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Avera & Smith’s Experienced Attorneys Fight for Your Rights

At Avera & Smith, we pride ourselves not only on our willingness to aggressively represent you in court, but also on our extensive legal knowledge and expertise within our practice areas. We want to share some of that knowledge with you in the form of helpful blogs, white papers, videos and other educational materials.

If you have specific questions about hiring an attorney or want to see answers to common questions about particular practice areas, explore our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Slip and Fall at Work? Advice From Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Slip and Fall at Work? Advice From Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, and the injuries suffered can be serious. If you experience a slip and fall at work, you may have a case. Often, slip and fall victims want to brush off the pain and get back to work right away to make up for lost time or to be…

Why Do I Need a Malpractice Attorney? 

Why Do I Need a Malpractice Attorney? 

Malpractice lawyers specialize in helping people with claims of unethical or negligent behavior from medical, financial, or law professionals. The preventable nature of the behavior is a key indicator of negligence. Generally speaking, if any other professional in a similar field would have handled it differently, a case for malpractice may be present.   If you…

Resolving a Property Dispute: Tips From a Real Property Lawyer

Resolving a Property Dispute: Tips From a Real Property Lawyer

When property disputes arise, it’s important to handle them strategically and with caution. Florida law recognizes that each case can be unique, and our expert team of real property lawyers in Gainesville can help. Whether you are considering a case or are currently involved in a case, there are some things you should know. Read…

Bitten by a Friend’s Dog? Here’s What to Do

Bitten by a Friend’s Dog? Here’s What to Do

Dogs. We love them, and they love us. They’re cuddly, happy, and give their owners unconditional love. But sometimes we come across a dog that is aggressive, and this aggression can often lead to dog bites or attacks. If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a friend’s dog, it’s important to know what to do….

Wills and Trusts: Definitions and Disputes

Wills and Trusts: Definitions and Disputes

When thinking about your future or planning your estate, you’ve probably come across the terms ‘Will’ and ‘Trust.’ On the surface, they have very similar meanings and they both set a plan for future outcomes. Learn about the similarities and differences of these two estate planning tools. If you are involved in a dispute over…

Electric Scooter Accidents Are On the Rise

Electric Scooter Accidents Are On the Rise

Larger cities and college towns around the nation have introduced electric scooters to provide students and other members of the community with individualized and low cost means of transportation. This micromobility mode of transportation has provided many benefits to communities, such as offering a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to cars, ride shares and traditional public…

Results that Speak for Themselves: Personal Injury Settlements at Avera & Smith

Results that Speak for Themselves: Personal Injury Settlements at Avera & Smith

If you are looking for a Gainesville-based personal injury lawyer, you need to make sure you find the right lawyer to defend your rights. When it comes to the justice system, the stakes are high. Therefore, you should always take a look at verdicts and settlements for personal injury. At Avera & Smith, we always…

Is Florida Open Carry?

Is Florida Open Carry?

If you live in the state of Florida, the law permits you to adequately protect yourself. For that reason, you may have a firearm that you carry with you. At the same time, you need to stay updated on Florida concealed carry and open carry laws. If you are not careful, you could end up…

Gainesville’s Avera & Smith Law Firm Announces New Managing Partner, Partner & Associate Attorney

Gainesville’s Avera & Smith Law Firm Announces New Managing Partner, Partner & Associate Attorney

GAINESVILLE FL; June 1, 2021 – Longtime Gainesville-based law firm Avera & Smith has announced new senior management and personnel roles, including a long-planned transition from Managing Partner Mark Avera to new Managing Partner Dawn Vallejos-Nichols. Additionally, Mark Avera has passed the bar and obtained his license to practice law in North Carolina and will…

Workers’ Compensation Claims in Florida: What Are the Types?

Workers’ Compensation Claims in Florida: What Are the Types?

When people go to work in Florida, they do not expect to get hurt. However, accidents can happen at any time, even if the employer places safety at the top of the priority list. If you are hurt and unable to return to work, how are you going to make ends meet? That is where…

How To Get a Hardship License in Florida: What To Do

How To Get a Hardship License in Florida: What To Do

Are you wondering how to get a hardship license in Florida? The good news is that in Florida, there are ways to get a suspended license reinstated. If you have had your license suspended, you may be able to start driving again with full privileges after you take a class. You may also be able…

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation

Not many law firms in the state of Florida have an attorney who’s board certified in Workers’ Compensation.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Whether it’s a slip-and-fall, a car accident or any other personal injury event, there are many things you need to know that could affect your case.

Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

There’s a level of risk involved with any medical procedure, but surgery carries one of the highest. When a healthcare provider makes an error, the results could be devastating.

