Wardell Law Firm | Tampa Law Office
Personal Injury


Answers to your legal questions.


Question: How do I know if I have a case?

Answer: You likely don’t know. The law is complicated. Establishing liability and proving damages in a personal injury case are not easy tasks, and even “good” cases can be lost without skilled representation. There is no such thing as a “slam dunk” in the law,

Because it takes specialized knowledge and an objective eye to fully evaluate the merits of a case, it is never a good idea to attempt to determine whether you have a valid claim for damages. On the other hand, an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the area of law relevant to your specific case can thoroughly and dispassionately review your facts to determine if your situation is actionable.



Question: How much is my case worth?

Answer: We don’t know. Though we try to give our clients a general idea of potential damages if their claim is successful, it’s difficult to estimate the total value of a personal injury case. Numerous elements are involved in calculating a plaintiff’s damages, including lost wages, medical costs, ongoing treatment, pain and suffering, and property damage. While certain things like medical bills and lost wages can be relatively easy to determine, other, more intangible damages such as future treatment costs and loss of enjoyment of life are truly tough to calculate and often require expert testimony. Just like there is no such thing as a “slam dunk” case, there is no guarantee of a certain amount of recovery.



Question: Will I have to go to court? Will I have to testify?

Answer: The vast majority of personal injury cases settle before trial. Even in those cases, however, court hearings are almost inevitable. In many cases, they are quite informal and are mostly designed to give the parties a chance to settle their differences and reach a mutually acceptable settlement. They usually don’t require the presence or participation of the actual litigants. While we make every effort to reach favorable settlements, trials are sometimes unavoidable. If your case gets that far, we will be thoroughly prepared because from day one, we approach every case as if we would need to prove liability and damages at trial. Our reputation for courtroom skill and aggressive trial advocacy actually increases the likelihood of achieving a favorable settlement and avoiding trial altogether.



Question: How do contingency fees work?

Answer: When we take a case, it means we believe in the case. We turn away clients and cases so we can invest all of our efforts and attention in the matters we handle. That investment includes offering our personal injury clients free consultations and a contingency fee arrangement. This means you pay nothing up front and we receive nothing if your case is unsuccessful. In the event we obtain a recovery for you, either through settlement or at trial, our fees are paid out of a portion of the sum recovered.



Question: How can I get myself or a loved one out of jail?

Answer: In most cases, the fastest way to regain your freedom after an arrest is to post bond. The United States and Florida constitutions give everyone the right to bail or a bond unless you are charged with a capital crime (i.e., offenses that carry a penalty of life in prison or death). In Florida, you can either post bond yourself or use the services of a professional bail bondsman. Because few people have the resources to come up with enough cash to pay the entire bail amount up front, they often turn to a bail bondsman. The majority of bond companies charge around 10 percent of the total bail amount. If your bail is set at $10,000, this means you must pay the bondsman $1,000.

Question: Can the police search my car?

Answer: The United States Constitution protects all of us from unreasonable searches and, in most cases, law enforcement personnel are required to obtain a warrant before conducting a search. However, there are some situations when an officer can search your vehicle without a warrant. If you give your consent to a search of your car , which you are not required to do , officers can search your car and any evidence they find can be used against you. If you consent to a search, you may be depriving yourself of the ability to challenge the validity of the search and thus the admissibility of any evidence fou nd during the search.

If police have a good reason – known as “probable cause” –to believe that a vehicle contains illegal contraband, such as drugs or weapons, they can conduct a search without a warrant and without the driver’s consent. However, the police can only search in the area where they believe the items are located. Similarly, off icers can make a warrantless search of a vehicle after they arrest its driver.

Question: What is the difference between federal drug charges and state drug charges?

Answer: Drug crimes such as possession, trafficking and manufacturing can be prosecuted under both Florida and federal law. In general, the penal ties for federal drug convictions are much harsher than the fines and sentences under Florida law.Federal sentencing guidelines impose longer prison terms on convicted persons. Drug charge s can always be prosecuted as federal crimes any time an accused crosses state lines. Add itionally, certain quantities of drugs can propel you into federal court.

Question: If I can’t afford an attorney, will I get one for free?

Answer: Under the constitutions of the United States and the state of Florida, you are entitled to an attorney at no cost to yourself at every stage of a criminal proceeding. Attorneys that are appointed to represent you under those circumstances are referred to as “public defenders.” However, know that although public defenders work very hard, they are usually overwhelmed by enormous caseloads as budget cuts and other pressures mean that their offices are understaffed and under pressure. This can me n a less than effective defense that could leave you facing the serious consequences of a criminal conviction.

Given the potential loss of your freedom and the other harsh consequences of a conviction, you should give serious thought to whether to leave your defense and your future to chance simply to save a few dollars.

Question: How much will it cost to hire a Criminal defense attorney?

Answer: The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the complexity of your case, the seriousness of the criminal charges, and the events leading up to your arrest. We are committed to providing all of our clients with aggressive, personal criminal defense representation at the most reasonable cost possible.

Wardell Law Firm: tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys Who Are Committed to You

A combination of legal excellence and personal commitment is hard to come by. Finding a Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney you can trust and who will bring you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your matter will be taken care of is even harder. At Wardell Law Firm in Tampa, we make sure that each client and each case receives all of that. Call our criminal defense law firm today at (813) 387-3333 or complete our online form to arrange for a free consultation. If you are unable to make it to our Tampa law office, we can come to meet with you. We also offer Portuguese language services. We look forward to hearing from you. We look forward to fighting for you as your Tampa criminal defense attorneys.