Asbestos Lawyers Who Are Specialized Lawyers For Special Cases
When you have a certain cancer or other epidemic that is thought to be caused by asbestos, not just any lawyer will do. You must call an asbestos lawyer. After all, you wouldn’t call a defense attorney who usually handles murder cases if you’re going through a divorce, would you? Of course not, but you would go to a cancer specialist if you had cancer. The asbestos lawyer is the cancer specialist regarding the law. They know what you’ve been exposed to, that you’ve probably been lied to all these years, and they know how to get you every dime you’re deserved. Of course, sometimes this is just enough to cover your medical costs but it’s worth it if it can save your life. If nothing else, it will give your family the means to give you a proper funeral should the doctors be unable to cure the cancer that was caused by a substance once commonly used as insulation.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos was very commonly used in buildings and in houses as insulation. Mostly, it was used because it was good at insulating a building but also because it was a fire retardant. However, despite the fact that it was used prevalently in most buildings and houses, experts discovered that asbestos is the cause of some cancers and other ailments. People began dying in record numbers due to asbestos poisoning and, thus, the asbestos lawyers were born.
Asbestos lawyers took their place in society to defend those who were most affected by this horrible substance that obviously wasn’t tested very thoroughly before it was used in practically all buildings. A major overhaul took place in most structures all throughout the country, as building owners tried to rid their homes and offices of asbestos. However, this overhaul costs money. Doctors bills from the resulting cancer also cost money and that’s where asbestos lawyers can help.
Asbestos lawyers will fight to get you everything you’re owed from being exposed to asbestos. If you think that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, or if you have cancer and you suspect that it was caused by asbestos poisoning, you should contact the nearest asbestos attorney in your area.
To find an asbestos lawyer in your area, open the phone book or do an internet search. Just realize that you’re not alone. Many people were unknowingly exposed to asbestos and there is help and support out there, you just have to find it. Seek out an asbestos lawyer today and fight for what is owed to you and your family.
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Accident Claims: Worth The Wait?
If someone has suffered an accident whilst driving, working or in a public place chances are it will be distressing and if they are embarking on making a claim for compensation then they may be concerned that they may not receive any compensation.
This concern leads to many people thinking they should take the first offer they are made by either their insurer or the other party involved, as then at least they are guaranteed some financial award and won’t have to go through the sometimes lengthy claims procedure.
This thinking is also being manipulated by employers, defending solicitors and others at fault, who will take advantage of this fear, and often use pressure tactics to persuade potential claimants to take a ‘payoff’ in order to get the claim resolved more quickly, and without them having to pay out what the claimant really deserves.
However if you do take the first offer of remuneration, chances are it will be much less than the true value of your claim, with some cases reporting final settlements over 1000 times the value of initial offers. If you have suffered loss of earning and a reduced quality of life due to an accident or injury, then this type of difference can mean you have a much more comfortable life, after the stress of a serious injury.
It can be frustrating waiting for your claim to be resolved, but be assured that your personal injury solicitor is an expert and if they feel the claim is worth pursuing further then they are usually correct. If you take the first offer against their advice, then you are really accepting less than you are entitled to and are often not getting the apology you deserve too.
The bottom line is this, if a careless driver caused you an injury, your employer failed to protect you or any other liable party is at fault, then you deserve compensation and an admittance of blame on their part, and are entitled to get it.
If you think you have grounds for a head injury claim or have suffered an injury at work and would like to make a industrial accident claim then a specialist solicitor will be able to help you with each step of the process.
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Divorce, overall, can be an overwhelming and stressful experience for everyone involved. Not only are the persons involved taking on drastic life changes, both emotionally and with circumstance, but then there’s also the need of finding one of the many best divorce lawyers out there to ensure the best possible future for that path that lies ahead.
When it comes to the process of divorce, making sure you’re properly prepared ahead of time can help to make things run a little more smoothly. Finding the right divorce attorney is, of course, part of this preparation, as they can help maintain all documents regarding the divorce for you, understand your rights, and can provide research and many other services that may be otherwise difficult to handle or perform on your own when life is busy all around you.
Areas of divorce such as the division of property, debt, and that of child custody can turn into complex and delicate situations, and are things one must tread carefully with. When one takes on an attorney, they are better safeguarding themselves against the possibilities for errors or crucial points that those who are less experienced may otherwise miss, resulting in the possibility for poor results in the end. Things that may be relevant to the case, but are personal or sensitive in nature, may need to be discussed openly with an lawyer; therefore, it is always good to ensure that a client feels comfortable with the person representing them.
Finding the right attorney or law firm that specializes in the area of divorce may prove to be more in your favor, as this means there is a stronger likelihood that they will have knowledge and better foresight than those who are less experienced in divorce. It’s a good idea to meet in person with the lawyer that a firm may have in mind for you, as you can generally pick the one you wish to go with. Finding an attorney who specializes in certain areas of divorce, should one area be more important to you, is also something to consider.
Meeting directly with a lawyer can help one determine as to whether or not they’re truly the right fit when it comes to how comfortable you are speaking to them and how well they communicate in turn. It is important to ask questions when screening a lawyer in order to accomplish this so that you can see just how well the pair of you communicate, and also to get a sense of how they may represent you when holding their own in court proceedings.
Knowing the fees involved with your case and of the lawyer is an important thing to know ahead of time, so as to avoid any surprises. Ask how much money will be required to be paid in advance, if there are any payment plans, and try to see if there can be an estimated price quote issued. Above all, when it comes to even the best divorce lawyers, it is important to make sure that you can afford their services.
When you have decided to divorce, it’s important to retain the best divorce lawyers to manage your case. Local divorce lawyers can preserve your financial and custody interests in a professional manner.
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You can need legal assistance for a wide variety of reasons. If they have to do with your family, then you need a certain type of lawyer. For issues of this type, you need a lawyer who specializes in Family Law in Charleston.
Family law covers a wide variety of issues related to marriages and children. Although often we think of needing lawyers when things get bad, this is not necessarily the case. There are many more circumstances where legal aid may be necessary.
Suppose you are at the stage of deciding to get married. You might want advise on the laws regarding future dissolution should that be necessary. Laws regarding marriage can be very different from one state to another. States can also have different laws regarding the length of time a couple has to live in the same house to be considered to have a common-law marriage.
No one goes through with a marriage assuming they will be getting divorced at some point. Even so, it is best to protect your assets if you have any. You may want legal help in drawing up a prenuptial agreement. This can help you from getting into far greater problems at some point in the future if you do decide you want a divorce.
When it comes to children, there are many different ways a lawyer can help. For example, if you are having trouble conceiving, you may need help with surrogacy or adoption. Trying to adopt without legal help can result in an even longer process than usual and you may not even get your child at all.
In the case of a divorce, a lawyer can be instrumental in making sure that your rights are protected. This is even more important if you have children and assets that are shared. If the divorce is not friendly, a lawyer will be necessary, for the sake of your children if nothing else. A lawyer can help you in matters such as child support, child custody and, should it be necessary, child abduction.
You get married assuming it is going to last. You also assume that your spouse will never do something that could end up endangering your children. Otherwise, you would not be getting married. Unfortunately, problems can arise. If they do, you can call on a family lawyer in Charleston to help you through all the processes and paperwork.
Looking to find the most comprehensive information on Family Law in Charleston?
Many individuals who get involved in auto accidents want to obtain settlement loans. Furthermore, they wonder if their claims are of any value. Many individuals involved in auto accidents sustain injuries that result in neck pain. The question is, “What is the cause of that pain?”
Unfortunately, many individuals who are involved in auto accidents conclude that merely because another vehicle struck them that the other driver will be found liable for injuries sustained. However, this is often not the case. Even in those cases in which a driver’s vehicle was struck from the rear pose some challenges when it comes time to make any determination as to where liability should be correctly assigned.
Due to the fact that there has been such an increase in litigation in our society, many insurance carriers will assert that the incident occurred as a result of a “jack-rabbit start.” This is an incident in which one driver abruptly moves forward and equally-abruptly applies his/her brakes. The principal purpose of this maneuver is, as is often assumed, to intentionally cause the vehicle from the rear to strike the front vehicle. Assuming that the facts of the case are clearly established, one may rest assured that settlement loans will not be forthcoming in such fraudulent cases. (One should also take note of the fact that such actions, once discovered, may result in criminal prosecution.)
If you are involved in a car wreck and experience a neck injury, you are encouraged to seek medical attention without delay. Rarely is it advisable to settle a claim prior to seeing a medical provider if any injuries are sustained in an auto collision. The potential for harm when tons of metal collide is substantial.
Both providers and patients are frequently placed in a no-win situation in such cases. It is certainly prudent to balance cost-containment measures with best-practices. However, it is unwise to place the payer’s interests ahead of the patient’s. If neither an MRI nor a CT scan is obtained, the payer will assert that no substantial injury occurred, as is evidenced by the fact that no such imaging was obtained. If either an MRI or a CT scan is obtained, the payer will allege that it was not medically necessary. If either an MRI or a CT scan is obtained and substantial findings are noted, the payer will allege that such findings were preexisting.
First and foremost, if you sustain injuries to your neck as a result of an auto collision, I would encourage you to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. The longer the delay between the date on which the auto collision occurs and the date on which you seek medical attention, the more forcefully the insurance carrier will allege that no actual injuries were sustained. (Not to mention the fact that the longer the delay, the greater the likelihood of a protracted course of recovery. Additionally, some life-threatening conditions may be identified that would have been missed without the assistance of a qualified healthcare provider’s assessment.)
Naturally, the insurance carrier will argue that a delay in seeking care suggests that the injuries were either mild or nonexistent. Additionally, insurance carriers will allege that the care sought was principally attorney-directed. There is little to be gained by prolonging the first visit to a qualified healthcare provider following a car wreck.
In addition to seeking competent legal counsel, something which is absolutely essential for those wishing to obtain settlement loans, it will be very important for them to find healthcare providers who are knowledgeable in the assessment of injuries arising from auto collisions.
Bear in mind, general practitioners are customarily not very helpful in making a determination as to the extent and severity of injury sustained as result of a car wreck.
Family physicians expect to get paid for services performed. Justifiably so! Patients don’t like to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses, especially when they feel that someone else is responsible for those injuries. This is understandable! However, most major medical insurance policies specifically exclude care and treatment of injuries arising from car wrecks.
Such omissions make it very easy for the insurance carrier, once the insurance carrier obtains the medical records, to present a very persuasive argument before the jury that you went to a medical provider following the auto collision and the physician made absolutely no mention of the fact that you sustained injuries as a result of that auto collision. In fact, there’s absolutely no mention of the auto collision whatsoever.
The foregoing is not intended to cast aspersions upon family physicians. It is true that most family physicians are honest individuals who deal with a great deal of integrity on a day-to-day basis. However, having reviewed thousands of cases over the years, from essentially all over the United States, such omissions are so patent as to make this assertion undeniable from my perspective.
Yes, those individuals who seek to obtain settlement loans following auto collisions due to the fact that they sustained injuries that resulted in neck pain are encouraged to seek competent legal counsel and competent medical attention as quickly as possible. There are many factors at stake, about which the vast majority of individuals involved in these auto accidents are totally clueless. You enhance your chances for a favorable settlement by following up with a medical provider as quickly as possible, a medical provider who is capable of assessing both the nature and extent of injuries sustained.
Learn more about obtaining lawsuit funding. Stop by our site where you can find out all about the benefits of obtaining settlement loans and what they can do for you.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may be uncertain what steps to take to best protect your rights. Simply being in an accident can cause stress, anxiety or panic, causing you to lose focus on what you need to do to safeguard your interests. This article provides a resource to help you ensure that you have followed the procedures necessary to help you get full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Step One: Assess the extent of any injuries to you or your passengers. Determine if everyone in your car is conscious and able to move under their own power. If someone is unconscious, leave them where they are until medical assistance arrives. If anyone has an injury that has rendered them unconscious or unable to move, call 911 immediately.
Step Two: Move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, if possible. Leaving your vehicle in traffic can expose you to the risk of further injury. Your safety is paramount—the accident can be reconstructed later. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn on emergency lights, set up road flares and take action to warn oncoming vehicles.
Step Three: Contact the police and file a report. Call 911 to report the accident. Wait until the police officers arrive and provide them with an accurate account of what happened. Before they leave, obtain their names, badge numbers and the jurisdiction in which they work.
Step Four: Gather information from other drivers. Ask any other drivers involved in the accident to provide you with the following information
• telephone number
• auto insurance provider
• auto insurance policy number
Also note the following information:
• the date and time of the accident
• the make, model, year and color of the other vehicle
• the license plate number for any other vehicle involved
Step Five: Take Pictures of the Accident Scene. If you have a camera on your phone, use it to take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident. Also take pictures of the scene of the accident, making certain to include traffic signs or signals, skid marks and any property damage.
Step 6: Keep a Tight Lip. Often, in the aftermath of an accident, you can have a lot of nervous energy and find yourself wanting to tell your story to anyone who will listen. Don’t do that. Answer the questions asked by police officers clearly and succinctly, but don’t volunteer any information. Anything you say may be brought into evidence and could be damaging to your case.
Step 7: Get the Medical Care You Need. When you leave the scene of the accident, you may want to go immediately to the hospital or to a clinic to have your injuries evaluated. If your injuries don’t appear to be serious, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor. You should do so immediately, so that you have documented evidence of all injuries.
Step 8: Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Even before you talk with your insurance company, you should contact a lawyer, if at all possible. Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying as little as possible to settle your claim. An attorney will work directly with insurers to help you get all the benefits you paid for and deserve.
Step 9: Contact Your Insurance Provider. Notify your automobile insurance provider of the accident.
Many attorneys and other professionals are book-smart. But as you know, you also need old-fashioned common sense applied to every situation as part of determining how to best handle a particular situation. For example, although you may be technically right that the souvenir ashtray you picked up on your recent trip should be your property in a divorce, it makes no sense to pay a lawyer hundreds of dollars to fight over an ashtray you could replace for $3.95 – common sense.
With offices in Plano and Dallas, the Trial Lawyers at Dement Roach & Stern, PLLC have that common sense, coupled with experience and personal service. We have been representing clients throughout Dallas County, Denton County, Collin County and the surrounding areas since 2002. With over 20 years of combined experience, we employ a collaborative approach to problem solving that gives you the full benefit of our combined experience, knowledge and common sense. We tailor solutions to fit your unique circumstances.
Although we have extensive trial experience, we are equally adept at skillfully negotiating settlements. In fact, we believe our willingness to go to trial leads to better settlement offers and plea agreements.
We will also take the time to understand your matter and explain your options to you. We welcome questions, and may not always provide you with the answers you want to hear, but they will be answers containing the information you need to make informed decisions. We are here to guide you and advise you, and we will do everything our power to bring about the best possible results for you.
We invite you to contact one of our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys and discover why we have earned a reputation as one Texas’ leading law firms. Call us at 214-272-9429 or fill out our online intake form and we will contact you.
Your future and your legal matter are too important to trust to a less experienced law firm. Contact attorneys with experience and common sense; discover the DR&S difference today.
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With offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas, Dement Roach & Stern, PLLC represents clients throughout Texas in family law and divorce, criminal defense and catastrophic injuries, including clients throughout the communities in and around Dallas County, Denton County and Collin County including the following cities: Dallas, Grand Prairie, Fort Worth, McKinney, Plano, Frisco and Denton, TX.
Insurance companies have a duty to act in “good faith and fair dealing” towards their policyholders. This means an insurance company is required to:
Pay or deny your claim within a reasonable period of time
Respond to your inquiries in a prompt manner
Cooperate with you with regard to resolving your claim
Provide written notification the reasons why it is not paying or reducing your claim.
