4 Personal Injury General Assumptions

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4 Personal Injury General Assumptions

There are many grey areas, best practices, and common misconceptions about personal injury cases. Our attorney Troy Farquhar is answering four common statements to help clear some confusions.

1. I have insurance, so don’t need an attorney for my case.

If you have been injured in an accident by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Typically that compensation will be through an insurance company: the at-fault insurance company, and, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, sometimes your own. The insurance company exists to make money, and they do that by paying out as little as possible in claims. You can go it alone, but having an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the system will greatly impact your settlement results.

2. People who file personal injury lawsuits are just greedy.

Sure, there are some frivolous injury claims. The outrageous examples tend to stick out and influence people’s overall perception of the system. But, if you’re the innocent person dealing with medical bills, lost time from work, pain and suffering, and loss of the ability to do fun activities that you used to do— then you know you aren’t being greedy when you’re seeking fair compensation.

3. I only have minor injuries, so it’s probably not worth talking to a lawyer.

What might seem like a minor injury at first, may not be so. Many injuries to the connective tissues in our bodies, what are often called “soft tissue injuries” do not completely heal for a long time, if ever. So, even if you don’t think your injury is serious, it’s not a bad idea to get checked out by a doctor. As for whether or not you should see a lawyer, consultations in our office are always free and there are no costs to our injured clients unless we get you compensation for your injuries.

4. I have plenty of time to file a lawsuit if I want to do it later.

You have 4 years from the date of injury to file your case in Florida. I would not be so concerned about the length of time between being injured and filing your case. What does concern me is how long after your accident before you seek treatment. In Florida, in order for your treatment to be covered by your insurance, you must seek treatment within 14 days. Also, if you do file a claim against insurance for pain and suffering, the longer you waited to treat your injuries, the more suspicious the insurance company will be that you really were not hurt. So, if you are injured, seek treatment immediately and contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.

 

If you’d like to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, schedule a free consultation here.

7 Probate Law FAQ’s

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Probate Law Common Questions and Misconceptions

The area of Probate Law can leave many family members with questions. At Integrity Law, we are here to walk you through each step and guide you along the process. Here are answers to common Probate questions and misconceptions to help you through the process.

  1. Is it true that if I die the government gets everything? 

    No.  In fact, certain assets are protected and are considered exempt properties from certain creditors.  Certain creditors must file a statement of claim against the estate (with the exception of Medicare, not Medicaid.)  Creditors that no not file a claim within a specific period of time are barred.

  2. What’s the benefit of having an attorney if my loved one did not leave a will? 

    The probate process is not always cut and dry.  The attorney will not only be able to streamline the process but, he or she is also able to determine which creditors have priority over others (if any exists).

  3. Will probate costs deplete my loved one’s estate’s assets? 

    Fees in probate matters are strictly governed by law.  Attorneys are paid a certain amount depending on the size of the estate.  A family may pre-pay an attorney or the attorney can be paid out of the estate. 

  4. Does probate really take years?

    Not at all.  It depends on the type of probate (Summary vs. Formal).  Summary can sometimes be accomplished in a couple of months.  A Formal generally takes 9 months to a year.

  5. What happens to assets that are not probated? 

    There is not rush or timeline in which a probate has to be opened.  It really depends on how quick a family member either needs property transferred or needs the case assets.

  6. Can I avoid probate if my loved one has a will? 

    This depends.  A will serves as a “catch-all” for assets that have not already been pre-distributed.  Sometimes there is no need for a probate even if the party has a will.  Our goal is to avoid probate if possible but, making sure that if one is necessary the terms of the will dictate distribution.

  7. Will the oldest child always be the executor of the will? 

    A party may designate anyone (except someone with a felony record) as an administrator/executor.  The party designated may receive compensation for management of the estate.

If you have specific questions about your current situation, we’d love to answer them for you. Our goal is to guide our clients through the legal process while preserving as much of the assets for those left behind. We are here to help you through the court system to settle your loved one’s affairs. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, click here.

Paternity FAQ

At Integrity Law, we’re dedicated to answering all your questions and concerns— including addressing common misconceptions. Here’s six answers that may clear up your concerns.

 

  1. If the father’s name is on the birth certificate, is he deemed the child’s father for all legal purposes and entitled to parenting time and child support responsibilities? 

    No, there is a presumption of paternity when placing a father’s name on the birth certificate.  Up and until a court enters an order or final judgment concerning timesharing (i.e. visitation), the Mother has superior rights to the child.  Either party may initiate an action for paternity in order to determine their timesharing rights.  The department of revenue often will place one party on child support in the event the other parent is receive state assistance.  Just because a party is required to pay child support through the state does not mean they have timesharing rights.  This can only be accomplished through an action for paternity as stated.

  2. If you do not pay child support, you do not get to see your child? 

    If you have a court order or final judgment outlining timesharing, then the other party cannot unilaterally withhold timesharing from a non-paying parent.  Child support and timesharing are apples and oranges.

  3. Is a DNA test always required to establish paternity?

    Not unless a party is objecting to the establishment of paternity at which time, a party may ask for DNA testing to be performed.

  4. What are the benefits of establishing paternity? 

    Perhaps the #1 benefit would be a parenting plan outlining rights of timesharing (i.e. visitation) for both parties throughout the year (including week nights, weekends, holidays and summer.)

