Areas of Practice
Car Accidents My Be Common, But They Can Be Devastating
Auto accidents happen every day. In fact, it is the lucky few of us who go through life without even one minor fender-bender. But not all car accidents are fender benders; they are actually among the most common causes of devastating, life-altering personal injuries. It’s not only serious injuries that accidents leave in their wake; in 2010 alone 2,445 people were killed in traffic accidents on Florida’s roads and highways.
The aftermath of a car accident can leave drivers, passengers, and their families dealing with challenging physical and medical issues, financial struggles, and the practical problems that come with a loss of mobility. When the injuries and damage were caused by the carelessness or negligence of someone else, you deserve the opportunity to seek compensation that can help ease these burdens so you can get back on your feet and back to your life.
At Wardell Law Firm, we represent individuals who have been seriously injured in auto accidents, fighting for their rights, standing up against insurance companies who try to nickel and dime them, and allowing them to focus on their recovery while we handle everything else.
Don’t Face Insurance Companies Alone
Florida law requires drivers to carry liability insurance. This means that in most accident cases, the defendant’s insurer will take over the defense of the case. From the moment they become aware of an accident or claim, insurers will do everything they can to minimize the amount they may have to pay. Immediately after the accident, insurers conduct an investigation to gather potential evidence, including police reports, photographs of the vehicles and the accident scene, and witness statements. Without a skilled auto accident attorney on your side doing the same thing for you, the value or likelihood of success of your claim can diminish or disappear altogether.
One of the most common mistakes accident victims make is to speak with and negotiate with insurance companies without an attorney. The insurers are there to protect their interests, not yours, and will pressure and intimidate you into agreeing to a settlement significantly lower than what you are entitled to. Additionally, they will try to nickel and dime you on things like repairs to your car or medical bills. We won’t let that happen.
As experienced personal injury attorneys, we will make sure that the appropriate steps are taken from day one and can help you avoid making statements or volunteering information that may harm your case. Our thorough case evaluation will allow us to determine the extent of your injuries, the strength of your case, and the value of your claim. We’ll help you get the medical treatment and attention you need as well.
You have enough to deal with; the last thing you need is a self-interested insurance company trying to strong-arm you into a quick settlement. Let us handle them while you focus on your health and your life.
Tenacious Trial Advocacy
Our ability to obtain favorable settlements with insurance companies is directly related to our well-earned reputation as attorneys who are not afraid to go to trial and who come thoroughly prepared to do so. We leave no stone unturned and no resource behind when we take a case to trial and we will not be intimidated. Whether the best result can be obtained at the negotiating table or in the courtroom, you can feel confident that your attorneys have taken every step to maximize the amount of compensation that you will receive.
Experienced, Compassionate Legal Counsel
The impact of an auto accident can linger for years if not for a lifetime. Whether you have been hurt by a drunk driver, a reckless motorist, or a semi-truck operator, you deserve just compensation for your injuries. At Wardell Law Firm in Tampa, we have over 40 years of combined experience successfully helping people like you who are facing the difficulties and challenges that follow an auto accident.
Doctors Are Highly-Trained Professionals. They Are Also Human.
Doctors are educated, skilled, and highly-trained professionals who have taken an oath and dedicated their careers to helping and healing their patients. They are also human, and like all of us, they can make mistakes. However, when a doctor or other healthcare professional makes a preventable mistake, the consequences can be devastating. Life-altering injuries or even death can result from a physician’s error. If your doctor has made a tragic mistake, you deserve to be compensated for the physical, emotional, and practical toll it has taken on you and your family.
At Wardell Law Firm, we are committed to helping those who have been hurt by medical mistakes. We have the experience, skill, and resources to assist you during your recovery and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation and resources that can provide you with some measure of comfort and peace.
