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.

The Role that Forensic Accident Reconstruction Plays in Personal Injury Claims

The number of car accidents has increased over the years. A recent report by the Arizona Department of Transportation report showed an increase of 7% in the number of deaths caused by vehicle accidents. Many victims of car accidents sustain serious injuries that lead to permanent damage. To protect their rights, many victims will hire a personal injury lawyer, like a lawyer Fort Collins CO can count on, to help them obtain compensation for their damages.

 

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury claims involve complex legal issues that may require the help of experts who specialize in forensic accident reconstruction. Without the critical information gleaned from such investigations, a personal injury lawyer may be compelled to rely on conflicting testimonies from eyewitnesses. Forensic accident reconstruction helps determine the cause and fault of an accident.

 

What is forensic accident reconstruction?

It allows the attorney to identify contributory negligence by one or both parties that is caused by faulty road conditions, carelessness, or aggressive actions. Accident reconstruction has become an invaluable part of personal injury claims. Forensic accident reconstruction experts come equipped with the latest software to recreate the events. They also use specialized equipment to record data from accident scenes.

 

These experts can also use 3D software technology to reconstruct accidents. The findings can be used to corroborate witness testimonies, demonstrate the impact that led to the trauma, and determine who was at fault during the crash. Forensic accident reconstruction expertise is also valuable in:

  • Motor vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians. Their analysis helps determine the force and point of impact. The trained experts help assess the crash in the form of the five types of pedestrian accidents:
    • Wrap trajectory
    • Fender
    • Roof vault
    • Forward projection
    • Somersault
  • Accidents involving the collision of cars with trucks or buses. Here the experts analyze the unique dynamics of buses and trucks during such collisions. The massive sizes of these vehicles and their high center of gravity are some of the factors that accident reconstruction experts use to determine the impact and severity of the injuries sustained.

Injuries That Require the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney

Note that only certain kinds of injuries require victims to hire personal injury lawyers:

  1. Injuries that Cause Permanent Disability. Some fatal car accidents affect an individual’s physical ability for a long time and sometimes, do so permanently. Personal injury attorneys help assess the impact of the injury in monetary terms and negotiate for adequate compensation.
  2. Serious Injuries. The severity of the victim’s injuries helps determine the amount of compensation the individual receives. A personal injury lawyer may decide on the amount based on factors like the type of injury, medical bills (current and future), and the period of recovery.

 

Other Situations that May Require Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

In addition to hiring a lawyer to negotiate a reasonable settlement on their behalf, car accident victims may need to engage a lawyer when the insurance company declines to offer a fair settlement. Sometimes, the insurance company or government agency may become defiant about compensating victims regardless of the nature of their injuries or amount of medical bills involved.

A personal injury attorney pursues the insurance company to offer their client adequate compensation. In addition, a personal injury lawyer can be helpful when:

  • There are mitigating factors that make a claim more valuable, but the victim doesn’t know how to prove them. For example, if you are a caregiver and can no longer take care of other dependents in your life.
  • When the settlement offer is low.
  • You have sustained moderate injuries, but you are likely to incur expensive future medical bills as a result of that injury.

Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt, LLC.Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon, Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt for their insight into personal injury practice.

Food Poisoning at a Catered Event: Who’s Liable?

Good food can turn a simple event like a budget meeting into something that everyone wants to be on time for, as a quality event venue Glendale CA relies on can attest. However, food poisoning is not something that a person envisions when eating those delicious ribs or baked beans. If a person does get sick at a catered event, who is liable for damages?

 

Why Did the Victim Get Sick?

In a personal injury case, an individual is only entitled to compensation if he or she can prove that negligence occurred. One element to proving negligence occurred is that a duty of care existed and was breached.

However, an injured victim is also responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect his or her health and safety. Therefore, the circumstances surrounding the food poisoning incident are important when determining liability. For instance, if a person ate meat that had been sitting in the sun all day, he or she may be partially liable for his or her own illness. This is because a reasonable person knows or should know that warm meat can make you ill.