Business Litigation Tips for Contract Disputes

Business Litigation Tips for Contract Disputes

During the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of concerns that contracts are going to be broken. After all, there are a number of unforeseen circumstances that are wreaking havoc in the business world. In order for business owners and managers to protect themselves in the current environment, it is important to understand how contract…

The Status of Recreational Marijuana in Florida

The Status of Recreational Marijuana in Florida

Florida has introduced new bills that may expand access to medical and recreational marijuana in Florida. These bills could bring new laws to our state and we want you to be aware of what that means, particularly from a legal standpoint.  The bills that are coming down the pipeline may include small changes to medical…

What to Expect at an Initial Appearance, Explained by Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys

What to Expect at an Initial Appearance, Explained by Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys

When you or a loved one are arrested on criminal charges, the next steps can be overwhelming, and often confusing. The Gainesville criminal defense attorneys at Avera & Smith are here to provide clarity. In this article, we explain what you can expect from the time of arrest through the initial appearance, and the factors…

Common Police Terms That You Should Know

Common Police Terms That You Should Know

The attorneys at Avera & Smith prioritize ensuring that our clients and the community as a whole have the knowledge and resources they need to make informed decisions when legal matters arise. The legal system in the United States is highly complex and not everyone may be aware of its nomenclature. If you are ever…

What to Know About a Concealed Weapons Permit in Gainesville, FL

What to Know About a Concealed Weapons Permit in Gainesville, FL

Florida’s firearm laws and the abundance of outdoor activities involving firearms like hunting or target shooting at ranges has led to widespread ownership of weapons in the state. In 2019, nearly half a million weapons were registered in the state, which is second only to Texas in the U.S. Many of these firearms are also…

How to Choose a Drug Possession Lawyer in Gainesville

How to Choose a Drug Possession Lawyer in Gainesville

Being arrested for a drug crime is not only a traumatic experience, it can do extraordinary harm to your future. In 2019 alone, there were more than 110,000 drug crime arrests in the state of Florida, with more than 1,000 occurring right here in Alachua County. The high number of arrests means there are several…

An Update on Florida Court Closings and Delays Due to Coronavirus

An Update on Florida Court Closings and Delays Due to Coronavirus

A year after COVID-19 arrived in the United States, the presence of the novel coronavirus is still affecting our families, friends and neighbors. The outcomes range from simply frustrating to tragic, but virtually no one can say their life has remained unchanged. Our deepest condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one to this…

Super Lawyers Recognizes Three Attorneys  with Gainesville’s Avera & Smith Law Firm

Super Lawyers Recognizes Three Attorneys with Gainesville’s Avera & Smith Law Firm

GAINESVILLE FL; January 14, 2021 – Three attorneys with longtime Gainesville-based law firm Avera & Smith have been honored by Super Lawyers for 2020. Super Lawyers annually identifies outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have achieved significant peer recognition and professional accomplishment. The in-depth selection process includes independent research, peer nominations/evaluations. Mark…

Can You Go To Jail for Self-Defense in Florida?

Can You Go To Jail for Self-Defense in Florida?

Florida has some of the most liberal self-defense laws in the country. Not only is it one of the 34 states that have enacted what are commonly referred to as “stand your ground” laws, but in Florida, the laws have been amended to make it more difficult to convict someone who claims to be acting…

Antitrust Lawsuits Against Google & Facebook: What You Should Know

Antitrust Lawsuits Against Google & Facebook: What You Should Know

Big tech companies have been hit with multiple antitrust lawsuits from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and other agencies in the past few months. The Google lawsuits have garnered a lot of media attention, and the Facebook lawsuits are also very much in the news. So what is an antitrust lawsuit? And what…

Avoiding a Motorcycle Accident: 5 Tips From a Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Avoiding a Motorcycle Accident: 5 Tips From a Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Driving a motorcycle can be a great hobby and an excellent way to road-trip. But the reality is, it is a high-risk mode of transportation. In fact, more than 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As motorcycle accident lawyers, we see…

Securing Workers’ Compensation for a Cumulative Trauma Injury

Securing Workers’ Compensation for a Cumulative Trauma Injury

When many people hear the term “workers’ compensation,” they imagine one big workplace accident or other event that causes a major injury to an employee. As Florida workers’ compensation lawyers, we know this is not the only type of workers compensation case. That’s because we have handled—and won—so many different types of workers’ compensation cases…

Involved in a Crash? Get an Accident Report

Involved in a Crash? Get an Accident Report

When you are involved in a car accident, you are most likely not thinking of all of the “right” things to do. You are probably in shock, or helping someone else who is, and the last thing you are thinking of is the paperwork. However, if it is possible to get an accident report, you…

What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Florida?

What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Florida?

Losing a loved one is incredibly painful. But if your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be even more devastating. On top of your grief, you may feel powerless to do anything about the tragedy that has occurred. Although we can’t imagine how you feel, the wrongful death…

What to Know About Filing a Workmans’ Comp Claim

What to Know About Filing a Workmans’ Comp Claim

Injuries in the workplace are a far too common occurrence. That’s why so many employers have workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, for almost every industry, companies with four or more full-time or part-time employees are required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance. The laws are even stricter for the construction industry with companies of…

Can Public Officials Legally Require Masks?

Can Public Officials Legally Require Masks?