Complicated Malpractice Cases Require Experienced Attorneys
“Malpractice” means that a doctor, hospital, or other health professional acted outside the ordinary standard of care. Medical malpractice claims are extremely complicated and require not only legal skill but medical expertise from well-credentialed witnesses who can testify and opine on the treatment given. These cases require extensive trial preparation, including assembling medical records, obtaining expert reports, and calling upon credible witnesses to provide compelling testimony. Without a skilled legal team on your side, you are unlikely to recover the compensation you deserve.
Representation For All Kinds of Medical Malpractice
Malpractice can occur in any number of treatments and procedures, leading to a wide range of injuries. We handle all kinds of malpractice cases including:
Birth Injuries. Common birth injuries include shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy, umbilical cord compression, and Erb’s palsy.
Failure to Diagnose. Doctors get busy and may sometimes miss important signs of a disease or injury. The failure to diagnose can cause a patient to develop more serious ailments, such as infection, cancer, and even death.
Surgical Mistakes. Among the most common types of medical malpractice, the inherently complicated nature of surgery combined with the pressures facing a busy surgeon on a daily basis can lead to catastrophic errors, such as anesthesia mistakes, unnecessary procedures, instruments left inside the body, and removal of the wrong limb.
Medication Errors. Failure to thoroughly check a patient’s medical history and account for potentially dangerous side-effects or drug interactions can result in even simple prescriptions having catastrophic consequences.
Don’t Face the Aftermath of a Medical Error on Your Own
You put your trust in your physician and when that trust is broken, the physical, financial, and emotional damage can be overwhelming. Medicine is complicated and understanding whether something went wrong as a result of your doctor’s mistake is not something that most folks can or should do on their own. At Wardell Law Firm, we will take the time to listen to your concerns, thoroughly evaluate your case with the help of medical experts, keep you informed, and be with you throughout the entire process of seeking compensation for your losses. Don’t face the uncertainty alone. Let us be there for you.
Slip and fall
Slip and Fall Injuries Are Anything But Funny
Over the years, plenty of actors and performers have made us laugh with exaggerated trips and falls designed for comedic effect. In reality, however, trips and falls or slips and falls are anything but funny and result in thousands of serious injuries every year. Broken bones, skull fractures, and spinal injuries are just of the few the traumas that can befall those who wind up hitting the ground as a result of slipping or tripping. For Florida’s large senior population, these falls can lead to even worse consequences.
Many of these incidents and injuries could have been avoided. Uneven sidewalks, poor lighting, unaddressed spills, and slippery pavement on property that someone else had a duty to maintain are just some of the reasons that can form the basis of a claim for damages arising out of a slip or trip and fall.
When a home or business owner fails to properly maintain his property or warn others about potential hazards and you are injured as a result, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Wardell Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve so you can get back on your feet.
“Premises liability” is the legal concept behind holding property owners responsible for injuries that happened due to their failure to maintain their property in a safe condition. To prove that the owner was “negligent” and therefore liable for the injury, the person who fell must show that the property owner owed visitors a duty of care and subsequently failed to live up to this duty by failing to care for their property as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. Additionally, the injured party must prove that he was indeed injured and that the owner’s breach of the duty of care caused the injuries.
Here in Florida, we don’t have the ice, snow or other harsh winter conditions that lead to so many falls up north. But slips and falls can occur in a variety of places in any number of conditions. Examples include:
Falls in grocery stores after workers cleaned a spill without sufficiently marking the area;
Falls by restaurant patrons after tripping over napkins, utensils, and food left on dining room floors;
Falls down uneven or defective stairs;
Falls on poorly maintained or installed sidewalks, such as ones with raised slabs or cracks
Consult With an Experienced Attorney Who Can Evaluate Your Slip and Fall Case
Not every fall will lead to a serious injury nor will every fall lead to a claim for damages. But if you’ve been injured as a result of a trip or slip and fall on someone else’s property, you should seek out experienced counsel who can thoroughly evaluate the circumstances of your accident and make a thoughtful evaluation of your situation. At Wardell Law Firm, we have over 40 years of combined experience obtaining compensation for injury victims, and will work with you from beginning to end to see that you obtain the compensation you deserve for your slip and fall injury.
Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Neglect and Abuse: A Betrayal of Trust
Florida is home to more senior citizens than any other state. Many of our seniors and their families are faced at some point with the difficult decision of moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility. This is an emotional and challenging process that involves dealing with the loss of autonomy and independence as well as the financial costs of necessary care. Most importantly, it involves putting trust and confidence in the people working at the facility, believing that they have the training and resources to take care of our loved ones and the compassion and attentiveness that will ensure that they are treated well.
Sometimes, however, that trust is betrayed. When this happens, seniors suffer the pain, injuries, and indignity that comes from abuse, negligence, neglect, and indifference. Their families are left with worry, anger, guilt and worse.
At Wardell Law Firm in Tampa, we understand the devastation that comes with discovering that an elderly family member has been abused or neglected by the very people you entrusted to care for them. We zealously pursue compensation for the victims of nursing home or assisted living misconduct and negligence, and work with families to ensure that their loved ones are treated with the respect, dignity, and care that they deserve.
Nursing Home Problems Are Not Always Apparent
Seniors and their families almost always spend a great deal of time researching and evaluating a nursing home or facility and its personnel before making the decision to entrust them with the senior’s care. Nevertheless, that diligence may not reveal many of the problems that can wind up causing grievous harm to the facility’s residents such as:
Poor facility maintenance and unsanitary conditions
Lack of adequate training and education
Failure to properly screen candidates for proper medical knowledge and personal temperament
Our Tampa law office is committed to seeking justice for the harm done to our senior citizens. At Wardell Law Firm, we represent seniors and their families in cases involving a wide range of injuries and harm caused by nursing home abuse and neglect, including:
Financial misconduct and theft
Falls and drops
Inadequate care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Justice for Florida’s Most Vulnerable Citizens
We believe in justice for our seniors. When you meet with us, we will listen to your story and concerns and we will take the time to answer all of your questions. We will thoroughly evaluate your case, and conduct a thorough analysis of the medical records, facts, and evidence available. With compassion for you and an unwavering commitment to making things right, we will fight for you every step of the way.
Representing Consumers in Product Liability Claims
We are all consumers. Almost every moment of our lives, we are using or are surrounded by products that we rely on for a variety of things – and which we presume are safe and reliable. However, just because a product has made it to market or been approved by a government agency does not mean that it is inherently safe or can’t fail in a catastrophic and foreseeable way.
The law provides that individuals who have been injured due to unsafe or dangerous products can file lawsuits against a number of parties who may be potentially responsible. Designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who negligently produce, distribute, or sell dangerous items may all be held accountable if their acts or omissions led to injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to fair compensation for your injuries.
Types of Product Liability Claims
There are several different types of products that are often the subject of product liability claims. These include:
Sports and safety equipment
Car brakes and tires
Medical implants and devices
At Wardell Law Firm, we have represented consumers in the following product liability matters:
Design Defects. Courts may evaluate whether a product could have been produced from a safer design without losing function and integrity.
Manufacturing Defects. Even safely designed products can be defective if they are not manufactured correctly or according to specifications.
Marketing Defects. These include the failure to warn consumers about preventable risks.
Packaging and labeling mistakes are also commonly featured in marketing defect product liability claims.
Holding Corporations Accountable
Corporations make hundreds of millions of dollars each year selling us their consumer goods, and sometime the quest for profits can make them cut corners or obscure their obligations to produce and distribute products that are sufficiently safe. When that happens and people get hurt as a result, we are prepared to take on those corporations and hold them accountable. At Wardell Law Firm we are tenacious in defense of our clients’ rights and work tirelessly on their behalf to get them the justice and compensation that will make things right and help them recover.
Helping Those Left Behind
No matter how much time passes after the death of a loved one, the pain and grief never fully recedes. But when that loved one is taken away from you suddenly and needlessly by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of someone else, that pain is only compounded with anger, questions, and confusion.
