Street racing accident

[Johnny Julio Martin, St. Petersburg Police Department]

Boy’s Father and Two Others Arrested in Street Racing Accident That Killed a 13-Year-Old

Late on January 28, 2023, a crowd gathered in St. Petersburg, Florida. They were there to watch illegal street racing, but the night ended in tragedy when a 13-year-old boy was struck during one of the races and killed.

Now, his father and two others are facing criminal charges. Why are the three men to blame, and what consequences do they face?

A Terrible Accident

In the crowd gathered at 28th Street North near 110th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, Florida, were Johnny Julio Martin, 35, and his son Ethan Martin, 13.

At some point during the night, Johnny Martin crossed the street where the racing was taking place. His son was behind him and attempted to cross the street to meet his father. Ethan Martin was then hit by a motorcyclist who was going over 100 mph, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Multiple videos caught the accident and the immediate aftermath, which shows Johnny Marin holding his son and screaming. The boy died from his injuries.

It was a preventable tragedy. So, who is responsible, and who will face the consequences?

Boy’s Father Arrested on Child Neglect Criminal Charges

Roughly two weeks after the accident, the boy’s father, Johnny Martin, was arrested.

Johnny Martin was charged with child neglect and cited for being a spectator at a street race.

Child neglect, defined under Florida Statute 827.03, is a serious charge. When neglect leads to serious bodily harm, as it did in this case, the charge is a second-degree felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 15 years probation and a $10,000 fine. Conviction of a child neglect charge can also impact other parental rights.

Per the St. Petersburg Police Department, Martin was charged with child neglect because he took his son to an illegal event that resulted in his death.

Martin faces serious charges, but he is not the only person facing the consequences from the accident.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

The Driver and The Owner of Motorcycle Arrested on Criminal Charges

A week after Johnny Martin’s arrest, two others were criminally charged in the death of Ethan Martin, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Carlos Fernandez, 21, the motorcyclist, and Allan Boreland Jr., 39, the owner of the motorcycle, were both arrested.

Fernandez, the driver, faces felony charges of vehicular homicide, culpable negligence manslaughter, and reckless driving causing serious bodily harm. He also faces two misdemeanor charges for street racing and operating a motorcycle without an endorsement.

Boreland, the motorcycle owner, faces a felony charge of culpable negligence manslaughter and was given a citation for participating in a street race as a spectator.

Vehicular homicide and culpable negligence manslaughter are both serious charges.

Vehicular homicide is defined by Florida Statute 782.071 as “ the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.”

Vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony and carries the possible consequence of 15 years in prison, fifteen years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Culpable negligence manslaughter is defined by Florida Statute 782.07. It is used in cases where the defendant’s negligence led to the death of another person.

Culpable negligence manslaughter is a second-degree felony that can result in 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to a $10,000 fine.

Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

What Are the Consequences for Street Racing?

The three men face serious consequences not because they were involved in street racing but because their involvement led to the death of a young boy.

In Florida, street racing is illegal, but it does not carry jail time as a potential consequence.

It is illegal to race cars or vehicles outside of “licensed or duly authorized racetracks, drag strips, or other designated areas set aside by proper authorities for such purposes.” It is also illegal to:

  • Advertise street racing events
  • Ride as a passenger in a street race
  • Provide fuel for street races
  • Film street racing from inside of the car
  • Impede traffic for the races

In Florida, each of these actions is a first-degree misdemeanor, which comes with a fine between $500 and $1,000, a yearlong driver’s license suspension, and up to a year in jail. Police can also impound vehicles used for street racing for 30 days after a first offense.

Repeat offenses within five years can lead to more serious consequences.

For a second offense, fines increase to $3,000 and a two-year driver’s license suspension. A third offense within the same time period can lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and a four-year driver’s license suspension. Police can take permanent possession of the vehicle used in street racing after a second offense within five years of a prior conviction.

Watching a street race is also a crime. Street racing spectators can receive a traffic citation for a $65 fine.

Get Expert Legal Advice

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, criminal charges are a serious matter. Make sure you have a trusted attorney by your side. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome for your case. Get expert legal advice today. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 to talk to criminal defense attorney TJ Grimaldi.

A DUI comes with many consequences. Convicted drivers face fines, jail time, and losing their license. A DUI license suspension in Florida can be one of the longest-lasting consequences. Convicted DUI offenders can lose their license for a few months or a lifetime.

But, there are ways to minimize the impact of DUI license suspension in Florida.

An experienced DUI attorney can guide you through the process and limit the length of your suspension. To see how a DUI attorney can help, consider the potential timelines for losing your license and your options for getting it back.

