Our Personal Injury FAQs

When you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have lots of questions about how to hold the at-fault party responsible and how to get the money you need for the medical bills that are piling up. Read our FAQs to learn the basics and then call us if you have more questions. We are happy to help you get on the road to recovery.

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  • Why is the Offer From the Insurance Company So Low?

    Kid making angry gesture

    It can be extremely frustrating and can feel like a personal attack when you are injured in an accident and the other drivers insurance company makes an extremely low offer. The accident wasn't your fault and you feel you were injured and deserve some justice, so what gives? 

    There are numerous reasons why an insurance company may make a low offer on your claim. Many depending on the facts and circumstances of your claim. However, there are some basics that may help you better understand the process. 

    Insurance Companies Don't Want To Pay Money

    First and foremost, insurance companies are not in the business of paying out money. They make money every year by denying claims and paying out low settlements. No matter how nice their commercials or slogans are, they are not concerned with right or wrong, they are concerned with the bottom line and being financially successful. 

    I have heard people say that they would not sue their own insurance company because they have been good to them. This is crazy talk. If you are injured and you have underinsured coverage, you should certainly consider pursuing a claim against your policy for the injuries you have suffered. 

    Lack of Medical Treatment

    Another issue that arises often is the lack of medical treatment in a case. If you are injured you will need to seek medical help and continue treatment. One or two visits to a doctor and then months of nothing does not build a strong case in your favor. Now, going to the doctor for no reason, only to try to claim and injury and get a larger settlement, will also not work. Your attorney will be getting all records and at some point those records may be shared with the insurance adjuster for the other driver. 

    Injury Cases Involving Pain

    Often is cases where there is not visible injuries, the insurance company will provide a low offer. What I mean by this, is obviously if you have broken bones, lacerations, permanent disfiguration, it is easier to point to an injury and demand a larger settlement. However, often people do not have these injuries. Their MRI may not have stated anything significant. 
    There is nothing to point at and say "see, see that injury". Often times people just have pain. Pain when they sleep, pain when they work, pain when they drive, walk, stand, sit. Pain that keeps them from doing things they once loved doing. 

    In these cases, an insurance company may just label it a soft tissue injury and provide a low offer. There is nothing objective for them to see, so they dismiss complaints of pain as people trying to get money. 

    But pain is real. 

    So going to a pain management doctor may be the best thing for you. Seeing a professional who can provide injections, medications, physical therapy or a number of other treatments may just be the answer to getting rid of your pain. It may also provide your attorney with treatment he can point to while negotiating with an insurance adjuster. 

    Going to Trial

    Sometimes, even in cases where injuries are obvious, the damages are large and treatment is well documented, an insurance company will still come back with an unrealistic offer. These cases are why trials exists. 

    If the insurance company wants to play games with your future and then you take them to trial. 

    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

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

     

     

     

  • How Can I Report Human Trafficking?

    Closeup of girls hands holding a cell phone

    I want to help survivors of sex trafficking seek justice against those that profited off their pain. Hotels, night clubs, strip clubs and individuals often turn a blind eye and may be pocketing cash on the side. Suing the businesses that profited can provide some justice and hopefully a financial reward that can start a brighter future. 

    The first step in the fight to end sex trafficking, is knowing the signs and reporting when you suspect something wrong. The following numbers will conect survivors to a network of great people and organizations that exist to help. 

    Human Trafficking of a Child in Florida

    If you suspect human trafficking of a child in Florida or are a victim call:

    Florida Abuse Hotline

    1-800-96-ABUSE 

     (1-800-962-2873)

    Human Trafficking of an adult anywhere in the United States or of a child outside of Florida 

    Contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center:

    1-888-373-7888

    U.S. Department of Justice:

    1-888-428-7581

    Warning Signs of Sex Trafficking

    The Florida Department of Children and Families has compiled the following list of possible signs of sex trafficking. Don't turn a blind eye, if you think something is wrong, report it. 

