Is Trial By Jury A Better Choice Than Trial By Judge?


When going through a civil lawsuit, one may have to make the decision of whether or not to have a trial by jury, or a trial by judge (“bench” trial). This decision is difficult for any parties involved in a case.


Benefits Of A Bench Trial

A bench trial consists of a judge operating as both the moderator of the trial, and as the person who reaches a verdict. In a bench trial, the judge will conduct the rules of court and also decide whether any compensation should be awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit. Some cases must be bench trials, such as:

  • Divorces
  • Child custody cases
  • Foreclosures
  • Other cases involving specific legal questions or questions of equity


It might be advantageous to have a bench trial if you are representing yourself in court because you will evade the intricacies and stress of making an opening statement, going through jury selection, and paying any deposition fees. It might also be a wise decision to choose a bench trial because the judge will most likely be more lenient on the rules of the court without the presence of a jury. This basically means the trial will be less strict, and you will not have to memorize complex court rules or all the evidence for the trial. A judge might dismiss evidence from the opposing side that could be harmful to your case, but a jury still hears that evidence and may still consider it while coming to a conclusion.


Bench trials might also be beneficial for:

  • Complicated cases that may confuse a jury.
  • Cases for largely unpopular or unliked parties such as a large corporation. A jury might have preconceived notions of the unliked party that could influence their verdict.
  • Defendants. Bench trials typically have better outcomes for defendants, so attorneys will typically suggest this to clients. The defendant will not have to present in front of jury that may be inclined to be sympathetic toward the victim, or the one suing. A trial in front of a jury could possibly cause the defendant to pay more in compensation than he or she would in a bench trial.


Benefits Of A Trial By Jury

Trials by jury are typically chosen for the benefit of the plaintiff, or the party who is suing. Juries tend to be more sympathetic to plaintiffs, especially if the plaintiff suffered injuries at the hands of the defendant. While a judge understands all the rules of court and how the evidence provides proof of something, the jury might not. Juries make verdicts based off a “preponderance of evidence”, or that something is more likely than not. Juries also tend to award more compensation to the plaintiff; they are usually driven by passions and sympathies, where the judge makes verdicts based off the laws of court and evidence shown during trial.


If you choose to have a trial by jury, it is essential to have an attorney that has experience in successful court cases. Jury trials tend to be more strict on the rules of the court, and a lawyer is necessary to advise one on proper courtroom etiquette. Trials by jury largely consist of drama, and a good lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Loveland, CO trusts, that can cater to the sympathies of the jury may provide better compensation for the plaintiff.


Choosing a trial by jury is usually more beneficial for victims attempting to play off the emotions of a jury of people, where a bench trial is generally better for defendants and people representing themselves. Both parties involved in a lawsuit have the right to trial by jury, but if both parties waive that right, then the verdict of the trial is decided by the judge. If you choose to have a trial by judge, you may still have to present your case to a jury, as the opposing party may decide to have a trial by jury.


There is no one way to decide whether to have a trial by jury or bench trial, and even experienced lawyers sometimes have difficulty advising a client on which type of trial to choose.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon, Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt, LLC for their insight into jury vs. judge trial.

Food and Auto Recalls Hit Five-Year-High

Research firm Clyde & Co. is reporting that car and food recalls have increased dramatically worldwide over the last five years, as covered by Financial Times.

The firm studies recalls from both the car and food industries, finding that manufacturers are now more likely than they were in 2013 to recall defective items. In the European Union, for example, food recalls went up by 58 percent and car recalls are up by 150 percent since 2013. In the US, around 37 million vehicles from various manufacturers, including Toyota, Ford and General Motors, are currently under recall because of Japanese manufacturer Takata’s defective airbags.

Clyde & Co. legal director Jason McNerlin said that governments worldwide are paying closer attention to problem products today than they have in the past. McNerlin added that more precautionary steps are taken in the food industry if the environment has regulators who are watching more closely for potential issues, and that better detection techniques have made it possible to detect problems that would have gone unnoticed before. In the UK, for example, the government recently created an office that will manage large-scale recalls and identify risks to consumers.