Driver’s License Revocation Schedule in Florida

Florida law dictates how long a person should lose their license for a DUI offense. The guidelines are outlined under Florida Statute 316.193. Revocation times increase with severity of offense and frequency of offense. For example, first offense DUIs have less consequence than a third or fourth conviction.

Consider the driver’s license revocation timelines associated with each DUI conviction in Florida.

First Conviction — Without bodily injury

  • Minimum 180 days revocation
  • Maximum one year

First Conviction — With bodily injury

  • Minimum three years revocation

Second Conviction — Within five years of first conviction

  • Minimum five years revocation
  • Can apply for hardship after one year

Second Conviction — More than five years after first conviction

  • Minimum 180 days revocation
  • Maximum one year revocation

Third Conviction — Within ten years of second conviction

  • Minimum ten years revocation
  • Can apply for hardship after two years

Third Conviction — More than ten years after second conviction

  • Minimum 180 days revocation
  • Maximum one year revocation

Fourth Conviction — Regardless of dates of previous convictions

  • Mandatory permanent revocation
  • Can apply for hardship after five years
  • Revocation period begins the date of release, if incarcerated

DUI manslaughter 

  • Mandatory permanent revocation
  • Can apply for hardship after five years, if no prior DUI convictions

Manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury, or vehicular homicide

  • Minimum three years revocation

Driver’s License Revocation If You Refuse to Take DUI Test

The duration of a license suspension may also be impacted if you refuse to take a DUI test. There are automatic license suspension penalties if you refuse to take a DUI test.

If you refuse to take a breath test when suspected of a DUI:

  • Your license may be suspended for one year if it is your first offense. You can apply for a hardship license after 90 days.
  • Your license may be suspended for up to 18 months if it is your second or subsequent offense. You cannot apply for a hardship license.

Related: Arrested for a DUI in Florida? Here’s What to Do Next 

What To If You Have a DUI License Suspension in Florida

If you have or are facing a DUI license suspension in Florida, you may have options. Depending on your situation, a DUI attorney may be able to help you get your driving rights back or fight the charges against you.

Apply for a DUI Hardship License in Florida

If you have been convicted of a DUI, you may be able to apply for a hardship license. A hardship license is a driver’s license that gives you limited access to driving privileges. For example, it may permit you to drive to work, school, or other essential predetermined locations (such as a doctor’s office, grocery store, church, etc.).

In order to receive a hardship license, you must:

  • Be eligible based on your offense or offenses. The timelines listed above explain when drivers are eligible for a hardship license based on their offense or offenses. In some cases, hardship licenses are not available due to the severity of the offense or the frequency of offenses.
  • Enroll in DUI school. You may be required to show proof that you are enrolled in a state-approved DUI school or have completed a program.
  • Fill out the Florida hardship license application. Complete the proper paperwork and file it along with a filing fee.
  • Pay additional fees. You will be responsible for a $130 administration fee, $45 reinstatement fee, and potentially any other fees set by the court or DMV.

Challenge the License Suspension

After DUI arrest, you have ten days to challenge a driver’s license suspension and request a hearing. The hearing will take place within thirty days of your request. During the hearing, you can showcase evidence that proves your license was illegally suspended.

Reasons why your license was illegally suspended may include:

  • There was no probable cause for the traffic stop.
  • The officer didn’t not properly explain your rights.
  • There are disputed breath or blood tests.

You only have ten days to challenge a DUI license suspension in Florida. It is important that you seek a good criminal defense attorney right away if you want to fight the charges against you.

Get Help with a DUI License Suspension in Florida

If you have lost your license due to a DUI or are facing a license suspension, talk to an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. A strong legal defense may be able to help you lessen charges, dismiss charges, keep your license or get it back, and get a DUI removed from your record.

Don’t leave your future up to the courts alone. Work side-by-side with someone who will fight for you to have your rights restored as quickly as possible. Talk to TJ Grimaldi about how he and his team can help you fight your DUI charges and license suspension.

Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

If you’re thinking about applying to get permanent residency in the United States, you may be wondering if you can get a Green Card on your own or if you need a lawyer.

Let’s look at the steps you need to take to get a Green Card and explore your options.

How to Get a Green Card

Whether or not you have a lawyer, you will go through the same process to get a Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card.

#1) Meet eligibility. First, you must meet eligibility requirements to be able to apply for a Green Card. There are a variety of categories for eligibility. Consider if your situation matches any of the Green Card eligibility requirements in categories related to:

  • Family
  • Employment
  • Special immigrant
  • Refugee or asylee status
  • Human trafficking and crime victims
  • Victims of abuse
  • Other categories and special programs (such as the Immigrant Visa Lottery Program, Cuban Adjustment Act, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness, etc.)

