Personal Injury and Criminal Defense FAQ

What if the car accident was partially my fault? When do I have a legitimate premises liability claim? What is the first step I need to take after a dog bite? We answer questions like these and many more on our personal injury Frequently Asked Questions page.

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  • Do I Have a Good Car Accident Case?

    Smashed Front Car Light

    Do I Have a Good Car Accident Case?

    There are a number of factors an attorney will consider when reviewing a potential client's case. All personal injury lawsuits can be broken down to two separate and distinct issues - Liability and Damages. 

    Liability

    The most important factor is liability. In order for a plaintiff to recover damages for a personal injury, they have to prove that the injuries they suffered were due to the negligence of another party. Simply put, who is at "fault"

    Sometimes fault is obvious, for example, if you are hit by a drunk driver or another person attacks you and causes injury. Other times it may not be so clear, perhaps both parties were partially at fault. In Florida, if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for an accident or injury, they are not allowed to seek or recover damages. The less they are at fault, the more they can potentially recover in an injury claim.

    Economic Damages

    When the accident was someone else's fault, you may be able to recover economic damages. A personal injury attorney will look for:

    • property damage
    • medical expenses (past and future)
    • lost wages
    • future earnings

    Determining the amount of damages you are owed will primarily depend on the extent of your injuries and your medical bills. If the other party is 100 percent at fault for your injuries and they have enough insurance, you should receive damages for the total amount of your medical bills. For a car accident, there are exceptions to the no-fault law. If you suffered permanent injuries, a loved one died, or your medical bills are expected to exceed $10,000, you may be able to sue the other driver for compensation if he or she was found to be at fault. In this case, your compensation would come from that driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) policy..

    Non-Economic Damages

    In addition to the economic damages, an injured party may also receive compensation for non-economic damages, including: 

    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress 
    • Loss of enjoyment of life 
    • Loss of consortium 

    What’s My Case Worth?

    The truth is that the value of your case is dependent on quite a few factors. Even after all the numbers are added up in the damages discussed above, there is no mathematical formula that can be used to determine the exact value of your case. Every case is different, and the people dealing with your case such as the other driver’s insurance company or the jury your case is tried in front of will have different judgments on its value. Be careful if an attorney overpromises how much you could earn for your case. Estimates made based on the value of cases similar to yours may not always be accurate. 

    If You Have Questions About a Car Accident or Any Other Injury You Suffered

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

  • What is "Safety Valve" in Federal Sentencing?

    Drug Free Zone Sign

    What is "Safety Valve" in Federal Sentencing?

    In short, "safety valve" allows a federal criminal defendant charged with certain drug offenses to be sentenced below a minimum mandatory if the requirements of the statute are met. It is one of the only ways, short of providing cooperation with the federal government, that a defendant can avoid the often life shattering minimum mandatories in the federal system

    18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(f)(1-5) states notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the case of an offense under section 401, 404, or 406 of the Controlled Substances Act or section 1010 or 1013 of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, the court shall impose a sentence pursuant to guidelines promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission under section 994 of title 28 without regard to any statutory minimum sentence, if the court finds at sentencing that:

    • the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines, §3553(f)(1);
    • the defendant did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or induce another participant to do so) in connection with the offense, §3553(f)(2);
    • the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person, §3553(f)(3);
    • the defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense, as determined under the sentencing guidelines and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise, as defined in section 408 of the Controlled Substances Act, §3553(f)(4); and
    • not later than the time of the sentencing hearing, the defendant has truthfully provided to the Government all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan, but the fact that the defendant has no relevant or useful other information to provide or that the Government is already aware of the information shall not preclude a determination by the court that the defendant has complied with this requirement, §3553(f)(5).

    ​If You Have Any Questions Regarding Federal Criminal Defense

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.

     

  • Can I Sue the City of Jacksonville or the Sheriff's Office?

    Can I Sue the City of Jacksonville or the Sheriff's Office?

    Yes, but it depends. An often spoken phrase by lawyers, caused probably by the fact that we spend so much of our time arguing over exactly what a law or rule may mean. Below I will try to explain the basics of a tort claim against the City of Jacksonville and/or the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. If you have any further questions please feel free to call me. 

    Ok, so why does it "depend"? 

    Because our government agencies are provided sovereign immunity.

    What is sovereign immunity and what is its purpose?

    Sovereign immunity prohibits/restricts tort suits against the government; the government cannot be sued without its consent. 

    Reasons for sovereign immunity:

    • Separation of powers
      • Government affairs must be protected from interference by courts and plaintiffs. 
      • Separation of powers concerns prohibits the judicial branch from interfering with the discretionary functions of the legislative or executive branch absent a violation or constitutional or statutory right.
    • Protects the discretion of governmental authorities in decision-making. 
      • Government administration would be disrupted if the state could be sued at the instance of every citizen. 
      • Governmental decision-making requires flexibility and discretion. 
    • Regulates the fiscal impact of tort damage awards on the public treasury.

    Sounds like that's a wrap, can't sue the City, your out of luck. But of course "it depends". Fortunately, the Florida Constitution specifically provides the legislature the power to pass laws providing for a waiver of sovereign immunity. 

    Article X, Section 13 of the Florida Constitution states; "Provision may be made by general law for bringing suit against the state as to all liabilities now existing or hereafter originating."

    The Florida legislature passed Section 768.28, F.S., allowing for a limited waiver of sovereign immunity. The statutes begins by stating:

    In accordance with s. 13, Art. X of the State Constitution, the state, for itself and for its agencies or subdivisions, hereby waives sovereign immunity for liability for torts, but only to the extent specified in this act. Actions at law against the state or any of its agencies or subdivisions to recover damages in tort for money damages against the state or its agencies or subdivisions for injury or loss of property, personal injury, or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the agency or subdivision while acting within the scope of the employee’s office or employment under circumstances in which the state or such agency or subdivision, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant, in accordance with the general laws of this state, may be prosecuted subject to the limitations specified in this act. 

    So what can the City of Jacksonville be sued for?

    • To recover damages in tort for money damages against the state or its agencies or subdivisions.
    • For injury or loss of property, personal injury, or death.
    • Caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the agency or subdivision.
    • While acting within the scope of the employee’s office or employment.

    Claims can be for a number of reasons, including wrongful arrest, personal injury or wrongful death. 

    Now again, these are just the basics, there are always questions as to who or what qualifies as an agency or subdivision of the state, what is "within the scope of the employee’s office or employment", is the particular individual (employee) liable and numerous other issues. This is why it is recommended to speak to an attorney if you believe you have a case against the City of Jacksonville or the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. 

    Please follow up and read my post "4 Need to Know Rules Before You Sue The City of Jacksonville."

    If You Have Questions About a Claim Against a City or the State of Florida

    Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.