It is also possible that the catering company would be liable for leaving meat out in the sun or otherwise allowing it to get so warm in the first place. Catering services can reduce liability by following food safety standards, such as keeping meat at below 40 degrees while in storage and at over 140 degrees when served.

Did the Victim Suffer Any Damages?

Technically, negligence does not occur if a victim doesn’t suffer any physical injuries and economic damages. In the case of a person who got food poisoning, it might not be enough that he or she experienced a stomach ache for 24 hours. The victim may need to show that the illness required a trip to the hospital, made it impossible to work (resulting in lost wages), or otherwise significantly reduced their quality of life.

Was the Victim Allowed at the Event?

The law divides people on a premises into three different categories. The first two are invitees and licensees, and these are people who were either invited to the event or were contracted to work there. The final group consists of trespassers, and they are people who enter a premises without the right to do so. Generally, there is little or no duty of care to trespassers unless they are children. If a trespasser got sick eating food that he or she had no right to take, it may be difficult or impossible to hold a caterer liable.

Were Other Parties Involved Before the Event?

If the company that provided the caterer with food gave them a tainted product, the supplier may also be liable for damages. If there was a problem with a thermometer or other tools used to measure the temperature of a food, the supplier of that tool could be held liable for damages. Those who improperly put food on a truck or otherwise had custody of it before the event may be additional defendants in a food poisoning case.

There are many questions that need to be answered when determining liability in a personal injury case related to food poisoning. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help a victim determine his or her rights and how to proceed with a claim. It may be possible to win compensation for medical bills and other costs incurred because of an illness.

Metropol Banquet Event Venue GlendaleThanks to our responsible friends at Metropol for their insight into quality catering and venue management.

Why an Experienced Attorney is Necessary for Slip and Fall Accidents:

When you encounter a slip and fall or any hazards on someone else’s premises, it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney. There are many different routes slip and fall accidents cases can go. These cases can go many ways for many different reasons so it is wise to be aware of the possibilities of your case and always deal with someone with experience.

Possibility of Litigation:

While every case is different, most slip and fall cases go to litigation (trial). If you plan to file a claim, you will need an attorney who has the will to fight in the courtroom. Slip and fall cases often see a courtroom because there are rarely any good faith negotiations that occur in these instances. It is very important to hire someone that has experience in the courtroom.

Denial of Liability

In car accidents, in most cases it is clear who is at fault. Because the evidence is not always as clear in a slip and fall accident, companies or premises owners do not want to take responsibility for the incident. So, you may need to go to court to demand the monies you think you deserve.

Case Refusal

Some attorneys fear litigation. Fighting can open the opportunity for losses, for some attorneys they would rather not sacrifice a win. Slip and fall accidents do not guarantee settlements. It is very important to hire an experienced attorney, like a personal injury attorney Atlanta GA relies on,  that will be able to battle in your defense and know how to respond.

Physical damages and medical bills incurred during slip and fall accidents is stressful enough. The best decision you can make will be in your legal representation. The likelihood of your case seeing a courtroom is far too

Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into why an experienced attorney is necessary for slip and fall accidents.

What You Need to Know About Rollover Accidents

 

Modern cars are designed to withstand many different kinds of accidents and forces, but it is still possible that a car will rollover – perhaps multiple times – under the right conditions. While the overall percentage of accidents that include a rollover is very low (2%), the death rate associated with rollovers is disproportionately high at 35 percent.

The most common causes of rollover accidents are “tripping” where the driver clips a guardrail or curb and the car flips as a result. Tripping also occurs if a driver drifts onto a sandy surface or softer soil and attempts to correct and get back on the road. Other rollovers can result from product defects, usually in tires, weather conditions including slick roads and ice, or poorly maintained roads.

The reason rollover accidents are responsible for such a high rate of deaths is because in some cases, drivers or passengers are ejected during the crash or the roof of the car collapses. While there are upgrades mandated for newer vehicles, older vehicles are not likely retrofitted and may be particularly prone to rolling over or roof collapse.

