QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT ORLANDO TRIAL LAWYERS
Do you offer free consultations?
Yes, we would be glad to discuss your case free of charge and answer whatever questions you may have.
Should I call a lawyer?
If you think you may need to call a lawyer, you probably need to call a lawyer, especially if you live in Orlando, Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Winter Park, Maitland, Apooka, Oveido or any other Central Florida community. Better to be safe than sorry. We offer completely free consultations to provide information and help guide you. In personal injury cases, we represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no cost or fee unless we successfully resolve your claim. In our eminent domain cases, the government pays all of our attorneys’ fees and costs when we increase successfully their offer for the taking of your property. Our clients never pay anything out of their pockets.
Do I have a case?
That depends on a lot of different factors, but we can usually get a pretty good sense for whether you have a viable case by having a free consultation with you.
How much is my case worth?
At the earliest stages of a case, it is almost impossible to give a reasonable estimate of the value of a case, but our experience can help us provide some information and guidance on the potential value of your case if it develops in a particular way.
I can’t afford a lawyer, how are you paid?
Our personal injury cases operate strictly on a contingency fee basis. We pay all case costs and if there is no recovery, there are no fees or costs to you. If there is a recovery, our fees and case costs are paid from those proceeds. You never pay out of pocket for anything we do. This arrangement allows many people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer to hire legal counsel to pursue their claims. In eminent domain cases, the government pays our firm’s fees and costs when we succeed in forcing the government to increase the offer to compensate you for the taking of your property. There is no risk in retaining Warner & Warner to fight for you.
What if there is no recovery?
You owe us nothing for our time, effort, and financial expenditures.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a settlement conference where parties try to settle their claims to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation and trial. It can be voluntary or court ordered. In Florida, courts order all cases to mediation before they are tried to a jury, because most cases settled at, or shortly after, mediation. However, many cases do not settle at mediation and must be tried.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is a series of questions and answers taken under oath in the presence of a court reporter. Once a case is filed, both sides can depose witnesses and other parties. This allows the facts underlying a case to become known and helps move cases toward resolution.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured (UM) coverage is a type of automobile insurance drivers purchase to protect themselves from damages caused by other drivers who do not have enough insurance to compensate them for their injuries. Because so many drivers are uninsured or inadequately insured, UM is critically important coverage for you and your family. If you ride a motorcycle, UM is even more important. Warner & Warner urges you to purchase UM coverage. It is in your family’s best interest.
How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
In proving a case for medical malpractice, the patient/victim must prove the doctor or other health care provider breached the appropriate and prevailing standard of care in the community and the patient/victim suffered damages as a result of that breach of the standard of care. Medical Malpractice cases are complex and require careful analysis in determining whether a claim exits. If you believe you or someone you love was a victim of medical malpractice, we encourage you to contact our Orlando medical malpractice lawyers and discuss your case.
How do I check my doctor’s credentials?
Check your doctor’s “Practitioner Profile” on the Florida Department of Health’s website: http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00profiling/searchform.asp
How to I check whether my doctor has been sued for malpractice?
You can check the Florida Closed Liability Claims website: https://apps.fldfs.com/PLCR/Search/MPLClaim.aspx
How can I check a nursing home’s quality?
Go to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s Nursing Home Guide: www.floridahealthfinder.gov
You can also check Medicare’s website for more information: http://www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/
QUESTIONS ABOUT EMINENT DOMAIN LAWYERS
What is Eminent Domain in Florida?
“Eminent Domain” is the power of a government to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent when full compensation is paid for that property. This power is explicit in both the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Article X Section 6 of the Florida Constitution provides, “[n]o private property shall be taken except for a public purpose and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner.” Public use is broadly defined and can include roads, bridges, transportation infrastructure, water and sewer utilities, railroads, parks, electric and gas utility easements, schools, hospitals, or other public buildings. The eminent domain process is sometimes referred to as condemnation or taking.
What must the government show in order to take private property?
When the government initiates a taking, it must show that there is a legitimate public purpose for taking your property and that your specific piece of property is necessary to further this public purpose. If there is no public purpose or your property is not necessary to accomplish that purpose, the government cannot exercise is power to take your property.
Will the government treat me fairly under the eminent domain rules if I am not represented by counsel?
