Canan Law

Our Augustine Auto Accident Attorney Discusses Common Causes of Auto Accidents

February 4, 2016

car accidentSometimes an auto accident is just that; an accident. In many instances, however, a crash occurs due to someone’s negligence. The more miles you drive, the greater the chance you will be involved in an automobile accident, but by being aware of some of the more common causes, you may be able to develop some strategies to avoid being involved in one.

Distracted Driving

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 50 percent of all accidents on the American roadways are due to some form of distracted driving, which may be defined as any activity that diverts the drivers attention away from the task of driving. When you consider all the activities that occur inside a car during a drive, it is no wonder distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions. Common examples include talking on a cell phone, speaking with a passenger, adjusting a navigation device and eating. However, perhaps the most dangerous distraction as reported by an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Augustine is the one that is caused by texting while driving.

The Unique Dangers of Texting

Breaking down the elements of distracted driving, researchers have found three components:

  • Visual distraction
  • Manual distraction
  • Cognitive distraction

That is, a driver is distracted if he or she is not looking at the road, does not have his or her hands on the wheel or if his or her attention is focused somewhere other than on the road. Texting involves all three.

Speeding

Today’s world operates at a rapid pace, and everyone seems to be in a hurry all the time. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the road. Almost every driver speeds at one time or another, but that doesn’t justify doing so. Speed limits are set on each road for a reason; exceeding the posted limit can be deadly. While most people would agree that driving extremely fast, say 100 mph, is foolish and reckless, driving even five or ten miles over the speed limit can be just as dangerous depending on the conditions. For example, if an average motor vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, it will take approximately 45 feet to some to a complete stop. But if that vehicle is traveling at 35 mph, at a distance of 45 feet the car will still be moving at about 18 mph. Hitting another moving car, a stationary object, or worse, a pedestrian, at that speed can result in significant damage.

Drunk Driving

Despite much publicity and aggressive efforts by law enforcement, drunk driving remains a big problem. A startling report by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers indicates that despite the fact that as many as 4000 people a day in the country are arrested for drunk driving, up to 300,000 drunk driving incidences occur each day. Some say there is no reason to ever get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, but the science is clear that the dangers exponentially increase with the consumption of more alcohol. A NHTSA study found that drivers who were found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, the legal limit for most drivers, were four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than sober drivers. With a BAC of 0.15 percent, that number jumps to 12 times more likely.

Aggressive Driving

An overly aggressive driver poses risks to others who share the road. Behavior such as following too closely, honking the car’s horn, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes and running stop signs and red lights can result in accidents, many of which may not involve the aggressive driver.

Fatigue

Driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel are not merely problems for those who drive during nighttime hours. Although certainly true for the hours between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, there is also statistical evidence that many drivers exhibit similar symptoms of fatigue around what is known as the “2:00 pm slump.” Long journeys without appropriate rest are the main cause, and drivers often become fatigued without realizing that fact. In many instances, a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine reports that those who drive commercially are pressed into long hours by the trucking companies’ unrealistic schedule requirements.

Weather

Weather, particularly wet or icy roads, remains a leading cause of accidents. While curtailing driving during certain conditions may not be practical or possible, drivers who must venture out should adjust their driving speed to the road conditions, and be certain their vehicles are maintained properly for the type of driving required.

Contact a St. Augustine Auto Accident Attorney for Legal Advice

Whatever the cause of an auto accident, you need to be certain your legal rights are protected. For an evaluation of your case, call Canan Law, a St. Augustine auto accident attorney, at (904) 824-9402.

St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Explains 10 Common Divorce Mistakes

January 20, 2016

St. Augustine Divorce AttorneyYour St Augustine divorce attorney will explain to you that divorces usually involve a lot of emotion. Good or bad, these emotions can hinder the case, especially if there are children involved. The following ten items are things that can delay the divorce process and cause the finalization to be delayed.

Leaving in Secret

If you decide that you want to leave your marriage, you should do so openly. Gathering information about finances and assets in secret and then leaving without notice will cause a lot of distrust between both parties during the negotiations.

Discuss the Divorce First

If you surprise your spouse with divorce papers, you will most likely be met with aggression. It is nearly guaranteed that their St. Augustine lawyer will want to examine everything regarding the marriage extensively to determine the cause of the divorce and how long it was being planned. These issues can be very damaging in a proceeding.

Avoid Nasty Interactions

As your St Augustine divorce attorney will explain, nasty and snide comments towards each other during the negotiations will only cause more trouble and delay closure.

