Did I Cause The Accident? The Elements Of A Car Crash That Determine Fault

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Did I Cause The Accident? The Elements Of A Car Crash That Determine Fault

Sometimes, it is easy to tell who is responsible for a car accident. But depending on the complexity of your crash, you may find even you do not know who was responsible for the accident. If this is the case, you’ll need to gather some of the evidence yourself and work closely with your attorney to find out whether you are innocent and to defend yourself.

The Police Officer’s Accident Report and Citations

The police officer who examines the accident will write an accident report that will play a major role in whom is most likely to later be found to blame. Do not admit guilt to the officer because this can be used against you. Sometimes, the officer will make a professional judgment as to whom he or she believes is at fault. However, the officer does not need to make such a statement.

If the police officer does make a professional judgment, you can have the police report amended. You can have your own personal statement added to the report refuting what was reported to have happened. The police officer may also issue traffic citations. If so, the motorist who received a citation will be more likely to be considered at fault.

Whoever Was at the Tail End of the Accident

In most cases, whichever driver was at the very end of a series of cars is considered to be at fault. If you do not remember, you will need to locate witnesses to ask them what happened. If you can find a witness who will assert that the other motorist rear-ended you or collided with the side of your vehicle, this witness testimony can be used to establish your innocence.

The Assessment of the Insurance Adjusters

The insurance companies of each motorist involved will send an adjuster to interview witnesses and to examine the cars. The adjusters will sometimes be able to use the damage to determine which motorist was negligent and should be considered at fault. If it is believed that you and the other motorist are partially at fault, the adjuster will assign a percentage of fault to both of you.

If you believe that you are being wrongly accused of causing the accident, you should contact a car accident attorney like Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC. He or she can examine the evidence and can craft a case to prove that you were less at fault or completely without blame. By not being found at fault, your insurance company will not have to pay for your accident and your insurance rates will be lower.

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Is It Possible To Sue For Damages Related To A Zombie Home?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is It Possible To Sue For Damages Related To A Zombie Home?

Despite the name, a zombie home is not a house full of zombie fans binge-watching the latest season of a popular zombie show on a Friday night. Unfortunately, a zombie home is one where a bank began the foreclosure process but, for unknown reasons, failed to see the lawsuit to completion. As a result, the evicted homeowners remain liable for the property and often incur a mountain of debt as a result. If you’re the homeowner in this situation, you may be wondering if it possible to hold the bank liable for damages you sustain because of its inaction.

It May Be Possible Using Negligence Laws

It may be possible to hold the bank liable using the state’s negligence laws. The negligence tort is used when one party behaves in a careless or reckless manner that causes another party to be injured as a result. There are four elements that must be proven true to win a lawsuit against a person or company using this tort:

  • The defendant must have had a legal duty to the plaintiff
  • The defendant must have breached that duty
  • The breach caused injury to the plaintiff
  • The plaintiff sustained compensable damages as a result of the breach

For instance, as a consequence of the banks failing to legally take possession of the foreclosed home, the registered owners are often cited by the city for not maintaining the property or stuck paying property taxes. To make matter worse, since the property owners typically abandon the home when it goes into foreclosure, they are often unaware anything is amiss until they receive a letter from the government demanding payment or ticketing them.

A bank could be held responsible for compensating the homeowner for these fees and charges if the homeowner proved the bank was negligent in not taking possession of the home in a timely manner.

Establishing Duty is the Key to Success

The biggest challenge in litigating this type of case is establishing that the banks have a legal duty to homeowners to follow through with foreclosure proceedings. This can be very difficult to do because, unlike in a criminal trial, defendants in civil suits don’t have a Constitutional right to a speedy trial. While states do have laws detailing how much time a person has to file a civil lawsuit, there generally are no rules regulating when the lawsuit must conclude once it has begun.

To hold the bank liable for damages you sustained because of their failure to complete the foreclosure, you’ll need to establish their duty to do so by either using the language in your mortgage contract if the bank has established a timeline for foreclosing on the home or finding a legal precedent establishing the bank’s duty in this area.

Even if you’re not able to collect compensation for damages related to a zombie home, there may be things you can do to force the bank to take possession of the house so you’re no longer responsible for it. It’s best to discuss the issue with an attorney who can help you put down the zombie home once and for all.

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Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits: Special Considerations

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits: Special Considerations

Motorcycle accident lawsuits are governed by the same personal injury law as accidents involving other vehicles. Some special considerations, however, can occur in lawsuit relating to motorcycle crashes. All motorcycle riders need to be aware of these special factors in case they are ever involved in a personal injury case due to a crash. This article examines some of the main points to keep in mind. 

Helmet  

Some states have mandated that motorcycle riders wear helmets to reduce the chance of injury if a crash occurs. Helmet laws are not only a safety issue, however, they can also become a factor in civil suits. For example, if your state has a mandatory helmet requirement and you are injured while not wearing one, the amount of compensation you can receive might be limited. Alternatively, some jurisdictions leave the issue up to the court, while in other areas, the issue of whether a rider wore a helmet is not admissible at trial. You’ll want to look at your state’s rules and talk with a lawyer, like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. to see what rules apply to your situation.

Road Issues 

Poor road conditions are much more likely to lead to a motorcycle crash than other vehicles. For instance, while a pothole is little more than a minor bump for most cars, it can be a dangerous hazard for a motorcycle. Other common road issues for motorbike riders are sewer grates with bars parallel to the street and abandoned railroad tracks. Both of these hazards have the potential to cause a motorcycle crash. 

Whether or not you have a winnable lawsuit against a governmental agency for not keeping the roads free of hazard generally depends on whether the agency was guilty of negligence. For example, if the agency had warning signs that the rider ignored, negligence might be hard to prove. On the other hand, if the agency knew about the problem but did not place warning signs or attempt to resolve the issue, the injured party might have a strong case. 

Lane Splitting 

Some motorcycle accidents involve a maneuver called lane splitting. This occurs when you drive on lane lines and weave in and out of stopped or slower-moving cars in order to continue down the street, rather than waiting behind traffic. If you have a crash while lane splitting, you increase the chances that you will be held at least partially responsible for the accident. 

A variety of special factors could play an important role in any personal injury lawsuit involving a motorcycle crash. To learn more about this area of the law, consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

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