Proving Negligence in a Trip and Fall Case

Trip and fall cases represent a large proportion of personal injury cases and for good reason, as a personal injury lawyer West Palm FL trusts can attest. People trip and fall all the time resulting in injuries and damages. The question, however, of whether that trip and fall translates into a settlement depends solely on whether the case can be proven. This may be straightforward in a trip and fall case, and it may not be.

The law of torts – that is injuries to others – establishes that to have a successful trip and fall claim, the plaintiff must show that the person who had control of the premises upon which they tripped had a duty to keep the premises clear, they breached that duty, the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s fall, and the plaintiff suffered injuries as a result. These four elements are known as duty, breach, causation, and injury. All four have to be proven to show negligence.

Duty:  The duty owed here is one of care to keep the property safe and free of obvious hazards. The level of the duty ranges from none to simple to strict and depends upon the nature of the relationship between the owner of the land and the person visiting it. A landlord owes no duty of care to someone who trespasses on their land. A person who is visiting a home at the invitation of the owner can expect a simple duty of care. A contractor or garage sale customer can expect an even higher level of care.

Breach of the duty: The person who breaches the duty is the landowner, not the individual who is injured. This is because the duty of care rests mainly with the landowner since it is his property and he has control over it, hazards and all. A landowner will be found to have breached their duty of care if they fail to take reasonable measures to keep the property safe. This means, they don’t fix the hole in the porch or replace the rotting step or they fail to clean up a spill. It is also when they fail to warn about these hazards, which may or may not be obvious. The law does recognize that the person who is injured may contribute to their accident, by, for example, moving the warning sign and forging ahead onto the unstable steps. This is known as contributory negligence and can be used to offset the negligence of the landowner.

Causation: It is not enough that there was a duty owed and that duty was breached. If the breach of that duty cannot be directly linked to the injury to the plaintiff, there can be no negligence. This is commonly known as the “but for” provision, as in, but for the unrepaired stair step, the plaintiff would not have fallen through the stair.

Injury: Even having the first three elements is not enough if the plaintiff is not injured. Of course, it is always possible that there is some injury, no matter how small or insignificant. Whether that injury is of the level that would warrant recovery is another story. Getting a splinter from the untreated door is not the same as breaking a leg falling through an unmarked hole in the ground.

 


Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Luckman, P.A. for their insight into trip and fall cases.

 

Ways to Simplify Probate

Losing a loved one can be emotionally taxing. There are legal obligations associated with the deceased’s property. Determining their wishes can appear to be a daunting task without a previously arranged estate plan or will. Resolving these legal and financial affairs can be stressful and tedious. However, there are options to allow for a smooth probate process.The court can legitimize a will so the property and money can be easily distributed to the closest relatives or beneficiaries.Although, in larger cases where the estate is significant, or the will is opposed by an outsider, the probate process can be costly.

 

How Can I Prevent a Costly Probate Process?

 

The common solution to automatically avoid probate is to create a will or living trust whereby you transfer ownership of property and assets to an established beneficiary or beneficiaries. This will inhibit the need for probate altogether. After you pass away, the beneficiary is given legal authority to distribute your assets in whatever manner they deem appropriate. After this trust is established and you pass away, your assets and property no longer legally belong to you or your estate. Understand that while some assets are included within the trust, it is possible for them to be subjected to estate taxes. Generally, the deceased’s husband or wife shares joint ownership, however, it isn’t mandatory nor is it always the case. In some instances, a close friend shares joint custody of the deceased’s property. Once the individual passes, the other joint owner of the asset will be awarded sole ownership. Even though this is one avenue to determine how your assets are allocated after death, it isn’t the only option.

 

It’s common for individuals to divide their estate in a written will. This is an excellent avenue to explore when considering how your assets will be allocated. With this will, you have the opportunity to gift various beneficiaries with specific assets. However, it should be noted that when gifting costly items the government may impose gift taxes on the assets. It is required for beneficiaries to be designate prior to passing for retirement accounts and insurance policies to award the funds to the beneficiaries. Government issued identification must be presented for the beneficiary to collect, along with the deceased’s death certificate.

 

Speak With an Attorney

 

An estate planning attorney such as the estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ who specializes in the field will have the knowledge to help you understand your estate options. They should be familiar with the laws specific to your state and will provide you with the steps necessary to comply with legal requirements.