#2) Complete application paperwork. If you meet the requirements and are eligible, fill out the proper paperwork. The process typically includes filling Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and additional documents related to your specific eligibility category. You may also need to pay a filing fee. You can only file your paperwork through the mail, and you must determine the appropriate filing address to send your application.

#3) Wait for your application to be reviewed. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your application and determine if you are approved.

#4) Have an interview. If approved, you will be invited for an interview with USCIS. The length of your interview and the number of questions asked will depend on your eligibility category.

#5) Receive your Green Card. If approved, you will receive your Green Card, which grants you permanent residency in the United States for up to ten years.

How to Renew or Replace a Green Card

A Green Card is valid for ten years. When your Green Card is due to expire in the next six months, it is time to start the process to renew it.

Also, if you lose or misplace your Green Card, you will need to take the appropriate steps to replace it. Both situations require you to go through a process similar to the initial application process.

#1) Complete application paperwork. If you have already gone through the process to get your Green Card but lost it or need to renew it, submit Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Depending on your situation, you may be required to submit additional supporting documents as well as a filing fee. You can file the paperwork by mail or online.

#2) Have an interview if requested. In some cases, the USCIS may request an interview before your application is approved.

#3) Receive your new Green Card by mail. If approved, your new Green Card will be delivered to you by mail.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Green Card?

In short, no, you do not need a lawyer to get a Green Card. You are not required to have an attorney, and the process is designed so people can manage it on their own.

But while the help of a lawyer isn’t required to get a Green Card, it doesn’t mean an attorney isn’t needed.

The process to get a Green Card may seem simple and straightforward on the surface, but there are many complicated rules and procedures. An immigration attorney can make the process to get your Green Card run smoother and increase your chances of getting approval.

An immigration attorney can help you:

  • Identify and collect all documentation needed to apply based on your eligibility category
  • Properly fill out paperwork
  • Avoid missing important deadlines
  • Prepare for your interview
  • Avoid scams designed to mislead people going through the Green Card process
  • Pay attention to changing laws and regulations, so you have the most current and up-to-date information about immigration laws
  • Appeal the decision if your Green Card application is denied

If you want to get a Green Card, you don’t need an attorney, but good legal representation can increase your chances of securing the immigration status you seek.

Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

Find a Lawyer to Help You Get a Green Card

If you’re getting ready to go through the process to get a Green Card, make sure you have the support you need. Talk to an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the process and increase your chances of successfully obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

TJ Grimaldi is here to help.

TJ works one-on-one with clients to ensure they understand and feel comfortable with every step of the immigration process. He also charges a flat fee for immigration cases so clients know exactly what to expect on their way to getting their Green Card.

See how TJ can help. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

Whether charges have been filed against you or you have been wronged by another party, it can be confusing to understand the difference between a civil and a criminal case.

Without knowing the difference, you may not know how the process works, what the consequences are, and which court should take on your case. Let’s look at the difference between a civil and a criminal case so you can better understand what to expect in your situation.

What’s a Civil Case?

A civil case is a legal dispute between two or more private parties. The lawsuit involves one or more persons or corporations that seek to hold one or more persons or corporations accountable for their actions. The plaintiff files suit against a defendant in an attempt to seek financial compensation.

Common examples of civil cases include:

Another type of civil case is an equitable claim wherein one party wants to stop something from happening and seeks an injunction or restraining order.

What’s a Criminal Case?

A criminal case is litigation between the government and one or more persons. The government is the plaintiff who files suit against the defendant or defendants. The lawsuit seeks to impose punishment that may include fines and jail time.

Common examples of criminal cases relate to the following crimes. 

  • Personal Crimes: Crimes that result in harm to a person such as homicide, assault, and battery, arson, rape, abuse, and kidnapping.
  • Property Crimes: Crimes that interfere with property such as burglary, larceny, auto theft, robbery, and shoplifting.
  • Statutory Crimes: Crimes that are prohibited by specific statutes and laws such as drug and alcohol crimes, driving under the influence, open containers, and public intoxication.
  • Financial (White Collar) Crimes: Crimes that seek financial gain through fraud or deception such as blackmail, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering.
  • Inchoate Crimes: The intent to commit a crime or assist someone else with a crime such as aiding and abetting and conspiracy.

Criminal cases are classified as misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies represent the most severe cases. Crimes may also be classified as criminal infractions and ordinance violations, which are the lowest level crimes punishable by fines.