Probably not. The government wants to pay as little as possible to acquire properties, and it wields extraordinary power. If an owner unwittingly agrees to sell property for too little, the government is not obligated to protect the owner’s interests, and without an experienced and competent attorney, most property owners would not know if they were receiving full compensation for their property.
Why should I hire an Orlando eminent domain attorney?
In the eminent domain process, the rights of the property owner can be infringed by the power of the government, and the best means to protect yourself is to hire a skilled eminent domain lawyer to represent your interests and vigorously seek payment of full compensation for your property. Often, the government’s idea of what constitutes “full compensation” differs substantially from Warner & Warner’s idea of “full compensation,” and our Orlando eminent domain attorneys can help ensure you are treated fairly and receive full, fair, and complete compensation for the taking of your property. Eminent domain is a complex and specialized process that many do not understand. Many property owners are not aware of their rights and an experienced eminent domain attorney can protect you from the government’s power and intimidation. Florida Statutes require that the condemning authority pay the property owners’ attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, so you have absolutely no risk in hiring the Altamonte Springs eminent domain lawyers at Warner & Warner to represent your interests and ensure full compensation.
What will it cost to hire Warner & Warner to defend the taking of my property?
Pursuant to Florida law, the government must pay all attorney’s fees and litigation costs at the conclusion of any eminent domain case. This statutory right helps level the playing field with the government and its attorneys and experts. Property owners in Apopka, Oveido, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford or any other Central Florida community pay nothing for Warner & Warner’s defense of the taking, and our involvement could mean the difference between receiving “compensation” and receiving “full compensation” for the loss of your property. By law, attorney’s fees are paid over and above the amount paid to landowners as full compensation for their property. The landowner receives full compensation for the taking and the government pays all associated attorneys’ fees and costs—none of the money awarded to landowners is used for attorneys’ fees or costs. In Florida, the government must pay all reasonable costs incurred in the defense of the condemnation proceedings, including, but not limited to, appraisal fees, accountant fees for determination of compensable business damages and other costs that aid in determining full and just compensation.
Should I hire a lawyer when I get notice from the government that my property is being taken?
Probably. A competent, experienced Maitland eminent domain lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine whether you are receiving full compensation for your loss. As noted above, there is no risk to property owners under Florida’s statutory eminent domain compensation scheme, so legal advice would be advantageous and at no cost to you.
What is the eminent domain process, and how long does it typically take?
The government will first contact you by letter to let you know it plans to take your property to accomplish some public works project. The government will hire a property appraiser to estimate the value of your property, and that appraisal is likely to be low. Based on their appraiser’s findings, the government will offer you an amount to purchase your property. If you accept the initial offer then the claim is settled. If you and the government cannot reach agreement on the value of your property, the government will file a condemnation lawsuit and seek to acquire the property in that manner. The government must show that the property is being taken for a public purpose, and it must deposit funds equal to its good faith estimate of value of the property. The title to the property is transferred at the time of the deposit, and the property owner can usually withdraw these funds even if they continue to fight for additional funds and full compensation. If an agreeable settlement amount cannot be reached, a twelve-person jury will ultimately decide the value of the property at trial. If the jury decides that full compensation is higher than the good faith estimate, you receive the difference, as well as the interest on the amount of the difference. In Florida, twelve-person juries are only used in two very important contexts—when the government wants to take your life (as in a capital murder case) or the government wants to take your property.
Am I entitled to compensation if my business is damaged by the taking of my property?
Under certain circumstances, Florida business owners are entitled to compensation for the losses which occur due to property takings. Business damages can include changes in traffic patterns that later accessibility of a business, lost parking capacity, lost profits, reduced volume of business, decreased business goodwill, and reduced value of the business equipment. Business damages in a condemnation case can be substantial, and expert analysis is necessary to ensure full compensation is received by the property owner. It is critically important for business owners to obtain competent legal representation at the earliest stages of the condemnation process.
Can a property owner challenge the taking of private property by eminent domain?
Yes. Property owners can challenge the taking of private property by the government’s power of eminent domain. If the challenge is successful, the eminent domain law suit could be dismissed.
Am I entitled to a copy of the condemning authority’s appraisal report?
Yes. Upon request, the law requires the condemning authority to provide you a copy of the appraisal report for its good faith estimate of value.
Do I have to accept the condemning authority’s initial offer?
No. You are entitled by law to obtain your own valuation prepared by experts retained on your behalf and the government must pay for your experts and your attorneys.