Starting a new venture can be exciting and challenging. It is important that you hire a lawyer too as all companies, irrespective of their size needs legal representation. When you start your business, you will find that you need legal guidance at every step and at different phases of the business life, from the initial incorporation to raising capital for expansion to hiring employees, you need the services of a good lawyer. It goes without saying that most businessmen cannot handle the legal matters in a way that professional and competent lawyers can.
Most people are unsure when or if they should hire a personal injury attorney after an accident that was caused by someone who acted negligently. However, the answer depends on your condition and specifics of your accident. Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to get a better idea about whether or not you should consult a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.
How Badly Were You Injured?
Not every injury needs the assistance of a lawyer. You may not have use for a lawyer if:
- Your injury is minor.
- The associated medical costs are not very high.
- The at-fault person’s insurance company offered you a fair settlement.
It’s wise to consider consulting an attorney if:
- Your injury is more complex and requires medical attention such as: surgery, hospital care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc. If your claim involves a large sum of medical costs, an attorney can increase the likelihood of receiving the maximum possible settlement.
- The at-fault party’s insurance company denies your claim.
- The at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
Are You Being Contacted by an Insurance Company Representative?
Insurance companies are known to minimize their losses in injury claims as much as possible. If you are ever contacted by an insurance company representative who asks you for medical records, recorded statements, or other releases, be sure to tell them that you are contacting an attorney. Insurance adjusters only job is to get proof that you are the cause of your own claim so that their company does not have to pay you.
Is the Insurance Company Offering Less Than You Deserve or Nothing At All?
Some insurance companies employ unfair techniques so they can avoid paying claims to the people who deserve compensation for their damages. They may put off the claims process for an inordinate amount of time, make an outrageously low offer, or refuse to pay for no reason at all. If you experienced any of these scenarios, you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They know all about these tactics and how to combat them so you can get the restitution you deserve in a timely manner.
Do You Feel Comfortable with the Legal System?
Those who file a claim without the help of a professional lawyer will need to navigate the legal system on their own. You must have knowledge about your claim, the local laws, and the settlement process. You may also need considerable negotiation skills in order to receive a fair amount from your case. While some personal injury cases are fairly straightforward, many are very complicated and require the assistance of a skilled lawyer such as the Slip and fall lawyer Las Vegas, NV locals trust.
Thanks to authors at Nadia Von Magdenko for their insight into Personal Injury Law.
Texting and driving is one of the largest causes of auto accidents, resulting in the death and injuries of thousands of people, as well as, millions of dollars in damages, each year. Although many laws have been put into place around the country to avoid texting while driving, the rate of accidents as a result of the act has remained fairly consistent. If texting and driving was in fact the cause of an accident, the driver who was texting may be help liable of the damages and injuries sustained in the accident.
A lawsuit can be filed against a driver at fault in an accident if negligence can be proven. Drivers negligence, which includes texting and driving, is the disregard of safety while driving. To prove negligence, it is required to provide evidence of the four following elements:
Drivers have a legal duty to obey traffic laws and drive responsibly to ensure the safety of everyone on or near roadways. It must first be proven that the driver at fault had the duty and obligation of adhering to the safety standards of the road to avoid any accidents.
- Breach of Duty
If a driver at fault has been proven to have had the duty of care, then it must be proved that he or she breached that duty. When a driver turns their attention from the road to their cell phone, they have breached their duty of care. Because the average person knows that cell phone usage while driving can inhibit the abilities of the driver, they can be proven as negligent of safe driving.
After proving that the at-fault driver breached his or her duties, then evidence must be provided that proves texting while driving caused the accident and the other parties injuries. Causation is what legally binds the injured party’s injuries with the liability of the at-fault party. To prove causation, medical records and proper testimony should be provided.
When one party is at fault in the accident, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for any damages incurred as a result of the accident. You will need medical records and other evidence proving the damages requiring compensation. The damages for which may require compensation include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Emotional stress
To properly and successfully navigate a texting and driving accident, it is advised to contact a skilled attorney, like a car accident lawyer Milwaukee WI can trust. Proving negligence can be difficult, but a personal injury attorney can alleviate some of the stress by providing the necessary guidance and legal help needed to win a case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into texting and driving.
Filing an insurance claim following a car accident can be a frustrating experience when the insurance company or negligent driver is contesting the claim. Insurance companies routinely investigate every aspect of an accident claim because it could lead to a lesser payout when the claim is finalized.
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and any reason they can find to defend the value of a claim could protect the company bottom line. This is a major component of why it is always important to discuss an accident case with an experienced personal injury attorney when filing a claim.