Thanks to authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate Planning.

The Possible Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic event can affect your life for a long time. You may even get diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can lead to potentially severe physical and/or mental manifestations.

In these cases, individuals may need to hire a personal injury attorney to help them obtain financial assistance for their condition. Let’s take a look at some further information about PTSD and legal steps victims have to take to receive compensation.

How Is One Diagnosed with PTSD?

Not everyone who experiences a stressful event and has backflashes are diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD experience:

  • Reexperiencing symptoms: Individuals with these symptoms may have flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Avoidance symptoms: People with avoidance symptoms avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event they experienced.
  • Triggered or reactive symptoms: With triggered and reactive symptoms, individuals may become anxious or excited easily. They may also have trouble sleeping and get angry.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: Individuals who go through cognition and mood symptoms may experience depression, have trouble concentrating and not have as much interest in daily activities.

Formal Diagnosis

In order to get diagnosed with PTSD, a person has to for at least one month display:

  • One re-experiencing symptom
  • One avoidance and trigger symptom
  • Two trigger symptoms
  • Two cognition and mood manifestations.

Can You Receive Benefits If You Have PTSD?

PTSD sufferers are commonly awarded social security disability. In order to receive these benefits, the Social Security Administration requires for the applicant to prove he or she experiences most of these symptoms:

  • He or she can’t adapt to different environments or complete everyday activities, like cooking, cleaning and dressing.
  • He or she can’t learn, understand or remember new information
  • He or she is unable to interact with other people
  • He or she can’t concentrate long enough to complete basic tasks

There are some people with PTSD who don’t face these challenges because they reside in a medically supervised and guarded facility. These individuals can still receive social security disability if they prove they’ve had PTSD for at least two years, will require ongoing medical treatment and aren’t capable of living in a less supervised environment.

Individuals who don’t meet these requirements may still be able to receive disability payments through medical-vocational allowance, which is determined on a person’s age, employment history, education and functional capacity.

If you think your PTSD was caused by another person’s negligence, you may want to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer such as the personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY locals trust.


Thanks to authors at Cannon Hadfield Stieben and Doutt for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

The Possible Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic event can affect your life for a long time. You may even get diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can lead to potentially severe physical and/or mental manifestations.

In these cases, individuals may need to hire a personal injury attorney to help them obtain financial assistance for their condition. Let’s take a look at some further information about PTSD and legal steps victims have to take to receive compensation.

How Is One Diagnosed with PTSD?

Not everyone who experiences a stressful event and has backflashes are diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD experience:

  • Reexperiencing symptoms: Individuals with these symptoms may have flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Avoidance symptoms: People with avoidance symptoms avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event they experienced.
  • Triggered or reactive symptoms: With triggered and reactive symptoms, individuals may become anxious or excited easily. They may also have trouble sleeping and get angry.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: Individuals who go through cognition and mood symptoms may experience depression, have trouble concentrating and not have as much interest in daily activities.

Formal Diagnosis

In order to get diagnosed with PTSD, a person has to for at least one month display:

  • One re-experiencing symptom
  • One avoidance and trigger symptom
  • Two trigger symptoms
  • Two cognition and mood manifestations.

Can You Receive Benefits If You Have PTSD?

PTSD sufferers are commonly awarded social security disability. In order to receive these benefits, the Social Security Administration requires for the applicant to prove he or she experiences most of these symptoms:

  • He or she can’t adapt to different environments or complete everyday activities, like cooking, cleaning and dressing.
  • He or she can’t learn, understand or remember new information
  • He or she is unable to interact with other people
  • He or she can’t concentrate long enough to complete basic tasks

There are some people with PTSD who don’t face these challenges because they reside in a medically supervised and guarded facility. These individuals can still receive social security disability if they prove they’ve had PTSD for at least two years, will require ongoing medical treatment and aren’t capable of living in a less supervised environment.

Individuals who don’t meet these requirements may still be able to receive disability payments through medical-vocational allowance, which is determined on a person’s age, employment history, education and functional capacity.

If you think your PTSD was caused by another person’s negligence, you may want to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer such as the personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY locals trust.

.