The automotive industry is a little more difficult to oversee, the legal director noted. The increasing use of the same components in a big number of products can cause a recall that affects several manufacturers, as seen in the airbag recall from Takata. The growing complexity of some of these products is another factor, with problems not becoming obvious until the products have already been sold to the public.

A product recall can be very expensive. German insurer Allianz’s research, which was released last year, indicated that the average large recall claim in the auto industry was about $17 million, while the food claim average is around $11 million. The insurer stated that automotive companies are more likely to have claims under product recall policies (accounting for 42 percent of all claims), followed by food items and domestic appliances.

Even though there have been far more recalls over the past five years than ever before, companies are still only moderately successful in their efforts to get customers to return the defective items. In the US, there are currently some large auto recalls that only have a success rate of 50 percent of the total affected vehicles. This may be due in part to convenience, which US research has found is a major factor for many consumers. If the recall is inconvenient, consumers may make a snap decision not to take part in the recall. Auto recalls can cause a person to be without their vehicle for a period of time or involve spending a few hours or more at the dealer’s center, and for some, it’s simply not worth it.

Product recalls don’t appear to be going away any time soon and are only likely to increase in the near future, given the current trends. If you have been injured by or suffered losses from a defective product, speak to an experienced defective product injury lawyer today.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into food and auto recalls.


Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

Deciding whether or not to place older relatives into nursing home facilities is challenging for current family caretakers, and appropriate nursing home options can be limited. Family caretakers obviously seek ethical treatment for their elderly loved ones, but unfortunately nursing home facilities are not always safe, clean, or compassionate for the elderly. Nursing home abuse does occur, and it is distressing to unveil the indignities that elderly residents suffered at the hands of negligent nursing home staff.

When nursing home abuse occurs we believe that those who caused unnecessary suffering should be held accountable for their actions. We believe in the ethical treatment of all people, especially those who are at their most vulnerable. We are committed to helping families whose loved ones have suffered nursing home abuse. Our team of understanding and compassionate lawyers will be there to fight for justice, financial compensation, and proper care for nursing home residents.

If you are concerned that a loved one is being mistreated or neglected at a nursing home facility, you may have legal rights that produce justice for your loved one.

Nursing Home Laws

Federal and state laws have been issued to ensure the safety and ethical treatment of nursing home residents. Congress enacted the federal Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987, after numerous reports of neglect in nursing home facilities. The act states that all nursing homes must be maintained to give appropriate care for elderly residents and to provide for their general well-being.

Federal law states that nursing home facilities must adhere to the following:

  • Assess the resident’s ability to care for themself
  • Create a care plan designed for the resident based off his or her specific needs
  • Appropriate amount of staff is maintained
  • Residents receive treatment for hearing and vision
  • The resident has the right to choose his or her activities
  • The resident has the right to have visitors
  • Provide assistance with hygiene
  • Provide appropriate food and medication
  • Maintain medical records of all residents
  • Promote the resident’s general well-being and care for them with dignity and respect
  • Promote the resident’s ability to care for themself, and offer assistance with any aspects of life they are unable to do for themselves

These laws were enacted to protect elderly against negligence and abuse, and noncompliance with any of the above laws is considered a federal crime. Some states have enacted even stricter nursing home laws to prevent the mistreatment of the elderly.

Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

Facilities that allow under-qualified, inefficient, and sometimes negligent staff members to care for the residents are less likely to report instances of abuse. No matter how deplorable the living conditions are, nursing homes profit from the care of residents, and reporting abuse may diminish earnings.

Sometimes abuse goes unnoticed by family members for long periods of time, and it is important to know the warning signs. Physical abuse is the most obvious form of neglect, but psychological and sometimes even sexual abuse may occur.

