A Quick Update on my New Personal Injury Book


Wade Coye, personal injury attorney

Wade Coye, personal injury attorney

Hello everyone,

I am excited to announce that I’m nearly finished with a book  which I have written for consumers.  The purpose is to give people a starting point when they have had a tragedy in their family and aren’t sure what to d To be frank, I originally wrote a book last year that after editing and completion I realized it was too much of a “how to” book on personal injury.  You can imagine how terribly boring it was, perhaps a bit like watching paint dry!  I have found in over 25 years of law practice that as much as I want to give clients complete information on the ins and outs of a case, sometimes its TOO MUCH INFORMATION.  Sometimes, clients just want the essentials to avoid problems and mistakes, leaving the details to me.

 The book will cover a variety of issues often encountered by those initiating an injury case and those who are in the middle of one. Some of the topics will include how to determine the true worth of your case, the implications of insurance on potential compensation, how to deal with doctors involved in your case and how to find the right lawyer.

My working title is “Sharing the Secrets, Learning the Lies, A Personal Injury Guide”  This may change but the concept will not.  I anticipate the publisher finalizing it in the coming few weeks and will have it available on Amazon and some other vendors.

New Online Resource for Veterans with eBenefits

Wade Coye, Personal Injury Attorney.

Back in 2012, The Department of Veterans Affairs integrated a new online system to better assist veterans, service members, and their families in managing their benefits and program placement. The eBenefits Portal is a one-stop website where service members have access to all sorts of information meant to make their lives easier.

There are many new benefits to this site. You are now able to apply for benefits directly, check your application status, access important documents, and browse crucial VA links. Veterans can also download copies of their VA letters and access their education benefits. Job training and career information are also available through eBenefits. This convenient access makes streamlines any paperwork processes that you would need your VA records for.

Veterans can even get a copy of the VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility, once they have created an account. The VA Home Loan Guarantee allows service members, veterans, and their families a loan to either buy or improve their home as long as they meet certain requirements.

One of the most important benefit that the eBenefits online portal gives veterans access to is all of their Tricare and health insurance information. Having access to this information from home will make retaining medical records, finding doctors, and accessing disability information much easier. This will also likely, mean you will be able to access any lien information, if you’ve been in an accident. Having the ability to access this information will make it easier to keep track of claims.

The Coye Law Firm values our Veterans, and we want to make sure they are taking advantage of every service meant to make their life easier. If you or a loved one needs assistance figuring out what VA disability benefits you may be entitled to, contact the Coye Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Combat Veterans’ Brain Injuries: Hard to Diagnose, Harder to Treat


Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

According to a recent survey, 244,719 troops were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) between 2009 and 2012. 72,529 of these diagnoses occurred after 2009. With such a high number of cases, many Americans expect that research is being performed to prevent, detect, or treat these injuries, but the truth of the matter is TBIs are some of the most complex injuries to deal with. In fact, 22% of all combat casualties are related to Traumatic Brain Injuries.

There are three levels of Traumatic Brain injuries: mild, moderate, and severe. A mild TBI is defined by a loss or alteration of consciousness for a time period less than 30 minutes or post-traumatic amnesia lasting less than 24 hours. Focal neurologic deficits and/or a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 13-15 would also indicate a mild TBI. Moderate TBIs are signified by a loss of consciousness greater than 30 minutes, post-traumatic amnesia lasting longer than 24 hours, and an initial GCS of 9-12. A severe TBI is categorized by all of the symptoms above and a GCS score less than 9.

At least 45% of veterans currently coming home from Iraq/Afghanistan are in the process of applying for or are already receiving Veterans Disability Benefits. This number is double the number of veterans who were eligible following the Gulf War. The reason for this dramatic increase is new injuries. 20 percent of all active duty troops suffer from repeated concussions. One third of that number has semi-permanent symptoms as a result.

