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What They Don’t Tell You About Black Friday

      As everyone gets ready for Thanksgiving, the stores and holiday shoppers really have their eyes focused on the day after – Black Friday. In the current century, Thanksgiving itself has really just turned into a “carb-loading-pregame” to energize and fuel everyone for the competitive shopping holiday brought on by unbeatable, limited-time-only, holiday deals from many large retailers.
      As the shopping frenzy has gotten more intense throughout the years, so have the shoppers; some shoppers camp outside for hours before the store even opens, while others resort to physical violence to ensure they can purchase a product. Alongside the rising competition for the latest technology and toys, the opportunity for danger rises too. There is a website that is tracking the death count and injuries that have occurred as a result of Black Friday shopping dating back to 2006 to show just how dangerous this day has become.
      Many of the deaths and injuries listed on the site are a result of people being trampled by a massive crowd trying to enter the stores or from fights breaking out which, oftentimes, results in a shooting. On Black Friday, it is important to stay vigilant and to make sure you avoid large crowds. Although online shopping is becoming increasingly popular and many stores have already started a lot of their Black Friday deals early, there is still a risk of injury.
      Throughout the full holiday season (not only Black Friday), the mall can become a dangerous place in general. With an increased flow of people through the mall, there is more opportunity for car accidents, injury as a result of the negligence of the property, or crime due to lack of security for the number of people. Some
 valuable safety tips to consider when shopping this holiday season:
             1. Look out for spills and other trip hazards caused by other customers spilling or moving items
             2. Stay away from large crowds and refrain from arguing or fighting any unruly customers

             3. Park in a well-lit area and double check before backing out or pulling into any parking spots

What to Remember:

      Stores, malls, and shops are primarily focused on getting your business this time of year. At times, this can mean they may not be properly prepared. This can mean they don’t have adequate security or other measures needed to avoid the dangers that are inherited from facilitating a large crowd.
     The holiday season is meant to be shared with friends and family; you do not want the added stress of an unwanted injury and medical bills. In the case that anything unfortunate does occur, your first priority is well-being. After that, make sure you have excellent representation by an attorney like Jennifer Meksraitis, someone who knows how to handle a situation like this. If you have been injured and are unable to pay your bills, contact Jennifer Meksraitis for aggressive representation to protect your rights and financial interests and keep your future looking bright so you can enjoy your holiday season. Call ‪(813) 600-3197‬ or visit www.813law.com to learn more.

Knowing How to Handle an Arrest or Criminal Charges

Criminal Lawyer Tampa Florida

Exercise Your Rights

There are important steps you can take to exercise your rights when dealing with criminal allegations:

  1. REMAIN SILENT: Regardless of your circumstance, you must remain silent. Whether you have been arrested or are being investigated, do not speak to anyone without consulting a lawyer first. Don’t talk to the police, friends, relatives, or other people in jail. Everything you say, whether true or not, can and will be used against you. REMAIN SILENT BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. Your right to remain silent CANNOT be used against you; however, you may provide your name, and if driving, your driver’s license.
  2. DON’T PLEAD: Do not plead guilty or no contest until you speak with a lawyer. Even if you think you are guilty, have a lawyer evaluate all of your legal options first, before you plead anything. If you plead GUILTY or NO CONTEST and are sentenced, you may be CONVICTED. In criminal court, there is no real difference between pleading guilty and pleading no contest. The result is the same and you are sentenced exactly the same, based upon the plea deal worked out with the prosecutor. Notably, this is extremely important in DUI, Domestic Battery, and Drug Possession cases.

In sum, pleading your case or pleading guilty may seem like a fast and easy solution, but a criminal conviction can affect you for the rest of your life. When applying for a job or a loan, renting an apartment, renewing a green card, obtaining a professional license, traveling abroad, or buying insurance — you will be judged FOREVER by that one mistake.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and is simply intended to provide information regarding auto insurance coverage. It is not a complete explanation but a summary regarding a specific topic of auto insurance coverage. Many details are excluded from this summary with the intent of brevity.

Facts for Full Coverage in Florida

Personal Injury Tampa Bay, FL

 

Understanding the Five Types of Auto Insurance

The term “full coverage” is a misleading term that is often used improperly in the insurance industry. Oftentimes it is used to mean that an insured has the bare minimum coverage as required to obtain a Florida Driver’s License. Many people who currently have a valid Florida Driver’s License are driving every day on Florida roads and highways without sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the medical expenses of others if they are at fault for an accident. That is why every Florida driver should protect themselves by understanding these five types of coverage:

1) Personal Injury Protection (PIP): The bare minimum coverage required in Florida is “Personal Injury Protection,” which is also called “PIP” or “No-Fault” insurance. Unfortunately, most Florida drivers are misinformed and believe that just because they have “PIP” they have “full coverage.” PIP provides coverage to the policyholder of up to $10,000 in medical expenses regardless of the fault of the insured. PIP is paid by the insurance company directly to the doctor, hospital, ambulance, or chiropractor who provides the insured with medical treatment. PIP benefits are only paid directly to the insured for lost time from work and only at a rate of 60 percent of the lost wages.

