Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group Hosts Lion King Movie Night

On Friday July 19th, Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group hosted treasure coast law enforcement, veterans and emergency service providers and their families for opening night of “The Lion King”, complete with a complimentary movie themed tumbler and popcorn. Over 220 people were able to fill the theater at the Majestic 11 in downtown Vero Beach and watch the live action remake of a 90’s Disney classic.

“We simply wished to thank an incredible cornerstone of our community for their tireless service,” said Attorney Joe Graves. “Anything our firm can do to resource, support and thank community, we are eager to do.” Graves Thomas Injury Group proudly sponsored a red carpet and photographer to complete the evening honoring the people who put their life on the line to protect our community.

Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group Sponsors Women’s Concealed Cary Course

Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group believes in empowering women to protect themselves and their family in a time of need.  On May 28th, 2019 we decided to give back to the women in our community by sponsoring 15 ladies to attend a concealed weapons course located at a local shooting range.

We worked with IRCSO, US Law Shield and Gorilla Ammunition to provide Florida’s required course for concealed carry licensing. The ladies learned about legal responsibilities, the principal parts of a pistol, safe firearm handling practices and shooting proficiency. Through this course, we provided these 15 women a platform to build upon.  With continued training and education, we know that this group will feel safe and protected.

“The reality is, we live in a world where there are certain times when women are vulnerable. With this course, we hope to equip women with the knowledge to be able to confidently face those times of vulnerability.” – Joseph Graves.

How do I pick a personal injury attorney?

You’re in your car and no fault of your own, you’re in an accident.  Your car is damaged. You don’t feel exactly right. Maybe the airbag has gone off and you’re disoriented.  It’s a nightmare scenario people find themselves in every day. The fear of medical bills, getting your car fixed and what this is all going to cost runs through your mind.  You have seen many billboards, heard radio advertisements, television commercials, etc. from lawyers all proclaiming to have experience and willing to help. How do you know how which one to choose?

As a board certified civil trial lawyer, the Florida Bar allows me to designate myself as an “expert” or a “specialist.”  Why is that significant? Less than 5% of personal injury lawyers are board certified. In order to achieve board certification, you must have practiced a certain amount of time, tried a certain number of cases and pass a written examination.   There is no requirement from the bar regarding the number of cases you try to call yourself a “trial lawyer.” A “trial lawyer” may not have tried a case at all. Some lawyers use trials that they may have been tried by another member of their firm or maybe they had limited responsibility and still advertise they have “won” a trial or achieved a “verdict” in order to bolster their credibility.  Trying cases competently takes a lot of experience and legal expertise. Further, not all lawyers try cases and that is an important issue to discuss with your prospective attorney.

Similarly, lawyers advertise themselves as specializing in certain areas such as “motorcycle accidents” or “trucking accidents.”  The bar does not regulate such a distinction. In other words, a lawyer may have never tried or handled such an accident and still designate themselves misleading consumers to believe they have experience with these types of cases.  At Graves Thomas, we have successfully litigated motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, premises liability accidents, automobile accidents, negligent security cases, injuries to children, brain injuries, spinal injuries and other complicated legal matters.  In handling these types of cases, experience matters and we are more than happy to show our prospective clients that we have experience in all these types of cases, including trials.

Taking a case into litigation is quite costly for a law firm. There are associated costs in filing the lawsuit, conducting discovery, depositions and experts, if needed. It is important to understand what the firm’s resources are in taking a case to trial.  At Graves Thomas, we have small firm customer service but big firm resources. Simply put, there is not a case too big for us to handle. The insurance companies cannot outspend us. We have the resources necessary to win your case and get you the money you deserve.

Oftentimes, I see lawyers that have designations or accolades from various organizations.  Many of the organizations will designate you in some way as a “top lawyer” or something similar without having any background.  I am constantly bombarded with emails asking me to pay a fee for some crafty or catchy designation. They are meaningless but are used by some lawyers to make it appear that they have achieved something that they actually have not. Oftentimes, these organizations will so designate a lawyer for the payment of a fee.  Traditionally, lawyers have used Martindale as a reliable source. Martindale judges lawyers by asking their peers and Judges they practice before how they rate the lawyer. I have achieved Martindale’s highest rating of “AV” and have so held it for over 15 years. I display these plaques proudly in my office knowing that my peers and the Judges I practice before respect my legal expertise.

