Professional Liability

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 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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Cases Where You Can Seek An Alimony Reduction

Posted by on 12:07 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cases Where You Can Seek An Alimony Reduction

If you’re facing a divorce, chances are that you may be forced to make regular alimony (spousal support) payments to your ex-spouse, especially if you earn substantially more than them or they are able to demonstrate to a judge that their lives will be drastically and adversely altered without spousal support. For many divorcees, paying out huge amounts of alimony to their former spouse can be a daunting prospect which they would rather try to get out of.  If you are in a similar situation and had no prenuptial agreement in place to protect you from paying alimony in case of a divorce, read on to learn instances where you may be able to apply for a reduction on your current spousal support payments. Change in circumstances If you have had a change in circumstances that has affected your ability your pay alimony and support yourself financially, you may have grounds for having your alimony payments reduced. Such circumstances may include retirement, unemployment, reduction in income, or a disability that affects your productivity. You can learn more about this topic by talking with a divorce lawyer. A lawyer can help you apply to have a judge modify your alimony payments as a result of your deteriorating financial situation or increased cost of living. The application to reduce alimony payments often has to be supported by bank statements, tax returns, and other financial documents. Additionally, you may be able to file an application for the reduction of alimony if your former spouse has recently found work that exponentially increases their income or received an inheritance.   Cohabitation with another adult In instances where your ex-spouse is in a new relationship and is living with their new partner, you may have grounds to file an application to reduce alimony. This is however not a sure “get out of paying alimony” card, as the judge will often have to consider whether the ex-spouse still needs the alimony for their upkeep. For instance, the court looks at whether your former spouse may be contributing to household expenses such as rent, in which case you may still require paying them spousal support. However, if your divorce lawyer can prove in court that your ex-spouse is getting financial help from their new partner and will therefore not need as much spousal support to make ends meet, your request could be granted. The above situations can provide sufficient grounds for a downward review of your current spousal support...

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First Time Working With A Court Reporter In Real Time? Here Are Three Tips To Make The Process Run Smoothly

Posted by on 10:06 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First Time Working With A Court Reporter In Real Time? Here Are Three Tips To Make The Process Run Smoothly

If your law firm has solicited real-time court reporting for a deposition, you might not be sure what to expect. Real-time reporting can be a useful tool for attorneys who won’t be in the same room as the witness and the reporter, as the witness’ testimony will appear on their laptop or computer screen. Here are some tips you can use so that the entire process proceeds smoothly. Provide Access to Electronics in Advance In order to ensure that the deposition proceeds smoothly and real-time reporting occurs seamlessly, you need to make sure that the court reporting service has access to the electronic devices you plan to use when following the deposition. A representative from the court reporting service will install the necessary software and do tests to make sure that you will be able to follow the deposition in real-time. If another lawyer will be following the deposition in another location, be sure to tell your court reporter so that their electronics can be set up properly, too. If you don’t do this beforehand, you will have to deal with a delay during the deposition as everything is set up. This can seem unprofessional and inconvenience the witness and opposing counsel. Prevent Crosstalk One of the most difficult things to manage when using court reporters is the tendency of witnesses and attorneys to talk over each other. This can make it hard for the court reporter to record everything that is being said. If you are transmitting information real-time to a number of locations, crosstalk can be particularly aggravating. Before the deposition even begins, make sure to set some ground rules for everyone present. If you hear crosstalking, take a pause and give everyone an opportunity to repeat themselves or speak on their own so that the court reporter is best able to communicate the speech of everyone involved. Ignore Misspellings and Minor Typos If you are monitoring the real-time court reporting on your own tablet or laptop, you may see misspellings cross your screen and start to be a little concerned. However, it is important to realize that sometimes misspellings happen in a real-time situation so the reporter can quickly keep track of everything being said; a final report will be provided to you at a later date and will likely be edited and cleaned up. Ignore misspellings in the transcript you are seeing, but if you aren’t sure whether all the relevant information is being transmitted, by all means stop the court reporter and address your concerns. Now that you have some tips for depositions using real-time reporting, use the tips above to help things go well. Ask Farrell Court Reporting or other court reporting services for more suggestions so that everyone can get the information they need to...

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Should You Refuse To Treat Patients Whose Parents Refuse To Vaccinate Them To Protect Yourself From Liability?

