What you can expect during a personal injury suit

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Filing For Disability Benefits In The Near Future? Learn How An Attorney Can Help

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Filing For Disability Benefits In The Near Future? Learn How An Attorney Can Help

There are many people who make the mistake of filing for social security disability without first speaking with an attorney who specializes in this area. This is not a good idea, because there are a lot of factors taken into consideration when it comes to social security disability that you may not know about. The following guide walks you through a few reasons people are often denied social security disability benefits and the ways a professional attorney, like those at the Law Offices Of Russell J. Goldsmith, can help better your chances of getting approved. Establish Severity of Disability and Treatment The first thing you will need to do is go to your doctor and gather proof as to how severe your disability is. If you will only suffer from your disability for a limited amount of time, there is a good chance you will not be granted the disability benefits because you will not be disabled long enough for it to have a major impact on your life. Likewise, if severe medical treatment is required for you to live with the disability you have, the disability office needs to know about it so that it can be taken into consideration when looking at your application for benefits. An attorney can help you organize the information so that you can present it in the proper way to the social security office. This ensures you do not forget any information and word everything properly. Make Yourself Available to the Social Security Office The agents at the social security office will need to talk to you on a regular basis about many things to do with your specific situation. It is important to make sure that the agents can get in touch with you when they need to, to ensure they can get the information they need in a timely manner. An attorney can review some questions the agent may ask you so that you are better prepared to answer them properly. Determine If Your Income Is Too Large Social security disability is designed to help you meet your needs because you are not able to make enough money to support yourself due to your disability. If you make enough money to support yourself without any help, the social security office may deny your application right away. An attorney can look over your finances and let you know if there is any chance of you getting approved for the benefits you need. This allows you to avoid wasting your time and energy on applying for something you might not qualify for in the first place. The attorney will know the price point for the agencies in the jurisdiction where you live. Once the paperwork has been filed, you will simply have to wait to see if your application has been denied or approved. You can appeal the decision if you are denied the disability benefits, but be sure to have your attorney help you through the...

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5 Types Of Injuries You Didn’t Know You Could Sue Over

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Types Of Injuries You Didn’t Know You Could Sue Over

You know that you can hire a personal injury lawyer, like James Lee Katz, if you’re hurt in a car accident or you have a worker’s compensation claim. But did you know you may be able to sue if you have food poisoning or you’re injured in someone else’s house? Here are five types of personal injury cases you didn’t know you could sue for: 1. Food Poisoning Many people get ill after eating at a certain restaurant. They vomit, have diarrhea, miss work, and forget about it when they get better. But did you know you may have the right to a settlement over food poisoning? When restaurants get customers sick, this is considered product liability, since they are responsible for the product they put out there. If an outbreak of illness can be traced back to a certain restaurant, this restaurant must pay for hospital bills and lost wages. 2. Assault Injuries due to negligence aren’t the only cases injury lawyers take care of. Injury lawyers can also help you fight to get compensated any time you’re assaulted. Even if the other party is found not guilty in criminal court, you still have a chance of getting a settlement in civil court. If someone injures you on purpose, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer. 3. Dog Bites If you’re bitten by someone’s dog, or injured by any pet, you have the right to a personal injury claim. The pet is considered to be the property of its owner, and therefore the owner is fully responsible for its actions. An owner has a responsibility to control his or her dog, and to warn others if it’s aggressive or has harmed others before. An owner is considered negligent when their dog bites someone. 4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome You have the right to compensation if you are injured at work. If you have a job that involves repetitive use of the fingers and wrists, and you develop carpal tunnel syndrome, contact a personal injury lawyer. Even if the job involved typing, which is a known risk factor for carpal tunnel, your employer has a duty to minimize the risk of injury. 5. Slip and fall on private property Everyone knows that you can sue over a slip and fall sustained in a business. But did you know home owners have just as much liability as a business owner? If you’re injured on someone else’s private property, you can sue, especially if it was due to negligence. Home owners have a duty to be sure their home is reasonably free of hazards, and to warn potential visitors if a hazard exists. These are five types of injuries you didn’t know you could sue over. If you’ve been injured due to negligence, contact an attorney...

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What Information Is Relevant In VA Injury Claims?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Information Is Relevant In VA Injury Claims?