Keep Past Transgressions to Yourself

Relieving yourself of a guilty conscious may make you feel better, but it will only encourage your spouse to be more aggressive towards the divorce as an act of revenge.

Bad Financial Decisions

Emptying the bank accounts or maxing out the credit cards will be harmful to your case. If you do need money, only withdraw half of the bank account and leave the credit cards alone.

Hiding Financial Information

Refusing to divulge all of your financial information during the divorce process will only lead to headaches. It will lengthen the time of the process and increase all legal and accounting fees.

Hiding Assets

Disposing of assets or hiding assets is never a good idea. As your St. Augustine lawyer will explain, private investigators and forensic accountants have a way of finding these items and the Court will frown upon, and most likely punish, the offender.

New Relationships

If you decide to start a new relationship during the divorce process, you will most likely experience anger and jealously from your spouse. This will make the the divorce a lot harder to complete.

Trying to Make It Difficult

It is easy to want to make things difficult for your spouse because of the anger and betrayal you feel. However, being difficult during the settlement process will only delay the inevitable and cause legal fees to increase.

Arguing After the Divorce

Arguing after the divorce about the settlement agreement, or more seriously, about the children, will be very damaging to your children and very costly in legal and court expenses.

Speak to a St Augustine Divorce Attorney Today

If you need to file divorce, or have been served divorce papers, you are encourage to speak with an attorney at Canan Law. Call 904.824.9402 and schedule your appointment with a St Augustine divorce attorney today.

Our St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Explains Depositions in Divorce and Child Support Cases

January 12, 2016

St. Augustine Divorce Attorney If you are involved in a divorce or child support case, your St. Augustine divorce attorney may want to depose your spouse. Likewise, your spouse’s attorney may want to depose you. Depositions are a normal part of civil litigation that can help child support lawyers in Jacksonville, FL prepare for both settlement negotiations and trial.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is a way for your divorce attorney or child support lawyers in Jacksonville, FL to gather information from the opposing party prior to trial. Depositions usually happen at the attorney’s office – never in court. However, this does not mean a deposition is an informal proceeding.

Depositions are conducted under oath, so you must answer each question truthfully. A transcriptionist will be present to record your answers. Your attorney will also be present and may object if opposing counsel asks any improper questions. Both attorneys will receive a copy of the deposition once it is completed.

Why Take a Deposition?

Depositions help your attorney:

  • Elicit information from your spouse that he has failed to provide;
  • Learn more about opposing counsel’s trial strategy;
  • Point out weaknesses in your case;
  • Get an idea of how you perform under pressure, and;
  • Have a way to counter any later lies or misstatements made by your spouse, since deposition statements are admissible in court.

What Can I Expect During a Deposition?

Although each case is different, you should expect your spouse’s attorney to ask you questions regarding your:

  • Finances (i.e. value of checking/savings accounts, real property, investments, etc.);
  • Educational background;
  • Employment and work history;
  • Health;
  • Information regarding your children, and;
  • Proposed custody plan.

We will ask your spouse similar questions during her deposition.

Contact a St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering filing for divorce or child custody, an experienced divorce attorney can help. Call Canan Law‘s St. Augustine divorce attorneys or child custody lawyers in Jacksonville, FL today at (904) 824-9402.

 

Our Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Discusses Negotiating with a Bad Faith Insurance Carrier

January 6, 2016

 Jacksonville Car Accident AttorneyYour Jacksonville car accident attorney at Canan Law understands that all automobile insurance carriers are not equal, even though it may appear that way when a potential customer is deciding on an insurance provider. The same is true when an injured motorist is attempting to file a claim with a car insurance company that regularly uses borderline bad faith tactics when handling a personal injury or accident claim. The truth is that many insurance companies will attempt to postpone a claim settlement for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the insurance adjuster is overwhelmed with cases. Sometimes they are merely forcing the claimant to take a case to court before acting. Actually, many times the difference in the expediency of a claim settlement is based on the size of the responsible insurance company and the conservative payout approach employed in standard negotiations. Regardless of insurance company size or negotiation policy, it is always a good decision to retain an experienced St. Augustine car accident attorney like the legal professionals at Canan Law.