During the worldwide 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, there have been a lot of questions about the legality of government imposition on individuals’ rights. Things such as stay-at-home orders, limitations on gatherings and requiring facial coverings have become commonplace from local, state and even federal governments. But is this type of infringement on an individual’s legal? In…

Avoid an Open Container Citation — Understand the Alcohol Laws in Gainesville, Florida

Avoid an Open Container Citation — Understand the Alcohol Laws in Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville is home to some lively entertainment and nightlife, which can sometimes cause confusion when it comes to open container laws. Between tailgates on the University of Florida campus, “downtown districts” that sometimes allow alcohol, and the “open container” policy at Celebration Pointe, it’s easy to misunderstand what’s permitted and what’s prohibited. This article will…

How COVID-19 Has Affected Florida DUI Statistics & Traffic Violations

How COVID-19 Has Affected Florida DUI Statistics & Traffic Violations

In the early stages of the pandemic, there was speculation that quarantining would decrease the number of DUIs across the country. The reality is, DUIs and many other crimes are more likely to occur whenever and wherever there are large gatherings or celebrations involving alcohol. Therefore, it would make sense for the rates of DUIs…

Learning Important Terminology from Slip-and-Fall Lawyers

Learning Important Terminology from Slip-and-Fall Lawyers

People hire personal injury lawyers like the attorneys of Avera & Smith to help them navigate the complicated legal system—and it’s a good thing they do. Every case, suit or trial is different and comes with its own challenges and complexities. Slip-and-fall cases are no different. If you’re wondering whether or not you have a…

How to Select a Wrongful Death Law Firm in Gainesville, Florida

How to Select a Wrongful Death Law Firm in Gainesville, Florida

There’s no sugarcoating when it comes to wrongful death cases. You’re in this position because you’ve suffered an unimaginable loss, and you probably never thought you would be looking for a wrongful death law firm in Gainesville. Not only have you lost a loved one, but someone else may be to blame. So where do…

Battery by a Co-Worker in the Workplace

Battery by a Co-Worker in the Workplace

No one expects to be the victim of an assault or battery by a co-worker, especially when the workplace is supposed to be somewhere you feel comfortable enough to do your job to the utmost of your ability. Unfortunately, injury from an attack by a co-worker happens more than you would think, and if it…

Ask Personal Injury Lawyers: What if You’re Hit by a City Bus or Other Public Transit?

Ask Personal Injury Lawyers: What if You’re Hit by a City Bus or Other Public Transit?

If you’re looking for the best motorcycle injury or auto injury attorneys, look no further than Avera & Smith. As Personal Injury Lawyers in Gainesville, we’ve seen it all. And that includes injuries suffered as a result of an accident caused by a city bus or other public transit. If this sounds like your situation,…

Dental Malpractice: Are Dentists Subject to Medical Malpractice?

Dental Malpractice: Are Dentists Subject to Medical Malpractice?

You’ve probably heard of medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice can occur when a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care when treating a patient. And, unfortunately, it happens more often than you might think. But what about dental malpractice? At Avera & Smith, we have some of the best medical malpractice lawyers in…

What Happens If You Use Your Medical Marijuana Card to Sell Marijuana to Others? 

What Happens If You Use Your Medical Marijuana Card to Sell Marijuana to Others? 

While many have found Florida’s legalization of medical marijuana to be a relief from long-term debilitating medical conditions, some individuals may see an opportunity to capitalize on the ability to obtain marijuana legally. In fact, the illegal sale of marijuana in Florida and corresponding arrests have continued to increase since the drug’s official legalization in…

Business Litigation & Contract Disputes During a National Crisis 

Business Litigation & Contract Disputes During a National Crisis 

The current coronavirus crisis is testing our society in many different and challenging ways. One big topic of discussion, especially among business owners and business litigation lawyers, is the idea that these emergency circumstances may affect active contracts or insurance coverage and liability terms. It is true that there will likely be many contract disputes…

Do I Have a Right to Remain Silent During an Investigation at Work?

Do I Have a Right to Remain Silent During an Investigation at Work?

You always have the right to remain silent, it’s one of your Constitutional rights after all; however, in the context of employment, your silence can potentially be used against you. Aside from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, there are rulings in place to protect you from being forced to give incriminating statements. What…

When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: Do You Have a Case?

When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: Do You Have a Case?

Sustaining an injury is, at the very least, an inconvenience and, at most, life-threatening or debilitating. Life isn’t always fair, and many accidents can’t be prevented. However, some can. How do you know when you should contact one of the Florida personal injury lawyers at Avera & Smith? It’s important to know what qualifies as…

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana in the Eyes of Florida Law

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana in the Eyes of Florida Law

In recent years, Florida has passed laws legalizing marijuana, a move embraced by many Florida voters. However, while other states like Colorado and California allow recreational marijuana, Florida restrictions only legally permit medical marijuana. For Florida residents, it’s crucial to be aware of the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana and the legal stipulations…

Refusal to Sign a Citation: What Does Signing a Traffic Ticket Mean?

Refusal to Sign a Citation: What Does Signing a Traffic Ticket Mean?