- An auto accident attorney can advise on what to expect from the insurance company and the potential value of your claim, which could be much more than you realize.
- This is especially true in cases of multiple parties or when a commercial vehicle is involved.
- Product liability claims can be viable when a vehicle is included in a recall and causes an accident due to its defect.
Dealing with a Bad Faith Insurance Company
Many insurance companies will use negotiation tactics that could be considered in bad faith when they think a claimant will not retain an attorney to handle the claim. A common tactic is to try to settle the claim quickly.
- This will often entail a low settlement offer, much lower than the true value of the claim.
- Adjusters do not have to reveal the amount of their client’s maximum coverage until a case goes to court or you hire an attorney who will request the information immediately. Until or unless that happens they may try to lowball you.
- The insurance company may delay payment as much as possible or stall by investigating each and every invoice submission from victims for accuracy and necessity.
- They may challenge any or all invoices submitted to them, regardless of their validity.
Personal Contribution to the Accident Can Matter
Depending on the state where the accident occurred, comparative negligence can be an important factor in the personal injury pain-and-suffering calculations.
- Some states use pure comparative law which allows any accident injury victim to collect damages minus the percentage of their contribution to the accident.
- Modified comparative negligence states will use either 50% or 51% as a bar to receiving financial recovery for injuries sustained in the crash. This is an area of the law insurance companies always focus on and will be where your accident attorney will work the most diligently to protect your legal recovery rights.
Cases that Go to Trial
Sometimes the insurance company or the defendant will choose to take a case to trial when they think they can win an acquittal. This is especially common when all parties are in disagreement as to liability. This will require you to enlist the expertise of an experienced trial attorney.
Plaintiff legal counsels may take a case to trial when there is a good chance that a jury will issue a punitive damage award for gross negligence or bad faith negotiating by the respondent insurance provider.
If you would like an experienced attorney such as the car accident attorney Des Moines IA locals trust to review your case, request a consultation. Most law firms will provide one at no cost.
Thanks to authors at Johnston Martineau LLP for their insight into Personal Injury Law.
If a person trespasses onto your property and gets injured, can you be held responsible for the accident? This is a complicated question that cannot be answered by a simple Yes or No. To determine whether or not you are liable for a trespasser’s injury, let us define who a trespasser is, the duties of a property owner and trespasser, and other issues.
Who Is a Trespasser?
According to the law, a trespasser is anyone who sets foot on another person’s premises without the owner’s invitation or permission. The act of trespass is interference with someone’s person, property, or rights.
A Landowner’s Duty to Trespassers
Many jurisdictions stand by the common law concept that a landowner does not owe a trespasser any special duty of care for their safety or well-being. However, this should not be taken to mean all landowners do not owe any trespassers any duty.
- A landowner owes a duty of care to an undiscovered trespasser. This is a person who trespasses without the knowledge of the landowner.
- For such trespassers, the landowner must refrain from acting in a careless or willful manner. For example, you cannot intentionally fire a gun at a stranger who trespasses on your property but poses no obvious or immediate threat to one’s safety.
- A landowner also owes a duty of care to a discovered trespasser. This is someone who the landowner knew was stepping in to their property without their permission.
- The landowner should exercise ordinary care when dealing with such trespassers. This means they should protect the discovered trespasser from foreseeable harm like tripping over an obstacle on a path that leads to their front door.
A Trespasser’s Duty to Landowners
A trespasser’s duty towards a landowner is to not enter their property without the owner’s authorization. In this scenario, a trespasser is already wrong when they enter another person’s property without their permission. However, a trespasser may still be able to make claims for injuries and monetary damages.
- In many states, if a trespasser sustains a serious injury, the court will determine who had the greater fault for the accident: the trespasser or the landowner.
- In states that observe the concept of contributory negligence, if the trespasser is found to be even 1% responsible for their injuries, they lose their right to recover damages.
- In states that observe the concept of pure comparative negligence, a trespasser can recover damages even when they are 99% responsible for their injuries. In comparative fault states, the trespasser will receive damages in accordance with their share of blame. For example, if the trespasser is awarded $100,000 in damages but the court finds that the trespasser was 50% responsible for their own injuries, they shall be awarded $50,000.
The Duty of Third Parties on the Property
A good example of a third party on the landowner’s property is a casual worker. If a worker on the landowner’s property recklessly leaves a hole lying open and covers it with tarp without erecting any warning sign, they can be held liable for the injuries sustained by a trespasser who steps on the tarp and falls in the hole.
- However, the worker will not be solely liable for the trespasser’s injuries.
