Carlson Meissner & Hayslett: Your Trusted Personal Injury Attorneys in Clearwater

An injury can change your life forever. Severe injuries can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills, cause immense pain and suffering, and affect your ability to work. No one deserves to face these consequences alone—especially people who were injured in an accident that was not their fault. If it happens to you, it’s in your best interest to turn to one of our personal injury attorneys in Clearwater, FL, here at Carlson Meissner & Hayslett for help. You are entitled to compensation for your injuries, and our attorneys are committed to helping you obtain it. Let us handle your personal injury claim so you can focus on what matters most—recovering from your injuries. With over 125 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to win compensation for our clients.

Clearwater attorneys at Carlson Meissner Law Firm on Personal Injury

Attorney Jennifer A. Burns

What Types of Personal Injury Cases Do We Handle In Clearwater?

Our personal injury attorneys in Clearwater are passionate about protecting the rights of the injured.

Our attorneys handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including:

  • Car Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Boat Accidents
  • Jet Ski Accidents
  • Ridesharing Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Train Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Hit and Run
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Aviation Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Dental Malpractice
  • Birth Injuries
  • Hospital Malpractice
  • Surgical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home Malpractice
  • Defective Medical Devices
  • Product Liability
  • Burn Injuries
  • Brain Injuries
  • Wrongful Death
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Premises Liability
  • Workers' Compensation

Let us put our experience, resources, and knowledge to work for you.

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Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Clearwater?

You may be entitled to compensation, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to recover. Compensation is never guaranteed. But the best way to increase your chances of securing compensation is hiring an experienced personal injury attorney.

Our personal injury attorneys will handle every aspect of your claim, starting with the investigation. We will work with expert witnesses, reconstruct the accident, analyze evidence from the scene, interview witnesses, obtain surveillance footage, and gather other types of evidence that we need to establish liability in your case.

Then, we will begin aggressively negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Our goal is to reach a fair settlement during these negotiations. But if it’s not possible to achieve this goal, we won’t hesitate to seek justice in court by filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

We have the resources and knowledge to win compensation for our clients in the most complex personal injury cases. We won’t back down until you are fully compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Common Injuries in Personal Injury Claims

Some common injuries that frequently lead to personal injury claims include the following:

  • Whiplash: Often associated with car accidents, whiplash occurs due to sudden jerking of the head and neck, leading to neck pain, stiffness, and potential long-term complications.
  • Fractures: Broken bones can result from various accidents, such as falls, sports injuries, or workplace incidents. Fractures may require surgery, immobilization, and extensive rehabilitation.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Head injuries can range from mild concussions to severe TBIs, affecting cognitive functions, memory, mood, and physical abilities. TBIs often have long-lasting effects and may require ongoing medical care.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and significant mobility challenges. These injuries typically require extensive medical intervention and long-term support.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Strains, sprains, and tears to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility, and difficulty performing daily activities.
  • Burns: Thermal, chemical, or electrical burns can cause severe tissue damage, scarring, and emotional trauma. Burn victims often require specialized medical care and may face long-term complications.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries can damage internal organs, leading to internal bleeding, organ dysfunction, and life-threatening conditions.
  • Emotional Distress: Personal injury claims may also include compensation for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues resulting from the accident or injury.
Injured man at doctor's office

What Types of Compensation Can I Recover For My Injuries?

If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, it’s important to understand your right to compensation. As a victim of negligence, you have the right to recover compensation for:

Medical expenses

You can recover compensation for the medical expenses you have already incurred and the expenses you expect to incur in the future to treat your injuries.

Lost wages

If your injuries have affected your ability to work, the at-fault party must compensate you for the wages you have already lost and the wages you expect to lose in the future.

Pain and suffering

The at-fault party must also compensate you for any mental and physical pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injuries.

The value of your personal injury claim will vary depending on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, how your injuries were treated, the impact your injuries have had on your life, and the long-term effects of your injuries. To discuss the value of your case, speak to our attorneys today.

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How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

Determining if you have a personal injury case involves considering a few important factors. You might have a case if you've been hurt because of someone else's carelessness or deliberate actions. Here are some indicators that you might have a personal injury claim:

  • Injury: You must have experienced physical, emotional, or financial harm from the incident.
  • Negligence: The injury must be caused by another party's failure to be reasonably careful, like a driver running a red light or a property owner not keeping their premises safe.
  • Causation: There must be a clear connection between the careless actions and your injuries. In other words, negligence directly leads to your harm.
  • Damages: You should have measurable losses, such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, or property damage.