    • Physical and sexual violence signs of abuse, such as: unexplained bruises, black eyes, cuts, or marks.
    • Exhibit behaviors including fear, anxiety, depression, submission, tension, and/or nervousness.
    • Exhibit “hyper-vigilance” or paranoid behavior.
    • Sexually exploited children and youth often express interest in, or are in relationships with, adults or older men.
    • Evidence of controlling or dominating relationships, including: repeated phone calls from a “boyfriend” and/or excessive concern about displeasing partner.
    • Unexplained shopping trips or possession of expensive clothing, jewelry, or a cell phone could indicate the manipulation of an exploiter.
    • Not in control of their own money.
    • Use of lingo or slang from “the life” among peers, or referring to a boyfriend as “Daddy.”
    • Secrecy about whereabouts.
    • Unaccounted for time, vagueness concerning whereabouts, and/or defensiveness in response to questions or concern.
    • Keeping late-night or unusual hours.
    • A tattoo that he or she is reluctant to explain may the result of tattooing or branding by a pimp. Pimps and other sexual exploiters often tattoo or brand children and youth, particularly girls. Youth are commonly branded with their exploiter’s name tattooed on the neck, chest, or arms.
    • Wearing sexually provocative clothing can be an indicator of sexual exploitation. But it should be noted, so as not to rely on stereotypes, that not all children in the commercial sex industry wear such clothing. Sexually provocative clothing is not a warning sign in and of itself. Wearing new clothes of any style, or getting hair or nails done with no financial means to this independently, is a more general indicator of potential sexual exploitation.
    • Most sexually exploited children have been trained to lie about their age. Sometimes a child’s appearance and/or actions can contradict the information they give. Be sensitive to clues in behavior or appearance that could indicate that a child is underage.
    • Personal information such as: age, name, and/or date of birth – might change with each telling of his or her story, or the information given might contradict itself.
    • Has no identification or is not in control of his or her identification documents.

    If You Have Questions Regarding Your Rights as a Survivor of Rape or Sexual Abuse

    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 My Own Insurance Company?

    Guy in suit pointing

    Can I Sue My Own Insurance Company?

    Yes, under certain circumstances and if you have the right coverage. In most car crash cases, you would seek compensation from the other driver's insurance company, but what if the other driver doesn't have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages? 

    In Florida, UM (uninsured motorist coverage) provides compensation to a person who is seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This can be very important coverage to get through your car insurance. 

    When injured in a car crash, you will seek damages from the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver does not have insurance or has very minimal coverage, you will not be able to recover the full amount you may be owed. UM is provided by your insurance company to protect you in such a situation. 

    You can try to sue the at-fault person, but it is often difficult to recover money from an individual since they may not have much. If you have UM coverage, you can avoid suing an individual by filing a claim with your own insurance company instead.

    Stacking Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    You may also be entitled to additional money through the stacking of coverage. If a person under one insurance policy owns two or more vehicles, they can combine or stack the coverage for each vehicle insured on the policy. All you have to do is call your insurance company and talk to them about your options. For example, I have two vehicles. I have $100,000 in UM coverage on each vehicle and chose to have this coverage stacked, meaning I now have $200,000 in available coverage if I'm seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It took me only minutes to get this done when I called my insurance company. You may not be able to afford all the bells and whistles in an insurance policy, but you should at least consider some form of UM coverage in the event of a car crash. 

    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

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.



  • Depositions After A Car Accident. What Can I Ask?

    Guy in suit sitting at desk

    Depositions After A Car Accident. What Can I Ask? 

    After a lawsuit is filed, your attorney will take several steps to learn as much as they can and to adequately prepare for trial. These steps will include request for production of documents (medical records, insurance documents, expert reports, cell phone records...etc), interrogatories (written questions often regarding cell phone records, statements made, medical history..etc) and depositions. Any witness that will be called at trial is open for deposition, these will include experts, witnesses, the other driver and yourself. 

    Depositions allow an attorney to question an adverse witness under oath. The testimony is sometimes video recorded, but often a court reporter is present and will take down a record of everything said. This recorded testimony will not only allow both sides to understand what testimony may be presented at trial but it can also lead to other unknown issues, other witnesses or information that could damage or benefit your case. 

    The following is just a small sample of questions that can be asked. A deposition could take many hours to complete, so obviously there are many more important questions to ask that will be dependent upon the complexity of your case. 

    Sample Deposition Questions 

    *Q: Did you have a cell phone with you at the time of the accident, either installed in the car or portable?

    Q: What is the telephone number?

    Q: Identify your provider.

    Q: Do you have records of the calls made that day?

    Q: Do you wear glasses or contact lenses?

    Q: When and where did you have all visual tests in your life?

    Q: How many times has your vision been tested by the Department of Motor Vehicles in any state and when and where?

    Q: What were the results of those tests?

    Q: Are there any visual restrictions on your license?

    Q: Did you have your glasses or contact lenses on at the time of the accident?

    Q: Were there any passengers in your car and, if so, please identify each passenger by name and address.

    Q: Describe the damage to your car.

    Q: Do you have photos of the damage?

    Q: Has it been repaired?

    Q: Is there any other damage in the same area from any other accident or event? Please describe.

    Q: Did you give a statement to the police?

    Q: What did you tell the police?

    Q: What were the lighting conditions (day or night)?

    Q: Did you have any trouble seeing?

    Q: If so, what did you do in driving your car to accommodate to the difficulty in seeing?

    * questions from Personal Injury Handbook; by Larry Booth and Roger Booth

    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

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

  • Do I Have To Use My Real Name In A Sexual Assault Law Suit?

    person signing a document

    Do I Have To Use My Real Name In A Law Suit For Rape?