Please contact our attorneys if you notice any of these signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as cuts or bruises
  • Bed sores or open wounds
  • Any bleeding or bloody clothing
  • Dirty or torn clothing or sheets
  • Malnourishment or dehydration
  • Improper administration of medications
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Death

Filing A Lawsuit Against Nursing Home Abuse

If you have noticed any signs of abuse towards your loved one in a nursing home facility, please contact a professional nursing home lawyer Memphis TN  relies on to ensure that your case is being taken care of as well as possible.

We believe that one should be treated with dignity and respect during their most vulnerable years, and will fight for any rights you may have that will ensure justice and compensation. Repercussions for the facility at fault may prevent future negligence and abuse, so it is important to contact an attorney immediately.

Our lawyers have a broad understanding of nursing home laws and regulations, and will continue to fight against nursing home abuse.

Thank you to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC for providing insight on signs of nursing home abuse.

Frequently Forgotten Aspects of Motorcycle Riding

When becoming a motorcycle rider, there are an unlimited number of safety measures and questions to ask yourself before getting on a bike. Due to the body vulnerability of motorcycle riders, there are plenty of protection concerns and precautions to consider. Here we have answered some of the frequently forgotten aspects of riding, that a motorcyclist may not think about until much later on.

Hopefully these questions and answers below can help you get the full picture of preparation when getting acclimated to your new form of transportation and leisure. From liners to GPS systems, and used helmets to air ventilation, all matter when it comes to safety and lessening the chances of a motorcycle accident happening to you.

Should I wash the removable liner in the helmet?

If you have a helmet with a removable liner, then you are in luck. Sweat and products on our hair easily get absorbed into the removable liner and cause it to break down sooner. By washing this simple yet important piece to the helmet puzzle, it can help keep a proper fit and minimize unappealing stench. A slight smell is not so great, but it is worse to overuse the liner which can result in a reduction of its effectiveness.

How can I use GPS or listen to music while riding?

Some motorcyclists enjoy riding while listening to music, or need to follow direction instructions via GPS. There are helmet options where speakers are built in and can easily pair with your accessories through bluetooth. You can choose to purchase a clip unit which attaches to the outside of a helmet, but it may cause noisy wind sounds.

Can I purchase a used helmet?

It is highly recommended that a motorcyclist never purchases a used helmet, under any circumstances. A used helmet may not have visible signs of use, so you can’t truly know the level of protection it will offer you. It may not be worth saving a few dollars on a low-quality helmet, which is so vital to your safety. The EPS layer of a helmet absorbs impacts. If it has already been used or is damaged, you may not be fully protected during a motorcycle accident.

Is airflow important when buying the right helmet?

Yes, sufficient airflow is important when buying the helmet for you. Getting air is not simply for comfort purposes, it actually helps rid of toxic gas from the exhaust, which can accumulate inside a helmet. A properly manufactured helmet for air circulation will have holes in the EPS liner, a chin vent and well-designed ventilation channels.

Are all face shields for helmets made the same way?

Some shields for the face of a helmet are made through an injection mold, which results in a product with minimal imperfections. Other shields may be bent into the shape of a helmet, and can result in obvious distortions of vision. When trying on a helmet, look for the range of peripheral vision and if the shield gets foggy very quickly. There are helmets on the market that come with a coating to protect against fogging.

If you have been involved in an accident, consider speaking with an experienced lawyer such as the motorcycle accident lawyer Henderson NV locals turn to.

Thanks to authors at Nadia Von Magdenko & Associates for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

Can I Apply for Disability Because of Back or Knee Pain?

If you have been diagnosed with chronic knee or back pain, you should seek professional opinion from a social security attorney as to if you qualify for SSDI or not. Applying because of knee or back pain can be difficult because a large number of people experience it on some level. The SSA is constantly assessing applications to figure out who is truly incapacitated and unable to work. There are a few criteria they look for to assist in their decision. You are always able to apply, but you may be concerned that you will not be approved. Make sure to check the other requirements for eligibility before applying. SSDI eligibility requires more than just records of an injury. Your age, income and work history are all eligibility factors and you will have to have those records along with your medical documentation to prove it. Also make sure you check your application to ensure the information is correct before submitting it for review.  Here are a few qualifications you must also meet before applying for SSDI.