Thanks to authors at Cannon Hadfield Stieben and Doutt for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

Important Facts About Probate

After an individual dies, their will is subject for probate. This is a legal process utilized to help settle estate that a deceased person has not delegated. Assets that have not been put into a trust are the portion of the will that will be taxed. The probate process is a crucial step so that assets can be moved to beneficiaries. Probate is not often appreciated because it is so expensive and takes quite a bit of time to complete. Accessing a will or estate planning can be difficult, so contacting a lawyer, like an estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ trusts, can help give you guidance and support throughout the probate process. The details of probate can vary depending on the state that you live in and is vital to remember that probate can be circumvented.

Many assets are not required to go through probate. This is the case when inheritances, money gifts, and life insurance policies come into play. The beneficiary named on the deceased’s accounts, like retirement or joint bank accounts, are given to them upon the death of their partner. These do not have to go through probate. Any asset in which the beneficiary has been appointed already by the descendant does not need to be assigned in probate court. It is important to contact an estate planning attorney to learn more information about the probate process and assets that may be able to avoid probate altogether.

 

Assets are Required to Withstand Probate

Unfortunately, a lot of assets are required to go through probate court. Real estate properties owned by the deceased, any bank accounts that are not assigned to a beneficiary or in a joint account, any valuable personal property that belonged to the deceased, and anything not included in a will are subject to pass through probate. In the tragic event where the deceased does not leave behind a will, all of their assets have to pass through probate court. Once the probate process has been completed, which can take years, beneficiaries can be determined. It’s important to note that if there is not a will identifying beneficiaries, the court will make a determination around this by taking into account close family and friends.

Contacting an estate attorney is advised. He or she will have knowledge of estate planning and will be able to support you in getting through the probate process as easily and quickly as possible. Making sure that you have an estate plan or will in place can help save your beneficiaries from a lot of emotional and financial grief..The grief process can be very difficult, with an estate plan in place, and the help of an attorney, your loved one will be able to navigate through probate with ease.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into probate and estate planning.

 

Changing Your Will After Receiving a Personal Injury Settlement

 

Personal injury settlements are compensation granted to someone who filed a claim against another person or company for causing an injury. Sometimes the settlement amount is large, and depending on the details of the agreement, it could be paid out in a payment plan or all at once in a lump sum. Once you receive the total and use money to cover your medical bills from the injury, you may have some extra money remaining. You may want to change your will to account for this new asset, but there are a few scenarios you may want to think about before making any alterations.

 

Relationship Changes

Unfortunately, a serious personal injury could leave someone with a long term or lasting disability. A disability changes a victim’s life in many ways, usually structural adjustments must be made to their home in order to make it more accessible for them. If they are unable to return to work, this makes those renovations doubly important. Personal relationships may transform as well due to the emotional toll a disability can take on family, friends and partners/spouses. These changes may influence changes in who inherits your assets when you die, especially if new people enter your life to care for you. You may want to include them in asset distribution.

 

Legal Representation

You might want to ask yourself a series of questions before changing your will:

  1. Is there money left over from your personal injury settlement after paying medical expenses? Do you wish to give any of this money to designated heirs when you pass?
  2. Is there anyone you want to add to the will who was not named in the previous draft?
  3. Is there anyone you want to remove?
  4. Has your settlement award been set to cover medical care past the length of your life? If it has, then you may receive far more than you expect.  

Asking for the advice of a professional lawyer is important when making adjustments to your will, including if you are awarded settlement. An estate planning attorney such as the Estate Planning Attorney Phoenix AZ  locals trust will review your settlement terms and review your unique situation. Then they can guide you on how to alter your will according to your new wishes.

 

Contact an estate planning lawyer today to determine how your award will affect your will and if it would benefit you to change it to reflect your new asset.

Arizona Estate Planning AttorneysA special thanks to our authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate Planning.

A Business Name or Do You Make it a Trademark?

 

As a small business owner, you understand the importance of protecting your business name. There are several ways your business could be damaged by a competitor using your name or logos. If you’re building a brand, investing in advertising and hoping customers can find you, you’ll want to make sure you’ve properly protected your business name so no one else can use it.