Posted by on 11:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You Refuse To Treat Patients Whose Parents Refuse To Vaccinate Them To Protect Yourself From Liability?

If you’re a family doctor or a pediatrician, it’s bound to happen sooner or later: you’ll be faced with a parent who wants a medical exemption form filled out so that he or she doesn’t have to get a child vaccinated. What do you do? If you want to stay out of court, you should consider dropping the child from your practice. It may sound harsh, but it may also be the only way to legally protect yourself.  You could be asked to do one of two things that you don’t want to do. The anti-vaccination movement (or anti-vaxxers) represents about 9% of the U.S. population. That’s not an insignificant number. Many anti-vaxxers fervently believe, despite medical evidence to the contrary, that vaccinations lead to a variety of ills, including disorders like autism. As such, you may face an anti-vaxxer who shows up at your office demanding an exemption that will satisfy state laws in order to not vaccinate his or her child. If you refuse, you may be asked to sign a form stating that you acknowledge all of the (real or not) dangers of vaccines and give your personal guarantee of their safety. Forms like that are put out by anti-vaxxers to supposedly “educate” doctors that they believe are simply uninformed of the real dangers of vaccines. In reality, it puts you into an unfortunate position of either capitulating to the parent’s demands or signing a form that attests to all sorts of unlikely research on your part and accepting responsibility for the impossible (that nothing will ever go wrong). If you sign the form, you could face a personal injury lawsuit down the line if the parent decides that anything that’s wrong with the child is the result of the vaccines that you administered. While a lawsuit like that might not be successful in court, you’d still have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of defending yourself. Of course, you’re not going to sign the form. You already have plenty of liability issues without adding to them. However, unless your patient actually qualifies for an exemption, you can’t offer that either. You also have a responsibility toward the law and other patients. As a medical professional, you know that you’re required by law to report all suspected child abuse or neglect. Does refusing to vaccinate a child qualify? The American Academy of Pediatrics views medical neglect as a form of child abuse, and a parent’s choice to purposefully allow his or her child to remain susceptible to an easily preventable disease could be considered medical neglect. If you don’t report the anti-vaxxer to the child protective services in your state and the child falls ill, you could face potential legal problems that way as well. While you may want to continue trying to work with the parent and hopefully broaden his or her view, you also have other patients to consider. If you have a busy practice that includes infants and those who have auto-immune disorders or other health problems, you could be exposing your other patients in the waiting room to diseases carried by the unvaccinated children. That could also open the door to liability and a lawsuit since you are knowingly putting some of your patients at risk. Having to dismiss a patient from...

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Should You Wait Until After The Holidays To Ask For A Divorce?

Posted by on 9:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You Wait Until After The Holidays To Ask For A Divorce?

You’ve heard of Black Friday, but do you know about Divorce Monday? That’s the unofficial nickname for the first Monday in January each year among divorce attorneys because divorce filings typically increase by as much as a third that month. Why wait? If you already know that you intend to file, is there any good reason to hold off until January? Absolutely. Here are 3 things to consider: 1. You can minimize the emotional fallout. The reality is that the holidays are already fairly emotional for a lot of people. Adding a divorce into the mix is bound to have social repercussions. Joint friends may give you some flak if you file for divorce right before Christmas. If you have children, you may be accused of putting your own needs ahead of theirs. Like it or not, a lot of people may expect you to put on a smile and pretend to be happy for one more holiday season. If you have children, you don’t want your spouse to be able to claim that you caused them significant emotional distress by leaving right at the holidays. 2. You can get into court faster. Another reason to delay is that there simply might not be any point to filing before January. You may not be able to get into court until then anyhow. Family court can get overwhelmed with emergency hearings as parents who are already divorced (or in the process) struggle over holiday visitation schedules. The court will give scheduling preference to those people who already have a divorce in the works or who need an immediate hearing to resolve an issue over those who are just starting the process. The courts may also be short-staffed due to end-of-the-year vacation time and be operating fewer days due to the holidays. Filing in December may just mean waiting longer for a court date to actually get anything done. Aside from just being inconvenient, it could cause problems if you haven’t told your spouse that you plan on filing for divorce. You may be worried about whether or not he or she will continue to provide income and support for you or the children in between the time that you file and the time that there’s a court order in place to control those things. 3. You can take advantage of tax breaks and bonus income. Your marital status on the last day of the year affects your ability to file jointly. If you and your spouse separate before the last day of the year, you lose the advantage of filing your federal income taxes as a married couple. That can affect everything from your ability to stay in a lower tax bracket to how much you can deduct for charitable contributions. If your spouse receives a significant year-end bonus in cash or stocks, you might need to wait until after the bonus is received in order to be entitled to any of it. In some states, any money or valuables received after the divorce petition is filed belongs only to the spouse who receives it. Money and valuables received prior to that point are marital property and subject to division. Keep in mind that these are only things to consider. You may have good reasons for filing now, rather than later....

