Professional Liability


Don’t Like Your Public Defender? What You Need to Know

Posted by on 10:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Like Your Public Defender? What You Need to Know

If you’ve been arrested, you’ve probably heard the line in the Miranda warning about having the right to a lawyer, and that a lawyer will be appointed for you if you can’t afford one. Those appointed lawyers are called public defenders, and it’s their job to represent anyone who can’t afford a lawyer. But what happens if you don’t like the public defender that your case is assigned to? More to the point, what happens if you believe that lawyer is not doing a good job for you? Take a look at what you need to do if you’re unhappy with a public defender. Talk to the Lawyer First Before you take any official action, arrange a meeting with your public defender to discuss your concerns. Public defenders are typically hard workers who are committed to their jobs, but they’re also often overloaded with work. In 2007, the Department of Justice found that 73% of county public defender offices had more than the maximum recommended number of cases. That means that public defenders are busy and may not take the time to talk to you the way that a private attorney would. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t doing a good job for you; it may simply mean that they haven’t effectively communicated what they’re doing for your case. So before you act, give your attorney a chance to explain what actions they’ve taken or plan to take and what the status of your case is at the moment. You may find that things are better than you think. Write to the Judge If you’re not satisfied after speaking with your public defender, you still can’t just fire them. The judge for your case appointed your public defender, and only the judge can make a replacement. In most cases, you’ll need more than personal dislike. You’ll have to show that your current public defender violated your right to adequate representation. Evidence that your attorney has violated your right to adequate representation can include things like missing appointments or filing dates or failing to notify you of hearing dates. If your attorney insists that you take a plea when you prefer not to or fails to keep you properly informed about your case, those are also violations. Ignoring evidence that’s important to your case could also be a violation of your right to adequate representation. What Happens If You’re Still Not Happy After the Change? One of the reasons that you want to be sure that you need a new attorney before you request one is that you’ll probably only get one chance at a new attorney. In at least one case, a defendant was denied a second request to change his attorney, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. So there is precedent for denying a change in attorneys. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re on your second public defender and still don’t feel that you’re being adequately represented, it may be time to look into private attorneys. You may be able to come up with some creative strategy to afford a local private attorney’s fees. Consider borrowing money, organizing a fundraiser, or seek out a private criminal justice attorney who performs pro bono cases.  Make decisions about hiring a lawyer...

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The Basics Of Estate Planning For Someone Who Doesn’t Have An Estate

Posted by on 6:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Basics Of Estate Planning For Someone Who Doesn’t Have An Estate

Estate planning isn’t just for those who have physical estates to leave behind. Anyone will benefit from planning ahead. Here’s a basic guide on planning ahead when you don’t have an “estate” in the physical sense. Think About Your Business You may not have a home to leave behind, but you may have your own business. This could be something to keep the roof over your head or a widely successful local business. Either way, you want to make sure bills are dealt with quickly and it isn’t run into the ground afterwards. Who will get your business after your death? Will the person in control of it be instructed to deal with the closing of it? Dealing With Your Final Bills Your financial commitments don’t end just because you’ve died. You’ll need to set up steps to ensure your final bills are paid. Who will be in control of this and where will the money come from? This part will also involve the closing of accounts. Make sure you have all your accounts easy to access. Make a list of all the institutions you deal with, including any dormant accounts. Phone, internet and television companies need to be added onto the list along with any third-party loans you have. Set Up Your Life Insurance Part of estate planning is setting up life insurance and choosing your beneficiary. This is especially important if you’re the main earning party and will need to ensure your family is supported in the event of your death. The beneficiary will usually be a spouse, but you can also set up multiple beneficiaries to get the payout split to those who need it. Protect Minor Children Your children aren’t technically “estates,” but they need to be included in your estate planning. Who will look after them in the event of your death? This needs to be someone whom you can trust and wants to raise your children for you. You’ll always want to think about finances involved in this, making sure the people you’ve chosen have enough money to support your minor children. Splitting Up Your Belongings Just because you don’t have a property doesn’t mean you don’t have belongings. You’ll have your furniture and personal items around the home. You may have a car, and you may have items in storage. Your estate planning needs to set up the splitting up of these belongings. Not having an “estate” doesn’t mean you don’t need estate planning. Go through the steps above to make sure everything is ready whenever death comes calling. ...