Related: Misdemeanor vs. Felony: What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case?

There are three primary differences between a civil and a criminal case.

#1) Who the plaintiff is

In a civil case, the plaintiff may be a person or a corporation.

In a criminal case, the plaintiff is the government. The government acts on behalf of the people of the United States. The case is prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office (when it is a federal crime) or the State Attorney (when it is a state crime).

#2) The type of punishment 

In a civil case, the punishment is tied to financial compensation. The plaintiff may receive damages in the form of financial compensation from the defendant.

In a criminal case, the punishment is tied to jail time, probation, and fines. The defendant may be sentenced to time in prison or fines paid to the government.

#3) The standard of proof 

In a civil case, the standard of proof is not as high as in a criminal case. Proving wrongdoing in a civil case is based on a preponderance of the evidence.

In a criminal case, the standard of proof is very high. The defendant must be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Can There Be a Civil and Criminal Case for the Same Crime?

Yes, a crime can be litigated in both civil and criminal courts.

In some situations, a crime may occur that fits into both courts. In that event, two separate cases — that do not involve each other — may be filed and tried.

One of the most famous examples of this situation is the O.J. Simpson case. Simpson was charged and found not guilty in criminal court for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The families of the victims filed a civil case against Simpson, which they won.

What Type of Case Do You Have?

Whether you are looking to pursue legal action against another party or you are being named as a defendant in a case against you, it can be a confusing process. Knowing the difference between a civil and criminal case is the first step in determining your legal strategy.

If you need help determining what type of case you’re involved in and what that means for you and your legal strategy, talk to an experienced attorney. An attorney can guide you through the process and advise you on the best way to approach your case.

Get answers today. Schedule a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi to find out how you should approach your criminal or civil case. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

Going through a divorce can be a challenging experience. The process can be both personally taxing and procedurally confusing. This is why you want to have the best divorce attorney by your side during the process.

Finding the right attorney starts with asking the right questions. Before you hire representation, learn as much as you can about the attorney and the team who will be fighting for you.

Start with these nine questions to ask a divorce attorney before hiring them.

9 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney Before Hiring Them

#1) What experience do you have with similar divorce cases?

Start by getting an overview of the attorney’s experience with divorce cases, particularly those that are similar to yours. For example, if children are involved in your separation, ask the attorney to share past experience setting up custody agreements and child support.

#2) Will you be the attorney I work with?

In some situations, you may meet with an attorney for your initial meeting and then never work with them again. Many law offices have a few attorneys who act as the face of the firm but don’t actually work directly with clients. Once you hire the firm, you work with a variety of other attorneys and legal assistants rather than the attorney you initially met with.

Related: Find The Best Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

#3) Who else will I be working with?

If the attorney says they will work directly with you, find out who else will be involved. Many attorneys have a team. Find out who the team is, how they will be involved, and what experience they have. Consider asking if you can meet them as well. If you are going to be working with others, you should also get to know them before making a decision.

#4) How often and how will we communicate?

Communication between you and your attorney will be key in navigating your divorce. Find out what the communication plan will look like. Get insights into:

  • How often you will meet to discuss your case
  • What is the best method for communicating (email, text, phone, etc.)
  • How long it will typically take for the attorney to get back to you
  • What to do in case of an emergency

#5) How will you charge me?

Attorneys charge fees in a variety of ways. Ask your potential divorce attorney how they will calculate costs for your case. They may charge:

  • Flat rate fee that includes the full cost of your case.
  • Hourly rate for the time they put into your case.
  • Court fees which cover the costs set by the state and/or county.
  • Office fees which cover the costs of office expenses such as postage, printing, and producing materials.

Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost? 8 Questions to Consider   

#6) What is the estimated cost of my case?

While an attorney may not be able to give you the exact cost of your divorce (unless they offer a flat rate fee), they should be able to offer an estimated cost of taking on your case. In addition to considering the costs listed above, the attorney should factor in the complexity of your case to determine a reasonable estimate for the overall expense. They should also include stipulations and situations that may increase or decrease the cost.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

#7) How can I keep the costs of my divorce down?

While discussing costs, also ask what you can do to bring down the cost. Attorneys can advise you on best practices that will make your divorce move faster and cost less. For example, coming to a quick agreement with your spouse can bring down expenses (whereas a lot of back and forth can drive up costs). Find out how you can do your part to keep costs down.

#8) Do you require a retainer, and if so, how much is it?

A retainer is money that you pay up-front to secure the services of an attorney. Many attorneys require a set amount of money to get started on a case. Some even require a specific balance to stay in escrow as you go through the case. Find out if the attorney requires a retainer and how much must remain as a balance.

