Here are some of the more frequent questions We receive for the following three areas of law:


PERSONAL INJURY

Q: I was in an automobile accident. The other person was at fault. What should I do?

A: You have two options: You may file a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company if they are insured; or if you have collision insurance on your vehicle, you can have your own insurance company pay for the damages, less your deductible, and they will usually subrogate against the at-fault party to recover their loss.

Q: The person that hit my car does not have any insurance coverage. What do I do?

A: If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM coverage), you can make a claim against your policy. However, if you do not have UM coverage, you can take the at-fault party to court. If you obtain a judgment against the owner of the vehicle and they do not pay the judgment, you should contact the bureau of Financial Responsibility in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles so they can take the appropriate action against the owner of the vehicle.

Q: What is the minimum amount of insurance required by the State of Florida?

A: Any person who has a car in Florida for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days, resides in Florida, is employed in Florida or has children in school in Florida must purchase Personal Injury Protection ($10,000) and Property Damage Liability coverage ($10,000). In addition, if the insured is involved in an accident, the Financial Responsibility Law, regulated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, also requires Bodily Injury Liability coverage ($10,000 Bodily Injury one person, $20,000 Bodily injury one accident, or $30,000 combined Bodily Injury).

Q: I slipped and fell while I was at a grocery store shopping. What should I do?

A: With today's technology, you should first take pictures with your phone of the substance that caused you to slip. The laws in Florida are in favor of the store owner. In order to prevail in your slip and fall case, you have to be able to prove that the owner or person in control of the premises knew or should have known of the dangerous substance. Unfortunately, most people are hurt when they fall and the store managers and staff are usually trained to quickly clean up the dangerous substance thus getting rid of the evidence and making your claim very difficult to prove.

 


FORECLOSURE DEFENSE

Q: I was served a notice that the entire amount of my mortgage is now due. What should I do?

A: Don't panic! Contact your lender immediately. You may be able to negotiate payment options to bring your loan current.

Q: I was served with a lawsuit to foreclose on my property. What should I do?

A: From the date of the service, you have 20 days to file a response to the complaint. In that time you should consult with an attorney to know your rights and best option for you.

Q: I have fallen on hard times and can no longer afford my mortgage payment. What should I do?

A: If you are already in default, you should contact your lender's loss mitigation department and request a loan modification. They will guide you on the proper documentation they will need to modify your loan.


ESTATE PLANNING

Q: What is a Will?

A: A will is a legal document instructing how the testator wishes his/her assets to be distributed. In Florida, the Will has to be in writing and signed by two witnesses in the presence of the testator. A Will becomes self-authenticated if there is a notary public present as well.

Q: What happens if I die without a Will?

A: This is what is called intestate succession. Intestate succession can vary from state to state, but usually the decedent’s assets will pass to his or her spouse and children in various proportions. Each case is unique and will need guidance of an attorney to properly inform the family of how the estate will be divided.

Q: What is a Trust?

A: A trust is a legal document created to hold property or assets for an individual or entity. There are several types of trusts and you should consult an attorney  to understand which type of trust will best suit your needs.