FAQs


What are attorneys' fees?

Attorneys' fees are the amount of money that the attorneys, and law firms are paid for the legal services they provide. In most personal injury and wrongful death cases, attorneys' fees are on a contingency basis. Under this arrangement, the attorneys' fees are based on a percentage of what you are awarded in the case. If the case is lost, the attorneys do not typically recover a fee, although you may have to pay some expenses or costs. The contingency fee percentage varies and some lawyers offer a sliding scale based on how far along the case is when it is resolved. A one-third fee (33.33%) is common if your case is not litigated. If your case is litigated, the attorneys' fees may increase and are subject to the amount recovered at trial.

What are attorneys' costs?

Attorneys’ costs are expenses incurred by the law firm for client’s benefit, to include expenses associated with specialized services necessary in litigating the case. These charges may include, but shall not be limited to, fees and expenses for private investigators, expert witnesses, court reporters and transcripts, paralegal services, videotaping services, travel and lodging expenses for the attorneys, investigators, support staff and witnesses, investigation of defendant’s assets, consultants, computer assisted research, video compilations, computer generated graphics, and computer generated animations, as required for use at mediation or trial, filing fees, photocopy and printing, courier costs, long distance telephone, fax charges and any and all other expenses that the attorneys consider reasonable and necessary for the proper representation of this action. Typically, our firm will recover these costs at the conclusion of the case. As a general rule, costs tend to be higher in complex cases or when injuries are very serious.

How long does it take to resolve a case?

It varies depending on the case. However, our trial attorneys will move your case forward as quickly as possible, and at the same time at a pace that will not compromise the maximum recovery possible for your injuries. We have been successful in settling many cases out of court in just a few months, but a complex case that requires a trial can take between one and two years.

What is a deposition?

Depositions are a way for the parties of a lawsuit to ask question to each other and to witnesses through their attorneys. The person being deposed takes an oath to answer the questions truthfully. Each word spoken by the deponent is recorded by a court reporter to create a deposition transcript. Often times, depositions are videotaped. Depositions are used by attorneys to get more information about a case and to impeach a witness at trial.

What is a mediation?

Mediation is a process during which all parties of a lawsuit are present. In the presence of a neutral person, the mediator, the parties present their side of the case. The mediator will then attempt to help the parties find common ground and, ultimately, settle the case for a dollar amount. The role of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the parties, by assisting them in focusing on the real issues of the dispute. Almost always in the State of Florida, the courts order mediation in cases prior to trial. We select only experienced mediators and prepare the case for mediation with many of the same techniques we would use at trial.

Who will pay for my medical expenses?

If you are injured in an auto accident, your own car insurance, under its Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provision is the first to pay for your medical expenses, up to $10,000. PIP payments do not affect your insurance premiums. Once your PIP is depleted, your health insurance will be responsible to cover for your medical expenses. Some health care provider may agree to place a hold on your bill until the resolution of litigation. These are matters that we will assist you with.

What is uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects injured drivers if the at-fault driver has no insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage can also apply when someone is injured in an accident with an unidentified hit-and-run vehicle. If a person has uninsured motorist coverage and is in an accident with an uninsured motorist, he or she can collect from his or her insurance company to recover damages.

Under-insured motorist coverage provides compensation for injured drivers when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate the injured party in full for his or her injuries. An "under-insured motorist" is generally a person who is responsible for the injuries, but who has opted to purchase only the minimum policy required by law. If a person who has purchased under-insured motorist coverage is in an accident with an under-insured motorist, he or she may be able to collect from his or her own insurance company to recover damages that are greater than the responsible party's limits.

Is your firm specialized in any practice area?

Leesfield Scolaro is a law firm that specializes in representing people and families who have been injured or killed due to the negligence of another. For a more complete and detailed list of the firm's areas of practice, go to our Practice Areas section.

What are Resort Torts

The area of Resort Torts encompasses every case where a person sustains injuries that occurred because of land-based tourist and travel activities, or unexpected events related to resort travel by cruise ship, related excursions, hotels and theme park negligence. Whether as a cruise passenger or in a resort setting, negligent security is a particular concern because vacationers are less on guard and less aware of the dangers surrounding criminal activities.

Is everything I tell you confidential, even if I don't hire you?

Yes. The rules under which attorneys practice in the State of Florida are very clear. Any communication about a case or a potential case, even if the attorney is not retained, between the client or potential client, and an attorney is confidential under the lawyer/client confidentiality provision.

How do you decide whether you will take my case?

Our attorneys look very carefully at many cases. Each case is discussed among several attorneys and given heavy consideration. It sometimes occurs that we will not be able to take on a case, and while we may refer your case to one of our referral attorneys, we will always encourage you to seek a second legal opinion.

I do not live in Florida, but I was injured in Florida, will you take my case?