There are many myths surrounding traffic tickets and the refusal to sign a citation that are spread by word of mouth. Have you ever heard that signing a traffic ticket means you are admitting guilt? Here’s what’s actually true when it comes to traffic citations and what to do after you receive one. The Truth…

What to do if Road Rage Involves Law Enforcement Officers

What to do if Road Rage Involves Law Enforcement Officers

Driving is something most adults encounter on a daily basis, whether as the driver or a passenger in a vehicle. This mundane task of getting from one place to another can become second nature to many. But even with something so routine, it is easy to be annoyed by the actions of others on the…

Defense Attorneys Say Crimes, Including DUIs, Spike During Super Bowl

Defense Attorneys Say Crimes, Including DUIs, Spike During Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday should be one of the most fun days of the year, but, statistically, some fans will end up needing a defense attorney after the game. The reality is, DUIs and other crimes are more likely to occur whenever there are widespread celebrations involving alcohol. The city hosting the big game has the…

The Evolving Landscape of the Helmet Law in Florida

The Evolving Landscape of the Helmet Law in Florida

Helmet laws in Florida, and throughout the country, have undergone quite a few changes over the last few years. While these changes have allotted riders a new sense of liberty in their decisions, it has also led to confusion over what exactly is required. In Gainesville, it is very common to see riders on motorcycles…

Surgical Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know

Surgical Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know

What defines surgical malpractice? How do you determine that surgical medical malpractice has taken place? Should you consult an attorney to go to trial or seek a malpractice settlement? The goal of this article is to provide you with the knowledge necessary to navigate the world of surgical medical malpractice. That way, you can better…

What You Need to Know About the Opioid Law in Florida

What You Need to Know About the Opioid Law in Florida

Opioids, a controlled substance in Florida, have become an epidemic across the country. Because opioids are highly addictive, countless Floridians who are dependent on them will go to great lengths in order to maintain a supply. This has resulted in a highly lucrative market for illicit opioids. In response, the opioid law in Florida can…

Should Your Business Invest in a Business Litigation Attorney?

Should Your Business Invest in a Business Litigation Attorney?

The business landscape is constantly evolving. From tax laws and commercial disputes to employment contracts and insurance liability, the legal side of running a business can be extensive. In some cases, a business owner or representative can handle everything. However, in business, disputes may arise that could require investment in a business litigation attorney in…

Can You Go to Jail for Not Wearing a Seat Belt? 

Can You Go to Jail for Not Wearing a Seat Belt? 

CAN YOU GO TO JAIL FOR NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT? The importance of seat belts is pretty well-known as a simple, yet vital, safety measure for those on the road. The act of securing a seat belt is second nature upon getting into a vehicle. Under Florida law, it is required for all drivers…

2019 To Date: Big Wins for Our Clients

2019 To Date: Big Wins for Our Clients

Avera & Smith has served the Gainesville community and its surrounding areas for more than 60 years. The firm represents Floridians in and out of the courtroom. From personal injury claims and workers’ compensation to criminal defense, the firm’s legacy is that of personal service and genuine care for its clients and 2019 has been…

Does Medical Marijuana Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Does Medical Marijuana Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

From your right to carry prescribed Cannabis to privacy in a vehicle, the legalization of marijuana brings with it a slew of caveats in the law. One of these caveats is the use of medical marijuana when you’re employed at a drug-free workplace. While the law may state that you are legally able to consume…

Vaping is the Next Tobacco Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

Vaping is the Next Tobacco Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

Vaping has recently become a significant headline in our news as the popularity of using vape pens increases, with little known about the long term consequences and potential health risks. While it was initially designed as an alternative to traditional cigarettes for adults, vape pens have become commonplace for teens and young adults. With misleading…

When You Should Consult Attorneys in Gainesville for a Settlement

When You Should Consult Attorneys in Gainesville for a Settlement

Settling out of court is one of the most common ways to resolve accidents, injuries and small claims. But it can be confusing to know whether you’re getting the better end of the deal in a settlement. When you’re the plaintiff in, for example, a personal injury case, consulting attorneys in Gainesville is the smart…

Medical Marijuana, Legal Hemp and Your Right to Privacy in a Vehicle

Medical Marijuana, Legal Hemp and Your Right to Privacy in a Vehicle

With the legalization of medical marijuana through a ballot initiative in 2016 and the legalization of commercial hemp on July 1, 2019, challenges regarding vehicle privacy are arising. In the case of a home search, a warrant that has been reviewed and signed by a judge. Your right to privacy in a vehicle is very…

What To Do After Jet Ski Wrecks

What To Do After Jet Ski Wrecks

Personal motorized watercrafts, often referred to as jet skis, are a Florida favorite. The state’s ample waterways and beaches make these recreational vehicles a staple year-round. Most people rent, rather than own, and often don’t realize how common jet ski wrecks are. In fact, according to the Coast Guard, jet skis are the second most…

Defining Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Defining Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

The unlawful touching of an officer is one of the most severely punished crimes in the United States. This action is charged as “battery on a LEO.” The difference between a battery charge on a LEO and a general battery charge is that the former requires an adjudication upon conviction, even when it is your…

A message from your insurance company: Don’t hire Avera & Smith.

A message from your insurance company: Don’t hire Avera & Smith.

“Don’t hire Avera & Smith.” That’s what insurance adjusters are probably telling their claim filing customers considering legal action. Of all the lawyers in town, and there are quite a few, Avera & Smith is the last firm they want to deal with. The reason is simple. Courtroom experience. Not all cases go to trial….

