Attorney Stephen Barnes is the founding member of The Barnes Trial Group, a personal injury law firm located in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Barnes exclusively represents family members and victims of personal injury, including brain and spinal cord injury, wrongful death involving automobile, motorcycle and trucking accidents, negligent security and maintenance of property, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and diving and boating accidents.
Over his career, Mr. Barnes has been recognized as a pre-eminent and highly skilled trial lawyer by many attorney rating and certification organizations, including The Florida Bar, the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Florida Trend and Tampa Bay Magazine.
Mr. Barnes became one of the youngest board-certified civil trial attorneys in Florida at age 33 and is proud to be AV Preeminent* peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
*AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories: legal ability and general ethical standards.
About Stephen Barnes
Law School: Stetson University College of Law
Admitted: 1994, Florida
Professional Webpage: www.barnestrialgroup.com/about-us/
Honors and Awards:
- AV Preeminent* peer review rated, by Martindale-Hubbell
- Board Certified in Civil Trial by the Florida Bar, National Board of Trial Advocacy and American Board of Trial Advocates
- Florida Justice Association, Board Of Directors
- American Justice Association
- The Florida Bar Association
- The American Board of Trial Advocates (AOBTA)
- The National Board of Trial Advocacy
Pro bono/Community Service:
- Mr. Barnes is actively involved in Mission Relief work in the Dominican Republic through the organization Word of Life. He travels to the Dominican 4-5 times per year and is actively invovled in development and contruction of a 115 acre camp that will serve as a base of operation and training facility for missionaries throughout the Caribbean.
Scholarly Lectures and Writings:
- Mr. Barnes has lectured extensively on all aspects of civil trial before lawyers throughout Florida.
Verdicts and Settlements:
- Low impact Automobile Accident Practice Area: Car / Auto Accident Outcome: Verdict near $1,000,000 & insurance company sanctioned over $200,000 for fees and costs Description: DI was stopped at a traffic light when her car was rear ended resulting in neck and back injuries. Although she followed her doctors' advice and worked hard to rehab, she was told she would need spinal surgery at some point in her life to repair a herniated disk. Instead of evaluating her claim fairly the insurance company offered her $15,000 at mediation, conducted surveillance on her, hired insurance industry doctors to give negative opinions about her and forced her case to trial. A jury of her peers determined her permanent injuries warranted a verdict and ultimately a final judgment over $1,000,000.
- Motorcycle Accident, Brain Injury & Insurance Coverage Practice Area: Brain Injury Outcome: $3,900.000 Description: A.T. was completing his senior year in high school and ROTC training in preparation of realizing his lifelong dream of beginning a career in the United States Marine Corps. Unfortunately, that childhood dream would not be realized when a careless driver pulled in front of A.T. while he was riding his motorcycle home from Marine Corps training, rendering him significantly brain injured. In a moment of another driver's carelessness, A.T.'s aspirations of being a protector of our nation's freedom were crushed as he was rendered one of its most vulnerable citizens. In their greatest moment of need, A.T. and his mother, now his primary caregiver, sought to partner with Mr. Barnes on referral from their family attorney, to hold the at fault driver and his insurance companies accountable. Although the other driver's insurance coverage totaled $150,000 and his insurance companies claimed to have "tendered" that money to A.T. prior to Mr. Barnes’ representation, through a lawsuit it was established the insurance companies' claims practice was conducted in bad faith and the insurance companies' allegations that A.T. was speeding at the time of the accident, was not properly licensed to operate a motorcycle and had consumed alcoholic beverages just prior to the accident were all defeated. Through a strong partnership with A.T., his family and the referring attorney, Mr. Barnes was able to obtain A.T. a recovery of $3,900.000 that would provide for his lifelong care without jeopardizing his social security disability or Medicaid benefits. Through continued therapy, A.T. has made a remarkable recovery. Though he will never realize his dream of entering the Marine Corps, A.T. has progressed further than any of his doctors anticipated with superior medical care and therapy his family was now able to afford.
- Complete Breakdown of the Medical System
Practice Area: Medical Malpractice
Description: MA was a 40 year old mother of two young girls and a son. On New Year's Eve, after overdosing on Tylenol PM, which contains the common but dangerous drug Acetaminophen, MA was rushed to the hospital ER. Although a lab test was run showing a toxic level of the drug in her system, MA was transferred to a mental health center, without receiving the necessary antidote. During the resulting lawsuit it was later discovered the ER was understaffed, no physician cleared MA as medical stable in the ER and the mental health center admitted her in violation of their own policy and without the required paper work showing she was medically stable for transfer. Over the course of three days, MA's vital organs shut down and her brain painfully swelled. when she was finally rushed to a second ER, she was placed on a ventilator and never recovered. Her adult son flew home from active duty in Iraq and made the painful decision to remove his mother from life support. After retaining experts in the fields of emergency medicine, hospital administration, nursing, psychology and mental health counseling, Mr. Barnes established that two medical facilities and at least a half dozen health care providers failed MA and her children. As a result, the defendants were forced to compensate the family $3,900,000.
