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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  • Can I Sue the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office for False Arrest?

    Red and Blue lights flashing on top of police car

    Can you sue the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for False Arrest?

    The short answer, Yes. Normally the City is not liable in tort for the acts or omissions of an officer, employee, or agent committed while acting outside the scope of her or his employment or committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting willful and wanton disregard of human rights, safety or property.

    This means that if an officer steps way beyond the bounds of police work and harms someone, the City and Sheriff's Office may be immune from a lawsuit. An example may be where an officer sexually assaults a female while on duty. The City would most likely argue that this action was committed in bad faith and with malicious purpose, therefore, the officer, and not the City, is liable for the injuries suffered. Of course, a good attorney will work on building an argument and case to find justice in this scenario. 

    Common False Arrest Claims

    However, a more common scenario I see in practice is when an officer may fudge the facts or blatantly make something up and arrest someone. This will often result with the charges being dropped and the injured individual wondering what they can do about the injustice they have suffered. 

    It's important to understand a few things. Barring severe physical injury, permanent scaring, broken bones or other serious injuries, a false arrest claim is not going to garner a huge amount of money. One reason of course is the statutory limit on tort claims against a municipality in Florida. There is a $200,000 cap on claims against the city. Some attorney's won't even bother with suing the City of Jacksonville because there is not enough money in it. 

    Now I am only talking about a false arrest with no serious injury. A case where a person is arrested on trumped up bs charges, spends a day or more in jail and his charges are later dismissed. These cases are not huge money makers, but they are no less important. When an officer falsifies an arrest report and an innocent person spends time in jail, no matter how short a period of time, there needs to be accountability. 

    If serious injures have been suffered, it is possible to file a lawsuit for money damages brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of The United States. A federal 1983 action may be able to recover a greater sum of money depending on the injuries suffered. Be sure to hire an attorney with federal court experience. 

    You can sue the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

    In a recent claim I had against JSO, they arrested my client for resisting arrest (often a red flag if this is the only charge). There was no justification for the arrest. They thought they would find drugs and the did not, but they arrested him anyway. The officers then parked in a nearby parking lot for hours trying to figure out a justification for the arrest. As you can imagine, the charges were dropped and we reached a settlement with 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.

    Get Your Injury Questions Answered Now With My FREE Florida Legal Guide.

  • 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.

     

     

     

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect?

    Woman on cell phone looking very serious

    What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect?

    Anyone can and should report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you think a child is being mistreated, take immediate action.

    If you suspect abuse in Jacksonville, Florida, you can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families or call the the Florida Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1-800-962-2873 or fill out an online form

    The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides the following advice. 

    Information to Provide When Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect.

    When you call to make a report, you will be asked for specific information, such as the following:

    • The child’s name and location • The name and relationship (if known) of the person you believe is abusing the child

    • What you have seen or heard regarding the abuse or neglect

    • The names of any other people who might know about the abuse

    • Your name and phone number (voluntary)

    Reporting the situation may protect the child and get additional help for the family. Many nonprofit, public, education, social service, and child care organizations in your community play a role in providing supports and services to children, youth, and families. Parenting education, crisis/respite care, transitional housing, and literacy programs as well as family resource centers, teen parent support groups, fatherhood groups, and marriage education classes support families in important ways.

    If You or a Loved One Has Been the Victim of Sexual Abuse and You Have Questions

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

  • What Are Some Signs of Child Sex Abuse?

    There are few things worse than the abuse of a child. As a parent, I'm of course protective of my children, but what about all the other children we come in contact with. Whether it be at school events, sports, work or just around the neighborhood. How can I help if I think something is wrong? What should I look for? The Child Welfare Information Gateway has an enormous amount of information regarding sexual and physical abuse of children and how to spot suspected abuse. They have compiled the list below. 

    If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect him or her and get help for the family. Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Reporting your concerns is not making an accusation; rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed. 

    Signs of Sexual Abuse 

    Signs in a Child: 

    • Has difficulty walking or sitting 
    • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities 
    • Reports nightmares or bedwetting 
    • Experiences a sudden change in appetite 
    • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior 
    • Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14 
    • Runs away 
    • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver 
    • Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment 

    Signs in parent or other adult caregiver: 

    • Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
    • Is secretive and isolated 
    • Is jealous or controlling with family members

    How To Report Abuse in Jacksonville, Florida

    If you suspect abuse in Jacksonville, Florida, you can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families or call the the Florida Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1-800-962-2873 or fill out an online form

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    If You or a Loved One Has Been the Victim of Sexual Abuse and You Have Questions

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

     

  • Not Wearing a Seat Belt; Can I Still Sue?

    person buckling seat belt

    Yes, you can still sue the other driver when injured in a car accident, even though you wear not wearing your seat belt. 

    However, your poor decision can effect the amount of money you may be able to recover. Florida has what is called the Florida Safety Belt Law

    Florida Safety Belt Law

    It is unlawful for any person:

    • To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle or autocycle under the age of 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device.
    • To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.
    • It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle or an autocycle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle or autocycle is in motion.

    In addition; a violation of the Safety Belt Law may be considered as evidence of comparative negligence, in any civil action.

    Seat Belts and Comparative Negligence

    In Florida, the money you recover in trial can be reduced by the percentage a jury believed you were at fault. A jury will decide whether your injuries were 100% the other drivers fault or if some action by you may have also contributed to the accident, for example, speeding or talking on your cell phone. If a jury decides you were partially at fault, say 20%, than any money rewarded would be reduced by 20%, (a $100,000 jury verdict is now $80,000 because you were 20% at fault for the accident). This percentage of fault is called comparative negligence. 

    If you are injured in an automobile accident and were not wearing your seat belt, the other driver may argue the defense of comparative negligence. So not only is it unsafe to not wear your seat belt, but it could also cost you financially if you are injured in an accident. 

    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.