Welcome to Manuel & Thompson.
We know it can be confusing, even frightening, to consider hiring a lawyer. We also know answering your questions is the best way to empower you and take the confusion away. So, look for the answer to your question(s) here, and if you don’t find what you need, please feel free to contact us anytime. There is a convenient Contact Form on this page, or you can call the numbers at the top of the screen 24 hours a day. Remember, you are not in this alone. We are here to help. After all, helping injured people is what we do.
1) How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
To successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit, three elements must be present: negligence, causation, and damages. If you have been injured or involved in an accident, it may not always be clear whether there was negligence involved. Defining negligence can be especially tricky in premises liability, auto accident, and product liability lawsuits. However, if you feel that someone has departed from a “reasonable standard of care,” it is always worthwhile to investigate that person’s liability.
From there, the question becomes….did the negligence contribute to the damage or injury? The issue of causation is critical, and if you feel there is a direct link between the negligence and your injury, you should contact the personal injury lawyers at Manuel & Thompson, either at our offices in Panama City, or in Marianna or Bonifay, as soon as possible. Finally, you must sustain damages in order to file a personal injury lawsuit. Damages can take many forms and may not be physical. If you have been injured, your damages may include lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. When there is a link between negligence and damages, the court may award compensation.
The easiest way to find out if you have a case is to contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. During your initial consultation, be prepared to recount the events that contributed to your injury. At this stage, we will be able to advise you whether or not to pursue legal action and which parties may potentially be liable.
2) What is my personal injury case worth?
There is no formula to determine compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Financial considerations can include lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, loss of consortium, and property damage. Economic determinates like age, current level of employment, and education will be taken into account when determining how much compensation to award. Punitive damages may also be awarded. To give you an idea of the level of compensation you might receive, we will need to discuss your case further. Contact us to arrange a consultation.
3) Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
If you have been seriously injured or sustained extensive property damage as a result of negligence, dealing with an insurance company on your own or attempting to settle a case without the aid of a personal injury lawyer is a bad idea. Studies show that victims who retain an attorney are much more likely to receive compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Manuel & Thompson have dealt extensively with uncooperative insurance companies. We will fight for our clients and settle for nothing less than what they deserve. If you accept a settlement offer too soon, you may be limiting your right to additional damages for pain and suffering and other damages. Contact us today for advice on how to proceed with your case.
4) Will my personal injury case really go to court?
Most cases never reach a courtroom. Your case may even be settled before ever having to file a lawsuit. We advise our clients on what we feel is the best course of action, but ultimately it is up to them to determine whether to settle, pursue an alternative method of dispute resolution, or move the lawsuit to court. Regardless of the likelihood of a settlement, our personal injury lawyers are always prepared to argue on your behalf in a court of law. We will help you make an informed decision, and we will honor your decision. We will do our best to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
5) What should I do after an accident?
After an accident, you should always seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any pain or feel you may have been injured. Try to record the circumstances of the accident and write down any information that may be important later on, including the names and phone numbers of potential witnesses. The next logical step is to report the accident to your insurance company. Keep the conversation to a minimum; do not make a statement that could potentially be used against you. If you feel negligence may have contributed to your accident, it is important to then contact one of the personal injury lawyers at Manuel & Thompson. The insurance company may offer you an initial settlement, but in most cases this offer will be less than fair. Our firm will be happy to review your claim and negotiate on your behalf.
Even if you feel you may be partially at fault for the accident, you may still have a claim for compensation under the theory of comparative negligence. It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer regardless of your culpability.
6) Who is allowed to bring a wrongful death claim?
Every state has different laws dealing with recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, the survivors of the deceased are allowed to file suit to claim everything from loss of support to funeral expenses. Those survivors are defined as immediate family, which includes spouse, children, brothers and sisters, parents, and any other blood relative who is financially dependent on the deceased.
Even if you do not fit clearly into these categories, you may still be entitled to compensation. The personal injury lawyers at our Panama City firm can help determine whether you are eligible to receive compensation from a wrongful death settlement. The wrongful death statutes can be tricky when it comes to non-blood relatives, adopted siblings, and children born out of wedlock. Our attorneys will advise you on whether or not you can successfully pursue a wrongful death claim under Florida law.
7) What should I do if I am involved in a car crash?
Call the police. In every instance, no matter how minor, we recommend having law enforcement come to the scene and document the crash with an appropriate accident report. They can also obtain statements from witnesses and secure the scene so that all parties involved can proceed from the scene in the safest manner possible.
After the crash, request and obtain a final crash report from the investigating law enforcement agency.
Get medical treatment- Many times, people do not even realize that they are injured immediately after the accident, then wake up the next day in terrible pain. In any claim for injuries, it is important to seek appropriate medical treatment in a timely fashion. This step not only treats the injuries, but it can also later help in validating a claim for damages when presenting your claim to an insurance company.
Have a friend or loved one take photographs of the vehicles involved in the crash to document damage and severity of collision.
Contact your insurance company and notify them of the crash. Then, if you feel negligence may have contributed to your accident, it is important to contact one of the personal injury lawyers at Manuel & Thompson.