We understand that we can never fully comprehend the depth of your loss, nor can any amount of money replace a spouse, child, parent or other loved one. You wish you didn’t need a attorney; you wish you didn’t have to deal with claims and courtrooms. But as experienced wrongful death attorneys, we can help you through this excruciating time by being there for you to hear your story, answer your questions, clear up uncertainties, and obtain justice for your loved one’s death. At Wardell Law Firm, we will use our skill and experience, compassion and commitment to get you the comfort and compensation that can help you move forward with your life.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Under Florida law, a “wrongful” death is one where the victim was killed because someone else acted negligently or carelessly. Because it is difficult to prove that another person’s conduct caused a death, bringing a successful wrongful death case is a complex legal process that requires a thorough knowledge of the law.
Florida law allows spouses, minors or parents to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent. Florida wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the date of the death, but if the death occurred due to medical malpractice or the negligence of a government entity, then the lawsuit may need to be filed sooner than that. Failure to file a lawsuit within these time limitations can mean that you lose any claim for damages, so it’s important that you consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney at the earliest opportunity.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Suit
Section 768.21 of the Florida wrongful death statute sets forth in great detail the kinds of damages recoverable and who may recover them in the event a judge or jury determines that there has been a wrongful death. Generally speaking, the deceased person’s estate, spouse, or children may recover damages to compensate them for:
The value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death.
For spouses, the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
For children, lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
For parents, mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
Funeral and burial expenses.
Medical and hospital expenses
Here For You At All Times
At Wardell Law Firm, we know that your loss is not just a case or a lawsuit. We make sure that each of our clients receives our personal attention and full commitment, and that we are available to them whenever they need us, day or night. That’s why we limit the number of cases we take on. Whenever you need us, we are here for you to answer your questions, address your concerns, and give you reassurance and peace of mind when you need it most.
Aggressive Defense Against All Drug Charges
Florida’s location, history, and large population combine to make it one of the busiest states in the country for drug trafficking and other drug crimes. While some states may be experimenting with liberalizing marijuana laws, make no mistake; Florida’s drug laws remain some of the toughest in the country and if you are facing a drug charge in Florida, the consequences can be severe. Both Florida and federal law impose harsh penalties for even “small” narcotics convictions that can cost you your career, your freedom, and your future. You can’t afford not to obtain a skilled and tenacious criminal defense attorney if you want to emerge from your ordeal with the best possible outcome.
At Wardell Law Firm in Tampa, we take an aggressive approach to defending against drug charges. We have a well-earned reputation as criminal defense attorneys who have the skill and willingness to take cases to trial, a reputation that serves our clients well in the courtroom and at the negotiating table in the event that a plea bargain is an advisable option. Let us start preparing your defense as soon as possible.
Florida Drug Crimes
We have represented individuals charged with both prescription drug abuse and crimes involving the following controlled substances:
PCP (angel dust)
We have successfully defended clients accused of every type of drug crime, including:
Possession. Simply possessing an illegal or controlled substance in most circumstances is a felony, both in state and federal court. An exception to this rule is possession of a minimal amount of marijuana, which is currently a misdemeanor.
Sales & Distribution. Unsurprisingly, the penalties for sales and distribution of a controlled substance are harsher than for possession, with the consequences depending on the kind and amount of substances at issue. Large fines and jail sentences for these felony offenses are almost always given.
Trafficking. In Florida, the minimum penalty for a drug trafficking conviction is a $25,000 fine and 3 years in prison, and the maximum fine can be anywhere up to $200,000. Florida’s notoriety as a trafficking hotbed means prosecutors will vigorously prosecute those charged with trafficking offenses.
Prescription Fraud and Forgery. Prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing and so is prescription fraud and the forging of prescriptions. One example of prescription fraud is obtaining a prescription just so that you can get the drug and sell it to someone else or “pill shopping,” going to several doctors to get a prescription for the same drug. Prescription forgery can include illegally duplicating or altering a prescription.