If you need clarification on whether your situation qualifies as a personal injury case, talking to a knowledgeable attorney can provide that clarity and guidance.

Our lawyers are available 24/7 Talk to a lawyer now.

Steps to Take After a Personal Injury Accident

By taking the following proactive steps, you can protect your interests and position yourself for a successful personal injury claim:

Seek Medical Attention

Your health and safety are paramount. Seek medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries, even if they seem minor initially. Documenting your injuries is crucial for your claim.

Report the Incident

Report the accident to the appropriate authorities, such as law enforcement, your employer (if a workplace accident), or property owners (if premises-related). Obtain copies of incident reports.

Gather Evidence

Collect evidence at the scene if possible, including photographs, witness contact information, and any relevant documentation (e.g., medical records, repair bills, insurance correspondence).

Keep Records

Maintain detailed records of all medical treatments, expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to the accident. This documentation strengthens your compensation claim.

Do Not Admit Fault

Do not admit fault or discuss the details of the accident with other parties or insurance representatives without consulting your attorney.

Consult with an Attorney

Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case, understand your legal rights, and determine the best course of action for pursuing compensation.

Follow Medical Advice

Adhere to your healthcare provider's treatment plan and attend follow-up appointments. Your medical progress and compliance with treatment are crucial for your recovery and claim.

The Duty of Care in Florida

In Florida, the Duty of Care is a fundamental principle in personal injury cases. It refers to the legal obligation of individuals and entities to act reasonably and prudently to avoid harming others.

Here's a breakdown of the elements related to Duty of Care:


The defendant (the party being sued) must owe a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party). For example, a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely and obey traffic laws.

Breach of Duty

The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently or recklessly. This breach could be failing to maintain a safe environment, driving under the influence, or ignoring safety regulations.


The defendant's breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff's injuries. A clear cause-and-effect relationship must be established.


The plaintiff must have suffered damages, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, financial losses, or property damage, due to the breach of duty.

Proving these elements is crucial in establishing liability and pursuing compensation in a personal injury case in Florida.

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When to Contact a Lawyer to File a Personal Injury Claim

Contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury is essential. The following are critical situations in which you should consider reaching out to an attorney:

Serious Injuries

If you've sustained significant injuries that require extensive medical treatment or result in long-term consequences like chronic pain or disability, legal representation can help protect your rights and pursue fair compensation.

Complex Cases

An attorney can navigate the complexities of cases involving multiple parties, unclear liability, or disputes with insurance companies and advocate on your behalf.

Insurance Issues

If you encounter difficulties dealing with insurance companies, such as delays, denials, or inadequate settlement offers, an attorney can negotiate effectively and ensure you receive fair treatment.

Legal Deadlines

In Florida, statutes of limitations restrict the time you have to file a personal injury claim, typically within four years of the date of the incident. Consulting with a lawyer early ensures you meet these deadlines and preserve your legal rights, giving you the best chance to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You must take legal action before you lose the opportunity to pursue your claim.

Legal Guidance

Even if you're unsure about the strength of your case, a lawyer can assess your situation, provide legal advice, and outline your options for pursuing compensation.

How Much Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

Many people assume that they cannot afford to hire a personal injury attorney, but the truth is that every victim can afford legal representation. Initial consultations with our attorneys are free. During this consultation, you will learn more about your legal options, the value of your case, and the steps we will take to help you recover compensation.

There’s no obligation to hire us during the initial consultation. But if you do choose to hire our firm, our attorneys will represent you on a contingency basis, which means attorneys’ fees will not be due until and unless we recover compensation for you. We will take a percentage of the compensation that is awarded to you. But if we cannot recover compensation for you, we will not charge you for our legal services. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to take the first step towards getting the compensation you need and deserve after sustaining an injury.

Man sitting with a cast on a leg.

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

Proving negligence is central to a successful personal injury case. To establish negligence, several key elements must be demonstrated:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. For example, a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely and follow traffic laws.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently, recklessly, or violating the law. This breach could be speeding, distracted driving, failure to maintain safe premises, or other negligent actions.
  • Causation: The defendant's breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff's injuries. There must be a clear link between the defendant's actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered measurable damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage due to the defendant's negligence.