Bad Faith Procrastination

Purposely procrastinating a car accident claim is a typical tactic used by many insurance carriers. While some insurance companies prefer to mediate an injury or accident claim, others will force all claimants to retain an attorney and file the case in court. The responsible insurance company has very little incentive for settling a case early unless a claimant is attempting to settle the case themselves without representation and have no idea of their damage recovery possibilities. The only responsibility the insurance carrier claims adjuster has is in protecting the company by reducing an obviously covered claim or protecting the actual negligent driver and client. Otherwise, the adjuster will wait the claimant out either in an effort to get them to cease the claim or force their legal counsel to establish the potential for a separate bad faith lawsuit. Your reputable Jacksonville car accident attorney will recognize when the insurance provider is stalling for some unacceptable reason.

Bad Faith Lawsuits and Punitive Damage Awards

Most car accident cases only include compensatory damages for personal injury and physical property damage. This is why good faith insurance companies would just as soon settle a case when possible. Cases involving long-term injury and ongoing medical coverage can still be problematic and aggressively defended. Also, claims for pain and suffering are considered non-economic compensatory damages, and claims that fit within the limits of the negligent driver’s coverage policy are often sufficient damage awards. But, when this cannot be negotiated, your St. Augustine car accident attorney can begin the process of a potential bad faith lawsuit or taking the accident to trial in hopes of a punitive damage award. All insurance companies want to avoid punitive damage awards from a sympathetic jury, and this can be a very effective leverage tool for your attorney when settling the case.

Contact a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

Anyone in Florida who is dealing with a procrastinating insurance carrier should contact Canan Law at (904) 824-9402 for a free and full evaluation of your accident claim.

Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyer Helps Drivers Rattled by Police Questioning

December 16, 2015

Jacksonville DUI Lawyer When police officers stop or detain a Florida motorist, they usually ask a series of questions designed to find out information, which is why you should consult with a Jacksonville DUI lawyer when it happens to you. Officers use their interrogation skills to ascertain if you, the driver, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Of course, few people will admit to being unfit to drive, so the police ask questions in a manner purposely designed to confuse you. These divided-attention questions force you to focus intently. An inability to do so could provide the evidence needed for officers to heighten up the interrogation, perhaps even leading to an arrest, necessitating you contact a Jacksonville DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

Legality of Divided-Attention Questioning by the Police

You may believe such divided-attention questions a bit underhanded and sneaky. However, the authorities claim to have the public interest in mind. Drivers, or others, under the influence of an inebriating substance pose a danger to all in their vicinity. By asking questions that force you to do or think about more than one thing at the same time, the police replicate the type of attention required to handle a motor vehicle, work on the job or care for children. If you cannot handle this series of questions to their satisfaction, the police might assume you unable to be engaged in whatever activity you had been presently doing.

Common Types of Divided-Attention Questions and Tests Posed by Police

Police will often ask for a driver to produce two things at the same time; perhaps, a drivers license and vehicle registration. During standard questioning, they may also begin posing distracting questions that have little to do with the situation at hand. A drunk driver, for example, may lose their train of thought under any of these forms of interrogation. There is also the walk-and-turn test. During this exercise, you will have to perform a physical task, along with answering difficult questions. Likewise, the one-leg test has you maintain your balance while counting large numbers. In general, the police may stop you and apply these techniques in any form or combination. Again, the overall aim is to distract you, so that they can discern whether or not you have been drinking or using drugs. The next step, assuming there is some degree of suspicion, will be the field sobriety test, as provided under state law.

Get Legal Help with Traffic Stops from a Compassionate Jacksonville DUI Lawyer

If during a traffic stop, the police asked questions to rattle you, contact a Jacksonville DUI lawyer, such as one at Canan Law, at (904) 824-9402, today.

Our Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Discusses Neck Injuries

December 12, 2015

 Jacksonville Car Accident AttorneyOur Jacksonville car accident attorney at Canan Law has represented many car accident victims who have suffered neck injuries in a variety of ways. Commonly called whiplash unless there is a fracture of some type, most neck injuries are the result of a violent snapping of the head while in an automobile accident. There are several factors in an accident that could potentially create a serious neck injury, and your Jacksonville car accident attorney from Canaan Law can use these known injury enhancement problems to build your personal injury claim for a maximum settlement.

Angle Collisions

Neck injuries that occur due to an auto accident that involves angular impact can be the most serious of all crashes because the passengers in the impacted vehicle are normally not expecting the collision. Violent snapping of the head sideways can also create extensive soft-tissue ligament damage because of the relative weakness of the side tissue adjacent to the neck. Injuries from side collision can also extend from the neck to the shoulder area, resulting in much more significant damage that may also linger long-term.

