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FAQ

Legal FAQ

Your Questions Answered by Our Florida Attorneys

At The Berman Law Group, we understand the stress you are under when facing a legal matter of any kind. Whether you are filing for divorce, seeking compensation after an injury, preparing an estate plan, or fighting criminal charges, you probably have a lot of questions. Our attorneys in Florida have answers. Read our FAQ below to find answers to common questions about our various practice areas.

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us at (800) 883-5206.


General Legal Questions

What should I look for in choosing a lawyer to represent me?

Before hiring a lawyer, you should research the law firm and lawyers you are considering to represent you. Ask for information about the lawyer’s education, training, and experience, and ask the lawyer to tell you about his/her experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. Ask about the lawyer’s trial and courtroom experience and assure yourself that if your case goes to trial, your lawyer has the knowledge and experience to take you there. Ask the lawyer to go over the attorney’s fee contract with you in detail and be sure you understand how the lawyer’s fees and costs will be paid at the end of the case.

Why should I hire The Berman Law Group?

For over a decade, we have been representing Floridians in need of high-quality legal services. We consistently deliver reliable and effective representation and have the experience needed to address every facet of your situation. Our attorneys take the time to get to know each client so that they can provide personalized representation. The Berman Law Group has handled thousands of cases, so you can rest assured that we have what it takes to successfully resolve yours.


Personal Injury

Why do I need a lawyer when the insurance company has offered to pay my medical bills?

Florida law provides for an injured person to be compensated or made whole by the responsible party. Obviously, the extent of compensation will vary depending on the specific facts of a case. In many cases, however, full compensation may include elements of damage other than payment of medical bills, such as payment for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of ability to enjoy life, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity. This is why early consultation with a lawyer experienced in personal injury cases can help you obtain the maximum recovery allowed by the law.

My friend knows a lawyer who drafted a will for him several years ago. Why can’t that lawyer represent me in my personal injury case?

Personal injury claims are often brought against parties who are represented by adjusters and defense lawyers hired by insurance companies. Every insurance company works hard to keep its losses as low as possible, and they do that by aggressively defending claims. You can expect that your opposition will be represented by an attorney with a great deal of experience in personal injury defense. You should hire a lawyer with experience in pursuing personal injury claims, who can best protect your interests.

How can I afford a personal injury lawyer?

Most trial lawyers are willing to handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer will not charge you a fee for his/her time unless there is a recovery. If a recovery is made, then the attorney’s fee is based on an agreed percentage of the gross amount recovered. The lawyers at The Berman Law Group charge contingency fees in accordance with the Florida Supreme Court guidelines, typically 33-1/3% in a case that is settled before the need for a lawsuit arises, and 40% when a lawsuit becomes necessary and is contested. The contingent attorney’s fee does not include the costs of pursuing a claim, which may range from just a few hundred dollars to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. These costs are payable separately and not as a part of the contingent fee. Although many law firms may require you to pay these costs in advance, at The Berman Law Group we understand that the consequences of an injury make it difficult, if not impossible, for our clients to advance the costs of a case. In most cases, we pay the costs, and simply ask to be reimbursed at the conclusion of a case when your recovery is received.

Will I have to put up any money to get started on my personal injury claim?

Typically, no. The majority of personal injury cases we handle involve a contingency fee contract. That means we do not get paid unless and until our client makes a recovery. In some unique circumstances, we will represent a client on an hourly-fee basis, if the case calls for such an arrangement. In either case, the fee and cost agreement you have with our firm will be explained to you in detail before we begin pursuit of your claim.

Isn’t it expensive to pursue a claim involving serious injuries, medical malpractice, or a defective product? Who pays for the out-of-pocket expenses to prosecute my case?

Indeed, it can be very expensive to pursue claims involving serious injuries, medical malpractice, and defective products. It is not uncommon for the costs in such cases to exceed many tens of thousand dollars. At The Berman Law Group, we understand that the expenses of pursuing significant cases can be substantial. Accordingly, we have positioned ourselves to be able to advance the costs necessary to prepare cases properly for trial. Ultimately, out-of-pocket expenses are a client’s responsibility in a successfully concluded case. While a case is pending, we generally advance the expenses incurred during our representation. If and when the case reaches a successful conclusion, the costs we have expended are returned to us out of your recovery.