Alachua County Jury Awards $5 Million in 2013 Car Crash Case

Alachua County Jury Awards $5 Million in 2013 Car Crash Case

GAINESVILLE, FL; June 10, 2019 – An Alachua County jury has awarded plaintiff Kathleen Barrett, M.D., $5 million in compensatory damages for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and pain/suffering stemming from severe injuries caused by a 2013 rear-end car crash. Lead counsel on the case was Ben Hutson of the Gainesville-based Hutson Law…

First DUI Offense as a College Student: What You Should Know

First DUI Offense as a College Student: What You Should Know

College students spend most of their time going to classes and studying. Some may also work part-time in order to help with the expenses of higher education. But while the majority of students focus on school, many also partake in activities that help relieve the stress of college life. This includes hanging out with friends…

Most Common Nursing Errors To Look For

Most Common Nursing Errors To Look For

Nurses and nursing assistants play one of the biggest roles in patient interaction and care. Due to the demands of this career, many nurses have an overwhelming workload. This may lead to nursing errors that are, in some cases, detrimental to patients. Errors by nurses can even lead to wrongful death. As we rely on…

I’ve Been Arrested – What Happens Next?

I’ve Been Arrested – What Happens Next?

If you are in the unfortunate situation of being arrested and you have never been arrested before, it is likely you will have very little information or understanding about the process. Often times, this situation can be confusing. What will happen next? What steps are required of you? And most importantly, what are your rights? …

Boating Accidents in Florida – Staying Safe on the Water

Boating Accidents in Florida – Staying Safe on the Water

Floridians enjoy beautiful weather and a multitude of outdoor activities year-round, including boating. In fact, Florida leads the U.S. in water vehicle ownership. Unfortunately, Florida also leads the country in the number of boating accidents annually with 16.8% of all boating accidents in the U.S. occurring in Florida. Common Types of Boating Accidents Collision with…

When Does Road Rage Become a Crime?

When Does Road Rage Become a Crime?

Driving can be one of the most stressful situations to encounter on a regular basis. With the ever-changing road structure and inherent inconsistency of other drivers, it is easy to feel frustrated while behind the wheel. These feelings are considered road rage. Road rage incidents can result in serious criminal penalties, and in Florida with…

Medication Errors and How to Avoid Them

Medication Errors and How to Avoid Them

We rely on our doctors and medical specialists to provide us with the tools to become better inside and out. Often times that requires prescriptions and medications. However, these tools that are meant to help us can be dangerous when medication errors occur in their preparation, handling and usage. Types of Prescription Errors What makes…

The Birds and the Bees in the Era of Smartphones and Social Media

The Birds and the Bees in the Era of Smartphones and Social Media

One of the more difficult discussions with your children involves the subject of sex.  Unfortunately, that conversation is further complicated by technology and needs a few additional chapters when it comes to smartphones, social media and “sexting.”  This is not an easy subject to write about and address, but these conversations have to happen. Teenagers…

The Dangers of Commercial Trucking Accidents

The Dangers of Commercial Trucking Accidents

Accidents of any kind are a disastrous occurrence – however commercial trucking accidents can be much more catastrophic than an accident involving two personal vehicles. Due to the sheer size, weight and physics of semi-trucks, commercial trucking accidents with privately owned vehicles, unfortunately, usually result in serious or fatal injuries. Whether the cause of the…

Petit (Petty) Theft in Florida

Petit (Petty) Theft in Florida

In Florida, the second most commonly committed crime (after drug offenses) is theft.  According to the FBI, a theft is committed every minute in Florida. The potential penalty and seriousness of a theft charge is based on the amount of the item taken and the circumstances. Two Categories of Theft Thefts are broken down into…

Dog Bite Accidents – What To Do & Who Is Liable

Dog Bite Accidents – What To Do & Who Is Liable

Florida is one of the most dog-friendly places in the country, with many establishments and beaches throughout the state boasting pet-friendly atmospheres. So it’s not rare to see Fido out and about with their owners in public. While dogs are man’s best friend, these animals can still be unpredictable at times. This is especially true…

Child Pedestrian Accidents: An Overview on What You Can Do

Child Pedestrian Accidents: An Overview on What You Can Do

Pedestrians face some of the most dangerous situations on the road. There are no structural barriers or protections as cars speed by them. Pedestrians who are injured can face lifetime mental and physical injuries. These injuries are particularly saddening when the victim is a child. There are a few things to consider when a child…

5 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

5 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of personal injury throughout the U.S. A nasty fall caused by a slippery floor, foreign object, or an obstruction on the pavement can cause serious injuries. Every year, over 8 million emergency room visits are due to falls. Of those 8 million visits, slip…

Carrying Prescriptions and The Facts of Drug Trafficking in Florida

Carrying Prescriptions and The Facts of Drug Trafficking in Florida

When most people hear the words “drug trafficking,” they think of people in the news, like Pablo Escobar (“El Chapo”) or Joaquin Guzman. However, the reality of drug trafficking is much closer to home.  Despite the common depiction in mass media, drug trafficking charges are not exclusive to criminal masterminds, armed drug dealers or career…

How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works / What to do in a case involving wrongful death.

How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works / What to do in a case involving wrongful death.