- Both the third party and the landowner of the property owed the trespasser a duty of reasonable care.
- They both are liable because they failed to take any measures to protect the trespasser from harm like by erecting a warning sign.
The question of whether or not you can be held liable for a trespasser’s injuries sustained on your property can only be determined by considering the duties of each of the concerned parties. The laws regarding trespassers are quite complex and without legal counsel it can be difficult to understand your liability. It is advisable to consult with an experienced professional such as the personal injury lawyer Minneapolis MN locals turn to is conversant with premises liability and who will be able to outline your options with regards to a trespasser’s personal injury case.
Thanks to authors at Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into Personal Injury Law.
Highway work zones represent a very real risk to workers as well as drivers. Data suggests that there are an average of 12 fatal work zone accidents each week in the U.S. Some of these fatalities affect construction workers, but a large percentage of fatalities affects drivers and pedestrians.
Driving with care and remaining aware of your surroundings can make work zones safer for workers and drivers. Here’s what you should know about staying safe when driving through highway work areas.
Rear-End Crashes Are Very Common in Work Zones
Drivers must be aware of the additional risks of driving through a work zone. One of the greatest risks is rear-end collisions. As traffic in work zones slows down, rear-end collisions become much more common. According to data from 2013, 41% of fatal work zone accidents in that year involved a rear-end collision. Nationwide, just 16% of deadly car accidents are rear-end collisions.
There are many reasons rear-end accidents are so common in work zones. Drivers in work zones may follow too closely when traffic gets backed up and leaves drivers with little room. Some drivers also become frustrated by slow speeds in the work zone and drive more aggressively as a result. When parts of the road are closed for construction, drivers have less room to escape a crash. Sometimes rear-end crashes are the result of distracted drivers who may be watching the construction, checking a GPS device, or simply changing the radio station.
Rear-end collisions are among the easiest car accidents to prevent. Simply slow down through the work zone and leave a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you.
Driver Safety Tips in Work Zones
These safe driving tips may save someone’s life. When you see a highway work zone approaching, remember to:
- Merge into the correct lane. Watch for lane closure warnings or signs that indicate changes in traffic patterns. Be careful as lane markings may be hard to recognize during construction.
- Pay attention to other drivers. Watch brake lights on vehicles in front of you and watch traffic around you. Be prepared to react if another driver is not paying attention.
- Do not tailgate. While it may be frustrating when traffic slows down for construction, be sure not to tailgate other drivers.
- Obey the speed limit. The lower speed limit through construction is meant to help protect the lives of workers who may be just feet away from traffic. Remember that fines can be doubled for moving violations in a work zone.
- Keep your headlights on. This makes it easier for other drivers and road workers to see you.
- Watch for work vehicles or equipment entering or exiting the highway. Other vehicles may also stop, slow down, or change lanes unexpectedly.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a highway work zone accident, it’s important to take action right away to protect your legal rights and begin building your case. An experienced attorney, like a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts, can help you understand your legal options and may negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with a car accident injury attorney to review your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into accident awareness and personal injury practice.
After getting in a car accident, unexpected medical bills can add insult to injury. Unfortunately, many Florida drivers have found themselves in this exact position after their insurance company paid less than expected for their medical bills following a car accident. It is very important to retain an attorney such as the lawyer Tampa FL residents trust.
In Florida Wellness & Rehabilitation v. Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company, the Third District Court of Appeals heard the consolidated appeals from five lower court cases involving suits by medical providers (on behalf of the insurance policy holders) against Allstate for failure to fully pay medical expenses covered by the insureds’ PIP policies. Rather than pay the full medical costs, Allstate utilized the fee schedules set out in Florida Statute 627.736 (5)(a)(2)(f) and paid only 80 percent of 200 percent of the Medicare Part B Schedules–significantly less than the full medical expenses.
Allstate asserted that the language in the PIP policies in question–which stated that any covered medical bills “shall be subject to any and all limitations” provided by Statute 627.736 (5)(a)(2)(f)–was clear enough to alert the insured of the limitations of coverage. The medical providers argued that the language was intentionally vague, but the lower courts all found in favor of Allstate.
The appellate court agreed with the lower courts, as well as the decisions of the First and Second District Courts of Appeals in similar cases. The court noted that they are required to interpret the policy’s language in according with its plain meaning, and the phrase “subject to” was deemed sufficient to alert any insurance policy holder to limits of liability provisions.
