Frequently Asked Questions
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been seriously injured, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are not taken to the emergency room immediately, try to take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses. Most importantly, DO NOT ADMIT FAULT or even apologize to anyone involved – as this will be used against you in court.
You don’t. This is why you need to set up an appointment with a personal injury attorney to assess the facts in detail. In the consultation, the lawyer will discuss how the law factors into your situation – and what you may be able to earn in compensation.
It’s tough to gauge an injury immediately after an accident – as your adrenaline will be pumping like crazy. You may not realize you’re injured for a couple days. If authorities ask if you are injured, tell them you don’t know – then consult a doctor.
This depends on your situation. In the state of Florida, you generally have four years to file a case after the date of the accident. If you are filing a wrongful death case, you have two years from the date of death. If you are filing a personal injury case against a government entity, you have two years from the date of the accident.
No! Do NOT speak with an insurance adjuster for anyone else involved in the case. They may seem polite on the phone, but they are professionals at coaxing information out of people to reduce liability. If you get a call from an insurance adjuster, tell them to speak to your attorney. This is a big one!
You can certainly receive benefits from the at-fault party if you have a pre-existing condition. The damages may be reduced, but you can hold the other party liable for making your pre-existing condition worse. These cases can get complicated. Hiring a specialized attorney is absolutely crucial here.
In the State of Florida, the law operates as “comparative negligence”. In a nutshell, this means you can still receive compensation if you are partly at-fault in the accident. However, your recovery may be lessened depending on the circumstances and the jury’s determination.
Most personal injury cases end in an out-of-court settlement between the defendant or their insurance company. However, the timeline is nearly impossible to predict. There are a number of moving parts that are simply out of your hands. Personal injury attorneys are critical here to expedite the process and navigate around delays.
Personal injury lawyers are essential in getting the maximum compensation in the shortest amount of time. They know all the steps, tricks, and ways to negotiate for the highest settlement. Declining to use a lawyer makes you vulnerable – and the chances of winning your case go drastically down.
You should never have to worry about paying personal injury attorneys. A trustworthy lawyer will take your case free of charge. They know they will collect their fee as part of the settlement you receive from the other party. This is called a contingency fee arrangement. Generally, they will take between a 30-35 percent cut of your settlement – but this may be higher if you go to trial and/or the appellate process.
Family Law Attorney
Technically, no, but it’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer when facing a family law case - especially a divorce. A trained attorney will protect your rights, defend your children, and seek the best possible outcome, including a fair settlement.
In this state, there are two grounds for divorce: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and/or mental incapacity in one of the parties. Talk to our team today and we’ll help you understand how these grounds apply to your situation.
If the parents don’t agree on who should hold custody of the child, the state of Florida mandates that the court makes a decision based on many factors. The goal is to make the best decision for the child’s safety and wellbeing.
This answer varies depending on the complexity of the case. Some of our past Pasco County cases have been finalized within a few days. Others have been drawn out over the years as both sides argue over settlement details.
Hiring a professional lawyer to help with the divorce will speed up the process and minimize the expenses of a lengthy separation.
In Florida, a divorce can cost as little as $500 or as much as $100K, depending on the circumstances. Lawyer expenses, the length of the process, and issues of child custody, parental support, and property division can all impact the overall cost and settlement of the divorce.
Child custody is usually determined during the course of a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or paternity case. You will likely need to establish your parentage. Fathers must have documentation proving paternity.
Both mothers and fathers have the right to seek custody. They also may both be asked to provide child support in the state of Florida.
In a divorce, children may or may not be involved. In a paternity case, at least one child is involved, and the parents may or may not be legally married. With both kinds of cases, there will likely be questions about child custody, visitation rights, and child support. However, divorce cases involve the division of assets and debts, while paternity cases do not.
Typically, child support is determined by the ability of the noncustodial parent to pay and the needs of the child in question. Once the fair number is calculated, it can be modified due to life changes or other extenuating circumstances.
In a legally binding divorce settlement agreement, the two parties agree on a range of topics including child support, spousal support, property division, child custody, and visitation rights. The settlement may also include more personal agreements specific to your situation.
In Pasco County and other areas of our state, a child (or minor) can become emancipated by getting married with permission from the parents and the court. They can also join the armed forces (with parental permission) or get a declaration of emancipation from a judge.
To learn more about the requirements of legal emancipation, talk to our family law experts.
Before filing an appeal, you need to be sure that you are an eligible party. From here, there must have been a decision made in court, an order that can be appealed, or an order after judgment – of which is appealable. Most importantly, there must have been a court error, fact, or procedure in your trial that justifies an appeal. These are all factors an appellate attorney will confirm.
Step one in the appellate process is to file a “notice of appeal.” This must be filed with the trial court to initiate the process.
Technically no – you are free to represent yourself in appellate court. However, your chances of winning the results you want go drastically down if you opt to represent yourself. This is not advised.
In the state of Florida, you have 30 days to file an appeal.
The appellate process can be quite lengthy – and there isn’t a definitive answer here. Your appellate attorney will need to collect transcripts from the trial, then briefs (and responses to briefs) from both sides must be submitted, and the panel of judges must review the case. Additionally, there may be a need for oral arguments before a decision is made, and there might be post-decision motions that extend the process. Every appeal is unique – and the timelines may be different.
Yes. The appellate court can turn down your appeal if they determine it’s a non-appealable order. The highest appellate courts – like the Florida Supreme Court – can decide which cases they want to accept at their discretion. There are only a handful of orders in which the higher courts are required to accept and review.
There are two types of appeals recognized by most jurisdictions. There is a direct appeal, which the appellant files their appeal with the next higher court of review. The other type of appeal is a collateral appeal. This is where the appellant files their appeal or motion in the court of “first instance” – which is typically the court that tried the case.
Direct appeals only review evidence that was presented in the trial. Collateral appeals allow the review of additional evidence – including affidavits, witness statements, or depositions that were not presented during the trial.
The state of Florida’s court system has three tiers – two are appellate. All appellate proceedings are run by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. The county and circuit courts carry out trials where actions are filed.
Circuit courts have some appellate authority – final orders in county courts are appealable in some situations. Circuit trial courts have jurisdiction of appeals from county courts. However, they do not have jurisdiction of county court orders/judgment which are declaring invalid in relation to a state statute or a provision of the state’s constitution.
District courts of appeal have appellate jurisdiction in most standard cases. There are five district courts of appeal. The First District Court of Appeal is in Tallahassee; the Second District of Appeal is in Lakeland; the Third District of Appeal is in Miami; the Fourth District of Appeal is in West Palm Beach; the Fifth District of Appeal is in Daytona Beach.
The Supreme Court of Florida is the highest in the state. This court reviews the decisions of all the district courts of appeal.