1. You have gathered all of the information needed from your doctor. Every claim is highly scrutinized by the SSA. Documentation of your pain from your doctor is useful evidence to provide to the SSA. Any documentation of the following should be used when making your claim:

2. Your doctor has given you a diagnosis of a condition that will last for at minimum one year. This is an important step in convincing the SSA that you are unable to work due to pain. The Blue Book is used by the SSA to decide which medical conditions can qualify you for benefits.Most pain issues require you to prove the severity and longevity of your condition, and some diagnoses will automatically qualify you.. Tests will result in a diagnosis providing data on the seriousness of your knee or back pain.

  • any test results
  • X-rays of the affected area
  • diagnosis
  • MRIs
  • full medical history
  • and any other records that may further prove your case

3. You have consulted a lawyer. Applying for SSDI for your knee or back injury can be complicated to say the least. Many applicants are denied and must reapply before they are approved for SSDI benefits. Having a SSDI attorney by your side helps your chances in being approved because they can advise you on putting together the best application possible. Please do not hesitate to contact disability lawyer Memphis TN and locals.

Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC for providing insight on Nursing home law. If you have had issues with disability.

How May a Claim of Wrongful Death Change an Estate Plan?


You may wish to file a wrongful death claim if a loved one has passed due to negligent actions by a third party. The claim can only be possible if the death was caused by negligence or intentional acts of violence. A claim’s purpose is for family members to pursue damages from the death. However, this can be a difficult process because wrongful death statutes vary between states and particular details of the case at hand. It is usually best to hire a wrongful death attorney to help you through this difficult time.


Who Can File For Wrongful Death?


The law is very specific about who can file a claim of wrongful death, though the laws vary by state. Eligible people who can file are typically next of kin: first are surviving spouses, then children, then parents of the deceased and so on. You do not have to be a family member to file a claim, but you must:


  • have suffered financially because of the person’s death
  • Was a financial dependent of the deceased


Often multiple family members come together to file a claim of wrongful death and that is a good approach to take. You would rather take on a single lawsuit altogether rather than multiple separate ones for the same death.


What Damages Can You be Compensated for?


The best outcome of a wrongful death claim is for the family to receive compensation for the damages caused by their loved one’s death. There are multiple damages one can cite in a claim including:


  • Cost of the funeral
  • Medical Treatment Expenses
  • Monetary damages like lost wages, inheritance and other financial contributions of the dead to the surviving family members.
  • Psychological and emotional damages like pain and suffering


What Happens to the Estate?


Wrongful death awards are disbursed regardless of how the deceased’s will organizes asset distribution. Although laws vary between states, an award is usually distributed forst to the members of the family that experienced the most damages and then just filters down the line. This can be stressful for families because they are responsible for ensuring the distribution. If the family cannot agree, then the court must make the decisions themselves and they might not distribute the money the way some family members expect.


Hiring an estate planning lawyer can help you sort out these issues before you pass so that your family can avoid these difficult situations. Call a wills and trusts lawyer Scottsdale AZ depends on about your case and seek the justice you deserve for this tragedy.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into estate planning.


The Liability of Owning a Swimming Pool

Recent research conducted by the National Safety Council states that residential pools are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all drownings that occur. If someone is injured in a swimming pool, a homeowner could be susceptible to a lawsuit. You may think twice when considering whether or not you want to own a pool as the prospect of potential lawsuit can be fairly stressful. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to prevent injuries from occurring in the event that you are a pool owner.

Duty of Care

It is the responsibility of the property owner to keep visitors of their pool safe from harm. It will be important that any dangers on the property be repaired immediately. If this doesn’t occur, a property owner will need to be mindful in warning guests of the potential danger ahead of time. A property owner puts themselves at risk for potential lawsuits if they do not practice diligence when it comes to duty of care. There are a number of injuries that a homeowner should be concerned about. Although drowning may be at the forefront for most other types of injuries include:

  • Slipping and falling on water
  • If a person were to get hurt on a diving board
  • Injuries could be sustained from any damaged equipment around the pool  

What if Someone Trespasses?

As a homeowner, you could be held responsible for damages if a trespasser is injured in the swimming pool of a homeowner. As frustrating as this may be, a vital part of avoiding lawsuits is taking care of any dangers that may be on the property, regardless of who is visiting.

Preventative Measures

In order to mitigate liability, it is important to always be aware of who is accessing your pool. Always be present and supervise when children are swimming in your pool. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not be allowed in your swimming pool. Any children who do not know how to swim should be required to wear a life jacket. Other important measures to be taken when you are the owner of a pool include:

  • Fencing surrounding the pool area
  • Locked gate
  • Lighting around the pool to prevent people from falling into the pool

You will always want to make sure that the pool is safe for people to use by checking the chemical levels, and ensuring that it is structurally sound by looking over railings, diving board and the slide.

When you are a swimming pool owner, you will want to make sure that you are covered by insurance. Always be honest with your insurance company. An insurance policy to cover damages will be important in the event that someone is injured in your pool and a lawsuit is filed against you. You may not be covered by your insurance company if you do not disclose to them that you have a pool. Consult with an experienced attorney such as the brain injury lawyer Phoenix, AZ who practices all personal Injury areas.

Thanks to authors at Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into Personal Injury.



What Do I Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If you have been injured on the job, you may be wondering how workers’ compensation might be of benefit to you. There are many aspects to the program that you should be aware of before accepting payments. In addition, you may be best served by contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer who can provide you with more information specific to your situation. The law provides that an injured worker must inform their employer of their workplace injury within a certain period of time. After that time, they can no longer apply for workers’ compensation benefits. If the worker opts to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the employer or third party responsible for their injury, they must file it before the statute of limitations. These time limits for notifying the employer and filing a lawsuit vary by state. If you are injured at work, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits even if you caused the accident due to your carelessness or negligence. Unlike personal injury lawsuits which allow the plaintiff to include pain and suffering as damages, workers’ compensation benefits do not provide compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering. Benefits are intended to cover medical treatment costs, a percentage of lost wages, medications, and necessary medical equipment such as crutches.


A workers’ comp lawyer Milwaukee, WI, recommends can review your circumstances and determine if you may be eligible for additional benefits or payments related to your injury. When an injured worker accepts workers’ compensation benefits, they must agree to not sue their employer for their injury. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, then you must not have already signed an agreement for workers’ compensation. Even though you were injured while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits will not provide payments equal to your wages. Rather, it will be a percentage of your wages. This will vary by state and a workers’ compensation lawyer can provide you with more specific financial information. In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you will likely have to undergo an examination by a physician who is pre-approved by the workers’ compensation board. The physician will have to assess your injury, and the board will make a determination as to whether or not you qualify for benefits. Though you can see your own physician for an assessment, they will not have a bearing on your benefits unless they are also an approved doctor. If you were injured while on the job, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to discover your legal options.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim SC for their insight into workers’ compensation.

Filing a Claim if I Failed to Wear a Helmet


Riding a motorcycle is an experience that is enjoyed by many, whether driving through the mountains or commuting to work. Although this can be an excitable recreational activity, if you were in an accident and did not take the appropriate safety measures, you could be severely injured. It is incredibly common to suffer from a head injury as the result of a motorcycle accident. Chances of suffering from a traumatic brain injury decrease greatly by wearing a helmet. If you are in an accident with a helmet, the impact on your head will greatly reduce.   


