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Motor vehicle accident claims are by far the most common type of civil tort litigation pending in our court system today. These cases are tried under general negligence principles, where the injured party files a lawsuit in court, and is required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was negligent, that the negligence was a proximate cause of the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff permanent injuries. The defendant may raise affirmative defenses, putting all or part of the blame for the accident on the plaintiff or on other factors and/or parties. Many states, including Florida, have adopted a pure comparative negligence that permits the plaintiff to recover damages even if his or her own negligence was responsible for a portion of the accident.
It is usually a misconception that victims of motor vehicle accidents do not need an attorney to handle their cases because they have insurance coverage. Until the victim of a motor vehicle accident retains an attorney, the insurance company knows that the person they are dealing with is not currently prepared to take his or her case to court, and thus is unlikely to offer fair compensation to the victim.
The Firm’s commitment to its clients begins on day one, with possibly the most crucial aspect of the case is the investigation. This is one of the main reasons why it is vital to retain an attorney in these types of cases as soon as possible. Silva & Silva strongly believes in an early and thorough investigation. To that end, the Firm advances the financial resources necessary to begin the process immediately. Evidence can be lost or altered, and the scene of the accident needs to be documented through diagrams and photographs as early as possible. Cracks in the pavement are filled, trees are cut, traffic signals are fixed, etc. Moreover, witnesses need to be contacted when the recollection of the accident is fresh.
Once the investigation is complete, Silva & Silva assembles its teams of highly qualified experts: engineers, architects, vocational rehabilitation specialists, physicians, economists, chemists, metallurgists, pilots, accident re-constructionists, human factors specialists, psychologists, forensic specialists, accountants, auditorsand criminalists, among others. A team of experts develops a Life Care Plan that analyzes and presents what will be needed to sustain a good quality of life for the injured victims. This plan includes the cost of home health care, nurses, nurses aides, medications, therapy, medical consultations, specialized vans, modified homes, elevators, medical equipment, etc. In many cases, these needs can cost millions of dollars. The Firm’s commitment to its clients continues even after the case has been favorably resolved. Sometimes the settlement involves special circumstances. For instance, if the injured person is incompetent, a guardian will have to be appointed by the court in an effort to oversee the proper and ethical administration of the monies received. In addition, that settlement requires court approval to ensure the client’s protection and satisfaction. Although it is the client’s ultimate decision, it may also be in his or her best interest to consider financial planning with respect to their settlement by placing the monies into a special-needs trust or investing in annuities, etc. Many of the cases that the Firm handles contain what it refers to as catastrophic injuries. These are injuries where the victim was a vibrant independent human being, and within seconds, they are suddenly left incapacitated. These damages often involve spinal-cord injuries and/or traumatic brain injuries.
The effects of these injuries on a person’s life are extraordinary. These people have to learn to readjust their entire lives from their jobs, to their role in their families lives, to everyday functions we take for granted.
An Attorney is integral in these cases because the injured person needs to devote all of his or her energy to obtaining the highest quality of life possible under the circumstances. Silva & Silva’s commitment is to provide its clients that face these trying conditions with the financial means to obtain the best possible quality of life. The Firm handles catastrophic-injury cases, and its members understand that these are very complex cases that involve many aspects, from medical treatments, to rehabilitation, to making certain that the money settlement will cover future long-term care, and sometimes for the remainder of their lives. The Firm not only helps with the here-and-now investigation, lawsuits and monetary award, but also by securing a better future for its clients.