Summer Time Teen Driving in Florida

Teenagers can hardly wait to be given the opportunity to operate a vehicle. This is natural, of course, because it means that the open road is calling for captivating adventures and untold stories. Unfortunately for teens, they are also the most at risk group for accidents.

With school out for the summer, that means a lot more opportunities for teens to be on the streets. This only increases comes with an unfortunate side affect, generally, accidents involving teens go up during the summer months.

What can be done to prevent the likely needs of teens being in an automotive personal injury incident?

If the teen driver is between the ages of 15 and 18, the State of Florida has several suggestions for adults and teen drivers to remain safe. At the age of 15, an individual may apply for a learners permit. For the first 90 days, the learning teen must be accompanied by an adult of 21 years old and with a driver’s license in good standing. The next 90 days the learning teen may drive up until 10PM, again, the teen must be accompanied by an adult.

Once the teen has reached the age of 16, or the driver has had a learners permit for a year, he or she will graduate to an operational license, with restrictions, sometimes referred to a provisional operators license. The teen can operate a vehicle unsupervised between the hours of 6am and 11PM unless driving to and from employment.

It is never recommended to allow teens to drive together. Teens can and will easily influence each other to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t. Also, make travel expectation times. This way everyone can be accounted for at a specific time.

If you have a question for the KS Law team? We can help! We know that personal injury law is confusing. We also offer free consultations.

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Misconceptions About Personal Injury

The general public many times will have misconceptions or myths about pop-stars, politicians, and sometimes even the law. It is understandable for the law to be misinterpreted or not understood, many laws change from state to state.

A common misconception about personal injury cases is that you will need to settle the case before medical treatment has finished. If the case has been settled before all medical treatments have been administered, you may not be fully reimbursed for the medical treatment due to estimation of costs versus reality. You may encounter medical complications with an unplanned surgery and require several follow-ups, which wouldn’t be likely to be factored.

A myth is holding out or refusing a settlement will gain you more money. The best way to ensure that you will receive the highest amount for your settlement is to use a personal injury attorney. There is no secret equation. We are working for you, the other parties usually involved aren’t working in your best interest. Additionally, your personal injury lawyer will assist you with all the tough questions you may be facing.

An all too common misconception and myth is personal injury lawyers are “ambulance chasers”. Florida has laws and regulations prohibiting attorneys from contacting new potential clients. An attorney who would be “ambulance chasing” wouldn’t likely be a well qualified attorney. Choose an attorney who has a good reputation in your area.
Finally, many believe hiring a personal injury lawyer commits them to a long and drawn out legal battle. That may happen while it is not not usual. The mass majority of cases will be settled out of court. The truth is, nobody wants to rack up substantial lawyer fees and tie up our court system. Once you have a personal injury lawyer, you show you mean business.

Do you have a personal injury and need guidance about medical bills and insurance claims? We can help! We offer a free consultation to make sure you will be on the right track with KS-Law.

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Legal Defense for Credit Card Debt

It happens to the best of us, we fall behind on payments and the collection calls start coming. In the best of situations, you bounceback and get back on track in no time. However, this time it is different, you weren’t able to get back onto your feet as quickly as you would have hoped and now you’ve been served with paperwork for credit card debt.

What if I haven’t been served?

Being “served” is due process from civics class. You must be notified that you’re being sued, and this through a process server. Once you have been officially given paperwork about the lawsuit, you have been served. If you haven’t been served, you should check with your local and state records of a lawsuit.

It is not my credit card company suing me, some weird credit collection company, what does this mean?

What likely occurred was your original debt has been sold to the credit collection company. This is common practice among debt owners and debt collectors. Furthermore, just like with the mortgage industry the debt may have been sold to more than one company. Meaning, the debt has been purchased and sold by several companies in an attempt to collect a debt. When this situation arises, the current debt owner may have difficulty obtaining the necessary paperwork to prove they can legally sue you for the debt.
While in the process of debt collection the debt collector may have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or (FDCPA). It would be prudent if you are currently being sued by your credit card company to set up a consolation with us to find out what your options may be.

One last defense you have against your credit card debtor suing you is our statue of limitations. In Florida, a debt cannot be collected past five years from the last payment. Meaning, if your last payment was made four years ago the debt collector can still sue for the remaining balance for the next year.

Did you have any other legal questions for us? Let us know we’d love to hear from you. Remember to live life and leave the legal stuff to us!

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Attack of the Zombie Foreclosures in Florida!

The numbers may be in slight decline in new foreclosure filings which is fantastic news! However, a strange new trend has been noticed recently. It has been the rise of the zombie foreclosure properties here in Florida.

What is a zombie foreclosure?

A zombie foreclosure is when the title owner, possibly someone you know, has defaulted on a loan to their home. While the Bank initiates the process of foreclosure, the title owner leaves the property and moves out while the property is going through foreclosure. During this time the property is said to be a “Zombie Foreclosure”. This is due to lack of maintenance and people living within the dwelling.

