Self-Driving Cars can now be legally driven in Florida.

Florida has recently enacted Florida Statute 316.003 (2).

This law allows any person that possesses a valid driver’s license to operate a self-driving vehicle in self-driving mode. No specialized safety education is required before a person is permitted to operate a self-driving vehicle on Florida’s roadways. The person operating the self-driving vehicle does not have to be in the vehicle when it is driving.

An operator and/or owner of a self-driving vehicle could be liable for a crash despite not being in or near his or her vehicle at the time the crash occurs.

A copy of the Florida statute can be reached at the link below.



Berke Law Firm, P.A.
4423 Del Prado Blvd. S.
Cape Coral, Florida 33904
(239) 549-6689-phone
(239) 549-3331-fax




Does your back hurt?

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for physician visits in the United States. Most Americans have experienced low back pain, and approximately one quarter of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least 1 day in the past 3 months. Low back pain is associated with high costs, including those related to health care and indirect costs from missed work or reduced productivity. For patients who do seek medical care, pain, disability, and return to work typically improve rapidly in the first month. However, up to one third of patients report persistent back pain of at least moderate intensity 1 year after an acute episode and 1 in 5 report substantial limitations in activity. Many noninvasive treatment options are available for radicular and nonradicular low back pain, including pharmacologic and nonpharmacological interventions.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) developed this guideline to present the evidence and provide clinical recommendations on noninvasive treatment of low back pain. Here are 3 recommendations for treatment.
Recommendation 1: Most patients should select nonpharmacologic treatment with superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation.
Recommendation 2: For patients with chronic low back pain, clinicians and patients should initially select nonpharmacologic treatment with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation.
Recommendation 3: In patients with chronic low back pain who have had an inadequate response to nonpharmacologic therapy, clinicians and patients should consider pharmacologic treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as first-line therapy, or tramadol or duloxetine as second-line therapy.

Click on the link below to see a complete copy of the guidelines.


How Long Do I Have To Appeal A Veterans’ Benefits Decision?

After receiving a decision from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, you may not be completely satisfied with the decision made on your claim. This can be a result of either being denied or perhaps less that you believe is a fair amount.

Fortunately, you have the option to appeal the initial decision made and possibly get a better outcome.

A claimant has one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. You may appeal a complete or partial denial of your claim or you may appeal the level (i.e. the amount) of benefit granted.

Here is some helpful information on what steps need to be taken and how much time you need to file an appeal.

The first step in the appeal process is to file a written appeal with the local VA regional office or medical center that made the decision. This is not a special form; it is simply your written statement that you disagree with your local VA office’s claim determination, and that you want to appeal it. This is an informal appellate process within the regional office.  The DRO has the authority to reverse or modify a VA rating board decision.  We recommend that you contact us to help with this process.

After receiving your appeal, the VA office will send you a summary of reasons behind its ruling. Be sure to fill out and mail back any forms the VA send you no later than 60 days after your Statement of the Case was mailed out, or within one year from the date your original determination was mailed to you, whichever is later.

The VA office will forward all claim materials to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. It will notify you when it sends these materials out. You have 90 days after this notification is mailed to submit additional evidence, appoint or change legal representation for your claim, or ask for a hearing.

The Board will conduct hearings, upon request, review your appeal and issue a decision. It will either grant, remand or deny your appeal. If your appeal is denied, you have 120 days to file another appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. You can also submit a CUE motion or filing reconsideration motion to the Board of Veterans Appeals, or reopen the case at your local VA office. The 120-day deadline is the same for all these appeals.

If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies your request, you can file a new claim or make a motion for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to reconsider your appeal. There are no time limits if you take these actions.

If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies your request, you also have the right to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. You have 120 days from the date of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision to file with the court.

While looking over these deadlines, keep in mind that the faster you move through the appeal process steps, the faster you will receive your decision and benefits. Because the process can take so long and because there are often delays, taking the necessary steps on your appeal as quickly as possible will minimize the time you will wait.

 Don’t Appeal Alone!

All Veterans have the right to work with an experienced Veterans’ disability lawyer to assist you in obtaining a fair recovery you deserve. Please feel free to contact us at or by phone at 239- 549-6689 to discuss your options before it is too late to take action.



Does the Federal hiring freeze affect Social Security Disability claimants?


Immediately after President Trump took office, a hiring freeze officially went into effect. This hiring freeze affects most of the government services, included but not limited to the Social Security office.

It is entirely possible that we may be facing delays on decisions due to the lack of staff as a result of the freeze.

Although the Social Security Disability judge makes a decision on your claim, there are other parts of the process that need to be completed. The freeze can essentially delay the entire process without the appropriate staff to carry out all tasks involved.

Some hearing offices only have one decision writer for 5 or 6 judges.  Other hearing offices in the United States are in a similar situation.  This inevitably results in delays for getting decisions out the door, which means delays on processing of awards.

Reportedly, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Chicago had planned to remedy this situation by hiring 450 new people, consisting of ALJs, decision writers, support staff, and other supporting roles.  Another smaller hiring was set to follow that one.  Unfortunately, this is now all on hold due to the federal hiring freeze.

There is usually a waiting period of about 12-15 months before you hear anything back from Social Security office. Claimants may now be looking at a longer wait time because of the federal hiring freeze.

Claimants should for at least 2.5 years without income.  It is impossible to predict which claims will take years to resolve and which will be resolved right away.  For those whose claims take years to resolve, the delays in the system will only prolong the wait.

Feel free to contact our office for any and all of your Social Security Disability claim questions or concerns.

You can also contact Social Security directly visit their website: