Disclaimer: Blick Blog discusses topics regarding general legal information for the purposes of educating readers only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Submitting a legal question or receipt of information on this forum does not create an attorney client relationship with attorney Michael C. Blickensderfer or Blick Law Firm. Attorney Michael C. Blickensderfer cannot guarantee a specific result in any legal matter. Also, this website and blog is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Florida.

Gov. Scott Passes New Law to Protect Children, Vulnerable People, and Pets

BLICK-LAW-FIRM, MICHAEL-BLICKENSDERFER, TAMPA-LAW-FIRM, BLICK-LAW-FIRM-TAMPAFlorida has recently experienced an increasing amount of cases of pets, children, and other vulnerable people being left in overheated cars. As a direct reaction to this problem, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill that will make it legal to break into a car to rescue pets or people that are believed to be in danger of suffocation or other harm.

The bill went into effect in early March, along with 16 other bills Scott signed into law. The new law comes just in time for Florida’s hot summer weather, when it is most dangerous to leave any person or animal inside a vehicle.

“Florida has seen much warmer than average temperatures in the last 12 months. In fact, the period from March 2015 through February 2016 ranked as the hottest on record for that stretch,” said Chris Dolce, meteorologist at weather.com.

In 2014, there were as many as 32 reports of children dying in hot cars, according to Kids and Cars. PETA reports that animals can sustain brain damage or die of heat stroke after just 15 minutes inside a hot car. The bill applies only to domesticated animals that may be kept in the home as pets (not livestock or other farm animals) and all people.

Under the new law, any person who breaks into a car in an attempt to save either a child or domesticated animal from suffering complications due to overheating, will not be held responsible for the damages to the vehicle. The individual cannot be sued, as long as they have done the following:

• Checked to make sure the vehicle is locked
• Have a reasonable belief that based on the present circumstances the person or animal trapped in the car is in imminent danger of suffering harm
• Called 911 either before or immediately after breaking into the vehicle
• Use only the necessary amount of force to free the trapped person or animal
• Remain with the person or animal until law enforcement arrives on the scene

At Blick Law Firm, our desire is to help the hurting and defend our client’s rights during their times of need. If you or a loved one needs legal advice in one of our many areas of expertise, call our office at 888-973-2776 for a free consultation with a trusted attorney today! For more information, [Click Here].

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Leading Causes of Personal Bankruptcy

DISNEY, DONALD-TRUMP, CELEBRITIES, BANKRUPTCY-ATTORNEY, FINANCIAL-HARDSHIP.5An alarmingly large number of Americans have filed for bankruptcy in recent years. Below is a list of the most common sources of modern American bankruptcy.

Medical Expenses
A study conducted by Harvard University shows that 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies have resulted from medical expenses, more specifically the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills from rare or serious diseases and injuries. Close to 80 percent of Americans who filed for bankruptcy because of medical expenses have medical insurance policies.

Job Loss
Job loss, whether from layoff, termination, or resignation, results in an obvious loss of income. The loss of income and other benefits that come with a secure job, forces the unemployed to drain their financial resources. Unfortunately, those who cannot find another form of employment in a timely manner often must file for bankruptcy.

Poor Credit
It’s a well-known fact that many Americans struggle with managing their finances. Credit card bills, installment debt, car and other loan payments can all add up. Once the borrower is unable to make even the minimum payment on each type of debt, filing for bankruptcy is likely the only option left.

Divorce or Separation
Going through a divorce or separation is not just emotionally draining; it is often financially draining, too. Paying legal fees, dividing marital assets, deciding on child support and visitation, and maintaining two separate households puts a strain on finances for the many Americans who go through this process every year.

Unexpected Costs
Emergency spending can certainly add up, but some of the most common unexpected costs are associated with loss of property, due to theft or severe weather events. Many homeowners don’t realize they need specialized coverage for earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes. If they don’t have that coverage, they are likely to lose their homes and valuables and spend quite a bit rebuilding their lives.

There are a variety of reasons Americans turn to bankruptcy, but often, common sense, sound financial planning, and preparation for the future can prevent bankruptcy from being your only available option. At Blick Law Firm, we understand that filing for bankruptcy is an emotional experience. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, our trusted team of attorneys can help maximize your recovery and provide you with the benefits you are entitled to. Visit blicklawfirm.com to fill out an evaluation form, or call 888-973-2776 for a free consultation today!