Even if the rollover accident does not result in casualties, the injuries that are incurred can be severe including head injuries, spinal injuries, and neck injuries. Medical and rehabilitation costs will be high, possibly in excess of the lifetime cap on insurance under your private insurance, if you have it. In addition to medical costs, there are the lost wages if you are unable to go back to work for some time due to your injuries.

Depending upon the reason for the rollover, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup some of these costs. This is particularly true if there was a blowout or a tire defect, the road was poorly maintained and hazardous, the car’s airbags did not deploy due to a defect, or another driver was at fault, causing the ultimate rollover.

Who you file against depends mostly on the nature of the cause of the accident. Poor road conditions are usually the fault of the state and any associated construction firms who are working on the road. Tire and airbag defects land squarely with the manufacturer of those products. And, of course, if another driver is at fault, then the suit would be filed against them and their insurer, if they have one. It is not uncommon, either, for there to be multiple causes of the ultimate damages including another driver whose actions caused you to rollover coupled with defective airbags that failed to deploy.

Of course, in the immediate aftermath of a rollover, the most critical steps are to ensure medical treatment for all who are involved. Depending upon the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to take much ownership in this role and must rely instead on others. Getting medical treatment will also help to document your injuries in real time which can be particularly helpful later on. Finally, take everything to a qualified personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL trusts  to evaluate your case.

Eric H. Luckman LawThanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into rollover accidents.

The Best Time to Begin Estate Planning

A necessary and important life step, estate planning is the process of preparing the transfer and allocation of your assets and wealth in the unfortunate case of death or incapacitation. If you have wealth in the form of assets, bank accounts, pensions, life insurance, real estate, cars or other personal belongings, then now is the time to begin preparing for the future. Whether old or young, sick or well, rich or poor, it is important to ensure that when the time comes, your belongings and those dear to you are taken care of. It is advised, however, that estate planning be done while still relatively young and in good health, because whether we accept it or not, the future is very uncertain.

Although the time is always right to begin estate planning, there are significant life points at which these preparations may be especially vital. You should probably begin planning if:

  1. You’re Young, Single and in Good Health

Ideally, this is the best time to start estate planning. Though death is probably unfathomable at this stage in your life, it’s important to prepare for the unknown.

  • Creating a will at a younger age is beneficial in the case that something does happen, so that you are able to ensure your chosen family and friends receive whatever assets you may have. Plus, you can change your will at any time throughout your life. At the very least, you’ll be staying ahead of the game.
  • If living wills and trusts are of interest to you, this is also a good time to talk to an attorney and begin the process. Making important health decisions now, while in good health, can allow you to specify your wishes in the case of becoming incapacitated.
  1. You Have Children

Once you have had children it is especially important to begin estate planning, because it is the surest way to guarantee they will be taken care of if something were to happen to you. It is important to:

  • Leave a will or living trust to ensure they receive your assets as requested
  • Consider naming them as beneficiaries of your life insurance and other important accounts
  • Hire an attorney who can possibly prevent your assets from getting stuck in the probate process
  • Specify which children should receive what, in order to prevent possible disputes
  1. You’re Middle aged and Well Established

If at this point you own assets of significant value, you may want to have a plan for where they will go if something happens to you. Leaving behind a substantial amount of wealth without a will may create legal issues, lots of stress and possibly disagreements, among those in your life. You should:

  • Name who should receive what, and whether you want any of your assets to be liquified
  • Plan with a lawyer whether you want to leave your assets to your spouse, then children, or directly to your children.
  1. You Are of an Older Age or Have Serious Health Issues

If the possibility of death or incapacitation is more imminent, and you have not yet written out a will, you should contact an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Planning your estate will relieve both you and your loved ones of the burden and stress.

When starting or continuing preparations, you should contact an estate planning attorney in your area such as the Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney locals have been trusting for years. They can answer questions and concerns as well as help you set up a plan specific to your needs and circumstances.

Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys A special thanks to our authors at Arizona Estate Planning for their expertise in Probate and Estate Law.