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Any Lawyers in the house?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by GoldEagle, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. GoldEagle

    GoldEagle Deity of All Drummers

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    Hey guys,
    My mom was walking along our road yesterday and got hit by a car. Long story short, the guy who hit her was speeding up to 30 mph over and had his license suspended. He also had 12 prior traffic violations, 3 Criminal Traffic Violations (Driving w/ License Suspended), and 1 Misdemeanor for marijuana/paraphernalia. My mom was hurt really badly because he her head hit his windshield and he was going about 30-40 mph.

    Now, he was charged with a 2nd degree Misdemeanor for speeding/suspended license/hitting a pedestrian. We believe he bailed out of jail for $500. If we take him to court, is it possible to sue to make him go to jail? Also, if we can't get him in jail, we are going to put forth a civil lawsuit for money in order to teach the little piece of **** a lesson. How much do you think we could make him pay? Physical pain for my mom, and mental angst for my dad and I (we thought she was going to die at one point)...do you think we have a good case?

    Any other advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    GE
     
  2. Sh3kel

    Sh3kel Emperor

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    I'm no American or lawyer (1st year Law Student, but in Israel), but it sounds like you should ask a real personal injuries lawyer about your options regarding this case. It may well be worth the visit. Sue regardless of criminal procedure.

    Also, only a 2nd degree misdemeanor for that?! It damn well should be a bloody felony charge... What the hell is wrong with your judicial system? Driving while speeding and on a suspended license here is pretty much mandatory repossession of the vehicle for at least 90 days, and hitting someone is pretty much guaranteed jail time!

    Ninja Edit: Take Pictures. Of everything. Take three copies of your mother's injuries, and ask for a copy of the hospital and police reports so that you can present a legal copy to the court in order to back up every single claim you make - have them notarized if necessary. Also, go to a medical professional or three and have him write his expert opinion on the extent of damage suffered by your mother and his prognosis for future recovery and possible future impairment (I'm personally rooting that there's no long term damage, but if there is - the price tag on that is marginally higher than "just" injuries). Generally, have a stack of papers about knee high which state in every single possible way why you are right and he should pay. There is no such thing as "obvious guilty" in the court system anywhere.
     
  3. GoldEagle

    GoldEagle Deity of All Drummers

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    The American judicial system (especially at the state and local level) is probably one of the worst in the world. :(
     
  4. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    I think Jolly Roger is a lawyer/, but I don't know in what area he specializes in. I'd suggest talking to a real lawyer about this, not asking for advice over an internet forum. The best part about civil cases, though, is that you don't pay the lawyer - they take their money, which is admittedly a large cut, off the top of the settlement or judgement money, assuming there is any.
     
  5. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    Not a lawyer, but a paralegal. My first bit of advice prior to pursuing such a court action is get a lawyer.

    Things to consider:

    Did the guy have insurance? Is his insurance going to cover your moms medical?

    Also bear in mind that some lawyers will be more than happy to charge you to represent you in court, even if the lawsuit you win awards you no cash. Make sure the ends justify the means.
     
  6. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    I would disagree. There are two sides to every story and I often find that the real truth of it is somewhere in the middle.
     
  7. Bozo Erectus

    Bozo Erectus Master Baker

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    No.

    That would depend on how much youre willing to pay to have quality legal representation.

    Youve definitely got a case. The question for you though is if the initial costs and aggravations of a court case are worth it, and even advisable.

    edit: Im not a lawyer.
     
  8. Sophie 378

    Sophie 378 Avvie by ybbor

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    IIRC, PrinceOfLeigh is in the law business, and FredLC is a lawyer-studying-to-become-a-judge. Give them a poke (PM) if you want some more experienced opinions. Good luck.
     
  9. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    This is under the assumption that you are an American.

    As far as criminal charges, that is up to the local prosecutor.

    For a civil case, the reality is that you can get a lawyer to take it on contigency (the lawyer gets a percentage of any award + costs instead of you paying the lawyer a fee up front), but a lawyer will only take it on contigency if he sees a realistic chance of winning and the defendant actually paying any court award. Plus the potential award has to make it worth the lawyer's time (his share - typically a third - is high enough to justify him spending the time necessary to win).

    If the driver was insured, you are more likely to be able to get a lawyer to take the case - since an insurer is a more reliable party to actually pay should you get a civil judgment. As far as what you can get compensated for -it will basically be for pain and suffering, possibly lost wages or earning capacity if the injuries are severe and permanent enough. Mental anguish, especially for parties other than the person not actually injured, are generally harder to get.