Posted in Bankruptcy, Blog | Leave a comment

10 Things to Remember if Stopped for a DUI

FRAUD, CRIMINAL, WHITE-COLLAR-CRIME, DEFENSE-ATTORNEY, TAMPA-LAW-FIRM 1When stopped for a DUI, whether you believe you are guilty of driving above the legal limit or not, it is important to remain calm and cooperate with the law enforcement officer who stopped you. The following are 10 important things to keep in mind if you are pulled over for a DUI.

1. Pull over properly.
Slow down and pull your car over to the right side of the road, when it is safe to do so. Using your turn signal will help notify the officer of your intentions.

2. Remain in your vehicle.
Turn your vehicle off and remain inside the car with your hands on the steering wheel. If it is dark outside, you should turn the vehicle’s interior lights on. Do not get out of your vehicle unless the officer asks you to do so.

3. Don’t act suspicious.
Avoid any behaviors that might make it seem as if you are trying to hide or dispose of something. Fidgeting in your seat, leaning to one direction or another, or any other uncharacteristic body language may lead the officer to ask you to step out of your vehicle for a pat down, and possibly to search your vehicle.

4. Follow directions.
Listen to what the officer tells you and cooperate with him or her. You cannot drive away until the officer gives you permission to do so.

5. Be mindful of what you say.
Simply answer the officer’s questions, without offering extra information, arguing, or using an offensive tone of voice. Advise your passengers to do the same.

6. Act normal.
Remember that you are being observed by the officer, his or her partner if they have one, and potentially video equipment on their vehicle. Any strange behavior might signal the officer that further action should be taken.

7. Answer “How much did you drink?” carefully.
It is routine for officers to ask how much someone has had to drink when pulled over for a suspected DUI charge. It is best to either remain silent or assert that you cannot remember the exact amount you had to drink before getting behind the wheel. “Underestimations” about the amount you’ve had to drink can be used against you in court, so it is best to avoid giving an amount all together.

8. Think carefully about BAC testing.
Implied consent means that by acquiring a driver’s license, you consent to taking a BAC test. Refusing to take the test may result in worse consequences, but if you are seriously intoxicated, refusal might be in your best interest. In Florida, refusing to take a BAC test for your first DUI offense results in a one year license suspension; refusing to take the test for your second and third offenses results in an 18-month license suspension.

9. Don’t do any tests that aren’t mandatory.
Officers may ask you to “walk the line” or stand on one leg. Before complying with such requests, ask if the DUI test is mandatory.

10. When in doubt…
If you have any doubt that the person who pulled you over is a police officer, politely ask to speak with a supervisor for clarification, or tell the officer you’d like to follow them to the police station.

A DUI defense attorney, like the trusted professional traffic lawyers at Blick Law Firm, will ensure your rights are protected, guide you through the court proceedings, and help you obtain a favorable outcome for your case. If charged with a DUI, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. Call Blick Law Firm today at 888-973-2776 to set up a free consultation! For more information, [click here]

Posted in Blog, DUI | Leave a comment

New Legislation Puts Future of Greyhound Racing in Question

GREYHOUND-RACING,DOGS,FLORIDA-GREYHOUND-ASSOCIATION,PALM-BEACH-KENNEL-CLUB,ANIMAL-RIGHTS-ACTIVIST,DOG-RACESA bill proposed by the Florida Legislature could jeopardize the future of greyhound racing in the state. Animal rights advocates are pleased with the news. Those in the greyhound industry, however, worry about the thousands of people who could face unemployment as a result.

Though profits from greyhound racing have decreased in recent years, Florida remains one of the only states to allow the practice. Florida’s industry boasts more than 8,000 dogs, 4,000 workers, and 12 tracks. A law put into place years ago requires that tracks hold races in order to have slot machines and betting games. This law was put into place in the hopes of protecting greyhound racing industry workers, but animal activists do not see the benefit in allowing dog races to continue.

Animal rights activists have been pushing for state legislators to “decouple” racing and gambling, meaning tracks could decide whether or not they would continue to hold dog races. Multiple bills with decoupling language have died in the past. But, because the state is working to regulate several different aspects of the gambling industry at once, decoupling could be part of a bigger deal in 2016.

