Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the Different Types of Crime?
A: State of Florida classifies crimes by either felony or misdemeanor and then degree.
Felonies are crimes generally punishable by more than one year’s imprisonment. You have the right to a jury trial when charged with a felony crime. The common law felonies include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping and treason. The five degrees of felony crimes are capital, life, first, second and third degree. Capital includes the most serious crimes like murder or sexual battery on a child less than twelve year of age. Capital crimes are punishable by death. Life felonies are punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment and include crimes like burglary with a battery, trafficking offenses and second degree murder. A first degree felony is punishable by a maximum of thirty years in prison A second degree felony is punishable by a maximum of fifteen years in prison. A third degree felony is punishable by five years in prison.
Misdemeanors are crimes generally punishable by less than one year’s imprisonment. You have the right to a jury trial when charged with a misdemeanor if the crime is considered serious enough to warrant a jury trial. Misdemeanors are either first or second degree. First-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of one year in the county jail while a second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by sixty days maximum.
Q: What Should I do if I am in a Car, Auto, or Motorcycle Accident?
A: If you have been in a car, auto, or motorcycle accident, it is important to call the police and seek medical treatment. Keep in mind that the shock of being in a collision may hide any pain for hours or even days after the accident. It is very important that before you speak to any insurance company about your injury, you contact Hoss Hernandez, P.A. to discuss your accident.
Q: What Are Attorneys' Fees?
A: Attorneys’ fees are the amount of money that the attorneys are paid for the legal services they provide. All personal injury cases vary based on when your case is settled. The percentage the attorneys are compensated for are governed by The Florida Bar. Under this arrangement, the attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of what you are awarded in the case. If the case is lost, the attorneys do not recover a fee. The contingency fee percentage varies and some lawyers offer a sliding scale based on how far along the case is when it is resolved. A one-third fee (33.33%) is common if your case is not litigated. If your case is litigated, the attorneys’ fees may increase and are subject to the amount recovered at trial.
Q: How Long Does it take to Resolve a Case?
A: Each and every personal injury case varies depending on the case. Our firm, Hoss Hernandez, P.A. will move your case forward as quickly as possible while maintaining a pace that will not compromise the maximum recovery possible for your injuries. We have been successful in settling many cases out of court in just a few months but a complex case that requires a trial can take between 18 and 36 months.
Q: If I do not Live in Florida, But I was Injured in Florida, Will you take my Case?
A: The answer is YES! Whether you live in Florida or anywhere else in the United States or outside of the county, our firm Hoss Hernandez, P.A. will give your case the same professional and careful attention it gives every case that it represents. Our firm has represented many out-of-state residents injured in Florida. We will litigate your case no matter where you are. If you do not reside in Florida and have been injured in Florida, it is in your best interest to hire a local attorney who knows the Courts and has an excellent reputation in the legal community where you sustained your injuries.
Q: If we Settle, when will I get my payment?
A: It depends. In some cases you may get your check within days of the settlement while in other cases it may take several weeks. Once your check is received by our firm, Florida Law mandates us to place your settlement funds in our Trust Account for a short period of time and thereafter the amount will be disbursed to you as quickly as possible.
Q: How much money will the Jury award me in my Case?
A: Each and every case is different. The jury decides how much will be awarded. There is no formula that is given to the Jury. Once our firm knows the facts about your case and we discuss them with you, we will compare them to other similar cases where juries have considered similar cases. That way, we make an informed calculation of the monetary goal in your case.
Q: When will the lawsuit be filed?
A: We often file suit when initial negotiations are unsuccessful. On other occasions, we do not engage in pursuit negotiations. We simply file suit after confirming the identity of the proper parties and if necessary, the existence of insurance. Every case is different. The winning strategy for your case will be based on its particular facts and circumstances.
Q: What happens after the suit is filed?
A: Once the suit has been filed in court there are two basic activity areas. The first one is the on going investigation and research meaning that we may include experts and professional investigators in your case. The second activity is called “discovery." Court rules permit each side to formally request their opponent furnish specific information. These rules permit broad information disclosure even though some of it will not be admissible at trial. The courts permit broad discovery on the theory that each side is entitled to look at a lot of information to find those kernels that may be relevant at trial. The deadline to respond to these requests is usually 30-days. There are various types of discovery. Interrogatories, which is a series of written questions, that one side asks the other and request the answer in writing under oath is one. Request for Production allows one side to produce documents and other items that might relate to the case is another. And finally, Depositions, which is an oral question and answer session under oath that is transcribed by a court reporter. Since these discovery tools are requested by each side, you may need help answering said questions. Your help can be managed by phone or we may arrange a meeting at the office to review each and every question.
Q: What are Trials and Mediations like?