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When You Have Disability Insurance: Applying For Benefits When You Have Private Insurance

Posted by on 6:59 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When You Have Disability Insurance: Applying For Benefits When You Have Private Insurance

While each private disability insurance policy is a bit different, the reason you have disability insurance is to cover lost wages if you find yourself suddenly disabled. You will have to take a careful look at your policy to see what constitutes a disability, and see if your current condition applies to your policy. If you believe you are disabled, you will need your primary care physician to share detailed information regarding the aspects of your disability, so that your insurance provider can determine whether to approve benefits or not. The Elimination Period The elimination period is the length of time you have to be disabled before you can begin collecting benefits. Social security disability benefits come with a five month waiting period, meaning that you don’t begin to collect benefits until the sixth month after your disability began. Your private disability insurance may have a different elimination period. In general, the more expensive your policy is, the shorter the elimination period is. It is important to apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled so that you can establish the start of your elimination period. Read Over Your Medical Records for Inconsistencies Your insurance company will be able to review any medical records that they deem necessary, and it’s important that these records are an accurate representation of your health and the treatment you have been receiving. Take the time to look over your records and your initial application for benefits to make sure that there are no inconsistencies. While you may have answered to the best of your ability at the time of your application, these answers may not be reflected in your medical record.  Follow All Treatment Recommendations If you are trying to get benefits for a disability, you will need to show proof that you are struggling with a disability. This means that despite regular medical care and following all treatment recommendations, you are still struggling with aspects of your disability. The more you can get treatment providers to back up your claim, the more likely you are to get benefits approved without having to file an appeal. From the moment you are disabled, you should be working with your insurance company to obtain disability benefits. If you are not having success, it is probably time to work with an attorney who can help you navigate this often complicated system. Click this link for more information....

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Determining Liability In A Single Bike Accident

Posted by on 11:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Determining Liability In A Single Bike Accident

A single bike accident – which is a motorcycle accident that involves no other cars, motorcycles, or pedestrians directly – may at first appear to be the motorcycle rider’s fault. The fact is, there are other factors that can lead to the accident, and some of them could leave someone besides you responsible. The following information can help you determine the cause so you can determine where liability may lie. Was there construction in the area? Uneven pavement and loose gravel often accompany construction sites. Even if the road work isn’t occurring directly in the lane you were in, construction on the shoulder or on a road that merges into the road where you were at could bring dangerous debris. There is supposed to be signage warning motorcyclists to use caution when gravel and pavement issues are present. If there wasn’t, you may be able to hold the construction company liable. It’s best to get photographic evidence as soon as possible, along with witnesses if you can, since signage may be placed after the accident. This can make it difficult to prove that the signs weren’t there previously. Did you hit a pothole or road damage? Potholes, sudden washboarding, and cracks in the road surface can also be a cause of a single bike accident. If you suspect that this is the case, get photographic evidence of the road damage as soon as possible. This will have to be taken up with the municipality or government department that is responsible for that particular road. Generally, you will have to show that the municipality should have been reasonably aware that there was a safety issue. For example, a pothole that has been present for weeks means the municipality may be liable, while one that likely opened that day due to a heavy rain storm may simply be deemed an accident. Could someone else have added to your damages? This most often comes into play with additional obstructions. For example, if you lose control of your bike and crash into an illegally parked car, then the owner of the car could be at least partially responsible for your injuries. Another example is if another driver fails to signal, so you lay down the bike and get major road burn while avoiding a collision. Although only your bike is involved in the accident, someone else was the cause or added to the severity of your injuries or damages. Contact a motorcycle accident attorney in your area to learn more about what recourse you may have following your...