Texas law requires insurance companies and HMOs to pay first-party claims promptly. A first-party claim is one filed by you against your insurance company or HMO. Prompt-payment does not apply to liability insurance claims against another person’s insurance company. It also does not apply to claims involving self-funded plans; workers compensation; mortgage guaranty or title insurance; fidelity, surety, or guaranty bonds; or marine insurance (other than inland marine).
Texas’ prompt-payment law requires licensed insurance companies and HMOs to:
Acknowledge claims, begin investigations and request any needed information within 15 days after receiving a claim. Surplus lines carriers have 30 days to complete this process. A surplus lines carrier is an out-of-state company not licensed in Texas but allowed to insure hard-to-place risks.
Notify you in writing of the acceptance or rejection of your claim within 15 business days after receiving all required information. This deadline may be extended an additional 15 days in the event of a “declared” weather-related or natural disaster. If the company cannot accept or reject your claim within the time limit, the company must tell you why it needs more time to process your complaint. The company will then have up to 45 additional days after this notice to accept or reject your claim.
Give the reason in writing for rejecting your claim.
Make payment within five business days after notifying you that your claim will be paid. Surplus lines carriers must pay your claim within 20 business days.
If you win a lawsuit for the violation of the prompt-payment law, the court can require the company to pay your attorney fees and a monetary penalty.
Insurance companies act in bad faith by failing to honor legitimate claims. They may inadequately investigate a claim, or delay investigation, fail to pay or delay paying a valid claim, treating the insured as an adversary, decieve or evade insured’s questions, conceal facts, show a pattern of denying all claims, lie, cheat, etc.
The size and prominence of an insurance company is not a judge of their character. Insurance companies as large and “upstanding” as Allstate and State Farm have been shown in court to have acted in “bad faith”.
Most insurance companies operating in Texas are required to have toll-free telephone lines for customer assistance. The toll-free number should be listed on your policy.
Have your questions and policy number available when you call the company.
If you have a dispute with your agent or company, put it in writing. This encourages a written response. State your complaint and how you expect the company to handle it.
Include with the complaint copies (not originals) of letters, notes, invoices, canceled checks, or advertising material that support your complaint.
Contact an attorney if you feel like you are being treated in bad faith.
Any time you have an insurance claim, and suspect bad faith, you should follow several simple rules:
You may wish to consult an attorney to discuss your concerns.
You may also request alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to settle complaints with your insurance company. ADR uses a neutral third party to help settle a dispute outside a formal court of law. Using ADR to settle your insurance claim can avoid the delays and costs of a trial.
If you use ADR, you do not surrender your right to insist on full and fair compensation. In most cases, ADR also does not eliminate your ability to sue or go to trial. You do not need an attorney to use ADR, although you may wish to hire one.
Remember, the job of the adjuster is not to pay you…it’s to save the insurance company money. They are not on your side, and they are not trying to help you. You need an experienced insurance lawyer to get what you really deserve. The Insurance Companies already have lawyers, you should have one too.
Insurance companies that have committed acts of bad faith may be required by law to pay original benefits, legal costs incurred by the insured party, damages for any harm incurred because of claim denial, and in some cases, punitive damages.
There is a time limit, or statute of limitations, in bad faith claims. Act as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
Insurance Bad Faith, Uninsured Motorist Claims — Attorneys near San Jose and San Francisco
Imagine finding out that, despite a valid claim, you have been denied coverage by your insurance carrier. Or, imagine being injured in a car accident only to learn that the driver at fault has no insurance to cover the costs of the damage to both your vehicle and your health. If you have been a victim of insurance bad faith or an accident with an uninsured motorist, you don’t have to imagine – it is your reality. The insurance bad faith attorneys at our San Jose and San Francisco-area firm are experienced in these sorts of cases, and have access to a host of specialists in such areas as insurance coverage and accounting fraud. The unfortunate fact is that although they claim to be looking after your needs, insurance companies’ number one concern is their own financial welfare. And they will go to great lengths in refusing to help even the most deserving clients.
Whether our clients need assistance with insurance bad faith or uninsured motorist claims, our attorneys near San Francisco and San Jose will do everything possible to win their case. Contact us today for your own free case review.
Insurance Bad Faith
Uninsured Motorist Claims
Insurance Bad Faith
Every month, a nice chunk of many people’s paychecks is sent off to an assortment of insurance companies — homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, health insurance — with the intention of obtaining protection from bearing the entire financial burden after a catastrophic event. When the insured individual gets sick, her health insurance helps to cover some of the cost of medical treatment. When a house burns to the ground, homeowner’s insurance can assist the policy holder in putting his home back together. However, insurance companies oftentimes do not want to provide the coverage for which their clients have paid; it is sadly commonplace for insurance companies to deny the claims of their clients. When this is done in the face of undeniable and viable evidence that their client deserves coverage, it is called “ insurance bad faith.”
For insurance companies, denying claims — even valid ones — is a common practice that works in their best financial interest. Studies show that out of 100 denied claims, just five clients will try to appeal the denial. Even if the insurance company chooses to pay four out of those five claimants, and is then forced to pay the fifth claimant after a legal fight — the company has still avoided paying for 95 percent of the valid claims they denied.
When dealing with large, wealthy, and powerful insurance companies, it is crucial to have an experienced, passionate, and proven legal team on your side. Our insurance bad faith attorneys near San Jose have spent more than two decades working diligently and successfully for insurance bad faith victims. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case with a member of our expert legal team.
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Uninsured Motorist Claims
Under California state law, all drivers are required to have car insurance. However, the most recent statistics reveal that approximately 22 percent of all drivers in California do not have car insurance. This not only endangers their life and livelihood, but also the life and livelihood of responsible, legally-covered drivers. One of the most frustrating and frightening things a person can go through is having the stress of a car accident compounded by the fact that the driver responsible for the accident doesn’t have insurance. At the Law Offices of Carcione, Cattermole, Dolinski, Okimoto, Stucky, Ukshini, Markowitz & Carcione, LLP, we are highly skilled in handling all kinds of uninsured motorist claims for San Francisco and San Jose accident victims.
When an insured driver is struck by an uninsured motorist, the insured driver can receive compensation for personal and property damages from his or her own car insurance company if the policy covers uninsured motorist accidents. It is then the insurance company’s responsibility to bring a case against the uninsured motorist. However, if the driver’s policy does not cover uninsured motorist claims, it becomes their responsibility to hold the uninsured motorist accountable for the damages. If you or a family member have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it is very important that you seek professional legal guidance as soon as possible — even before speaking with your own insurance company. Our lawyers are experts in successfully resolving uninsured motorist claims in the San Francisco area, and they are ready to review your case today. Please contact our firm right away.
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ERISA stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Originally designed to improve the ability of employees to receive insurance and long-term disability, and save for retirement, ERISA has actually delivered a crushing blow to the average employee seeking coverage. In effect, ERISA makes it more difficult for employees to prove they deserve coverage, and more easy for insurance companies and employers to deny benefits. What’s worse, appealing a denied claim is so difficult (even in the most deserving cases) that a large percentage of lawyers won’t even attempt to bring an appeal. However, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Law Offices of Carcione, Cattermole, Dolinski, Okimoto, Stucky, Ukshini, Markowitz & Carcione, LLP near San Jose want to help those denied coverage under ERISA to receive the benefits they are due.
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Contact Our Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys
If you are ready to fight for your legal rights against insurance bad faith or need assistance with uninsured motorist claims, contact our attorneys near San Jose and San Francisco as soon as possible. We understand the complexities of these claims, and we know how to build successful insurance cases.
Perhaps one of the most shameful crimes in our society is that of elder abuse. With more and more aging seniors being placed in nursing homes, where they are supposed to receive the kind of medical attention they deserve, there has been an increasing number of elder abuse cases. Our lawyers near San Francisco can help you protect your loved one from negligent, violent, or fraudulent acts committed by their caretakers.
Symptoms of elder abuse include, but are not limited to:
Inexplicable bruises, cuts, and fractures
Dehydration, severe weight loss, or bed sores
Obvious lack of hygienic care, such as baths or clean laundry
Disorientation and depression
Missing jewelry or other valuables
Over- or under-medication
These symptoms, and many more, can be attributed to negligence and physical, mental, and emotional abuse. The families of elderly nursing home residents should be able to trust their loved one’s caretakers; the elderly deserve to live with decency, respect, and attentive care. When a nursing home or its employees fail to adequately provide for the needs of an elderly patient, they should be held accountable for their actions. If you believe your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, contact the lawyers at our San Francisco-area firm. We will review your case and investigate your claim as quickly as possible.
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Social Security Disability
If you have been injured or disabled, and wrongfully denied the social security disability coverage that you deserve, our attorneys can help you fight back. It is an unfortunate fact that many legitimate disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration every day. Wading through the legal documents and forms required to dispute a claim can be confusing, and often deters people from pursuing the benefits they have earned.
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, you must have paid Social Security taxes for at least five of the last 10 years and have a terminal condition or a disability that will prevent you from doing your job for at least 12 months. It is also necessary to prove that your impairment prevents you from doing any other kind of work outside of your current employment.
Having a lawyer who understands the technical and medical terminology involved in this type of case is extremely important. At the Law Offices of Carcione, Cattermole, Dolinski, Okimoto, Stucky, Ukshini, Markowitz & Carcione, LLP, we have successfully handled Social Security cases before, and will do everything possible to help you receive your benefits.
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Government Tort Liability
The Government Tort Liability Act states that government employees cannot be held responsible for personal injury cases except when the official’s negligence is a cause of the injury. It does not have to be the primary cause, but it does have to play a role in causing the injury to happen. Government tort liability laws help to protect government officials from being sued fraudulently, while also providing a means for victims to seek compensation when they are injured due to a government official’s wrongdoing or negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a government official’s actions, please contact the Law Offices of Carcione, Cattermole, Dolinski, Okimoto, Stucky, Ukshini, Markowitz & Carcione, LLP today.
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Contact Our Workers’ Compensation and Elder Abuse Lawyers Near San Jose and San Francisco
Receiving sound legal guidance as soon as possible can make all the difference in the length and success of your suit. Many victims of wrongfully denied social security disability or workers’ compensation claims, elder abuse, and other such cases fail to contact their lawyers until it’s too late. If you live in the San Jose and San Francisco area, we strongly urge you to contact our law firm right away.
Auto Accident Insurance – What To Look For
by wisconsin on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 | No Comments
By far the most crucial concern that needs to be attended to, if you are involved in an auto accident is always to see to any personal injuries that will have resulted. The next most important task is to speak to your insurance company representative. So let’s say you get hold of your agent to inform him you have been involved in a car accident, and he seems very helpful. He even suggests a body shop you could take your vehicle to, and might refer to it as being a “preferred” repair shop.
“Terrific” you may think. That saves you the hassle of needing to find a body shop yourself.. After all, you want to get your car repaired at the earliest opportunity. However, suppose you are already aware of a high quality repair shop that does body repair and would prefer to take your vehicle there.
So you notify your insurance representative you wish to take you car to another body shop. But he responds with something similar to “We won’t warranty the repair in the event you go there” or “You’ll need to spend a lot more if you go to the shop that you picked” or some other statement intended to discourage you from going to your shop and encourage (or possibly attempt to coerce) you to go to the company’s “preferred” shop.
So what to make of all this? You might be wanting to know why he is wanting to discourage you from opting for your own shop?
To respond to this question, you need to know what the final goal of an insurer is: The answer has nothing to do with providing you the convenience of not having to find a good repair shop … the final target is to generate profits, and as much money as possible! And that is accomplished by minimizing the amount they must pay back in insurance claims.
So the collision shop your agent suggests is “preferred” … preferred by the insurance carrier for THEIR advantage, not yours. And why is that? Because the recommended repairer is under contract to utilize components which are less costly than the original parts that were in the car when it was new. But regrettably, most of these parts are substandard in quality and could even result in a dangerous repair job! This can even mean that your car will be unsafe to drive after the fixes are concluded.
There are more reasons why choosing the wrong repair service can lead to dangerous fixes. There’s a method referred to as “Clipping”, and that means cutting off a complete half of your car (either the front or rear half) and affixing another (undamaged) half of a vehicle that has been wrecked.
This process actually entails cutting through the vehicle’s unibody or frame, and it affects its structural integrity. Does this sound risky to you? That’s because it IS unsafe! But sadly, it isn’t against the law! It’s a widespread incident.
So the bottom line is – if you were to be in a traffic accident – look out! Find out if the shop makes use of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) components, or lesser quality “aftermarket” parts. And if the shop performs “clipping” … don’t even consider using them!
NTSB Highlights Safety Issues Related To Sleep Disorders
Washington, D.C. – National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker today reemphasized the importance of medical screening for vehicle operators who may have undiagnosed sleep disorders. The remarks come at the beginning of National Sleep Awareness Week (March 28 – April 3), during which the NTSB hopes to raise public awareness of its ongoing concern about fatigue-related safety issues.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome affect 50 to 70 million Americans. Sleep disorders were among the safety concerns addressed in the Board’s Special Investigation Report, Medical Certification of Noncommercial Drivers, adopted in November 2004. The Board has recommended education for vehicle operators and their physicians about sleep disorders and how they may contribute to fatigue-related performance decrements, improved medical exams for commercial operators that include questions on sleep problems, and restrictions on the use of medicines that may cause impairment during vehicle operation.
The Board also addressed sleep disorders at a public hearing hosted by NTSB in March 2003 concerning factors that contribute to medically related highway accidents. Acting Chairman Rosenker stated that the Board has linked fatigue resulting from sleep disorders to numerous accidents. He noted, “In many cases operators are not aware that they suffer from a sleep disorder until after they have been involved in a crash.”
By raising awareness about the importance of sleep and the need for operators to be screened and, if needed, treated for sleep disorders, the Board hopes to decrease the number of accidents attributable to fatigue. In an effort to further highlight and share information on the significant role fatigue plays in transportation safety, the Safety Board has developed a two-day course designed to bring together federal and commercial transportation officials, law enforcement officers, and other interested parties to discuss the topic at the NTSB Academy in Ashburn, Virginia.
Contact our lawyer now If you have experienced personal injuries or substantial income loss as a result of a truck accident in florida. Our lawyers are here to give you a free case review and to fight for you in court.
Did You Know?
Trucking Carriers And Drivers Are Required To Comply With The New Hours-Of-Service Rules.
Carriers and drivers were required to operate under the former rules through January 3, 2004. That allowed adequate time for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), regulated industry, and the enforcement community to be trained and make any systems changes required by the new rules. Compliance with the new rules was required starting January 4, 2004.
Boat accidents are a leading cause of unnecessary deaths and therefore the number one source of personal injury. Many of the accidents occurred due to negligence on the part of one of the drivers involved. When a Boat accident is caused by another party’s negligence, people who are harmed often reach settlements with the liable party which provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering as well as other damages. This requires the service of a Boat accident attorney. Locating the best Boat accident attorney is not that difficult a process under normal circumstances. However, finding one when you, or a loved one, have been seriously injured in a Boat accident can be significantly more troublesome. There are qualified Personal Injury Attorneys that specialize in personal injury cases. They have the expertise and skills necessary to obtain a fair financial compensation for the damage to property caused by the accident, along with all physical injuries that the accident victims have had to endure.
Any driver that was not at fault for an accident should expect to be fully compensated, for all of his or her medical bills. In addition to that, the victimized driver should receive recompense for all the repairs necessary to bring their damaged vehicle back to the condition it was in before the accident.