The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to deal with throughout life. When the unexpected fatality is the effect of another’s negligence, the survivor and other parties may be entitled to compensation for their loss. What is wrongful death? Wrongful death is when a person dies due to the…

What To Do if You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product

What To Do if You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product

We, as consumers, rely on the brands and products we use daily to function properly. However, sometimes those items malfunction and you get hurt. If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation. When this happens, it is important to know the specifics of product…

8 Questions to Ask Before Surgery

8 Questions to Ask Before Surgery

Being told that you or a loved one requires surgery can be a frightening experience. Whether it is an elective procedure or an emergency situation, you need to fully understand your diagnosis, as well as the risks to and the benefits of the operation. To make certain that you have the information you need from…

Scooter Safety

Scooter Safety

It is likely that this will not reach the audience for which it is intended, but that doesn’t mean it should not be written. I have lived in Gainesville for all but 4 years of my life. During that time I cannot count the number of times I have seen motorcycle, or more specifically, scooter…

5 Tips for Medical Malpractice Claims in Gainesville, Florida

5 Tips for Medical Malpractice Claims in Gainesville, Florida

We place the highest level of trust for the health and safety of ourselves and our families in the hands of medical professionals, which is what makes medical malpractice cases particularly unnerving. When the professionals we have entrusted make mistakes or prescribe inappropriate treatment, it is our responsibility to recognize that they have not upheld…

Tailgating and Open Containers of Alcohol in Gainesville, FL

Tailgating and Open Containers of Alcohol in Gainesville, FL

As we get ready for Florida football here in Gainesville, FL,  it is important to be aware of applicable open container laws and ordinances.  It is still “illegal” to have an open container of alcohol on city property.  The city commission has amended their ordinances to allow for a civil penalty of $200.00 for possession…

Meet Your Gainesville Lawyers at Avera & Smith

Meet Your Gainesville Lawyers at Avera & Smith

Your Gainesville lawyers at Avera & Smith know that finding attorneys you trust and who have your best interest in mind can be hard to come by. With more than 100 years of combined service, the current attorneys of Avera & Smith offer an unparalleled combination of experience across many areas of practice. Get to…

5 Things to Consider Before Underage Drinking From a Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney

5 Things to Consider Before Underage Drinking From a Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney

Our Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney, John Whitaker, discusses what you should consider for before drinking alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Possession of alcohol by a person under 21 is a crime that can result in a permanent criminal record, a fine up to $500.00 and a maximum of 60 days in…

Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Gainesville FL

Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Gainesville FL

Many of the car accidents that happen right here in Gainesville, FL are a result of distracted driving rather than driving under the influence. These accidents are emblematic of a nationwide issue, as approximately 391,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2015. As car accident attorneys, we see an extraordinary amount…

What To Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run Car Accident

What To Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run Car Accident

Are you worried about what might happen if you’re the victim of a hit and run car accident? As experienced car accident attorneys in Gainesville, FL, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of steps to take immediately after the incident and in the following days and weeks. A hit and run accident can be defined in…

Answers from Gainesville Attorneys; In Florida Can I Carry a Gun in My Car?

Answers from Gainesville Attorneys; In Florida Can I Carry a Gun in My Car?

Gainesville attorneys at Avera & Smith answer: In Florida can I carry a gun in my car? Yes, you can carry a concealed firearm anywhere in your vehicle including on you if you have a license to do so from the State of Florida. You can obtain this through the permitting and application process. You…

10 Tips to Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement

10 Tips to Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement

If possible depending on your physical condition, this is your chance to obtain the evidence that you will need to maximize your personal injury settlement.

Answers from a Criminal Defense Attorney; What to Do If Questioned by a Law Enforcement Officer

Answers from a Criminal Defense Attorney; What to Do If Questioned by a Law Enforcement Officer

The most common answer from any criminal defense attorney is that you have a 5th amendment right to remain silent, so exercise it.  Unfortunately, it is not that simple.  The quickest way to know things aren’t looking good is if you are read your Miranda Warnings, or “read you your rights.” What are my Miranda…

Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Though the citizens of Florida voted to amend the Florida Constitution to allow medical marijuana and the Florida Legislature has passed medical marijuana bills, it is still illegal to possess marijuana unless you are prescribed it by a qualifying physician.  It should also be noted that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. What can…

St. Clair County Illinois Circuit Court Judge Awards $37.5 Million in Deadly Drunk Driving Case

St. Clair County Illinois Circuit Court Judge Awards $37.5 Million in Deadly Drunk Driving Case

GAINESVILLE, FL; March 13, 2018 – A St. Clair County Illinois Circuit Court judge has awarded plaintiff Lucas Williams $37.5 million for the death of his wife and his own complete disability as the result of a horrific drunk driving crash in 2010. “This was a tragic event that destroyed and changed lives forever,” said…

Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Why a Lawyer Helps

Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Why a Lawyer Helps

Up the creek without a paddle, in a boat without a rudder – whichever nautical idiom is your preference, both describe the feeling of negotiating with insurance companies without the help of a Gainesville insurance claim lawyer. Insurance companies deal with thousands of claims a day and are well-versed in the tips and tricks of…

