Personal Injury FAQs
As soon as possible, call Wood, Atter & Wolf. Consultations are always free. When you are injured, whether it's an auto accident or a slip & fall or due to medical negligence, nursing home neglect, or a defective product, insurance companies immediately engage in investigation to work against you. Wood, Atter & Wolf works for you. Time can be crucial to protecting your claim: the injury site is likely unchanged and witnesses' memories are the freshest. Also, the choice of the appropriate doctor can be vital to the health of your body and your case.What should I do when an insurance company calls after an injury?
DO NOT GIVE A STATEMENT, which is usually recorded and can be used against you later. To protect yourself, call Wood, Atter & Wolf right away. But if you are contacted before then, politely tell the insurance representative that you will call back at a more convenient time. Insurance investigators seem sympathetic and helpful and often discourage you from contacting an attorney. Do not be misled: these are trained professionals whose ONLY job is to avoid paying you the money you may deserve.How much will attorney's fees cost me?
At Wood, Atter & Wolf, you pay us nothing unless we recover for you. Our fee will be a percentage of the money we recover for you. No recovery? No fee. This way, all accident victims can hire an experienced attorney to battle the insurance company's hired guns. While the percentage charged depends on when the recovery is made, it will generally be from 33 1/3 % to 40%.How do I choose a Doctor?
Some doctors are fair only to insurance companies because they get a lot of business from them...and want to continue doing so in the future. Other doctors will be fair to YOU. From experience, Wood, Atter & Wolf knows who's who and we will assist you in getting good and fair medical care for your injuries and needs.The person from the insurance company was so nice and told me they won't pay me any more money if I get a lawyer...and the lawyer will actually cost me money. Is this true? Why do I need a lawyer?
NEVER FORGET: the insurance company's person is working ONLY in the best interests of the insurance company ... and what's good for the insurance company is almost always bad for you. Without an attorney, the insurance will try to settle with you quickly and cheaply. Wood, Atter & Wolf will work for you, investigate for you, negotiate for you, and if necessary, litigate for you to resolve your case at a premium for you.Can I go to any Doctor I want or does my insurance company get to pick?
In auto accident cases, your P.I.P. insurance company has NO right to choose your doctor. You can go to any doctor you want. In other kinds of injuries, you may have to choose a doctor who is on your list of preferred providers or primary care physicians depending on the type of health insurance you have. Wood, Atter & Wolf can review this with you and help you make a sound determination.Will the other person's insurance company pay my medical bills?
Not as the case or claim is on-going ... but "out of pocket" medical bills are factored into a final evaluation and settlement of your case.Will the other person's insurance company pay my lost wages?
Again, not as the case is going on, but "out of pocket" wage loss and lost earning ability are factored into a final evaluation and settlement of your case.Will the other person's insurance company pay me an "advance" for my injuries and then reach a final settlement later?
No, they will not normally do this. When the "at-fault" insurance company pays it is at the end of the case and it is final.What if it turns out my injuries are worse than I expect many years from now?
The settlement is still final at which time you will be required to sign a full "Release" of all claims. The same is true of a jury awarding you money. Sometimes, Wood, Atter & Wolf can negotiate a structured settlement, which will pay you or your heirs damages periodically for the rest of your life and beyond.How much income tax do I have to pay from my Personal Injury settlement or jury award?
None. Personal Injury settlements and jury awards are almost always tax-free.How long will my Personal Injury case last, from beginning to end?
The length of the case varies, depending on the nature and extent of your injuries and required medical treatment. On average, a Personal Injury case lasts 6 - 18 months. In most cases, Wood, Atter & Wolf will attempt to settle your case before filing suit. This usually comes after an average of 4-6 months of regularly-scheduled medical treatment, which will end when the Doctor releases you at, Maximim Medical Improvement. However, as soon as we learn that the insurance company is not willing to compensate you fairly for your injuries, Wood, Atter & Wolf will file suit on your behalf. Trial is typically 10-12 months after suit is filed.If a lawsuit is filed, does this mean I am going to trial?
No. 80-90% of lawsuits are settled before trial. However, insurance companies know that Wood, Atter & Wolf will take your case to a jury if required.Can Wood, Atter & Wolf "advance" me money on my case?
No, the Florida Bar forbids this. There are some financial companies who will consider "lending" you money against the proceeds of your case, however, Wood, Atter & Wolf does not recommend utilizing these services.What if I'm hurt on the job? Can I sue for "pain and suffering"?
If you are injured on the job due to your own fault, nobody's fault, or the fault of your employer or co-employees, your only recourse is a Worker's Compensation claim...and you cannot be compensated for "pain and suffering"-type damages. However, if you are injured on the job due to the fault of a Third Party (such as another automobile driver unconnected to your Employer), then Wood, Atter & Wolf can file a Third Party claim and seek the full slate of damages, including "pain and suffering."How much is my case worth?
The value of a case differs from case to case and client to client. It is almost impossible to accurately predict the value of your case before being treated and released from a doctor's care.What factors are considered in putting a value on my case?
The value of your case is dependent upon a number of factors, including:
- How the accident happened;
- The degree of fault, apportioned between the participants in the accident;
- The nature, degree, and severity of injuries;
- When, where and how faithfully you obtain medical care;
- Your lifestyle, interests, hobbies and activities before and after the accident;
- Your ability to work before and after the accident;
- Your medical history: any prior problems to the same areas of body;
- Your litigation history: any prior personal injury claims;
- Your work history: and
- Your life expectancy.
If your health insurance carrier has a "right of subrogation" clause in your policy, then you will have to pay back a portion of the payments they make on your behalf, if you receive compensation for your injuries. Wood, Atter & Wolf will negotiate just how much you have to pay back, if anything, as part of representing you.