#9) What are the next steps?

Finally, find out what happens next if you choose to work with the attorney. You will likely need to fill out paperwork and sign a contract. Discuss what materials you need to send over and when you will meet for your first official meeting.

Related: How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

Get Answers to Questions for a Divorce Attorney

Now that you know what to ask a divorce attorney before you hire them, it’s time to get some answers. Schedule a consultation to meet with TJ Grimaldi and see if he is the right divorce attorney for you.

All consultations with TJ are 100% free. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

Finding the right attorney for a legal matter is a big decision — and it’s not always a decision that everyone gets right the first time. Many people hire or retain an attorney only to later determine that they aren’t the right fit.

Thankfully, you are not stuck with the first attorney you choose. You can change attorneys in the middle of a case if you find they are not delivering the service, expertise, or working relationship you expected.

Here are six signs you need a new attorney and it isn’t working out with your current representation.

You Might Need a New Attorney If…

Your lawyer won’t explain the details and strategy of your case.

Part of your attorney’s job is to help you understand your case. They are the expert and should explain each step of the process and possible outcome with you. They should also explain the strategy they’re taking with your case and why they think it’s a good idea. If you feel lost or confused about your case and your attorney won’t explain it to you, it may be time to move on.

You don’t agree with your lawyer’s strategy, and they won’t follow your directions.

Your attorney works for you. You have the final say in the strategy and approach to your case. It is your attorney’s job to explain what they think is the best approach, while letting you make the final decisions. If your lawyer won’t follow your directions or continues to present strategies you disagree with, it might be a sign you need a new attorney.

Your lawyer won’t respond to you, or your case has stalled.

Attorneys have an obligation to keep your case moving. If your case has stalled and there is no forward progress, it is a sign of an attorney who is not adequately doing their job. Likewise, if your lawyer is not responding to your messages or calls, you may need to seek a change in representation.

Your lawyer doesn’t have the resources needed to manage your case.

In some situations, your case may become more demanding and complicated as the details unfold. For example, if your case gains press attention or starts to include more defendants or plaintiffs, the resources needed to litigate your case may increase. If your existing attorney doesn’t have the resources to adequately manage your case, you may need to find a law practice that can.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

Your attorney has made multiple errors.

It is a clear sign you need a new attorney if they have made multiple errors. While people make mistakes and you may be able to move past an error or two, your attorney should not be making multiple errors. Seek new representation if your attorney or their office continues to miss filing dates, filing the wrong documents, or otherwise make careless errors.

You don’t trust your attorney.

One of the top signs you need a new attorney is if you don’t trust them. Trust is an essential element in a strong working relationship with an attorney. You both need to be able to be completely candid and truthful with each other. If you find yourself withholding information from your attorney or feel they aren’t being completely honest with you, it’s time to look for another option.

Related: What You Should Expect from Your Attorney in Every Case   

How to Get a New Attorney if You’re In the Middle of a Case

If you’ve seen too many signs you need a new attorney and are ready to make the switch, take the following steps.

#1) Review your contract with your current attorney. When you entered into a working relationship with your existing attorney, you likely signed a contract outlining the arrangement. Refer back to the contract to see if it includes any specific language about what to do to end the relationship.

#2) Talk to your current attorney. While you may have seen too many signs that you need a new attorney, it is always worth bringing your concerns to your lawyer to see if you can work it out. Write down your concerns and discuss them with your attorney. You may be surprised to find that you can work things out when issues are directly addressed.

#3) Talk to new potential attorneys. Most law offices offer a free consultation with a lawyer. Take offices up on this offer and interview a few different attorneys to find the right representation. Consider the issues you had with your previous attorney, and ask questions to ensure that this attorney will handle things differently.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

#4) Let your new attorney manage the change. Once you retain a new attorney, they will take the lead on your change of representation. They will file the appropriate documents to let the court and other parties know you have a new attorney.

Have You Seen Signs You Need a New Attorney?

If you have a feeling things aren’t working out with your current attorney, you might be right. If you see signs you need a new attorney, follow them.

As you explore your options, TJ Grimaldi is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with TJ to see if he is the right representation for you. All consultations with TJ are 100% free. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

If someone you loved was killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, you may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. In addition to losing someone you love, you may also have the strain of financial burdens and hardships as a result of the loss.

While a lawsuit can’t bring back your loved one, it can bring relief to you and your family. When you sue for wrongful death, you can receive financial support to help with the expenses and losses that are a result of the death.

If you are thinking about seeking relief, here is what you need to know about suing for wrongful death.