However, the process of doing that can be extremely lengthy, with moments of frustration and anxiety, especially when an insurance company refuses to pay medical bills or send the funds to have the Boat repaired. This is why it is necessary to hire a competent Boat Accident Lawyer. He or she will represent their clients to achieve the compensation that every victim of the accident is entitled to
Settling the Case
A Boat accident attorney in Philadelphia will build the case strong enough to take it to trial in a court of law. However, long before the trial is scheduled, each represented party (the attorneys) usually will meet with the opposing side to discuss settling the case out of court. Both sides typically calculate the amount of pain and suffering that has been endured by the victim along with the seriousness of the damage inflicted on the vehicle or other property.
If a settlement can be reached, then both sides will avoid an expensive and lengthy process of trying the case in open court. However, if the plaintiff is dissatisfied with the amount offered during the settlement, he or she can always instruct the Boat accident attorney to take the case to trial.
Before selecting the best Boat Accident Attorney in Philadelphia, it is important to consider the fee that will be extracted from the total amount awarded during the settlement phase, or after the case has been won in court. Typically, for a personal injury case, an attorney can charge anywhere between 25% and 40%, based on the specific circumstances of the case. While this number might appear to be high, research indicates that cases involving an attorney typically have much higher settlement amounts than those that are achieved without the skills of an attorney, or a law firm.
Any driver that has been in an accident where the other driver is at fault or he is at fault should seek out a competent and skilled Boat accident attorney. They will handle all the details, to represent him or her in the case.
What to do in an Auto Accident?
Immediately after being injured in an auto accident, you are thrown into an adversarial legal system that is complex and confusing. While you are still receiving initial treatment for your injuries in a hospital emergency room, the parties at fault have already notified their insurance company of the accident.
Every insurance company has in place, a team of adjustors, investigators and attorneys whose sole responsibility is to limit the liability of the insurance company and minimize the amount of money they will be required to pay “innocent” auto accident victims.
You need the assistance of a qualified Personal Injury attorney to guide you through the system to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation allowable by law for your injuries. There are many mistakes that can be made during the initial stages of a Personal Injury claim that cannot be undone by even the most experienced attorney. We believe that our firm can help “level the playing field” by providing auto accident victims with an accurate straight-forward source of information regarding the legal and practical aspects surrounding the auto compensation system.
“RULES OF THE ROAD”
1.Stop your car, no matter how minor the accident.
2.Assist any injured persons. Call for an ambulance, if necessary.
3.Call and wait for the police.
4.Identify the other driver and get his/her address, telephone number and insurance information.
5.Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers from all witnesses.
6.Do not move the vehicles until the police view the scene unless it is safe to do so.
7.If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, even if the vehicles have been moved. Pay particular attention to skid marks and damage to all vehicles involved.
8.Never admit to the police or anyone else on the scene that the accident was your fault. Anything you say can and will be used against you to defeat your claim for compensation.
9.You may not be aware of the extent of your injuries immediately after the accident. It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
10.Inform your doctor that you were in an auto accident. Tell him about all your complaints no matter how minor, including past injuries to the same body parts that are presently injured.
11.Notify your insurance company about the accident. Even though you are required to cooperate with your insurance company, do not give them a statement (written or taped) without first contacting your attorney.
12.Never submit to any request for a statement by the other driver’s insurance company. You are not legally obligated to give a statement. Such a statement could later be used against you. Simply refer them to your attorney.
13.Remember: Insurance companies are big business. They do not have your best interests in mind. The adjuster’s sole objective is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
14.As soon as possible after the auto accident, you should photograph any visible injuries (i.e. cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.) Before repairing your car, photograph the damage from all angles. Provide your attorneys with the prints (and negatives) ofall photographs pertaining to your claim.
15.Consult with your attorney to determine who is responsible for payment of your medical bills. Your medical bills could be processed through the other driver’s insurance company, your auto insurance policy or through your group health insurance. Be aware that some insurance policies require reimbursement of anymedical expenses upon settlement of your claim.
16.Keep accurate records of your lost time and wages from work as a result of your auto accident. This information will assist your attorney in determining the value of your claim.
17.Before you repair the damage to your car, contact your attorney. Generally, your insurance company will pay to have your car repaired or pay you the value of the vehicle if it is a total loss. If it is determined that you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company will seek reimbursement for medical bills from the driver at fault. Your attorney will explain the best way to have your car replaced or your total loss adjusted.
It is likely that no other field of civil litigation has done more to improve the life style of American citizens than medical malpractice litigation. Health care in the United States is among the best in the world, and this is in large part due to the scrutiny placed upon the medical field by malpractice litigation. The law of medical malpractice is an outgrowth of the general body of negligence law. It is applicable to all suits against medical professionals for negligence in the rendition of medical services to their patients. At common law, the duty of due care by medical professionals was deemed to have arisen out of the contractual obligations which are created when a patient contracts with a health care provider to perform health care services. Even though some jurisdictions still retain common law contractual concepts in dealing with medical malpractice issues, medical malpractice is now generally considered to be an independent action in tort, rather than in contract.
II. Medical Malpractice:
In the same sense that the ordinary body of negligence law defines negligence as the doing or the failure to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances, the law of medical malpractice defines medical negligence as the doing or the failure to do something that a reasonably prudent health care professional in that field would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances. In negligence law the fictional “reasonable man” standard has been created to evaluate the conduct of the defendant who has been accused of negligence. In medical malpractice law the fictional “reasonably prudent health care provider” standard has been created. It has been argued that the “reasonable man” standard is objective, in the sense that it is a standard applicable to all human beings, whereas the “reasonably prudent health care provider” is more subjective, in that it allows the medical profession to define the standard by which its conduct will be judged, and that standard may fluctuate over periods of time as short as months, depending on available technology. On the other hand, the law holds even medical professionals to certain minimum requirements of care, and evidence that few people in a given medical field exercise caution in an area where caution should be exercised would not preclude a finding of medical negligence. In medical malpractice cases the plaintiff must establish through expert testimony the standard of care required of professionals in the field of the defendant and that the defendant breached or failed to adhere to that standard of care, thereby causing the plaintiff’s injury. A negative result in medical treatment in and of itself does not mean that the defendant committed malpractice. Medical treatment carries with it no guarantee of a successful outcome. In many medical procedures there are risks which cannot be avoided even if the health care professional exercises the greatest caution. These are called unavoidable risks. On the other hand, even risks which are unavoidable even when the greatest care has been exercised, may in a particular case, be shown to have resulted from lack of due care by the health care professional.
The standard legal defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of risk are generally considered to be applicable in medical malpractice cases, although by the very nature of the superior knowledge of the health care professional over that of the patient, there are probably less instances where these defenses can be effective.
In terms of factual defenses, health care professionals raise a number of arguments in opposing malpractice claims, several of which have little merit, but all of which create significant obstacles to a plaintiff. Some of these arguments include:
The decision of the health care provider was a judgment call, within accepted medical standards.
The treatment by the health care provider was within an acceptable alternative form of treatment.
Health care providers are people. No one is perfect. They are fallible and make mistakes, and making an innocent and well- intentioned mistake of judgment is within accepted standards.
Although this argument is sometimes raised, it is without merit. The law’s fiction of a “reasonable physician” standard assumes that mistakes will be made, and they are included within the meaning of negligence. By analogy, drivers are not perfect and sometimes are inattentive, but that doesn’t mean that a driver who takes his/her eyes off the road and causes an accident is not guilty of negligence.
The absence of any notation in the medical record specifically showing the error demonstrates that the plaintiff cannot prove what happened.
Rarely is the mistake of a physician explicitly revealed in the physician’s medical record. Circumstantial evidence is a legitimate way to prove medical negligence, particularly where one would not expect to find an explicit confession of negligence in the record. Despite the obviousness of this point, defendants often argue that there is an absence of evidence of negligence.
The plaintiff’s ultimate outcome in terms of medical difficulties cannot be shown to have been affected by the malpractice.
This is the way I and everyone else I know in my field do it.
This assertion is often interjected by the testifying physician to contradict the plaintiff’s expert’s definition of the standard of care. The plaintiff cannot produce every physician to testify to the way things are done, and must rely on the testimony of his or her expert as well as trial court rulings to combat this assertion.
IV. Proximate Causation:
Just as in negligence law, a plaintiff in malpractice litigation must show that the damages were proximately caused by the malpractice of which the defendant is accused. Unlike a simple accident case, most plaintiffs are already injured or ill at the time they are victimized by medical malpractice. Therefore, the plaintiff and his/her expert must separate out the damages that would have resulted even if the plaintiff had received appropriate medical care from the damages that actually resulted with the addition of inappropriate medical care. It is often difficult for the victim, who is afflicted with serious medical problems, to appreciate the requirement of the law that the plaintiff prove that the malpractice worsened or failed to stem a worsening of his/her medical condition. In addition, causation must be proved to a reasonable degree of medical probability, and mere possibility is generally not sufficient. If all the testimony shows is that a given outcome might (as opposed to “probably would”) have been avoided by a particular treatment, there is generally a failure of proof.
V. Informed Consent:
The doctrine of informed consent is a unique area of malpractice litigation. It does not follow strict negligence principles, in that the plaintiff need not show that the health care provider was negligent in failing to obtain his/her consent to treatment. In general, the law grants to the conscious patient the right to choose whether to obtain medical treatment and requires that a health care practitioner provide the patient with accurate information as to diagnosis, the nature of the proposed treatment, any risks associated with that treatment, alternatives to that treatment along with their associated risks, and the risk of no treatment. The failure to provide that information is, in and of itself, a violation of the patient’s rights. Informed consent does not involve a question of the standard of care within a particular medical field, and there is no requirement that a plaintiff provide expert testimony that reasonably prudent health care providers within that field provide that information to their patients. However, expert testimony may, nevertheless, be required to show the nature of the risks and the alternatives to treatment.
A plaintiff must show not only that his/her rights were violated by a health care provider’s failure to provide this information, but also that a reasonable person in the position of the Plaintiff, without the benefit of hindsight, would or would not have chosen the treatment at issue had accurate information been given. It is important to note that this last requirement will not necessarily be satisfied by testimony from the Plaintiff that he or she would or would not have chosen the treatment in dispute. The fact finder, whether it be a judge or a jury, is free to find, despite testimony from the plaintiff to the contrary, that a reasonable person would have chosen to decline or accept the treatment in dispute. For this reason, many violations of informed consent will not give rise to good malpractice claims. If the risks are low (despite the fact that the plaintiff, in hindsight, is now known to have fallen prey to that low risk) and the treatment is reasonably necessary or desirable, the fact finder may well conclude that even if the plaintiff had been properly informed of the risks, the same decision would have been made by a reasonable patient in the plaintiff’s position.
It is important to distinguish between the consent form signed by many patients, the doctrine of informed consent, and the concept of medical malpractice. The fact that a consent form was signed is evidence of informed consent, but it is not conclusive. Evidence may be introduced as to the contents of the form and the time and circumstances of the signing. Furthermore, the fact that a consent form mentions a particular risk or the fact that a physician advises the patient of a particular risk, does not mean that the patient has consented to the physician committing medical malpractice in bringing about the danger of which the patient was warned. For instance, the fact that a patient is advised that there is a danger of nerves or vessels being severed during a surgical procedure does not relieve the physician of the obligation of performing the procedure in a medically appropriate manner. The consent of the patient operates only for those injuries which were not avoidable even with the exercise of appropriate care. In such a case, the patient would be permitted to show negligence in the performance of the procedure, despite the fact that he or she was warned of the danger.
VI. Medical Experts:
The requirement that expert testimony be presented expressing an opinion on the standard of care within a particular medical field and on the defendant’s breach of that standard of care provides one of the most formidable obstacles to plaintiffs in pursuing malpractice claims. Within the medical profession there is what has been termed a “conspiracy of silence” among medical professionals on providing testimony in malpractice claims. It is rare for local physicians to testify against a colleague, even in large communities where it is unlikely they know each other. Ostracism within the medical community against those physicians with the courage to testify long ago resulted in an informal code of conduct prohibiting physicians from testifying for plaintiffs in malpractice claims. This forces plaintiffs’ attorneys to seek experts from other communities, often far away from the location of the trial. The limited number of physicians willing to testify, even from distant locations, results in high per hour expert witness fees, often between $400 and $500 per hour. The defendant physician, on the other hand, usually has an unlimited pool of expert witnesses from the defendant’s own colleagues in the community, making it easy to provide a defense, even when the malpractice is relatively clear. Insurance companies, bolstered by a medical profession which believes it should be immune from civil suits, while at the same time refusing to adequately police itself, are often willing to fight to the finish on these claims. Settlements, if they occur, rarely occur before the trial is imminent. The effect of this is that the expense of expert witnesses and the cost of discovery in malpractice claims often results in expenses in excess of $50,000 – $100.000 to the plaintiff. It is easy to see why only the most egregious instances of malpractice causing only the most serious injuries result in viable malpractice litigation. The hoax perpetrated by the insurance industry to the effect that the courts are filled with frivolous and petty malpractice claims is one of the most fraudulent and malicious propaganda campaigns ever foisted upon the public. It is simply not economically feasible for any plaintiff’s attorney to prosecute any but the most meritorious malpractice claims with the most seriously victimized plaintiffs.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim is an expensive and arduous undertaking. Proving the claim requires expertise, resources and tenacity. Dutson Law Firm, Ltd. has successfully prosecuted a large number of malpractice claims. If you have a question about a possible case or would like a consultation, please feel free to call us at (480) 962-0500 or email us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Negligence by Another? Speak With Our Experienced Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers
One of the most tragic experiences people must face is the loss of a loved one. Yet, when the loss is the result of another person’s negligence, the sting of the loss is amplified. During the period of grief, it is difficult to focus on anything other than the loss of the loved one. However, over time the sorrow begins to subside and the family’s thoughts may turn to unanswered questions about their loss.
The state of Texas allows those who have lost a loved one because of the actions of a third party to seek a wrongful death claim to compensate for the losses that were suffered as a result of that death. It makes no difference if the death was caused by negligence or recklessness, a defective product, or medical malpractice, legal action can be initiated. The individual allowed to bring a legal action is defined by state law. Some states only allow the spouse and children to file a wrongful death claim while some permit grandparents and other relatives to bring a lawsuit against the liable party. Additionally, some restrictions have been put in place by states that prevent one family member from suing another family member for the wrongful death of a third family member.
Is Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit the Right Thing to Do?
In many instances, bereaved families who have suffered the loss of a loved one through the negligence of another are too distraught to consider the idea of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. They may feel that it is not worth the effort because it will not bring their loved one back. However, they may not be aware that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is an available option. Nevertheless, there are significant reasons for a family member to consider bringing legal action. These reasons include:
Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit serves to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions or inactions that resulted in the death of their loved one.
The negligent party can be punished financially by the lawsuit with the goal of changing the party’s behavior so that similar accidents of this nature can be avoided.
A lawsuit allows the family to seek compensation in order to relieve the financial burden that often occurs after the loss of a loved one. The compensation is especially important when the loved one was the primary wage earner in the family.
When a Texas wrongful death attorney accepts your case, he has two goals in mind. First, he will put forth every effort to obtain fair compensation for your loss. Secondly, he will ensure that the liable parties are made to realize the consequences of their negligent behavior.
Although we have over twenty years of experience in the area of wrongful death litigation, we never lose sight of the fact that nothing will replace your loved one. However, it is our hope that you will allow us to use our expertise to help your family to recover from any financial loss that may have been incurred by the death of your loved one.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Compensation
The primary goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the damages the bereaved family has experienced as the result of losing their loved one. In wrongful death lawsuits, damages refer to the financial losses the family may have sustained. Wrongful death damages and survival damages are the two types of damages that may be sought from the defendant. It is very important that the sum of these two types of damages be included in the wrongful death lawsuit in order to receive fair and reasonable compensation from the responsible party.