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What To Do When Someone Steals Your Blog Content

Posted by on 11:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do When Someone Steals Your Blog Content

An estimated 31 million people throughout the United States today consider themselves to be bloggers. For the bloggers who use their online site as a source of serious income, protecting their intellectual property rights can be essential to the success of their blog. If you discover that someone has stolen one of your blog posts, here are three things that you can do to take action. 1. Contact the owner of the site where your stolen content has been published. If you find your photographs or text from your blog posts being published on another blog, contact the site’s owner and let them know. Making the owner aware of the fact that you recognize your intellectual property has been compromised can often be enough to get them to take down the content in question. Provide a time frame in which you would like the offending information removed, and suggest that you are willing to take legal action to protect your intellectual property from improper use. 2. Report the user to social media network administrators. When your intellectual property is being used on a social media network, you should take the time to report this use to the network administrators. If a user is willing to overlook your intellectual property rights, they may have posted content that wasn’t their own in the past. Social media networks do not tolerate stolen content, and they may ban the user from interacting with others on their network in the future. 3. File a DMCA takedown notice. Lawmakers recognize the importance of helping bloggers protect their intellectual property rights, and have instituted a regulation known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide protection against stolen content. One of the provisions of the DMCA is that blog hosting platforms could be considered as a contributing party if they allow stolen content to remain on any of the blogs that they are hosting. By filing a DMCA takedown notice, you notify the hosting company that your content is being used without authorization. The hosting company will then demand that your intellectual property be removed from the offending site, and can even shut down the offending site for failure to comply. Protecting your intellectual property rights from infringement is essential when it comes to keeping your blog unique and profitable, so if you are concerned about your legal rights when your intellectual property is being used without your permission, contact Joseph E Mueth Law Office or a similar...

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3 Things That You Should Do Immediately After Being Injured At Work

Posted by on 10:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Things That You Should Do Immediately After Being Injured At Work

The last thing that you probably ever want to think about is getting injured at work. However, if you do ever get hurt while you’re on the job, it is important to handle the situation properly. These are three things that you should do immediately after getting hurt in the event that something does happen while you’re on the clock. 1. Report it to the Appropriate Person Some people keep their injuries quiet initially after getting hurt. They might be worried that they will get in trouble, or they might be embarrassed about the accident that they were involved in. These are certainly understandable feelings, but the longer that you wait to say something, the tougher it can be to do something about your injury. This means that you’ll want to report the accident to the appropriate person as soon as it happens, such as to your supervisor. 2. See a Doctor There is no reason to “act tough” and act as if you don’t need to see a doctor or go to the hospital after your accident. In fact, even if you think that the injury is something minor that you can handle yourself at home, it’s important to seek medical attention. First of all, it’s critical for your health for you to get the treatment that you need. Even if your injury might not seem serious right away, it could be more serious than you think, and failing to get the medical attention that you need could result in the injury becoming worse. Plus, if you are going to file a claim for workers compensation, you may need to establish a paper trail for your accident and show that you have sought medical treatment. 3. Document the Details From the beginning, it’s a good idea to document the details. As soon as you are able to do so safely — and after you have gotten the medical treatment that you need — you should jot down a quick synopsis of what happened, who saw it and any other details that could be helpful in the future. This can make the investigation go more easily and can prevent you from forgetting anything important. Even though you certainly don’t want to plan on getting in a work-related accident, it’s important to know what to do in case it happens. If something tragic does happen while you’re on the job, make sure that you remember these critical steps. Contact a personal injury attorney for more...

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Parking Lot Accidents: How You Can Recover Due Damages

Posted by on 6:44 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Parking Lot Accidents: How You Can Recover Due Damages

