When a “Trial Lawyer” is not a Trial Lawyer

Completing law school and passing the Bar Exam provides the title, “Attorney At Law.” Many people who have a license call themselves auto accident, “trial lawyers” but are they really?

Every lawyer can say, “I am a trial lawyer” just like every person with a paintbrush can claim to be Michelangelo because, after all, they can use the brush to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Claiming to be a trial lawyer without ever going to trial is an outright lie.

The TV and radio are full of advertisements of lawyers who say they are, “trial lawyers” but have NEVER had a trial at all. They have never presented a case to a jury and never received a verdict.

Trial work is hard and complex. It requires dedication and skills that are actually uncommon among lawyers who claim to be personal injury, auto accident, or negligence attorneys. If you are considering a lawyer, ask them, “Have you PERSONALLY had an auto accident trial before a jury?” And if the answer is yes, ask how many and when was the last one. The answer may surprise you.

At the Law Office of Dario Diaz we actually go to trial and get verdicts for our clients. We stand up, in the court, and in front of a jury to present our client’s case. The insurance companies know which lawyers go to trial and which lawyers just settle everything; and they don’t treat real, “trial lawyers” the same as those who advertise as trial lawyers.

For an example of some of our trial verdicts see: http://dariodiazlaw.com/past-results/

Don’t Sit on Your Legal Rights or they May be Lost!

We are often faced with deadlines, and it is not always easy to meet them with everything we deal with in our lives. However, missing legal deadlines may have serious consequences.

If a contract is broken because of a missed payment or some other breach of the contract, it may be possible to reach a workout. This may include catching up on the missed payments, modifying the loan, or re-working the agreement.

However, if you have a legal claim against another party, there are limitations of how long you have to bring the claim. If you do not file the claim in time, you may lose your right to do so. The intention of such rules and laws is to resolve legal disputes within a reasonable time.

If you are sued by another party, the consequences can be even worse. If you fail to answer or respond to the lawsuit, the other party can get a default judgment against you and you won’t even be able to defend yourself.

Florida case law is filled with cases of missing deadlines. For example, in Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC v. Paul Fernandes, 13 Fla.L.Weekly Supp. 560a (Fla. 15th Jud.Cir., Palm Beach County, 2006) the Court found that a case was barred because it was filed too late.

Don’t lose your right or your defenses because you miss a deadline. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and possible claims or defense of claims against you, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a FREE consultation. Phone: (813) 259-1017. We are here to help.

A Local Attorney is Your Best Option

While it’s true that a Florida lawyer can go into any court anywhere in the entire state, it’s not always a good idea.  Having a local lawyer, who is familiar with the surrounding area, the courts, the insurance company, and the judges can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.  When it comes to legal matters, it’s better to stay local.

The Tampa area is full of legal advertising like highway billboards, radio ads, and TV has one lawyer commercial after another.  But, the truth is that many of those lawyers and law firms are not actually in Tampa.  Many times the lawyer just comes in once or twice a month while your case is handled by an assistant who is not a lawyer.

Don’t make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who lives and works somewhere else; it will hurt your case.  Quite simply, the opposing side knows that a lawyer from Orlando or Miami is not going to attend to a case the same as when it’s close.  A local lawyer knows the courthouse, the insurance company adjusters, the judges, and even the court personnel.  These relationships are beneficial and something that an out of town lawyer doesn’t have.

The lawyers at The Law Office of Dario Diaz represent clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg and all Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.  We know the area and can represent our clients better than a lawyer from somewhere else.

Welcome Karin Brown

Karin BrownWe are pleased to introduce the newest associate to our firm, Karin Brown.  Karin graduated with a Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law in 2010, where she served as a member of the Stetson University Student Leadership Committee. She was awarded the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award and the Stetson Law Leadership Certificate.  During law school, she worked as a law clerk for our law firm.  Karin graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida in 2007, earning her B.A. in Criminology and a minor in Anthropology.  During her undergraduate studies, she served as an intern for the Florida Governor’s Office in Tallahassee, Florida.

Karin is admitted to practice in Florida.  She is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar.  Karin will be working on personal injury, auto accidents, criminal defense, family law, and other civil litigation matters.

Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain

Rainy season is here, use these tips to be safe

Tampa has a lot of rainfall.  Safety site run by Edmunds has some great safety tips when dealing with driving in the rain.

Here are some tips to help make you a little safer on the roads.

  • Allow for more travel time. You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet.
  • Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally.
  • Most of America’s roads are crowned in the middle, which means that the water will run off to the sides. If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.
  • Don’t use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there’s the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals.
  • If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route.
  • Don’t attempt to cross running water.
  • After you cross a puddle, tap on your brake pedal lightly to dry off some of the water on your rotors.
  • Turn on your headlights, even when there’s a light sprinkle. It helps you see the road, and more importantly, it helps other motorists see you.
  • Watch out for pedestrians. An ordinarily observant pedestrian may become distracted by fiddling with an umbrella or a rain slicker.
  • If it’s raining so hard that you can’t see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.
  • Track the car ahead of you. Let the car ahead pave a clear path, so to speak, through the water.
  • Give a truck or bus extra distance. Their extra-large tires can create enough spray to block your vision completely. Avoid passing one, but if you must pass, do it as quickly as safety allows.
  • Defog your windows. Rain will quickly cause your windshield to fog up. Switch on both front and rear defrosters and make sure the air conditioning is turned on.
  • If you start to hydroplane, don’t brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction.