The Personal Injury Claim Process

Navigating the personal injury claim process requires knowledge, experience, and strategic planning. Here's an overview of the typical steps involved in pursuing a personal injury claim:

  • Initial Consultation: Meet with a personal injury attorney at Carlson, Meissner & Hayslett to discuss your case, review evidence, and assess your legal options. The attorney will explain the process and answer your questions.
  • Investigation: Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and assessing liability.
  • Demand Letter: Your attorney will draft and send a demand letter to the at-fault party's insurance company, outlining your injuries, damages, and the compensation you are seeking.
  • Negotiation: The insurance company may respond with a settlement offer. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to reach a fair settlement that covers your losses.
  • Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may file a personal injury lawsuit and proceed to litigation. This stage involves court proceedings, discovery, depositions, and possibly a trial.
  • Settlement or Verdict: During litigation, settlement negotiations may continue. If a settlement is reached, your case is resolved. If not, a trial may result in a jury verdict determining compensation.
  • Resolution: Once a settlement or verdict is reached, your attorney will ensure all legal requirements are met, and you receive the compensation owed to you.

Discuss Your Case With Our Personal Injury Attorneys During A Free Consultation

Have you been injured? Don’t wait any longer to take legal action against the party that caused you harm. Seek legal representation from one of our Clearwater personal injury attorneys at Carlson Meissner & Hayslett right away. For decades, we have helped our clients maximize the compensation they are awarded for their injuries. Now, we are here to help you. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call 727-219-2272 or fill out the form on this website.

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Do I have to visit a medical doctor for a personal injury case?

What is mediation?

What is the statute of limitations in Florida for a personal injury case?

How much does it cost?

How long will it take to settle my personal injury claim?

Can my spouse or children recover for any losses my injuries caused?

Can a case be settled without my permission?

When should I call my insurance company?

What if I'm partially at fault for the accident?

Do I have to visit a medical doctor for a personal injury case?

Going to an MD is not a requirement for filing a valid Personal Injury claim; however, when opting not to visit an MD, you do run the risk of receiving an adjuster who does not view alternative medicine specialists as qualified. You can see your physician, an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, an acupuncture specialist, or other alternative medicine providers. Always attain valid medical documentation as evidence of medical treatment and costs, including doctor visits, ambulance rides, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments.

What is mediation?

Mediation involves each side of a case agreeing to use a neutral third party to try to resolve the claim without going to trial. The mediator assists the parties as they discuss their dispute to help them find mutually acceptable resolutions. If you reach an agreement at mediation, you can avoid a trial or arbitration.

What is the statute of limitations in Florida for a personal injury case?

For most personal injury claims involving bodily injuries, the Florida statute of limitations is four years from the accident date. You have four years from the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The Statute of Limitations for an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM) claim is five years.

How much does it cost?

In most cases, in Florida, a personal injury attorney will charge between 10% and 45% of what you are awarded, with the average being 33.33%.

How long will it take to settle my personal injury claim?

Most personal injury cases are settled out-of-court, which is faster than a trial. A claim that involves more severe injuries or complex liability issues will take longer to settle. Having a personal injury attorney will speed up the process, but it could still take months or years, especially if it goes to trial.

Can my spouse or children recover for any losses my injuries caused?

Yes. For example, your spouse can recover for various damages, including any lost support and services they have suffered due to your injuries. They would also be entitled to pursue a claim for loss of consortium, a legal term for the expected benefits a married couple would enjoy that you and your spouse may no longer be able to engage in due to your injuries. Your children would also be entitled to recover for any lost support and services they may have suffered due to your injuries.

Can a case be settled without my permission?

No. While we will always advise you whether we believe a settlement offer is in your best interests, you always decide on any settlement offer for your personal injury claim.

When should I call my insurance company?

It's crucial to contact your insurance company immediately after an accident, even if you think you didn't cause it. Reporting the accident promptly helps your insurance provider start the claims process, collect important details, and begin looking into your coverage and potential responsibilities. Also, many insurance policies need to be informed about accidents immediately to ensure you can still get coverage. If you wait to contact your insurance company, it could cause problems or hold up your claim.

What if I'm partially at fault for the accident?

Sharing some fault for an accident can affect how much compensation you can get and might impact your insurance coverage. In states like Florida that have comparative negligence laws, your level of fault could lower the amount of money you can receive. For instance, if you're determined to be 20% at fault, your compensation might be reduced by 20%.

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