Just about everyone has done it – opened their door too quick and accidentally dinged the car next to them in the parking lot. Usually, it isn’t even noticeable. However, some parking lot accidents are much more serious and can even cause injury. What do you do when you are involved in a parking lot accident and your car has endured serious damage? Here are three options that you have for recovering damages: 1. Take Them to Small Claims Court. One option that you have is to take the individual to small claims court and sue them. Unfortunately, how can you do this if you don’t know who hit your car? This is often a common problem with parking lot accidents. Luckily, it may be possible to speak to the owner of the parking lot to get access to their security footage to get an idea of who struck your vehicle. You may have to get an attorney’s help with this, though. 2. File an Insurance Claim. Another option is to simply file an insurance claim with your insurer, especially if you have uninsured motorist coverage. In many cases, this may be the best way to get the damage repaired. However, some people don’t want to do this because the accident wasn’t their fault and they’re afraid that they’ll be responsible for a higher insurance premium. Luckily, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, this usually isn’t a concern. It depends on the state in which you live, according to the DMV. Also, it is important to keep in mind that in some cases your insurance company could decide to sue the uninsured driver to recover the damages that they’ve paid out on your claim. 3. Draft Your Own Contract with the Other Person. If you happened to be around when the other individual struck your vehicle or the other person left you a note with their contact information, then you may be able to construct your own payment agreement with them. After all, most people aren’t going to want you to sue them and some may not want to file an insurance claim (or they may not have insurance to be able to file a claim). So, you will need to have a legal agreement drafted that will ensure the other person pays you what you are owed. First, you need to have the damage evaluated by a professional to determine exactly how much needs to be paid. Then, the agreement can be drafted. This contract needs to include the amount to be paid, the time limit for the repair as well as the payment, non-payment remedies and a clause that says your right to future damages ceases once payment has been received in full. Then, both of you need to date and sign it. If you don’t want to have to go through this alone, don’t hesitate to speak to a personal injury attorney or visit websites like http://www.putnamlieb.com to determine how to proceed. A lawyer can help you get the compensation that you deserve after being involved in a parking lot...

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Avoid Accidents With Motorcyclists This Spring

Posted by on 3:03 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Avoid Accidents With Motorcyclists This Spring

Warmer spring weather often brings out motorcyclists hoping to enjoy the freedom of the open road. As a automobile driver, it’s your responsibility to share the road safely with other vehicles, including motorcycles. Because of their small size and different handling capability, motorcyclists are often overlooked in traffic by automobile drivers. This mistake can lead to accidents and injuries. Knowing how to properly share the road with motorcyclists can help you avoid tragedy this season. Allow Greater Following Distance Motorcyclists can stop more quickly than car drivers. Following a motorcyclist too closely can be dangerous because the motorcycle can come to a full stop well before your car. Give motorcyclists extra room when driving behind them, especially when the roads are slick from spring showers. If you are responsible for rear ending a motorcyclist with your vehicle this spring, you could potentially be held responsible for damages to the vehicle and medical expenses for the motorcyclist. Be Aware of Motorcycle Driving Patterns Passenger vehicles can easily driver over potholes and small pieces of debris in the road, however, motorcycles handle potholes and debris very differently. Motorcycles that drive over potholes and debris are at risk of having accidents, which can lead to terrible injury for the motorcyclist. To avoid problems in the road, motorcyclists swerve in their lanes. Many car drivers fail to expect this kind of behavior. Crowding a motorcyclist gives him or her less space to swerve. When changing lanes around motorcyclists and driving beside motorcyclists, give that vehicle as much space as you would a car, even though the motorcycle itself is smaller. Change Lanes Safely Motorcycles are smaller, often have only one headlight, and are therefore easy for many drivers to miss. This may be especially true in drizzly spring weather, when reflections on the road can make it easy to miss visual information in the rear view mirror. Check your rear view mirror twice before changing lanes, to watch for motorcycles approaching from behind. Also, turn on your turn signal before the lane change occurs. Waiting until you’ve begun a lane change to signal the maneuver doesn’t give oncoming motorcyclists enough warning of your intentions, and can lead to accidents. Know Where to Turn in an Accident Accidents can happen even when car drivers are driving safely. If you are involved in an accident with a motorcyclist this spring, you may need a skilled car accident lawyer to help you defend your rights or get the compensation you need. For help, contact a reputable lawyer, such as Carl L. Britt, Jr., in your area who has experience involving cases between motorcyclists and car drivers....

