Frequently Asked Questions
Get Answers to Common Questions from Jon Eberst
FAQ about The Eberst Law Firm
Where are your offices?
The Eberst Law Firm has three locations.
- Stuart, Florida
- Gainesville, Florida
- Daytona Beach, Florida
General Personal Injury Questions
What Kind Of Cases Do You Handle?
Eberst Law Firm handles personal injury cases. A personal injury claim is a case in which an individual has been harmed as the direct result of neglect or carelessness of a liable party.
Businesses, governments, and individuals can be held accountable when their behavior leads to physical, mental, or emotional injury. The causes of injury range from drowning accidents and hurricane damage to car crashes and slip-and-fall accidents.
If you find yourself injured in a traffic accident, whether that be as a pedestrian, a vulnerable bicyclist, motorcyclist, or driver, Eberst Law Firm can represent you in the pursuit of compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
Another part of our practice involves representing clients whose lives have been impacted by workplace accidents; in some cases, this looks like a debilitating and lifelong injury or even a wrongful death claim.
How Long Do I Have To File A Case?
Once the injury happens, a time clock starts ticking. You have a limited window to initiate the personal injury claims process or risk losing your ability to recover damages. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is dependent upon the type of case you are filing and where you are filing your claim.
According to Florida law, you have 4 years to file a claim in civil court after a workplace or traffic accident. For medical malpractice lawsuits, the time frame is even more restricted. The standard is 2 years after the injury occurred or from when the patient reasonably should have recognized that medical malpractice transpired.
Extensions of the Statute of Limitations
In rare circumstances, a personal injury claim may receive an extension to the statute of limitations. For example, if the plaintiff was a minor, lived out of state following the date of injury, or had a reasonable explanation for the delay of discovery, the window may be extended.
What Damages Can I Recover For My Injury?
Personal injury claims can recover a few different types of damages in court, typically in the form of monetary compensation. Damages intended to reimburse the plaintiff are compensatory damages, and damages intended to punish the defendant are known as punitive damages.
Special damages, a form of compensatory damages, can refund you for medical bills, lost wages, or repair costs you’ve incurred; if you have suffered a tangible economic loss with a known price, that would fall under the category of special damages.
In addition to special damages, personal injury claims can include compensatory damages known as general damages. General damages refer to intangible harms -like loss of companionship, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering– that are nevertheless real losses that deserve acknowledgment.
Another category of damages, referred to as punitive damages, is intended to discipline the defendant by extracting a sum of money significant enough to prevent repeated behavior.
Damages are determined by a judge or jury based on the plaintiff’s ability to demonstrate a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that the court believes it’s more likely than not that the defendant was negligent or reckless, leading to the injury.
How Much Will A Personal Injury Attorney Cost Me?
Like most personal injury attorneys, Eberst Law Firm works in exchange for what is known as a contingency fee also known as a contingent fee. A contingent fee is a proportional fee that is directly taken out of the compensation that a lawyer secures you. What that means for you is we don’t make a dime unless we are able to successfully help you settle your case for damages.
In most cases, lawyers receive around a third of the damages recovered in a case, which ties their compensation to their performance. In effect, not only are the lawyers invested in the process but they are also invested in the outcome.
Contingent Fees Give Those Injured The Ability to Seek Compensation
Overall, this is a more equitable system designed to ensure that people who have suffered at the hands of a negligent driver or greedy business can have their day in court.
You shouldn’t have to shell out an obscene amount of money for a lawyer before they’ve proven themselves to you, especially when you’re already burdened by the financial implications of your injury. This arrangement avoids compounding the onus placed on the claimant by removing any up-front economic obligation.
Is a Consultation with The Eberst Law Firm Free?
Yes, Eberst Law provides consultations at no cost to potential clients.
If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you can take them to court to recover damages.
That’s where we come in. We offer free, no-obligation consultations where we’ll listen to your situation with an expert ear. If we think you have a case, we’ll make sure you have the full resources of Eberst Law behind you to give your lawsuit a fighting chance.
When Is The Best Time To Hire An Attorney?
A personal injury attorney is most effective when they are hired at the beginning of the personal injury claims process before any binding choices have been made.
If you believe you have a claim after being injured in a traffic accident, workplace slip-and-fall, or some other accident that was a result of negligence, you should call Eberst Law for a free consultation. We will help you determine if your situation warrants a personal injury claim before you dive into the legal system.
Even if you were involved in a straightforward car accident, you’ll likely be facing a big insurance company. If you try to represent yourself, they may recognize an opportunity to take advantage of your lack of legal experience. They may try to leverage their insider knowledge of the legal process to prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.
