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The fact that we always have your back and the
assurance of our Five Star Service.
What makes WHWG special?
WHWG is a litigation boutique comprised of a group of diverse lawyers who have attended the nation’s top law schools and have experience at some of the most well-respected law firms in the country. These lawyers formed WHWG because they envisioned a firm that values each of its lawyers as individuals, a firm that does not view its lawyers as mere billing units, and a firm where cutting-edge law can be practiced in the most collegial of environments. WHWG prides itself on having lawyers who are capable of handling almost any type of dispute, ranging from the most complicated forms of property litigation to the defense of numerous types of criminal charges.
The quick answer is not always.
Most attorneys spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for advertising. Whether it is posting their face on billboards all over town or running television ads throughout the day and night they are spending big bucks to get you to think you MUST hire an attorney. The truth is that not all cases need an attorney. Don’t be preyed on by untrustworthy attorneys who see dollar signs when they look at you.
If you have an automobile accident that only involves property damages you do not need an attorney.
If you have a simple injury case, which means you treated with a doctor and have no lasting problems, there is no dispute (on the part of the other side’s insurance company) as to who caused the accident, and no medical liens or subrogation issues , you do not need an attorney.
However, in most situations cases are not this straightforward. The more complicated your injury is, the more likely it is that an attorney is going to be able to add value for you. An attorney who specializes in personal injury will have a lot of experience evaluating and handling cases like yours in your geographic area.
Remember insurance companies are not your friends and they will do whatever they can to take advantage of you especially if you do not have a lawyer on your side.
Contact us today to see if you need a lawyer.
The truth is I do not know!Every case is different and each difference affects the value of your case.
I do not care that your friend had an accident and was not even hurt and got a ton of money…
Cases are evaluated on a case by case basis and no two cases are ever the same and no two cases ever settle for the same amount.
The value of your case depends on a number of things including:
1. How clear is liability. Does everyone agree as to how the accident happened and who is at fault. Just because you think it is clear that does not mean the other side will not lie to avoid responsibility.
2. Did your injuries appear immediately. If you are injured at the scene and everyone involved knows you were hurt is different than claiming you are injured a week later.
3. How quickly did you receive medical attention. Did you tell the cops you were not hurt and did not need an ambulance or did not need to go to the hospital. The longer you wait to seek medical attention the harder it is to prove that your injuries are from the accident.
4. Were you consistent in your medical treatment. Did you go to therapy and follow your doctor’s advice or did you go for treatment every once in a while when it was convenient for you?
5. Did you exaggerate your injuries? Nobody likes a complainer. Are you being realistic in your complaints and in your recovery?
6. Do you have pre-existing injuries or accidents? If you have an extensive past history it will affect the value of your current case.
7. What insurance company/adjuster you are dealing with. Every insurance company and adjuster values cases differently. Some carriers are known for making low offers and trying to settle a case for less than its full value.
8. How old you are. Age affects your ability to heal and also brings about degenerative changes that affect the value of your claim.
9. Were you at fault at all for the accident? Comparative fault (fault on the part of the injured person) will bring down the value of a claim.
10. How much property damages there is. Lets face it a minor scratch on your bumper is different than a car that is totaled in an accident.
11. What are your out of pocket expenses?
12. What future medical care do you need? Do you require surgery or will you be fine after a few visits to physical therapy?
These are just a few of the many factors that go into determining how much a case is worth. It is important to work with an attorney that specializes in injury case to make sure you get the full value for your case. That does not mean an attorney that handles thousands of injury cases at a time and is looking to settle your case on the cheap and move on to the next case.
Stay away from them. It is unethical/illegal for a lawyer or someone working on their behalf to to approach you about your case. I don’t care if it is a tow truck driver, someone at the hospital, or someone claiming to be from an insurance company. It is illegal.
A reputable lawyer does not pay people to monitor police reports and hospitals looking for work. Do not end up in the wrong hands with someone who is just trying to pay their giant advertising budget bill.
All lawyers who handle injury cases handle them on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay if they recover money for you. This is not something special that the lawyer is doing just for you.The Florida Bar regulates how much an attorney working on a contingency case can charge you.
Typically the fees are 1/3 if the case resolves before a lawsuit is filed and 40% if it after a lawsuit is filed. Fees are capped at 25% when you are suing the government. Fees come off the gross amount before any other bills are paid.
In addition to attorney’s fees you must also pay costs. (These are items like copies of your medical records, hiring an expert, filing fees, court reporters, etc that are advanced by a lawyer to benefit your case) Costs are not included in fees.
