This may come as a surprise to many of our readers, but we believe that there ARE actually some Florida personal injury cases that do NOT require the personal or creative touch that an experienced personal injury attorney or law firm can provide. The reality is that is SOME personal injury cases (but not many), a paint-by-numbers may be just fine.
I have been thinking about this lately as I have recently been hearing advertisements on the radio, and reading stories in the media, about how LegalZoom, Avvo, and some of the other corporate players in the legal space are beginning to market their forms to personal injury victims. Not only that, but these corporate giants are apparently also considering starting to sell some kind of limited, pay-up-front, lawyer services to help people with personal injury cases.
Contingency Fee Allows Clients To Afford Excellent Attorneys
The reality is, using pre-prepared forms, or having a lawyer give minimal advice, may be perfectly acceptable in some Florida personal injury cases. This kind of arrangement obviously contrasts with the traditional way that personal injury cases have been handled – on a contingency fee basis.
On a contingency fee case, there is no up-front expense or out-of-pocket cost to the injured person in order to hire an attorney and have the attorney handle the case from start to finish. In a contingency fee case, the client pays the attorneys’ fees and costs at the end of the case, and ONLY if the lawyer has generated a settlement, jury verdict, or judgment in favor of his or her client.
We are firm believers in the contingency fee arrangement as a way for injured people to level the playing field with giant corporations and insurance companies. We don’t know of any other way that ordinary consumers could afford the legal firepower necessary to battle these huge entities. However, we also know that in some personal injury cases, there really isn’t much value added by paying a lawyer a percentage of the ultimate settlement.
For example, in a case where the liability is clear, and the injuries are very minor and not permanent, an injured person might just need a couple of templates or forms in order to prepare a package of information that will typically be enough to achieve a modest settlement offer. In a very simple case, this kind of inexpensive, do-it-yourself, paint-by-the numbers approach, might be just what the doctor ordered.
Things Are Often Not As Simple As They Seem
However, as experienced Florida personal injury attorneys, Bob and I rarely see cases that are this “simple.” This may be a function of the fact that our boutique firm rarely attracts cases with such minor injuries, or it might be that with human beings involved, things are rarely so “simple.”
For example, it is not uncommon for us to encounter clients months after a crash, who thought in the beginning that they were going to be sore for a few days and would soon return to normal, physically. By the time we see these kinds of clients, they have usually just returned from a surgeon’s office with a surgical opinion in hand. Had these folks downloaded forms from LegalZoom, or Avvo, or a similar website, and resolved their injury cases on their own within weeks of their accident, their cases would be over, and there would be nothing we could do to help them.
The Internet Can Be Useful
It is very true that there is a lot of very useful information regarding Florida personal injury cases on the internet. In fact, you can find loads of information on our very own website and on our YouTube Channel. But information can only carry most laypeople so far. In our opinion, most personal injury cases are serious enough, and the impact to injured people and their families significant enough, to warrant the involvement of highly experienced personal injury attorneys.
If you have any questions following a Florida personal injury case of any kind, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901. They handle a wide variety of negligence cases across the state of Florida, but they don’t take every case, and they might not be the best lawyers for every case. Call them to find out more.
(By the way (for those of you who may not be old enough to remember), paint-by-numbers was a painting system wherein famous paintings were de-constructed in a manner that novice painters could paint masterpieces by themselves. Each painted area of the original piece was assigned a number corresponding to one of several colored paints that came in the paint-by-numbers kit. The consumer/painter would simply find the number on the canvas or paper, and paint whatever color was assigned to the number each time that number was found on the canvas. They could by kind of fun.)