While, abandoning the property seems like a logical choice especially when you plan on allowing the Bank to take the property via foreclosure. The Bank may choose to abandon its ambitions to pursue foreclosure of the property. The Bank also is under no obligation to notify the title owner of the property that the foreclosure process has been stopped. Once this happens the title owner is still responsible for any maintenance done by a local municipality, and taxes still due on the property. This can devastate families that already are going through tough times. Many times the title owners wages can be garnished to pay the backed taxes and owed municipal bills for the property. It is best for the title owner to understand the foreclosure process through to ensure this situation will not arise.

Why abandon the title before you know the process has ended?

The typical foreclosure timeline is approximately 120-160 days for Florida. However, due to backlogs the process is now somewhere taking upward to 900 days here in Florida. Many homeowners do not know that the foreclosure process takes so long. All they see is the 20 days to respond on the paperwork from the process server, assumes the worst has already occurred, and abandons the property.

If you know someone in this situation or you are in this situation call us today. We want to help guide you with your Foreclosure situation in the South Florida area. Remember to live life and leave the legal stuff to us!

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Being Prepared for a Hurricane

Whether you’re a South Florida native or a recent transplant you know that the summer season is hot and humid. Hurricanes come with the territory of living in South Florida. When Summer starts, it is always best to go over standard hurricane preparations.

To start, you will want to plan what you and your family should do in the event a hurricane should come to South Florida. Check where your home lies in the flood and storm surge zones here. This will assist you plan and be prepared when evacuation may be necessary.

You will also want to stock up on essential supplies in the event that electricity is out. The CDC recommends 3-5 days supply of food and water per person in the household. Water is approximately five gallons for a three to five days supply for one person. If daily medication is taken, you will also want to have an emergency supply in the event that you will not be able to readily refill your prescription. Additionally, you will want fresh batteries in all your flashlights and portable radio. If you have a separate GPS device, ensure it is fully charged.

Do not neglect your car. You will need your car in the best shape so you do not stall in the event of an evacuation. Additionally you will want an emergency kit, road flairs, maps, first aid kit, batteries, and flashlight should be the bare minimum in your kit.
Have a great South Florida Summer from KS Law. Remember to Live Life and Leave the Legal Stuff to Us!

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A Great Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney you should step back and check out the big picture regarding the need for a criminal defense attorney.

Many individuals may not see the severity of a criminal court case. Many individuals may have some court experience through a traffic violation or something extraordinarily small that it was handled amongst the two parties without the need of attorney intervention. Additionally, we are flooded with reality Judge TV shows where individuals represent themselves in “court” to have a dispute resolved. We want to make it very clear right now, a criminal case is much more complicated than a traffic violation. Also, just about everything on TV has been fabricated, it’s best not to believe what you see on television.

The key reason that a criminal defense attorney is needed is complexity. While a criminal case may appear to be simple superficially, it may involve multiple indictments. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to read the court and determine how to readjust your strategy for defense. Just like you, you become better every day that you do your job and practice your knowledge. The same is for a criminal defense attorney, an experienced attorney will be able to recognize what tactics are working for your defense while if you were self represented, you are likely to miss those queues.

It is also best to try and find a criminal defense attorney who is local to you. The reason for this, just as you want to pick an experienced criminal defense attorney, a local attorney will already have information on how your local court will respond to plea bargain or how similar cases have played out in the past.
Do you have a question you would like answered? We’re here to help! We always offer a free consultation. Remember to live life and leave the legal stuff to us!

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Florida Foreclosures Fervently Frothy

It seems that the foreclosure scene in Florida simply cannot catch a break. April’s numbers are in and Florida leads the charge in foreclosures once again. However, there is a silver lining to the story. The new foreclosure filings overall from year over year is down.

Approximately 1 out of 400 homes in Florida had some type of foreclosure activity on the property. That number is still extraordinarily high.  The State of Florida is still trying to work through a massive backlog of foreclosure filings. While the normal foreclosure timeline is around 120 days many foreclosures in Florida taking up to 900 days. 

Since the foreclosure timeframe in Florida is completely off base many banks most likely will be willing to work with you to get you back on track with your loan. Many banks will offer loan modification or a possibility of a short sale. If you are unsure which route to take, our office offers free consultations. If you have any questions on a foreclosure situation we want to help you.

We want you to seek help with your foreclosure in Florida. Out of all US metro areas that have a population of 200k residents or more, 11 of the 20 cities were from Florida. Chances are you live in one of these metros and may have a friend or family member who is experiencing a foreclosure.

Remember, live life and leave legal stuff to us. If you are experiencing any legal troubles please let us know, we want to help you.

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What is a Homestead Exemption in Florida?

What is a Homestead Exemption? When Homestead Exemption is mentioned it usually congers antiquated laws that no longer apply to modern life. Although, you may not want to break out that banjo and hum out the lyrics to home on the range. Homestead Exception, especially in Florida, is a law that helps many homeowners.

