Why Should I Hire a Local Attorney?

When it comes to hiring an attorney, there are numerous things to consider. One of them is whether or not to hire a local attorney or find one through advertising. Hiring a local attorney is almost always better if you can find a good attorney in your area. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It’s much more convenient to meet with them in person.
  • They are familiar with local court personnel and know the ropes of the local courts.
  • They often know doctors and medical staff in the area that they routinely work with who can provide the proper medical care.
  • They are sometimes familiar with local police and investigators involved in accident investigations.
  • They have general background information about your area that can help them build a stronger case for you.

Although there are some circumstances where you may need an attorney outside of your area, working with a local lawyer offers many advantages to the client.

Anthony Surber is a Tampa-based attorney. You can read more about his areas of practice here.

Contact our office for a consultation.

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Car Accident Checklist

If you have been in a car accident, there are a number of things you should do to make sure that you are treated fairly and get the compensation that you deserve.

Here are several important things to remember in the event of an accident.

  • Move to a safe location if the accident has caused significant damage to your car or another object.
  • Do not leave the scene of an accident. This is illegal and punishable by law.
  • If you or another person is injured, call 911 to receive medical attention.
  • Call the police and do exactly as they tell you to do.
  • Take as many pictures as you can with your cell phone.
  • Never discuss your role or the other person’s role in the accident with other parties.
  • Get as much information as you can from the other drivers.
  • Do not make any statements to the insurance companies prior to speaking with your attorney
  • Share insurance information with other parties, but don’t disclose the details of your policy.
  • Contact an attorney. If anyone has sustained an injury or a vehicle is significantly damaged, you want to be sure that you are fairly represented and either get the money you are entitled to or ensure that you don’t overpay for damages to your vehicle.

Remember, you’re always better safe than sorry. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation if you have been in a car accident.

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Legal Strategies for Car Accidents

If you have been involved in a car accident, there are a lot of different issues to contend with. You may find yourself dealing with a variety of serious issues, such as recovering from injuries suffered as a result of the accident, doctor’s visits, disability leave, medical bills and sometimes the reality of struggling to live independently. Dealing with insurance companies can be very complicated and you are at an extreme disadvantage doing so without legal assistance.

Insurance companies are looking out for their best interests and so should you. It is critical that you understand the applicable laws, what insurance companies are responsible for and whether or not you may be entitled to monetary damages due to the result of the accident. The laws surrounding these issues have changed in the last several years and now places great importance on seeking medical treatment immediately (no more than 14 days) after the accident.   Not doing so could not only negatively affect your case, but in certain instances it can prevent you from recovering anything at all.

Do not attempt to take on these insurance companies without legal counsel. A good attorney can help you through this trying process. The Law Offices of Anthony Surber prides itself on maximizing our clients recovery, both physically and monetarily. This is done through good communication between the attorney and client, a proper assessment of the client’s injuries, proper medical diagnosis and rehabilitation and a detailed plan for your case in the event it goes to trial.

If you have been involved in a car accident, don’t try to take on the challenges of fighting insurance companies and hospitals without an attorney. Contact our office for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your case and to determine what you may be entitled to under Florida law.

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Can The Bank Kick You Out of Your Home Because of a Foreclosure?

Every state has its own specific laws when it comes to foreclosure. In Florida, there is a pre-foreclosure process that banks must follow before they can file a foreclosure action. First, the notice of default must sent by the bank informing the borrower that they are not only in default, but what options they may have and must also adhere to the language of the contract between you and the bank, a.k.a. mortgage.

In Florida, you have the right to reinstate your mortgage by bringing your payments current. This will of course include principal, interest, late fees and if applicable, court costs and attorneys fees. In the event that a borrower does not timely reinstate his or her mortgage, the bank can choose to “accelerate” the mortgage. This basically means that the lender can require you to pay the full balance of the mortgage in order to avoid the foreclosure.

It can take anywhere from a few months to many years to foreclose on a property. The worst thing you can do is to ignore your foreclosure action. The bank will be entitled to an immediate default judgment if you do not timely file a response to the foreclosure complaint. A default judgment means that you have admitted all of the allegations in the foreclosure complaint due to your failure to timely respond (which in Florida is 20 days from the date that you are served with the complaint).

