St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or as the result of the negligence of another, you likely have the ability to recover money damages from the responsible party to pay for your medical bills, make up for lost time at work, and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Getting the other party to pay isn’t a simple matter, unfortunately. They will most likely be represented by an insurance company with lawyers and adjusters trained to value a settlement as little as possible by downplaying the severity of your injuries or claiming your own negligence was at least partly to blame.
One of the most important decisions you will have to make is selecting a personal injury attorney to represent you. Insurance companies base their decisions on whether to settle and how much to offer in part on the experience, determination and resources of the injury victim’s attorney. When they see they are up against an established law firm with a record of success, they are much more likely to settle for an appropriate amount in a timely fashion. If not, you have a lawyer on your side who is ready to take the matter to court if necessary to see that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.
Choose Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., to represent you after a car accident or other personal injury. Our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers take on the task of securing your financial recovery so you can concentrate on getting better and putting your life back in order.
Comprehensive St. Petersburg Personal Injury Practice
We represent plaintiffs in personal injury and medical malpractice matters, including the following:
Automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, car accident victims can recover a portion of their medical expenses and lost income due to a wreck, but they can never be fully compensated or sue the at-fault driver unless they meet certain strict requirements regarding the injury they suffer, the treatment they receive and when they receive it. Car crashes result in hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of deaths every year in Florida, including tens of thousands of collisions in Pinellas County. Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., helps car, truck and motorcycle accident victims recover for the full amount of damage done to them by a negligent or reckless driver, including drunk and distracted drivers. Florida law tries to discourage car accident lawsuits, but when litigation is necessary to help crash victims and their families get the financial help they need and deserve, our Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers have the knowledge, skills and resources to get results.
Florida leads the nation in having the most boats registered, and the highest number of boating fatalities. Pinellas County consistently ranks in the top five Florida counties responsible for most boating accidents in the state. Boating is an extremely popular recreational activity in the state, yet it can be extremely dangerous if boaters and boat operators don’t pay attention to safety. Our boating accident lawyers help people injured in collisions with other vessels and fixed objects, falls overboard, and explosions caused by reckless or negligent boat operation or maintenance.
Florida law allows family members and the estate of the deceased to pursue claims against negligent actors who have caused a death through their negligence or misconduct. Family members and the estate can recover valuable compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and the costs they suffer and will continue to suffer from the loss of their loved one, both financially and emotionally. Just as important, a wrongful death action helps to bring justice and closure by holding responsible individuals or corporations accountable for causing a tragic, needless death through their behavior.
Dangerous/defective/unsafe products (products liability)
Product manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries caused by product defects. Under the law, strict products liability means that you don’t have to prove the manufacturer was negligent; you only have to prove that a product was defective when it left their control, and that defect caused an injury. Our products liability lawyers hold manufacturers, distributors and retailers liable for injuries caused by design defects, manufacturing defects and failure to warn defects present in automobiles, household appliances, power tools, heavy equipment, consumer products and more.
Slip and falls (premises liability)
Property owners have a duty to make sure their premises are in a reasonably safe condition for customers, guests, delivery persons and others who come on to their property. This duty often includes being aware of the condition of the premises through regular inspection and promptly fixing a defect or cleaning up a spill, or putting up a warning until the problem can be corrected. Negligent property owners and their corporate insurers will often dispute how severe a slip and fall injury really is, or they’ll place the blame on the victim for not paying better attention to an obvious danger. Our experienced personal injury team knows how to investigate a slip and fall or trip and fall injury, determine its cause, and prove the property owner’s liability to the victim.
Nursing home injuries
When we place our loved ones into the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, we trust that the facility will be run with skilled, caring nurses and staff who will look after our family members in a clean and nurturing environment. Sadly, issues such as understaffing, lack of supervision and training, and failure to invest resources into the facility mean that nursing home residents are often neglected and even abused. Nursing home administrators will argue that patient injuries are due to age-related physical conditions or dementia. It takes the work of skilled and dedicated injury lawyers to uncover the truth and hold nursing homes accountable for damage caused by their negligence.
