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Representing Injury Victims in the Gainesville Area for Over 60 Years

Who We Are

No one wants their case to go to trial, but to get the best settlement, you need a team of lawyers with real courtroom experience on personal injury, work-related claims and criminal defense cases. The insurance companies know that our team will go to court if necessary and fight for your rights.
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Our Results

From horrible automobile and truck accidents to lives destroyed by tobacco, Avera & Smith’s attorneys have a proven track record of successful trial verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our clients show courage every day and we work tirelessly to give them hope for the future.
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Why Choose Us

Avera & Smith has been representing Floridians for more than 60 years. Our legacy is one of personal service and genuine care for our clients and our local community. This has not only earned us a great reputation, but also helped us get fair settlements and verdicts for our clients.
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“At first, I wasn’t going to hire an attorney, but three weeks after the accident, the doctors said I would be in pain the rest of my life. My boss referred me to Avera & Smith. They are the best!” – L’Tonya Johnson

Here’s What To Do After You’ve Been Injured
  1. Get medical care immediately. After the accident, do not miss follow up appointments with your doctor or ignore medical recommendations, treatments, prescriptions or other advice. This could cause serious problems with your case later.
  2. Never withhold information or lie to either your doctor or your attorney. It is crucial that you are completely honest so that you get the settlement you deserve.
  3. Never sign any release of personal information forms, medical authorization forms or any other insurance company documents without first consulting your attorney.
  4. Never agree to a recorded statement with any insurance adjuster without first speaking to your attorney. Remember, insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to pay nothing or as little as possible in settlements, regardless of the how badly you have been injured in an accident (or in the worst case, death from an accident or medical malpractice.)
Do you have a case?

Personal Injury Can Happen to Anyone at Any Time
Personal injury is extremely common. On average, 1 in 3 people are involved in a life-altering accident at some point in their lives. Personal injury is a category of injuries that includes the many ways people can be hurt, disabled, or suffer wrongful death. Whether you’ve been in a car or truck accident, had an injury at work, or had any other sort of injury occur as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work and pain and suffering.

Accidents happen every day in all types of settings. Slip and falls, dog bites, bicycle and scooter accidents, and boating accidents, are just a few of the everyday accidents that may cause personal injury. Personal injuries from medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and pharmacy error or malpractice are also considered personal injury cases.

Car Accidents: Car accidents are the #1 cause of personal injury in Florida. Our team of experienced accident lawyers is expert at handling collisions, rollover accidents, and any accident involving a car.

Motorcycle and Scooter Accidents: The types of personal injury caused by motorcycles and scooter accidents are among the worst our personal injury attorneys have seen, especially since Florida repealed the universal helmet law in 2000 for riders over the age of 21.

Truck Accidents: Our Gainesville, FL personal injury attorneys handle 18-wheeler accidents, semi-truck jackknifing, truck-car collisions and more.

Boat & Jet Ski Accidents: With the popularity of boating in Lake Santa Fe, the Suwannee River and other bodies of water in North Central Florida, we’ve found that those who operate a watercraft while intoxicated or distracted cause many boat-related accidents every year.

Interstate Accidents: Our Gainesville car accident attorneys represent clients injured on all the major interstates in Florida.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Both pedestrians and bicyclists have legal rights on the road. Lance Avera, one of the top accident lawyers in Gainesville, represented a client whose foot was run over by the Defendant driver while attending a parade. Lance won a settlement against an insurance company in the amount of $500,000 in an auto claim where the policy limits were only $25,000.

Dog Bites & Animal Attacks: Personal injury from animal bites and other lacerations are unfortunate, common accidents. Our Gainesville personal injury attorneys can advise you of your rights if you or your child was bitten by a dog or other pet.

Slip-and-Fall Accidents: Our Gainesville injury attorneys handle slip-and-fall accidents, negligent security and other cases.

Product Liability: At Avera & Smith, we are expert at obtaining multi-million dollar verdicts to compensate the victims of products who have harmed the consumer.

Wrongful Death: You may deserve compensation if your loved one died because of the negligence of another.

Please give us the details of your case, and call us at 800-654-4659 to schedule a free consultation. You pay nothing unless we win your case.

What type of attorney should you look for?

Choose an attorney who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law or Workers’ Compensation Law

These lawyers have done the extra work it takes to be successful not only at negotiating settlements but at winning cases that go to court.

Insurance companies know the North Central Florida lawyers who are qualified and willing to take them to court and, in most cases, offer better settlements to those lawyers, rather than risk the time and expense of a court trial.