Head-On Collisions

Collisions that occur in traditional vehicle traffic alignments can potentially not as serious as side impacts because the victims can often see the crash occurring and be able to brace themselves somewhat. The snapping action may not be as violent, but your Jacksonville car accident attorney knows that serious injury can still occur easily in linear conditions based on the speed of traffic flow, which is also often a rate in excess of the speed limit. In addition, these are high speed impacts that can easily result in serious head injury as well.

Road Conditions

Road conditions in wet or icy weather can also have an impact on the severity of an automobile accident. This can be very important in states that utilize “no fault” insurance policy where the actual driver causing the accident could potentially be exempt from being sued for personal injury.

Gender

One component of a personal injury involving the neck is the gender of the victim. Women tend to suffer much more severe neck injuries than men, possibly because of head position while traveling when women aren’t driving. While drivers may be paying close attention to the highway, passengers many times are not focused on the roadway. This situation can make passengers more vulnerable to neck injury than drivers, and those passengers are often female.

Contact a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

Anyone suffering a neck injury in an auto accident should contact Jacksonville car accident attorney Canan Law at (904) 824-9402 for a free evaluation of your personal injury claim.

A Jacksonville Criminal Attorney on Search and Seizure

November 18, 2015

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides the fundamental protections limiting law enforcement’s power in conducting unreasonable searches of people and their property and unreasonable seizures of illegal contraband. If your Jacksonville criminal attorney can successfully argue a Fourth Amendment violation, it may be possible to exclude evidence and significantly weaken or terminate the prosecution’s case against you.

Warrantless Searches

Although the grounds for the issuance of a search warrant can be challenged as well as the scope of what was seized pursuant to that warrant, the majority of arrests are the result of warrantless searches. Under these circumstances, the district attorney has the burden of proof to show the search was legal. In deciding search and seizure cases, courts must balance law enforcement’s legitimate interest in detecting and preventing crime with a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Probable Cause

It must be proved the police had probable cause to belief you committed a crime or had evidence of a crime in your possession.

Expectation of Privacy

Fourth Amendment issues only apply if, at the time of the search, you had an actual expectation of privacy and, as a Jacksonville criminal attorney emphasizes, that expectation was reasonable under all the facts and circumstances.

Issues to Consider

Some factors to determine whether search and seizure may be an issue in your case include:

  • Were you stopped by police? Were you subsequently arrested? Did the police take anything from you? When did they do so?
  • Did the police inspect any personal property of yours? Did they ask your permission before doing so?
  • Did the police examine any part of your body or take samples of blood, hair or urine?
  • Did the police search the immediate area you were in when stopped? Were you in your car? Someone else’s car? Were you in your home? Someone else’s home?
  • Did the police intercept or monitor any communications, such as private conversations, telephone calls or emails?

Contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney for Legal Advice

If it is possible to suppress any evidence illegally seized, it may also be possible to exclude other evidence found as a result. If you have been arrested or are currently under investigation, you need to understand your rights and explore your potential options. Begin with a call to Canan Law, a Jacksonville criminal attorney, at (904) 824-9402.

How a Denial of Your Rights Affects Your Case

St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer Clients sometimes think that their Constitutional rights were denied and ask our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer what they should do. The following information provides an overview of how your attorney might handle specific issues with your case.

Determining Probable Cause

Law enforcement officers need to have a legitimate reason or probable cause in order to legally arrest a person. Probable cause means that the authorities reasonably think that a person committed a crime, resulting in the alleged offender’s arrest. If there is a question about probable cause, you have the right to a court hearing to determine probable cause, usually in less than 48 hours. In some cases, the court might have sanctioned a warrant, so probable cause was determined at that time.

Dealing with Excessive Delays in a Criminal Case

Your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer might take the following steps if the courts or the prosecution delayed in providing you with a probable cause review.

  • Filing a writ of habeas corpus – Your attorney might file a writ of habeas corpus in order to secure your release. However, the process is time-consuming as he or she needs to draw up the paperwork and wait for the hearing to be scheduled. By that time, you might have been released. Instead, your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer might decide to make some telephone calls up the chain of command, all the way to the supervising prosecutor or even to the judge in the case when necessary. Your attorney will explain the circumstances of the case to the judge, who will look at how the court can avoid any litigation as he or she works to expedite your hearing and your case.
  • Federal civil rights violations – Your lawyer might file a lawsuit alleging federal civil rights violations against the police, prosecutors and the court system. Just the threat of legal action will likely bring relief since anyone held liable will need to pay your legal and related fees if you win the case.
  • Suppressing evidence in a confession and related statements – You might not be able to hire an attorney in time to seek relief for a habeas corpus writ or to file a civil rights lawsuit. Even so, any delays in an appearance before the magistrate or the judge at an initial appearance could still negatively impact the prosecution’s case. For example, the authorities might delay your appearance because they are trying to convince you to confess. However, if the court later determines that the delay is illegal, the confession and any related statements will not be admitted in court and cannot be used against you.
  • Seeking release on bail – The courts look at the totality of the situation when granting bail and when determining a final bail amount for your release. If your lawyer addresses this delay, the judge might reduce bail in the case due to the prosecution’s questionable actions.

