Professional Liability


Legal Bloopers Employers Often Make While Hiring

Posted by on 6:00 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legal Bloopers Employers Often Make While Hiring

Mistakes made during the hiring process can be very costly and cumbersome for employers. Employers need to make sure that they prevent possible lawsuits and other legal repercussions by carefully contemplating their hiring practices and instituting policies that keep them protected.  The following are five mistakes employers should avoid if they want to keep their new hires happy and secure in their employment: Neglecting I-9’s until its too late It’s easy to overlook I-9’s for employers who are in a hurry to fill open positions. Yet employers need to be aware of the fact that a new employee might be delaying on submitting identification papers because he or she isn’t legally authorized to work in the country.  Filling out I-9 forms and verifying new hires’ legal right to work should be done before every employee’s first day of work.  Violating Fair Credit Reporting Act provisions The Fair Credit Reporting Act details employees’ rights when it comes to background checks. Employees need to receive documentation explaining that you’re looking into their backgrounds, so be sure to familiarize yourself with FCRA provisions to avoid violations.  Asking inappropriate legal questions You should discuss your hiring process with your company’s lawyer and ask your lawyer for input regarding all communication that takes place between you and your potential employees. If you ask the wrong questions during hiring, you could be hit by a lawsuit by employees who feel that their rights have been violated. Sensitive interview subjects include religious affiliations, disability status, and the potential need for an upcoming maternity leave. Being cautious with restrictive covenants Employers sometimes use restrictive covenants to prevent employees from using the skills and knowledge they learn while working to compete with the company after their employment ends.  While restrictive covenants can help protect an employer’s investment of time and money in the new hire, courts do not often look kindly on this type of legal agreement because it restricts competition in the marketplace. Consultation with an employment lawyer is therefore especially important for employers who impose restrictive covenant agreements.  Not clearly establishing hiring policy Employees should discuss hiring policies with their lawyers to make sure that they are not likely to violate any employment and labor laws. A failure to construct carefully designed hiring policies can leave employers susceptible to both lawsuits and failures to meet their responsibilities regarding factors such as health benefits, worker’s compensation, overtime pay, and more. Even before the first job announcement is posted, employers should develop an employee handbook that details their hiring policies. They should furnish each new hire with a copy of this employee handbook to both inform employees and provide a legal shield against accusations of unfair hiring practices.  Contact a legal office like Alterman & Associates LLC for more...

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Water Skiing And Drunk Boat Driving: How Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death Can Be Made Right

Posted by on 4:13 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Water Skiing And Drunk Boat Driving: How Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death Can Be Made Right

Drunk driving that leads to death is a very serious thing, especially if the person driving drunk survives the crash. Now there are also drunk boaters, who drive motor boats and speed boats drunk because there really is not much to keep people from getting in a boat, drinking and then driving the boat. If your loved one was water skiing with friends over a holiday weekend and was killed because someone was driving the boat while drunk, you have a wrongful death case. It can be defended in the following ways. Drunk Boating Laws Many states have only recently enacted drunk boating laws. California, Michigan and Wisconsin all forbid drunk boating. (Your wrongful death attorney will have to investigate your own state’s laws in regards to drunk boating.) If you are in a state that forbids the consumption of alcohol and driving a boat, then the driver of the boat that caused your loved one’s death is not only at fault and at risk of fines, but could incur penalties via your lawsuit and possibly a sentence for vehicular manslaughter as well. (In some states the law does not differentiate between a boat or a car when someone is killed by a drunk driver.) Police Records Proving Drunkenness There should have been a police call out for help if your loved one was badly injured or drowned. Any police involvement means there should also be a police report, a coroner’s report, an investigator’s report and/or records that show the blood alcohol level of every person involved. You will need these records to prove that not only did the boat’s driver violate drunk driving laws, but he or she also knowingly drove drunk and did not discourage your loved one from water activities outside the boat. Some of these records you may not be able to access on your own, but your attorney can and will. Defending the Deceased’s Decision to Drink and Play The defense will probably argue that your family member knowingly partook of an activity wherein he or she knew that the boat’s driver was intoxicated. Your lawyer will then have to defend the deceased’s position, arguing that responsibility lies with the boat’s owner, who clearly could have refused to allow alcohol on the boat in the first place. Armed with the DUI laws in your state and the police and medical records, your wrongful death attorney will create the best case possible. For more help, contact a law office like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith,...