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What Not To Do With Your Auto Accident Claim

Posted by on 7:34 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Not To Do With Your Auto Accident Claim

No matter the injuries or level of property damage, auto accident claims are not open and shut cases. There are a number of factors that can have a positive or negative effect on a case, including your own actions. Make sure you know what not to do with your accident case. Not Cooperating with your Physician When it comes to an auto accident claim, the word and instruction of your physician should be perceived as gold. Failing to meet your medical appointments as suggested, not taking medication or participating in physical therapy or engaging in more activity than suggested by the doctor are all mistakes. The attorneys representing the negligent party can argue that your failure to cooperate is somehow contributing to your injuries, leading to decreased compensation. Discussing Fault Shortly after an accident, insurance companies contact all parties involved to get information about the incident. If you haven’t secured an attorney yet, you will need to participate. Remember that the conversation is being recorded. Any questionable remarks will be used against you. Even a statement like “If I was paying attention I might not have gotten hit,” is damaging because you are inadvertently stating you’re at least partially at guilt. Keep your answers based on facts, leave your opinion out of it. Giving False Information Make sure you aren’t giving any false information. This is particularly important when it comes to previous injuries or existing medical injuries. Take someone who suffers a broken arm as a result of an accident, for example. If this individual fails to mention that they broke the same arm 10 years ago, this could be perceived as deception. Deception that could cause the origins of your injuries to go under heightened scrutiny and possibly cause your claim to be denied. Waiting to Hire an Attorney You can hire an attorney at any point; however, it’s best to make this move early. Don’t wait until you discover the insurance company isn’t going to offer you the claim you believe you deserve to hire an auto accident attorney. A successful case is contingent on extensive investigating, witness reports and a host of other details. When you hire an attorney quickly, the attorney has ample time to build your case. Waiting until the last minute closes the time frame in which your case can be built. When it comes to an auto accident claim, an attorney is your lifeline. Make sure you are relying on the expertise of an attorney with your...

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Family Court: What’s A Name Got To Do With It?

Posted by on 10:14 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Family Court: What’s A Name Got To Do With It?

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can really hurt you–people who’ve gone through a divorce often know just how abusive and destructive name-calling can be. Name calling is a form of emotional abuse, which is a factor in divorce about 24% of the time for men and about 55% of the time for women. Name-calling also has the potential to drag you back into court, long after the final divorce decree is written. If you want to avoid that possibility, consider the following: Keep the commentary to yourself when making support payments. You may not mind paying child support for your children, but a lot of people resent having to pay spousal support to their exes, even for short periods of time. That’s understandable–spousal support is a drain on your financial resources, and it leaves you economically tied to your ex even after the marriage is supposed to be over. However, putting mean or snarky comments in the “memo” line of the check when you write out the spousal support payment each month is just going to keep adding ammo to the hostilities between you and your ex. It can also pull you back into court. A man in New Jersey is currently suing his ex-wife for writing things like “bum” and “loser” on the alimony checks she sent. He’s claiming that his ex-wife is intentionally inflicting emotional distress on him. If the lawsuit is successful, the ex-wife could end up writing a lot more checks down the line than she would have if she’d remained civil. Don’t go to war over what the kids call the grownups. If you and your ex have minor children, there’s a good chance that at some point a step-parent is going to get involved (if you or your ex re-marries). The question of what the new step-parent is to be called by the minor children is bound to come up and names like “Mom” or “Dad” can become the equivalent of emotional bombs. If you’re the new step-parent, you probably enjoy the idea of being called “Mom” or “Dad” by the little people you’re helping to raise. If you’re the divorced parent who just remarried, you’re probably relieved that the kids are accepting your new spouse. On the other hand, if you’re the original “Mom” or “Dad,” you may feel like the new step-parent is trying to move in on your territory and undermine you with your own kids. You may not want to share the name with someone who came along well after the children were born. However, what can you do to stop it? The best thing that you can do is try to negotiate with your ex and his or her new spouse about the situation and come up with an alternative that you can all agree on and then, as a unit, gently nudge the kids into using that name for the new step-parent. You might be able to find a variation on the traditional “Mom” or “Dad” that’s suitable.  If that isn’t something you can work out, however, don’t look to the court to put a stop to it. A recent ruling in New Jersey sets the tone for this sort of post-divorce action, ruling that the child, not the adults, gets to decide how...

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