For whatever reason, veterans and athletes alike, have longer lasting symptoms than civilians who have the same injury. 85 to 90 percent of civilians with a mild TBI will return to normal after three to six months. The other 10 percent experience lasting somatic (headache, tinnitus, insomnia, etc.), cognitive (memory, attention, concentration difficulties, etc.), or emotional/behavioral (irritability, depression, anxiety, etc.) symptoms. A veteran or athlete could see symptoms last months longer than a civilian, usually 18 to 24 months. Generally, this difference is due to the fact that a veteran’s mild TBI is usually accompanied by several other medial problems.

If symptoms progress past the normal time periods, several neurological disorders can develop:

▪       Epilepsy

▪       Paralysis

▪       Tremors

▪       Headaches and migraines

▪       Memory loss or impairment

You may be wondering why a veteran has such a dramatically longer recovery time. The answer is simple: in many cases symptoms are ignored at the time of injury due to the stressful situation within which it occurs. Because of this, the injury itself is hard to pinpoint, making even more difficult to distinguish between symptoms. Like I said earlier, veterans are usually dealing with several medical conditions at once. Several TBI symptoms overlap with those of other psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Treatment for a TBI has to be symptom focused, but if you can’t distinguish between what symptoms are caused by which condition, how are you supposed to treat? That is exactly what the government was supposedly working on for the past few years. After putting $18.1 million into a resource that was supposed help diagnose TBIs, the software has fallen short. This software was supposed to help determine the impact of blast injuries when there was no visible head wound. It was also supposed to help differentiate between symptoms relating to a TBI and other medical conditions. Instead, the software seems to be a clinical documentation tool with no interfacing to other programs and a confusing self-assessment for veterans to take. It is disappointing that we haven’t progressed farther in the diagnosis and treatment of TBIs.

With all of the new types of injuries comes a greater influx of disability claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, it takes nearly 8 months to process a single claim, even longer if you have to go through an appeals process. You may need an attorney to help keep your claim on track. If you or a loved one was injured in combat and has a resulting disability, contact the Coye Law Firm to discuss your case.




Appropriate Courtroom Behavior

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

Whether you’re entering the courtroom for a civil case, criminal case, or custody hearing, the situation will always be stressful. How you control that stress, is more important that most people realize. Your behavior in the courtroom can and will affect your case.

As I’ve said before, attorneys, judges, and jurors alike spend time reading your body language alongside any testimony you give. In many ways, your body language will speak louder than your words. No matter how stressed you are feeling, you cannot let that manifest in your behavior, because the way you act is just as impacts the impression you leave on others.

A basic guideline to help maintain your behavior in court is remembering to use basic common courtesy. Proper court attire is also as much a part of your behavior, as the way you speak or act. Make sure what you wear is appropriate. Follow business causal or business professional guidelines, and keep the colors muted.

The way you speak is also a reflection of your behavior. Specific to a courtroom, is remembering not to speak unless you are addressed directly. There is a detailed order in which people can speak, and disrupting that would reflect badly on you. You should also take care to insure your emotions do not dictate what you say. If you let your emotions take control, you may forget to say something important, or your emotional response will be more recognized than the facts you are trying to convey. Remember to use appropriate, clear language, and most importantly, speak respectfully, to everyone involved. It will showcase your good character, and insure that the proceedings go smoothly.

Some other general guidelines: do not have any food, gum, mints, or drinks in the courtroom. Focusing on that makes you look disrespectful. Despite the fact that this should go without saying, make sure your cell phone is OFF. Better yet, leave it at home or in the car. Silent mode doesn’t work. If it vibrates, everyone will be able to hear it, and it is extremely disruptive.

Since emotions are generally high in a courtroom (even though you will be doing your best to hide that), you’ll want to have a friend you trust go with you and take personal notes. Not only will this serve as a good record of occurrences, but it will also show that you care what is going on.