Items related to the bereaved family members’ loss of their loved one are considered to be wrongful death damages. These damages can be sought by the loved one’s spouse, children, parents, or other dependents. There can be multiple parties seeking wrongful death damages in the same lawsuit.
Did You Know?
Our attorneys have been fighting for wrongful death victims` rights for over 30 years. Call us to discuss your case.
Wrongful death damages include:
Medical bills incurred before the death of the decedent
The monetary loss that was previously supplied by the decedent
Mental and emotional stress caused by the loss of a loved one
Loss of consortium is the loss of the unique love provided by only the decedent
Conversely, only the decedent’s closest living relative can seek survival damages. Survival damages can include damages the decedent would have incurred had he been able to survive the accident. In this scenario, both wrongful death and survival damages can be claimed by the same person just as long as the person is the decedent’s closest surviving relative. Further, only one person can seek survival damages. In these instances, the closest living relative is essentially taking the decedent’s place in the pursuit of survival damages. The order in which survival damages may be sought begins with the spouse followed by the children, parents, and siblings. Any or all of the following can comprise survival damages:
Medical costs before the decedent’s death
Property damage costs that may have been incurred
Loss of future earning capacity if the decedent had possibly suffered a long-term disability
The pain and suffering of the decedent
The decedent’s mental and emotional stress
To be sure that all plaintiffs are fully compensated for their loss, all the damages must be proven. When different plaintiffs are owed differing amounts of compensation, various legal strategies must be utilized in order to properly calculate compensation amounts. It is for this reason that legal representation of a highly skilled wrongful death attorney is sought. The Texas wrongful death attorneys possess the knowledge and experience to assist you with the task of ensuring that your family receives fair compensation for your loss.
When is the Right Time to Pursue a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The merit of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can be quite difficult for the bereaved family to determine. A legitimate wrongful death lawsuit is based on four elements. These elements are:
The loved one was killed by the action or inaction of a liable party or parties.
The negligent action of the liable parties caused the fatal accident.
The decedent has surviving family members or beneficiaries that can seek wrongful death or survival damages.
Some type of financial loss has been incurred by the decedent or the surviving family members as a result of the accident.
If any of these elements are missing, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be pursued. Should you be unsure of your situation in regard to these qualifications, you should contact our Texas wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation.
It is also important to know that you can seek a wrongful death lawsuit against a liable party even if that party is may be facing criminal charges related to the accident. In other words, if a driver becomes distracted and runs into a pedestrian that causes the pedestrian to die, the driver would most likely not face criminal charges. However, the pedestrian’s family could initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver for his negligent actions that led to the pedestrian’s death. Alternatively, if the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, then it is highly likely that criminal charges would be filed.
In this situation, the decedent’s family could file a wrongful death lawsuit. In other instances when criminal charges are not filed against the liable party, a wrongful death civil suit is the only way to hold the liable party accountable for his negligent actions.
Challenges Encountered in the Pursuit of Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuits
As with everything, bringing a wrongful death lawsuit has its challenges. However, it should be remembered that there are differences between being surprised by the challenges and being prepared for them. With the extensive experience they possess, the wrongful death attorneys of our Law Firm are quite familiar with the issues that can arise in wrongful death lawsuits. This being the case, they can help you resolve these challenges so that your claim will not be denied or dismissed. To illustrate, wrongful death lawsuits are quite often worth a great deal of money. Consequently, the insurance adjusters and the attorneys for the defendant will use every strategy they know to exonerate themselves or the defendant. Simply put, they do not want to award such a large compensation amount that could significantly impact their bottom line. These individuals are more often concerned with their own financial interests than attempting to help the bereaved family through a very trying time. For this reason alone, having the assistance of an experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can be vitally important. To gain a successful outcome of your lawsuit, you must have an attorney that is completely familiar with the opposition’s strategies. Additionally, you need someone who can be aggressive when the situation dictates so that your rights can be protected. It is a known fact that the insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will be extremely qualified, experienced, and completely prepared to tackle your case. It only makes good sense for you to have legal representation that has the expertise to match that of the opposition before taking on these high-powered professionals.
Another challenge to overcome in preparing a successful wrongful death case is time itself. Crucial evidence can be removed, deleted, erased, or altered by those who do not want to be caught. With the passage of time, witnesses can be hard to track down. To overcome this obstacle, it is beneficial to obtain the legal representation of a highly experienced Texas wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one. Once the attorney accepts the case, he will launch an exhaustive investigation into the accident and evidence will be obtained to build a substantial case on behalf of your loved one. In short, the best way to build a strong case is to contact a Texas wrongful death attorney right away.
When You Can Sue a Family Member for Wrongful Death
Some differences among the states exist concerning the circumstances in which family members may be sued for wrongful death actions. In some states, limited parental immunity exists for injuries resulting from a parent providing ordinary care to a child. Even in cases where state law permits one family member to be sued, that person can only be sued if he or she was negligent and responsible for causing a death. For example, if a woman was killed in a car accident in which her husband was driving, he could only be sued if he was at fault or found to be responsible for causing the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts that the victim died as a result of negligence on the part of the person being sued and that the victim’s survivors are entitled to financial compensation as a result of that negligence.
This type of claim differs from a general negligence lawsuit, which is filed by the person injured for compensation. Originally, a wrongful death claim did not exist based upon the idea that the claim died with the victim. Consequently, there was no way to compensate the victim. Accordingly, the surviving family members were not allowed to claim damages from the individual who caused the victim’s death. However, over the years, wrongful death laws have been passed by the states that provide compensation to those who may have been damaged from the death of the decedent. Today, some form of a wrongful death claim action exists in all the states.
Although the state’s “wrongful death laws” were created independently of each other, they all follow the same basic principles. The elements of each claim include:
The death was caused, in whole or part, by the actions of the defendant
The defendant was negligent or liable for the victim’s death
There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries, or dependents
Monetary damages have resulted from the victim’s death
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Very often, medical malpractice cases are never filed due to the attachment patients have to their doctors. Patients place a huge amount of faith and trust in the doctor’s abilities and decision-making skills and patients don’t want to admit that an error on the part of the doctor accounts for their pain and suffering, or for the avoidable loss of a loved one. Since the primary role of doctors and other medical professionals is to work every day to save lives, many patients feel guilty about placing blame when something goes wrong. However, things do go wrong and when mistakes are made that can affect the rest of your life, you need to consult with a medical malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice cases present specific challenges. For example, Texas medical malpractice tort reform has placed a limit on the amount of damages that you can receive for the loss of your loved one due to medical malpractice. In these situations, while working to hold the medical professional accountable for his actions, our firm will also be trying to identify the involvement of any other parties that might be responsible. This is done due to the fact that limits are not placed on the amount of compensation that can be received from other liable parties. Due to the amount of work involved in these types of wrongful death cases, many Texas attorneys choose not to accept medical malpractice claims. Medical malpractice attorneys with our Law Firms welcome the opportunity to work diligently so that you can be in a position to receive full and fair compensation for the loss of your loved one and so that similar instances of medical malpractice by the same negligent medical professional will not occur.
Types of Medical Malpractice Suits
As is commonly known, a large number of medical malpractice lawsuits are filed each year. Common types of medical malpractice exist and each of these is listed below.
Prescription Drug Errors: Prescription drug errors are one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. When a prescription drug error causes harm to a patient, a medical malpractice claim can be filed. A number of people can be liable in these types of cases. They include:
Doctors who prescribe medication
Healthcare or nursing staff who administer drugs
Pharmacists who fill prescriptions
Prescription drug companies, manufacturers, and marketers
These individuals and entities can be held liable for a number of mistakes or missteps, including:
Prescribing or administering the wrong medication.
Prescribing or administering the wrong dosage.
Failure to reasonably foresee detrimental complications, such as harmful drug interaction.
Manufacturing and marketing defective or unreasonably unsafe medications.
Writing illegible prescriptions that lead to patient harm.
Birth Defects Medical Malpractice: Any type of medical treatment provided by a healthcare professional before or during the birth process can lead to a medical malpractice claim if the care does not meet the accepted medical standards which result in harm to the baby and or the mother. However, it should be noted that harm to the baby or the mother does not automatically mean that medical malpractice has happened. The question of whether the doctor and other healthcare providers acted in a manner that was consistent with a reasonable level of care should be asked in order to determine if malpractice has occurred.
Some of the more common types of birth injury include:
Many other factors may cause injuries to the babies and their mothers during childbirth.
Forceps or vacuum used incorrectly
Doctor failure to prepare for danger in a higher-risk pregnancy
Prescribed medication put the mother or baby at unreasonable risk of harm
Inadequate monitoring of the baby’s condition
Doctor did not plan for a C-section when it was medically necessary to avoid harm
Surgical and Diagnostic Errors: Misdiagnosis, late diagnosis, or failure to diagnose are examples of diagnosis errors that can result in medical malpractice claims. Regarding surgical errors, medical malpractice can arise when a doctor, during surgery, inadvertently causes damage to an internal organ, blood vessel, or other body parts that results in severe injury or problems. There are times when these types of mistakes will not appear until weeks or months after the surgery.
Worker’s Comp Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When a worker is killed on the job, specific challenges can arise. If the worker’s employer is found liable for the accident and the employer is subscribed to worker’s compensation, then the bereaved family can seek compensation through the worker’s compensation process. Unfortunately, the amount of compensation is often is insufficient to cover the family’s financial losses. In these circumstances, the attorneys with our Law Firm will investigate the fatal workplace accident in an attempt to determine whether or not other liable parties, not protected by worker’s comp, were involved in the accident. If the worker’s comp employer was found to be grossly negligent in causing or contributing to a fatal on-the-job accident, then the worker’s comp policy no longer applies. As a result, a bereaved family can sue the employer. However, proving gross negligence on the part of the employer is not easy. It requires a high standard of proof that can show that the employer was aware that an accident could happen and did nothing to correct the situation. On the other hand, if the employer is not covered by worker’s compensation, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the employer. In either situation, specific legal knowledge of complex Texas work injury laws is critical for a successful outcome of a worker’s comp wrongful death lawsuits is to be achieved. With a wealth of experience in both wrongful death and worker’s compensation cases, Texas wrongful death attorneys can assist the bereaved family to obtain justice against the employer and seek compensation from the liable parties.
Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
Losing a loved one is a very traumatic event that comes to us all at one time or another. During these upsetting times, it seems that our minds are going in a thousand different directions all at once.
However, despite the fact that it feels as if our world has stopped, the rest of the world continues to move forward. There are so many pressing decisions that must be made that it is difficult to know what should be done first. We can help you during this emotionally frustrating time to seek justice from the responsible parties so that future fatal accidents can be avoided and the grief you are now experiencing will not be inflicted on other families. Our Texas wrongful death attorneys will diligently work to make sure that your family receives full compensation for your loss so that financial worries will not be added to your grief and sorrow. Having over two decades of experience in confronting veteran insurance adjusters, the attorneys with our Law Firm are capable of getting the adjusters to agree to a fair out-of-court settlement for your wrongful death case. In these situations, you are spared the time and expense of taking your claim to court. On the other hand, if a trial becomes necessary, you can rest assured that our attorneys are completely prepared to defend your loved one’s rights as well as your own in this setting. In situations where the defense attorneys attempt to place the blame for the accident on your loved one, our attorneys can take an aggressive stance against such a strategy.
If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties liable for the death of your loved one and have any questions about the procedures involved, the merit of your case, etc., you may contact the Texas wrongful death attorneys with our Law Firm toll-free for a free and confidential legal consultation.
Who Is Entitled To Damages For Wrongful Death?
Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking experience, but it is significantly more painful when it could have been avoided. If someone you care about died because of the carelessness or maliciousness of someone else, don’t let your pain paralyze and stop you from pursuing justice. You may have legal grounds to seek compensation that will help you cope with your loss. If you partner with an injury attorney at Our Firm, you can count on compassionate, dedicated legal representation. We will stand by you every step of the way and faithfully pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
Wrongful death is one caused by the negligence or malice of another party, such as a defective product that malfunctions or intentionally giving someone the wrong medication. In our state, the spouse of a deceased person may file a wrongful death claim. If there is no spouse, the children can pursue compensation. In cases where there are no children or a spouse, any living parent of the deceased person may file a claim. Beyond that, the deceased’s estate administrator is entitled to recover for wrongful death. If a husband or wife can prove the wrongful death of his or her spouse, he or she is generally guaranteed at least one-third of any damages. Damages may include medical or funeral costs, pain and suffering, loss of future wages, emotional distress, loss of inheritance for children, and more.
Because state law places a statute of limitations on the time period during which a wrongful death claim may be filed, it is important to act quickly. We know it can be overwhelming to consider legal action after the tragic death of a loved one, but it is important to know whether or not you are entitled to compensation. We want to help bring justice to your case so you can get what you deserve and start rebuilding your life. Give us a call today. We won’t charge you anything unless we win your case.
How Do I Prove That My Doctor Was Negligent?
In order to prove that a doctor’s negligence caused you harm, you will need to first demonstrate that the doctor had a responsibility to provide you with a reasonable standard of medical care. Then, you have to prove that he or she failed to fulfill that responsibility, leading to your injuries. The burden of this kind of proof requires the experience of a personal injury attorney with a clear understanding of medical malpractice cases. What counts as a “reasonable standard of care” can vary in different jurisdictions and may appear somewhat subjective, with various experts offering conflicting opinions.
It is necessary to prove that your doctor was negligent in that he or she acted differently than other medical professionals in the same situation would have acted. Then, you will have to illustrate how that difference in behavior resulted in harm to you. Often times this requires the help of health care professionals and other experts who can describe what a reasonable standard of care is, and how your doctor failed to provide it. These medical experts can testify in your case to give facts about how such negligence on the part of your doctor caused your injuries. Both of these steps are nearly impossible without the help of a lawyer who has the resources to locate independent physicians and gain their expert testimony.
Upon hiring our firm, our team will initiate its own investigation on your behalf, searching for evidence to prove the negligence of your doctor and why that entitles you to compensation. This compensation can include damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Our team includes lawyers with more than two decades of experience and a registered nurse who serves as a medical consultant. This level of knowledge is unparalleled at other firms and is your best chance for fair compensation for your case. Let us help you get what you deserve so you can move on with your life.
Start your free case evaluation now by contacting us today for more information.
The Insurance Company Denied My Claim. What Now?
If an insurance company, whether it is your provider or the provider of someone who caused you harm, denies your claim, it could be failing to fulfill its legal obligations. This is often called acting in “bad faith,” and you have the right to challenge the insurance company in such a scenario. Speaking with a knowledgeable injury attorney is a good place to start so you can find out what options are available to you. An insurance provider is legally and ethically responsible for settling claims fairly with those who have purchased a policy that offers such protection. This includes the responsibility for the company to pay out compensation to a victim who was harmed by the negligence of a person it insures.
If an insurance company is limiting your ability to pursue a claim or is refusing to give you specific reasons for denying a claim, it may be sidestepping its legal responsibilities. The first thing you should do is contact the insurance adjuster and explain why you believe you’ve been denied in bad faith. You may get him or her to pay attention if he or she knows you understand this concept. If you still cannot get the help or information you deserve, write an accusation of bad faith letter to the insurance company and use the name of the adjuster involved with your case. A letter like this may quickly change the company’s stance on your situation.
If these steps do not work, it is time to speak with one of our attorneys. If we can prove that the insurance company denied your claim in bad faith, we can likely earn you compensation well above the original amount of your claim. The insurance provider may wish to instead negotiate a settlement to avoid a fight in court, in which case you are likely to receive fair compensation for your claim and possibly any additional costs you incurred related to your case. Our team has tried more than 40 cases to jury verdict. We will aggressively fight for your rights no matter what the challenges, and we will do so at no cost to you unless we win.