It depends on what type of case you have, but most typically you will pay have to pay them and then try to get reimbursed by the other side’s insurance company at the end of the case.Florida is a No-fault state, meaning in an automobile accident your own insurance company is primarily responsible for your medical bills no matter who is at fault for the accident. $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is required in Florida. It is responsible for paying 80% of your medical bills, 60% lost wages or $5,000 death benefits minus your deductible if any. You are responsible for paying the remaining 20% of your medical bills and anything after the $10,000 PIP is exhausted.
If you have health insurance it can be used to cover the medical bills that PIP does not pay (assuming you follow your companies requirement’s for submitting claims). However, at the end of the case you will have to pay your health insurance company back out of the money you recover.
In some cases there is Medical Payment (med pay) Insurance which will pay your medical bills regardless of fault assuming they are timely submitted (generally within one year).
Future medical bills, when necessary, will be bargained for in the settlement and then paid by you as they are required.
Whatever doctor you are comfortable with.Don’t let a lawyer or insurance adjuster force a doctor on you.
I tell people to use a doctor that is convenient for them to get to. Most likely you will have to undergo numerous office visits, physical therapy, and diagnostic testing. So chooses someone that is close to you home or to your work because if your doctor is not easy to get to you will not go.
It is also important to always choose a doctor on your health insurance plan if you have health insurance. That way if you do not recover money from your case you will not be stuck with tons of outstanding medical bills. Never go with a doctor who tells you they will not bill your insurance but instead wants you sign an LOP and will wait until the end of the case to get paid.
It depends.Never go to a lawyer blindly just because someone recommends them to you. Always do your research and make sure they are the right lawyer for you.
Links that are useful in researching lawyers:
– The Florida Bar
It is important to get a lawyer that specializes in personal injury. It is even more important to get a trial lawyer that specializes in personal injury. Do not end up at a large volume case mill jus because your lawyer has a personal relationship with some chiropractor.
Find a new doctor.Do not get fooled, your doctor is only looking to take advantage of you and make more money off of your case. If you have insurance always use your insurance. Otherwise, you run the risk of not recovering anything from your case but still having to pay the medical bills out of pocket. If you do not have insurance (auto, health, Medicare, Medicaid) then and only then should you see a doctor who agrees to work on a Letter of Protection (LOP).
Absolutely not!To start with these are not lawyers they are owned by referral services that make money by sending you to a clinic that makes money by running through your PIP insurance. Most of these clinics do not provide the best medical care and they certainly do not have your best interests at stake.
In addition to sending you to one of these clinics you will also get sent to a “lawyer” at a mill that will pawn your case of to a secretary who will try and settle your case as quickly as possible regardless of your needs or what is best for you.
Make sure that you meet with qualified experienced lawyers and only see doctors that are truly interested in your healthcare.
Do not sign anything unless you fully understand what you are signing.There are generally three set of forms that the other side’s insurance company may send you.
Typically an insurance adjuster will be sending you medical authorizations. These authorizations tend to be very broad and give the insurance company the power to obtain whatever records they want regardless if they are related to your accident or not. Sometimes these records go back 10 – 15 years and contain private information you do not want to share. I suggest getting your own records first making sure they’re accurate and then giving those records to the insurance company.
The second form they’ll I often ask you to sign is a release. They may send you a check along with the release. If you accept the check and sign the release you are ending your case forever. If you discover further injuries or need more care the other side will no longer be responsible for paying for it once you sign a release.
The third set of forms that you may receive can be related to your property damage claim. These forms typically tend to be straight forward and can generally be read and signed by clients without needing an attorney to review them. But again never sign anything unless you fully understand it.
If you have any questions about what the insurance company has given you or wants you to do contact an attorney who specializes in injury work to help you.
You can obtain his insurance information rather easily through public records and report the claim to his company (assuming there is coverage) yourself. You can also sue him.
In The Press
Two bond agents beat and pepper-sprayed a man when they showed up at his home after he missed a court date in late November. Now their conduct is the subject of a criminal investigation that raises questions about what agents are allowed to do under Florida law.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether bond agents Brandon Gaines and Chase Walton were legally justified in the force they used against Anthony Michael Hall, 24, outside his Lauderdale Lakes apartment on Nov. 29. A neighbor captured part of the confrontation on video.
In the video, Hall is seen outside his apartment unit bare chested, the agents on either side of him. One punched Hall in the face. The other swung at him several times with what appears to be a metal baton. The first blasted the man’s face with spray.
“The neighbor who recorded the video called us to the scene,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Joy Oglesby. The results of the investigation will be sent to prosecutors at the Broward State Attorney’s Office when it is complete, she said.