Pay attention to your posture, don’t slouch or let your head droop. I know the formalities of court can be a little boring, but you do not want to look bored or disengaged; it leaves a bad impression. You should look interested and pay attention, because what is being said should matter to you.

Aside from your behavior affecting the outcome of your case, there are criminal consequences for not keeping yourself in check. For example, a father, frustrated with the courts involved in a custody case, cussed when referring to the judge, and wrote a rather threatening song which he posted online. The man, a army veteran, obviously did not win his custody case, but was instead held in contempt of court, put in prison for 4 months, and had to pay a large fine.

Clearly, your behavior in the courtroom plays a key role in the way a hearing precedes. Negative behavior will certainly leave an unwanted impression on anyone in the courtroom with you. Here at the Coye Law Firm, we help our clients prepare for a trial or hearing by coaching them on dealing with the stresses of court. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a legal issue, contact us for a consultation.

Could you be Forced into Arbitration?

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

How may people truly understand all of the legal jargon in an employment contract? Do you read every word of it? Do you trust your new employer implicitly enough to trust the way they are explaining it to you? What happens if you miss something? Will you pay the price? The truth is you could. Many corporate contracts now include a forced arbitration clause that could cost you if you ever have to file a complaint.

So what is arbitration? Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is meant to prevent a dispute from going to court. In arbitration, a third party reviews the evidence and makes a decision, which is usually legally binding and enforceable. Arbitration is a form of “private judging” and works in theory. It was intended to be a freely chosen alternative to litigation among corporate equals. The problem is arbitration has been twisted to force employees and consumers to surrender their right to hold corporations accountable for their wrongdoing.

Employers are creating clauses in the fine print of contracts that makes arbitration the only option if you have a complaint. It is a biased system because the company you have an issue with is the one contracting the arbitrators. Arbitrators have no obligation to follow the letter of the law, resulting in an overwhelming favoring with the corporation. In fact, 95% of arbitrated decisions favor the corporation over the employee.

In an arbitrated case, the arbitrator has not legal authority to force a company to change their ways, even if they are proven negligent, unfair, or dangerous. By forcing arbitration, the company is protected from the law.

Arbitration itself is extremely expensive because of its private nature. This fact on its own deters employees or consumers from following through with a complaint. With forced arbitration, an employee is giving up their right to a court hearing and all that comes along with it – a judge, a jury, and a chance to appeal.

Luckily, you cannot be forced into arbitration for a worker’s compensation case. If you chose to enter into arbitration freely, the decision is probably not legally binding, so if you don’t agree you can still pursue litigation.

If you or a loved one has a claim that is being forced into arbitration, you may need an attorney to represent your interests. Though the process is tough and expensive, it is not impossible to prevail, especially if you are arbitrating by choice. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Coye Law Firm today, for a consultation on your case.




Will Texting and Driving Finally Become Illegal in Florida?

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

For the fourth year in a row, Senators Nancy Detert (R) and Doug Holder (R) are working towards making texting and driving illegal in Florida. For 3 years now, they have submitted bills together, in an attempt to outlaw the dangerous act of distracted driving, but the bill is repeatedly killed in subcommittee votes.

The new legislation would make texting and driving a non-moving violation and would be considered a secondary offence. A secondary offence means that an officer would not be able to pull you over for texting and driving, but they can write you a ticket for the offense if they have already pulled you over for another infraction – like speeding, driving recklessly, or driving under the influence. The law, SB 416, states that any driver found guilty of this offence will be charged with a $30 fine. Repeated offences would result in greater fines and points on your license.

Florida drivers should know that this bill would not completely ban mobile phone use. Exemptions are outlined as any visual/spoken navigation system, or any mobile radios.

Florida is one out of only five states (Montana, South Dakota, Arizona and South Carolina) that does not have some sort of ban on texting while driving. Despite bipartisan support, in addition to 70% of Florida voters supporting the ban, this bill is shot down repeatedly.