This type of coverage may seem sufficient to some, however, most of the time it is not. Even a minor accident could result in medical bills and lost wages that exceed $10,000. If this is the only coverage an insured person purchases, they are not fully covered. With PIP, the insured does not have coverage that protects their assets should they be at fault for an accident, does not have coverage for themselves in the event that their medical bills exceed $10,000, and does not have coverage for damage to their vehicle or damage to another’s vehicle. “PIP” coverage is not having “full coverage.”

2) Bodily Injury (BI): Florida law does require all insured persons to carry Bodily Injury Coverage (“BI”). This statute is sometimes called “The Financial Responsibility Law.” Interestingly, Florida law does not require an insured driver to have BI coverage to obtain a Florida Driver’s License. If, however, a driver is at fault for an accident and they do not have BI coverage, they could have their driver’s license suspended for failing to pay the out-of-pocket medical expenses of an injured party. This may seem unfair, especially when the driver believed they were obtaining “full coverage” by purchasing only “PIP” coverage.

Bodily Injury coverage starts at the 10/20 level ($10,000 per person/$20,000total) and can go up to millions of dollars in coverage. If, however, a driver is at fault for an accident and the injured parties’ medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses exceed the 10/20 minimum BI limits, the driver could be exposed to seizure of their personal assets in a lawsuit. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the BI limits are high enough to cover and protect the insured person’s personal assets should they be at fault for an accident.

3) Uninsured/Underinsured (UM): Even if an insured has “PIP” and “BI” they still do not have “full coverage.” That is because the insured does not have the coverage necessary to protect themselves in the event that they are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. The most important coverage any insured should have is called uninsured/underinsured coverage, or “UM”. Typically, UM coverage matches the BI coverage an insured elects to have. An insured can also elect stacking or non-stacking UM coverage.

Stacking UM coverage means that if the insured has more than one vehicle is insured and they have 100/300 in UM and BI, the UM coverage would be multiplied by the number of vehicles being insured. For example, an insured has three vehicles and elects to stack their UM, they now have three times or 300/900 in UM coverage. That means that if the insured is involved in an accident and is not at fault – he or she could be entitled to the BI of the at-fault party as well as $300,000 in UM benefits and, if un-stacked, $100,000 in UM benefits.

I cannot stress enough the importance of obtaining UM coverage before an insured is involved in an accident. Drivers can protect themselves by having UM coverage in the event they are involved in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist.

4) Property Damage/Collision: There are other important insurance coverages, such as property damage and collision, which every insured driver should have. Property damage pays for the damage to another’s vehicle, while collision covers damage to a person’s own vehicle in the event the at-fault party does not have coverage or the insured is the one at fault.

5) Medical Payments Coverage: There is also medical payments coverage, which covers medical expenses not paid for by PIP. This coverage is also important.

In conclusion, there is no true definition of the phrase “full coverage.” It could mean obtaining just enough coverage to protect your assets in the event you cause an accident and just enough coverage to be able to compensate yourself if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence. It is clear, however, that you should have PIP, BI, UM, Property Damage, and Collision at the very least. Having all five coverages is the closest to actually having “full coverage.”
Learn about more about automobile accident legal services.

If you have been injured and are unable to pay your bills, then contact Jennifer Meksraitis for aggressive representation to protect your rights and financial interests and keep your future looking bright. Call (813) 600-3197 or email Jennifer Meksraitis.

 

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and is simply intended to provide information regarding auto insurance coverage. It is not a complete explanation but a summary regarding a specific topic of auto insurance coverage. Many details are excluded from this summary with the intent of brevity. 

Can the Police Really Search There?

You’ve seen the crime shows, and you know that the police need a warrant to search your home. You may even know that the Fourth Amendment protects you against unlawful search and seizure.

But when an officer actually knocks on your door, will you know what to do? Do you know your constitutional rights? By the end of this article, you will.

Consent to Search

If the police show up at your door, do not give them permission to come inside and look around. By doing so, you’re waiving your Fourth Amendment rights and allowing the police to perform a search without a warrant and without probable cause.

You may be wondering if the police will tell you your rights as they do with arrests. But the answer is no: the police do not need to inform you about your right to refuse consent. Be clear when you talk to the police. Say the following: “I do not give consent for you to search my property.”

If they keep talking to you, respond to every question by refusing your consent.

If you accidentally let the police begin searching your home, you can still revoke consent. Just say the words, “I revoke my consent to this search,” and the police are required by law to stop.

Probable Cause

If you refuse consent to search your house, the police must establish probable cause to get a search warrant, except for extreme situations.

