys near you:
- Super Lawyers Port Saint Lucie, FL Personal Injury Lawyers
- FindLaw Saint Lucie County, FL, Personal Injury Lawyers, Attorneys and Law Firms
- Justia Lawyers Port Saint Lucie Personal Injury Lawyers
- ThreeBest Rated Personal Injury Lawyers in Port St Lucie
There are many types of lawyer directories online where some just provide an index of lawyers matching your geographical search query while others evaluate the lawyers in a more rigorous way and consider peer evaluations.
On these online indexes, you’ll typically find the following information about an attorney:
- Lawyer’s name
- The law firm the lawyer works for
- Area of expertise
- Contact information
- Office address and location
- Office hours (some take calls 24 hours a day and 7 days a week)
- Link to their law firm website
- Email address or online form to reach out to them
- Short biography about the lawyer
- Lawyer’s education and training
- Perhaps client recommendations
In addition to finding lawyers through these referral services, you can reach out to the following organizations as well to look for a competent attorney:
- The Florida Bar
- Florida Bar lawyer referral services
- Florida Bar lawyer directory
- Bar Directories of the American Bar Association
How much does a personal injury lawyer make
Have you ever wondered what is the salary of a personal injury attorney?
According to a ZipRecruiter report also using ADP data, in 2021 the average salary of a personal injury attorney in Florida is $64,888 ($31.20 per hour) and the national average is $82,049 per year.
Florida is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to the average salary personal injury lawyers.
In states like Massachusetts or New York, the average expected salary hovers between $84,791 to $95,607.
How to become a personal injury attorney
To become a personal injury lawyer, you will first need to be admitted to law school.
There are different universities with a law faculty offering you the possibility to earn a degree in law.
Some universities are harder to get in than others.
Most of the major universities in the U.S. will require that you pass a Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Once you are admitted to law school, you’ll need to work hard to maintain a solid academic track-record so you can eventually aspire to work in major law firms.
Major law firms have the advantage of being able to pick the best students from the best universities.
There are so many qualified and knowledgeable students but so few positions available in major firms that law students will need to work hard in maintaining a solid overall average.
Once you obtain your university degree in law, you’ll then need to write the Bar exams applicable to your local jurisdiction.
Once admitted as a lawyer in your jurisdiction, you will then need to work in a law firm handling personal injury matters and practicing in the area of tort law.
Personal injury lawyers can concentrate their entire practice on specific types of personal injury law (medical malpractice law, auto accident law or something specific) or practice tort law in a broader sense.
The more a lawyer limits their areas of practice to specific niches, the more they will be specialized.
On the flip side, the more a lawyer takes on different cases, the more they will be generalists.
In the United States, certain bar associations and organizations offer certifications specifically in the area of personal injury.
To further your knowledge in this field, you may get those certifications or register for continuing legal education in tort law.
There are associations that personal injury lawyers can join to further exchange and learn from one another, such as:
- American Bar Association
- Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
- American Association for Justice
- The National Trial Lawyers
Why become a tort lawyer
Tort lawyers practice in an area of law aimed at keeping our society safe and holding wrongdoers accountable for their fault and negligence.
Most importantly, they help victims hold the wrongdoers accountable for the damages they have caused.
Many tort lawyers derive significant satisfaction in helping victims of an accident or those who have been wronged in getting justice and their life back (to the extent possible).
On the flip side of the coin, lawyers representing defendants in tort cases are lawyers who wish to maintain a balance in the justice system.
Their objective is to ensure that individuals do not abuse other weaker parties by filing lawsuits and alleging damages abusively.
It is conceivable that a strong plaintiff with financial capacity may take advantage of a more vulnerable person or someone without the financial means to offer a meaningful defense in court.
In the end, lawyers prosecuting tort law cases or defending against it have a desire to maintain our society safe and free from abuse.
So what did we learn about Personal Injury Lawyers Port St Lucie?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Personal Injury Lawyer Port St Lucie:
We hope you found this article on Personal Injury Lawyer In Port St Lucie useful in case you are dealing with a personal injury case, have suffered injuries or are being sued for damages. We also recommend you look in the related legal terms and concepts. Enjoy!
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