In today’s digital advertising, lawyers advertise from distant areas and appear as though they may be located in your town.  Ask them where there primary office is located. Many lawyers advertise multiple offices, but no one is there to meet you or tend to your individual needs. Further, it is difficult to aggressively litigate your case when your attorney is not local.  An attorney having local ties has a distinct advantage in familiarity with the Judge and the Judge’s procedures. Also, juries are sometimes suspicious of “out of town” lawyers.

Finally, ask your lawyer who will be handling your case.  Will the firm be referring your case to another firm? What is the experience of the lawyer actually handling my case? These questions are important because aggressive and competent representation is necessary for an optimal result. Insurance companies know who is experienced and who is not.  They know who tries cases and who does not. The lack of experience may detrimentally affect your settlement. Also, cases should be moved through the system as quickly as possible and not left to sit around. Aggressive representation includes providing a timely demand and litigating the case if necessary.  At Graves Thomas, our reputation is well known. We work hard for our clients and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the best result possible for our clients.

A guiding principle at our firm is that we treat our clients like family.  No matter how big or small your case may be, we will treat you just like we would our own sister, brother, Mom or Dad.
If you want aggressive experienced representation in your injury case, give us a call.

Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group Talks Trucking Accidents

Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be catastrophic and handled by an attorney that has experience in handling these claims.  It is important to secure as much evidence as quickly as possible. Most trucking companies have adjusters and sometimes accident reconstruction experts report to the scene so they can immediately begin their defense.  It is important that the victim have representation so that this information can be secured for the victims as well.

Evidence such as photographs of property damage, downloading control models and other evidence may not be available later.  It can be very difficult to obtain this evidence later if it is not immediately secured. There are also many federal rules and laws that must be complied with by drivers. An attorney representing a victim of a trucking accident needs aggressive and zealous representation that is familiar with these laws.

Our firm has handles many trucking accident cases with catastrophic injuries resulting in millions of dollars in awards. Trucking cases can be complex and costly. At Graves Thomas we have the experienced aggressive trial lawyers and large firm financial resources to litigate any case all the way through trial. 

Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group | Personal Injury Motorcycle Accidents

Living in the Treasure Coast and Space Coast gives us the opportunity to enjoy riding motorcycles year round.  Unfortunately, with the amount of riders in our area, there are a lot of riders that are injured or killed every year in motorcycle accidents.  This article is to provide tips for being safe on the road that I have learned from riding and experience as a lawyer.

Always ride with your safety equipment.  Utilize a DOT approved helmet, eye protection, high vis jacket, gloves and boots.  I know it is very hot and a lot of riders do not like to wear these items but a slow speed crash can cause a severe injury without proper equipment.

While riding a motorcycle be extra vigilant.  There are a lot of distractions on modern bikes.  Make sure you have your seat adjusted, music, Bluetooth for your phone, etc.  set up before you get on the street. Scan ahead and constantly look for other cars and always expect the unexpected. Expect every car coming from a side street to pull out in front of you.  Expect cars to run red lights. Expect not to be seen. When crossing a side street or intersection slow down and be prepared to bring your bike to a stop. Avoid riding in blind spots of cars and keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you. Stagger when riding with another biker so if they go down, you do not.  On the highway, I keep away from groups of cars as cars make unexpected lane changes.

A critical element is speed.  Obey speed limits and all traffic laws.  Do not pass other vehicles in an unsafe manner.  If you want to go fast, then go rent time on a track.  There are simply too many variables on the street.  

Often, in our practice we see riders that have been rear ended while stopped.  When stopped, keep your brake lights on. When stopped keep your bike in gear and keep enough space between you and the other vehicles so you get out of the way if someone approaches you and does not stop. To avoid being hit by vehicles running red lights, I simply count to three before taking off once the light turns green. 