Our Team of Personal Injury Attorneys

Mark Avera is the managing partner at Avera & Smith in Gainesville. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, a distinction earned by just a little more than 1,000 of the more than 100,000 lawyers currently licensed in the State of Florida (ie. around 1%). As a specialist in civil trial law, Mark has been:

  • Named as a Best Lawyer in the 18th Edition of Best Lawyers in America, 2012
  • Selected by Reuters as Florida Super Lawyer, 2012
  • Recognized by LawDragon as one of the 500 Best Plaintiff Attorneys in America, 2007
  • AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Mark serves on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations in and around the Gainesville area, and has recently written for The Gainesville Sun on the types and frequency of distractions leading to car accidents.

Rod W. Smith was named as partner in Avera & Smith in 2000, and is considered one of the top accident lawyers in Gainesville, FL. His areas of expertise include personal injury, wrongful death, and tobacco litigation. Rod has also served as criminal defense attorney in a number of high-profile cases.

Rod has been honored as a champion of service and justice, including earning the distinction of “Person of the Year” in the category of Public Safety by the Gainesville Sun. Listed in “Best Lawyers in America” Publication.

Lance F. Avera is a partner at Avera & Smith. He is Board Certified in Workers Compensation Law. Only .5% —less than half a percent—of Florida attorneys are certified as Workers’ Compensation Specialists.

Lance has won many millions of dollars in settlements on behalf of his clients, including $3.5 million for an employee who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell from a tower.

As a Gainesville workers compensation attorney, Lance also won $1.8 million for an employee who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell off of a semi-truck.

Lance is honored to be recognized by The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyer by Reuters, 2007 – 2015 and achievement of the AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell (the highest ranking for professional excellence awarded by fellow attorneys.)

Dawn Vallejos-Nichols is a partner at Avera & Smith, and a fighter for many who have sustained personal injuries. She has achieved multi-million dollar verdicts in wrongful death and personal injury litigation against tobacco manufacturing giants. She has won awards in the amount of almost $57 million in recent years.

Dawn has been named by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the 10 Best Female Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in North Florida. She was also invited by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to serve on the Northern Conference of Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and is currently serving her third term. Dawn also sits on the Board of Directors of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, of which she served as President in 2012-2013.  She has served as editor of the Bar’s monthly newsletter, Forum 8, since 2005.

Benjamin “Ben” Steinberg focuses on Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Workers’ Comp, and Business Agreements. Florida’s Super Lawyers has recognized Ben as a “Rising Star” for 2016 and 2017, and Ben has also earned a rating of “AV Preeminent,” the highest rating available from Martindale-Hubbell, for the years 2016 and 2017.

What Our Clients Say

  • Car Accident – T.M., Florida

    “I was driving and slowed down for a stopped school bus when a lady hit me from behind going 45 miles per hour. She didn’t even slow down. I had to have surgery on my neck and then a lot of physical therapy. I didn’t think I needed a personal injury attorney, but the insurance company wouldn’t pay me what I owed on my car and they wouldn’t pay my medical bills. When I tried to figure things out it was just overwhelming. A friend recommended me to Avera & Smith. I met with Ben (Steinberg) who handled everything. They did it all! Even when I thought we were done, they gave me another check!”

    – T.M.

  • “It was their 50 years of experience that brought me to Avera and Smith, and I would recommend Avera and Smith wholeheartedly.”

    – S.D. 

  • “Being a veteran and a mother, I never experienced pain until I was in an accident – regaining conscience I woke up inside a hospital. I met Rita Phillips, black and blue, tired, sore and depressed, Avera and Smith help me by rebuilding my life, self-confidence and literally washing away tears. If it wasn’t for Avera and Smith where would I be?? Attorney Mark Avera changed my life . . . fighting for me when I couldn’t fight for myself. I THANK GOD for people like them, each individual in this law firm makes a difference, you become family, and you get a second chance. Thank you for being everything I couldn’t even imagine.”

    – T.B.

We Get Results

  • Domino's Pizza wrongful-death lawsuit ends with $10M jury award

    Avera & Smith secured more than $10 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit that held the Michigan-based Domino's Pizza parent company liable for the crash.
    – Orlando Sentinel 4/11/16

  • $34M verdict in tobacco case

    Gainesville-based law firm Avera & Smith have secured a $34 million judgment against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., maker of Camel cigarettes and other brands, on behalf of the Niceville family of a veteran and former smoker who died of lung cancer about 20 years ago.
    – Gainesville Sun 9/15/15

  • $17.5M verdict in tobacco suit sets a record in county

    The judgement secured by Avera & Smith was the largest single civil verdict in the county, topping the previous high award of $10 million.
    – Gainesville Sun 3/13/10