As a personal injury attorney in Tampa for over 17 years, I have personally seen an increase in auto accidents during the rainy season.  These tips can help you avoid car crashes and stay safe during the Florida rainy season.

Texting and Driving Riskier than DUI

A new study has revealed that more teens are dying from texting and driving than from drinking and driving.  While 2,700 young people die each year from drinking and driving, new research suggests that more than 3,000 teen deaths nationwide are the result of texting and driving.  The study found that, “Fifty percent of high school students acknowledge texting while driving,”

Additional statistics also revealed that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, are the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.  30% of teen driver deaths occur during this time period.  As the current trend sits there will be roughly 1.3 million traffic accidents nationwide due to texting while driving this year.  Drivers who are using cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into an accident. The average text takes 4.6 seconds to send or receive.  In 4.6 seconds, the average vehicle, traveling 55 mph, can travel the length of a football field.

These alarming statistics have resulted in new laws.  Florida has just joined 40 other states that bans texting for motorists.  Effective October 1st, 2013 Florida’s new statute goes into effect and will involve both civil and criminal penalties.  However, knowing the danger will prevent more injuries and deaths than any law ever will.  It is critical to know the danger and educate you children, friends, and family of the danger.  The good news is these risks are totally preventable if we each take some responsibility.

As an an personal injury attorney dealing with traffic accidents in Tampa, Florida for over 17 years, I have seen an increase in car accidents due to distracted drivers texting while driving.

I am including a link to a video from 2009.  It is a Public Service Announcement from England.  It is dramatic, and will definitely have a certain “shock” value.  Show it to your teen driver and talk with them about the dangers of texting while driving.

SEE THE SHOCKING REALITY IN THIS VIDEO:

Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer – June Newsletter

Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer, Dario Diaz has published the June Newsletter.  The newsletter is focused on safety and to minimize your chances of being involved in a car accident and suffering personal injuries.

See the Newsletter here.

Make Sure You Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney

MEET YOUR LAWYER!  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  But in today’s high advertising business driven law practice it’s common for a secretary or paralegal to meet with the client and “sign ‘em up.”  Many times, especially with the advertising law firms, you won’t meet a lawyer at all.  If you never meet your lawyer, what makes you think that lawyer will ever work on your case?

I don’t have any TV ads, radio commercials, or billboards.  I don’t send a secretary or paralegal to sign you up and get you to sign contracts.  I make it a point to meet every one of my clients, shake their hand, look them in the eye, and let them know that I am the lawyer who will be working on their case.  As a personal injury attorney located in Tampa, FL I have done this since I started practicing in auto accident cases over 15 years ago.

Don’t fall for some 800 or 411 legal advertising mill where you will never meet your lawyer.   They might be good at advertising, but not so good at actually meeting their clients and giving personal legal, face-to-face, representation.  Call me, and speak with ME personally, your attorney.  I am a personal injury attorney located in Tampa, Florida for over 15 years…and I meet all of my clients.

What to do immediately after an auto accident. Protect yourself…

The few hours immediately after a auto accident can be critical to documenting your property damage, your medical condition, and our ability to be compensated for your losses. The insurance companies know that getting information immediately is essential to establishing their basis to reduce your claim. A little preparation on your part can go a long way to making sure you are fairly compensated for your loss, your personal injuries. Read more

The PIP “Independent” Medical Examination

What is an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”)?

Your auto insurance policy has a provision which allows the insurance company to have a physician perform a medical examination to determine if any further treatment is necessary.  A more accurate name would be, “Insurance Medical Examination” since the insurance company pays the doctor/chiropractor.  The IME physician is “working” for the insurance company and therefore no doctor/patient confidentiality exists.  You are required to attend an IME based on the contractual obligations of your insurance policy.
The insurance company almost always unilaterally schedules these examinations before your treating physician has completed your course of treatment.  In the vast majority of cases your benefits will be suspended after you attend this examination as the IME physician will determine that further medical treatment is not warranted.  Remember, the IME physician is paid by the insurance company.  Once the IME physician determines (after a single visit) that you don’t need any further treatment, the insurance company will no longer pay benefits to your treating physician.

It is, however, extremely important that you do not miss the appointment otherwise the insurance company will automatically suspend and/or deny your benefits for lack of cooperation.  Our firm, in almost every case, requires the insurance company to schedule the IME at a time convenient to our clients with plenty of notice and coordination of the date and time.  We also require the insurance company to provide transportation when necessary.

Once you are at the doctor’s office they will ask you to fill out a form stating your injuries, course of treatment, medications, etc.  Try to be as accurate as you possibly can.  Do not discuss how the accident happened, how much property damage occurred, or who was at fault with the IME doctor.  The IME doctor is not your friend.  He/she will report everything you tell them to the insurance company and even innocent conversation will be taken out of context and embellished by the IME physician.
When the IME doctor authors a report stating that your treatment is no longer necessary, your PIP benefits will be suspended effective immediately.  However your treating physician can challenge the IME doctor’s opinion in an effort to reestablish your benefits.

We often are involved in situations where the treating doctor believes further treatment is warranted after the IME physician determines it is not.  Just because the insurance company says you don’t need medical care does not make it true.