    A survivor of sexual assault, abuse or trafficking  may file a civil lawsuit  under a pseudonym or fake name, such as John Doe or Jane Doe, with the permission of the court. In determining whether to allow a plaintiff to proceed under a pseudonym, the court must weigh the victim’s privacy interests against the need for an open judicial proceeding

    *The leading case on this subject is Doe v. Frank, which sets forth factors the court may consider when determining whether a plaintiff may proceed anonymously. In the trafficking context, one court allowed plaintiffs to proceed using pseudonyms based on the defendants’ previous use of threats as alleged in a parallel criminal indictment, and because of the
    government’s interest in protecting the identity of potential witnesses in the criminal case. In another human trafficking lawsuit, the Court allowed the plaintiffs to proceed anonymously where law enforcement officers found firearms in the home of one of the traffickers, a paralegal working for the plaintiffs’ counsel overheard family members of the defendants making threatening comments about the plaintiffs, and the Complaint includes “allegations of violence and coercion by the contractor defendants against the
    plaintiffs.” This was “sufficient to overcome the presumption of open judicial proceedings.”

    * Info from Civil Litigation on Behalf of Victims of Human Trafficking | Southern Poverty Law Center

    Doe v. Frank 

    "A plaintiff should be permitted to proceed anonymously only in those exceptional cases involving matters of a highly sensitive and personal nature, real danger of physical harm, or where the injury litigated against would be incurred as a result of the disclosure of the plaintiff's identity. The risk that a plaintiff may suffer some embarrassment is not enough." 

    I would certainly argue that a case involving sexual assault, abuse or trafficking would qualify as "matters of a highly sensitive and personal nature," in addition to the obvious safety concerns. 

    If You Have Questions Regarding Your Rights as a Survivor of Rape or Sexual Abuse

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

     

  • Who Is Liable For A Dog Bite in Jacksonville, Florida?

    borwn puppy biting a rope

    Who Is Liable After A Dog Attacks? 

    Florida law holds the dog owner responsible regardless of how long you have had the dog, whether the dog has ever bitten someone before or whether you had any knowledge of your dog ever biting someone in the past.

    Fla. Stat. 767.04 Dog owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten

    The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words “Bad Dog.”

    What To Do If You Have Been Attacked By A Dog

    If you have been attacked:

    • Contact the police so a report can be made and the owner can be found and identified
    • Seek medical treatment.
    • Stay away from the owner and the dog.
    • Contact an attorney who can begin an investigation into the dog owner, the facts of the case and any available insurance policies. 

    If You Have Questions About An 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

  • Do I Have To Press Charges If I Report a Rape?

    Black and white photo of hands holding a wooden heart

    You Do Not Have To Press Charges If You Call The Police Or A Victim Advocate To Report A Rape.

    A very common belief, and a very real reason why people don't want to report a sexual assault, is they think they will have to press charges and go through a criminal proceeding if they contact the police or even a victim advocate. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

    Calling the police or the Rape Crisis Hotline, (904) 721-7273, only guarantees you will get the help and support you need. The Women's Center of Jacksonville Rape Recovery Team will respond quickly and compassionately whether or not you chose to report the crime to the police. 

    The Women's Center of Jacksonville

    The team at the Women's Center will be immediate help when you call the Crisis Hotline. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services provided will include:

    • Emotional support to survivors and their loved ones at any stage of the recovery process.
    • Inform survivors of their rights and options
    • Provide information, referrals, and long-term follow-up to assist survivors with their recovery.
    • Peer-led, empowerment-based support groups for survivors.
    • Assist survivors, who have reported the assault to the police, with navigating the criminal justice system. 
    • Advocacy services are available for non-English speakers. 

    The Women's Center also provides the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (Safe) Program.

    • Provides sexual assault forensic exams to survivors of sexual violence ages 18 and older whether or not you chose to report the crime to the police.
    • Process includes a head-to-toe medical check, including injury documentation and collection of physical evidence.
    • Exams are available within 120 hours (5 days) from the time of the assault. 

    Calling the Rape Crisis Hotline will be a great first step in an often long recovery. You will never be forced to report the assault to the police and even if you call the police, you will never be forced to press charges. You have up to two years, after having a rape kit done, to decide whether or not you want to report the crime. 

    The services provided by the Women's Center are offered free of charge to survivors of all genders in Duval, Baker and Nassau counties. 

    * information above provided by Women's Center of Jacksonville Rape Recovery Team brochure

    If You Have Questions Regarding Your Rights as a Survivor of Rape or Sexual Abuse

    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 My Own Car Insurance Company After A Car Accident?

    Blue car with smashed front end

    Can You Sue Your Own Insurance Company?

