Amanda Baggett is the CEO and Partner at Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers, a Jacksonville, Florida-based firm specializing in personal injury cases with a unique emphasis on construction law and roadway design. She brings over 20 years of legal expertise, including a background in defense counsel for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Before her current role, she served as defense counsel for engineers and contractors in personal injury and wrongful death cases, specifically relating to Florida roadway incidents. Recognized as a leading female attorney in Northeast Florida, Amanda’s accolades include the “Women of Influence” award from the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2014, reflecting her commitment to women’s rights and advancement. She actively participates in organizations such as the Jacksonville Association of Women Lawyers and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Amanda Baggett shares how Baggett Law serves its clients
- The importance of understanding Florida insurance law in personal injury cases
- Amanda explains the process of handling car accident cases and settlements
- Types of cases handled by Baggett Law
- What sets Baggett Law apart from other personal injury law firms?
- Amanda’s journey from law school to starting her own firm
In this episode…
Creating legal personal injury solutions that truly resonate with clients requires more than just legal expertise; it involves understanding their unique needs and challenges. But how does one blend professional legal acumen with a personal touch to truly stand out in the competitive world of personal injury law?
According to Amanda Baggett, a seasoned attorney with a specialized focus in personal injury and roadway design law, the answer lies in providing unparalleled personal service. With over 20 years of experience, Amanda emphasizes the importance of client education and setting clear expectations from the outset. This approach not only helps in demystifying the legal process for clients but also ensures that they are well-informed and comfortable throughout their legal journey. Furthermore, Amanda’s transition from defending corporations to advocating for individuals and families highlights her dedication to personalizing legal assistance and her commitment to community involvement.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, host Bela Musits sits down with Amanda Baggett, CEO and Partner at Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers. They discuss Amanda’s unique path in the legal field, the importance of client education in personal injury cases, and the strategies for navigating the complexities of insurance laws in Florida. This episode provides an in-depth look at how personalized legal services can make a significant difference in personal injury cases.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Bela Musits on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Amanda Baggett on LinkedIn
- Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
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Bela Musits 0:12
Hello, listeners. Bela Musits host for this episode of the 15 Minutes Share Your Voice podcast, where we talk with top notch law firms and attorneys about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing. They deliver tailor made services to help your law firm accomplish its objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Today’s podcast guest is attorney Amanda Baggett. She is the CEO of the Baggett Law firm located in Jacksonville, Florida. Amanda has 20 years of experience as a lawyer and an arbitrator. She is also a board certified legal expert in roadway design and works on cases. Amanda has won numerous awards throughout her career. But her favorite in progress accomplishment, call her mom. Welcome to the podcast. Amanda. So can you tell us a little bit more about the law firm?
Amanda Baggett 1:37
Yeah, absolutely. So we are a personal injury law firm. And here in Jacksonville, we actually have three locations in Duvall and St. Johns County. But our practice is exclusively focused on personal injury and wrongful death cases. So we handle medical malpractice cases, we handle nursing home cases, car accidents, you know, that sort of thing.
Bela Musits 2:01
Yeah, so that sounds like a highly specialized sort of practice of law. And and so can you talk about some of the special skills that it takes for an attorney to have to be in that segment of the practice?
Amanda Baggett 2:14
Sure, absolutely. So, you know, it’s it’s crucial in what we do that our lawyers understand Florida insurance law, you know, because with with what we do, when we are pursuing a responsible party, we’re really pursuing the available insurance that that party has, you know, in Florida, there are many protections against getting to people’s wages and that sort of thing. So when you sue a defendant in the state of Florida, you really are concerned most with the the insurance that’s going to apply and cover the damages in the case?
Bela Musits 2:47
I see. So these are these types of cases are different state to state. Are they also different within a state to various different counties have different sorts of laws and regulations about these things? No, not?
Amanda Baggett 3:00
Not necessarily. As far as the insurance law goes, I mean, different counties have different court rules and things like that, that every lawyer should be aware of, of course, that yes, Florida is different. With regard to the required auto insurance, every state is a little bit different on that. So it’s just important that in this area of practice, that we understand how those laws work, and how they will apply to claims involving auto accidents.