The neighbor who recorded the confrontation, Lara Laign, also posted the video to YouTube and shared it with Hall’s civil attorney, Russell Williams, who provided the video to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground, now!” one agent yelled as the second swung the metal bar at Hall’s back.
Hall didn’t comply, despite repeated blows to the legs, arms and back.
Laign said she noticed the commotion and pulled out her cellphone to record. Her video did not show the beginning of the encounter between Hall and the agents or what led to the confrontation. Multiple attempts to reach Gaines, Walton and the bond agency that employs them, AAA Star Bail Bonds of West Palm Beach, were unsuccessful.
Laign’s video begins a split second before Hall was punched in the face. The defendant held his hand up, then covered his head in anticipation of being struck with the baton.
“He was up against the wall and they were just hitting him,” Laign said.
After he was on the ground, one of the agents was seen walking to a woman in the doorway of Hall’s apartment, closing the door as she backed away, smashing the window with the metal baton, then walking back to Hall and punching him while he’s down.
“What they did to him was unacceptable,” said Williams, Hall’s lawyer. “The video speaks for itself.”
Hall had failed to show up for a Palm Beach County court hearing two weeks earlier. He had been out on a $2,000 bond, and the bond agents are authorized by law to bring him in to answer for his crime: driving with a suspended license.
Hall’s criminal record shows numerous arrests for non-violent offenses, including a conviction on a drug possession case for which he was on probation in Broward County. Other charges involving domestic violence and child abuse without bodily harm appear to have been dropped. Most of his arrests have been for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
He’s now in custody in Broward County awaiting a hearing on the probation violation.
Gaines has been a bond agent since 2012 and Walton since 2014, according to the Florida Department of Finance. Felony convictions would disqualify them from holding their license as bond agents.
Jon Moore, spokesman for the Department of Finance, said Walton has no prior complaints. Gaines, he said, was investigated three times within the last five years — twice for “forcing his way into a location and causing property damage” and a third time for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer. “None [of the complaints] led to administrative action due to either no violations of insurance code found or no evidence to support the allegations,” Moore said.
Authority of bail agents
While bail bond agents are commonly referred to as “bounty hunters,” that label is incorrect in Florida, said Mark Heffernan, vice president of the Florida Bail Agents Association and owner of the Florida Bail Bond School in Miami, which trains agents.
“Florida is one of the most strictly regulated states in the country when it comes to bail and bail agents,” said Heffernan. “Florida, a long time ago, wanted to prevent the kind of yahoo renegade behavior associated with people who represent themselves as bounty hunters.”
Bond agents are a key part of the bail system. When someone is arrested, a judge typically sets bail that the defendant can post so that they don’t have to wait in jail for their trial. The money is supposed to be returned when the case is resolved.
Agents come in when the defendant cannot afford the full bail amount. If a judge sets bail at $10,000, the defendant can pay a bond agency 10 percent, or $1,000. The agency then posts that amount on behalf of the defendant. When the case is resolved, the bond agency gets its money back. The 10 percent is not returned to the defendant — the agency keeps it as the price of its service.
When a defendant skips out while on bond, the agency will be required to pay the state the remaining 90 percent unless they can recapture him or her, Heffernan said. The agency has 60 days to bring the defendant back into custody or pay the remaining money.
They can cross state lines. They can search the defendant’s home without a warrant. And they don’t need to read the defendant’s Miranda rights, Heffernan said.
Their authority to use force is not bound by written guidelines — they can bring a defendant into custody, and they can protect themselves just like other citizens. “In contrast to the police, a bail agent has the option to leave and call law enforcement for assistance,” Heffernan said.
Before earning a license, bond agents must complete 120 hours of classroom study and an online course. They also must work under the supervision of a licensed agent for one year.
Heffernan said he reviewed the video of Hall’s confrontation but was hesitant to pass judgment on the conduct of Gaines and Walton without knowing what happened before the recording started.
“Apprehending fugitive defendants is inherently risky,” he said. “A few months ago a licensed bail agent in north Florida was shot at by a defendant who missed court on a $2,000 bond. Bail agents, like police, sometimes behave inappropriately when they are fearful and full of adrenaline.”
But he said the agent who smashed the window was clearly in the wrong.
“There is never justification for damaging private property or engaging in excessive force,” Heffernan said.
As in the case of Gaines and Walton, law enforcement can review the agents’ use of force and decide whether criminal charges are warranted. If prosecutors charge them with a felony, their state-issued licenses would be automatically suspended. If they are convicted, the licenses would be revoked.
Defendants also have the option of suing.
The state’s Department of Finance, which issues the licenses, has a helpline for anyone who has a complaint about bond agents. The number is 877-693-5236.