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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Aug  22,  2016
As Labor Day is historically one of the most frequent times of the year for motor vehicle accidents across the country, we would like to remind our clients and friends to drive carefully.

Driving defensively and understanding the particular risks can dramatically sharpen one’s ability so you can navigate dangerous situations due to the influx of inexperienced teen drivers, distracted tourists and holiday participants. 

There are too many residents who need a personal injury attorney directly after the Labor Day holiday each year. By educating the public about the risks involved and how to avoid them, I am hopeful for fewer injured Tampa Bay area residents this September.

Teen drivers are one main cause of accidents because of their lack of experience, limited knowledge of driving, potential poor judgment and peer pressure. Drivers between 15 and 20 account for more auto fatalities than any other age group, and property damage on the road increases dramatically with a teen behind the wheel. Another high risk is distracted driving by holiday participants, tourists and people who text while driving. One report estimated that more than 10 percent of drivers involved in crashes resulting in loss of life were distracted at the time of the incident.

In order to protect yourself and passengers in the vehicle, you should drive at slower speeds, be aware of your surroundings, wear a seat belt and give yourself extra time for traffic delays. If faced with a dangerous situation, stay calm and react with swift thinking and sharp reflexes. 

The most important mistake to avoid post-accident is not referencing an experienced attorney to keep protected from any legal harm of the other party and their insurance company. 
Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, personal injury, automobile accidents, labor day
Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury
Aug  07,  2016
By Paul Meissner
August is, the most frequent month for car accidents Tampa Bay personal injury attorney Paul A. Meissner, Jr. cautions Florida motor vehicle drivers on what to do following a car accident, including common mistakes to avoid. As recent data underscores the high risk for car accidents in Florida this summer, Meissner explains this includes a high risk of legal mistakes that could lead to further harm in an accident’s aftermath.“Even the safest driver sometimes cannot avoid an accident,” said Meissner. “It is critical for Floridians to understand how to react when involved in a car accident.”

According to a recent study by the Auto Insurance Center, Florida is home to two of the deadliest highways in the country including Interstate-10. The report also explains that August and July are the most dangerous months for car accidents. Although there is a high chance Floridians may find themselves in an accident, there are major legal mistakes to avoid that may protect drivers from further legal harm, including:

  •     Admitting fault
  •     Not gathering information
  •     Not seeking medical treatment
  •     Not documenting damages
  •     Talking to the other insurance company
  •     Not retaining a lawyer

 Drivers may avoid a multitude of grief when involved in an accident by keeping those easy tips in mind. Drivers have a much better claim report by collecting the other party’s name, driver’s license number, contact and insurance information, and vehicle make, model and license plate number. In addition, it is critical that all parties involved in the accident seek medical attention right away, even if physical signs of injury may not be apparent at the accident scene. Pain often occurs days later and injuries can be overlooked.

The most important mistake to avoid is trying to handle the accident alone, without legal counsel.

Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, paul meissner, personal injury, auto accident, auto injury
Posted in Personal Injury
Jul  25,  2016
By Jason Reid
Today, Kathy Prucnell, of the Anna Maria Islander Reporter, wrote that Chris Arnold, who is represented by Jason M. Reid of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., left the courthouse June 17th a free man. Twelfth Circuit Judge Deno Economou is expected to decide what the former city contractor will pay in restitution for grand theft sometime after July 15. The June hearing was the last of four hearings on the subject since the judge reserved it as part of Arnold’s sentence a year ago.

