Your Legal Options After a Car Accident

Auto Accident Lawyer

The aftermath of a car accident can be a very confusing time, especially if you were significantly injured as a result. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be pressuring you to make hasty decisions in regard to settlements. However, it is in your interest to take the time to evaluate all your legal options before you make a decision. If you are not sure of what your options are, read on.

1. Accept the Insurance Company’s Initial Settlement Offer

This is generally NOT the recommended course of action. The initial offer will almost always be less than your case is actually worth. The insurance company may try to take advantage of your confusion and lack of firsthand knowledge about the process to avoid paying you what you deserve. Before you even consider accepting the initial offer, there are a couple of steps you should take.

First, you should receive medical attention for your injuries. Not only is this best for your health, but you can find out from the doctor about your prognosis for recovery, your ability to return to your job, and any work restrictions that may apply in the future. This information will help you to determine what your case is really worth.

Second, you should consult an attorney. Like an insurance adjuster, an attorney has knowledge of the applicable laws and how to determine the worth of a car accident settlement. Unlike an insurance adjuster, however, an attorney will act in your interest to try to obtain a fair settlement for you.

2. File a Lawsuit

This is usually only an option before you accept a settlement, not after. The reason is that in order to receive your settlement payment, you must sign a form saying that you agree not to sue the at-fault party in regard to this matter in the future. That is why it is important to find out what your case is really worth before accepting a settlement.

However, there is an exception: If the insurance company acted in bad faith and/or tried to defraud you, you may be able to sue even after accepting the settlement. Also, if there were multiple drivers at fault for the accident, settling with one usually doesn’t apply to the others. In that instance, you would still be able to sue the drivers with whom you haven’t reached a settlement.

3. Negotiate a New Settlement

This can take place before or after you file a lawsuit. Most insurance companies would rather settle than go to court, so with the help of an attorney, you may be able to negotiate a settlement that is fairer to you. Find out how a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX may be able to help you recover what you deserve by contacting a law office today.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and you legal options after a car accident.

Receiving Alimony is Not Guaranteed

Personal Injury Lawyer

As you head toward divorce, you may be wondering how much alimony a judge might grant you from your spouse. In actuality, you may not receive an alimony award, as a divorce lawyer might tell you. There are several factors that the Judge will consider when determining whether or not one of the two spouses will receive alimony, and if so, how much and for how long. This is not to say that the Court cannot be swayed to rule one way or another when presented with certain facts and insight from a divorce lawyer who represents one of the spouses. If you are considering getting a divorce, give us a call to discuss your circumstances with a skilled divorce lawyer.

Alimony Determination Factors

During the divorce court proceedings, the presiding Judge will make a determination of alimony if either party petitions the court to receive alimony from the other party. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support, and in some instances, it’s also called palimony. When considering whether or not to award alimony to the divorcing couple, the Judge will review the circumstances of both parties. Your divorce lawyer can provide you more detail specific to your unique set of circumstances. However, below is a general overview:

Income

The Judge will consider the current and potential income of each spouse. If both spouses make about the same level of annual income, very likely neither will be eligible for alimony. As a general rule of thumb, if one spouse makes significantly less money or no money at all, they may qualify for alimony payments. This is contingent on them not being able to make ends meet without alimony, and/or that they will otherwise be unable to enjoy the quality of life they experienced while married. If one spouse makes significantly less money, but they have the education level and skill set to make more money, the Judge may consider their potential salary rather than actual salary. In that scenario, the person may not qualify for alimony.

Terms

Alimony payments will usually not continue indefinitely. Your divorce lawyer can request a start and end time for when you will receive alimony. Very often, the length of time is limited to a period of several years. If the alimony payments are contingent on you completing job training or an educational degree, the payments might end at the conclusion of the predetermined milestone rather than when you begin to make more money.

The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

When you have a respected legal representative by your side advocating on your behalf, your rights can be protected. A divorce lawyer can argue your case in front of the Judge and provide the documentation needed to increase the likelihood of the outcome you desire for alimony.

Negotiation

It is possible to avoid divorce court by negotiating an alimony agreement with your spouse with the help of a divorce lawyer. This can save you time, money, and aggravation. In the process, you can avoid interacting with your spouse by permitting your lawyer to communicate directly with them or with their lawyer.

A Divorce Lawyer You Can Count On

To learn more about how alimony lawyers in Dallas, TX can help you seek alimony, call a law office today to schedule a consultation.

Thanks to Scroggins Law Group for their insight into family law and receiving alimony.

What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice attorney can ensure that your right to fair compensation is protected. Medical malpractice is a concern, and incidents of negligence by healthcare providers occur every day in America, resulting in serious or fatal injuries to patients. Though the vast majority of medical professionals are highly capable, some are not, and even the best doctors can make a mistake that results in harm to their patients. If you or your loved one suffered an injury because the caregiver was negligent in their care or lack of care, or if there was an error in diagnosis, treatment, or management of the condition, contact a medical malpractice attorney.