    One practical suggestion is that if you a find a lawyer willing to take the case on contigency - DON'T SIGN THE FEE AGREEMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE ANOTHER LAWYER LOOK IT OVER OR READ IT OVER VERY CAREFULLY YOURSELF. Tell the personal injury lawyer that you want to think about it before you sign and take it home to either read yourself or take to a non-personal injury lawyer for a quick look. The reality is that there are many crooked fee agreements out there and if you are not careful, you may find out the hard way that after your successful civil suit, you now feel that you should sue your lawyer.
     
  10. QuoVadisNation

    QuoVadisNation keeping your angel alive

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    ^^ what JollyRoger said.

    Go to a lawyer anyway, assess your options, see what he says (or sometimes what two say), and sue based on that.


    I don't know how it works in Florida, but try and find a good lawyer. Even if you can't take him to jail (which you might), it'd be a good tort lawsuit.
     
  11. EdwardTking

    EdwardTking Deity

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    I suspect that there is no point suing him at all if he
    wasn't insured and if he does not have any money.

    In the UK, one used to be able to write to the judge of the
    criminal case identifying and detailing reasonable costs incurred
    and very modest costs might get awarded as an aside to the fine.
     
  12. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    Moms studied law, I asked her, she said to try to put in an appeal
     
  13. GoldEagle

    GoldEagle Deity of All Drummers

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    He has insurance and lives with his parents. Sorry I forgot to mention that :/

    Also, under Florida law, hitting someone with a suspended license is a 3rd degree felony. But all he got charged for was a 2nd degree misdemeanor for the suspended license. How do we get him for the felony?

    Thanks
    GE
     
  14. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    My mom says you need a lawyer .
     
  15. PrinceOfLeigh

    PrinceOfLeigh Wigan, England

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    Your Mum was injured in a car accident and you have to find a lawyer? America is ripe for the taking :D

    In seriousness though I couldn't advise you, our legal systems are similar but we have different rules regarding liability and funding. The US system is tipped more towards the motorist in accidents with pedestrians with things like Jay-Walking which we simply don't have. Also in the UK the Contingency Fees which Jolly Roger mention are virtually non-existant due to a lack of support from the Law Society.

    Most Lawyers in the UK will give a free consultation regarding any claim. I'd speak to someone about this first of all.
     
  16. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    Answer, you dont. Its the prosecutors job to do that, not yours. If he cuts some kind of deal with them, then thats what he gets.

    You only 'get' him as part of a civil suit if you choose to pursue one. Since he had insurance, chances are you wont go to court at all, but settle with his insurance company. You will only go to court if the insurance company wont pay you what you feel you deserve for the accident. If he had full coverage, they 'should' cover your moms medical bills plus a bit more. If you dont like what they offer, hire an attorney and sue for more.
     
  17. joycem10

    joycem10 Deity

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    Depending on the extent of your mothers injuries and the potential medical costs you might want to look into excess coverage in case the guy is under isnured. Look to potential coverage in her homeowners or her drivers insurance (problematic since she was a pedestrian but possible) for UIM/UM coverage. Given that he lives with his parents, it seems likely that there wont be much to get from him in a judgment other than a wage attachment.

    And yeah, like everyone else said, you cant to anything on the criminal side except talk to the prosecutor and see if he will refile.

    Im not a PI guy, but this seems like a straight up contingency case. Dont agree to any up front money, your PI guy should fully finance the litigation and take his 33.3% from the settlement.
     
  18. PrinceOfLeigh

    PrinceOfLeigh Wigan, England

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    Exactly the reason we don't have them here.
     
  19. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    How does someone who cannot afford to pay a lawyer upfront secure a lawyer in a personal injury case there?
     
  20. PrinceOfLeigh

    PrinceOfLeigh Wigan, England

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    After the event insurance.

    The claimant's costs, including success fee, are paid by the defendant in the event the claim is won, this includes the insurance premium. In the event that the claimant loses, the insurance will pay the defendant's costs and the claimant's representative get nothing.

    This is for run of the mill cases such as the above. For 'multi-track' cases, or 'class actions' I believe you call them, funding is very difficult as insurance is hard to find. For those cases, industrial disease ect, the claimant's usually 'pool' their own funding or have the backing of a Trade Union.
     

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