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Why A First-Time DWI Offender Should Hire A Lawyer

Posted by on 1:27 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why A First-Time DWI Offender Should Hire A Lawyer

Are you facing charges after a law enforcement officer caught you driving while intoxicated (DWI)? If this is your first time getting in trouble with the law, you may be able to get a light penalty with the help of a lawyer. Find out below how a lawyer can get you the minimum penalty as a first-time DWI offender, as well as an estimate of what you will have pay for legal assistance. What Can a Lawyer Do for a First Time DWI Offender? If you are facing jail time for DWI as a first-time offender, a lawyer can help you get out of it. The first thing that he or she will do is obtain your criminal records to prove to the court that you are not a habitual criminal. Rather than you spending time behind bars, your lawyer can request that you are monitored while driving. For instance, an ignition lock device can be installed in your vehicle that makes it mandatory for you to test your blood alcohol level at random. You can’t even start the vehicle without passing the blood alcohol test! Sometimes DWI offenders are required to get the ignition lock device, but a lawyer can also argue that you don’t need it. You may be able to continue driving your vehicle as it is if the lawyer proves that you have a good driving record overall. He or she will also gather evidence that proves you are not an alcoholic. The evidence may be in the form of character witnesses that can speak on your behalf, such as friends and your employer. You may be able to walk away with only a sentence to serve time in an alcohol treatment facility. However, community service is the only sentence likely as a first-time offender if it is proven that you are not a regular drinker. Community service or monitored driving devices are the ideal. If you don’t have a good lawyer to defend you, you could be subject to a few months to a year in jail; and, you could be fined for as much as $2,000! What is the Estimated Price Charged by a DWI Lawyer? A guilty first-time offender can expect to pay an estimate of $500 or more for the assistance of a DWI lawyer. However, you can also be charged by the hour at the rate of $100 or more. The complexity of your case will play a role in the overall price. Get in touch with a DWI lawyer, like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP, for more information about DWI...

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3 Types Of Documents You’ll Need For Estate Planning

Posted by on 4:00 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Types Of Documents You’ll Need For Estate Planning

While no one enjoys pondering how life will be after they are gone, it is important to ponder how your estate will be dispersed after you’re gone. Estate planning is a very important matter, especially if you’ve got multiple assets that you desire to pass on to your children, grandchildren, or other relatives. In this case, when you prepare your estate for after your death, you are essentially building and adding to your last will and testament. Consult with a probate attorney to help you get started organizing your documents for planning your estate. Upon organizing your legal will, you will essentially want to include three types of documents that will prove highly important for how the finances that you leave behind are settled. Legal Documents Legal documents include your legal will and letter of instruction, your power of attorney, and any company or facility that you want as your health care proxy. You may also include any trusts if you have them set up, as well as what to do in cases where a “do not resuscitate” order should be considered. Organizing these legal documents can be a painstaking task, but having them all in order will be required when meeting with your probate attorney. Your Accounts When forming the plan of your estate, consider taking a list of any bank accounts you may hold. Information regarding your bank account can also include any 401K’s, IRA accounts, pension plans, and savings bonds you may have. You will also need to keep a list of all user names and passwords for any email accounts tied to these accounts. Often, probate lawyers will also want information regarding any life insurance policies you may have, as well as any long-term care insurance policies. If you keep a safe-deposit box with any of these documents, this information needs to be included in the probate process. The more methodical you are when forming your estate plan, the better. Other Documents If you feel that a specific document should be included in your estate planning, then go ahead and include it. Some documents like any housing, land, or cemetery deeds and vehicle titles should be included when estate planning, as well as any marriage, divorce, and even military records. You should also include at least the last three years’ worth of your tax information (returns, audits, bankruptcies), as well as any mortgage accounts, loan information, and any partnership or corporate operating agreements. For more information, contact David R Webb Attorney or a similar legal...