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death case is a lawsuit filed in civil court that aims to provide relief for surviving members of a person who was killed as the result of negligence of another party. Survivors file the case to seek financial compensation for losses and damages experienced as a result of the death.

To sue for wrongful death, you must prove two things:

  1. The death was a result of the negligence or maliciousness of an at-fault party.
  2. The death led to financial and/or emotional damages for surviving members of the deceased.

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases

The most common types of wrongful death cases are related to:

  • Vehicle accidents that occur on the road (such as auto, motorcycle, or trucking accidents), on the water (such as in boating accidents), or in the air (such as plane or helicopter accidents).
  • Medical malpractice cases wherein a patient died due to the negligence of their healthcare provider or providers.
  • Product liability or product defect cases wherein a person died because a product failed to work properly or did not include proper warning labels.
  • Premises accidents wherein a person is killed in a situation that could have been prevented but was caused by the negligence of a property owner or manager.
  • Workplace accidents wherein a person is killed at work as a result of unsafe conditions.

In addition to deaths caused by accidents and negligence, wrongful death cases may also include intentional killing.

When someone is killed by a person who showed malicious intent, you can sue for wrongful death in civil court. The case often goes in tandem with a criminal case wherein the person responsible for the death is charged with murder or manslaughter. Criminal cases often result in jail time, whereas civil cases result in damages that must be paid to the family of the deceased.

If you lost a loved one in any of these situations, you may be able to sue for wrongful death and receive damages.

What Do Wrong Death Damages Cover?

Damages refer to losses that are a result of the death. When you sue for wrongful death, you will fight to receive compensation for damages related to:

  • Cost of funeral and burial
  • Pre-death medical bills
  • Loss of financial contribution and future wages
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Emotional distress of surviving family

Related: Personal Injury Compensation: What Can You Fight For?

How Do You Sue for Wrongful Death?

#1) Determine who can sue for wrongful death.

In Florida, state statutes dictate who can sue for wrongful death. Only certain parties are able to file a wrongful death claim. The party must be a designated beneficiary of the deceased.

Chapter 768.18 defines these parties as: “the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It includes the child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.”

If one or more of these parties are connected to the deceased, you may be able to work together to seek justice and damages for your lost loved one.

#2) File your case right away.

You have up to two years to file a wrongful death case, but the sooner you get started, the better. Time is of the essence when it comes to collecting evidence and getting testimony from witnesses.

If you’re considering suing for wrongful death, seek experienced legal representation right away.

Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If someone you love was killed due to the negligence of another party, you don’t have to take on the fight for justice on your own. A wrongful death attorney can take some of the burden away from you and fight to ensure that you get justice for your loved one and the financial security you need to care for surviving family members.

If you want to take the next steps to sue for wrongful death, contact TJ Grimaldi today. TJ is an experienced wrongful death and personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to take on insurance companies and the parties trying to limit the relief provided to surviving family members.

Schedule your free consultation to speak directly with TJ about your situation and see how he can get to work on your case right away. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

Dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident can be stressful and confusing. It can be even more difficult if you’ve been in a trucking accident that involved a commercial tractor trailer.

When injured in a car accident, you will primarily deal with the driver and their insurance company. But in a trucking accident, you may need to deal with additional parties and multiple jurisdictions, resulting in a more complex process.

Trucking Accidents Aren’t Exactly Like Other Auto Accidents

Accidents that involve commercial trucks require a different legal approach than auto accidents that involve personal vehicles for a few reasons.

The trucking industry is governed by federal laws and regulations, and agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulate the industry along with departments of transportation in each state.

In addition to multiple layers of regulation and oversight, trucking accidents differ from personal auto accidents in that there are often multiple parties involved. Parties that may have responsibility for the accident or be otherwise involved in the legal process may include:

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the truck or trailer
  • The company that leased the truck or trailer
  • The manufacturer of any of the parts on the truck or trailer
  • The loader of the truck or trailer

While a trucking accident is a type of personal injury case similar to personal auto accidents, it may require a different and multi-layered legal approach to reach a full and fair settlement.

Related: 6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury 

4 Steps to Take if You’re in a Trucking Accident

If you have been in a trucking accident, take these steps right away.

#1) If you have serious injuries, seek medical help immediately.

The first step after being in an accident is always to seek medical care. If you or anyone else in the accident sustained serious injuries, get medical help right away.

#2) Collect evidence from the scene.