A: Our goal once suit has been filed is to prepare your case to win, and to move it to trial as wuickly as possible. We find that opposing parties often do not focus on settling until they are facing an impending trial. Sometimes after the initial discovery is complete, we will request a trial date. Typically, the judge will give us a date within 2 to 6 months but every judge is different. Once the case is set for trial, the court will put us on the trial calendar for a given period along with other cases. Generally, the trial calendar is 3 to 4 weeks long. We may be called to trial at any time on the calendar. We cannot control the exact date. There are circumstances, however, where the judge may give a special trial setting with a date certain, but this is rare. Do not be intimated if the case ends up in trial. Our clients are usually surprised by the experience and leave the courtroom with a positive impression of the judicial system. Hoss Hernandez, P.A. always presents a straightforward and honest case that deals with all facts. Even though no specific outcome is guarantee, we find that juries appreciate and reward this kind of honesty. Mediation is a confidential informal proceeding that includes the neutral mediator, the parties and their attorneys. After the presentation from each attorney has been heard, the mediator separates the parties and then shuttles between the two, attempting to reach a settlement. Cases often do settle in mediation if not they will be set for trial.
Q: How do I find out the status of my case?
A: You as the client have every right to contact Hoss Hernandez P.A. at any time to find out the status of your case. If the lawyer is not there you may speak to the staff. They will be able to answer most of the administrative questions. Our judicial system does not move in a fast pace, the lack of speed is a function of the procedural rules that govern the conduct of a case. The rules allow for extended periods of time for things to happen. For example, a defendant has 20-days to file an answer after getting served with a complaint. Discovery also has deadlines that are usually around 30-days. But, regardless of obstacle, our firm always moves to advance and maintain the movement of your case efficiently to trial. If you would like to learn more about your case and keep tract of what has been filed please click here to run your case docket and find out what is currently happening in your case. If you do not understand the information provided, contact Hoss Hernandez P.A. to better assist you in your understanding.
Q:What do I do if my home has been damaged by a natural catastrophe, fire, water damage and/or vandalism?
A: Mother nature unfortunately is uncontrollable. In the State of Florida many disasters like flooding and hurricanes are very common. In the event of a catastrophe, the insured must follow certain steps when handling this disaster. Each case is unique and the handling process can be complex and is constantly changing. You shouldn’t handle this claim alone. The insurance companies have their adjusters and lawyers who are knowledgeable and experienced in working to protect their insurance company. You are not an insurance expert but the insurance companies are. Seek representation from our firm Hoss Hernandez, P.A. to help you deal with any catastrophic natural disaster. Insurance companies work their best to underpay, delay and/or deny compensation for homeowners. You may find yourself at a loss or the compensation you were awarded may feel insufficient. You have the right to contest your recovery amount. Hoss Hernandez, P.A. will fight on your behalf to seek the maximum compensation to ensure your family’s safety and recovery of your living expenses.
Q: Why cant I settle my divorce on my own?
A: Even though it is entirely possible for you to file for divorce without legal assistance, we highly discourage you from doing so. Even if your spouse seems cooperative there is no way of knowing for sure if he or she will remain cooperative throughout the entire divorce process. With so much on the line such as your child, custody rights and assets, you cannot afford to take any chances by doing this on your own. Hoss Hernandez P.A., will be on your side ready to protect all your rights and interest.
Q:I am heading for an uncontested divorce. How can you help?
A: Even though uncontested divorces are not as complex as contested divorces, Hoss Hernandez, P.A realizes that our clients can also benefit from our expert guidance.
Q:How much child support can I expect to receive?
A: It is pretty difficult to predict how much child support you may receive due to the many different factors that need to be considered. The parties' income, the child’s age, needs and his or her standard of living before the divorce are just some of the factors that a court will consider when deciding on child support. Your chances of obtaining a fair child support amount are greatly enhanced when you have legal representation with a knowledgeable attorney at your side.
Q:My spouse is not paying child support as agreed in court. What are my options?
A: If your spouse is not paying child support as mandated in a court order, Hoss Hernandez, P.A can help you enforce that court order. Failing to obey a court order can be punishable by law even to the point of incarceration. Our firm will do everything possible to help your former spouse comply with an existing court order.
Q: Do I need to leave my home?
A: No, you only have to leave your home at the very end of the foreclosure process. There are many ways to stop a foreclosure sale. Hoss Hernandez, P.A., in certain cases, has filed a motion to vacate foreclosure judgment and cancel the sale date. It all depends on how long the case has been pending and if there are good defenses to the foreclosure action.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay my mortgage?
A: If you stop paying your monthly mortgage the bank has the right to start a foreclosure proceeding after sending you notice of your default. Eventually, the foreclosure proceeding can be slowed down and even stopped by aggresively litigating and negotiating with the bank.
Q: Can I rent my home?
A: Yes, your home is yours and you are the title owner of the property until after the foreclosure sale. You can rent your home during the litigation. There is also a law that protects tenants who are in a property that goes to foreclosure sale, giving them more time to occupy the premises. The tenant occupying your property must pay the rent, even if the property is in foreclosure, as the foreclosure action will not relieve a tenant of their obligations to pay rent.
More questions? Call Hoss Hernandez, P.A. NOW!
If the answer to your questions is not listed above, do not be discouraged. These are just a sample of questions that are most frequently asked by clients of our firm. If you contact our firm you can schedule a free consultation and you can meet in person with the Hoss Hernandez. Our staff is dedicated to the success of your case and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.