- Lemonade out of Lemons
Practice Area: Car / Auto Accident
Description: Having exhausted all reasonable efforts to resolve the claim and obtaining an offer from the insurance company of less than $15,000, S.R. and his attorney decided to partner with Mr. Barnes in order to obtain the full available policy limits of $350,000. Knowing that S.R. was reluctant to undergo shoulder surgery, and knowing that S.R.'s out of pocket medical bills totaled less than $18,000, Mr. Barnes was forced to advance a theory of damages other than simple past and future medical bills. As a result, Mr. Barnes secured the services of an expert economist to analyze the net loses to S.R.'s restaurant resulting from his loss of productivity and hands on involvement due to his injuries. Though the analysis was intensive and required review of thousands of pages of business documents, Mr. Barnes was able to establish a significant and ongoing impairment to the profit's of S.R.'s restaurant since the automobile accident. Of course prior to the forensic analysis of S.R.'s business, the insurance company, despite their own record profits, blamed S.R.'s loss of profits on the economy. As a result, Mr. Barnes was able to secure a recovery for the full limits of $350,000 despite the fact that the plaintiff's only apparent injury was a non surgical shoulder impingement that the insurance company claimed to be an arthritic condition. By rolling up his sleeves, employing good old fashion hard work and a little legal creativity, Mr. Barnes was able to secure a recovery of nearly 25 times the settlement offer when the case was referred to him.
- Insurance Company Shenanigans and Bad Faith
Practice Area: Car / Auto Accident
Description: GF was a hard working wife and mother of two. She held two jobs and kept a wonderful home for her family. Her life was turned upside down as a result of two car accidents nearly a year apart and the horrific way her own insurance company treated her-- a loyal customer of over 20 years. GF injured her neck and right shoulder in the first accident. As a result, she was placed on light duty and eventually lost her job as a mail carrier at the local post office. Additionally, she could no longer perform her duties as a waitress. After the second accident, GF underwent a routine shoulder arthroscopy. At that time her uninsured motorist carrier hired an industry doctor who gave an opinion that her injury was related to the first accident. As a result, GF decided to settle her claim for the second accident for a total of $110,000, believing her insurance company would accept responsibility for her injuries from the first accident and fairly compensate her. No sooner had she signed a release and cashed the check, then her uninsured motorist carrier who also covered her for the first accident pulled a "switch-a-roo" and hired a different insurance industry doctor to blame the second accident for her injuries-- the one for which she had already signed a release. Although her medical bills were minimal, her lost wages due to her inability to perform her two jobs as a mail carrier and waitress totaled many hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the insurance company forced the matter to trial believing their "switch-a-roo" would protect their money. A Hernando County jury disagreed and awarded GF over $1,300,000. Due to their bad faith conduct in not settling the case, Mr. Barnes was able to convince the court to sanction the insurance company over $200,000 in attorney fees and costs, increasing the award to GF. As one would expect of GF, her first purchase was not for herself, but instead full college tuition plans for her son and daughter.
- Negligent Security, Mild Brain Injury
Practice Area: Brain Injury
Description: AA was shot while walking through his apartment complex, suffering a mild brain injury. Though extensive discovery it was found that the apartment complex had a long history of violent crime occurring on their property numbering into the hundreds over a three year period. Through depositions of the corporate managers it was discovered that the management company and property owner had no policies or procedures in place to stop violent criminals from entering the complex. Lighting was poor, perimeter fences were down and loitering in the rear of the complex was known and permitted. The companies disavowed any responsibility to do address these issues. After obtaining this information, experts were hired in the fields of property management, criminology, incident risk assessment and foreseeability to establish how the property manager and owners failed to take reasonable steps to recognize and eliminate the opportunity they provided for dangerous attacks to occur at the apartment complex. As a result, AA realized a recovery that will help support him and provide for his needs as he recovers from his injuries.
- Mr. Barnes and all attorneys in his firm are proud to represent only injured parties and families of deceased victims in all aspects of personal injury litigaiton, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, products liablity, maritime & admirality and cigarette litigation.