Hoping to overcome the bill’s history, Detert and Holder believe that this is the year the bill will finally pass. We will be watching for the decision after the votes take place in March.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident where texting and driving was involved, you may need an attorney to help you sort through a personal injury suit. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Coye Law Firm, today, for a free consultation.

Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis: Are you at Risk?

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

Many of you read our recent e-mail about the dangers surrounding the national outbreak of Fungal Meningitis in patients who received an injection of an epidural/steroid combination produced by the pharmaceutical company, New England Compounding Center. Since that email was sent, death tolls have risen to 12, number of cases is nearing 120, and we now know that over 13,000 patients were treated with the recalled steroid. The death of a Central Florida man from July has also been connected to this outbreak, proving that this outbreak has been lurking for several months now.

According to Reuters, the first contaminated vial was used on May 21st. Considering the recall was issued within the last week or so, thousands of people were unknowingly exposed to a deadly infection, whose cause has taken months to identify.

While this steroid/epidural injection is used for back, neck, and joint pain, only patients who received the injection in their backs are contracting meningitis because of the close proximity to the spinal cord. However, this doesn’t undermine the number of people who were exposed to the contaminated injection. My question now is why it took so long to recognize the pattern of infection, and how these vials were sold in the first place and used for so long.

What it comes down to is the seemingly lax regulations on pharmaceutical companies that only deal in combination drugs. The problem is the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can only regulate the makers of ingredients, not the compounders of a drug. While the FDA tries to make policy guidelines for these companies, like New England Compounding Center, the regulations are largely dependent on state law. In this case, state law in Massachusetts allows pharmacies to dispense compounded dugs only for an individual patient. But did this company really follow that law if they dispensed 17,000 combined doses?

As is always the case with any medical treatment, there are obvious benefits, like the weeks, months, or years of pain relief that the steroid/epidural injection is said to provide. But, there are also hidden dangers that remain out of the public eye until an event, like this national outbreak, sparks a national interest and panic.

It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 1950s, antibiotics were introduced to cattle via their feed because it was shown to increase weight gain in the animals.. Infusing the food of cattle used for beef was heavily supported by the pharmaceutical industry and it was celebrated because they thought the antibiotics would improve the overall health of America. And it did; for a while anyway. Looking back now, though, we know that it has caused bacteria to evolve into superbugs that antibiotics can no longer treat.

Obviously we can’t predict the future or the ramifications of a decision, and we’ll never be able to do that, but what this outbreak teaches us is to be cautious of the medicines and treatments you and your doctor decide are best. Approach it with a critical eye, and be careful about where your medication is coming from.

Right now, there are certain industries, like the combination pharmaceutical industry, that are regulated by the private sector and the economic market, instead of the government. The FDA This is an oversight on the part of the government, which can consequentially lead to serious injury or death. Pharmacies of this type are looking out for their own interests, instead of the patient’s health. Until the regulations change, it is our own and our doctor’s responsibility as a consumer, patient, and caretaker.

If you or a loved one has received a steroid/epidural injection to treat pain since May, be on the lookout for Meningitis symptoms outlined by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Altered mental state

Nevertheless, if you do suffer unintended consequences of this injection, contact your healthcare provider immediately to receive the proper care. If you’d like to file a claim regarding this matter, contact The Coye Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Do you Always Tell “The Whole Truth” at a Trial?

wadecoyeMost people are under the impression that the jury at a trial always gets the whole story along with every bit of information, before they make a decision. After all, when you are a witness in a case you must swear that you will “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” but is the ‘whole truth’ actually given? Unfortunately, the short answer is no. During a recent trial our firm handled, in which our client was hit by a car while walking in a parking lot, a detail that most would interpret as rather crucial, had to be left out, due to a judge’s decision, and we had to adapt our case to work without it.