Dog owners are strictly liable for damages caused when their dog bites or attacks another on public property, or even on private property if the victim was lawfully on the premises at the time. It does not matter whether the owner knew the dog had a tendency to act viciously or dangerously. Still, owners and their insurance companies might claim the victim provoked the dog, or they’ll argue over how severe the injuries, both physical and psychological, truly are.
Professional malpractice (such as medical malpractice)
Proving medical malpractice requires the testimony of medical experts who can testify that a doctor not only failed to perform according to the accepted standard of medical care, but also that this failure caused injury to the patient or worsened their condition. These issues are often highly technical and hard to understand by people without medical training. Good plaintiffs’ lawyers have a strong grasp of both the medical evidence and applicable legal standards and are skilled in communicating the facts and legal arguments to judges and juries clearly and compellingly.
Proving malpractice requires demonstrating that the outcome would have been different had the malpractice not occurred. In other forms of professional malpractice, this can require litigating the underlying case in addition to proving malpractice. Strong trial skills are, therefore, essential to success in a professional malpractice case.
Florida Personal Injury FAQs
Q: I was seriously injured in an accident. What should I do?
A: Regardless of the type of accident you are in, such as an automobile, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident, it is important to obtain information from other individuals at the accident scene. Obtaining the following types of information can be very helpful:
- The name, addresses, and contact information of all the drivers and vehicle owners involved.
- Insurance policy information of the vehicle owners involved.
- Information regarding the accident scene, such as orientation of the cars, photographs of the scene, and lighting conditions.
- Information regarding any witnesses to the accident, including their names, addresses and contact information.
Additional steps to take include contacting the police if you believe there were traffic violations, seeking medical attention for yourself and anyone else who appear injured at the accident, and contacting your insurance company.
Q: I did not feel any pain after the accident, but after some time has passed I think I might be injured. What should I do?
A: Sometimes accident-related injuries are not physically felt until one to three days after the accident. You should seek medical treatment right away if you are feeling pain or discomfort after the accident. By seeking medical treatment, you are documenting the problem, which can be helpful if you later pursue a personal injury claim.
Q: If I want to file a personal injury claim, how long do I have to file a claim?
A: In most circumstances, states have statute of limitation rules that delineate the length of time plaintiffs have to file personal injury claims. In Florida, Title 8, Chapter 95.11 of the Florida Statutes, indicates that plaintiffs generally have up to four years from the time of the accident or discovering the injury to file a personal injury claim based on negligence.
Q: If I am seriously injured in a car accident, are my medical expenses covered?
A: Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that regardless of who is at fault, your insurance company will generally pay for your injuries up to your personal injury protection (PIP) limit. Florida requires all registered vehicles to carry at least $10,000 of PIP and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL).
Q: The insurance company will pay for my expenses, so why do I need an attorney?
A: When dealing with your insurance company, a variety of unexpected issues may arise. Insurance companies have an incentive to minimize the amount they pay to their insureds for the expenses they incur after an accident. For this reason, there are several advantages to hiring an attorney–an attorney can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, gather the necessary evidence against the negligent party, and help maximize the recovery you could potentially receive.
Why Choose Our Firm for Your St. Petersburg Injury Case?
Peter N. Meros and Walter E. Smith, both partners of Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., represent clients in personal injury, professional malpractice and wrongful death matters. Both Mr. Meros and Mr. Smith are Florida State Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers, who were part of the inaugural class of board-certified trial lawyers in Florida in 1983.
Insurance companies and insurance defense counsel tend to evaluate personal injury, wrongful death and malpractice cases with the plaintiff’s choice of counsel in mind. Our attorneys have the requisite trial experience, knowledge and advocacy skills to successfully represent your interests. In personal injury, wrongful death and professional malpractice matters, our firm represents clients on a contingency fee arrangement, which means that no legal fees will be charged to our clients unless we obtain a recovery on their behalf.
Get Help Today With Your St. Petersburg Personal Injury Claim
For help with a car accident claim, slip and fall or other personal injury in St. Petersburg or surrounding areas, call Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., to discuss your case with a team of experienced, dedicated legal professionals.