Typically, a Homestead Exemption is used to protect the homeowner from being forced to sell their home to pay for debt. A normal, situation is when a spouse dies and the Florida Homestead Exception is used to protect the living spouse from being forced out of their home.

Homestead Exemption is great for Florida homeowners! If you have owned your home, aka property, since January 1st of this year and it’s your permanent residence it is eligible for Florida’s Homestead Exemption. This exception is up to $50,000. The First $25,000 will apply to all property taxes applied to the home. An additional $25,000 of the exception applies to the assessed value of the property. You or your spouse may file for Florida’s Homestead Exemption. The property accessor is likely going to ask you for proof of residence, such as voter Registration, a Utility Bill or a Driver’s License.

We almost forget to mention, in Florida you must file to receive Homestead Exemptions. It’s true! It is not an exception that is simply passed onto you as a citizen of Florida. While we are providing a quick summary of the law, it is always best to consult and hire an attorney if you should have several questions about the best route to take with Homestead Exemptions. In order to receive a homestead exemption usually you must file this in person with the county between January and March 1st. Your county may be different, you will want to consult with the country property assessor for more details.

Have any more questions about Homestead Exemptions, let us know! We want to hear from you. We offer free consultation, because our motto is, “live life and leave the legal stuff to us!”

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Short Sale: Is That the Right Move in 2014?

Florida is undeniable the number one State when it comes to foreclosures in the United States. That is one fact Florida is trying very hard to relinquish. On the other hand, there are several reports cropping up that the housing market is improving and we’re approaching a stabilized market. This stability is extraordinarily fragile any slight turn in the economy may change the market improvement for foreclosures and short sales in Florida. Let’s explore further into what a Short Sale is, and if it’s a good move in these economic times.

A short sale is a sale of the mortgaged property which the selling price of the property will not cover the balance of the debt of the mortgaged property. Usually, the property is said to be “underwater”. A property that is said to be underwater is when the mortgaged property’s loan is higher than the fair market value of the mortgaged property. If you are in this situation, a short sale is usually an option. A short sale must be negotiated between you and your bank. This is where an experienced lawyer will be handy. Only when an agreement is reached a short sale can proceed. The unpaid debt due to the shortfall from the sale is known as a deficiency. Depending on the agreement that was negotiated, you may have to still pay the deficiency to the bank. Again an experienced attorney will assist you to an amicable agreement with your lender.

However, due to recent laws that have expired and the recovering economy short sales have been on the decline. Back in late 2007 when the housing market collapse affects were taking hold congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relieve Act. This act allowed homeowners the ability to not claim forgiven debt as income on the following year’s tax return. This of course, potentially saved the homeowner many thousands of dollars in forgiven debt through a short sale negotiation. This law expired at the end of 2013 and was not renewed. Home prices are on the rise, so fewer homes are “underwater” as explained above. This means that sometimes banks are less willing to accept offers from homeowners. You may need someone experienced to explain your case. Also, since home prices are recovering banks have been said to be expecting too much for properties and short sales.

If you need help navigating a possibility of a short sale you need someone who is experienced and wants to help you. The bank only is thinking in terms of dollars and cents. We want to help you so they work with a human rather than an Excel worksheet. Remember to live life and leave the legal stuff to us!

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Why Car Recalls are Good for Consumers

It may sound counter-intuitive, but having companies recall products is good for consumers. When a company recalls a product they are taking that product which they have found to be unsafe and taking it out of the publics hands. These companies are attempting to limit the liability and lessen the chance of corporate negligence.

The recent GM Recall, and in general, all company recalls occur due to product liability laws. The company will, in general, take all steps necessary to prevent all situations where the consumer would be injured from the use of their product or a defective product. The three main areas of product liability are; manufacturing defect, a design defect, or the failure to properly warn.

A manufacturing defect that could cause a product liability case is a door fridge missing a pivotal part for the door makes it to fall off. Product liability would not cover if the consumer mistreated the door. For example, if the owner would hang off the door, by having the door support his entire weight. Overtime due to the mistreatment, it may cause damage to the door and cause it to break off. This would not be a product liability case due to manufacturing as the door was not manufactured to support adult human weight.

A design defect that would cause a product liability case is where rechargeable batteries catch fire after a few uses. In this case, the product is being used as intended but the product’s design has caused it to be unsafe. The injury received from the product still must be caused due to the design error. For example, if you have defective batteries, yet they were ingested (eaten), this would not be a case of product liability. This is because the injury sustained was not due to the design flaw.

A failure to warn situation that would cause a product liability case is not placing sufficient instructions on the product. For example, if you use hair gel but after three consecutive days of use it causes hair to fall out. The product label does not warn the customer that hair loss can occur after three days could be the cause for a product liability case. However, if the label noted this possible side effect and warned the customer to wash out the gel out of hair daily, the consumer would have difficulty with a product liability case.

Product liability laws protect us all due to companies feel the need to self police themselves. If a company is being sued due to faulty products they lose consumer confidence. After the consumer confidence has left the company has little left. If you have a question regarding product liability ask one of our attorneys at KS Law!

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