Bela Musits 3:24
Yeah, you know, one of the things that always strikes me is, many parts of the country, including Florida, have lots of people, lots of residents from various different backgrounds in various different cultures. So how do you sort of work with people to to explain that cultural norms that maybe they have experienced, you know, in their lives, or not exactly what the laws of the country allow you or enable you to do when it comes to these types of suits?
Amanda Baggett 3:54
Sure. And I think that’s a really good question. You know, one thing that we pride ourselves on at Baggot law is really from the very first phone call is educating our clients and setting the expectations, you know, about what they should expect in their case, and how long a case should take and those sorts of things. And so, you know, we really, we believe strongly in client education as the starting point to make sure that everybody really does understand the process, because you’re right. There are so many misconceptions, even among other lawyers in different practice areas, as far as you know, what it takes to have a claim, and then you know, how long it’s going to take and what will be involved.
Bela Musits 4:31
Yeah. And when someone calls you and says, Hey, I’ve been in an accident, what’s the sort of the process that you go through with them to decide whether you know there’s any merit to bring a case or not?
Amanda Baggett 4:45
Sure. Well, you know, there’s so many things to consider in Florida recently kind of changed the law in some regard with involving claims that are founded in negligence. So car accident, so currently, with the new change in the law, in order to recover a person UNIF must be at least, you know, can’t be more than 51% at fault for for his or her injuries, which, that’s kind of a little bit of a complicated legal issue. But you know, the things that we’re looking for evidence of who really was at fault. So we’re looking for things like, you know, photos, any witness statements, the police report is very important. So we want to make sure that there was a crash report, you know, and so we’ll take a look at that, you know, listen to the evidence to try to figure out you know, who, who was at fault, sometimes there can be confusion as to who is at fault, and even the police officers investigating a crash don’t always know. And so we can also do an independent investigation and higher Reconstructionist and those sorts of things. So those are the first steps that we take, wow.
Bela Musits 5:42
So of these cases from let’s say, the time I call you, to the time that they’re, let’s not go down the trial path, let’s just take about a negotiated settlement. Typically, how long does that cycle take?
Amanda Baggett 5:57
You know that, that really varies depending on the severity of the injuries and what sort of medical treatment is required. And this is something that a lot of people don’t don’t understand. But in order for us to, to know, to be able to calculate what we believe your economic damages are in your non economic damages. So what the total ask should be that we’re requesting, we need to know you know, what your injuries are, and what kind of future medical care you will need. And so at some point, you know, let’s say that someone has an injury that requires surgery, well, there’s a lot of steps to take medically before you ever get to the point of surgery. And then you need to recover from the surgery. And then to know, for instance, are you going to need lifetime physical therapy, lifetime medication, lifetime injections, those sorts of things. And so once you’ve reached kind of what we call maximum medical improvement, that’s when we know okay, this is probably as good as it gets from a medical standpoint. Now, we know what your economic damages are. Now we know what we can calculate for your non economic damages, meaning, pain and suffering. And then that’s, you know, at that point, we start the negotiation process. Yeah.
Bela Musits 7:00
So you know, I never thought about that before, but it just sort of reinforces the point of don’t quickly settle. Absolutely. Right, because all of your sort of pain and suffering and damages may not be totally understood.
Amanda Baggett 7:14
Absolutely. And that is the thing that we always caution people against, you know, because these insurance companies, sometimes they will call you the day after a car accident and offer you 5000 $10,000, which may sound like a lot of money until you realize that you may need a you know, annual, you know, injections or medical treatment for many years, which could, you know, easily, you know, be way more than that, than that money.
Bela Musits 7:39
Right. And if, if, if one of these cases, let’s first let me first ask the question, approximately, what percentage of of the total cases that you take, actually ended up going to trial?
Amanda Baggett 7:51
I would say, you know, it’s a small amount of all the cases that we handle, you know, we also handle medical malpractice cases. And those are more litigation, heavy nursing home cases, those tend to go to trial, I’d say a little bit more often than the auto accident cases. But it definitely is, you know, the majority of our cases we are able to settle before there’s a trial, some cases, a lot of cases we’re able to settle before we even file a lawsuit.
Bela Musits 8:15
Got it. Got it. And do any of these cases go to arbitration.