The Veterans Affairs disability compensation system is designed to help veterans who are suffering from legitimate, service-connected injuries or conditions. A hard part of life for many veterans is getting their condition evidence in a format that the VA is likely to accept. If you’ve been dealing with denials and delays, consider a few traits of the VA system and how to identify the most relevant information to support your claim. Time-Specific Medical Evidence The key to a successful VA claim is the service-connected label. To be service-connected, your claim needs to prove that your condition is not only a significant problem in your life, but that it was caused by military service or made significantly worse by military service. The severity of a condition is subjective, but can be reasonably understood in terms of whether it stops you from making a meaningful income or creates general hardship in your life. This may seem like the hard part, but for many veterans there are issues with getting time-specific medical evidence. In many military situations, there may not be accurate record-keeping. Your injury could have occurred away from a major base with administrative personnel, or your condition may not have be noticeably bad until well after your military service ended. The most relevant information you can include is some sort of official documentation that links your current problem to military activity. It could be a medical report with basic complaints about leg problems after falling at work or an incident report after being involved in a hostile situation. It could even be a news report that shows your involvement in a potentially damaging situation. Although the last example can be very difficult to prove in the VA system, it at least gives some indication that you could have been injured during military service. Presumptive Injuries Could Support Less Relevant Evidence If you’re suffering from joint pain, headaches, dizziness, depression or other issues that can be difficult to pinpoint to a specific issue, a medical report may not be enough. The VA will need to examine you for symptoms of the condition on your claim, which may not deliver the results you need. Some conditions require long-term monitoring and detailed analysis, which the basic compensation and pension (C&P) exam doesn’t provide. These issues fall under a category called presumptive conditions, which covers conditions that have no specific cause, but are understood to be caused during certain military campaigns. Presumptive conditions are explained further in a pamphlet from the VA that isn’t at the front page of many VA information areas, but can be found in this PDF document. A presumptive claim may be your best option if you lack relevant evidence, such as a leg pain complaint in the military that lacks x-rays or other proof to give an obvious cause for the problem. Although presumptive conditions aren’t a guarantee, you can gain extra time to work on your claim with professionals outside of the VA and military system. Contact an attorney experienced in injury claims (such as one from http://www.attorneyinjury.com/) to begin a much deeper inspection of your condition. The attorney can explore the entirety of your career, interview different officials involved in different duty stations from your past and enlist the help of medical professionals with examination skills catered...

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If Your Child Was Sexually Involved With A Schoolteacher, Can You Sue The School?

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What if you learned that your child had a 1 in 10 chance of being sexually assaulted today? Unfortunately, if your child attends school, that’s almost the likelihood that he or she could end up victimized by a teacher, coach, or another school official. If your teenager become a victim, who can you hold responsible? What Did School Officials Know? Unfortunately, it’s all too common for school officials to be aware of sexual activity between teachers and students, especially at the high-school level. Often, the problem is that allegations won’t be backed by evidence. Rather than risk an open investigation, bad press, and potential lawsuits, schools have agreed to remain silent while allowing teachers who are accused of sexual abuse to move on to other districts where their reputation is unknown. For educators who are engaging in sexual activity with their students, this allows them an opportunity to not only escape responsibility for their past actions but to start the same predatory behavior over again. When seeking to hold a school district responsible for the actions of one of its teachers or other employees, the question that often has to be answered is, “What did the school know about the abuse?” If there’s an indication that the school knew that there was likely abuse going on, the school system might be liable in a personal injury case, despite certain general protections that are usually in place to keep a school out of such lawsuits. How Severe Was The Negligence? In some states, in order to succeed in a lawsuit against a public school, you have to defeat a certain immunity that’s extended to the school as a part of the local government. Similar protections don’t usually exist for private schools, however. Because the laws vary widely and are constantly in flux, an attorney in your jurisdiction is going to be in the best position to advise you about how hard it is to sue your school district. A local attorney is also going to be aware of any special filing restrictions or requirements that have to be met. No matter what, a successful case is going to have to prove that the school was severely negligent in its supervision of its employee, the child or children involved, or the situation. That may include things like allowing the teacher to keep a locked classroom or allowing the teacher to take one or two of the children with him or her on “special” outings. In cases involving teens, a successful case may hinge on whether or not this is the first and only incident or whether there were other students who were abused over time. If suspicions were raised by other staff members or a teacher was shuffled to another district in order to avoid “further problems,” you could very well have a case against the school district due to its negligent supervision. If your teen was sexually abused by a teacher, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case against both the teacher involved and the school system. For more information, contact Morales Law or a similar...

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Important Legal Terms to Understand When Working with a Lawyer

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Working with a lawyer can be very confusing. There is a whole different vocabulary that lawyers use. This is why it is important that if you are working with a lawyer you know what certain terms mean so that you can understand the process. Here are some important legal terms that you need to know. Civil Court vs. Criminal Court There are multiple kinds of courts in the United States, but two of the most common are civil and criminal. Many people think that these kinds of courts are the same but they are totally different and even have different rules. Civil court is when two citizens get in a dispute and try to solve it through the legal system. For instance, if you are sued by your neighbor for building something on their property, they could sue you to civil court. In this case the plaintiff and the defendant are both citizens. Criminal court is when the state presses charges against someone for a crime. In this case the persecutor is the state, and the defendant is the person that was charged with a crime. In some cases you could be in civil and criminal court for the same incident. For example, if you were in a car accident while driving under the influence, you could be charge by the state with a DUI and reckless driving. You could also be sued by the family of the injured party for damages and emotional pain and suffering. Appeal An appeal is the process by which you can ask the courts to review their decision against you. This means that if you lost a case, whether in civil or criminal court you can file an appeal. This means that the courts will look at your case and decide if the judgment was correct or false. The appeal process can be expensive, but if you really believe that the judgment against you was wrong, it might be worth filing an appeal. Summary Judgment Summary judgment is when you ask the judge to make a decision on your case based on the evidence presented and avoid a trial. This can help to speed up the process as well as get a quick answer. Most people are only granted summary judgment if it is a cut and dry case or the evidence is pretty clear as to where the fault lies. By understanding some important legal terms you can be ready to talk to local lawyers through resources like McLaughlin & Lauricella,...

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