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How To Speed Up Your Divorce

Posted by on 10:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Speed Up Your Divorce

A lengthy divorce is a costly divorce. Costs aside, there are many other negative issues associated with a lengthy divorce. For example, it may distract you from your job and prevent you from traveling since you may be needed for negotiations or court appearances. Here are three measures to speed up your divorce: Apply For a Waiver of the Waiting Period Some states have waiting periods that every couple going through a divorce must go through before being granted the divorce. The waiting, or cooling-off period, is for you to sit back and consider what you are about to do so you can make sure it’s what you want. If you didn’t initiate the divorce, you could also use this period to prepare for it. Fortunately, some states allow for a waiver of this cooling-off period. If that’s the case in your jurisdiction, then you can make the application and, hopefully, hasten your divorce process. Set Up a Reasonable Timeline Sit down with your lawyer and set up a reasonable timeline for the divorce. Talk to your lawyer and understand the different options available for each stage of the divorce. The major stages involve serving your partner with the divorce petition, filing temporary orders (for example temporary custody order), responding to service of process, negotiating major issues, or going to trial. How you handle each step determines how long your divorce takes. For example, when your partner files for temporary custody of the children, consult a lawyer from a firm like Ward & Ketchersid PA and go through the options available to you. After that, make up your mind as soon as possible so that you can move to the next stage. Cooperate With Your Spouse The ideal divorce is the one where you agree on all the issues and only present the court with the settlement agreement for approval. The more issues you leave up to the court to decide, the longer your divorce will take. Don’t forget that your case isn’t the only one the family court is handling, and it has to set dates for each of them. Save yourself some time by agreeing on as many issues as you can. Only let the court handle the really difficult issues you fail to finalize via mediation or negotiation. Cooperation is the key to a fast divorce; cooperate with the court, your attorney, and your spouse. Don’t pick up fights just for the sake of antagonizing your partner. Talk to your divorce lawyer about more ways of hastening the...

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4 Ways To Strengthen Your Legal Case As A Plaintiff

Posted by on 8:16 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Strengthen Your Legal Case As A Plaintiff

If you’re involved in civil litigation, you should be prepared for the discovery stage. This is the time you will need to prove why you deserve compensation for your losses and work towards building a strong case. There are four parts in the discovery stage and knowing what each of these are will help you better prepare for each one. Written interrogatories You may be asked a series of questions about the lawsuit. This will help get the details about what happened and who should win the case. There are usually no more than 25 questions in the written interrogatories. When you’re served this document, it’s critical to the outcome of your case to answer each one thoroughly and accurately. Additionally, if possible provide dates, times and witnesses who may be able to back up your side of the story. The more information you can provide, the better it will be for your case. The deposition Meeting with your opposing parties’ attorney may be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the discovery stage. However, doing so will allow you to work towards building the strongest case possible. Listed below are things you should know about a deposition: 1. You must be sworn in under oath before answering any questions. 2. Your attorney should be in attendance with you. 3. There will be an individual present who will be transcribing the entire meeting, and you will get a copy of it. Request for Admissions Getting to the facts of the dispute is important and may allow for a shorter court case if your dispute gets this far.  The request for admissions is a document that will require you to either admit or deny a certain statement regarding your individual case. Request for Production Documents When trying to recover your financial losses that may be due to an injury, you should do so during this stage of discovery. It’s important to provide the official documentation that states your losses, such as medical bills or a letter from your employer stating you missed work because of this legal dispute. The more factual information you can provide that is proven by reports or written documents at this point, the greater possibility that you may win your case. Being prepared for the discovery stage of civil litigation can be helpful to any plaintiff.  Be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney (such as one from Spiegal And Barbato LLP) who can guide you through this legal process...

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