Federal Drug Charges Only Make Things Worse
Federal drug charges can make your nightmare even worse. Mandatory penalties under federal law can result in lengthy prison sentences for even first-time offenders. Repeat offenders can easily find themselves looking at a lifetime behind bars.
Defending Drug and Narcotics Charges in Florida
Depending on the type of charge and the amount of illegal substance involved, drug crimes can be prosecuted at both the misdemeanor and felony level. Other important factors include the type of drug, any history of prior convictions, and the location of the alleged activity.
We will challenge the charges at every step, from arrest until the conclusion of the case. In many cases, improper searches, illegal traffic stops, and officer misconduct can lead to acquittal.
Drunk Driving Puts More Than Lives At Risk
Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, is one of the most common criminal charges in our justice system. Each year, thousands of people are arrested and convicted for DWI in Florida. In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties alone, over 5,000 people were convicted for DUI in 2010.
Drunk driving puts lives at risk, yes, but if you’ve been pulled over and charged with DUI, your career, your future, and your freedom are at risk as well. You can easily lose your driving privileges, impeding your ability to get to and from work or take care of the day-to-day activities of life. Hefty fines, an ignition interlock system installed on your car, and significant time behind bars can all be part of the picture as well. Higher insurance premiums (or the inability to obtain insurance at all) and the stain on your personal and professional reputation only add to the fallout.
At Wardell Law Firm, we know what’s at stake when you’re charged with drunk driving. As experienced DUI defense attorneys, we are prepared to challenge every aspect of the prosecution’s case, from the moment you’re pulled over until the ordeal is put behind you and you move on with your life.
Implied Consent and Immediate Suspension
Like many other states, Florida has what is known as an “Implied Consent Law” that will likely be the first legal issue confronting you if you get pulled over for suspicion of DUI. You may not be aware of it, but when you receive your driver’s license, you’ve given your implied consent to give a blood, urine or breath sample to the police if you are properly pulled over.
If your results show a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher (.05 or higher if you’re under 21 years old), your license will be immediately suspended. Refuse to take any of the tests requested by police and your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.
Changes to Florida law in 2013 have made it easier to challenge certain suspensions and obtain temporary relief that may allow you to continue driving while your criminal case is pending. But the time to seek such relief is short and the specifics of the law can be complicated. You should contact a skilled drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. At Wardell Law Firm we stay abreast of all changes and developments in DUI law and can work with you to regain your driving privileges while we prepare your defense.
Penalties for DUI in Florida
The type of penalties you incur depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of alcohol in your blood, whether you have prior drunk driving convictions, and whether your actions caused injury or death. Generally, however, in cases without serious injuries or death, the following consequences may result:
fines ranging from $500 – $1,000
at least 50 hours community service (may be converted to a fine)
up to six months jail
possible vehicle impoundment / immobilization for 10 days
Florida license revocation ranging from 180 days to one year.
If your BAC is higher than .15 or you were driving with a child in the car, the fines and jail time for a first DUI conviction (and for all subsequent offenses) can be increased significantly.
fines ranging from $1,000 – $2,000
up to nine months jail
possible vehicle impoundment / immobilization for 30 days if second conviction
within five years
Florida license revocation of 180 days to one year; however, if second conviction
within five years, then five year revocation
fines ranging from $1,000 – $2,000
up to nine months jail
possible vehicle impoundment / immobilization for 30 days if second conviction within five years;
Florida license revocation of 180 days to one year; however, if second conviction within five years, then five year revocationIf you are convicted of DUI four or more times, you will face a fine of at least $2,000, up to five years prison time, and permanent Florida license revocation.
Why You Need a Skilled Florida DUI Attorney
The defense of alcohol-related offenses requires experience, judgment, and aggressive advocacy. Challenges to the stop, the testing, the arrest, and other aspects of your case all demand a comprehensive knowledge of the complex procedural and evidentiary rules that are involved in DUI prosecutions. Given what’s at stake, you don’t want to take chances with your future and try to handle matters on your own. Whether this is your first offense or your fifth, you need a skilled DUI attorney at your side.