Get out on your bike and practice.  Go to a parking lot where there is not any traffic and keep comfortable with the maneuvers necessary to ride on the street.  There is always something you can learn. This list is no way exhaustive as there are many different skills to ride a bike on the street.

If you have the unfortunate experience to be involved in an accident while on your motorcycle, you will need an aggressive experienced lawyer.  We have handled many motorcycle accidents and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. At Graves Thomas, we have big firm financial capabilities to take your case to trial if necessary.  Wouldn’t you rather have an attorney that rides?

Graves Thomas Car Accident Claim Tips

Graves Thomas Car Accident Claim Tips

One of the most frustrating issues that people face after being involved in a car accident is dealing with an insurance company regarding their property damage claims.  Insurance companies are responsible for repairing or replacing your vehicle at fair market value. The issues are the methods that are utilized by the insurance companies to determine your cars value may not be fair to the insured.

In evaluating property damages claims, insurance companies use tactics such as pricing aftermarket or junkyard parts.  The costs of these parts are much lower and can reduce the value of your claim. They also utilize repair shops that may or may not perform the quality of work you desire for your car and provide services to insurance companies at lower rates.  A good practice is to go to a shop you know and trust and get a separate estimate. This will allow you to compare what is being offered by the insurance company.

In total loss claims, if the insurance company wants to total your car they can utilize more expensive parts to increase the value of the property damage if it is in their interest to total the car instead of repairing it.  They can also use the less expensive parts to keep from totaling your car if they find it advantageous not to total your car. There are many methods utilized by claims adjusters to manipulate how your property damage claim is handled.

In determining the value of your car, claims adjusters assign a “condition” to your car. It can be “excellent”, “good”, “average”,” fair”, etc.  In addition to assigning a condition, they also “double dip” by reducing your claim due to issues such as worn tires, worn interior, and body damage.  The problem is, if there is an issue with the car, then that is why is will be deemed as “fair” or “average” or whatever condition they assign. If such a lower condition is assigned, it is unfair to further reduce the value of the car because of the very defects that caused the assignment of the condition.

It can be overwhelming dealing with property damage claims.  Some lawyers do not get involved in assisting their injury clients in the property damage claims.  At Graves Thomas, this is part of our overall service to our clients. We aggressively handle our injury clients’ property damage claims quickly and efficiently, making sure our clients the money they deserve.

Graves Thomas Halloween Safety Tips

Graves Thomas Halloween Safety Tips

Let’s get ready to sugar rush! Halloween is one day that many families enjoy and look forward to trick-or-treating each October. There’s nothing quite like getting creative with costumes and getting candy and goodies while showing off your special outfit. While a fun night of treats awaits, we have some practical safety tips to help ensure you stay injury-free and avoid scares lurking on Halloween.

1. Always remember to look both ways when crossing the street and try to avoid walking between parked cars.

2. Stay in groups and have a buddy to help stay safe while traversing the neighborhood.

3. Carry a flashlight with you and stay within areas well-lit by streetlamps if possible to ensure a safer time.

4. Younger children should always be accompanied by a parent or adult.

5. If driving through a neighborhood, drive slowly and be very alert. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween. With increased foot-traffic drivers should use headlights to be more visible for trick-or-treaters.

6. Make sure that your child’s costume fits properly to avoid tripping. Avoid masks that obstruct vision or outfits that aren’t fire-resistant.

7. Add glow-in-the-dark accessories that can make your child visible in the dark, or wear reflective or bright colors to help allow for visibility.

8. Check all candy before allowing your child to eat it, especially to ensure there are no choking hazards. Make sure each piece is factory sealed and unopened – unfortunately , safety concerns with candy that has been tampered with are on the rise.

9. Be sure to check your local trick-or-treating times to make sure that you are out and home at an appropriate time.

10. Keep your property safe for trick-or-treaters. Thus, you should make sure your walkways are clear, your porch is well lit, and your decorations are don’t create fire hazards or trip visitors. You may want to put warning signs by uneven pavement, steps, or conditions that could threaten the well-being trick-or-treating… liability for property owners is a very real Halloween issue.


Graves Thomas Drives To Provide A Healthy Start

Graves Thomas Drives To Provide A Healthy Start

Graves Thomas Injury Law Group knows the importance of community, and what better way to show their support than to help provide for the newest members of our county.