The judge ordered Arnold to serve 14 years probation and 100 hours of community service work after he pleaded no contest to a reduced grand theft charge in connection with bilking the city for $92,830. Arnold, who contracted to perform work for the city, initially faced a first-degree felony scheme to defraud for failing to perform curb work after a former employee told city officials Arnold was painting over curbs marked for replacement. Curbs on 11 streets in Key Royale and on Flotilla Drive were to be removed and replaced in three months — by Sept. 15, 2012 — under the 2012 city contract. Arnold testified June 17 the curb markings were not representative of work he hadn’t done. “There were literally thousands of marks” on the curbs for utilities, he said. Arnold also testified former Holmes Beach public works superintendent Joe Duennes verbally changed the contract, ordering curb grinding to fix drainage flow and remobilization efforts after Tropical Storm Debby, as well as adjustments for brick pavers. Former building inspector Bob Shaffer testified for the defense, saying Arnold’s crews performed grinding work and he saw many dumpsters. Arnold valued the extra work he performed without payment at $141,000. On cross, Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro showed Arnold paperwork for $2,263 in pipe repairs and HE acknowledged the payment. She added, he “was paid for it” if he “did it.” Chittaro also questioned Arnold about his current work, income and assets. Arnold testified he worked in jail, but since getting out hasn’t been able to find employment, except at the VFW. His earning ability has been “devastated” by the grand theft record, he testified. Arnold told the court he owned property in Pennsylvania with his wife and others. After the hearing, Chittaro said the financial inquiry will be used to make a monthly payment recommendation. The city is looking for restitution of its claim for $92,830 in unperformed work, attorneys’ fees, an engineer’s fee and $3,069.19 police and staff time. 

Chittaro and Arnold’s attorney, Jason Reid of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett of Bradenton, are to submit legal arguments by July 15 to Economou. After the hearing, Reid said their “strongest argument” is Arnold’s grinding work, which is acknowledged by city officials. The former contractor for the city — who constructed trolley stops and dog park structures, a public works building and performed work at Grassy Point Preserve — left the courthouse with more to say. “If I could go through it over again, I would have gone to trial. I have the evidence. I really do,” Arnold said.

Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, jason reid,
Posted in Criminal Defense
Jul  25,  2016
By Terri Cromley

On July 22, 2016, Terri Cromley, Managing Attorney of the Bradenton office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett received a plaque for being a five year season ticket holder from Rachelle Madrigal, the General Manager of the Bradenton Marauders.  

Terri is thrilled to follow tomorrow's stars like Pirate's All-Star team member, Starling Marte, as they make it to the majors.  The Pirates and Marauders are a great organization that do a lot for the local community.  

Terri is proud to be associated with such a charitable organization.  If you get a chance, go to a Marauder's game and look for Terri. They have great deals like $1.00 tix for  Sunday games.


Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, terri cromley, bradenton marauders
Posted in Announcements|News and Media
Jun  09,  2016
By Jennifer A. Burns

Florida drivers know that buckling up is the law. Yet fatal crashes continue to increase, as violators fail to put on their seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle. While statistics show that drivers and passengers have been buckling up more consistently during daytime hours, evening and night time fatal crashes between the hours of 6 pm and 5:59 am have continued to increase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has instituted a national seatbelt enforcement mobilization period beginning May 23rd and ending June 5th, 2016. The mobilization was created to enforce seat belt laws 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Local law enforcement agencies will be joining forces and patrolling “Coast to Coast” on major interstates including I-10, I-40, I-70, and I-80. The objective of the patrol is to remind citizens that law enforcement’s priority is safety.

The Click It or Ticket campaign highlights key issues in traffic safety. Research conducted by the NHTSA showed, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. Even more tragic, in some states the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. These startling statistics are the key reason the enforcement mobilization period was formed.

“Buckling up is one of the easiest ways to put your life out of danger’s way,” remarked attorney Jennifer Burns, “No one regrets putting on their seatbelt.” Jennifer Burns is one of Tampa Bay’s foremost personal injury attorneys, handling car accident claims with tenacity and compassion.

Law enforcement agencies will issue citations to all seatbelt law violators pulled over during the Click it or Ticket time period. Local police are maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for those without seatbelts. For more information on the NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign please visit

Tampa Bay’s leading personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are available 24/7 to address questions and concerns you may have regarding legal issues. The firm handles all types of legal matters, including personal injury, family law, DUI defense, Social Security, criminal defense, immigration, and workers' compensation. 

Tags: carlson meissner, jennifer burns, tampa accident attorneys, florida seatbelt laws,
Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury|Community|Drivers License
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