Just what does probable cause mean, though? It depends on the situation. Many law dictionaries define probable cause as enough evidence that a prudent person would think something is true.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to determine whether the evidence shows probable cause—the judge who issues the warrant does. However, if you are accused of a crime, talk with your lawyer about whether there was sufficient cause for a warrant.

Search Warrants

In the United States, search warrants must be both specific and reasonable, and the police must stay within those limits. For instance, if a search warrant allows officers to search your bedroom, they may not legally search your kitchen unless they get another warrant.

Carefully review the search warrant when the police present it, and keep an eye on them as they search your house. If they wander into areas of your house not outlined in the warrant, remind them again that you do not give them consent to search other parts of your house. Otherwise, you risk forfeiting some of your rights.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Though it’s crucial to know your rights, it’s just as important to know the limits to your rights. Though the police need a warrant to search your house, you can’t prevent searches in areas that aren’t your private property. The police can always search public restrooms, jail cells, and garbage set out for collection in a public place.

Also remember that you may not have control over some things the police can search. If your workplace gave you a cell phone to use for business, the company controls whether the police can search it. The same thing goes for rented property—your landlord decides if the police need a search warrant.

Inevitable Discovery

If the police discover evidence that they can easily find without a search, they’re allowed to use it in court. For example, if the police see illegal drugs on your passenger seat when they pull you over for speeding, they can use those drugs as evidence later. Be careful where you place your personal items. To best protect your privacy, stow all your items in the trunk or glove box when you drive.

Exclusionary Rule

In case the police do find enough evidence to arrest you, talk to your lawyer immediately about the search process. If the police searched your property illegally, you can have the evidence dismissed from court.

When the police knock on your door, tell them they need to get a warrant if they want to search your home. Then call your lawyer and discuss your strategy. You can’t be too careful about protecting your Fourth Amendment rights. For aggressive, experienced representation call Jennifer Meksraitis at 813-600-3197, or use the contact form.

Dog Bites: How to Get the Legal Process Started

“Dog attacks 4 year old.”

“Chimp rips woman’s hands off.”

Headlines like these always catch the public’s eye, but few people know what happens after an animal attack. It’s a far-off tragedy that is quickly forgotten.

But if you were bitten by a dog or other pet, the pain is literal and real. You have legal rights and can receive compensation from the animal’s owner by following this process.

First Steps after the Bite

If a pet bit you, your first priority is to get better. However, you can do a few things while you heal to help your case. Take pictures of your injuries, both before and after receiving treatment. If a lawyer or jury can see your exact injuries, the number of stitches, and any scarring, that evidence can help your case. Start putting all related paperwork, such as medical bills, in one place.

You should also begin a journal to track your pain, loss of income, and other problems caused by the attack. Keep any interaction with the animal’s owner in writing, such as email or text message, or write down the conversation as soon as possible.

Preparing for a Consultation

Written records and physical evidence are your friends. Before you see a lawyer, you’ll want to compile a file or notebook of records and other evidence to prove your case.

Your file should include:

Official Records: You should, at a minimum, include the bite report records you filed with the city, sheriff, or animal control. This proves the bite actually happened. You should also include your medical records, which you can get from your doctor, therapist, and/or hospital.

Pictures: Any pictures of your injuries, the scene of the incident, and/or the animal will help establish your case. Print them up on picture-quality paper and organize them chronologically. Be sure to mark the date of the picture clearly.

Money Matters: If you’ve made any insurance claims, bring in copies of those claims. Likewise, bring in any medical bills. If the bite has caused you to miss substantial work, bring in any other bills you cannot pay as the result of the bite.

If you’d like compensation for lost work or revenue, you will need to bring in income information from before and after the bite. Compensation for lost income can be difficult to prove. Your goal is to prove a solid cause-and-effect relationship between the bite and a change in your income.

Correspondence: Include any correspondence you’ve had with the animal’s owner(s) in your file. If they’ve agreed to help monetarily, or admitted that they knew their animal was vicious or dangerous, this could help your case.

You should also bring the journal you’ve been keeping and a list of questions for the lawyer. In your file, group records by date or record type (as we’ve done here), so the consultation goes as smoothly as possible. You will have a better consultation if your lawyers can see the entire situation.

Helpful Questions for Your Consultation

It’s helpful to write down some questions before you meet with a lawyer, so you don’t forget to ask any. Some questions you might consider asking include:

Have you handled cases like mine? What is your success rate?
Is this a valid case?
Will I work with you as my lawyer, or will I work with someone else at this firm? Can I meet him or her?
Is it possible to arrange a contingency fee? (A contingency fee means you only pay a fee after a successful settlement.)

Afterwards, ask yourself how comfortable you feel working with that lawyer or firm. Trust your instincts, as you will work with this lawyer or firm on a regular basis.

After an animal attack, your first priority is your well-being. After that, please give your local personal injury lawyer a call for more help. For aggressive, experienced representation, call Jennifer Meksraitis at 813-600-3197, or use our contact form.