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Finalizing The Divorce: Can You Still Get Custody If You Are Not The Registered Owner?

Posted by on 11:29 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Finalizing The Divorce: Can You Still Get Custody If You Are Not The Registered Owner?

More and more American households own at least one pet. Dogs, especially, are quite popular, with a population of 78 million living in American households in 2012. Most people consider their dogs as family members, and it’s difficult for couples to come to an agreement during a divorce regarding who gets the dog.  Depending on whom the dog is licensed to, circumstances change. Speak to a divorce attorney if you have any questions. When the Dog Is Registered to One Person Only Dogs are technically considered as property in the eyes of the law. As a result, if the family dog is only registered under one person, then the courts generally favor awarding custody to the registered owner. This is because the registered owner is lawfully seen as the person responsible for the animal. Making a Case with Your Local Divorce Attorney If you’ve bonded with the dog over the years, all hope is not lost even if you are not the registered owner. If you have made equal or more contributions to the care of the dog, you may still have a fighting chance in court. This is because many courts are now recognizing the fact that one’s relationship with a dog is much different than one’s relationship with a material object. Many courts now take into account the dog’s best interest when awarding custody. If you are not the registered owner, you will need a divorce attorney to build a strong case regarding the contributions you’ve made to the dog’s quality of living. You will be responsible for providing proof of your activity in the dog’s life. Most courts will take into consideration whether or not you have: Paid for vet expenses. This includes regular vaccinations and the cost of emergency visits. Spent a considerable amount of time with the dog during the marriage. Keep a detailed record regarding when you normally take the dog out for a walk or to a dog park. Decided to stay in the marital home. Much like human beings, dogs can get stressed out easily. It’s best to keep their environment and daily routines the same. After taking all factors into account, the court may award you split custody or visitation rights to the dog. Finalizing a divorce becomes a lot more complicated when there are pets and children involved. Many judges and courts understand the emotional bond that grows between people and dogs and will award custody to both you and your spouse as they see fit. Still, you should speak with a divorce attorney from a law firm like Madison Law Firm PLLC to determine how you can strengthen your case, whether that’s to gain custody of a beloved pet or another...

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How Gifting Of Assets Is Beneficial In Estate Planning

Posted by on 11:36 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Gifting Of Assets Is Beneficial In Estate Planning

If you are retired and have a lot of assets, now is the time for you to start preparing your estate. With the right plan, you may be able to help your kids avoid having to pay a lot of money for inheritance taxes, and one of the ways to do this is by gifting your assets to them. What is gifting of assets? Gifting of assets refers to the process that occurs when one person gives another person a large asset. This could be a gift of money, land, or anything else of value. As long as guidelines are met, there are no taxes involved with gifting of assets. You can use this tactic to reduce the assets you have so that they do not have to be transferred after you pass away. Is there a limit of how much you can gift? According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the limit on the amount you can gift in 2015 is $14,000. This amount tends to change every few couple years, but it did not change from 2014 to 2015. What this means is that you can give $14,000 in assets to someone each year without paying taxes. You will not pay taxes, nor will the recipient. You should also realize that you are legally allowed to give up to $14,000 to as many people as you would like each year, without incurring any tax consequences. In other words, if you have five children, you could legally give each of them this amount each year without having any tax issues from it. Is this option better than using an estate? If you decide to set up an estate that will be divided between your kids when you die, there are ways to reduce the taxes they will pay. The problem is that it often takes time to settle an estate. Because of this, your kids may have to wait months to receive their inheritances, and it could take even longer if anyone objects to the estate. By gifting your assets away little by little, you can make sure that each of your children receives the inheritance they are supposed to receive, and you will get to watch them enjoy these gifts. It’s also important to realize that gifting of assets is a common step in estate planning. If you would like to learn more about estates and gifting of assets, contact an attorney today that specializes in estate planning, like the ones at Price &...

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What’s The Difference Between A Pardon And A Commuted Sentence?

Posted by on 8:18 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s The Difference Between A Pardon And A Commuted Sentence?