Yes. Whether you live in Florida or anywhere else in the United States or outside of the country, our trial attorneys will give your case the same careful and professional attention. Our firm has represented thousands of clients who are out-of-state residents injured in the State of Florida. We will litigate your cases anywhere in the country. If you do not reside in Florida, and have been injured in Florida, it is in your best interest to hire a local attorney who knows the Courts and has a stellar reputation in the legal community where you sustained your injuries.

What is an out-of-court settlement?

An out-of-court settlement is a settlement that occurs before trial and that is not a verdict. There will be multiple opportunities during your case to settle your claim with the defendant.

How long does it take to settle a case?

It depends on a number of legal and factual issues. Our experience has proven to be a great asset in moving our clients' cases along quickly, but in some instances, we may feel that attempting to settle your case too early may hurt your case or may not bring you the best recovery possible. At every step of the way, our attorneys will discuss with you the factors that may affect the timing of the case's settlement.

How long before we go to trial?

It depends on several elements. The jurisdiction where your lawsuit is filed is an important factor. Some courts are run more efficiently and more quickly than others. Another factor is the type of case you have, the nature of the defendant, or the complexity of issues of your case. We strive to provide the best legal representative by any standard, including best results in a reasonable period of time.

Will I need to be present at trial?

Yes. You must be present in court during trial.

Where can I get more information about your firm?

You may read more about attorneys by visiting our attorneys section. You may also get more information about our results by visiting our verdicts and settlements section, as well as our practice areas section. Finally, you may want to read about our charitable and community involvement at the local, statewide and national level by visiting our charitable and community involvement section.

Are you involved in the local community?

The law firm of Leesfield Scolaro has been actively involved in the local community, statewide and national legal community since 1976, when the firm was founded. To read more on our charitable and community involvement, go to our charitable and community involvement section.

Who are the lawyers working for your firm?

To get more information about our trial attorneys, go to our Attorneys section.

If we settle, when will I get my check?

It varies. In some cases, you may get your check within days of the settlement, in other cases, it may take several weeks. Once your check is received, Florida Law mandates us to place your settlement funds in our Trust Account for a short period of time, after which we will be able to disburse to you as quickly as we can.

What are medical liens and subrogation claims?

A medical lien or subrogation, is a claim placed by a medical provider (hospital, clinic, doctor's office) or an insurance (health insurance, car insurance) against any recovery from a lawsuit. By law, a person who is injured by the negligence of another, and who is medically treated for those injuries, must pay the expenses of such medical treatment before he/she can legally recover from his or her lawsuit. Once our attorneys have successfully settled your case or obtained a verdict in court, we will actively work with the lien holders to reduce and pay their liens on your behalf.

Will my case require an expert?

It depends on the nature of your case. Experts are costly, but they are necessary in some cases. If your case involves a medical malpractice claim, or a highly technical issue, we not only hire experts to advance your case, but we hire the best experts in the field in question. After all, your case may depend upon the quality of the expert on your side.

Who will decide to settle my case?

Only you, the client will make the decision to settle your case. When settlement negotiations are under way, as your attorneys, we will advise you and let you know our legal and professional opinion, however, we will leave the ultimate decision to you.

What is a statute of limitation?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period of time for you to make your claim. In most personal injury cases in Florida, the statute of limitation is 4 years. It is 2 years for wrongful death cases or for medical malpractice claims. However, the statute of limitation may vary depending on the nature of your case, if you have a contract with the defendant, and if the defendant is a private or public entity. In cases against a cruise ship corporation, the statute of limitations is typically one year from the time of the incident.

What are compensatory damages?

Payment made by the defendant for damages or injury to a person or property that has actually occurred. It has to be legally proved that the damages have occurred.

What are punitive damages?

Damages awarded by a court in excess of compensatory damages against a defendant as a deterrent or punishment to redress an egregious wrong perpetrated by the defendant.

What does the term insurance "bad faith" mean?

In Florida, the term "bad faith" pertains to the unreasonable or unfair conduct of an insurance company. Typically, these cases stem from an insurance company denying a valid claim, or delaying payments on a valid claim. Our attorneys have been extremely successful in dealing with insurance companies who have committed bad faith.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim?

In Florida, the survivors of the decedent may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. A survivor includes the decedent's spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It includes the child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child's support.

What is a structured settlement?

A structured settlement is a financial or insurance arrangement, including periodic payments, that a client accepts to resolve a personal injury tort claim or to compromise a statutory periodic payment obligation. Structured settlements may include income tax and spendthrift requirements as well as benefits.

How can I obtain your newsletter?

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I just signed a contract for you to represent me, what is the next step?

At that point, our investigation is in full mode. We actively seek copies of your medical records and medical bills. We investigate your claim and gather evidence. Once our initial investigation is complete, we will determine whether the best course of action is to attempt to facilitate out of court negotiations or move forward with filing a lawsuit and going to trial on your claim.