First, after applying to be a corporation or an LLC, the Secretary of State’s office is going to check to make sure that your proposed corporate name isn’t already in use by a different business in your state. Every state has its own laws about just how different a name must be from other business names. For example, some states will allow “Lori’s Nails” when there’s already a “Nails by Laurie” registered. Other states will reject it and consider the second to file as deceptively similar.

Once your LLC or corporation application is approved, your name is protected in the state: No other business will be able to form an LLC or corporation with the same name in that state. However, there’s nothing to stop a business that operates as a sole proprietorship or partnership from using your name in the state. It just won’t be able to register as an LLC or corporation with that name. In addition, registering your name with the state has no impact on what happens in the other 49 states. If you incorporated your business in Illinois, another business can use your same name in Texas or Michigan. And, it can even incorporate or form an LLC in other states with with the same name. Depending on your business type and model, brand protection at the state level might be sufficient. For example, if you are opening a local restaurant, you might not mind if another business uses your name in a completely different state. There’s little chance that a customer will confuse the two.

However, if you plan on expanding nationwide, selling your products/services across the country, or are just concerned that a partnership might use your name, then you should protect your name on a federal level with a trademark.

A trademark attorney Chicago IL residents rely on can help explain the function of trademarks. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design (or a combination of any of these) that identifies the source of a product or service and distinguishes it from competitors’. Trademarks can be granted on distinctive names, logos and slogans. One example with Nike’s trademarks are not just their name, but swoosh graphic and the phrase, “Just Do it.”

Trademarks are granted at the Federal level by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The owner of a trademark has exclusive rights to the trademark and can prevent anyone else from using it. The protections given by trademarks extend to the state and Federal levels.

If you do choose to apply for a trademark, you should conduct a free basic search to make sure no one has a pending application with the USPTO for your proposed trademark (or something close to it) in a similar capacity. The next step is to contact an intellectual property attorney to undergo a comprehensive name search to check if someone is using your proposed name at the state or county level.

There are a few key reasons to do a search before you file. First, if you apply and your proposed name is already in use, your application will automatically be denied. That means you’ll lose your application fee, and the time spent preparing the application.  Some businesses determine they have adequate protection through simply registering their name with the state; others need exclusive name rights in every state. As you develop your business plan, carefully consider your particular brand protection needs. Contact our Naperville Trademark Attorneys for expert legal guidance at (630) 318-2606 today.

Konrad-Sherinian-attorney-at-law-chicago-illinoisThanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into business law.

Top 5 Major Mistakes that Drivers Can Make After a Car Accident

Experiencing a car accident can be a traumatic incident for many people.Even though you may be shaken after an accident, there are some important things that you need to do so that you can minimize the aftermath. Forgetting to take pictures or videos, not obtaining contact information from the other driver, immediately speaking with the other driver’s insurance company, failing to contact the police and not contacting a lawyer, like a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts, are a few major mistakes that you can make after a car accident.

 

Failing to Notify the Police

After assuring that everyone involved in the incident is safe and that you have moved your car out of harm’s way, you should notify the police. The police will create a documented report about what occurred in the accident and if someone gets hurt or there is any type of damage to your and your other driver’s property. This will be very helpful as you begin to sort out the paperwork and claims from the accident.
Forgetting to Take Photos

Pictures can be the most important piece of evidence for your claim. Try your best to take pictures of the vehicles before anything has been towed away or taken away from the scene. Also, taking pictures of the other driver’s license and their insurance card. All physical damage to the vehicles should be photographed, and taking a video of of you speaking with the other drivers and any witnesses is a great asset for your claim as well. They will help determine who is at fault.

 

Failure to Get Contact Information

If you fail to get the other driver’s contact information, you will not be able to file a claim with them. Eyewitness testimonies are vital to determining what happened to cause the accident. Remember to get the name and phone numbers of all eye witnesses so that you and your attorney can contact them later to testify on your behalf.

 

Speaking with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

Avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company right away. You may still be in shock or pain whilst processing what happened. Many claim adjusters are trained so that they can make you admit something that you may regret later, like who you think is at fault. They may also want to tape your conversation; you have the legal right to reject this offer. You are not required to speak with the other driver’s insurance company before speaking to your own insurance company or even an attorney first.