All that being said, you should always do your research before hiring a lawyer. Flashy firms with a lot of ads may seem like they have infinite resources, but the truth is that too many of them will treat you like a paycheck, not a person.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Damages aren’t “one size fits all”. The multi-million dollar payouts that make headlines are not what happens with every case. These giant payouts typically involve cases of gross negligence that take place over decades.
Awards are more likely to range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on several factors like the severity of your injuries, the likelihood of complete recovery, and the significance of impediments to your daily life.
Accident Damages and The Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
Expenses with clearly measurable financial value that are directly related to the injury are usually easier to claim in a lawsuit. For example, if you broke your leg in a car accident after being hit by a driver under the influence of drugs, the bills for your cast, surgery, hospital stay, physical therapy, and lost wages would be relatively straightforward in a claim.
The emotional pain you suffered as a result of a limb that was amputated or the chronic physical pain you suffer due to a permanent disability are trickier to quantify but are damages that can significantly affect the value of a case.
Will I Be Kept Informed About My Case?
You should expect to be kept up to date about your case. At Eberst Law, we will ensure that you understand the options available to you and the implications of your decisions.
Any quality lawyer will make every effort to keep you in the loop. Failure to do so is a red flag. After all, it’s your financial future and general well-being on the line.
As the client, you should always feel free to reach out when you have questions; remember, we work for you. You should also contact us any time that you are contacted by an insurance company- whether it’s your provider or the company representing the defendant.
Will My Case Be Settled Without My Approval?
At Eberst Law, we will not settle on your behalf without your explicit consent. It’s not just unethical, it’s disrespectful. The client is the one who has suffered an injury, in most cases through no fault of their own.
When we receive a settlement offer, we will take the time to walk you through each proposal and offer our best legal advice on what steps should follow.
There will typically be a meeting to discuss the details of a settlement and other potential options on the table. In the legal world, this is known as a mediation or arbitration session. You’ll get the chance to see negotiations unfold firsthand, and your input will be valued.
It is never our objective to rush you out the door. To us, your case is personal. We will fight to see that your settlement is reflective of the recovery goals established during the pre-litigation phase.
Will My Case Go To Trial?
Contrary to what the movies would have you believe, only about 5% of personal injury claims actually reach trial. Most cases are settled out of court to spare both parties the time, effort, and expense of a full trial.
Cases that do end up going to trial will usually involve a breakdown in the negotiation process involving the following issues. In some cases, damages can be particularly severe and make the value of the case a serious threat to the defendant.
In other situations, cases can go to trial if the basis of liability or negligence is not as concrete and the defendant believes they stand a good chance at success in court.
Some cases will also go to court because the insurance company does not want to set a precedent for settling that particular type of case.
How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?
For the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits, claims are resolved within a year or two of filing. However, cases that go to trial can sometimes take several years or even decades. This is dependent upon many factors.
During the claims process, we become invested in the lives of our clients, and we know the emotional and logistical toll that a personal injury lawsuit can take. Additionally, the contingency fee doesn’t compensate us if and until your case is successfully resolved.
Consequently, the lawyers of Eberst Law Firm are motivated to make the process efficient for ourselves and our clients. At the same time, we are dedicated to providing the best possible representation, and that means rejecting insulting low-ball offers that fail to take into account the full scope of your claim.
Case Length is Not Immediately Apparent After a Personal Injury
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it may not be clear what the long-term outlook on the case process will be. Complications and secondary conditions may arise, leaving you with permanent impairments. By taking the time to let your body heal, we can ensure that your future medical needs are accounted for and properly compensated.
How Do I Know If I Have A Good Personal Injury Case?
Determining whether or not you have a viable personal injury case is best left to a personal injury lawyer. Certain details that may make your case seem foolproof can often get picked apart by an experienced lawyer so always consult with them instead of trying to evaluate your case yourself.
Factors That Affect The Success of a Personal Injury Case
A typical personal injury case has a clear link between the defendant’s responsibility to the plaintiff, the violation of that duty, a resulting injury, and subsequent damages as a result of the injury.
If there is no party that can be considered liable, no negligence on their part that caused your injury, no significant injury, or significant damages severe enough to warrant legal action then that can negatively affect the viability of a case. Evidence to back up all of this is also an important factor to consider as well.
If this sounds complicated, it often is- hence the importance of employing a reputable attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Eberst Law have been handling personal injury cases for years and know exactly what to look for and what possible weaknesses in your case a defendant will look to exploit.
How Do I Select The Best Lawyer?