Florida Traffic Offenses Can Come With Serious Consequences
For most of us here in Florida, driving is an essential part of daily life. Getting to and from work, picking up the kids at school or taking them to soccer practice, going to visit relatives or taking a family road trip; we spend a lot of time in our cars. When you spend that much time driving, no matter how safe a driver you are, the chances are good that at some point you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a traffic ticket. While traffic offenses may not seem like a big deal, they can cost you a great deal in fines, increased insurance premiums, and in some cases, loss of your driving privileges and even jail time.
At Wardell Law Firm, we can help you with traffic tickets and other matters that may impact your wallet and your life. With affordable fees and a free initial consultation, we may be able to save you from the significantly higher costs that a traffic conviction can bring.
Representation For All Florida Traffic Violations
There are literally hundreds of possible traffic violations in Florida, but some of the most common and which we handle most often include:
Running a red light
Reckless or careless driving
Driving with a suspended license
Driving without insurance
The “Easy Way Out” May Not Be the Right Call
Many traffic citations can be handled without a court appearance by paying the ticket online, by mail, or in person. But paying the fines for a traffic ticket also means that you are pleading guilty to the offense, just as if you were standing before a judge in open court admitting your guilt. Many if not most people take this route without realizing that they are in fact pleading guilty to the charges and without understanding the possible consequences of doing so.
Traffic offenses go on your driving record and accumulate “points” which can result in higher insurance premiums or the inability to find coverage altogether. Additionally, as points accumulate, your license can be suspended and you may even face imprisonment. The amount of points you’ll receive depend on the nature of the violation.
If you’ve been issued a ticket, you owe it to yourself to understand your options. Fighting back may be the best course of action and the one may spare you from significant consequences now and down the road. Talk to an experienced traffic ticket attorney before deciding what to do.
Real Estate Law
Efficient Guidance for Real Estate Transactions, Effective Representation in Real Estate Disputes
Wardell Law Firm has significant experience representing buyers and sellers in the acquisition and sale of unimproved and improved properties, land development, and related contract and construction litigation. We have over 17 years of experience successfully assisting clients through commercial and residential real estate transactions, working with clients on site selection, due diligence, contract negotiations, leasing, mortgage financing and other secured lending, mortgage foreclosures and loan workouts.
When conflicts involving real estate arise, we provide effective and proactive representation in contract and construction litigation, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant disputes, implementation and enforcement of subdivision and homeowners’ association documentation, and related disputes.
Commercial and Residential Real Estate Transactions
Our commercial real estate practice includes the representation of developers, building and landowners, landlords, and tenants, in transactions of all sizes and complexity. Our goal is to minimize risk, ensure thorough documentation, and facilitate a prompt closing without unnecessary complications.
We assist clients with a wide range of commercial real estate needs, including:
Buying and selling
Retail and industrial properties
Property management agreements
For those involved in a residential transaction, we provide the sound guidance, meticulous review and careful drafting of documents required to make sure that your investment and interests are protected. We work closely with many area real estate brokers and lenders and assist with securing the necessary financing. We also understand the importance of a prompt and hassle-free closing. A home is often the biggest investment you will ever make. At Wardell Law Firm you’ll receive the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your attorneys have the commitment and experience to conclude your transaction in a timely, thorough, and cost-effective manner.
Real Estate Disputes and Litigation
Whether it is a conflict during sale negotiations or a disagreement between neighboring homeowners over access, easements, or encroachments, real estate disputes can develop in a wide variety of circumstances. We work hard to help our clients resolve these issues in a timely, cost-effective manner so they can move forward with their lives and begin enjoying their property.
We provide effective representation in all manner of real estate disputes, including:
Breach of Contract
Disputes with Homeowners’ or Subdivision Associations
Wardell Law Firm: Tampa Attorneys Who Are Committed to You
A combination of legal excellence and personal commitment is hard to come by. Finding attorneys 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, we make sure that every client and each case receives the personalized attention it deserves. Please call our Tampa 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.