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Personal Injury Guide

Brevard County Personal Injury Lawyers

Understanding what is likely to happen in your personal injury claim is the first step in being comfortable with the legal process ahead of you. Our Brevard County personal injury attorneys have compiled a thorough guide that you should use as reference whenever needed. Keep in mind that all personal injury claims are unique, and that this guide can only describe typical procedures and expectations.

When you come to High Stack Gordon, we take on your case as if we are representing a close friend, and in many ways we are. A full team of attorneys and support staff get to work on your case, utilizing all of our knowledge and equipment, which includes a research facility. No one is given a cookie-cutter treatment and every case gets our full attention.

To best prepare your case, we need to know every detail, big and small, in regards to your accident or injuries. We need you to feel confident in telling us everything, even if you think it might be information that increases your liability. If you cannot provide us with all available evidence, we will not be as effective as can be in creating and advocating your claim.

It is true that the majority of personal injury claims are settled in a conference room. However, we like to prepare every case as if it was certain to go to trial. This gives us an edge over the opposition, who usually approach the situation with less seriousness.

Beginning & Opening Stages

Within the initial stages of your personal injury case, we reach out to insurance companies to let them know that we are representing you in this claim. During this time, we ask insurance companies to provide complete copies of any evidence they have gathered, including your own statements. After you retain our Brevard personal injury attorneys, we ask that you do not speak to anyone else about your claim, not even family members. When someone asks you for information, please direct them to us. This helps us preserve the integrity of your case.

Furthermore, we like to contact any medical professionals or clinics that saw to your injuries to inform them that we are your legal representatives. We instruct them to not give any of your private medical files to insurance adjusters or the opposition without first asking us for permission. When these priorities are handled, we turn to police officers and potential witnesses to get statements that can help your case. If it makes sense to do so, we will ask you to give us information regarding your employment. This information often helps us better calculate your real economic loss, or damages, as a result of the accident. Sometimes, we hire a private investigator to even further empower your case.

Duration of a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury claims will not close until the full extent of your injuries or health conditions are known. Investigations have to be given time to reach conclusions and gather all evidence, which could easily take a month or more. If you are still recovering from your injuries, the case may be extended additional months. Defendants also get 30+ days to respond to lawsuits once they are filed, meaning your case could be delayed that amount by the defendant's reluctance to respond. We must also get both discovery dates and a trial scheduled on your calendar, which can be pushed back if the court is already quite busy with other cases. We hope you find peace of mind in knowing that we are doing everything we can to eliminate unnecessary delays and to keep your case moving forward.

The Value of Your Case

Figuring out how much your case is really worth is the last decision we make because it depends upon unexpected variables and cannot be determined on a whim. Once our investigation has been completed and all necessary personal and medical information has been recorded, we can start calculating what settlement amount should be given to you. Initial calculations are subject to change if we later discover more damages.

The amount of compensation you win can be impacted due to comparative negligence, or how much you are legally responsible for your own injuries. The more negligent the court finds you in the events leading up to your accident, the less you can recover. One of our top goals is reducing your comparative negligence as much as possible and maximizing your recovery amount in return.

While we are working on your case and trying to figure out what settlement will be fair, we encourage that you keep your finances in order. Do not start spending as if you are automatically going to win, as some clients do. Every case is different and no law firm can ever guarantee a victory.

Communicating with Our Attorneys

A big problem that can undermine your case is a lack of communication between yourself and your Brevard personal injury lawyer. However, too much communication can also be an issue, especially if a client continually interrupts an attorney's work with worried phone calls. We do everything we can to help you feel confident in your case as we work on it, including staying communicative, open, and honest. If we do not answer the phone, you can leave a message and we will call back at our first opportunity.

Consider these hints to relieve any worries about communication with our law firm:

  1. Let our support staff know what you need and they might be able to answer your questions or address your concerns then and there. This saves everyone time and energy. Just keep in mind that support staff members are not permitted by law to give you legal advice.
  2. When one of our support staff does not know how to address your concern, feel free to leave a message for our attorneys. Our staff always passes along messages in a timely manner.
  3. When sending us correspondence, mark it as confidential if you believe it should not be seen by others.

Your Lawsuit

When we file your lawsuit depends on the facts of your case. We might file immediately, or wait to gather more information. More commonly, we go through preparation phases and reach out to insurance companies before actually filing a lawsuit. Sometimes an insurance company will agree to a fair settlement before a lawsuit is ever filed. This saves their company the reputation damage that occurs when they are sued, as the case will be public, and it saves you time.

Official Complaints

A personal injury lawsuit begins when the plaintiff fills out a Complaint.

Answers to Complaints

The defendant must them formally respond to the Complaint, or provide an Answer. Do not expect the defendant to say anything about damages or their own liability for them in the Answer. Instead, the Answer will probably be counterclaims or arguments to defeat your statements.