A quality personal injury lawyer will have a solid reputation both in the legal community and among their previous clients. They won’t make undeliverable promises or fail to return their clients’ phone calls.
A respected personal injury attorney should be able to provide you with reviews and cite specific outcomes of comparable cases to give you a realistic idea of what to expect.
They should have a proven track record in your specific claim area in addition to being an accomplished personal injury lawyer. Look beyond a lawyer’s website and client testimonies and consult third party sources regarding their abilities.
At Eberst Law, when we speak to our potential clients we make sure they feel heard and valued. We won’t try to impress you with a bunch of legal jargon; instead, we will communicate clearly and respectfully as we help you navigate the claims process.
Car Accident Questions
What To Do If I Am In A Car Accident?
First, and most importantly, you should seek immediate medical attention. Even in relatively straightforward car accidents, it is important to document all injuries sustained. That way, if the defendant accuses you of failing to mitigate damages, you have proof of their origins.
If you are able to, take pictures of the damage to all vehicles and people involved. You should also photograph the environment surrounding the accident, including signage, skid marks, and anything within a driver’s visual scope.
Even if no one is seriously injured, it is still a good idea to call the police so that they can document the details of the accident in a report, collect witness statements, and provide a corroborating account of events.
Exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license and contact information as well as insurance, for future reference. Do not admit fault. This includes apologizing. You will also want to contact your own insurance company to let them know
The next step is to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to handle your case. We’ll examine your evidence and conduct a comprehensive review of the incident. Even if liability seems clear, we’ve been in this game a while and are experienced at crafting an airtight claim.
Should I Contact My Car Insurance Company After The Crash?
Yes. You should call your car insurance company to inform them of the crash so that they can begin to process your claim. This also provides another record of events to reference in the claims process.
Even if you know that the accident wasn’t your fault, you may have more comprehensive insurance than the other driver- or they may be uninsured or flee the scene.
By getting a jumpstart on the insurance claims process, you may be able to get your car fixed or replaced sooner. That can help you avoid the logistical nightmare of attempting to attend various doctor’s appointments and legal meetings while relying on friends or public transportation. Having your car in good working order can be the first step to getting your life back on track.
Should I Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company? What If They Call Me?
No, absolutely not. Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company is our job as your personal injury attorney. When you hire us, we become your advocate, which means that your best interests are our only priority.
Remember, their goal is to pay out the absolute minimum that they can get away with- even if that’s nothing at all. They may even be working with unreliable information from the other driver. Ultimately, the insurance company’s priority isn’t to help you, it is to fulfill their obligation as an insurer while paying out as little as possible.
They might think they can manipulate you into accepting a lower settlement than you deserve by badgering you while you’re recovering. Sometimes victims will concede to unfair settlement terms out of frustration and end up depriving themselves of compensation for future care or other damages.
Do not sign anything or agree to give any statements until you have spoken with your lawyer.
If they call you, refer them to us. We will take it from there.
Do I Need Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers For My Car Accident?
For you, a serious car accident is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event. For us, we see the legal process play out every day. We regularly prevent clients from being taken advantage of by loopholes they didn’t even know existed or duped out of damages they deserve.
People who choose to represent themselves are generally disappointed with the outcome of their settlement, as it is commonly unsuccessful or lower than they had hoped for. The saying “The man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer,” exists for a reason.
Without an experienced attorney at your side, you’re basically taking on a full time job in the middle of recovering from physical injuries, managing car repairs, and dealing with any associated fallout resulting from the accident.
There’s no need to face the insurance company with limitless resources all by yourself when experience and efficient legal representation is available to you at an accessible expense.
The attorneys of Eberst Law are skilled professionals who negotiate for a living. We know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to maximizing your claim and determining liability, and we’ll have your back from start to finish.
Should I Deal With Auto Insurance Companies On My Own?
No. After briefing them on the basic facts of your accident, you should not offer any additional details.
A common mistake car accident victims make is assuming that any insurance company, even their own, is acting in their interest. The truth is that insurance companies want to reduce the amount of money they have to pay out, even to their own customers.
A simple statement given in the chaotic aftermath of a car accident may be taken out of context or misconstrued in order to undervalue your claim. That’s why it is critical to hire legal representation you can trust to defend your well-being.
When we say we work for you, we mean it. We’ll be in constant communication with you about your case, recommending what damages to claim and how to maximize them.
Hiring a reliable personal injury attorney is the best thing you can do for yourself after a car accident. The next best thing you can do is take care of yourself while we take on the insurance company.
Consider Eberst Law For Your Personal Injury Representation
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The Eberst Law Firm, P.A.
Florida Personal Injury Attorneys