If I am injured in Florida, but live out of state, should I hire a Florida lawyer or a lawyer close to where I live?
As a tourist destination, a lot of injuries occur in Florida to people that live in another state. This situation can be very confusing to the injured person when trying to determine the best attorney to hire.
We think you are best served by hiring a lawyer practicing near the location of the incident that caused your injuries. For starters, a Florida injury lawyer is likely to be well versed on the ins and outs of Florida law. Because each state’s laws differ regarding injury claims, a lawyer practicing in one state is not usually familiar with the laws of another state.
An attorney practicing near where the injury occurred is also going to be knowledgeable about the local judges and the procedures the local court system requires. Further, the attorney will not have to travel to appear at hearings, depositions or trial, resulting in decreased expenses that are ultimately paid by the client.
Florida law regarding personal injury claims is quite complex. Even though our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys have been practicing for decades, we are constantly learning new things. Also, new case precedent occurs all of the time as court opinions are published. In addition to changes in case law, the Florida legislature enacts new statutes affecting injury claims almost every year.
Once your injuries have healed as much as possible, the pre-suit settlement demand process begins. As our attorneys used to represent insurance companies, we know that one of the factors considered when insurers adjust a claim is whether the injured person’s attorney is likely to file suit if the insurer makes only a minimal offer. When considering an out of state attorney, claims adjusters may believe that the likelihood of suit is low, especially if the claimant’s attorney is not licensed in Florida. This can result in an inferior settlement offer.
While you can certainly hire an out of state attorney to handle your case pre-suit and then switch to a Florida attorney if suit proves necessary, you may incur additional and duplicative expenses in doing so. In some instances, you may end up having to pay for both sets of attorneys. The second attorney will also have the learn the case anew which can also present a downside as having one attorney from start to finish can result in that lawyer being more familiar with the facts of your case.
Our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys commonly see out of state visitors injured in Florida as a result of car or trucking accidents, which makes sense, as the out of state visitor is usually traversing our highways, especially I-95, I-295 and I-10. Common tourist destinations in the area include: St. Augustine; Amelia Island; Fernandina Beach; Ponte Vedra Beach (the site of The Players’ Championship golf tournament); and Jacksonville Beach. Mayo Clinic is also located in Jacksonville Florida and draws many patients from nearby states. Also, many tourists headed elsewhere in the state pass through the Jacksonville area on their way to Miami, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and the Florida Keys.
If you have any questions about your rights after being injured in the greater Jacksonville area, please call. Our personal injury lawyers in Jacksonville are always willing to speak with you in detail over the phone. If we cannot help you, we usually can point you in the right direction. If we agree to handle your injury case, you will never pay us anything unless we make a recovery for you.