Amanda Baggett 8:20
You know, the cases that go to arbitration, and those are medical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect cases, because under Florida law, the law is a little bit funny on that. But, you know, if you have signed an agreement to arbitrate, for instance, if you’re entering into a long term care facility, you know, you can be required to arbitrate and also there’s statutes where in the pre suit period in a medical malpractice case, the the physicians or hospital can request to arbitrate, and you can enter into kind of an agreement on that as well.
Bela Musits 8:53
Nice, nice. So can you tell us, again, take us through sort of the different types of cases and if maybe there’s a case that you’d like to highlight and talk about a little bit that, you know, was was meant something special to you, folks?
Amanda Baggett 9:12
Sure. Yeah. You know, we, like I said, We handle cases that involve, you know, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. That’s all that we do. I would say that the cases that stand out to me, as you know, not necessarily the most meaningful, it’s always, you know, the work we do is very important, and every client is dear to us. Absolutely. But But I will say that, you know, we’ve had a few cases like this, but one that stands out to me, a client that I’d represented in another type of matter contacted me and his brother had been involved in an accident. And his brother had been cited his brother was catastrophically injured. I mean, it was a really terrible crash. But his brother had been cited by the police as being the at fault driver in the accident. And so he was calling me just to say, hey, you know, can you help us out with this traffic? citation, my brother was in the hospital. And it turned out when we investigated that his brother was not at fault at all, it was the 18 Wheeler that had been involved in the accident that was at fault for making an illegal U turn in the middle of an intersection. Far right lane. And but there were no witnesses, necessarily to the accident when it happened. And so the police were doing the very best they could with the evidence presented to try to determine who caused the accident. But when we got in there and investigated and found out that his brother was the victim, and it was the truck that was at fault, you know, that was a game changer, you know, not only, you know, from the legal standpoint, for the damages, we were able to recover, but just really I think for the the peace of mind of the family. And you know, of the client that it was not his fault at all, you know, he was doing exactly what he should have been doing. And so things like that, where you can get in and because of our investigation, we can figure out the facts were completely different than when they may be seemed at first, I think those are always ones that are, you know, special.
Bela Musits 11:04
I never thought of this, that part of your what you guys do is investigate the situation? And is that something that the lawyers in the firm do? Or is there a special set of skills and you hire investigators to do those types of things?
Amanda Baggett 11:20
Absolutely. So, you know, I it kind of depends, you know, with roadway design cases, for instance, with cases that are involving work zones, you know, I have a quite a bit of experience in that. So I can look at a set of construction drawings for roadway, you know, construction work, and I can kind of, you know, tell by looking at photographs, whether or not they were following, like the maintenance of traffic plan and things like that. So there’s a certain amount that I can do on my own. But we also hire reconstructionists. And those are the guys that go out there. And they look at things like skid marks on the roadway, they look at the damage on the vehicle, and they’re able to do, you know, engineering calculations to really figure out, you know, where the cars were actually located, how fast they were going? And what really happened to cause this accident?
Bela Musits 12:08
Yeah, yeah. You know, it seems to me that this, this segment of the law is very competitive. You know, I see advertising on TV almost every day, various different firms saying, Hey, call us. So how do you sort of stand apart? What separates your firm from some of the other competition?
Amanda Baggett 12:29
Sure. That’s a really good question. And you’re right, it’s a very competitive market here, especially in Florida. Um, I will say that I think what that what separates our firm is the level of personal service that we give to each and every person that calls our office, you know, even if we’re not able to take a case, we have a list of resources, and we try to make sure that every person that calls our office gets put in touch with a resource that they need that will be helpful to them. And, you know, we’ve been, we’ve been doing this, you know, I’ve been doing it for about 20 years, and my husband, who’s my law partner, he has been doing it for about the same amount of time. And it’s our, the, you know, the happy clients that we have in those relationships, and, you know, the word of mouth and just the, you know, our kind of our reputation, that community, I think for being good lawyers, you know, really getting the job done and being efficient. It’s always our goal to maximize the financial recovery in the least amount of time possible.
Bela Musits 13:22
Yeah. Do you also get referrals from other attorneys? Where, you know, I call I call the attorney that helped me with my house closing? And he says, No, I don’t do this kind of stuff. How do you kind of develop those networks? And that that sort of reputation?