The Third District Court of Appeals’ ruling in this case comes after thousands of similar cases were filed in courts across Florida. The Florida state legislature has taken steps to clarify the issue, passing a law in 2013 that makes the use of Medicare fee schedules standard for all PIP policies. However, many Florida drivers who are still facing unresolved medical bills from accidents before 2013 should pay close attention to the Third District Court’s findings.
A special thanks to our partners at The McKinney Law Group for their high level expertise in Insurance Law.
Important myths and truths to know about auto accidents, and what happens in their aftermath.
Myth # 1: If the Accident is Minor, the Parties Don’t Need to Exchange Information or Call the Police
TRUTH: Every auto accident, from a small fender bender to a 5-car pileup, needs to be reported to both the police and insurance companies. Failure to do so can hinder any future settlement negotiations.
Myth #2: You Have No Obvious Injuries, So You’re Not Hurt.
TRUTH: Auto accident related injuries aren’t always obvious on the surface and can often take days, weeks, or months to become apparent. Just because you have no initial cuts, bruises, scrapes, or pain, doesn’t mean you won’t develop related injuries in the future. Seek immediate medical attention after an auto accident, and follow up with any treatments your doctor may recommend.
Myth #3: Citation = Fault
TRUTH: Police officers don’t necessarily determine fault. They make observations, ask questions, and create a report. They might even cite one of the drivers with a traffic ticket. But ultimately, and especially in a personal injury case, insurance companies and attorneys will battle over the percentage of liability (fault). Don’t forget, even if you are partially at fault, you may still be able to receive compensation for injuries sustained.
Myth #4: Insurance Will Cover Everything
TRUTH: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as one “full coverage” policy, so there is no guarantee insurance will cover all the damage of an auto accident. Making sure you at least have liability, collision, and comprehensive policies will enhance your chances of greater coverage. It’s also a good idea to have underinsured and uninsured coverage, to protect you from the drivers with little to no insurance.
Myth #5: You Must Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement
TRUTH: You absolutely do NOT have to do this, though insurance companies are masterfully skilled into convincing you to do so. Such a statement can be used against you during your settlement/litigation. If the other driver’s insurance company keeps hounding you for a recorded statement, contact an attorney immediately.
Myth #6: You Can Handle the Whole Settlement on Your Own
TRUTH: Insurance companies have teams of experienced adjusters, investigators, and lawyers trying to settle your case for as little money as possible. If you hire legal representation, you are more likely to receive a higher settlement than if you attempt to handle the case on your own.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should always consult with an attorney to see what your options are. Don’t let false information prevent you from receiving compensation for your injury. Consult with an experienced attorney such as the car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ locals trust.
Thanks to our authors at Kamper Estrada for their insight into Personal Injury Law.
Two studies are showing that the safety systems that stop cars from moving into another lane or signal to drivers when they have a vehicle in their blind spot are starting to curb the crash rate, reports the Chicago Sun Times (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/automated-safety-systems-are-preventing-car-crashes-studies-say/). While this is good news, the research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does raise serious questions: are drivers less vigilant when there are automated safety systems in place or more distracted by dashboard displays associated with these systems?
Both studies, which came from the IIHS, found that lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring systems resulted in a lower crash rate when compared to vehicles without those systems.
For the lane-keep assist system study, the institute examined crash data from law enforcement agencies in 25 states for the period of 2009 through 2015. Researches found that vehicles with lane-keep assist systems had an 11 percent lower rate of head-on, single-vehicle and sideswipe accidents than vehicles without it. The system also appeared to help reduce injuries, as the injury rate fell by 21 percent across all of those accident types. The fatal crash rate fell by 86 percent, but since there were only 40 deadly crashes in the data, a simple analysis that did not account for differences in risk factors, such as age and gender, was used. This study also concluded that if all the passenger vehicles had the lane-keep assist feature in 2015, around 85,000 police-reported accidents could have been prevented.
The second study on blind spot detection features found that those systems lowered the rate of lane change accidents by 14 percent, and the injuries associated with those kinds of crashes fell by 23 percent. If the included passenger vehicles had all been equipped with this feature, the study estimated that around 50,000 accidents per year could have been avoided.
Greg Brannon of the Automobile Association of America noted that these study results were definitely encouraging. However, Brannon also warned that drivers must understand both the limits and capabilities of such systems before they get behind the wheel.
The fear that newer safety features could make drivers less cautious does appear to have some merit. A study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab and IIHS found that when drivers use automated parking spot scanning systems to find a place to park, they spend more time looking at their dashboard display than their surroundings. This remained true even when the systems were looking for a spot and the driver was still in control of the steering. Drivers who have blind spot detection systems also told IIHS researchers that they don’t look over their shoulder as much when changing lanes because of their reliance on the feature.