Discovery Deposition

What Most People Don't Know About Lawsuits

Depositions are statements given to a lawyer under oath and recorded by a court reporter. Since depositions are collected in an office and not before a judge, it is considered an informal proceeding. The court reporter will also relay questions from the opposition during the informal session and record your responses. This is a form of fact discovery that is crucial to any lawsuit and should not be seen as some sort of aggression against you from the opposition.

In Florida, you must share the discovery deposition with the opposition when requested. You must also give your deposition when necessary. A session should be scheduled and you are required to attend.

Anything said in your deposition can influence the case, for better or for worse. Any question that is allowable by legal standards has to be answered. However, our Brevard personal injury attorneys will be there to help you avoid saying too much or saying the wrong thing and hurting your case. You probably want to start talking about your case and share your story with the world. Do not. Saying as little as possible without being untruthful is best during depositions since the opposing legal counsel will be there, trying to pick apart your words.

Your deposition will also be used by both parties to see how you will respond or appear to a jury. Depositions can also reveal new information to help calculate a fair settlement.

How You Should Act

Your deposition is probably the first time anyone else involved in the case can see you. First impressions are more important than you might think in legal cases. Put on your best suit, dress, or near-formal attire. Groom yourself as if you are going to court and be as professional as possible. Also, wear shoes.

How You Should Act

Respect can get you places in the legal world. Do not try to befriend the opposition but also do not be rude to them in any way. Your honesty, patience, and collected demeanor will speak volumes of who you are and will let the opposition know you are serious. Speak up, let your voice be heard, and conduct the deposition calmly.

How to Be Prepared

During the deposition, you may be asked to show your injuries and discuss related damaged. Bring copies of medical records, wages lost, and the like. Please let our Brevard personal injury lawyers know if you want us to create copies of this information to bring with us to the deposition. We usually assume that our clients would like us to prepare these articles as well.

Do Not Converse

You are not there to make friends or chat. Depositions are formal and should be conducted as such. When there is no question directed to you, stay silent.

Never Lie But Do Not Overshare

You must answer all questions unless your attorney informs you the question is disallowed. Try to be concise and say as little as you can without lying. Never say anything you know to be false. You should also try to only say what you know personally. You should also not feel obligated to help the opposition understand the details of the case. That job is theirs alone.

Think Before Speaking

There is no rush in a deposition. If you want more clarification or a minute to think before answering a prompt, ask for it. Your answers need to be reflective of what you want to say, not what the opposition wants to hear.

Short Answers are Best

The longer your answer, the more likely you are hurting your own case. Basic facts are what the opposition needs to hear, so keep it short. Giving opinions is generally discouraged.

Never Guess When Answering

When you do not know the answer to the question, the right answer is "I do not know." The wrong answer is trying to guess. Do not exaggerate, minimize, or alter the facts that you know, though. The courtroom just wants you to recount your story to your best ability. If that means many answers are that you do not know the answer, that is fine.

No Information Should Be Volunteered

Only answer a question when asked and stop talking as soon as you think you have answered it. The best answers are one word: yes or no. Silence is acceptable and you should not feel compelled to fill it with more speech. If one of our attorneys say "I object," you must stop talking immediately and wait for a further prompt.

Stay Calm & Cool

Becoming angry will sometimes will make you reveal too much information, and will send the message that you are ill-prepared to be a witness and cannot control yourself. The attorneys for the other side will try to take advantage of that weakness at trial. Stay calm.

Disclose Nothing Said Beforehand

You can expect our attorneys to talk to you right before the deposition so you know what to expect and say. This conversation is privileged information and should not be disclosed during the deposition. In fact, the opposition should not even ask you about how you and our law firm have interacted. They should only ask about your case.

No Contradictions

The court reporting during your deposition is going to record everything and pass it along for transcribing. You will get a copy of this transcribed book to read before trial. Do not contradict yourself during deposition or after reading what you said during deposition. When someone is contradictory to themselves, it always raises a skeptic eyebrow in the courtroom. If the contradiction is egregious, the defendant's legal team could even accuse you of perjury.

Courtroom Decorum & Behavior

When appearing in the County or Circuit Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, you must abide by the following:

  • Stand as Court is opened, recessed or adjourned
  • Stand when the jury enters or retires from the courtroom
  • Stand when addressing or being addressed by the Court
  • Do not personally/verbally attack any party in the courtroom
  • Refer to all persons by their surnames and not by their first name or nickname
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are strictly prohibited in the courtroom
  • Reading newspapers, books, or other printed material is prohibited if Court is in session
  • Remain detached and avoid gestures, facial expressions, audible comments, etc.

Verdicts & Settlements

  • $9,000,000.00 Personal Injury
  • $4,500,000.00 Medical Malpractice
  • $3,500,000.00 Car Accident
  • $3,000,000.00 Personal Injury
  • $2,600,000.00 Wrongful Death
  • $1,750,000.00 Medical Malpractice
  • $1,335,000.00 Personal Injury
  • $1,250,000.00 Pedestrian Accident
  • $1,137,000.00 Car Accident
  • $1,000,000.00 Pedestrian Accident