person on the ground holding their injured ankle

Personal Injury Lawyers in Lakeland, Florida

You’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by a careless driver or an animal attack caused by an owner with no respect for the law, and now you’re facing thousands of dollars in medical bills. On top of that, you’re out of work for the foreseeable future, so you don’t even have a way to pay the mounting medical debt. What next?

With the help of Lakeland injury lawyers, you can take steps to hold the liable party accountable for their negligence. When someone else’s choices causes you physical and financial harm, we believe that you shouldn’t be left picking up the pieces on your own.

Why Darla K. Snead, P.L.? From the very beginning, your case is handled by an attorney, not a case manager or paralegal like many law firms. We believe support staff is for support, not managing your case, assisting you with important decisions, or negotiating with insurance companies. Learn more about personal injury cases here, and when you’re ready to get started, contact Darla K. Snead, P.L.

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury cases allow victims of negligence to seek financial compensation for their losses. It is part of the civil court system, not the criminal system. While those who cause crashes or injuries may be held criminally liable for their actions through charges or citations, these avenues do not offer compensation to victims. You must file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury law covers a broad range of accidents, crashes, and incidents. At our law office, we help victims of many types of accidents. You may be able to seek compensation after:

Proving Your Claim

Personal injury cases must be proven; you can’t simply say that your injuries were caused by an accident and ask for compensation. You must be able to prove four separate elements of negligence to have a valid claim:

  • Duty of care. The party who caused the accident or incident in question must have had a duty of care to you. This is fairly straightforward; a driver must act with reasonable care to avoid accidents while on the road. A pet owner must take reasonable steps to keep their animal leashed and under their control.
  • Breach of duty. The liable party must have breached their duty and failed to act in a reasonable manner. For example: a driver must have failed to act reasonably by texting while driving, speeding, or changing lanes unsafely. A pet owner must have breached their duty by having their dog off-leash in public. A store owner must have breached their duty by failing to secure hand rails on a stairway.
  • That breach of duty must have caused the accident that led to your injuries.
  • You must have sustained measurable losses as a result of your injuries.

This is why it’s so important to choose an experienced personal injury lawyer. They know exactly what type of evidence is needed to prove every element of negligence, thereby creating solid grounds for your claim to proceed.

The Personal Injury Claim Process

Knowing what to expect can help you feel more confident as you pursue your personal injury case. Discuss your options with Darla K. Snead and Michael H. Dulin, top injury lawyers in Lakeland, to prepare for what lies ahead.

Whether you’re pursuing compensation for a car accident, dog bite, or another type of injury-causing accident, the general process is the same. Here’s what you should expect as you proceed:

  • Your attorney will research and investigate. After you retain a Lakeland injury lawyer, they will start looking into your case. They will investigate the circumstances of the accident, gather evidence that could back up your claim, and obtain copies of your medical records related to the treatment for your injuries. As they investigate, they will look for clues indicating who is at fault and how much your injuries may impact your life. As the investigation concludes, they will be able to determine how much your injuries are financially worth.
  • They will send a demand letter to the insurance company. With a concrete number in mind, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter will outline how much they are asking for as a settlement on your behalf.
  • Negotiations will begin. The insurance company and your attorney will begin negotiating. The insurance company wants to minimize their likelihood of going to court while still avoiding a massive payout. Your attorney wants to secure a fair payout for you without going to court unnecessarily.
  • Either negotiation will yield a productive result… In this case, you will sign paperwork waiving your right to sue. The insurance company will cut a check. From that, your attorney fees will be paid, as will payouts to any other party with an interest in the case. The remainder will go to you.
  • …Or they will end. If negotiations end without an agreement, your attorney will move forward with a lawsuit. They will prepare for court and create a strong case proving the other side’s liability.

Hiring Your Personal Injury Attorney

You may wonder if you need a personal injury attorney, especially if the insurance company has already reached out to you. If they are already ready to offer a settlement, you don’t need to bother with an attorney, right?

Wrong. You can bet that the settlement being offered is minimal compared to what you actually deserve. Insurance companies are rarely willing to offer a fair settlement until a victim hires a Lakeland injury lawyer. At that point, they know that their options are limited. They know that your attorney is unlikely to encourage you to take an insulting settlement and that your attorney is willing to take them to court. That is when real negotiations begin and when you can expect them to start negotiating in good faith.

Another reason you need a personal injury attorney in Lakeland is the concept of comparative negligence. Florida utilizes a comparative fault statute. Under this statute, the amount you are awarded in a personal injury claim is decreased when you are partially at fault for the accident. If you are found to be 30% at fault for the accident, your award decreases by 30%. Insurance companies use this to your advantage, arguing that you deserve less of a settlement by inflating the amount of fault attributed to you. Your attorney can combat these efforts and put the blame where it belongs: with the careless driver, pet owner, or property owner.

Having an attorney you can trust can make the entire personal claim process much easier and less stressful for you. Look for an attorney with experience in cases similar to yours, a practical plan for your case, and evidence to back up the amount they think you deserve.

Turn to Darla K. Snead, P.L.

You shouldn’t have to take on the insurance companies alone, especially while handling the stress and pain of injuries. That’s why Darla K. Snead and Michael H. Dulin are here to help. No matter where you are in the process, you always deserve an attorney with your best interests in mind. Set up a consultation now by contacting Darla K. Snead, P.L. Call our office or reach out online to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you through this challenging time.

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