Of course, some drivers don’t like to use newer safety features, even when their vehicle is equipped with one. Another recent IIHS study discovered that drivers turn off lane keep assist systems about half of the time, as the buzzing and beeping warning was irritating to them.
The new technology of today’s cars does have the potential to reduce accidents provided drivers use it wisely. If you have been injured in an auto accident, speak to an attorney today such as the car accident lawyer Denver CO locals trust.
Thanks to our authors at Banta Law for their insight into Personal Injury.
Do Employers Use Post Injury Drug Tests to Discourage Workers’ Compensation Claims?
An injury can throw your life into chaos. The hardships do not stop with the physical suffering. Injuries often cause people to miss an extended period from work. A long time without a paycheck can multiply the pain exponentially.
Fortunately, there is a system in place to take care of the injured. The workers’ compensation system helps people collect a percentage of their normal pay while they are injured. This is often a saving grace for working people. It allows the afflicted to collect wages while they are unable to work. This can decrease the stress and help good, hard working people to weather a very difficult period of their life.
Unfortunately, employers often look for any way to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits. One way of doing this is to intimidate an injured employee with the threat of a drug test. They may use these threats to deter an employee from seeking what they are rightfully owed. These actions also set an example for other employees; if they see what an individual has to go through for a workers’ comp claim they may not want the hassle if they get injured.
This begs the question; Can employers force an injured employee to take a post-injury drug test?
Employer Retaliation Against Employees
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety standards within the United States. In 2016, OSHA issued a new rule that decreed, “Employers cannot deter proper reporting or retaliate against employees for the reporting of a workplace injury or illness.”
Similarly, The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has stated that their research revealed that employees are often deterred from reporting industry and seeking compensation.
Post Injury Drug Tests
Employers are often eager to blame an injury on the worker, or workers, instead of poor conditions, overwork, or inadequate equipment. This does not mean that employers cannot conduct drug tests of their employees. It does, however, provide some protection for the injured.
- The employers must prove that their actions are not meant to be retaliatory towards, or to intimidate, any employees.
- This may be difficult to prove for either side.
Workers’ compensation claims can be very complicated. It is a legal matter that most people are unable to handle without a qualified attorney. The law strives to protect both sides from being taken advantage of. If you are having difficulties with your workers’ compensation claim then you should do extensive research into the process. The next thing to do is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney such as the Workers’ Compensation Lawyer West Palm Beach locals trust.
Quality legal counsel may help you to get the compensation that you have earned. Your employer will have legal professionals to fight for them; it is of extreme importance that you ensure that you are well represented as well.
A special thanks to our authors at Franks, Koenig, and Neuwelt for their insight into Workers’ Compensation.
If you have been the victim of a personal injury due to the negligence of another person, you deserve to receive the compensation you have earned. Once you go through the legal battle and win your case, you can decide if you wish to receive the earnings in one lump sum payment, or split it up into separate payments over a period of time. You will want to consult with your attorney on which option will be the best for you.
The more common option among individuals who win any type of legal case, but especially personal injury cases, is to receive their earnings in a lump sum. Generally the award for civil cases is around $25,000-$30,000, which is why a lump sum makes more sense since the earnings are fairly low. If your personal injury was more severe than normal, you may wish to spread out your earnings in separate payments since you will likely to have more medical bills down the road so you will have compensation coming in around that time, and your earnings will be larger compared to a minor personal injury.
Positives of Structured Settlement
If you decide to choose the structured settlement option, one positive is that they are paid using annuity. Annuity is basically a form of payment which collects interest over time, so your later payments down the road will be larger than your initial payments in the beginning, due to the interest accumulated. Another positive is that your structured settlement payments are free from state and federal taxes, so you will not be short changed.
With structured settlements, you can choose how much your initial payment will be. The rest of the award will be divided up evenly for your remaining payments. If you have medical bills that are due right away as a result of your injury, you can have that initial larger payment go towards those bills. If you know there are medical bills coming six months or one year from now, you can set up your payments so you will receive them around that time. Once you sign the paperwork for you payments, they cannot be changed, so make sure you choose the right plan for your life.
Contact a Lawyer
Once you have gone forth with your personal injury case, you can either continue on with your same lawyer or choose someone who focuses in future of estates like a Sacramento estate lawyer. They will be able to provide you with the best information when deciding whether to choose a lump sum payment, or a structured settlement. Don’t wait any longer, pick up the phone today.
Thanks to our contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning with a structured settlement.