Call Our St. Augustine Criminal Defense Lawyer

Our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer at Canan Law can challenge and address any denial of your Constitutional rights. Call (904) 824-9402 today.

How Does the Judge Determine Child Support?

November 17, 2015

Divorce Lawyers in Jacksonville FLIf you are in the process of negotiating a child support agreement, our divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL may be able to help you. Divorce court lawyers follow state-specific laws to determine a fair child support arrangement and use guidelines and formulas to arrive at a payment calculation. Judges also consider the tax consequences before combining child and spousal support.

Determining Support Payments

The first consideration in child support calculations is eligibility. The judge first determines whether the child is eligible to receive support. Many states only require support until the child reaches a certain age or becomes emancipated. Other states require that one parent offers support throughout college, and children with disabilities may receive ongoing support. Many states treat other care-related expenses, such as medical care, daycare and after school activities as a part of the child support obligation. Others allow parents to work out payment arrangements for such expenses between themselves. In nearly half of all states, your judge will base payments on the amount of time the payor spouse has the children in his or her care. High-income payors are also able to be held to a different standard than the state formula for child support. This means that a high-income payor often pays more than other parents would for child support payments. However, it can also mean that the high-income payor pays less child support than he or she would have under the state payment formulations. This is done to prevent a particularly high support payment from becoming alimony for the non-payor spouse.

Calculating the Support Amount

Before your case ever goes before a judge, there are a variety of calculating programs that divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL can help you use to determine what you can expect from your custody arrangement. Having a general idea of what your payments will be before going to court can help you make the necessary financial preparations.

Contact Divorce Lawyers in Jacksonville FL

Contact Canan Law today at (904) 824-9402 to speak with divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL who are experienced in child custody arrangements.

 

A St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer Explains How You May be Affected by a Lawsuit

November 4, 2015

gavel scales St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer When you are working with your St. Augustine car accident lawyer, they will explain what you can expect as you prepare to file your lawsuit. Car accident injury lawsuits normally follow the same procedure. Understanding how your case will progress and what it will entail can help you to better prepare.

Initial Investigation of Your Case

Before filing the lawsuit, your St. Augustine car accident lawyer will first investigate your case. They may do this by reviewing police reports and other documents, such as your medical records. They will then draft the complaint, which is the document needed to commence the lawsuit. Along with the complaint, they will also draft a summons to be served on the defendant.

Filing and Serving the Summons and Complaint

The next step is when the lawyer actually files the summons and complaint with the court. They will then serve the documents on the defendant. The defendant then has time to reply to the complaint and file it with the court.

Discovery

The discovery process is initiated after the lawsuit is started. This involves both parties exchanging information about the case. During discovery, you may expect such things as written interrogatories in which the party must answer questions. In some cases, you and other witnesses may also be deposed and testify under oath in front of the involved attorneys. Your attorney may also need to send copies of the reports and your medical records to the other party, even if they were already sent to the insurance company. This is done when there has been a request for production of documents. There might also be a request for admissions, which simply means asking parties to agree to certain facts that will not be in dispute during the case.

Trial or Settlement

Leading up to trial, your attorney may file motions in court. They will then prepare the case for trial. During this time, your attorney may work to negotiate a fair settlement in your case so you can recover damages you deserve. If a settlement cannot be reached, you will then proceed to trial in court.

Contact a St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may need help. To speak with a St. Augustine car accident lawyer at Canan Law, call (904) 824-9402.

The Law Offices of Patrick T. Canan in St. Augustine, Florida represents clients throughout St. Johns County, Duval County, Flagler County, Putman County, Clay County,
and the cities of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Coast, Palatka, Green Cove Springs, Bunnell, Flagler Beach, Hastings, Crescent City, Interlachen, and Jacksonville.

The Offices of Patrick T. Canan | 1030 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd | St. Augustine, FL 32084 | Telephone 904.824.9402 | Fax 904.824.9269
Email generalinquiries@cananlaw.com | For emergencies, call 904.716.3450 | Office Hours: 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday
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