Amanda Baggett 13:39
Yeah, we do. We get a lot of referrals from other lawyers. My husband and I, we worked at the largest law firm in Jacksonville for many years, I actually became a partner at that law firm. And at the time that I joined that for many years ago, there were 100 lawyers there. So we have a very deep connection in the legal community, thanks in large part to those connections that we made many years ago. So yeah, we get referrals from other lawyers very often, which is great.
Bela Musits 14:05
Oh, wow, that’s great. And how do you do you guys do advertising as well? Or is it pretty much word of mouth and referrals?
Amanda Baggett 14:15
We do advertising? We do you know, a lot of what we do right now is more I would call it maybe grassroots you know, we’re on social media. We sponsor I nine sports, which is really big here in Jacksonville. We are currently looking into, you know, possibly doing billboards in the future possibly doing TV, we have some streaming commercials. A lot of people tell me, they saw me on TV and that sort of thing. So we’re kind of looking into that. I’d say as we grow. We’ve been growing pretty quickly in the last few years. So that’s definitely something that we’re thinking about.
Bela Musits 14:47
Yeah, so can you tell me how big the law firm is number of attorneys and stuff?
Amanda Baggett 14:51
Sure. Yeah. We have five attorneys and like I said, we have three locations. We have a location in Nocatee, which is in Ponte Vedra, Florida. We have one on the south side. town in Jacksonville and our newest location is downtown Jacksonville.
Bela Musits 15:04
Okay, great. And so how do you, when you sit when you think about the law that you practice, right, and the benefit that that you bring to your clients? I mean, that must be very rewarding. But take us back a little bit what sort of made you go into law in, you know, 20 plus years ago when you decide to go to law school?
Amanda Baggett 15:30
Yeah. You know, I think that I grew up when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a police officer, I always kind of had this sense of justice and fairness. And then as I got older, I think that kind of just evolved into I wanted to become a lawyer. And so I went to law school when I actually was very interested in doing criminal defense work. And but I knew that in order to, you know, kind of take that path, I needed to get some, some real life experience. And so I interned for the State Attorney’s Office, actually in Clay County, which is next to us here in Jacksonville, one summer, and it was really eye opening. And I realized that I did not want to do criminal law. But at that point, I wasn’t, I wasn’t 100% Sure what exact area I wanted to do. And so I had a few lucky breaks. And like I said, I ended up at the largest law firm here in Jacksonville, and I was able to get experience in many different types of litigation. And I worked in commercial litigation for many years. And I ended up representing engineers in roadway design cases. So I was on the defense of cases that now I’m on the plaintiff side, and I loved it. I really loved working with those clients, I’ve learned so much. But you know, at some point, I think my heart was really pulled to helping people and families as opposed to corporations, as much as I love, you know, working with the people that I represented, you know, I was working mostly for insurance companies. And so I kind of just felt my heart pulled to to kind of switching sides and representing families and individuals.
Bela Musits 17:01
Yeah, that, you know, you said you worked for big law firm, you made it to partner so many people would say, hey, you’ve made it right, that you’re you’ve you’ve reached kind of wherever you want most law law people want to be, and then you decided to join your husband and start a your own law firm. Talk a little bit about sort of that decision making process and sort of what the early days are like and blazing out on your own.
Amanda Baggett 17:26
Yeah, absolutely. So my husband actually started back at law in 2012. We I made partner the same year that I have twins. And my husband soon after that decided that it was time for he was working at another firm at that point. And he decided this is the time to start back at law, it had always been a dream of his to open his own law firm. And so really, as soon as he did that, very soon after that, I kind of just, you know, realized that I wanted to kind of join in on the family business. And I saw the success that he was having. And like I said, I really my heart was kind of pulled towards helping individuals and families. And so then three years later, in 2015, I left my firm, and I joined him, and I’ve never looked back. It’s been been very exciting. It’s been exciting to be we call it we actually have four children now. And we call back at law, our fifth child, you know, it’s been fun building the firm with him and working with him. And we met many years ago working together as lawyers. And so we’ve just kind of carried that on.
Bela Musits 18:26
Yeah, that’s a great story. What was what when you guys started the firm? What was something of a two part question? What was something that was much harder than you thought it would be? And then something that you really dreaded? And thought it would be really difficult turned out to be really easy?
