Legal Toolkit Florida Lawsuits and Appeals

What to Know About Lawsuits and Appeals

a

Financial injury

refers to the experience of serious financial loss within contractual or commercial relationships, including disputes related to insurance or employment contracts or unfair business practices.

b

Character injury

is also referred to as Defamation and includes Slander and Libel. These refer to instances when a false statement has been made as though it was factual, and the statement may harm the reputation or character of the person or business about whom it was made. Slander is usually spoken defamation but can include gestures, sign language, and other “non-permanent” statements. Libel is typically written or printed defamation but can include pictures, signs, film, and electronic broadcasts like websites, webcasts, podcasts, television, or radio.

c

Consumer Fraud

is investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Attorney General (AG), and Better Business Bureaus (BBB). These agencies also link to other agencies that report trends and tips about recent national fraudulent activities. Consumer Law lawyers concentrate on faulty consumer product issues. See “Where to Read More” for links to FTC, BBB and the AG.

d

Lemon Law:

A vehicle is officially a "lemon" if it is still under warranty and has such severe problems that it’s use, value, and/or safety is impaired and the dealer or seller has not fixed the defects within a reasonable amount of time and repair opportunities. If a vehicle meets the "lemon law" standard, the consumer is entitled to have the dealer or seller buy back the vehicle or replace it. In Florida, "lemon laws" cover cars, light trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and some recreational vehicles. New or used vehicles that are bought or leased can be considered "lemons" if they are still under warranty. Each state has different time frames and repair attempt allowances. In Florida, if the same defect is worked on three times and is still not repaired, it can be considered a "lemon". The time frame allowed as reasonable for a car to be out of service before it is considered a "lemon" is 31 days in Florida and the number of defects that puts a vehicle into the "lemon" area is nine or more. The attorney general in your state would typically investigate "lemon law issues" and or a consumer law attorney can advise you about "lemon law" rights and legal options.

e

Unsafe Vehicles

In most states, a serious defect on a vehicle under warranty that would cause immediate safety issues (like a brake defect) may immediately place a vehicle in the "lemon" category. It would be wisest to discontinue any use of your vehicle as soon as you determined that such a defect existed. The attorney general in your state would typically investigate “lemon law issues” and or a consumer law attorney can advise you about "lemon law" rights and legal options.

f

Victim’s Rights:

Innocent victims of violent crimes may be eligible to receive VOC (victim of crime) funds to compensate them for certain economic losses suffered because of the crime. Losses covered won’t include stolen property/money or emotional distress like "pain and suffering" but may include compensation for hospital bills not covered by insurance. The victim requesting compensation cannot have received the injuries while committing a crime or intending to commit a crime and felons may not be eligible to receive VOC funds. The Attorney General’s office in most states allocates these victim compensation funds. Dispensation of the funds will require applications to be filled out and the victim and the crime will have to meet certain criteria to qualify. Victims can also apply to be notified automatically by phone if the status or custody of their offender has changed, through a program called VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday). VINE provides free information to victims about offenders legally held in custody in county courts, county jails, state prisons, and juvenile facilities across the country. See "Where to Read More" for a link to the national VINE site or to the Florida Attorney General’s VINE program.

g

Lawsuit Timing:

Despite the existence of statutes of limitations for certain matters, the law allows some leeway in filing a lawsuit. If you suspect that you may need to enter into litigation with another party over a legal issue, meeting with an attorney immediately will help ensure that evidence is preserved and that timing deadlines are addressed. A litigation attorney can advise you about the particulars of your legal situation and how to proceed in your best interests.