  5. How can a father claim a legal relationship to child if the mother and father were not married at the time of child’s birth? 

    He should file an action for paternity which, as discussed, would result in an order or judgment outlining timesharing, etc.

  6. What rights does a Acknowledgement of Paternity actually grant? 

    Nothing.  It merely places the Father’s name on the birth certificate and establishes a presumption he is the Father.  He may rescind his acknowledgment within 60 days.  The only way to grant anything would be an action for paternity.

If you have more questions regarding your specific paternity circumstance, we’d love to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to help in any way we can. Please contact us here.

Troy Farquhar Interviews Charles Garrison, Jasmyn Board Member

Attorney Troy Farquhar talks with Jasmyn board member Charles Garrison about his involvement with the LGBTQ community focused organization.  Working for Wells Fargo, Charles is also able to share presentations with Jasmyn’s youth to teach them valuable life skills like balancing a check book and other essential day-to-day necessities. Learn more about the organization and how you can get involved at Jasmyn.org

Personal Injury – Contingency Fee

Generally, attorneys in personal injury matters receive payment for their services through a contingency fee. “We don’t get paid unless you recover.” The percentage the attorneys receives is not an arbitrary percentage; rather, the Florida Bar, which regulates attorneys, strictly governs a firm’s compensation structure.

In addition to a contingency-based payment, attorneys are likewise entitled to be compensated for any costs associated with the personal injury case. Firms generally advance most all costs so you don’t have any expenses throughout the case as the client. This includes postage, paper, payment for medical records and doctor’s opinions (narratives), as well as advanced costs for filing a lawsuit, depositions and discovery, and experts to name a few.

When retaining a personal injury attorney, your contract (retainer agreement) should specifically lay out the manner in which the attorney will be compensated including percentages and costs. In addition, the Florida Bar requires attorneys in contingency type cases to provide a “Statement of Client Rights” to clients when signing contingency cases.

During your consultation, our office will not only thoroughly explain the nuances of a personal injury matter, but we will also make sure you understand our firm’s compensation structure and will answer any questions you may have concerning a personal injury case. We will always make ourselves available to you throughout the process and will always keep you abreast. The most difficult aspect of a personal injury case is patience, as they can be lengthy, however, we will do everything we can to make the process as smooth as possible.

Personal Injury/Premises Liability

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All too often people are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. Whether your injury stems from an auto accident, a slip and fall, dog bite, or even falling ceilings, you may have a claim against the at-fault party. Even if your injury happened while on the job you may have a claim against a third party, that is not the employer or another employee, even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Personal Injury and Premises Liability claims generally do not begin with a lawsuit.  Our goal at Integrity law is to get you compensation sometimes without litigation. Compensation includes not only payment for past lost wages and for medical expenses incurred, but also for pain and suffering and future expenses.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence you should immediately see a physician or you may lose PIP coverage under your own policy.

Every driver in Florida must have PIP insurance in the amount of $10,000.00.  Like health insurance PIP insurance will generally pay 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.00.  If at all possible use your PIP insurance in lieu of your medical insurance at the onset of treatment with a physician.

At Integrity Law, we work with many physicians that will take PIP insurance and will also continue to treat you once your $10,000.00 of PIP insurance has been satisfied.

During the course of your treatment we will obtain insurance information from the at-fault party (BI insurance) as well as determine if you have additional insurance under your own policy (UM insurance).

Rest assured that throughout this process we are here every step of the way to answer your questions and concerns.

If you think you might have a claim against another person for injuries you have sustained, please call us for a free case consultation. If we’re your attorneys, there is no fee unless you are compensated for your injuries.

Estate Planning

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Although we don’t like to face our own mortality, estate planning can help simplify things for your loved ones. Not only that, but it can ensure your wishes are carried out exactly how you’d like them to be.

We’ll make sure your valuable property such as cars, home, investments, and more is put in the right hands. This avoids family disputes and other legal battles from occurring down the road.

An estate plan is comprised of many documents.  It not only includes a last will and testament, but may also include a trust, a power of attorney, preneed guardian, healthcare surrogate, and living will.  You can also have documents drafted to protect your children, such as a declaration naming preneed guardian for minor children.

All of these documents contain different things and cover different scenarios.  A last will and testament will distribute your estate upon your passing.  We call this process probate, which is a court process.  However sometimes a carefully drafted estate plan may not require anything to be probated through the courts.

A power of attorney is one of the most powerful documents in existence.  It delegates someone to act on your behalf (i.e. an attorney in fact) and make decisions for you.  These decisions range from banking to medical to educational.  This document terminates either upon revocation or upon death of the party.

A healthcare surrogate designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.  This individual also has the authority to obtain your medical records.

Next, a living will designates a person, usually a spouse or close family member, to terminate life supporting procedures in the event a doctor determines that you will not regain the ability to live without medical assistance.

Lastly, a pre-need guardian designates a person to be appointed by the court in the event a guardianship needs to be established for you.  This document can also declare a guardian for any children you may have.

We, at Integrity Law, are always available to consult with you regarding these estate planning documents as well as the ramifications for not having an estate plan.  Call us today for a free consultation. (904) 224-2100. We look forward to serving you.