Amanda Baggett 18:43
You know, that’s a great question. And I will say that, I think, I think the hard part is for getting things set up from a technology standpoint, and getting, you know, payroll, and different things like that set up. You know, we had always worked as lawyers for other law firms. And this behind the scenes, business details, you know, were something that we had to learn on our own. And so that took a little bit of time to do. And I will say that something that I think we both, you know, wondered about and worried about was where would our cases come from, you know, once we stepped out, you know, on our own, and we just, like I said, we’ve been very fortunate that that, you know, hasn’t been hard. We’ve continued to grow year after year, and make even more connections in the community and be able to help wonderful people. So the marketing has been easier, I think, I think due to our deep roots in this community.
Bela Musits 19:40
Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. So if we, what words of advice would you have for either a law student or somebody who’s just about to graduate from law school? Do you have any words of wisdom for them?
Amanda Baggett 19:54
Absolutely. I think my biggest advice is to get experience in what you You think you want to do? Because I think so often things are not, not what maybe you think they will be. You know, I know that when I was in law school, I just I wanted to be in the courtroom every single day, you know, I thought that that would just, you know, be the most exciting thing, not realizing, you know, when I got into the real world that, you know, unless you’re doing criminal law, you know, things like that you’re not in court every day. And so there’s a lot of, you know, office work, which I, you know, ended up loving, and, you know, writing briefs and motions, and, you know, doing legal research, and all those types of things, but, you know, just to dip your toe in the water, maybe through an internship or something like that, to find out if it is, in fact, something that you’re passionate about.
Bela Musits 20:43
Yeah. And it’s your advice for a new graduate to join a larger, firm and, and kind of learn at their expense, so to speak.
Amanda Baggett 20:53
You know, I’m not sure I had a law professor that I’ll never forget, she said that most lawyers stay for life at the third law firm they work at. And I remember, she said that, and I thought, I thought that was strange, because in my, in my mind, I think growing up, my parents had a strong work ethic were very loyal to their companies. I thought, Gosh, that seems kind of, you know, jumping around, I can’t imagine that I will, you know, jump around to three different law firms. You know, but now looking back, I would say, you know, myself, and you know, so many other people, that is you kind of move around. And she always said, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be. So don’t stress about it. If you started a small law firm, and it’s not for you, they moved to a big law firm. And if you started a big law firm, and that’s not for you. So I really think that, you know, again, it’s just one of those things that, you know, you won’t know until you get there. And so long as you’re doing good work. And, you know, have good people have good opinions of you that, you know, that you’re working for, I think that you can transition pretty easily and, and try different sides of law firm or, you know, even different things. You know, government positions in house counsel, there’s so many so many options.
Bela Musits 22:02
Yeah, that’s great advice. That’s great advice. So where can our listeners learn more about you and Baggett Law?
Amanda Baggett 22:09
Yeah, absolutely. So we have a website. It’s baggettlaw.com. And we offer many social media channels, LinkedIn, we have a YouTube page, I actually also have a TikTok page. I don’t I don’t post as much as I probably should. I don’t have as much time as I wish I did. But yeah, so you can find us in the digital world.
Bela Musits 22:29
Right. Well, we will make sure all of that contact information is in the show notes. Now, is there something that I have not asked you that you’d like to share with our audience?
Amanda Baggett 22:40
You know, I think the only thing that I that I would like people to know, really is just what to do right after a car accident. This is something that we always have these conversations after the fact. And it’s the chances of people getting into a car accident are very high. And so I think people just should know, if you get into a car accident, if you can safely take photos, and even videos of the scene, so long as you’re able to do so safely. And absolutely, always get that police report. I know sometimes people want to exchange insurance information. That is a terrible idea. Because even if people are intending, you know, the best and you know, believe that they remember the way things happened. Oftentimes our memories change, you know, within hours or overnight. And if you don’t have that evidence, you know, the photos, the police report, that kind of thing. You know, then you you really never know what the other person is going to say as far as what happened in the accident, or maybe whose fault it was. So definitely always get those photos. Get the police report, just be patient and wait for it because it really could be meaningful in your case. And again, if you think that maybe the accident happened differently, then please recorded it. You know, that’s something that isn’t set in stone. So yeah.
Bela Musits 23:52
Excellent. Excellent, excellent advice. Well, Amanda, thank you very much for being on the podcast. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Amanda Baggett 23:59
Great. I did too. Thank you so much.
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