Lewis & Castagliola
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Personal Injury Lawyer St. Petersburg FL

An injury can have a widespread impact on the victim’s life, ranging from the cost of their medical care to the impacts on their ability to perform meaningful work, in addition to the many emotional and psychological impacts that the trauma of the accident may have on them. These are just a few of the many ways that an accident can disrupt a victim’s life significantly. If someone else is responsible for the accident that caused the injuries, there is, fortunately, a path forward to recover compensation — typically either from the responsible party or their insurance company — to account for all of these measurable damages.

Depending on the specifics of the accident, whether or not the responsible party has appropriate insurance coverage, and a number of other factors, this compensation may be recovered through either a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. Many people believe that they will only benefit from a personal injury attorney if they need to file a lawsuit and choose to file an insurance claim on their own. The reality, though, is that insurance companies are just as aggressively trying NOT to pay you as the defendant and their attorney in a lawsuit case. This is why we encourage you to contact Lewis & Castagliola, P.A. as soon as possible.

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Contact Lewis & Castagliola, P.A. for a Free Consultation With a St. Pete Personal Injury Attorney

Our St. Petersburg law firm offers a free consultation for victims of personal injury so we can take a closer look at your case and get a sense of how we can work together to help you fight for the money you deserve. Deciding what steps you should take in the days and weeks following an accident can be overwhelming, especially as you are trying to come to terms with your injuries, manage your pain, and make sense of what your immediate future will look like regarding things like your employment and your ability to enjoy your free time. When you have an attorney handling your insurance claim, you can focus on your personal and professional life without taking on the additional burden of managing this complicated legal process.

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help. We encourage you to contact us before even initiating your insurance claim so every step of the process is handled by an experienced legal professional. Insurance companies look for “gotcha” moments to use as justification to lower your settlement, but as trained legal professionals we will be able to take all necessary steps to avoid these sorts of hindrances to you getting what you deserve.

Personal injury cases are dictated by tort law, which is a civil issue as opposed to a criminal issue. Essentially, civil cases are based on the private rights of individuals, while criminal cases are based on violations of local, state, and federal laws. As such, civil cases focus only on compensation instead of jail time and criminal records.

In order for a victim to be able to seek compensation in the form of a personal injury claim, the situation must meet certain criteria which are explained below.

The Defendant Owed the Plaintiff a Duty of Care

A duty of care is an obligation, either implied or explicit, that an individual has in regards to keeping other people safe, and will vary depending on the task or activity the defendant is taking part in. For example, a driver’s duty of care is to obey the rules of the road and the restrictions of their driver’s license in order to keep all others safe — such as driving sober and at the speed limit. Depending on the cause of your injuries, you and your personal injury attorney will need to take a close look at the range of duties of care that may be expected in the situation.

The Defendant Failed To Uphold Their Duty of Care

If a driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are over the legal limit for alcohol, or if they have consumed other mind-altering drugs, they are ignoring their duty of care of making sure everyone stays safe on the road. This is one of many examples of how someone can fail a duty of care that is specific to the activity they are taking part in. Another duty of care is that of a landlord to their tenants — an obligation to maintain a safe property within the bounds of the state and federal guidelines for landlord obligations to their tenants.

The Failure Caused an Accident

Driving drunk is a criminal offense; however, it does not become a civil issue unless an accident has occurred. It is important to recognize that if someone is charged with a crime such as a DUI stemming from your accident, their criminal charges do not limit your ability to file a civil claim against them. Additionally, there do not need to be criminal charges filed against the defendant in order for you to seek compensation from them in a civil claim, either. The burden of proof for a civil case is far lower than a criminal case, and there are a number of notable instances where a defendant is found “not guilty” in a criminal court, but is held liable in a civil court.

The Accident Caused Measurable Damages To the Victim

The final factor necessary for a civil case is that of damages: if you were in a minor fender-bender with a drunk driver and you suffered no injuries or damages beyond some work to your car, then you do not have any damages to seek compensation for in a civil case. Damages are discussed below in greater detail so you can get a better sense of what types of damages are considered in personal injury cases.

Personal injury cases seek financial compensation for a victim, but they do not solely apply to impacts that have measurable dollar values. This means that you can seek compensation for the pain of your injuries as readily as you can seek compensation for your medical bills, provided you have strong evidence and your attorney is prepared to negotiate. If the negotiations fail, or if your attorney believes that filing a lawsuit is your best bet, the next step will be to officially file a complaint in the Florida courts

Personal injury damages are divided into two distinct parts: economic damages, and non-economic damages. Both seek financial compensation, but each uses different methods to calculate and seek this compensation.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the basis of your personal injury case, and are commonly the less-contentious of the two. These include any damages with measurable dollar values associated with them, such as a bill, invoice, receipt, or cost estimate. The most common, and often highest-value economic damages are your medical bills and any impacts on your income. Medical bills include all expenses associated with your injury including hospital visits, physical therapy, prescription copayments, assistive devices, long-term treatment, and more. Your income-based damages include decreases in your paycheck, but also seek repayment for things like PTO or sick leave used to cover missed days following your accident, as well as long-term impacts on your ability to earn money. 