Spokesperson for the Florida Greyhound Association, David Bishop, said, “Clearly we do not support decoupling. This will bring an end to greyhound racing in Florida.” Bishop went on to explain that many tracks have “moved on” from dog racing, holding races only because they are required to by law if they wish to operate slot machines and offer other casino-type games.

Palm Beach Kennel Club is one of Florida’s biggest greyhound racing facilities, running more than 5,000 races a year. Spokeswoman for the club said that the track does GREYHOUND-RACING,DOGS,FLORIDA-GREYHOUND-ASSOCIATION,PALM-BEACH-KENNEL-CLUB,ANIMAL-RIGHTS-ACTIVIST,DOG-RACES 2not have any current plans to do away with dog racing. “We pretty much run year-round,” spokeswoman Theresa Hume said. “We feel like we’re successful at it. We have no plans to change that. Currently.” For more information contact a legal representative today to set up your 15 minute free consultation at 813-931-0840!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

What role can social media play in your personal injury case?

ATTORNEY,SOCIAL-MEDIA,INSURANCE-COMPANIES,MEDICAL-TREATMENTS,INTERNET,LAWYER,SOCIAL-MEDIA-POST 2Nearly everyone has some sort of social media account, and the majority of users post after big life moments, from exciting to startling. In the digital age, your social media posts, even the seemingly innocent, can be used as evidence in court. This is true in a case of any nature, but especially for personal injury cases.

Avoid posting anything about your case. This may seem to go without saying, but in an emotional moment, it is important to control your impulses, and your fingers, regarding leaking any information pertaining to your case on the internet. Information that could be potentially harmful to your case, and that you should not post on your social media accounts, include:
• Conversations with your lawyer
• Information about your medical treatment or diagnosis
• Disgruntles with the opposing party or your insurance company
• The exchange of contact with anyone involved in the case

Limit your location “check-ins,” photos posted, and photos friends tag you in. In a personal injury case, you and your attorney are working to convince the court that you are 1) injured and 2) experiencing a lesser quality of life because of it. Frequent posts about extreme sports or other physical activities, social events and parties, and regular trips out of the house could make it seem that you are living your life normally following an accident, not in a situation of pain, stress, and suffering.

While social media information is quite easy to obtain, even if your account is listed as ATTORNEY,SOCIAL-MEDIA,INSURANCE-COMPANIES,MEDICAL-TREATMENTS,INTERNET,LAWYER,SOCIAL-MEDIA-POSTprivate, in some cases insurance companies and other parties involved in the case may request to follow you or add you as a friend to obtain easier access to your posts and information. During your case, it is best to accept social media connections only from people you personally know well, and would want to see all your information. For more information contact a legal representative today to set up your 15 minute free consultation at 813-931-0840!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Governor Scott Signs Questionable New Water Policy

FLINT-WATER-CRISIS,WATER-MANAGEMENT,FLORIDA-WATER-SOURCES,RICK-SCOTT 2The current Flint water crisis has many Floridians thinking about their own water situations. It’s no new opinion that Florida’s water should be regulated, but the recent Florida SB 552, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, will likely stand in the way of those desired regulations.

The bill’s original intention was to clean up Florida’s water sources and protect aquifers. The legislative process mangled the bill to advance special interests, tie the hands of local water management districts, and potentially, leave the costs of pollution clean ups to taxpayers.

Former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham personally contacted Gov. Scott, urging him not to sign the bill. Graham said, “This bill leaves the people and businesses of Florida unprepared to meet the water challenges of the 21st century.”

Graham feels the bill does very little in the way of restricting water usage for the more than 19 million Florida residents and will not be effective in controlling the amount of pollutants that enter Florida water sources. Instead, the bill loosens pollution enforcement standards and gives large water users decades to meet their cleanup goals.

The bill will not only affect Florida’s people, but could have detrimental effects on the wildlife by interfering with clean up of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. Both of FLINT-WATER-CRISIS,WATER-MANAGEMENT,FLORIDA-WATER-SOURCES,RICK-SCOTTwhich have elevated phosphorus levels from many years of farming and urban runoff.

The flawed water policy, meant to “modernize” Florida’s water standards, will leave Florida citizens wanting more from their state legislators. For more information contact a legal representative today to set up your 15 minute free consultation at 813-931-0840!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment