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. 


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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Understanding VA Denials, Service-Connection And Lawyer Assistance

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding VA Denials, Service-Connection And Lawyer Assistance

The Veterans Affairs (VA) claim system is constantly filled with new claims, especially with an ongoing war of volunteers ready to retire or step away from the chaos. With reports of scandal and long wait times, you’ll need to pack as much information into your claim or appeal as possible to avoid delays. Take the time to understand the VA process and what you can do to make your claim successful.

Denials Are Designed To Filter Fraud

As you develop your VA claim, you need to understand that the VA is dedicated to reducing fraudulent claims. There are veterans out there looking for a lifetime paycheck for disability, since you’re allowed to work while receiving VA disability. Even if you have a complete medical record full of evidence, you still need to pass the VA’s C&P exam and have current proof that you’re suffering.

Another issue is that some veterans are injured as civilians. Some of those claims could be a simple misunderstanding, since many people believe that veterans are entitled to all VA assistance programs for life. Other veterans may try to manipulate their injury circumstances to make it look like a civilian injury actually happened while they were in the military.

Veterans with civilian conditions aren’t completely turned away. There are basic benefits available for veterans with an other-than-dishonorable discharge, but the compensation is for service-connected conditions only.

The Service-Connection Requirements

Success with VA claims and appeals means differentiating yourself from these invalid claims. Thankfully, aside from the most egregious examples of fraud, the worst that the VA will do is deny your claim. To avoid these denials, you need to pass a service-connected test.

Service-connection is a term that means your claim is related to military service. An ideal claim will have a military medical record entry showing that you complained about the issue (or issues) during the military, as well as a current medical examination showing that you’re still suffering.

The medical record entry is a helpful bonus, but the VA understands that not all veterans are able to produce related medical record entries. Whether it’s because of a hectic military situation with no medical personnel in the area or if your record was lost by medical personnel, you can still succeed with a claim if you file the claim as soon as possible. The more time that passes, the more likely that your claim will look like a person claiming a civilian issue as a military issue.

Proving that you’re currently suffering can be difficult as well. Not all conditions involve visual scars or obvious disease; some veterans have pain and mobility problems that can’t be reproduced in military evidence. It’s hard to prove or disprove that a veteran is truly in pain without a medical explanation for what is causing the pain.

If you’ve been denied and continue to suffer because of military-related conditions, contact a law firm immediately. Instead of doing the research on your own while suffering and trying to keep/find a job, allow the law firm to research your records and equip you with a team of medical professionals who can get the evidence you need.

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Why It Could Take Months To Start Receiving Disability Benefits

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why It Could Take Months To Start Receiving Disability Benefits

If you’re not able to work because of a serious medical condition, you may be able to get social security disability benefits. What you may not realize is it is often a long and complicated process to get your case approved and start receiving monthly checks. One way to possibly speed up the process is to hire a professional attorney, like those at R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C., to help you file your claim rather than do it yourself. Since the process is slow, any mistakes you make will only slow it down even more. Here are a few things that affect how soon you’ll receive your benefits.

Obtaining Medical Records

Before you are approved for disability benefits, your medical records are thoroughly reviewed to make sure your medical condition qualifies. If you obtain the records yourself and submit them with your initial application, it may speed things along. However, your doctor may not want to release the records to you, you might not be physically capable of collecting all your medical records because of your illness, or you may be charged fees for copies of the records you can’t afford to pay.

If you don’t submit your records with your application, then your caseworker requests them from your doctors and the hospital that cared for you. Your case will stall while you wait for all your medical records to be sent to your caseworker. Also, if you don’t provide full and accurate information about the doctors and facilities that treated you, that will slow down the process as the errors are ironed out.

When You File

You should file for disability as soon as it becomes obvious you won’t be able to go back to work. The longer you wait, the longer it takes to get the process completed. Under the best case scenario, assuming your claim is quickly approved, payments won’t begin until the sixth month after you became disabled. However, it’s possible it will take longer than six months to be approved for benefits.

As many as 70 percent of initial claims are denied. That means you’ll probably have to appeal the decision. First appeals have an even higher denial rate. It’s not until you go to a disability hearing that you have the best odds of winning your case. It may take many months or even a couple of years to go through this whole process. However, when you finally win your case, you may be eligible for back benefits based on the date you filed for disability. So, the sooner you apply, the more money you will eventually receive when your case is approved.

Your Medical Condition

If you have a medical condition that’s so severe that it’s obvious you are in need of disability payments, you may be eligible for a compassionate allowance that expedites your case. This includes things like a traumatic head injury or terminal cancer. You’ll still need to submit medical records and go through the application process, but because of the severity of your condition, your benefits could be approved in a matter of weeks.

Medical problems that are more difficult to prove, such as mental illness or chronic pain, take longer to go through the process, since medical records have to be examined more thoroughly, and you have to prove you are no longer able to work.

It’s stressful to be sick or injured and out of work too. You have to worry about finances as well as your health. Therefore, you want to get your claim for benefits approved as quickly as you can. Hiring an attorney won’t guarantee you’ll speed through the process, but at least you can be sure you’ll go through it as quickly as possible and won’t lose time due to errors made by trying to do it yourself.

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