What criteria must a medical malpractice claim meet for eligibility?

When medical malpractice attorneys review a case, they will make a determination as to whether or not the claim meets the legal criteria necessary for the victim to receive compensation. For a claim to have merit, all of the following must be true:

1.       The victim was a patient of the healthcare provider, whether that provider was a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical professional. Because of this professional relationship, the provider has a duty of care toward the patient.

2.       The healthcare professional did not provide care to the patient that was consistent with the manner and quality of care that a typical and reasonably capable healthcare professional would have provided under similar circumstances. In legal parlance, when the healthcare professional fails in this regard, they have violated their duty of care.

3.       Because the healthcare professional violated their duty of care to the patient, the patient sustained a serious and otherwise preventable injury. (This is not the same as a less than desired outcome of a medical condition after treatment by the healthcare professional.)

4.       The injury that resulted from the healthcare professional’s negligent treatment of the patient is significant enough that the damages are measurable. Common examples of measurable damages are permanent disability, severe and lasting pain, emotional trauma, the inability to earn the same amount of income as they earned before sustaining the injury, treatment costs related to the injury, death to the patient, etc.

What are common examples of medical malpractice?

Owing to the wide range of medical professions, medical malpractice takes many forms. This underscores the importance of hiring a seasoned medical malpractice attorney who has the experience necessary to handle such complex cases. Here is an incomplete list of common medical malpractice scenarios:

·         The failure of a healthcare professional to accurately diagnose a condition and in a timely manner.

·         The failure of a healthcare professional to accurately interpret diagnostic test or laboratory results.

·         A surgeon performs surgery on a patient that was risky and unnecessary and they did not provide that information to the patient in advance of the procedure.

·         A surgeon operates on, or removes, the wrong part of the body.

·         A surgeon mistakenly leaves foreign matter in the patient’s body, leading to serious complications and possibly death.

If you were the victim of medical malpractice, discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney in Naperville, IL at no charge—call a law firm today to schedule an appointment.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into medical malpractice and what can be considered malpractice.

Is Length of Missed Work a Workers’ Comp Qualification?

Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation is the system that is in place to protect all employees across the United States. No matter how dangerous your work may or may not be, you are covered for any injuries that are the result of doing your job. Many people worry about qualifying for workers’ comp, however. It is true that there are some requirements that must be met. Do you know how much work you have to miss due to your injury to qualify?

Missing Work

You may be surprised to learn that there are no limitations for how much work you miss to qualify for workers’ comp. Even if you go to the hospital and immediately return to work the same day, you can still file a workers’ comp claim and be compensated for your medical bills.

Of course, if you do miss several days, weeks, or months of work, you will be compensated for your lost wages in addition to any medical bills and injury-related expenses.

The Qualifications

If the length of time you miss work does not factor into the qualifications for workers’ comp, you may be left wondering what the qualifications really are. To be as beneficial to workers as possible, the qualifications are actually incredibly simple:

  • The injury must have happened while working – Whatever you were doing when you were injured, you need to have been paid to do it. This means you are not covered if the injury happened while on break, after you clock out, or before you clock in, even if the injury took place in your workplace. This also means unpaid volunteers are not covered by workers’ comp.
  • The injury must be due to work-related activities – Even if you were on the clock, the injury must be the direct result of work-related activities. Negligent or irresponsible behavior does not affect this at all. This means your workers’ comp is not invalidated for using a machine incorrectly or skipping safety precautions. It is invalidated, however, if you were goofing off and doing something completely unrelated to your job.

Those two conditions are the only things that matter when it comes to qualifying for workers’ comp. Many people are surprised to learn just how simple the matter is. Keep in mind, however, that there needs to be proof that these conditions are met. If you are ever worried about not receiving the workers’ comp you are owed, you should immediately speak with a Jupiter workers’ compensation attorney to learn what your options are.

Thanks to Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation and if you’re covered.

Suing the Hospital When a Doctor Makes a Mistake

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are injured or become ill during the course of treatment at a hospital, do you sue the doctor or the hospital? It’s a question many people ask, as they are unsure which route to take. While your medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand the details of the situation, the following are some basics to keep in mind.

Employed or Contracted?

One of the first things you should look into if you are injured by a doctor in a hospital is whether the doctor is employed or contracted by the hospital. The hospital is only liable for employees. In many hospitals, nurses and other similar staff members are actual employees, while doctors are contracted with the hospital. Because of that, you would not be able to sue the hospital if the doctor was not an actual employee.

How do you know if a doctor is an employee? You could just ask the doctor or the staff on duty. It should also be in writing somewhere, possibly in the paperwork you filled out on your first visit. Some other clues that indicate the doctor is an actual employee are if the doctor’s work and vacation hours are controlled by the hospital, and if the hospital controls fees the doctor is allowed to charge. If the doctor controls those things, he is more than likely contracted with the hospital instead.