Why You Should Hire a Gainesville Trial Attorney

Why You Should Hire a Gainesville Trial Attorney

What next? It’s the question that runs through all of our minds after an accident. The worse the accident, the easier it is to become overwhelmed. Even a professional tightrope walker would struggle to balance questions and paperwork from insurance companies, hospitals, and law enforcement, all while trying to get back to some semblance of…

What to Do If You Are Injured on a Construction Site

What to Do If You Are Injured on a Construction Site

Construction sites are one of the most typical places for workplace accidents to occur. Between rusty nails and heavy machinery, they’re simply a dangerous place to work. We’ve all seen the “X Days Since Last Accident” signs, and for good reason. According to OSHA, 1 in 5 of the worker deaths in the past year…

What to Do If You’re Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

What to Do If You’re Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

Advice from a Gainesville DUI Lawyer When you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), often times you’re initially worried about the criminal charge and all that can come with it. A possible conviction, jail time, probation, fines, license suspension, etc. The good news is you will have plenty of time to learn about…

What to Do After You’ve Been Injured in An Accident

What to Do After You’ve Been Injured in An Accident

Personal Injury Can Happen to Anyone at Any Time Personal injury is extremely common. On average, 1 in 3 people are involved in an accident at some point in their lives. Personal injury is a category of injuries that includes the many ways people can be hurt, disabled, or suffer wrongful death. Whether you’ve been…

The Toll of Texting

The Toll of Texting

by Mark Avera The Florida Legislature is moving toward strengthening the law regarding texting and driving. A bill that does so just passed a key legislative committee and is headed in the right direction toward a final vote by the Senate. The bill designates texting and driving as a primary offense, allowing law enforcement to…

Self-Driving Cars Have Both Promise and Pit-Falls

Self-Driving Cars Have Both Promise and Pit-Falls

As with many technological advances, self-driving cars offer both great promise and a myriad of potential problems, including safety and legal ramifications. We are on the precipice of a fundamental change in transportation technology and how people interact with it, requiring a new look at laws and regulations, which is already underway. In 2012, Florida…

What Are My Rights If I’m Injured Driving a Vehicle I Don’t Own?

What Are My Rights If I’m Injured Driving a Vehicle I Don’t Own?

Injured in a Car Accident? If you’re injured in a car accident while driving a vehicle you don’t own in Gainesville, Florida, you still have rights. Here’s what you need to know: Insurance Follows the Vehicle Some people mistakenly believe that auto insurance follows the driver – and that’s only partially true. Auto insurance follows…

Three Ways a Criminal Defense Case Can Endanger Your Career

Three Ways a Criminal Defense Case Can Endanger Your Career

Facing a criminal charge in Gainesville, Florida, can leave your career and job prospects vulnerable. Let’s take a look at how Florida law regarding employment and a criminal defense case or conviction could impact your career. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer today. Background Checks Almost every employer does a background check — 70…

How to Stay Positive, Hopeful and Healthy After An Accident

How to Stay Positive, Hopeful and Healthy After An Accident

Accidents are harsh on even the toughest people. Waking up every day and completing daily tasks such as cleaning, going to work, walking the dog, and taking care of your kids can seem impossible. Even doing the things you love can seem like a genuine struggle. Fortunately, there are tried and true strategies for staying…

Hurt on the Job? What to do Before and After a Workplace Injury

Hurt on the Job? What to do Before and After a Workplace Injury

No one likes to think about getting hurt on the job, but a workplace injury happens when we least expect it. Work can be dangerous, especially if you work in a place or in a profession that is high-risk, such as construction, hospitality, or anything involving machinery or manual labor. In these high-risk industries, it’s…

Avera & Smith Partner Among 10 Best Female Attorneys

Avera & Smith Partner Among 10 Best Female Attorneys

GAINESVILLE, Fla; January 26, 2017 – The Avera & Smith law firm, which has served the Gainesville community for more than 60 years, today announced that Partner Dawn Vallejos-Nichols has been honored by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the 10 Best Female Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in North Florida. “Dawn…

Damages of $19 Million Won in Engle Progeny Case

Damages of $19 Million Won in Engle Progeny Case

GAINESVILLE, FL; December 21, 2016 – A jury in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida has ruled in favor of Mary Faricy Pardue in the Engle Progeny Case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA Inc. Mrs. Faricy Pardue’s husband, popular University of Florida Professor Jack Faricy, passed away from heart disease…

Mark Avera: Holidays Are Reminder to Drink Responsibly

Mark Avera: Holidays Are Reminder to Drink Responsibly

by Mark Avera The holiday season is a joyful reminder of the blessings of family, friends and enjoyable times together. As people reflect on the year that was and look ahead to 2017, it’s often accompanied by a celebratory drink, or two. There is, however, a stark and sad reality to the holiday season each…

Avera & Smith Wins $10.1 Million Car Accident Judgement

Avera & Smith Wins $10.1 Million Car Accident Judgement

GAINESVILLE, FL; April 11, 2016 – Longtime Gainesville-based law firm Avera & Smith today announced it has prevailed in a disputed liability case before the Orange County Circuit Court against Dominos Pizza LLC and its delivery driver for a 2011 traffic that occurred at night on January 13, 2011 on East Colonial in Orange County….