For more information about how an injury lawyer can help you, please contact our office.
Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers Online Resources
Semi-truck accident lawyers and victims of semi-truck accidents will find the following sites helpful when researching semi truck accidents.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety – Article highlighting ways to avoid semi-truck accidents.
American Trucking Association – Important resource for semi-truck drivers.
Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways – Private group with information regarding semi-truck accidents.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance – Lobbyist organization promoting semi-truck accident safety.
Federal Highway Administration – Government body regulating highway laws.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – Outline of various government projects for semi-truck accident prevention.
Share the Road Safely – Government website dedicated to educating drivers on how to avoid semi-truck accidents.
Transportation Safety Institute – Includes several articles concerning semi-truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death as a result of a semi-truck accident, call the semi-truck accident lawyers of our Law Firm a free online case evaluation. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we are paid for our services only if, and when, there is a money recovery for you. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date known as a statute of limitations. Please call our semi-truck accident attorneys right away to ensure you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
Things You Need To Know About Hiring A Lawyer
Whenever you find yourself having to go to court, you likely need someone who can represent you properly. It may not be a pleasant or quick process, but you will need professional advice in order to come out on top. By using the advice in this article, you will be able to make better decisions in your ongoing legal issues.
If there is a lawyer that’s looking for you to hire them and you didn’t ask them to, stay away from them. This sort of situation is generally a scam. This is especially true if the situation in which you are embroiled will tend to cost a great deal of money. Do your research and create a short list before approaching anyone.
A good criterion in choosing a lawyer is how accessible he is on a normal day. Many people feel that it is difficult to stay in touch with lawyers. If your lawyer is out of pocket, you could be left in a quandary.
Even though hiring a lawyer can seem pricey, it could actually end up saving you money in the long run. It is always a good idea to do your research before you hire a lawyer to find one that you can afford.
Although you should always be mindful of any advice provided by your lawyer, understand that this person works for you, not the other way around. Speak up if there is something your lawyer wants or says that makes you uncomfortable. Remember that your lawyer has a lot of cases. However, he or she is always on your side.
Never feel that your questions are too small to ask your lawyer. If you have chosen a good and fair lawyer, he will understand your anxieties and will take the time to explain how things work and how they are progressing. Hire another lawyer if yours is not accommodating enough of your questions.
Before signing contracts, be sure the lawyer has won some cases that are similar to yours. The fact that an attorney specializes in handling cases like the one you have does not guarantee he will win yours. If you can not find this information online, the lawyer should be willing and able to provide it to you.
Always work with a trustworthy lawyer. Especially if the lawyer you are looking for is for your professional matters or business. Make sure to protect yourself if there is documentation. You leave yourself in their hands. Keep your guard up at all times.
If you need a lawyer, you should choose the one you can easily communicate with. Make sure your lawyer has everything needed to work on your case, especially if there are imminent deadlines. Your lawyer will be able to prepare a better defense if you share new details regularly.
When searching out legal representation, be sure that you find a lawyer who specializes in your type of case. You can find a lawyer for just about any specialty. Some examples are estate law, criminal law, and more. Get the right lawyer the first time, so you don’t have to make changes to your team later on.
Try to get the vibe of the lawyer’s office when you walk in. When you contact the office, observe how fast your message is returned, and see if the receptionist is friendly. If you do not get a return call for a long time, take this as a clue as to how you would be treated if you were their client.
If you’re going to speak to a lawyer and they tell you that they’ll win your case no matter what, it’s probably best to leave. There are no ways to guarantee an outcome, and if a lawyer tries to tell you he can, then he is being more a salesman than a lawyer. Use this as a warning sign for hiring lawyers.
Show up for your consultation prepared. They get hourly compensation. Therefore, every time you call, you’re being charged. You will spend less and have a resolution if you properly prepare yourself prior to meeting with them.
A legal entanglement is never good. Legal issues can often take a turn for the worse when you don’t have competent representation. However, you should be far better informed about what is going to occur and how to get a positive outcome to your case.
Things To Think About When Looking For A Lawyer
Do you need a lawyer? Regardless of your situation, you need to understand that dealing with lawyers can be very expensive and stressful. Soon, you’ll have the information you need to choose the right lawyer. Keep reading for invaluable tips that you can not afford to miss.
Do not hire a lawyer that is searching for you. Lawyers who have to reach out to potential clients usually lack the qualifications needed or might even run scams. Hire someone you find on your own.
If you are involved in a legal matter concerning real estate, whether you rent or own, you should hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate. Having the right lawyer means your case will be managed quickly, well, and probably successfully.
You should not choose the first affordable lawyer you find in the local yellow pages. Do some background research and ask people you know for recommendations. I took the lawyer my real estate agent offered me when buying my first home, and it turned out she’d lost her license for malpractice! Be cautious!
Be skeptical if a lawyer wants you to pay a sizable retainer in order to take your case. Make sure they’ll refund any money not used. You’re probably better off shopping around for lawyers whose retainer fees aren’t quite so large.
When choosing a lawyer, check into their reputation thoroughly. When you consult both the bar association and online testimonials and reviews, you will be able to easily decide whether or not to hire a particular lawyer. This can save you a good deal of money, time, and stress.
Establish a fee arrangement with your attorney right up front, before they start working for you. This will alleviate your worries about fees and allow you to focus on your case. This helps you better regulate your finances as well.
If you need a lawyer, choose one who specializes in the issue you are dealing with. You can find a lawyer for just about any specialty. Some examples are estate law, criminal law, and more. Knowing this beforehand and researching your options can help save you much time later.
You should feel entirely comfortable with the lawyer who takes your case. Good lawyers aren’t just knowledgeable and intelligent, but they have good people skills and can make you feel comfortable upon entering their office. If you don’t have a lawyer that’s doing this, you need to locate a different one as soon as possible.
Be realistic and understand that there is only so much that a lawyer can do for you. Typically, a lawyer who says he will win your case, without a doubt, is a liar. So, stay away from that attorney. As far as the law goes, nothing can be promised, so never believe a lawyer who says he is always successful.
If you go to your initial consultation with a lawyer and he makes any guarantees of victory, the best thing that you can do is leave. There aren’t any guarantees when it comes to the legal system. This is something that should be a red flag for you.
There are lawyers who specialize in Workers’ comp. Laws are different in each state and you might have to show different proofs. Worker’s Comp is different from all other claims and thus should be approached so. There will inevitably be varied standards that must be met.
Of course, your case is very important to you. However, it is unlikely to be earth-shattering to your lawyer. In fact, your attorney may have other cases that are more pressing than yours. Do not call your lawyer constantly but consider finding another lawyer who is less busy if you feel like your lawyer is not giving you the attention you need.
The lawyer will have malpractice insurance for dealing with those issues where they aren’t following the law completely. Because they want their premiums to stay low, they will surely try to handle your case properly and ethically. Keep the faith that your lawyer has only your best interest in mind.
Look around the law office when you go for your consultation. Are his bookshelves organized? Is there a mound of paperwork piling up on their desk? Is the lawyer’s office professional and welcoming? Remember, you pay for their time, including the time it might take to straighten out any chaos they’ve created.
Honesty is key when dealing with your lawyer. Don’t leave anything out. Your lawyer needs that information to build a good case. The lawyer can’t share what they’re told, so remember this.
Sometimes, a lawyer is a necessity. Included in this are situations in which you might be accused of a crime, charged with driving while intoxicated, or included in a lawsuit. You must make contact quickly so the lawyer can start interviewing witnesses and getting together the evidence. These are time-consuming activities.
Agree on what you’ll pay before hiring a lawyer. Be certain you are clear about payment. Many lawyers will wait until after settlement for payment. If you happen to lose the case, ask about how attorney payments could be spread out over time.
Make a list of questions to ask your short list of lawyer options. You can ask these questions by calling different offices or do it in person at the actual office. Make sure there is no consultation fee before going in for your meeting.
There are many different kinds of legal issues, so it is vital that you choose one that fits your unique situation. Use these tips to easily find a lawyer. You don’t want to make a mistake that could cost you dearly later on.
Better Handle Your Experience With Lawyer By Using These Tips
Just because someone graduated from law school, doesn’t automatically make him competent. Read this article to learn how to choose the right type of lawyer for your situation. You’ll be thankful you did.
Talk to a lawyer about their history. Not all practicing lawyers are successful. An attorney may have a valid license, but not be very good. Research his record to be assured he will do the job well.
If a lawyer is desperate for you, then don’t hire them. Typically, these are scams that can financially hurt you. Spend some time researching lawyers and get the very best one you can.
Consider having a lawyer on retainer to prepare for the worst before it happens. This will allow you not to be under too much pressure so you’re able to take some time when you’re looking for a trustworthy lawyer. A retained lawyer will also be able to answer any questions that come up throughout your life.
You need to touch base with your lawyer on a specific schedule. Lawyers often disappear for long periods. Making your expectations known from the start will prevent this problem.
Having an open line of communication with your lawyer is very important. If you have deadlines with regard to your case, you need to supply your lawyer with all the necessary information that is needed. Your lawyer will be able to prepare a better defense if you share new details regularly.
Your case may languish if your attorney is busy with some other cases. Ask the lawyer directly to see if he has time to handle your case. They should be honest about their schedule so you can find a lawyer who has the time you need to get the job done.
Good chemistry and communication with your attorney are critical to a great working relationship. If you don’t like your lawyer’s personality, it only makes things harder. Find a lawyer that has a personality that works well with your personality.
Know your case inside and out before hiring an attorney. If you’re not sure about what you need from a lawyer, how are you going to locate one that is knowledgeable about a case such as yours? Do a little homework on your situation. This will ensure you make the right decisions going forward.
When a loved one dies it can leave you with a mess of bills and paperwork. Worker’s compensation not only protects the worker but also protects the immediate family. Having a lawyer can make the whole claims filing process so much easier. They know exactly how to help you.
Look into legal aid if money concerns you. Offices of legal aid can recommend lawyers who will offer “pro bono” services. Lawyers often dedicate time to work on cases for those who can not afford legal representation but are in great need of it. You can often find legal aid offices listed in the white pages.
Settle on the amount of time and money you wish to invest in procuring a lawyer. Ensure you include lost income from not being able to work. Put in time for research to find out all the costs the lawyer has and what it will do to your budget. Spending thousands is unnecessary if you can find a way to spend less.
Not all lawyers are created equal. It’s important you know which lawyer will be the best for your needs. Think about these tips and choose carefully. Good luck!
Personal Injury Claims: What You Need To Know
What are your abilities when you’ve decided to sue someone for an injury they caused? The idea of it can seem daunting and challenging. However, the following article has some great information to help you with your case. These tips should lead you to victory.
Check out the web to find reviews for your lawyer. Avoid calling the yelling person you see in the TV ad. This is never your best option, and you’d be much better served looking for lawyers with lots of experience dealing with your particular situation.
Your state’s Attorney Bar Association is a great place to find a personal injury attorney. They can provide you with recommendations for reputable attorneys in your area, and can inform you of any complaints or proceeding against attorneys in your area.
Discover how large the firm is before making a choice of a lawyer. If you have to deal with a large lawsuit, you need to have a large firm representing you. However, if you’re dealing with a smaller case, you might be able to save some money by going with a smaller firm.
Talk to an injury lawyer to decide if you can or should settle your matter in advance of trial. That saves a lot of headaches, and that way, you don’t need to pay court fees.
It may not be necessary to contact an attorney just because you feel a little pain immediately after an accident. Some pain and suffering is normal after an accident. If the issue lingers, though, you should think about contacting an attorney.
You should choose a lawyer who has plenty of experience with personal injury cases. This may sound obvious, but many people think a lawyer is a lawyer. Your best bet is an attorney who specializes in personal injury, preferably with experience in cases similar to your own. If you don’t, you’re taking a huge risk.
When someone takes it upon themselves to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to learn as much as possible about the other party involved. You might have to refer to several policies. If they refuse to tell you this information, you can get a sworn affidavit to help make them.
After an injury, you should initiate litigation as soon as possible. Take action immediately to avoid missing deadlines. Contact a lawyer so that they can clarify everything that needs to be done.
Remember, simply hiring a personal injury attorney does not mean that you are going to see a check in your mailbox in a week or two. You must exhibit patience as it can be a truly lengthy process. Your case might even take a few years in larger cities. If you know this ahead of time, you will be able to view your case realistically.
Money is always an issue when dealing with a personal injury case, and many lawyers in this field work on contingency. This means that rather than an hourly rate, you pay the lawyer based on the amount of your settlement. This method will allow you to skip the initial costs, meaning it is easier to get a good lawyer.
Keep records of how your injury cost you money. That includes lost wages, damaged personal property, travel expense to the doctor’s office, and all other injury-related expenses. This proof is very important when you need to provide evidence in court.
If you’re involved with any type of personal injury lawsuit, make sure to keep copies of all receipts. They’re proof of the money that you’ve paid yourself. If you lack such receipts, you may have a hard time securing reimbursement.
Before you hire an attorney, ask for references. What former clients have to say about an attorney can help you determine if they are right for your case. You’ll know something is amiss if the attorney is not willing to share a list of references with you. If this happens, try to find someone else.
Make sure you identify the responsible party correctly. If you got injured at work, you can request a settlement from your employer. However, if another person was responsible for the injury, the situation is a little different. Find a reputable attorney and discuss all the circumstances surrounding your injury so you can identify the appropriate parties to hold accountable.
Inquire about your lawyer’s case history. You need to know how similar the cases he has dealt with before yours as well as how well he did fighting for those cases. Choose someone who has been successful with similar cases in the past.
Do not supply insurance companies with information pertaining to your case without consulting a lawyer. Sometimes insurance adjusters will request a statement or some information, only to use it against you during your case. Speak with the attorney before the insurance company. Also, do not give them anything you’ve written or recorded yourself.
You will get great results if you use these tips. Apply these tips as needed to improve your case and work toward the optimal solution. Remember each idea and utilize those most relevant to your situation. This will help the case move in your favor.
Since Henry Ford first began mass-producing the horseless carriage, driving has steadily become the primary mode of transportation for millions of Americans. In Texas, residents seem to spend more time in their cars than ever before. With so much time on the road, car accidents seem inevitable. We pass fender-benders every day on our freeways and suburban streets. Although some crashes prove minor, many motor vehicle collisions result in serious injuries and even fatalities. In many cases, these accidents are the result of driver distraction or recklessness. Between substance abuse, cell phone use, and speeding, dangerous driving behaviors put people at constant risk. If you have been injured in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident, we can help. Please contact our car accident lawyers today.
Truck and Motorcycle Accidents
Truck and Motorcycle Accidents
Serious truck, motorcycle, and car accidents are incredibly prevalent. As more and more heavyweight trucks flood the roads, they present an increasing danger to the drivers of passenger cars.
Motorcyclists contribute to a significant percentage of all traffic-related injuries and fatalities. Three-quarters of all motorcycle accidents involve collisions with passenger vehicles, and the primary reason for collision is the failure of motorists to see the motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents occur most frequently at intersections when other drivers violate the rider’s right-of-way or other traffic laws.
If you or a member of your family have been the victim of a truck, motorcycle, or car accident, get in touch with the lawyers at our firm today. Our Law Office accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not get paid if you don’t win your case. We will fight for your rights and do everything possible to make sure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
In recent years, SUVs, or “Sport Utility Vehicles,” have become increasingly popular. Many families have traded in their minivans for large SUVs that can transport kids and trailers with ease. Unfortunately, SUVs do not always provide the same level of passenger safety as smaller vehicles. When an SUV proves to be inordinately top-heavy or otherwise unstable, it can be at a higher risk for rollovers.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the car designers and manufacturers to take into account the high rollover capability of SUVs and to make them with appropriate safeguards against rollover car accidents. However, there are many SUVs on the roads today that aren’t reasonably protected from rolling over. When an SUV rollover is the result of the vehicle’s dangerous design, our car accident lawyers can sue the responsible party under product liability law.
If you or a loved one has been in an SUV rollover, the car accident lawyers at our firm can build a case for you. For a free case review, please contact our Law Office right away.
The Lone Star State may have more miles of highway than any other state, but that doesn’t mean they’re in good condition. Indeed, a new study suggests they’re actually pretty lousy. In a comparison of road conditions in all 50 states, Texas ranked the 17th worst in the U.S., according to research from consumer news website Consumer Affairs. Even more frightening, safety experts estimate that dangerous and defective roads are responsible for many fatal car accidents. The risk to motorists is extremely high due to the terrible condition of our streets and freeways.
Some of the most common accident-causing road defects include:
Obstacles in the road
Defective or broken medians
Narrow lanes and shoulders
Too few lanes
Poor road markings
Inadequate traffic signals
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member have been involved in a road defect-related car accident, please consult our lawyers today. We’ll review the facts of your case and begin working on your behalf as soon as possible.
Product Liability — Defective Product Lawyers
From children’s toys to prescription drugs, consumers make purchases every day with an almost unconscious trust in the safety of the products they buy. After all, if it were dangerous, then it wouldn’t be on the market, right? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is sometimes “no.” Although the designers, makers, and distributors of a product have a responsibility to protect consumers, they occasionally fail to meet this duty. The result of their failure is the creation, production, and sale of a dangerous or defective item. When an injury occurs to the consumer under reasonable circumstances (if the consumer was injured while using the product in the way it was intended), then the retailer, designer, and manufacturer can all be considered legally liable. At our Law Office, our product liability lawyers are prepared to help such victims recover compensation for their injuries.
Whether we’re talking about snowboards or automobiles, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to ensure the safety of consumers through adequately testing the design and finished product. They must also provide sufficient quality control measures, directions, and labels to keep defective products off the market and out of the hands of unsuspecting consumers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous product, please contact the defective product lawyers at our firm.
Elements of a Product Liability Case
Elements of a Product Liability Case
Product liability cases can be extremely complicated because there are often multiple parties potentially involved in bearing responsibility for the defective product. There are four primary elements that can play roles in a product liability case: marketing, testing, manufacturing, and design. When you contact the product liability lawyers at our office, we can begin investigating every detail of your case to determine exactly what went wrong and who is responsible for the defect.
Marketing and Testing
If a product is improperly marketed to the consumer, and injury occurs as a result, those responsible for product marketing can be held accountable. A common example is prescription drug cases in which warning labels are poorly or insufficiently written. Product testing is also a key component of liability cases. The idea behind testing a product before selling it is to protect the consumer. However, sometimes products are allowed to pass inspection without being adequately tested. When consumer protection agencies fail to do their job, our defective product lawyers can hold them accountable.
Manufacturing and Design
The final two elements of product liability cases are manufacturing and design. These tend to be the most important aspects of defective product claims. Sometimes a product with a perfectly good design is not built correctly. A car’s braking system that is well designed but becomes flawed when wires are crossed during the manufacturing process is a good example of this. Likewise, there are products whose flaws exist from their very creation: these flaws are known as design defects. And when they go unnoticed — or worse, are noticed and not corrected — serious problems result for the consumer.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a dangerous or flawed drug, toy, tool, or another device, please contact our Law Office. One of our product liability and defective product lawyers will be prepared to take your case and fight for you.
It is a known fact that driving or riding in a car presents a risk to the vehicle’s occupants — car accidents happen every day. However, given the rules and laws of the road, the appropriate safety equipment, and the experience of the driver, the risk of driving can be diminished. When something goes wrong with the vehicle itself, causing or exacerbating harm to the occupants, the defective product lawyers at our office can hold the manufacturers, designers, testers, and retailers of the vehicle accountable.
Defective Air Bags
With all the thousands of parts required to construct a functional automobile, it is not unusual for mistakes to be made in the manufacturing and/or design process. Some of the most common automobile defects include problems with the tires, braking system, and airbags.
Airbags inflate at an average speed of 180 miles per hour. Given the incredible force required to inflate this quickly, injuries from airbags are frequent. Sometimes there are serious defects in the airbag system. Insufficient amounts of heating agents to catalyze the inflation, flaws with the inflator connector, and leaks from the inflation module are all examples of product defects that have caused serious injury to passengers and drivers.
Contact the Defective Product Lawyers at Our Firm
Do you have reason to believe that an automobile defect was responsible for injuring you or your family member? The product liability and defective product lawyers at our firm have served for more than two decades. We know how to handle these complex cases and aren’t afraid to go after powerful companies to defend the rights of our clients. Schedule a free consultation with our product liability lawyers by contacting us today.
Wrongful Death, Construction Accidents, and More
The personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at our firm have worked on a wide variety of cases, including spinal cord injuries, aviation accidents, and construction accidents for our clients. Although no amount of money can ever come close to making up for a devastating injury or the loss of a loved one, victims and their families should not be expected to shoulder the financial burden on their own. At our Law Office, we do everything we can to secure the fair and maximum amount of compensation our clients deserve.
Learn more about personal injury and wrongful death by reading below, or schedule a complimentary case review with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Serious Personal Injury
When a person is killed as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless acts, the death is considered wrongful. The responsible party can be held liable by the family of the victim if the family files a civil wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death can be caused by a myriad of different actions: car accidents, elder abuse, and defective products are just a few unfortunately common examples. The wrongful death lawyers at our firm near San Jose believe in aggressively and compassionately representing the loved ones of victims. Because of the Texas statute of limitations, it is important to seek the legal counsel of an expert attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case’s viability. Among the recoverable damages in a wrongful death suit are medical and funeral costs, lost income, benefits, and even compensation for pain and suffering.
Our firm has incredible resources available to assist in the investigation of your claim. We have over two decades of experience to use on your behalf. If you have reason to believe that your loved one was a victim of wrongful death, it is crucial that you get in touch with one of our wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible.
Construction sites pose many dangers to workers and others in the area. Construction workers must often lift heavy objects, operate large machinery, and perform job duties at elevated heights. Still, proper protocol and safety practices can decrease a worker or passerby’s risk of being injured in construction accidents. Our city is gaining more commercial and residential structures every year, and it is essential that the safety of the people who build them is protected.
When preventable construction accidents occur as a result of someone’s negligence, he or she may be liable for the victim’s injuries. For example, a supervisor at a construction site is responsible for enforcing safety measures. Employers of construction workers must properly train their employees. Companies that manufacture construction equipment are liable if their products prove to be defective.
Some of the most common construction accidents include slips, falls, electrocution, injuries caused by cranes and other heavy equipment, and eye injuries from falling debris and other incidents. If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Law Office has experience litigating cases involving construction accidents. Contact our firm for more information.
Despite the fact that flying remains one of the safest ways to travel, aviation accidents still occur. At this time, piloting aircraft — especially small, single-engine planes — is considered to be one of the top three most dangerous jobs in the United States. Whether a private, commercial, or industrial plane is involved, when an aviation accident happens, serious injuries and fatalities almost always result. At our Law Office, our personal injury lawyers understand the various laws and regulations that should be followed to protect the safety of passengers and pilots. If you believe that your injuries or the loss of your loved one was caused by negligence, violation of flight regulations, or the aircraft itself, we can help. With access to experienced investigators and analysts, our firm knows how to go up against even the largest companies. Schedule a free case review right now.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Although many people assume that slip and fall accidents only happen to the elderly, this type of accident is one of the most common in the United States. Everything from wet, slippery, or uneven floors, to the lack of adequate lighting can cause a person to slip, fall, and sustain painful injuries. In fact, a list of frequent slip and fall accident injuries includes traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, and fractures of the hip, pelvis, arms, legs, and skull.
Slip and fall accidents are grouped under premises liability. Premises liability means that the owner of the property is legally responsible for any preventable or hazardous condition. However, the validity of these suits is judged on a case-by-case basis, making it all the more important that victims seek professional legal counsel from a qualified attorney. If you or a family member have been injured on someone else’s property, please contact one of our personal injury lawyers today.
Serious Personal Injury
Brain, burn, and spinal cord injuries are three of the most devastating forms of personal injury. Each of them can lead to chronic medical conditions that affect every single aspect of the victim’s life. When they are caused by another person’s recklessness or negligence, the victim has a right to receive compensation for their wrongful acts.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) ranks as one of the most common injuries in the United States, often occurring during motor vehicle collisions and construction accidents. A TBI can cause conditions ranging from mental and behavioral health problems to extensive paralysis, and some victims are left indefinitely in a comatose state.
Second- and third-degree burns are often linked to dangerous construction sites and defective products that are not properly wired. Because the skin is the body’s first line of defense against illness, severe burn injuries often lead to further health problems over time. Recovering from extensive burns is long and difficult, and usually involves numerous reconstructive surgeries.
Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord extends from the brain, sending crucial messages and nerve pulses throughout the body. Together, the brain and spinal cord comprise the central nervous system. Damage to the spinal cord is almost always irreversible because, unlike other nerve cells, brain and spinal cord cells are unable to regenerate after injury. At nearly 50 percent, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of all spinal cord injuries, followed closely by falls.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, severe burn, or spinal cord injury as a result of someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, please contact our personal injury lawyers today. We know how difficult these cases can be, and we can help you win the justice you deserve.
Hearing that there is something wrong with the health of your new baby is perhaps the most devastating moment in a person’s life. The birth injury attorneys at our firm have the deepest sympathy and compassion for the victims and their families and are strongly committed to ensuring they receive the maximum amount of compensation available to them under the law. Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and other birth injuries are often preventable and can result from medical malpractice and negligence. If your child is the victim of a birth injury, please get in touch with our personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Let us take care of your legal concerns, while you take care of your family.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers
Are you or a member of your family the victim of a construction accident, traumatic brain injury, birth injury, or other serious accident? Do you believe that the negligent, reckless behavior of another caused the wrongful death of your loved one? The personal injury lawyers at our firm want to help each and every victim achieve justice. Don’t wait any longer — contact our Law Office today.
Tolling and the Statute of Limitations
Tolling a statute of limitations is often very important for people involved in personal injury cases. We’ve blogged about the statute of limitations in personal injury cases before, but it’s a good idea to go over the basics. Essentially, a statute of limitations is a ticking clock that applies to your case. After you suffer an injury, you have to file your case within the amount of time specified by your state’s statute of limitations or you are prevented from doing so. With tolling, the time you have to file a lawsuit is effectively extended.
Stopping the Clock
When we talk about tolling the statute of limitations, what we are talking about is putting the statute of limitations ticking clock on pause. Tolling allows people to suspend or delay the statute of limitations time limit. Depending on your circumstances, there can be several reasons why you might be able to pause the statute of limitations and give yourself more time than you would otherwise have to file a lawsuit.
For example, minors who suffer personal injuries cannot file a lawsuit on their own. They have to have an adult guardian, parent, or some other adult file on their behalf. However, if a parent or guardian fails to file a lawsuit in time, the minor is not necessarily out of luck. This is because the statute of limitations is tolled when a minor suffers an injury.
So, let’s say a 16-year-old suffers a personal injury. The child’s parents do not file a lawsuit on behalf of the 16-year-old. A couple of years pass and the child turns 18. In this situation, the statute of limitations clock is tolled or paused and only begins counting down again after the child becomes an adult.
Tolling and Discovery
Similar to tolling is the idea that the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start running until you have discovered your injury. For example, let’s say that you had your inflamed appendix removed. During that surgery, your doctor mistakenly left a surgical sponge in your abdomen. However, you had no way of knowing that the sponge was there, and didn’t discover it until three years after your surgery.
In this situation, the statute of limitations clock won’t likely start ticking until you discover the injury. Even though the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in your state might only be two years, you can still file a lawsuit because you didn’t discover the injury until after those two years had passed.
Tolling and Your Case
Tolling is one of those issues that can sometimes be difficult to apply. Every personal injury case is different, and determining what statute of limitations applies will depend on several different factors. Additionally, knowing if the statute of limitations can be tolled, and if so, how that affects your case, is something that only an experienced personal injury attorney can help with. Even if you don’t believe you can still file a case because of the statute of limitations, you should talk to a personal injury attorney in your area for legal advice.
What is Tort Reform?
Though a lot of people might have heard the term “tort reform,” many don’t have a good idea of what it really is. Tort reform has been a popular term in recent years and is regularly popping up in news stories and political discussions. To get a better idea of what tort reform is and how it might affect you, here are some basic questions about it.
What is a tort?
A tort is a wrongdoing under the law. A tort is a type of harm or injury that the law allows someone to recover. Torts do not typically arise out of agreements or contracts made between people, but rather out of injuries or harms people do to one another.
For example, let’s say you are injured in a car crash. The other driver was drunk at the time and the court finds that the driver is responsible for your injuries. If you want to recover money for your damages, you can sue that other driver because he committed a tort.
It’s important to note that a tort is very different from a criminal case. Only prosecutors can decide to file criminal charges. However, regardless of a prosecutor’s decision, someone injured by someone else’s intentional or negligent actions can choose to file a tort lawsuit.
What is tort reform?
If a tort is a kind of lawsuit, “tort reform” is a term that describes various ways to limit these types of tort lawsuits. Tort reforms are legal initiatives that are designed to change how courts handle tort cases.
For example, some states have adopted tort reforms that impose damage limitations in personal injury cases. These limitations typically apply to what are known as “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages apply when someone suffers harm, but that harm is not easily measurable.
For example, let’s say that, as the result of a medical procedure gone wrong, you lose the ability to have sexual relations. There is no easy dollar figure that applies to this type of harm, though it does significantly affect your ability to enjoy life. If you live in a state with tort reforms that have limited non-economic damages, your ability to recover money for the harm you suffered in this type of case will be reduced.
What does tort reform mean to me?
Lawsuits are subject to a number of limitations. You cannot, for example, sue someone for a personal injury if you have waited too long because your state’s statute of limitations requires you to act within a limited amount of time.
If you live in a state that has adopted tort reform laws, your ability to file a lawsuit, or your ability to seek compensation for your injuries, will be subject to additional limitations. Whether those limitations apply to your ability to recover money for the losses you suffered, your ability to file a lawsuit, or impose other restrictions, the type of tort reform that applies to you and your case will differ depending on where you live and what kind of case you have.
If you feel you have a potential lawsuit and you have questions regarding tort reform in your area, be sure to call a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.
What is a Contingency Fee?
When people visit a personal injury attorney for the first time, they’re often worried about the costs. What if you don’t have the money to pay legal fees? If you don’t have enough money, do you have any other options?
Contingency fees are designed to address these concerns. A contingency fee is an agreement between you and your lawyer in which the lawyer agrees to only get paid if you win your case. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
How Contingency Fees Work
Let’s say you suffered serious injuries after being attacked by someone else. You want to sue the person who attacked you for your medical expenses, your loss of income, and other damages you’ve incurred. Unfortunately, you don’t have any money to hire a lawyer. You have, however, heard that some personal injury attorneys will work on a contingency basis.
So, you go visit a local attorney. The attorney tells you that she will work on a contingency basis and that you won’t have to worry about legal fees unless you win. This is how contingency fees work. If a lawyer agrees to work for you on a contingent basis, that lawyer is saying that you will not have to pay any legal fees until you win your case. If and when you win, the lawyer will take a percentage of your winnings as your fee.