 

Not Speaking with a Lawyer

In the event that you get into an accident, an attorney can provide you with advice on how to move forward. If someone was injured during the accident, speaking with an attorney can help you to understand how to proceed. They may advise that you ask for compensation for rehabilitation and emotional distress. A lawyer can give you legal advice if the insurance company offers you an unfair or low settlement or if they deny your claim.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into auto accident cases.

 

 

Job Opening – Entry Level Legal Assistant

Minimum Education Requirements: Associate’s Degree or higher

Job Requirements

  • Experience not required but preferred.
  • Must be people oriented with commitment to customer service.
  • Must communicate effectively with customers and attorneys.
  • Ability to pay close attention to detail.
  • Proficient editing skills.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel.
  • Demonstrate initiative and ability to work independently.

Job summary

Wiseman Bray PLLC is medium-sized boutique law firm.  A Legal Assistant’s primary responsibility is to support Attorneys and the Litigation Coordinator in any manner that allows them to be more effective and efficient.  The position involves general office work such as scheduling, filing, editing, preparing correspondence, and basic research. The applicant must be detail oriented and able to juggle multiple tasks while independently keeping track of, and following up on, open items.  A Legal Assistant serves as a primary point of contact for clients and customers, and is responsible for answering incoming phone calls and identifying and addressing customer needs.

Wiseman Bray PLLC employees receive 12 days paid leave annually.  Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with an hour for lunch break.  Beginning salary is $30,000 per year, and employees are 401(k) eligible after completing 1 year of work.  Unfortunately, Wiseman Bray PLLC is not able to offer health insurance benefits.

Wiseman Bray does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

Please send all inquiries and resumes to info@wisemanbray.com.

Resumes that contain spelling or grammatical errors will not be considered.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim? What You Should Know

A study from Johns Hopkins Medical suggests that errors and omissions from medical malpractice are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most strenuously defended claims in the law of personal injury. They’re time consuming, and they’re expensive to bring and win. In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, you’ll need to show:

There Was a Physician and Patient Relationship

Establishing a doctor and patient relationship is more contractual than medical. You’re required to show that you wanted to hire the doctor, and the doctor agreed to be hired. The question of whether there was a physician and patient relationship might get confusing if the doctor was a consulting physician who didn’t directly treat and care for you.

Negligence

The mere fact that there was a bad result doesn’t mean that a doctor was careless and negligent in treating his or her patient. There are several important points to keep in mind:

  • We’re required to show that the physician who treated you or your family member breached the standard of care and caused harm. That standard of care is consistent with the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled physician with similar training in the same geographical area would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
  • The care and treatment need not be the best possible. It need only be reasonably careful and skillful. That level of care and any alleged deviation from it are what the facts of most medical malpractice cases turn on.
  • Each side almost always hires its own independent expert to testify on the standard of care and any breach of it. Sometimes the parties have more than one expert.

Causation

People usually don’t see doctors unless they’re sick or injured. The severity of the illness or injury that brought the patient to the doctor must be considered. The level of severity raises the issue of whether the doctor’s care and treatment actually harmed the patient. This can be a cloudy issue often left to the testifying experts. To prove medical malpractice, we’re required to show that a doctor’s negligence through an error or omission in treatment actually caused the harm. Even a gross deviation from the standard of care isn’t actionable if no serious harm was caused to the patient.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause in medical malpractice is determined by using a “but for” test. But for the error or omission of the treating physician, would the specific harm that the patient is complaining of have occurred? That specific harm must result in legal damages to the patient. Those damages might be in the form of:

  • Additional medical bills
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Lost earnings and earning capacity
  • Any permanent disfigurement
  • Any permanent disability
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death

Common Examples of Medical Malpractice

A wide variety of acts or failures to act can constitute medical malpractice. Some common types of medical malpractice are:

  • Failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis. There might have been a better result without one of these occurring.
  • Improper treatment or choosing the proper treatment but administering it improperly.
  • Failing to warn a patient of known risks.
  • Surgical errors like operating on the wrong body part or performing the wrong procedure on a patient.
  • Anesthesia errors by administering too little or too much of an anesthetic to a patient.

Medical malpractice laws vary widely from state to state. Anybody contemplating a medical malpractice case should speak with an experienced and respected attonrey such as the  Personal Injury Lawyer Milwaukee WI  locals trust before making the decision to take legal action.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim for their insight into medical malpractice claims.