What is my case worth?

Every case is unique. Before an accurate determination of the value of your personal injury case can be made, your doctors must have determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement, and we must have a thorough understanding of your course of medical treatment, your current condition, and your future prognosis. Additionally, we must have had an opportunity to completely investigate the details of the accident and to analyze the impact that the accident has had on your wage-earning ability and your lifestyle. Only then can an experienced and knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney accurately determine the value of your case. You should be wary of any law firm that purports to put a specific value on your claim before having an opportunity to learn all of the relevant facts and determine the impact that the accident will have on your future.

I’m not the “suing” type. Is there any way my claim can be resolved without actually filing a lawsuit?

You should know that the vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved before a jury reaches a verdict at trial. Many cases are settled even before a lawsuit must be filed. The ultimate decision about whether to file a lawsuit at all is your own. At The Berman Law Group, we are committed to helping our clients reach a satisfactory conclusion to their claim, whether by a lawsuit and trial or by some alternative means. Our lawyers are experienced in alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as mediation and arbitration, that can avoid the need to file a lawsuit altogether. In all cases, we take the time to explain to our clients the alternatives available, including the risks and advantages of each, so that our clients can make an informed decision that is best for his or her individual circumstances.

Will my personal injury case go to trial if we do have to file suit?

It is well-documented that most lawsuits that are filed are settled before trial. Regardless, we prepare every case as if it might ultimately be decided by a jury. We believe in being prepared in the event an agreement between the parties cannot be reached. At the same time, our philosophy is to aggressively pursue resolution of claims at all stages in the case so that the process does not become unduly difficult, burdensome, or expensive for our clients.


Criminal Defense

What happens after a person is arrested?

Typically, you will be taken to the police station where you will have to provide personal information. From there, the police will determine if you can be released from custody or if you will have to pay bail to be released. Then, the police will file a criminal complaint in court and you will be informed of your court date. We highly recommend calling a Florida criminal defense attorney before speaking to police about the alleged event.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a less serious offense that is punishable by no more than one year in jail. Felonies are generally considered to be more serious offenses than misdemeanors. As such, they carry more severe penalties.

Am I able to terminate my probation early for good behavior?

Possibly. If you have followed the conditions of your probation and have completed a good portion (usually at least half) of the sentence, you may have a strong petition for early termination of your probation. It is in your best interest to work with an attorney who can help you build a strong case and ensure that all documentation is completed properly.


Family Law

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of divorce proceedings and legal fees varies widely and is dependent upon many factors that will be unique to your situation. For example, it is must more expensive if you and your spouse cannot agree on matters and have to take your case to family court. Alternative dispute resolution techniques – such as mediation – can be much more affordable because they help resolve the divorce outside of court. Discuss legal fees with your Florida divorce attorney before beginning the process.

How is child custody determined by the court?

Courts consider a variety of factors when determining custody, including:

  • The child’s best interests
  • The child’s preference (if they are old enough)
  • Any history of abuse/neglect
  • Each parent’s involvement in the child’s life
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The child’s special needs, if any
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment

Am I allowed to make changes to an existing divorce, child custody, child support, or alimony order?

Yes, you may request modifications to any of these types of orders – though it is up to the court to grant them. It helps to have a divorce attorney working with you when requesting modifications. Modifications will only be granted if there is a legitimate and substantial change in circumstances that necessitates the modification.


Estate Planning

Do I need a will?

By law, you do not need a will in Florida. However, it is in your best interest to prepare one. Having a will ensures that your wishes will be respected upon your passing. It also makes your loved ones’ lives easier, as they will have clear instructions on how to divide your estate when you are gone.

Who makes health decisions for me if I am incapacitated/unable to make them for myself?

A court-appointed guardian will make these decisions on your behalf unless you implement an advanced directive or a healthcare power of attorney.

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    - Jon M.

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