Agreement and Percentage Fees
When a lawyer and client enter into a contingency fee arrangement, they typically do so with a document called a fee agreement. The agreement is a kind of contract that sets out the terms of the contingency fee relationship. The agreement will state, for example, that the attorney is entitled to receive a certain percentage of any winnings you receive out of the case. Though the specific percentage the agreement states will differ from state to state and from attorney to attorney, it’s typically about thirty percent.
So, for example, let’s say you hire an attorney on a contingency basis. The attorney files a lawsuit, you go through the discovery process, and eventually, the two sides agree to settle for $100,000. If the contingency fee agreement stated that the attorney is entitled to thirty percent of any settlement or judgment, you would pay your attorney $30,000, and keep the remaining $70,000 for yourself.
Contingency Fees and Costs
It’s important to realize that there might be some additional costs involved with your lawsuit, even if you agree to a contingency fee arrangement. Many attorneys require, for example, that the client pays for necessary expenses, such as the cost of filing the lawsuit, travel expenses, and other costs that might arise.
Whenever you talk to a lawyer, it’s important that you discuss the fee arrangement in as much detail as possible. You need to be clear about the terms of the agreement, how much your attorney is entitled to receive should you win, and what, if any, fees or costs you’ll be responsible for paying.
When in an accident, it is always best to speak to a reputable personal injury attorney in your area to determine if you have a case and how much that case could be potentially worth.
When a Loved One Suffers Abuse in a Nursing Home
The idea of a loved one being abused while living in a nursing home, assisted living center, or other elder care environment is a difficult thought to deal with. As more and more Americans reach retirement age every day and the average lifespan keeps increasing, the chances that you or a family member will have to live in a nursing home are high. But, many people don’t realize that nursing home and elder abuse is a growing, and unfortunately common, a problem for many seniors.
Abuse, Neglect, and Malpractice
An elderly person who is injured in a nursing home or elder care facility can often sue that facility when its actions directly led to the harms the elderly person suffered. These types of cases are typically divided into one of three types: abuse, neglect, and malpractice.
Abuse. When nursing home employees intentionally hurt a patient, that’s nursing home abuse. Abuse can result from a variety of circumstances, such as unreasonable confinement, physical or psychological intimidation, or the purposeful infliction of physical injuries. In some situations, nursing home workers even commit sexual abuse against the elderly resident. Nursing home abuse can result in either physical pain or mental and psychological anguish.
Neglect. Neglect is slightly different than abuse. In a neglect situation, an elderly person suffers harm because a nursing home employee didn’t act responsibly in providing the necessary care. Whether that employee failed to act or was indifferent to the elderly person’s suffering, neglect can also result in psychological or physical harm.
Malpractice. In some nursing home environments, it’s common for nurses, physicians, or other medical personnel to perform procedures and provide an elderly person with healthcare. Like in any medical situation, a healthcare professional who negligently performs a procedure or who doesn’t act under the appropriate standard of care can commit malpractice when an elderly person is hurt as a result.
It’s also unfortunately common for someone in a nursing home to be financially abused by nursing home employees. Financial elder abuse occurs when a nursing home employee takes the elderly person’s financial information and uses it for his or her own purposes.
For example, someone with access to the elderly person’s financial information might open up a new account in that person’s name or take money out of a bank account. In other situations, a nursing home can overcharge the elderly person for services never performed.
Know the Warning Signs
While you can never be absolutely certain that you will be able to protect your loved ones from suffering harm in a nursing home, you can learn to spot the warning signs of possible abuse. These signs include:
Unexplained bruises, broken bones, or other injuries.
Ankle rashes, wrist rashes, or bruises from restraints.
Sudden unexplained weight loss.
Repetitive rocking or mumbling.
Obvious signs of depression.
Withdrawal from family members or loved ones.
Obvious fear when in the presence of nursing home employees or specific people.
Unexplained financial losses or new loans.
If you suspect an elderly loved one has been victimized in a nursing home environment, you should contact your attorney at the first possible opportunity. You can also contact the Administration on Aging at 1-800-677-1116 for information about how to report elder abuse in your state.
What Happens if You’re Injured by a Dangerous Product?
Whether it’s a laptop with an overheated battery, a car with airbags that fail to deploy, or prescription medication that leads to serious side effects, consumers are constantly using a variety of products that can and do lead to injuries, harm, and even death.
When someone suffers an injury as the result of using a product, they often wonder if they can sue to recover damages. These types of cases are known as product liability cases. In order to prevail in such a case, consumers usually have to show that the product manufacturer is negligent.
Liability and Negligence
Not every injury you suffer as the result of using a product means that you will be able to recover damages for your injuries. In order to win your case, you will have to be able to show that the product’s manufacturer was negligent in some way. When a product manufacturer releases a product into the marketplace, it must be sure that the product is safe. If the manufacturer makes a mistake and releases a product that poses a danger to the consumer, it can be held liable for any harm caused by the product.
In product liability cases, the person suing the manufacturer, called the plaintiff, typically has to show one of three things:
The manufacturer made a defective product. Many product injury cases arise because a manufacturer doesn’t build a product correctly. For example, a chair missing an important screw or a piece of exercise equipment that isn’t assembled correctly can easily lead to someone getting hurt. In such a situation, the manufacturer is often held liable for those injuries because they manufactured a product with a defect and then sent it into the marketplace.
The manufacturer designed a dangerous product. In some situations, the manufacturer creates a product that is free from manufacturing defects, but the product nevertheless causes substantial harm. For example, a drug company that creates medication can create a flawed product because the drug is dangerous by its nature. Even if the drug company manufactures the drug correctly, safely, and ensures there are no contamination issues, the nature of the drug itself could be such that it causes consumers harm.
The manufacturer failed to include an adequate warning. Many products have inherent dangers but are nevertheless useful and desirable to consumers. For example, over-the-counter medications are easily available to the average consumer even though they are only suitable for certain purposes. A consumer who misuses over-the-counter drugs can easily suffer harm. This is why manufacturers include various warning labels on products that could pose a risk if misused by the consumer. When the manufacturer fails to include such a warning label and a person suffers an injury after using the product, the manufacturer can be held liable for those damages.
Talk To An Experienced Attorney
Product liability cases are often very complicated and require not only an understanding of the law but also federal and state regulations, recent court rulings, the manufacturing and design process, as well as a host of other very technical areas of expertise. If you’ve been injured after using a product you need to speak to a product liability attorney as soon as possible. You may not necessarily be able to recover money for your injuries, but only an experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and give you advice about your options.
What is an ‘Assumption of Risk’ and Why Does it Matter?
In some personal injury cases, the ‘assumption of risk’ defense becomes an issue. While assumptions of risk are not something that everyone who suffers a personal injury has to worry about, the issue can significantly impact your ability to recover money for the injuries you suffered. Today, we are going to take a close look at the assumption of risk, what it means, and why, if you have suffered a personal injury, you need to understand it.
When you talk about assumptions of risk and personal injury cases, you’re talking about torts. Torts are a type of lawsuit that can arise after someone suffers harm or injuries because of someone else’s negligent or intentional behavior. When someone suffers an injury in this situation, the law allows that person to sue the wrongdoer to recover damages (money) for his or her injuries. A tort lawsuit involves the injured person (the plaintiff), suing the wrongdoer, (the defendant).
A legal defense in a tort case is essentially a valid excuse. When a defendant uses a legal defense in a tort case, the defendant is effectively admitting that he or she did do something that caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury, nevertheless, the plaintiff is prevented from recovering damages. When a defendant uses a legal defense, it’s up to the defendant to prove that the conditions of the defense have been met.
In other words, though a plaintiff has to show that the defendant caused the harm that is the subject of the lawsuit, a defendant who wants to use a legal defense has to prove that the defense applies to the case.
For example, let’s say that a friend takes you hiking. During the hike, you injure your ankle. You decide to sue your friend for the medical expenses and lost income that resulted from your injured ankle.
In this case, your friend could probably use an assumption of risk defense to show that because you knew that what you were doing was potentially dangerous, you shouldn’t be able to recover damages from him.
Assumption of Risk and Tort Cases
The assumption of risk defense is one in which a defendant claims that the plaintiff would not have suffered the injury if the plaintiff hadn’t acted improperly. Essentially, a defendant who uses an assumption of risk defense is saying that the plaintiff did something that, at least in part, caused him or her to suffer the injuries in the case. Furthermore, because the plaintiff knew, or should have known, that what he or she did was dangerous or wrong, the plaintiff shouldn’t be allowed to recover money for those injuries.
Assumption of Risk and Your Personal Injury Case
Any time you are discussing legal issues, terminology, or defenses, it’s vital that you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. The average person does not have nearly enough experience or training in the law to determine how various potential legal issues might affect their case. The only way to know for certain if an assumption of risk defense, or any other issue, will play a role in your case is to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
Personal injury cases can be stressful, complicated, and scary. Especially if you have never gone through a lawsuit or had to sue anyone before. One of the most important parts of the personal injury lawsuit process is being able to show the nature and extent of the injuries you’ve suffered. To do this, you’ll need to be able to show evidence, such as medical reports from the doctors who have examined your injuries.
However, your doctors will likely not be the only people who take a look at you. The other side in the lawsuit will also want to know the nature and extent of your injuries. They probably won’t want to rely on the word of your doctor. Therefore, to gather information about your injuries, the other side will have its own doctors exam you in an independent medical examination, or IME.
IME and Lawsuits
A person who files a personal injury lawsuit is known as a plaintiff. The plaintiff has a legal obligation to show that he or she has suffered an injury and that the defendant – the person the plaintiff is filing the lawsuit against – is legally responsible for paying for those injuries.
In any personal injury lawsuit, the defendant has the right to require the plaintiff to submit to an independent medical examination. This is true whether the plaintiff claims physical or psychological injuries. It’s also true whether you’re suing an individual, an organization, multiple individuals, or multiple organizations.
The Independent Medical Examination Process
The independent medical examination process is fairly simple. However, not only can the process be intimidating, the doctors who perform them may not always make a report that’s favorable to you or your cause.
Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident at a local business. You fell down stairs that were covered in oil, suffering an injury to your hip that resulted in medical expenses and painful rehabilitation. You sue the business for the harms you’ve suffered.
The business requests that you receive an independent medical examination from a doctor of its choice. (This doctor is usually selected by the defense attorney and paid by the defendant’s insurance company.) They tell you where the doctor is located, schedule an appointment in advance, and compensate you for the time and expense you incur traveling to the doctor. Once you get there, the doctor exams you and your injuries. The process will be like any other examination but will focus on the injuries you have claimed you sustained as a result of your accident.
Talk to a Lawyer Before Submitting to an IME
If the thought of going to a doctor paid by the other party in your lawsuit gives you pause; it should. IMEs can be stressful, and the doctors who perform them can be intimidating. If you’ve been asked to submit to an independent medical examination, you should talk to your attorney about what you need to do to prepare and protect yourself.
What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice
Each of us should feel lucky that we live in a time and place in which high-quality medical care is readily available. But what happens when you seek medical treatment and something goes wrong? What if you leave the hospital worse off than you were when you came in?
Though it is a relatively uncommon occurrence, medical professionals can hurt you if they fail to perform their duties properly. In such a situation you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries. These types of cases, known as medical malpractice or medical negligence cases, involve some key issues you need to know about.
Treatment, Mistakes, Negligence, and Standards of Care
Anytime you visit a doctor or health care provider there is a range of possible outcomes. You might, for example, go to the doctor, be properly diagnosed, receive adequate treatment, and come away from the experience as your normal, healthy self. Yet you might also receive treatment and be unhappy with the result, or actually suffer an injury because the doctor did something wrong. So when can you sue for medical malpractice?
The answer depends on a number of factors, but they all boil down to whether or not the doctor breached a medical standard of care. In any given medical situation there will be a level of care or treatment that reasonable, competent medical professionals in similar situations would apply. Negligence occurs when a medical professional in any situation acts contrary to that standard of care. Because standards of care can differ depending on the area in which you live, your age, and your particular medical circumstances, there is not always a clear dividing line between what is and what isn’t medical malpractice.
Even if you can show that a healthcare provider violated a standard of care, that doesn’t mean you automatically have a good medical malpractice case. In order to prevail in any case, you will have to show that you suffered some kind of damage.
Damages can include anything from additional medical expenses to compensate for the mental or physical pain you experienced because of the negligent actions. It can also include any wages you lost because you were out of work for longer than you should have been.
To recover those damages in a medical malpractice case you have to be able to show that those damages were the result of the malpractice. This is why so many medical malpractice cases involve complicated investigations and consultations with medical experts to determine what went wrong and how it affected you.
Not only that but depending on the state in which you live there may be limits on the amount of money you can win in any medical malpractice case. So, even if you can show the negligent actions resulted in significant damages, state law may limit you to a much smaller amount.
Experienced Attorney Analysis
Being hurt as a result of a medical procedure or treatment is one of the worst things a person can experience. Even if you don’t want to cause anyone trouble by filing a lawsuit, or don’t think you have a case, you need to be able to talk to an attorney before you make any serious decision. State laws impose time limits on when you can file a medical malpractice claim, and if you delay too long you may be out of luck. If you don’t speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney after you’ve suffered an injury you could damage your ability to recover what is rightfully yours.
What is Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ comp, short for workers’ compensation, is a system of workplace insurance coverage that protects workers who suffer injuries or illnesses because of their jobs. Every state, as well as the federal government, has its own workers’ compensation system, though all of them operate in essentially the same way. If you sustain an injury while on the job or are injured or become ill because of your work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation programs operate under a “no-fault” principle. This means that workers can receive compensation for their on-the-job injuries regardless of who or what caused those injuries. It isn’t necessary, for example, for someone who suffers an on-the-job injury to prove or show that someone else caused the injury, or that it resulted from the employer’s negligence.
Workers’ compensation doesn’t apply in every situation where someone suffers an injury while on the job. Even though state rules differ significantly about who is covered under workers’ compensation programs, it doesn’t cover every worker in the state. For example, many seasonal workers, contract or freelance workers, and domestic workers are not covered under state workers’ compensation laws.
Additionally, not every employer in the state is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. For example, while most states require that every company with at least one full or part-time employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance, other states say that such coverage doesn’t apply unless the company has at least three workers, or the total sum of the salaries the company pays its employees exceeds a specific amount.
On-The-Job or Job-Related?
A lot of people talk about workers’ compensation as applying to “on-the-job” injuries. This term is a little inaccurate. Workers’ compensation coverage applies to any illness or injury that is job-related. This means that you don’t have to suffer your illness or injury at your place of employment in order for workers’ compensation to apply.
For example, let’s say you work as a software developer and spend almost all of your time in your company’s office. However, once or twice a year you have to take a business trip to attend a software development conference. If you suffer an injury while traveling, this is usually covered by workers’ compensation.
Even if you work for an employer who has workers’ compensation insurance and you suffer a job-related injury or illness, you might still be able to file a lawsuit. When an employee suffers an injury because the employer was reckless or intentionally caused the injury, the worker can typically take the employer to court. In addition to suing for medical damages and lost wages, these lawsuits also involve the possibility of punitive damages, damages for the pain and suffering the worker suffered, as well as any mental anguish associated with the injury.
Of course, determining whether workers’ compensation is right for you or whether you can file a lawsuit against your employer is not something most people can do on their own. You should talk to a personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney for advice if you’ve suffered an injury while on the job.
When You’re Hurt by a Dog
Whether you’re a pet owner, animal lover, or simply someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the reality is that anyone can be the victim of a dog bite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. If you’ve been bitten, here are some practical steps you can take to protect yourself.
After a Bite: Taking Care of the Wound
Of the almost 5 million people bitten by dogs every year, only about 80,000 people seek medical attention, and half of those are children. If you or a loved one is bitten by an animal, the first thing you need to do is treat the injury.