    Yes, under certain circumstances and if you have the right coverage. In most car crash cases, you would seek compensation from the other driver's insurance company, but what if the other driver doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages? This scenario is more common than you think. I have a tough case now where my client was walking and run over by a drunk driver, however my client doesn't have car insurance, therefore no uninsured motorist coverage. The drunk driver has minimal coverage that doesn't come close to covering the extensive medical costs. I'm in the process of investigating every possible pathway for liability to try to make a recovery for my severely injured client. 

    Florida Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    In Florida, UM (uninsured motorist coverage) provides compensation to a person who is seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This can be very important coverage to get through your car insurance.

    When injured in a car crash, you will seek damages from the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver does not have insurance or has very minimal coverage, you will not be able to recover the full amount you may be owed. UM is provided by your insurance company to protect you in such a situation.

    You can try to sue the at-fault person, but it is often difficult to recover money from an individual since they may not have much. If you have UM coverage, you can avoid suing an individual by filing a claim with your own insurance company instead.

    You may also be entitled to additional money through the stacking of coverage. If a person under one insurance policy owns two or more vehicles, they can combine or stack the coverage for each vehicle insured on the policy. All you have to do is call your insurance company and talk to them about your options. For example, I have two vehicles. I have $100,000 in UM coverage on each vehicle and chose to have this coverage stacked, meaning I now have $200,000 in available coverage if I'm seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It took me only minutes to get this done when I called my insurance company. You may not be able to afford all the bells and whistles in an insurance policy, but you should at least consider some form of UM coverage in the event of a car crash.

    With the example of my own client, if he had car insurance and uninsured motorist coverage, even though he was a pedestrian, we could make a claim to recover against his insurance. 

    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

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

  • I Can’t Work, What About My Lost Wages?

    Man opening wallet with money

    How You Can Help Recover Your Lost Wages

    Being injured is not only painful, it can also be costly. Many people find them selves on unable to work or having to work less hours due to the injury and pain. There are ways to recover percentages of your lost wages. An attorney will need to address the issue of lost wages with all insurance companies involved and you can help by providing the necessary information.

    In order to make a strong demand for your lost wages, your attorney will need the following:

    1. A medical report. It is not enough to simply not feel like going to work after a crash. You must have a doctor’s assessment that says you were medically unable to perform your job duties as a direct result of the injuries caused by the crash. That is why seeking immediate medical attention after the incident is vital to a complete financial recovery.
    2. Wage documents. You will also need to verify through a W-2 or paystub what you were earning before the crash and how much you lost by not working.
    3. V​erification from your employer. You will need your employer to write a letter confirming important information such as the dates you missed work, your rate of pay, and the number of hours you should have worked during the time you were injured.

    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

    Get Your Questions Answered Now By Getting Your FREE Florida Car Accident Guide.

  • How Can I Report Catholic Priest Sexual Abuse in Florida?

    Inside Catholic Church

    How Can I Report Catholic Priest Sexual Abuse in Florida?

    The Attorney General's Office of Florida has launched an investigation in the past sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic Priest in Florida. This investigation rides on the tail of a similar and highly damaging and informative investigation completed in Pennsylvania where more than 1000 children had been molested since the 1940s. 

    Attorney General Pam Bondi has stated she has already received complaints from victims and that her office has spoken to several bishops overlooking the Roman Catholic Diocese in Florida. 

    This investigation is good news and a long time coming. The allegations against priest are not isolated to only certain areas of the country, they are all over the world. While the majority of priest are good people, it has been shown that there were decisions made by the church and it's leaders that helped facilitate abuse and cover it up. 

    How to Report Catholic Priest Sexual Abuse in Florida

    If you have been abused or know someone who has you can visit the Attorney General's Office website and press on the tip link. You can click here for the tip form. 

    Statute of Limitations for Claim of Sexual Abuse 

    • 7 years after age of 18
    • 4 years after leaving the dependency of the abuser
    • 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later.

    That last one is obviously the most confusing. The Florida legislature thankfully took into account the unique nature of sexual abuse and the often seen scenario of repressed memories. What the law allows is what is commonly called the "delayed discover rule". The 4 years statute of limitations does not begin until the victim either knows or reasonably should know of the wrongful act giving rise to the claim. So an adult who finds out many years later that he/she was abused as a child, can still sue as long as they do it within 4 years of making the discovery of the abuse. As is often the case, the issue of when someone knew or should of known, is going to be argued over. You should find an attorney who can begin putting together the timeline and building any arguments necessary to make sure your claim survives. Just know that you may still have a lawsuit even though the abuse happened years ago and you should not hesitate to reach out to an attorney for a free consultation.  

    If You Have Questions Regarding Your Rights as a Survivor of Rape or Sexual Abuse

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