If properly defended by a qualified attorney, your case will take much longer than a couple of months. The banks committed a lot of errors during the most recent real estate boom and are paying the price for it today. Property values were increasing and banks therefore figured that they would not lose any money on their investment (in the event of a default). Well when the real estate market, for lack of a better term “crashed”, the banks found themselves foreclosing on an unprecedented number of borrowers.   Foreclosure defense attorneys quickly realized that many of the banks simply did not follow the rules and routinely ignored certain state and federal laws.

One question I get all the time is, “Can the bank kick me out of my house once they file a foreclosure action?” The very simple answer to that is no. The bank cannot kick you out of your house until they prove their case and receive a final judgment of foreclosure. So in general terms, only a court order can force you to leave your home. It is important for homeowners to understand that they are entitled to their day in court and we pride ourselves at The Law Offices of Anthony Surber in vigorously defending your foreclosure. We have the ability to conduct a forensic audit on your mortgage to determine whether or not your bank has complied with both state and federal law. It is not uncommon for banks to deviate from proper procedures and laws.

There are things you can do to stop foreclosure and to resolve your situation without having to face a foreclosure judgment, or giving up your home. If you are dealing with foreclosure, please contact our offices for a free thirty (30) minute consultation.

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Where Can I Find Foreclosure Defense in Tampa?

If you’re facing foreclosure, it’s extremely important to seek legal counsel to help protect your rights. A good attorney can help you understand what your options are and potentially even help you to avoid foreclosure, or find out if you qualify for alternative solutions. Many people don’t realize that there are other options available, such as loan modification programs and debt relief, which can help ease a financial hardship.

Foreclosure can be a complicated matter and it is essential to work with an attorney that is well-versed in foreclosure defense. Anthony Surber has extensive experience working in real estate law in Tampa and specializes in foreclosure defense. He opened his own law practice in 2005 and has since made the commitment to form close relationships with his clients to ensure that their legal needs and interests are protected in the very best way.

As a sole practitioner, Mr. Surber has the flexibility and freedom to establish deep and meaningful client relationships and successfully meet their needs.

If you’re in need of foreclosure defense in Tampa, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

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The Differences Between a Short Sale and a Foreclosure

In the real estate world, there is often some confusion as to the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure. A short sale is when you sell your house for less money than the amount you owe on your mortgage. In a short sale, the bank must approve the purchase price and will typically require documentation to explain why you are selling “short” and may require that you are experiencing a financial hardship. Our office specializes in negotiating short sales with your bank and we will make our best efforts to get the balance (a/k/a “deficiency”) waived. However, this is not guaranteed and all depends on the seller’s (more specifically the borrower who agreed to repay the loan) financial circumstances.

In a foreclosure, the bank will typically sell the property (after they obtain their final judgment of foreclosure) and reserves the right to sue you for a deficiency judgment (the difference between the total amount owed to the bank and the market value of the home). For example, the bank could sue Mr. Homeowner for $100,000.00, if the total amount owed to the bank is $200,000.00 (which includes court costs, attorneys fees, etc.) and the determined “market value” of the home (not what it is sold for) is $100,000.00.

As you can see, the differences between a short sale and a foreclosure are vast. Don’t ever walk away or ignore a foreclosure lawsuit that has been brought against you. There are alternatives to foreclosure and a short sale is only one of them. You can avoid a foreclosure judgment by completing a short sale. If we are able to get your short sale approved and the deficiency waived, the foreclosure case gets dismissed and they would not be entitled to a judgment as they have settled to satisfy your debt for an amount less than they are owed.

It is important to note that there may be tax consequences when considering not just a short sale, but any other alternative to foreclosure (or even foreclosure itself). Therefore, you should consult with a certified public accountant to determine whether or not you will incur tax consequences.

Hiring a well-qualified attorney to handle your foreclosure defense and short sale is crucial. Do not attempt to embark on this journey without legal counsel. Visit our short sales page or foreclosures page for more information and do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Anthony W. Surber, P.A. if you have any questions!

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