FAQs: Personal Injury, Workers’ Comp and More

General Questions

How are fees structured?
At Irene M. Rodriguez, P.A. there is never a charge to confer and discuss, one-on-one, the circumstances surrounding a case and potential litigation. We gladly tackle cases that are challenging and difficult. In the interest of our clients’ time, we do not frivolously accept cases that have no legal merit.

What will I owe if we don’t win the case?
In personal injury, workers’ compensation cases, social security and disability insurance claims, you are responsible for fees ONLY if the case is resolved in your favor. If we fail to prosecute your case successfully, no money will come out of your pocket for fees. In family law cases, we charge an agreed upon hourly rate.

How does Irene M. Rodriguez, P.A. make money in cases other than Family Law?
When we obtain a monetary award for you, we receive a percentage of the total amount. Contact us for more details on how this works.

How long will my case last?
Unfortunately, there’s not a standard answer to this question, and we recommend you steer away from an attorney who suggests there is. The timeline is affected by how complex the case is.

How much time will be devoted to my case?
This varies by case. Irene M. Rodriguez, P.A. prides itself on devoting the time necessary to understand the implications of your case and the effect it will have on your future. We don’t rush decisions or move forward with cases until we know the long-term implications of what our clients have suffered. It is usually not in your best interest to rush to settle a case early, as you may not realize the full implications of your full expenses and lost income until later.

What is a deposition?
A deposition is a sworn statement under oath concerning the issues of the case. It is usually conducted in an attorney’s office without a judge present. Testimony collected can be used in a trial. We prepare our clients and attend the same with you, so that this is not an uncomfortable experience if you become involved in a deposition.

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Personal Injury

How much can I collect from a personal injury case?
This is a difficult question for our firm to answer. In general, a case’s value is based on the following, assuming the issue is straightforward:

  • Actual and anticipated medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Spouses losses in caring for their partner

A case’s value can be affected by discrepancies in testimony or medical records, the integrity of the injured party, and other influences. Our team can estimate the value of a case once all background materials and medical records have been collected.

What is the first thing I should do after I am injured?
Write down the details of your injury. Seek medical treatment. Describe your injuries. Document details of the accident or wrongdoing, losses caused by the injury, and any conversations you had with anyone who was involved. Take down the location of your accident, write down witness names and addresses. Obtain insurance information from the other driver.

If possible, gather evidence of fault or damage by returning to the scene of the injury or accident to take photographs and talk to witnesses. Save physical evidence in a place where it won’t be lost or damaged. For example, if you suffer a slip and fall, keep your shoes and clothes for future viewing.

When should I speak to a lawyer?
As soon as possible. An attorney will help you to evaluate your claim and advise you on outstanding issues. Do not discuss the facts of your case with an insurance company without speaking to an attorney who handles this type of case first.

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Workers’ Compensation

How much are Workers’ Compensation cases worth?
All cases have different values. They can be affected by the age, occupation and salary of the claimant, as well the severity of his or her injury, necessary medical care, and other factors. Insurance companies are not required to settle a workers’ compensation case, and neither can they force you to do so. It may be more in your interest to leave your case open to have access to future medical benefits.

Who pays for medical treatment if I am injured on the job?
The Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to pay for first aid, medical, surgical and hospital services needed to cure or relieve the effects of an on-the-job accidental injury. However, they must be notified of the claim and approve the treatment as it relates to your injury before your employer is obligated to pay. Take work-related medical bills to your employer, and if your claim is disputed, denied, or contested, contact our law firm.

Who pays my wages if I am not able to perform my job while under treatment?
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay a percentage of your wage loss if you are unable to return to work, or are making less money than before the accident. However, you must provide medical documentation of your job limitations in a timely manner. Further, there often are forms that must be filled out to obtain benefits. Contact our office for a more detailed explanation.

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Social Security

Am I required to wait before filing Social Security disability benefits?
You can file for these benefits immediately upon becoming disabled –even the same day. However, you should expect your illness or disability to last beyond a year if you plan to file.

How much in Social Security disability benefits can I expect to receive?
Benefits are based on past wages and the amount of time worked. Monthly disability benefits are set by federal law and increase annually for the cost-of-living. Many states supplement these amounts.

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Family Law

What should I do if I am considering a divorce?
You should meet with a family law attorney immediately who can educate you on the laws of Florida and can guide you in evaluating your family’s income, expenses, assets and debts.

What does it mean that Florida is a no-fault divorce state?
This means that either party may seek a divorce without showing cause. If you believe your marriage is irretrievably broken and you have been a resident of the State of Florida for at least 6 months, you can file a petition for divorce.

Can I get alimony from my spouse?
Either party may be entitled to alimony. There are many different types of alimony including: temporary, bridge-the-gap rehabilitative, permanent periodic, and/or lump sum. In determining an award of alimony the courts follow the following guidelines: the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the financial resources of each party, the contribution of each party to the marriage, and in some cases the time required for either party to obtain education or training to find appropriate employment.

How much child support will I get?
Child support is based on the Florida child support guidelines worksheet. The numbers are based on the income of both spouses and the child’s living arrangements (not the primary residential parent).

Who will the children live with?
The parties are required to prepare a joint parenting plan.

What is shared parental responsibility?
The court encourages the parents to share responsibilities of parenting.

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