Frequently Asked Questions
Attorney Wil Flores is a Pinellas County native who works passionately and rigorously for each and every one of his clients. He has extensive experience working as a paralegal and a licensed attorney. Wil graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2014 and has dedicated his career to assisting those in need of his help.
The first step of any personal injury is to get treatment! Seeking medical assistance will serve a few purposes including; getting your health back and documenting your case by having proof of all injuries and how the injuries are affecting your life. Once an attorney is consulted, the lawyer will conduct their own investigation of the incident. This will include an interview of the client, going through all medical documentation to figure out the merits of the case, and performing a coverage investigation to determine all available forms of insurance. The attorney will then begin negotiations with the insurance company to achieve a settlement that will rightfully compensate the client. If negotiations fail, the attorney will file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Most of the time, a case will be settled before it gets to trial because they can be extremely hard to predict and costly to both sides. Nonetheless, if it gets to that point, the attorney will prepare to go to battle for the client and the outcome of the case will be determined by a jury.
Wil Flores, P.A. specializes in automotive accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall, wrongful death, and criminal defense cases including DUI, domestic violence and battery, felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic violations. However, consultations for all types of criminal and injury matters are welcomed.
If there is any sort of injury in relation to an automotive accident, make sure to call 9-1-1. Trained medical personnel are the best suited to evaluate the extent of your injuries. Then, it is vitally important to seek medical treatment for the injuries sustained in the accident. Treatment will not only improve your condition but allow the attorney working on your case to properly evaluate how much compensation you should be entitled to receive.
As a general principle, the law can be extremely complex and difficult to navigate if you have not been properly trained. Attorneys have been taught throughout the rigors of law school and lessons learned throughout their time in practice on how to properly apply the law. Additionally, using the court system consists of strict deadlines, filing the correct paperwork, and making sure each and every detail is correct. An attorney is much more intimately familiar with the customs and the practices of the court system, which will allow for your case to fully be heard on the merits, rather than being harmed by an avoidable error.
Under current Florida law, there is a statute of limitations that is imposed depending on the claim being brought. For cases based on the tortious acts of others, the statute of limitations is four years, and, for cased based on the failure of an uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier to uphold their contractual obligations, the statute of limitations is five years.
In regard to personal injury cases, nothing will have to be paid up front. The attorney will be compensated for their efforts by collecting a certain percentage of the settlement or verdict that they reach for the client. However, for criminal defense cases, attorney’s fees will be collected up front and that amount will be determined by the judgment of the attorney, in accordance with the customary fees for that type of case.
AUTO ACCIDENT QUESTIONS
Uninsured motorist coverage will allow an individual to be covered for their loss if they are injured by someone who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to fully compensate for the sustained injuries. The attorney will examine your insurance policy to see if this form of coverage was purchased by you or available to you in some way.
There are few things you should never do if you are injured in an auto accident:
- Make a determination of your health on-scene: Take some time before you determine that you have not been injured. Especially in major car accidents, the human body’s natural response will be to release adrenaline. Adrenaline can sometimes mask the symptoms of an underlying injury, so it is important to take a few hours, decompress, and assess how you are feeling.
- Forget to exchange information: Auto accidents can be a lot to take in and there is always a lot going on. It is very important to remember to exchange insurance information with all the parties involved to ensure a smooth compensation process.
- Forget to document the accident: It is vitally important to any case to have documented proof of everything involved on the day of the accident. This will include taking extensive photographs of the accident scene and vehicles.
- Speak to the insurance companies without an attorney: Attorneys are hired to protect and look out for their client’s best interest. They should always be present when your case is being discussed.
Speaking to anyone on the opposing side of a lawsuit or potential lawsuit is ill-advised without the presence of an attorney. It is very important to remember that anything you say or do could be used against you further down the line in negotiations or the lawsuit. The presence of an attorney throughout these communications will keep you protected throughout each step of the process.
Photographs of the accident can be pivotal in having documented proof of how the accident took place. Here is a list of general things to keep in mind when photographing an accident scene:
- Take a few general photographs of the entire accident scene from different angles.
- Take photographs of all of the vehicles involved in the accident, making sure to capture all of the damage whether it be interior or exterior.
- Make sure to capture all of the conditions present during the accident such as photographs depicting; the weather, road conditions, anything contributing to the accident (ex. obstacles to a clear line of sight or foreign object in the roadway), and all stop signs, stoplights, etc.
- Capture photographs of any visible injuries that any party involved might have incurred.
- Capture photographs of the insurance information for every party that was involved.
The injured party will be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company if their case exceeds their personal injury protection. Personal injury protection is a required form of coverage in Florida that will cover 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000 dollars if the individual is seen within 14 days of the accident and it is determined that they have an emergency medical condition. If the medical provider determines that the injury is a non-emergency medical condition, personal injury protection will cover up to $2,500.
Lawyers have many tools at their disposal. One of these tools is a demand letter. Demand letters allow an attorney to communicate and negotiate with the opposing insurance company to reach a settlement without having to file a lawsuit. It is only if these negotiations fail that a lawsuit would need to be filed.
MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT QUESTIONS
Lane splitting is a common practice among those who ride motorcycles. It is the act of riding in between two lanes of congested traffic in order to avoid having to sit through the stop-and-go nature of traffic on two wheels. This practice, however, is illegal in the state of Florida. If you are involved in an accident while committing this traffic offense, the insurance company will likely try to use this information to belittle your case. There is one important consideration, Florida has a comparative fault system. Meaning, if it was determined that the individual engaged in lane splitting was 20% responsible for the accident, the damages that the individual may be entitled to will only be reduced by 20%.
Under current Florida law, an individual does not need to have motorcycle insurance to operate a motorcycle nor is it required in order to register the vehicle. Motorcycle insurance is recommended in order to protect an individual financially if they are involved in an accident in which they are at fault.
Under current Florida law, anyone who is operating or riding on a motorcycle must be wearing a helmet and have some type of eye protection. This type of factual detail will fall under Florida’s comparative fault system. Meaning, if the individual suffers injuries and is not wearing their required protective gear, they will likely be assigned some percentage of fault. The amount of damages that this individual will be entitled to will be reduced by that determined percentage.
State Constitutions and the Constitution of the United States afford each and every individual certain rights. The court system has interpreted and applied those rights in a multitude of situations that someone who has not extensively studied the law would know about. An attorney is there to protect and make sure you exercise your individual rights throughout each step of the criminal justice process.