What should I do after an accident?
The most important thing is to get well – see your doctor & follow your doctor’s orders. Do not discuss the accident or give a statement to the insurance company or attorney for the “at-fault” driver. Remember: “What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You!” Instruct them to call your insurance company or your attorney. Call an attorney to discuss your claim. Most attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation in accident cases.
What are damages?
Damages are any losses or expenses you incurred as a result of the accident.
Do all Personal Injury claims go to trial?
No. In fact, most Personal Injury claims are settled with the insurance carrier for the “at-fault” party.
How do I know if I have a Personal Injury claim?
Whether a Personal Injury claim (a “tort”) exists is a matter of law. There are four elements to a “tort” claim:
- The “at-fault” person is under a duty to do or not to do something,
- The “at-fault” person breaches that duty,
- You suffer Damages, and
- Your Damages are the result of the “at-fault” person’s actions.
Who will pay my medical bills?
After an injury or an accident, most victims worry about how they will pay their medical bills. Depending on your case, there are different answers to this question. Your auto or health insurance may cover your medical costs, or you may have to rely on the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. In any case, the best course of action is to speak with an attorney at our firm to discuss your options.
How will the court determine which parent gets physical custody or visitation?
The Court’s primary concern is the best interest of the child in determining custody and setting a visitation schedule. To determine child custody and visitation, the court considers several factors, including:
- The child’s age
- The child’s gender
- The child’s physical and mental health
- The parents’ physical and mental health
- The parents’ role in the child’s upbringing
- The special needs of the child
- The parent’s ability to provide the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care
- The willingness of the parent to encourage a healthy, on-going relationship between the child and the other parent
- If the child is above a certain age, the child’s preference
- Any history of abuse
- And more
Although it used to be the case, any preference for the mother as the primary custodian is barred from a determination of child custody and visitation.
How is child support calculated?
is calculated based upon guidelines that are established by the state. Generally, child support guidelines take into account the incomes of the parties, the number of days each party has the child, and other expenses related to the child, such as health care and daycare costs. Although each state has set guidelines, the Court may deviate from the guidelines at its discretion.
Can I modify my child support or alimony?
When the parties enter into an agreement for alimony or when a party is required by court order to make any payments and the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes, either party may apply to the circuit court for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of support, maintenance, or alimony.
How soon can I get a divorce?
By Florida Statute, you cannot be granted a divorce any sooner than 30 days after the Petition for Dissolution is filed. Beyond that, it depends on the cooperation of the parties.
What if I am not married to the parent of my child?
First, you need to establish paternity through scientific testing which can be ordered by the Court. Then child support and time-sharing/visitation issues will be decided pretty much the same as in a Florida divorce case.
Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?
Spousal support, as it is now commonly called, used to be known as “alimony.” Spousal support is not mandatory in most states, but can be ordered by a judge under certain circumstances.
If a spouse will face hardships without financial support, spousal support should be considered. The deciding factor for spousal support is the need to maintain the spouse at his or her customary standard of living. In other words, the law recognizes a husband or wife should not be forced to live at a level below that enjoyed during the marriage.
However, other factors also need to be considered. For example, spousal support should most likely not be considered if:
- The marriage was for a short duration (less than two or three years), and
- Both spouses are employed and self-sufficient
- This does not mean the parties cannot agree on spousal support
There is no firm dollar figure used to calculate spousal support. The amount should be decided by both parties.
What is civil litigation?
Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two or more parties that seeks money damages or specific performance, rather than criminal sanctions. A lawyer in a civil litigation is commonly referred to as a trial lawyer or litigator. Civil litigation is not necessarily confined to a trial as it can also encompass hearings, arbitrations and mediations before administrative agencies, foreign tribunals and federal and state courts. Civil litigation covers a broad range of disputes falling within many different practice areas (a large number of these are identified in the above “civil law” Q&A) and, therefore, civil litigation takes many forms depending on the type of case. In general, civil litigation is the legal process that most people think of when the word “lawsuit” is used. Civil litigation, for the most part, has seven identifiable stages, those being investigation, pleadings, discovery, settlement, pretrial, trial, and appeal. Not every stage of litigation is reached in every civil action; for example, most cases settle prior to trial and many trial verdicts are not appealed. Civil litigation can last a few months or several years and, comparatively speaking, civil litigators actually spend little time in trial as most of the time is devoted to the extremely labor intensive discovery stage.
Are there alternatives to litigation?
Various dispute resolution alternatives are often used by parties to reduce the expense and delay associated with litigation. Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is a term used to describe a wide array of dispute resolution processes. These include mediation, negotiation, conciliation, case evaluation, mini-trials, summary jury trials, master’s proceedings, and binding arbitration. ADR not only can reduce expense and delay, but can also improve results because the parties retain control, especially in mediation, and therefore have broader freedom and authority to fashion outcomes by agreement than any trial court would have to order outcomes. Although many of these dispute resolution alternatives have common features, there are significant differences and you should consult an experienced attorney before selecting any manner of proposed alternative dispute resolution.
After we win a money judgment, do I automatically get paid on the spot?
Unfortunately, you do not receive your money immediately. The defendants have a specific amount of time to pay the judgment. However, if the defendant avoids paying, we have several legal remedies available to us — including garnishing wages and placing liens on property.
Feel free to contact us!
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