National Water Safety Month, 3/4
Note: This blog is the third of four installments regarding National Water Safety Month. In this series, our law firm shares tips on how Florida residents or visitors can keep themselves safe around the water and what steps they can take if they’ve been injured in a water-related accident. Today’s blog deals with Florida swimming pool accident injury lawsuits and gives answers to frequently asked questions about the legal process.
As we shared in another recent blog post, swimming pool accidents, injuries, and drownings are tragically common in the United States, but especially in Florida. Florida has the highest drowning rate in the country for kids under the age of 5, and more than 2,000 children under the age of 5 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries every year. Anyone can suffer a swimming pool injury – while children are disproportionately in danger due to swimming ability, adults are also at risk.
Swimming pool injuries can range from drownings that result in death, to nonfatal drownings, to broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, and lacerations (cuts) resulting from slick surfaces, defective diving boards or ladders, and more.
If you or a loved one was injured in a swimming pool accident that was not your fault, you are legally entitled to seek monetary compensation. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about filing Florida swimming pool accident injury lawsuits.
When is a Florida swimming pool accident injury lawsuit necessary?
A swimming pool accident can change a family’s life forever. If a person drowned, the grief is permanent, and the lives of loved ones left behind will never be whole again, but there is also additional stress and a financial burden associated with their death, whether that is just funeral costs or the need to replace the income/insurance benefits they provided. If a person drowned but was revived, they may have severe brain damage that can result in long-term health issues like memory loss and learning problems. That means a life of required, ongoing medical care and adaptive services, perhaps a life of total dependency.
For other severe injuries like broken bones, spinal cord injuries, lacerations, or more, the cost of treatment can also be extraordinarily expensive. You may have to pay for costs related to ambulatory transport, emergency room care, imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, multiple surgeries, copays, specialized care, prosthetic devices, medications, and more. You will likely have to take weeks or months off of work, perhaps without pay or overtime pay, and you will have to refrain from participating in activities you once enjoyed, perhaps forever. The physical toll your injuries take on your body may cause excruciating pain.
A single accident can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars when you take all of these costs into account. You can make a claim with your insurance company, but most insurance companies will do everything in their power to deny or devalue your claim, because avoiding paying out the full amount you deserve protects their financial interests. In most cases, if you or a loved one suffered a Florida swimming pool accident injury, filing a lawsuit will be necessary to ensure that you are compensated with the amount you need to heal.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to represent me?
Florida injury laws are complex and changing. While you are injured, you need to be focused on recovering, and you don’t have the legal experience necessary to stand up to the insurance companies and make a solid case. You don’t technically have to have a lawyer in order to file a lawsuit, but you are much more likely to win if you do. According to surveys conducted by Nolo, more than 9 out of 10 plaintiffs who had legal representation received a settlement, compared to 5 of 10 plaintiffs who proceeded on their own. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer also makes a difference in the amount you are able to recover; that same survey showed that plaintiffs who had a lawyer walked away with an average of $77,600 in compensation compared to an average of $17,600 for those who didn’t hire representation. Even after deducting lawyer fees, the net payouts for represented plaintiffs were nearly 3x higher, on average, than those for unrepresented plaintiffs.
How much can I expect to gain in a settlement?
It’s impossible to give a general estimate of how much you stand to gain in a settlement without knowing the specific details of your case. How much you receive depends on details like the level of representation you hire, how severe your injuries were, the circumstances surrounding your accident, and more. Personal injury settlements are often kept confidential, so without consulting an attorney, you won’t be able to determine the amount you may get. However, most lawyers offer a free consultation where they can give you an informed idea of what filing a lawsuit may lead to. It is not uncommon for The Florida Law Group to recover million-dollar or multi-million-dollar settlements for our clients.
How long will the lawsuit take?
This is another frequently asked question that is impossible to answer without consulting a lawyer about the specific details of your case. There are many factors that can influence how long a lawsuit takes to resolve. If you settle with the insurance company, the case may only take weeks or months, although negotiations can take longer…..if your case goes to trial, it can take many months. Discussing expectations with a lawyer is the best way to get an accurate picture of how long you will have to wait for the compensation you deserve.
Will I have to go to court?
Most Florida swimming pool accident injury lawsuits settle out of court. This is generally more expedient and less costly for everyone involved. However, sometimes the insurance company just will not agree to pay out the full amount your injuries are worth, and your lawyer may want to take your case to trial. In that case, you may or may not be required to be present for some or all of the proceedings. Going to trial can be risky because a jury or judge may be unpredictable – losing results in no settlement at all – but awards of trials are sometimes much higher than those achieved in a settlement, so you and your lawyer may come to the consensus that it is worth the risk.
How much does it cost to file a swimming pool accident injury lawsuit?
Most personal injury law firms, including The Florida Law Group, charge on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay them anything unless and until they are able to recover a settlement on your behalf! If they win, the cost of their services are deducted from a percentage of the damages won. This means that filing a Florida swimming pool accident injury lawsuit is technically free – you don’t incur any financial risk if you work with a lawyer who charges on contingency.
Injured in a Florida swimming pool accident? Call The Florida Law Group at 813-544-4866 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options! We’ve recovered over $1 billion for injured accident victims in Florida!