There are many other economic damages that you are likely entitled to, and one of the many things your St. Petersburg personal injury attorney can do is help you identify all of these damages and make sure you are seeking payment for all of the ways this accident has impacted your life. The insurance company will happily overlook any damages you do not submit on your own, because their primary goal is to pay as little as possible for claims.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the trickier of the two, simply because they seek financial compensation for damages that do not have a monetary value. The most common non-economic damages are things like the pain and suffering of your injuries, as well as the emotional and psychological damage that the experience of a traumatic accident can cause. These damages are particularly difficult to quantify, especially for someone who is not familiar with personal injury claims, to begin with. Your attorney will go through all of these impacts in order to gather all relevant information about how this accident has impacted you in non-economic ways and will have a variety of tools at their disposal to determine a fair dollar amount for them.

Non-economic damages are typically the most difficult for an individual to seek on their own, and this is even more true as you are trying to recover from your injuries. Insurance companies have decades of experience paying as little as possible for insurance claims, and a big part of this comes from avoiding non-economic damages aggressively. Let your attorney handle these calculations and negotiations while you focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.

 

The following are just a few of the types of personal injury claims that we typically work with. Whether or not you see your own situation listed below, simply contact us now for a free consultation and get started on your own case as soon as possible.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are the most common of all personal injury claims, which makes sense considering there were 401,865 car accidents in 2019 in Florida alone. Many people simply file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but in nearly all of these cases, the victim ultimately walks away with far less than what they deserve — especially if they have suffered physical injuries in addition to property damage.

Motorcycle Accidents

Florida is the most dangerous state in the country in terms of fatal motorcycle accidents, and is routinely in the top 3 states for the most motorcycle accidents, fatal or not. This means that no matter how experienced you may be, and no matter how defensive of a motorcycle rider you are, you are at the mercy of those you share the road with. In addition to the increased risk of an accident, the injuries associated with motorcycle accidents can be much worse than car accidents because the rider has much less protection.

Premises Liability Accidents

Each time you visit someone else’s property, whether private, public, or government-owned, you have a right to expect that the owners take your safety seriously, and maintain the property to eliminate hazards and avoid accidents. This is not always the case, though, and if you are hurt on someone else’s property due to a hazard that they failed to correct, you may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability claim. The most common premises liability cases come from slip and fall accidents, when someone slips on a wet or icy surface and hurts themselves.

Medical Malpractice

Licensed medical professionals have an enormous duty of care to their patients that focuses on providing responsible and accepted treatment without causing undue harm. This does not mean that a doctor is required to provide a guaranteed outcome, which is impossible, only that they will use accepted treatments and provide sensible care. For example, failing to cure someone’s cancer while using accepted courses of treatment is not a failure of the doctor’s duty of care; however, attempting to cure someone using fringe treatments or improper therapies may likely be a failure of this duty, and may be medical malpractice.

Construction Accidents

Construction sites are dangerous places for workers, which is why a number of construction-related careers rank high on the lists of most dangerous professions. Most often, injured workers are covered by their employer’s workers compensation policy, but there are many times where the cause of the accident is beyond the workers’ comp coverage and the victim can seek damages beyond what their employer’s insurance policies cover. Whether you are filing a workers’ comp claim or if you want to learn more about your right to file a lawsuit after a construction accident, contact us now to learn more.

Working with an attorney is one of the best decisions that you can make following an accident that someone else caused. Going up against the insurance companies on your own is both stressful and frustrating, and your primary focus following your accident should be your health. When you are trying to go through the claims process, especially if you are advocating for more compensation than the insurance company is offering, the added stress can be detrimental to your recovery. By offloading this burden on a trained professional, you can focus on your health and recovery with confidence, knowing that your personal injury attorney is fighting for what you deserve.

Unfortunately, people do not realize that working with a personal injury lawyer can be within their reach, and that the difference in awards between working with an attorney versus handling your claim on your own often pays for the attorney while still leaving you with more cash in settlement. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we take a percentage of your final award for payment, and you don’t pay anything if we don’t win. We are here to help, and we look forward to guiding you through this process.

Personal Injury

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Civil Litigation

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Business Law

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Testimonials

“I endorse Alexander Lewis as a competent dedicated litigation attorney. I have and would refer individuals in the community to Mr. Lewis.”

Joseph Murphy

“Alex Lewis is very knowledgeable and professional lawer that helped me to resolve several of my business issues in the past. I am very grateful for his services and highly recommend him!!”

Tatyana Dance

Lewis & Castagliola, P.A. is based out of their home office in St. Petersburg, FL but represents clients throughout the state, including Central Florida and the Gulf Coast.