Avera & Smith Wins Florida Supreme Court Tobacco Ruling

Avera & Smith Wins Florida Supreme Court Tobacco Ruling

GAINESVILLE, FL; April 7, 2016 – The Florida Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Avera & Smith client Lucille Soffer in a case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that will have significant implications for other Engle progeny cases statewide. In the ruling, the Supreme Court determined that there is “no legal or principled basis…

Avera & Smith Hires Associate Attorney Jared Comstock

Avera & Smith Hires Associate Attorney Jared Comstock

March 31, 2016 – Gainesville, FL; Longtime Gainesville-based law firm Avera & Smith today announced the hiring of attorney Jared Comstock as an associate attorney with the firm. “Jared is a diligent, impressive attorney who will be an important contributor to our firm and clients,” said Mark Avera, Partner, Avera & Smith. “He will focus on…

Former State Senator Rod Smith Files to Run for State Senate District 8

Former State Senator Rod Smith Files to Run for State Senate District 8

Gainesville, FL – Today, former State Senator Rod Smith filed to run for the new State Senate District 8. The new District 8 includes many of the same areas Rod Smith has served before, both as a State Senator and State’s Attorney, including the Putnam County, Alachua County, and Ocala communities. In announcing his candidacy for…

Avera & Smith Names Dawn Vallejos-Nichols as Partner

Avera & Smith Names Dawn Vallejos-Nichols as Partner

November 3, 2015 – Gainesville, FL; The Avera & Smith law firm, which has served the Gainesville community for more than 60 years, today announced that Dawn Vallejos-Nichols has been named a partner, joining partners Mark Avera, Lance Avera and Rod Smith. “Dawn is an exceptional attorney with nearly 20 years of experience at our…

Avera & Smith Secures $34 Million Judgment Against R.J. Reynolds

Avera & Smith Secures $34 Million Judgment Against R.J. Reynolds

September 14, 2015 – Gainesville and Pensacola, FL; A Pensacola Circuit Court jury has returned a $34 million tobacco verdict against R.J. Reynolds tobacco company on behalf of the family of Garry O’Hara, a man who passed away from lung cancer at age 50 subsequent to quitting smoking at age 35. “This is an important…

Florida Legislators Considering Texting Ban Again

Florida Legislators Considering Texting Ban Again

The dangers of texting while behind the wheel have been well documented, leading most states to adopt texting while driving bans to protect motorists on the road. Florida is now one of only five states in the country without legislation prohibiting this dangerous behavior. Despite repeated attempts in the legislature to pass such a law,…

Dawn Vallejos-Nichols Invited to Serve on Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC)

Dawn Vallejos-Nichols Invited to Serve on Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC)

Dawn M. Vallejos-Nichols, an attorney with Avera & Smith, has been invited by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to serve on the Northern Conference of Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) for a two-year term. The JNC reviews the applications and recommends the most qualified candidates to serve as U.S. District Court Judges, U.S. Attorneys,…

Basic Facts About Florida Statutes of Limitations

Basic Facts About Florida Statutes of Limitations

Whether it be in a car accident, a fall caused by a broken set of stairs at a business or any other situation, those who are injured as a result of another person’s negligence may have a claim for both medical bills and pain and suffering. Nevertheless, no matter the cause, the right to bring…

U.S. To Require Backup Cameras in New Cars Starting in 2018

U.S. To Require Backup Cameras in New Cars Starting in 2018

In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by backup accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a new rule that will require built-in rearview technology in all new cars manufactured in the United States. The measure is expected to save up to 15 lives per year and prevent…

Bill to raise speed limits?

Bill to raise speed limits?

Many motorists traveling in the Gainesville region will spend at least a portion of their drive on Interstate 75. The roadway experiences a significant amount of traffic each day, which has led to a number of motor vehicle accidents in the region. Officials have taken several steps to try to make highways throughout the state…

Prescription Errors May Lead To Tragedy in Florida

Prescription Errors May Lead To Tragedy in Florida

Prescription errors are common in the U.S. and may seriously injure or kill unsuspecting patients. Millions of Americans depend on their prescription medication to keep them healthy, cure a condition, minimize their symptoms and help them to achieve a better quality of life.  A team of medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians…

Watch out for drunk or distracted drivers on Florida roads

Watch out for drunk or distracted drivers on Florida roads

Florida roads can be dangerous in the summer from distracted or intoxicated drivers. Summer is a social time in central Florida, but motor-vehicle drivers need to take care to remain focused and vigilant behind the wheel. Teens and college students are on summer break from school. Families take to the roads for vacations and day…

Florida truck accidents claim the lives of innocent motorists

Florida truck accidents claim the lives of innocent motorists

Large commercial trucks pose a threat to other motorists on the road, especially if they are operated by impaired, distracted or drowsy drivers. Large commercial tractor trailers are an essential part of the country’s economy, delivering necessities to various locations nation-wide. Driving alongside these massive vehicles can be a bit scary, and for a good…

Child pedestrian accidents a concern as school starts

Child pedestrian accidents a concern as school starts

This fall, there may be an increased risk of a child getting hit by a car as children walk to and from school or the bus stop. Summer is over, and kids everywhere have traded beach towels and flip flops for backpacks and binders. Drivers in Florida have likely encountered children throughout the summer crossing…

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