If you haven’t sustained major injuries from the accident, assess the scene and begin to collect evidence. As part of the process:

  • Take photos of your vehicle and the truck.
  • Write down the name of the trucking company or any organizations listed on the truck. Also, write down any license or truck numbers displayed on the truck.
  • Get the name and contact information of the driver.
  • Get the names and contact information from any witnesses.
  • Get the names and contact information from on-scene police officers.
  • Ask officers when and where you can get a copy of the accident report.
  • Write down your account of the accident while your memory is fresh.

#3) Even if you feel fine, seek medical help.

Even if you feel okay after the accident, seek medical care. Injuries from accidents don’t always show up right away. Plus, rushes of adrenaline released in your body during the accident can mask injuries.

Seeking medical care will help you get a complete assessment of both your surface and potentially underlying injuries. It will also create a record of your care, which will be essential if you decide to sue for personal injury after the trucking accident. To seek compensation for your injuries, you will need to prove that your physical issues were caused by the accident. The best way to prove it is by having medical records from after the accident.

Related: Personal Injury Compensation: What Can You Fight For?

#4) Don’t contact your insurance company. Contact an attorney.

While your first instinct might be to contact your auto insurance company, you should make another call first. Contact a personal injury attorney.

The goal of insurance companies is to pay out as little as possible for accidents. Your auto insurance company isn’t going to fight for you; they are going to fight to minimize their payout.

An attorney, on the other hand, works for you. They will have your best interest in mind and take all the necessary steps to ensure you get the compensation you deserve to cover the expenses and damages caused by the accident.

What To Do If a Loved One Was in a Trucking Accident

If it wasn’t you, but a loved one who was injured in a trucking accident, you have options for pursuing a legal case.

If the person injured in the accident is unable to fight for themselves because they have serious injuries, you can take on their case for them. If they have passed away, you can also take on a wrongful death case to seek justice. You have options, and an experienced attorney can walk you through them.

Discuss Your Options During a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, don’t try to wade through the complicated legal process on your own. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can ensure that you take the right approach to get a fair and full settlement.

Schedule a consultation with TJ Grimaldi to discuss your case and your options today. All consultations are free so schedule today. Schedule or call 813-226-1023.

If you were injured in an accident, the first thing you need to do is seek medical care. Next, you need to find out if you deserve compensation to pay for the damages caused by the accident. You need to determine if another party was at-fault and, if so, whether or not you can prove it.

To prove fault in a personal injury case, you must meet specific legal standards.

You must show the court that a party caused the accident, that you deserve financial compensation to cover the damages you sustained — and that you have adequate evidence to prove it.

How To Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases refer to any situation wherein you were injured, and it was not your fault. The most common types of personal injury cases relate to:

If you or a loved one were involved in any of these situations and injured by no fault of your own, you may have a personal injury case. Consider if you could provide the evidence needed to prove it.

#1) Prove the accident was caused by another party.

Being in an accident isn’t enough to file a personal injury case. You must prove that you were not responsible for the situation that led to the accident. You must clearly show that the accident was caused by another party.

There are three ways another party can be responsible for an accident.

  • Intentional: The party intentionally intended to injure you and caused the accident.
  • Neglect: The party’s neglect or carelessness caused the accident.
  • Strict Liability: The party caused the accident, although it was not intentional or caused by neglect.

To prove to the court that another party caused the accident, you need evidence that shows what happened. You need to tell the story and prove your point through evidence such as:

  • Detailed accounts of the accident
  • Testimony from witnesses
  • Police reports
  • Incident reports (if the event occurred on a commercial property)
  • Video or photos from the accident

Related: 6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury 

#2) Prove the accident led to damages.

Once you prove that another party was at-fault for the accident, you must also show that the accident resulted in damages. Damages refer to the losses — physical, financial, and emotional — that occurred as a result of the accident.

To receive personal injury compensation, you must show how the accident caused damages. Damages sustained during a personal injury incident may include:

  • Special compensation damages such as medical bills, future medical bills, cost of home-care, property damage, loss of income, loss of future earnings, and cost of altered plans.
  • General compensatory damages that refer to “pain and suffering” compensation for emotional trauma, long-term physical impairments, physical disfigurement or deformities, loss of companionship, and damage to lifestyle.
  • Punitive damages that include additional compensation if the accident was the result of malicious or intentional conduct.
  • Wrongful death damages which cover costs for funeral and burial, emotional distress of surviving family, loss of financial contribution, and loss of companionship.

To prove fault in a personal injury case, you must be able to provide evidence that details the extent of the damages. Evidence that can support your case includes:

  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Personal injury deposition 
  • Photos of your injuries (the initial injury as well as photos of the injury as it progresses)
  • Photos of damaged property
  • Bills for funeral services, home care costs, therapy, etc.
  • Documents that show missed opportunities (missed work hours, canceled vacations, etc.)