Before I continue, I would like to summarize the case. As I just stated, a car struck our client while he was walking. The crucial detail that had to be left out was the fact that the driver involved had a suspended license and a number of previous offenses. After arguments back and forth, it was decided that this information would not be shared with the jury. You would think that having a suspended driver’s license would be the easiest way to prove negligence, but as it could not be shared, negligence had to be proven in other ways. Surprisingly, the driving record of the at fault driver is rarely considered because it has nothing to do with whether or not he is at fault in the specific situation.

Our client had substantial medical bills and other damages to deal with, and nowhere to turn. Cases like this one rarely make it to trial. However, this fact alone made our case unique from the start.

So what information is important to a case? Is it the information that will help prove fault, or the details that make fault harder to prove? How are the decisions about what the jury is told made? Is it just court politics, or is there logic behind which truths are used and which are left out?

Regardless of the challenges faced, our client was awarded substantial damages by the jury, which will be paid by the defense. The legal system is a complex structure of guidelines and technicalities, which take years to master. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney to protect your interests while defending your right to compensation for the injuries sustained, to the fullest extent of the law. Contact the Coye Law Firm  for a free consultation today.

Are you and you Homeowner’s Association prepared for Hurricane Season?

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

After Isaac’s brief appearance, and as hurricane season trudges on in Florida this season, I am encouraging you to double check that you and your neighborhood have everything lined up in case of an emergency. This includes knowing if your Homeowner’s Association is also prepared for such an event.

A Homeowner’s Association is responsible for maintaining an insurance policy on any structures controlled by the entire neighborhood, like an apartment building, pool, or clubhouse. The type of policy written for these types of structures is written on a percentage basis. The Association is required to insure each structure for 80%, 90%, or 100% of the building’s market value. This percentage system is called a coinsurance clause. The insurance company is responsible for the percentage, and the association would then be responsible for the rest. The buildings must be reappraised at least every 36 months to maintain the policy. The way these policies work is a bit confusing. Insuring a structure for 80% is more effective than 90% or 100%. If a hurricane causes damage, and a claim must be filed, the property is reappraised for its value just before the damage occurred. If the policy was written for 100% on a $100,000 structure and it was reappraised at $110,000, it is considered underinsured even if the previous appraisal was something different. Then, not only will the association be responsible for the difference in coverage, but there will also be penalties assessed for being underinsured, so they won’t get a full payout. If the association chose an 80% policy, there is more room for changes in property value, and there is a greater chance of a full payout on the policy. Though the association is still responsible for the other 20%, that amount is known and can be planned for.

While the insurance plan is the same for an apartment building, the items the insurance policy covers will differ between an apartment building and a homeowners association. When you live in an apartment or condo, you essentially own the air inside the apartment, along with your personal belongings. If you live within a community with a homeowner’s association, chances are you own the house, along with the land it sits on. Therefore the level of responsibility required by the resident and the association shifts drastically between these two options. In an apartment, they are responsible for any structural damage to the building, whereas if you own the house, you are responsible.

With this information, you should ask yourself some questions about your HOA’s hurricane preparation. If there is a hurricane, will your HOA have to pay a deductible, or the difference of their coinsurance policy? Do they maintain a fund to pay for this deductible, or are they tentatively planning to charge an assessment to unit owners after the loss occurs? Do you have enough to cover the assessment? Have you taken this into account when purchasing your own homeowner’s insurance policy?

For those who don’t know, there is loss assessment coverage worked into a homeowner’s policy of someone who lives within a neighborhood with an HOA or Apartment Complex. According to Florida Statute 627.714 homeowner’s living within an HOA must purchase a minimum of $2000 in loss assessment coverage. We suggest that you purchase the maximum amount, because HOA’s are so widespread in Florida. Combine that with the high potential of hurricane damage, and the loss assessment coverage will protect you if your HOA needs to charge you for damages.

Members of a Homeowner’s Association Board: have you thoroughly researched your insurance options for your properties? Are you working with an experienced insurance agent who knows the differences between the two entities? How will you handle a potential lawsuit over insufficient insurance coverage?