Although appealing a criminal case is the most common way people convicted of crimes attempt to have those court decisions overturned, there are other avenues a person can pursue that may also offer a chance a freedom. Specifically, you can apply for a pardon or a commuted sentence. Though these two legal concepts achieve the same goal, they are not the same thing. Here’s the difference and what you need to do to pursue either option. Pardon vs. Commuted Sentence Pardons and commuted sentences are both conferred by government officials. A pardon, however, completely forgives an individual for the crime he or she committed and that person is immediately relieved of the consequences associated with that crime (e.g. released from jail). The pardon can be unconditional or conditional. An unconditional pardon wipes the slate completely clean, and the person’s civil rights (e.g., ability to vote) are immediately fully restored to the individual. A conditional pardon only becomes effective only after the person fulfils the imposed condition. Depending on the circumstances, the crime may or may not be purged from the person’s criminal record. Though innocence of the crime isn’t required to receive a pardon, sometimes government officials will issue pardons in cases where there’s evidence the defendants didn’t commit the offenses. Rather than spend time and money going through the appeals process, the government official will take a shortcut and pardon the person. When a person receives a commuted sentence, on the other hand, the punishment conferred by the court is simply reduced. Typically this translates to a decreased sentence; though it can also include a reduction in fees and other penalties. The individual is still considered guilty of the crime and the mark will remain on his or her criminal record. Commutations are typically given in cases when it’s fairly clear the punishment doesn’t fit the crime or can be considered excessive. In 2011, President Barack Obama commuted the 22-year sentence of a woman who was found guilty of selling crack cocaine. Part of the reasoning for the commutation was the disparity in sentencing based solely on the form of drug that was sold. If the woman had been found guilty of selling powdered cocaine, her sentence would have been significantly less. Pursuing a Pardon or Commutation The first step to applying for a pardon or commutation is to petition the correct government official. Requests for pardons and commutation of federal crimes are overseen by the President of the United States and handled by the Office of the Pardon Attorney division of the Department of Justice. Requests related to crimes that occur at the state level are handled either by the governor or the parole board depending on the state. All applications are typically reviewed by a barrage of officials before they even reach their final destination. When determining whether or not a pardon or commutation is warranted, these officials look at a variety of factors, including: The seriousness of the crime The person’s behavior while incarcerated The public nature of the case (the more high profile the case, the more likely it will get seen by the elected official) Whether the person has shown true remorse or been rehabilitated How the sentencing compares to the crime Any new evidence that’s come to light Past crimes committed You’ll want...

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Two Of The Most Common Myths About Workers Compensation That Small Business Owners Need To Know

Posted by on 4:59 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you’re a small business owner, you know that it can be tough to manage all the legalities that go into running your business. When it comes to insurance for your employees, things can be even tougher to figure out. Most business owners are basically familiar with what workers compensation is, but they don’t understand it fully. In fact, many small business owners choose to do without workers compensation insurance entirely. Because of that, there are a lot of myths that surround this area. Here’s a look at some of the most common myths about workers compensation, and why you as a business owner need it. Myth #1: You only have a few employees, so you don’t need workers compensation The average workers compensation claim costs about $65,000. Workers compensation insurance costs about 1% of an employee’s salary, or around $6 a week. Those numbers alone should be enough to show that your company needs workers compensation insurance. An uninsured claim can be devastating to a small business. Some employers choose not to have this insurance and claim they’ll simply pay out of pocket if anything were to happen. But as these numbers show, one injury claim can make up for 100 workers compensation insurance payments. Myth #2: Your company is a very safe environment where accidents can’t happen When most people think of workplace injuries, industrial accidents involving forklifts or heavy equipment come to mind. So why, for example, would a small family-run store want to protect against workplace injuries? Especially if the owner takes steps to make sure the working environment is safe, it may seem like you’re protecting against something that won’t happen. But an injury can happen anywhere in the workplace. The vast majority of workplace accidents come from inconspicuous places. And no matter how safe you are, an accident can happen that’s beyond your control. A product an employee is using could be defective, or there could be an accident you had no way of planning for. Even more, an employee could trip and fall anywhere. There are hazards in every single workplace. Absolutely no business is exempt from someone being injured on the job. Of course, even if you avoid these myths and have your company covered, this is still a very complex area. It’s often best to trust a professional workers compensation lawyer to help make sure you have everything as it should be. A workers compensation lawyer likely has years of experience in this area and knows exactly what you need to be...