“We are thrilled to have the support of partners like Graves Thomas Injury Law Group to give back to mommies and babies of Indian River County,” said Healthy Start Coalition Executive Director,  Andrea Berry.

Founding attorney Joseph H. Graves, partner Matthew M. Thomas and attorney Christopher Rotunda stopped by the non-profit’s new offices to deliver diapers, pull-ups and home safety elements like electrical plug covers and cabinet locks.

“In a practice that has seen injuries sustained from household issues like outlets or getting into medicine cabinets, we recognize the importance of safety measures for families,”  commented Graves, “By providing those little safety tools and helping supply items Healthy Start specified, we aim to truly help provide a healthy start for our area families.”

“Our families have shared the need for basic items like diapers, whether newborn or pull-ups for toddlers,” said Berry. “This  donation helps meet that need.”

Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition offers a broad spectrum of programs to ensure that every pregnant woman and their young children receive all necessary healthcare and support services, from prenatal resources, childbirth education and touchpoints in the first years. Healthy Start oversees a variety of classes and support roles that impact over 91% of the families in the county and endeavor to decrease infant mortality, increase familial connections while expanding a child’s horizons.

Headquartered in Vero Beach, Graves Thomas Injury Law Group spans the Treasure and Space Coast and is dedicated to representing individuals and family members impacted by a serious injury, illness or disability. For more information about Graves Thomas Injury Law Group, visit or call 772.569.8155.

Graves Thomas Gifts Back To School Backpacks and Supplies

Graves Thomas Gifts Back To School Backpacks and Supplies

When it comes to helping get ready for back-to-school, Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group answered the call, donating supply-filled, school-ready backpacks for the Victory and Orangewood Apartments Back To School Bash.  One-hundred-twenty-five area students received durable, high-gear backpacks filled with items that are on every Indian River County school’s list.

From packs of crayons and pencils to glue sticks and packs of paper, the team at Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group sought to ensure students were equipped with what they needed to start the school year right.

“Our aim is to ensure every student is prepared and can dive in to the school year with confidence,” said Joe Graves, founding partner of Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group. “We want to help instill the importance of education and provide a little assurance that they are supported and have the supplies that assist them in their scholastic journey.”

The school supply initiative of the Apartments, which are funded through the Department of Agriculture, serves as an three-fold opportunity to alleviate financial burdens, emphasize the importance of school and to serve as a channel to redirect children toward positive behaviors.

Headquartered in Vero Beach, Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group spans the Treasure and Space Coast and is dedicated to representing individuals and family members impacted by a serious injury, illness or disability. For more information about Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, visit or call 772.569.8155.

Graves Thomas Makes A Splash For Summer Swimming Safety

Graves Thomas Makes A Splash For Summer Swimming Safety: Treasure Coast Firm Sponsors Swimming Day at Gifford Aquatic Center

Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group is making a splash to help promote summer water safety. The firm is sponsoring the upcoming second annual Gifford Swim Day at Gifford Aquatic Center, where children will have an opportunity learn safe swimming techniques while enjoying poolside fun.

Free to the public, the event will take place on August 11, from 9 in the morning through 1 in the afternoon, and will have swim instructors on hand to work with participating children.

Sheriff’s Deputy Teddy Floyd made the law group aware of the opportunity last year, and Joe Graves and law partner Matthew Thomas were eager to get involved. With Florida having suffered the highest numbers of pool and spa drownings for children younger than fifteen during the summer of 2017, according to, the firm felt compelled to do their part to create more awareness within the community.

 “In our practice, we recognize the importance of poolside safety,”  commented Joe Graves, founding attorney of the law firm, “Providing a day for area families to enjoy while learning – we jumped at the chance to help.”

Similar to last year, the firm will be providing Gifford Aquatic center 250 pairs of goggles, swim caps and towels for children participating in the free event.

Headquartered in Vero Beach, Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group spans the Treasure and Space Coast and is dedicated to representing individuals and family members impacted by a serious injury, illness or disability. For more information about Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, visit or call 772.569.8155.