Helmet Requirements by State

Helmet laws vary by state, in some, it is not illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Despite this, if you were not wearing a helmet and had an accident, an insurance adjuster may hold it against you. Insurance adjusters will blame your injuries on your failure to wear a helmet. This could occur regardless of whether or not another driver was at fault. In some cases, they have made it very difficult to obtain an award, and may even reject a victim’s claim.


When the Courts are Involved

Thankfully, it is more common for the courts to favor a motorcyclist, regardless of whether or not they were wearing a helmet. As a result, you will not be penalized for not wearing a helmet if you were to attempt to recoup for:

  • Lost Wages
  • Emotional Distress
  • Medical Bills and Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property loss

In some states, the lack of a helmet is not even considered evidence that could be used against a motorcyclist. As a result, the court will not find you negligent in the event that you did not wear a helmet. You may be entitled to receive compensation if the person who caused the accident is found negligent.


A Helmet Could Save Your Life

Although you are not required to wear a helmet in all states, it’s still a good idea to do so. Wearing protective clothing and gear can make all the difference when it comes to mitigating injuries in an accident. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing such as:

  • Gloves
  • Helmets
  • Jackets
  • Armor
  • Riding boots
  • Long pants

When it comes to a motorcycle accident, wearing the appropriate gear can mean the difference between life and death. Before you get on a motorcycle, remember the importance of wearing a helmet when tempted to go without one.  


It is wise to always wear a motorcycle helmet when enjoying the open roads. A motorcycle accident attorney may be able to provide further information if you have suffered a motorcycle accident. In most cases, accident attorneys offer their initial consultation for free, meeting with them is at no risk to you financially.   



NYC Bus Driver Charged in City’s First Bike-Share Death

Fifty-two-year-old Dave Lewis, a New York City coach bus driver, was just charged for his role in the death of a banker who was killed while riding a bike from the city’s Citi Bike share program, reports the New York Post ( The bus driver was charged with a misdemeanor and violation in the wake of the June death of Dan Hanegby, an investment banker with Credit Suisse and a former sergeant in the Israeli Army.

Lewis’ attorney issued a statement calling the incident a “tragic accident” and noting his client was still distressed over it. The defense attorney also stressed that this was simply an accident and that his client did not commit any crimes.

Allegedly, the bus driver told a witness he was driving on 26th Street close to Eighth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood when he honked the horn of his bus at Hanegby, whom he says was biking in the middle of the road with headphones on.

Once the bus passed Hanegby at around 8:15 in the morning, Lewis reportedly said he felt “something” and heard noise coming from outside the bus. When he looked in the bus’s mirror, he saw Hanegby on the ground.

Law enforcement says that 36-year-old Hanegby, a father of two, was sandwiched between the bus and a parked car, so he lost his balance. He fell off of his bike and ended up under the rear wheels of the commuter bus being driven by Lewis. The banker was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead a short time later. Lewis remained on the scene of the accident to wait for police.

The Citi Bike ride-share program started back in 2013. According to a program spokesperson, this is the first time a bike rider participating in it has been killed.

Known as a gifted tennis player who was once ranked the top player in Israel at the age of 16, Hanegby was born in Tel Aviv and joined Credit Suisse back in 2014 after a stint at Morgan Stanley.

Lewis is facing a maximum of 30 days in jail if he is convicted of the top charge, which is causing physical injury because of a failure to observe the right of way. He has also been given a violation for not exercising due care in connection with the incident. Since being charged, he was released without bail and has declined to comment on the case.

Any time a vehicle hits a bicyclist, the consequences can be devastating. The sheer difference between the sizes of the vehicles and the lack of protection a bicyclist has often makes these types of accidents very dangerous for the person on the bike. Drivers of larger vehicles, such as a bus, do not always pay enough attention to the road and heed the right of way as they are supposed to.

If you have been injured while on a bike, you have rights. Speak to an experienced lawyer, like a bike or bus accident lawyer Denver CO relies on, about your case as soon as possible.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into bus accident cases.