Homeowners: Did you know that if for some reason you stop paying your mortgage, your insurance would lapse? Is your insurance enough to cover potential damage to the structure of your home, or property inside your apartment? What will you do if your HOA doesn’t have the insurance or funds to deal with the damage?

Being completely prepared for the destruction a hurricane can cause is nearly impossible, however, staying informed about the different and overlapping responsibilities you and your Homeowner’s Association have, will make it much easier to cope, should something occur. If you or a loved one need legal assistance with an insurance claim, or in your dealing with your HOA, contact the experienced Central Florida attorney’s at the Coye Law Firm for a free consultation.

How to Find a Great Lawyer

Wade Coye, Esq.

Wade Coye, Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney

If there ever comes a time in a person’s life when they need legal help, most people don’t know where to turn. Finding a lawyer is a daunting task that takes time and patience. Finding a GOOD lawyer takes more than that; it takes trust. But how are you supposed to come to trust a total stranger? And where are you supposed to find a lawyer in the first place? Hopefully, I can give you a head start.

Start by asking your friends, family, and coworkers for a recommendation. Even if they give you a name of someone who doesn’t practice in the field you need help with, give that attorney a call. (HINT: Lawyers know other lawyers!)

You can also talk to your employer. Many companies offer discounted legal services through an EAP, or Employee Assistance Program. But what is an Employee Assistance Program? These types of programs provide free or reduced legal services for the employees of that company. Taking advantage of an Employee Assistance Program will definitely save you some money.

If you don’t have anyone to ask, or feel uncomfortable discussing your issue with the people closest to you, you can always turn to your local Bar Association. The Bar has a lawyer referral service of all attorneys in your state, and can match you up with someone experienced in the practice area you need.

Chances are, you have a long list of attorneys to choose from. How do you know which is right? To narrow down the list, I suggest you check with the local Bar Association once again to see if the attorneys on your list have ever had disciplinary action taken against them. Find out when and what the disciplinary action was for, before you make any decisions. Do some Internet research! Check their websites, but be careful about client testimony. The Florida Bar, like every other Bar Association in this country, has specific rules about the way an attorney can use client testimony in advertising. If advertisement is abused, you may be left with unjustified expectations about what that lawyer can actually do for your case.  Most importantly, meet with at least 3 attorneys before making a decision about who will represent you. Most firms offer a free consultation. Take advantage of that time to see if you feel comfortable with the attorney there. Remember, choosing the first attorney on a list of 50 may land you with someone who cannot help you in the way you need. This will cost you wasted time, money, and quite possibly your entire case.

If you’re not sure where to start with this, here are some guiding questions to ask or think about when you meet with the attorney for the first time:

-Who, specifically, will be working on my case?

-If that person is unavailable, is there someone else I can speak to?

-What are your credentials? Where did you go to school? Do you have any specializations? (Ex. AEP Designation – Accredited Estate Planner)

-What type of experiences have you had with similar cases? How did those cases turn out?

-What do you see as the possible outcomes of my case?

-Can you guess a timeframe of about how long my case will take?

-What type of payment would be associated with this case?

-Can you give me a ballpark figure of the total amount?

-How much time will can and will you dedicate to my case?

-Does your firm have any specific procedure for phone calls, contacting clients, and gathering information regarding the case that I should know about?

-Do you have any questions for me?

Use these questions to gauge how comfortable you are with this attorney. For example, if they mainly communicate by e-mail, and you rarely check yours, then chances are, that is not the attorney for you. Out of all the questions, the last is probably most important. It is the best way to gauge how interested the attorney is. This is what makes a good lawyer. If they show interest in the case, then chances are they’ll be interested enough to fight for what the law allows you to get. Most importantly, trust your instincts. More often than not, that is your best guide, because if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, they are probably not the person you want to be working with.

If you or a loved one find yourself needing assistance in a legal issue, the experienced attorneys at the Coye Law Firm, will do everything they can to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation on your case.