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Pushing For Support From Veterans Affairs Claims

Posted by on 7:06 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs’ compensation system can be difficult, and it may be even harder when dealing with head pain. Whether you’re the victim of traumatic injury or suffering an unknown pain source, you need to get some sort of compensation or assistance before the problem gets worse. As you plan your claim, take the time to understand a few Veterans Affairs (VA) claim system characteristics to make your claim as successful as possible. What Is Veterans Affairs Compensation? In order to support veterans who were injured while serving their country, Veterans Affairs (VA) provides Compensation and Pension (C&P) for veterans with service-connected disabilities.  A service-connected disability is an injury, condition or any ailment that was caused or related to military service. This distinction is important because veterans who were injured outside of military service are not eligible for that specific compensation program. For example, a broken leg or other problem that happened after leaving the military won’t be covered by VA C&P. With such unrelated injuries, there may be other programs more suited for assisting with unrelated injuries, even within the VA. Compensation is granted in percentages and dependent upon your injuries. It’s difficult to guess how much money you’ll be entitled to without knowing the exact injury category and percentage. Categories are as numerous as the people who can apply for benefits, so you’ll need to file a claim with a professional, such as a personal injury attorney, to push for the most comprehensive compensation. It Hurts, So Why Aren’t They Helping? Even if you know that you’re in pain and that it was caused by military service, VA representatives and officials can only base their decision on what is present in paper. The VA needs to filter out false claims and claims that were not involved with military service. It’s up to you to build a claim that represents the validity of your injuries. You’ll need to have medical documentation that details your injuries as well as a timeline that places your injuries during military service. Anything from military medical records to service records with your location can help. If the event was big enough, news reports or commentary from the military commands near the area of your injury can be used in support. The process isn’t always easy, and if you don’t have any documentation you may need a legal professional, such as Barton Smith & Barton LLP, to help you with finding the right places to look. Contact a personal injury attorney to begin the...

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How To Sue Your Doctor For Misdiagnosis

Posted by on 4:52 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Medical misdiagnosis accounts for 15% of patient suffering according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. A wrongful diagnosis can cause needless suffering and death of a patient. However, a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is not always a case of medical malpractice. Here are some tips on how to prove wrongful diagnosis: Determine If the Doctor Made a Diagnostic Mistake In order to file a claim, you must determine if the doctor was negligent and made a diagnostic mistake. Even skilled doctors can make mistakes diagnosing and treating certain conditions. Doctors use a method called “differential diagnosing” when treating or diagnosis conditions and diseases. They analyze the patient and list possible results. They ask the patient questions and ordering tests to rule out each possibility. You have to prove the following elements to have a case:  The doctor did not follow the standard of care required for your condition.  It caused you injury or made the condition worse which would have been avoided with proper diagnosis. You had a relationship with the doctor. The doctor had the correct result, but failed to administer proper testing or didn’t recommend a specialist.  The doctor failed to include the right result on the list that a competent doctor should not have missed. Errors can occur with equipment, contaminated samples, misread lab results, or from a mix up of samples. This would mean someone other than the doctor is responsible like a nurse or lab technician. You can’t sue a hospital unless the attending medical professionals are employees. Get Medical Treatment From Another Doctor Seeking medical treatment from another doctor is essential to prove your case. The doctor should be able to treat your specific condition. Forward your medical records and inform them of the mistake. Explain how you felt before and after treatment from your previous doctor. Be as detailed as possible. Know the Statute of Limitations for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims Each state has restrictions on when to file medical malpractice claims. In most states, you have two years from the date the misdiagnosis occurred. In Minnesota, you have four years. You have one year to file a claim in California, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio. The statute of limitations may be waived if you did not know or you were not expected to know of the harm. Doctors vow to first do no harm.You have the right to quality care. If your doctor has been negligent, you can pursue  a medical malpractice case. Medical misdiagnosis cases should be handled by an attorney. To learn more, contact a company like Davidson Law Center...

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