January 13

Are You Being Paid for the Hours You Work? – Wage and Overtime Law

By: Heath C. MurphyWage and Overtime
In recent years, Florida businesses have been very aggressive in cutting back on expenses and costs, sometimes at the expense of their employees. Have you ever received a paycheck which was short hours? What did your boss do to fix the situation? At best employers will add the missing hours to your next check, but some will refuse to rectify the problem at all. Most employees are not aware of their rights to recuperate the regular or overtime hours they worked, but for which they were not paid.
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor regulates The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards that may affect full time and part time workers in private businesses and also State, Federal and local governments. In order to collect overtime wages, you must be a non-exempt employee, meaning you are entitled to receive overtime pay based on your position and duties.
Some jobs are classified as exempt by definition. Outside sales employees are non exempt, by definition. While there are grey areas, most employees can be classified as exempt or non-exempt based upon three basic criteria: how much they are paid; how they are paid; and what kind of work they perform. As a general rule, exempt employees must be paid at least $23,600 per year on a salary (not hourly) basis and must perform exempt job duties. Failure to meet any one of the criteria will result in the employee being considered non exempt and eligible to collect overtime wages.
Obviously, the first two criteria can be easily determined. It is the third prong of the test which examines the type of work performed that causes the most trouble. If your job duties include the following abilities and/or duties you will likely be considered an exempt employee.
• Supervising two or more other employees
• Management is the primary duty of the position
• Ability to hire, fire, train, promote and discipline employees
• Ability to set rates of pay
• Ability to set sales goals
• Planning the work
• Apportioning the work among the employees
• Planning budgets
• Monitoring work for safety, legal and regulatory compliance

However, even if your job description seems to qualify as a non exempt position you may still qualify for overtime pay if your employer does not treat you as a non exempt employee. An example of this would be if your employer “docks” your pay if you miss a day of work. According to FLSA, non-exempt employees must be paid overtime wages at a rate of no less than one and one-half (1 1/2) times their regular rate of pay, after 40 hours of work has been completed within a work week.
An employee looking to file a claim for overtime compensation must do so within a specified time period. There is a statute of limitations in the State of Florida for filing such claims. In Florida, you must file your claim within two years of the date which you were entitled to earn the pay. As an employee, you are eligible to recover wages retroactively two (2) years from the date of filing your claim.
There are certain exceptions to the rules for non-exempt employees with overtime wage claims. If you or someone you know are faced with an uncompensated overtime matter, contact Jones Law Group in St. Petersburg, Florida for a free consultation to determine your rights.
If you feel that your employer has not paid you hours for which your are entitled, you should immediately call an experienced wage and overtime attorney at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your unpaid hours.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

January 12

Rear End Car Crash – Whose Fault is it?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

Have you ever heard that if you rear end another vehicle, the accident is automatically your fault? Not necessarily. Until recently in Florida, there was a rebuttable presumption that the rear driver in a rear end collision was the sole proximate cause of the accident. In layman’s terms, that essentially means that the rear driver will be responsible for all of the damage caused in the accident. You might have noticed that I said there was a rebuttable presumption, but in order to rebut the presumption, the rear driver had to prove that they were completely and utterly without fault in the accident. This was a near impossible feat and Florida courts would regularly refuse to hear any evidence presented by the rear driver. Many Florida courts also refused to allow the rear driver to sue the lead driver at all.

In 2012 that all changed with the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Cevallos vs. Rideout. The Court held that rear driver could shift some or all of the blame to the lead driver, as the facts warranted. In the Cevallos case, the rear driver was able to show that the lead driver bore responsibility for the car crash because she was talking on her cell phone and driving improperly.

What does this mean to you? Have you rear ended another car that:

– Suddenly entered your lane and then abruptly slammed on the brakes?
– Abruptly stopped without warning or reason?
– Stop suddenly to execute a turn, but failed to actually turn?
– Suddenly put their car in reverse?
– Had malfunctioning or no brake lights?
– Was being operated in a negligent manner (swerving, talking on the phone, etc.)

The injuries sustained by the rear driver in these types of accidents can be significant and commonly include the following:

– Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
– Fractured or broken bones
– Spinal cord damage
– Neck and back injuries
– Lacerations and contusions which may have been caused by either the air bags or contact with the actual components of the vehicle.

Have you been involved in an auto accident which you believe might not be your fault? Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today.

If you have been involved in a rear end car crash, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

December 3

What Should I Do After an Accident?

Remember, it is important that you call a lawyer as soon as possible following the accident. At Jones Law Group, we only get paid if we recover money for you, so you only stand to gain in having the accident reviewed by skilled legal representation to ensure that you recover the damages you are entitled to. Remember, the sooner you call us, the sooner we can visit the scene and begin an investigation and an accurate recreation of the accident. Prompt legal representation is key to your economic recovery because the evidence at the scene of an accident degrades and the memories of witnesses fade. At Jones Law Group, we understand that time is of the essence and we will act swiftly to discover and preserve all of the available evidence that will later support your claims.

What Should I Do After an Accident?

The outcome of your auto accident claim and any damages you recover are dependent largely on what you do immediately following the accident.

Summon the Police – Always summon the police to the scene. Do not let the person who just caused an accident convince you to “keep the cops out of it.”

Seek medical treatment – If you or anyone in your car suffers injuries, immediately seek medical treatment. Don’t be the tough guy; untreated injuries may cause future physical complications for you. In Florida, your claim against the insurance company may be compromised by failing to promptly seek medical treatment.

Take pictures — It is important that you take pictures of the accident. Photos of both your car and that of the other party, as well as pictures of the surrounding area, can help to prove fault. Remember, you can never take too many pictures.

Obtain the other driver’s personal information – Make sure you get the name, address and phone number of the other driver, as well as their insurance information. Determine the owner of the car by looking at the registration. Take pictures of their license, insurance card, vehicle registration and license plate.

Don’t give a statement — You should never give a statement to an insurance company without first speaking to an attorney. Also, never say anything about fault at the scene of the accident.

Don’t say you’re not injured — Whether you feel you are injured or not, do not state that you are not injured and do not feel any pain immediately after the accident to the police or other people involved in the accident. Some injuries show symptoms later, and saying that you were not hurt may compromise your claim for injuries for which you were unaware during the excitement and adrenaline rush immediately following the accident.

Get witness contact information — If anyone saw the accident, make sure that you get his or her contact information.

Let your own insurance company know — Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and provide your account of how the incident occurred. Do not give a medical diagnosis or a statement of your injuries. That is what doctors do.

Keep all documents — From bills to lists of doctors you visited, document everything and keep all receipts. These will be important in establishing how much you should recover in damages.

At Jones Law Group, we will skillfully guide you through the process of recovering the damages you are entitled to. If you don’t recover damages, we don’t get paid.

To schedule a free, no-pressure consultation to review the details of your auto injury or accident and assess what you are able to recover, please call our office at 727-571-1333. If it is after hours or on a weekend, please call 727-348-8962. You may also email us at hmurphy@bobbyjoneslaw.com.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

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