Related: Want to Sue for Personal Injury? Take These 4 Steps   

Bring Your Personal Injury Case to Court

To prove fault in a personal injury case, you must show that another party caused an accident and that the accident resulted in injuries and damages.

If you believe you have the proof to bring your case to court or if you aren’t sure if you have the evidence needed, talk to a personal injury attorney today.

An experienced attorney can listen to the details of your situation and advise you on if you have what it takes to make your case. A lawyer can also help you gather the evidence necessary to win your case. 

Don’t go at it alone if you feel you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Get help today. Start with a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi.

TJ is an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to win a case and get the full compensation you deserve. Don’t question your case. Get answers today.

Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 to talk to TJ today.

When you have no previous experience dealing with lawyers or courts, it can be intimidating to start to work with an attorney. Without experience, you don’t have anything to shape your expectation of how the attorney-client relationship should work.

This lack of experience can hurt clients who don’t realize that their attorney isn’t providing the level of service expected from a professional lawyer. It can lead clients to stay too long with an attorney who isn’t adequately managing their case.

To make sure you don’t fall into this trap, consider these attorney expectations. If you find that your attorney isn’t meeting this criteria, it might be time to find a new lawyer.

Related: Can I Change Attorneys During a Case?

What to Expect From an Attorney

Ideally, you want to work with an attorney who exceeds expectations, but these are the standards for what you should expect from an attorney in every case.

#1) They clearly explain your legal strategy.

An attorney’s role is to guide you through your case and lead you to the best possible outcome. In many cases, there will be different strategies an attorney can take. It’s your lawyer’s job to create the strategy for managing your case and to communicate that strategy to you. An attorney should explain what steps they are taking and why they believe their plan is the best option.

Related: Find The Best Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

#2) They set realistic expectations for outcomes.

In most legal cases, there is no guarantee for a specific outcome. There are many factors that can impact the results of a case. It is your lawyer’s job to set realistic expectations for what that outcome may be. For example, if you approach a personal injury attorney and expect to win a million-dollar settlement, your attorney should advise you on whether or not that is possible.

#3) They have an open line of communication.

The line of communication should always be open between you and your attorney. Your representation should return your calls and answer your emails in a timely manner. While all attorneys have different working and communication styles, you should never feel as though your lawyer is avoiding you or ducking your calls.

#4) They answer your questions.

Attorney expectations should go beyond simply being available to connect with you. Your lawyer should also be available to answer questions you have as you go through your case. In fact, they should anticipate stages where you may have questions and set times to review your case and give you an opportunity to ask questions about your case and strategy.

Related: How to Prepare for a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

#5) They act on your behalf.

It is your attorney’s job to guide you through your case and advise you on the best approach, but you always make the final decisions. An attorney should always follow your directions, even if they disagree with your instructions (as long as the instructions are legal). They can offer arguments and reasons for why your strategy isn’t recommended, but they are hired by you to act on your behalf and shouldn’t take action without your approval and permission.

#6) They don’t make blatant errors.

While everyone can make a mistake, attorneys should not be making consistent, blatant errors. If you find that your attorney is often making egregious errors such as adding incorrect information on documents, missing court dates, or filing the wrong documents, it could be a sign that they aren’t taking your case very seriously or that they are not a very capable attorney.

#7) They don’t draw out cases unnecessarily.

A lawyer is obligated to manage your case to their best of their abilities. They should resolve it in the most affordable and timely manner. Your attorney should never draw out your case for the purpose of incurring additional fees or overbilling.

#8) They follow rules of law and ethics.

Attorneys abide by a set of laws and ethics. They are meant to act in the best interest of their client while maintaining strong ethical standards. Attorneys should never advise that you or they engage in nefarious or illegal actions as a way to manage your case. If you sense that your attorney is suggesting activities that are illegal or immoral, you can contact the American Bar Association in your state.

#9) They clearly explain their payment structure.

When you hire or retain an attorney, you will often sign a contract and enter a legal agreement with them. Your attorney should make sure you clearly understand the fee structure included in the agreement and set reasonable expectations for costs. They should also inform you if they believe your case is going to cost more than initially described.

Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost? 8 Questions to Consider

Exceed Attorney Expectations with TJ Grimaldi

Not all attorneys will provide the same level of service and value. As you seek representation, ensure that your attorney can meet and exceed your expectations.

TJ Grimaldi takes pride in over-delivering for his clients. Find out if he can provide the level of service and representation you need. Schedule your free consultation to talk to him today.

Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.