Seek medical attention. If the wound is serious you need to seek medical attention immediately. Deep puncture wounds, wounds that won’t stop bleeding, or wounds that cause tearing or other injuries should prompt you to call your doctor or visit an emergency room. You should also seek medical attention if you believe the animal could have been infected with rabies. Bites from wild animals, especially bats, as well as domesticated animals that you are not familiar with or do not know the immunization status of, should also prompt you to see your doctor. It’s unlikely that any animal you come across carries rabies, but because of the disease’s serious nature, you always want to see your doctor after a bite from an animal that might be a rabies carrier.
Irrigate and bandage. Most minor dog bites do not require you to see a doctor, but you can take precautions to prevent the injury from becoming infected. Wash the wound with mild soap and water. Once clean, apply an antibiotic cream to the injured area and cover it with a sterile bandage.
Infections. In the days following the bite, monitor the wound, and change the bandage when necessary. If the wound becomes more tender to the touch or you notice redness, oozing, swelling, or more pain, you should contact your doctor because it may have become infected.
After a Bite: Gathering Information
A dog bite can also lead to legal problems for the owner, especially if the dog has bitten people before. If you don’t need to seek immediate medical attention for the bite, you should try to collect information to help you in the event that you need to try to collect compensation for any damages you’ve sustained.
Talk to the dog’s owner. You need to protect yourself first by getting as much information about the dog as possible. Talk to the owner and ask for his or her contact information. You should also find out as much as you can about the vaccination status of the animal, including contact information for the animal’s veterinarian.
Talk to witnesses. If there were others in the area who saw the bite occur, talk to them and ask for their contact information. Witnesses will be able to provide testimonial evidence if you ever have to go to court.
Contact animal control. If the owner isn’t nearby or you cannot identify the dog from its tag, you need to contact your city or county animal control department. The dog could pose a danger to others and may need to be quarantined to determine whether it’s carrying any diseases.
Consider Talking to a Lawyer
You may never have to sue anyone, but you need to be ready to protect your interests. If you’ve suffered pain, permanent damage, have had to miss work, or have had to pay medical expenses as a result of the bite, you need to talk to a local lawyer. A personal injury attorney in your area can evaluate your case and tell you what your legal options are.
What is a Demand Letter?
The personal injury lawsuit process doesn’t always end in a trial or even start with the filing of a lawsuit. In many situations, personal injury cases start, and end, with a well-constructed demand letter. What is the demand letter and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look.
Demand Letters: Your Case in Brief
The demand letter is something you, usually through your attorney, send to the other side in a lawsuit. (In a personal injury case, attorneys typically send demand letters to the insurance company representing the defendant.) The letter is essentially your case presented in a succinct form. It gets into the details of your case, shows why you would win if the case went to trial, and asks for a settlement.
Demand Letters: The Facts
Demand letters typically begin with a statement of the facts. This statement is essentially a story that tells what happened during the accident. For example, in a car accident case, the statement of facts would detail who was involved, where the accident took place, as well as details from the police report or a copy of the report itself.
Demand Letters: The Injury
In personal injury cases, demand letters include extensive details about the injuries you sustained. Medical records, bills, statements from witnesses, or statements from experts can be included to show the extent of your injuries. The evidence shows the other side how much you’ve suffered, the kind of medical treatment you’ve received, as well as the impact the accident and your injuries will have on your life.
Demand Letters: Damages
The term “damages” means the financial or monetary losses you suffer as a result of the accident or the injuries you sustained. This includes any money you had to pay as a result of medical bills or treatments. For example, if you were hospitalized as a result of the accident, your damages would include all the medical bills associated with your hospitalization. Damages can also include money you spent on physical therapy, rehab, and other related expenses.
Demand Letters: Lost Wages
Being involved in an accident usually means you miss work. Not only that but also the extent of your injuries could force you to be unable to return to work in the future. All of these lost wages get included in the demand letter.
Demand Letters: The Demand
All of the pieces you include in your demand letter, all the medical details, the lost wages, and the statement of the facts, is designed to get the other side to settle the case without the necessity of having to go to trial. Your demand letter allows you to decide to show the other side the kind of evidence you have and, more importantly, the kind of evidence you can show at trial to prove your case.
So, the final piece of this presentation is the actual demand. The demand is a dollar amount, a summary of all of the harm you’ve suffered and how much the other side can pay you to settle your claim.
The demand in a well-constructed letter follows logically from the facts and the evidence presented in the previous portions of the demand letter. Experienced attorneys know this, and crafting a demand letter that produces results is as much of an art as it is a science.
When Your Medication Harms You: Pharmaceutical Drug Liability
Prescription pharmaceutical names like Vioxx, Fen-Phen, and Baycol are primarily famous not because of the good they did, but because of the harm they caused. Pharmaceutical companies release dozens of new prescription medications every year, and every year more people suffer because of drug-related problems. Someone who suffers harm as the result of taking a prescription medication can often recover money for the injuries they’ve endured. Like other product liability cases, pharmaceutical drug cases typically involve a number of common elements.
The Chain of Distribution
A prescription drug is a complicated product, one that involves the participation of numerous people and organizations. When someone is hurt as the result of taking a prescription medication, finding out who was responsible involves looking at a lot of possible suspects.
Drug Manufacturers. Prescription drugs originate with the pharmaceutical companies that create them. These companies have a responsibility to make sure the product they create is safe and properly tested before they release it for consumer use. Even if the FDA approves the pharmaceutical for use, the manufacturer can still be held liable for problems associated with the drug.
Your Doctor. It’s up to your doctor to properly prescribe a prescription drug. Physicians are responsible for ensuring that you receive a prescription for a drug that meets your medical needs.
Your Pharmacist. While your doctor will prescribe the medication, it’s up to your pharmacist to ensure that you get the actual drugs. Pharmacists have to ensure that you receive the correct medication, that you know how to take it, and that your prescription bottles are properly labeled.
Just like any other consumer product, not all drugs are dangerous, and not all injuries that arise as the result of taking a pharmaceutical will lead to a successful lawsuit. In order to recover money for the harm you suffered, you will have to show that something went wrong. Here are some common reasons why people sue for damages caused by prescription drugs.
The manufacturer made a bad product. In some situations, a drug manufacturer will create a product that is manufactured incorrectly. For example, your doctor might give you a prescription for an antibiotic if you have some kind of infection. Antibiotics are normally rather safe, but if the manufacturer didn’t use the proper quality control systems at the factory, the antibiotics you receive might be tainted. While taking antibiotics normally wouldn’t be a problem, taking a tainted product could result in harm.
You receive an inadequate warning. Many prescription drugs have known side effects, some of which can be harmful to the consumer. Nevertheless, these drugs are useful and made available to the public on the condition that consumers receive a proper advance warning. In some situations, a drug manufacturer, physician, or pharmacist can provide the consumer with bad advice. Whether the advice comes from misleading marketing materials used by the manufacturer, inadequate warning labels on pharmacy bottles, or a physician prescribing medication for reasons other than what they were intended for, consumers can be harmed because of the incorrect or misleading information they rely upon.
There are many legal issues that have to be dealt with in any drug liability case. If you think you’ve been harmed because of the medication you’ve taken, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Most people don’t know enough about medication or the law to form an educated opinion about your situation, and only an experienced attorney can give you legal advice about what you should do.
Why Should You Hire a Lawyer After an Accident?
When you sustain an injury as a result of a car accident, you may not be the only one who suffers. Injuries incur costs, both financial and otherwise. You may suffer lost wages, you might lose your job, or your earning potential may be reduced if you are left with a significant disability. As medical and other bills pile up in the aftermath of an accident, the stress and anxiety that come with it can be overwhelming and even incapacitating at times. Individuals who are injured in a car accident may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, expenses, and even pain and suffering; however, doing so can be complicated, especially for someone struggling with the physical and emotional ramifications that often occur following an accident.
Injuries can also have a negative impact on the loved ones of the injured person. Often, family members are forced to assume the role of breadwinner or caregiver, or both, which can place a tremendous burden on them and cause additional stress for the injured person. In addition, if family members are forced to leave their jobs or reduce their working hours in order to accommodate their care-taking responsibilities, the resulting financial insecurity can further contribute to stress for all involved. Role reversals such as these can make an indelible and negative mark on families in the wake of an accident-related injury, which can hamper and complicate recovery.
In the aftermath of an accident, insurance companies often prey on the vulnerability of the victims and are quick to make contact with them. They may ask for a statement from a victim, which can be damaging to their hopes of filing a successful claim in the future. Or, they may offer a quick cash settlement, which is likely far less than what would be owed in the event that the true nature of the accident – and the resulting injuries – was revealed. In reality, insurance companies are simply trying to get to accident victims before the victim obtains legal counsel. This is where a personal injury attorney can help.
Research has shown time and time again that utilizing the services of a personal injury attorney not only increases an individual’s chances of receiving compensation but also increases the amount of damages that are awarded. Insurances companies know this, which is why they go to great lengths to resolve matters fast. This is important information to know because, after an injury, it can be difficult to think beyond the present and focus on the big picture. An initial settlement from an insurance company might be tempting, but it may not be in the best interest of the injured person, their future, or their family’s future.
A personal injury attorney can do a multitude of things to help accident victims secure adequate compensation. They can interpret complicated insurance laws and manage the associated claims. If a settlement is possible and desired by both sides, attorneys can ensure that the person at fault covers the cost of all medical bills, in addition to punitive damages for pain and suffering. Furthermore, in the event that a case goes to trial, attorneys can take the reins, handling paperwork to file with the court, ensuring that deadlines are met, and preparing their client for the trial.
Oftentimes, people are hesitant to retain an attorney after an accident for fear that doing so will not be cost-effective. This is often not the case. In fact, most personal injury attorneys who specialize in representing victims of car accidents do so on a contingency basis. This means that they are not paid upfront. Rather, they receive a percentage of any compensation awarded to their client. Occasionally, such an arrangement may still deter some people from seeking counsel. They may believe that they would end up with more money in their pockets if they did not have to share it with an attorney. Keep in mind, however, that working with a personal injury attorney not only increases the odds of receiving compensation, it often leads to higher awards, which can still result in more money in the pocket even after attorney fees are paid.
After an accident, even one in which the injuries are minor, it is always advisable to consult an attorney. Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated and detailed, and attorneys can help victims defend their rights and seek compensation that is commensurate with their injuries. Individuals who remain on the fence about utilizing an attorney should keep in mind that initial consultations are almost always free; therefore, they have nothing to lose by pursuing a preliminary meeting. Doing so may make a difference not only in the amount of damages they receive but also to their future well-being and that of their family.
Why Using Small Claims Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Case
Sometimes, people who have been injured in an automobile accident or who have suffered a personal injury want to take their case to small claims court. Small claims courts have become quite popular in recent years, in part, because of the many television shows that feature small claims cases. Yet despite what you might have seen on television, small claims court may not be your best option. When it comes to personal injury cases and actual small claims courts, there are a number of issues you need to consider before you decide to take your case to your local small claims court.
Small Claims Judgment Limits
The most important thing to realize about small claims courts is that they have specific limits. Every state allows for small claims courts, and all of these courts have specific monetary limits that apply to them, though this amount differs between states. For example, if you sue someone in an Arizona small claims court for personal injury, the most you can win is $2,500. If you bring a similar case in the state of Texas, the most you can win is $20,000.
Small Claims and Personal Injury Cases
Unless the injury you suffered is very minor, your personal injury case is likely worth much more than the small claims court maximum limit. If you choose to bring your case to small claims court you can only win the maximum amount allowable by law. If you have suffered injuries and have sustained damages worth more than the maximum allowable amount, you won’t be able to recover the higher damages, even if you win.
Small Claims and Attorneys
The vast majority of state small claims courts allow plaintiffs to have an attorney with them to represent their interests. Only a small number of states, such as California, don’t allow plaintiffs in small claims court to be represented by an attorney.
However, just because you can have an attorney for your small claims court case, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find one who will represent you. Because small claims judgments are limited, the chance that an attorney will help you with your case is similarly limited. Attorneys need to be compensated for their time, and the amount of money you have to spend in a small claims case will be limited.
Further, many personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless you win your case. When that happens, the lawyer will take a percentage of your winnings as his or her fee. But, because small claims cases only have limited judgment amounts, the amount you can win will almost never be worthwhile from the attorney’s point of view.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you decide to take your personal injury case to a small claims court, it’s very important that you speak to a personal injury attorney in your area. Only an attorney who has experience with a personal injury case can give you advice about your legal options and tell you what your best course of action will be.
Despite the best actions of employers and employees, accidents on the job do happen. Whether an employee works behind a desk, drives behind a wheel, or stands behind a counter, things can go wrong and injuries can occur. Regardless of their nature, injuries and illnesses have financial, emotional, and personal costs – including lost wages, lost earning potential, and physical pain and suffering.
In the event of a job-related injury, laws are in place to protect workers’ rights. In every state but Texas, almost all employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance in order to cover medical expenses that result from work-related illnesses and injuries and to partially replace workers’ lost wages.
This mandate incurs a large cost for employers.
A report from the National Academy of Social Insurance indicated that per year 131 million U.S. workers were covered by workers’ compensation insurance at a cost of $85 billion dollars to employers. If those numbers seem extreme, consider these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Nearly three million cases of non-fatal illness and injury were documented in the private sector in just one year, equal to a rate of 3.5 cases per every 100 full-time workers.
A key measure of the severity of injuries and illnesses is the median number of days away from work, which was eight days for that year, and virtually unchanged from the three previous years.
In just one year, nearly 4,700 workers died as a result of injuries sustained while at work – which translates to one worker dying every two hours from a job-related injury.
Highway incidents remain the most common cause of fatal occupational injuries, followed by falls, workplace homicides, and being struck by objects.
The private construction industry experienced the highest number of fatal occupational injuries (774), while the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry had the highest fatal work injury rate (27.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers).
Work-related injuries have consequences not only for the employee, but their loved ones as well. Family members are often forced to assume the role of breadwinner if an injured employee is unable to work, which can place an unwanted burden on everyone involved. In some situations, family members may have to become temporary caretakers for the injured worker, especially if their recovery involves multiple visits to the doctor and extensive rehabilitation. Accordingly, if family members have to leave jobs (or reduce their working hours) in order to care for injured loved ones, additional financial insecurity and subsequent stress can result. Such role reversals can have a tremendous emotional impact on both the injured worker and their family, which can hamper the recovery process.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation (commonly referred to as workman’s comp) benefits can cover many of the medical costs associated with work-related injuries, as well as provide a portion of the injured employee’s lost wages.
However, the rules, regulations, and documentation necessary to pursue a worker’s compensation claim are state-specific and can be difficult to understand. For example, an occupational illness or injury must be reported to the employer as soon as possible in order to file a claim; however, the timeframe for doing so varies between states. If an employee fails to report their injury within the designated time frame, they may be denied benefits. Additionally, employers have the right to dispute an employee’s injury claim, but the process for doing so involves complicated legal maneuvers and procedures. Such a situation can be overwhelming for an employee – especially one who is dealing with the physical and emotional ramifications of an injury – and can leave them at a sizable disadvantage.
For these reasons, an attorney with experience handling workers’ compensation cases can be a great asset to an individual who has suffered a work-related injury or illness. They can explain the complicated workers’ compensation laws that apply to an individual’s circumstances, and they can manage the cumbersome and time-sensitive paperwork that is required in order to file a claim. In addition, most attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation will provide a free consultation, and if hired, most will work on a contingency basis.
Attorneys with experience in workers’ compensation can provide valuable peace of mind during the often-difficult recovery period that follows a work-related injury. Their efforts can benefit the injured worker and their family, and secure appropriate compensation to aid in the recovery process.