A Couple Exceptions

As with almost anything in life, there are some exceptions when you could sue a hospital for a doctor’s negligence. If the doctor appears to be employed by the hospital, you may have a case against the hospital. This almost never happens because most admission forms are clear about the doctor not being an employee. When it does happen, it’s generally in an emergency room situation in which the hospital staff doesn’t have a chance to inform every patient that comes through the door about the doctor’s employment status.

Another exception is when the hospital knowingly allows an incompetent doctor to work at their facility. Even if the doctor is independent from the hospital, the hospital has a duty to ensure all doctors contracted with them agree to safety practices. If the doctor violates policies, hospital management should not keep him or her at the hospital. If the doctor does remain and causes harm to a patient, that patient may be able to go after the hospital.

Getting Your Lawyer’s Help

When your doctor makes a mistake, you should know what to do and where to turn. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to get the help of a medical malpractice lawyer. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Deer Park, TX today for assistance.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into medical malpractice and suing the hospital when a doctor makes a mistake.

Can You Sue a Nurse Who Gave the Wrong Medication?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Most nurses work hard and do their best to avoid mistakes. Unfortunately, the professionals that take care of patients in the hospital are only human and can and do make errors. When a nurse gives the wrong medication, it might be considered medical malpractice. There are a lot of variables that determine whether you can sue the nurse of not.

Improper administration of medication can occur when the nurse doesn’t give the right dose or doesn’t even give the medication. It could also occur when the medication is given improperly, such as injecting the medication into the muscle instead of a vein. The mistake could also be that the nurse injects the wrong patient.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice by a Nurse

Medical malpractice cases rest on four elements. First, the nurse must owe you a standard of care. Next, it has to be shown that the nurse failed to uphold that standard of care. Third, the nurse had to cause your injury by action or inaction. Finally, you have to show that your injury caused damages.

For example, if the nurse gave you the wrong medication but there wasn’t an adverse affect, you may not have a claim. The most difficult aspect of a nursing medical malpractice claim may be in demonstrating that there was a direct cause and effect by the nurse’s actions. You may have to bring in medical experts who can draw the conclusion that your injuries were the result of the nurse’s actions.

Who Do You Sue?

While you may bring a malpractice suit against the nurse directly, you may also have a claim against the hospital that employed the nurse. If the nurse acted under the direct supervision of the doctor, you may have to bring a lawsuit against the physician. The insurers of the parties involved may fight over who was liable and who is responsible (if anyone is) for your damages.

Have You Been Injured?

Not all medical mistakes are malpractice. You may have a good claim to receive recourse, but it won’t be an easy task. You will need to manage many different elements of the claim to show that the mistake was negligent.

Medical malpractice laws are highly complex and very technical. Laws vary from state to state. There are many elements involved in claiming malpractice. It’s advisable to have a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago, IL review your claim to determine the best steps to take to protect your rights and demonstrate that the case is malpractice.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC for their insight into medical malpractice and wrong medications.

How Long Before You Can Get Paid for Lost Wages by Worker’s Compensation?

Construction Accident Lawyer

Aside from medical expenses, lost wages is the biggest concern for workers who are ill or injured because of their work. Unfortunately, there are a number of confusing rules and regulations, many of which are designed to benefit the employer. States differ on what they require employers to do, but here are some general rules of thumb.

Make Sure You’ve Filed a Claim

Worker’s compensation guidelines (and common sense) tell you to get medical treatment before filing a claim. But don’t delay in filing a claim. You may have seen a company doctor and been provided treatment, but you need to ensure that you or someone on your behalf have filled out the necessary claim forms to get the claims process started. If you’re being rushed into signing any type of waiver or release during this process, don’t sign anything until you talk to a lawyer.

You May Not Be Covered for a Short Period of Disability

States have a variety of laws in this area, but in general you should be prepared for a time period of 3-7 days of work that you might not get paid for if your recovery takes less time than that. If in doubt, contact an attorney to find out what the law is in your area. Don’t take your employer’s word for it.

Processing Your Claim Will Take Some Time

Naturally, the employer and the worker’s compensation insurance company will take some time to process your claim. During this time, you may receive medical care, but lost wages will not be paid out under the policy until they investigate your claim. After the claim has been processed, they have a certain number of days to start making payments. These payments may not be under the same schedule as your regular payroll.

Don’t Expect Full Wages

Most states don’t require employers to pay the full amount of worker’s regular wages while they are out recovering from an illness or injury caused by their work. Typically the amount paid out is about 66 percent. It’s important to be aware of any different requirements the employer may have if you have become temporarily or permanently disabled, as these may up the percentages or even entitle you to an award above what your wages would have been. You should contact an attorney to ensure that the employer is treating you fairly.

Most employers want to help you get back on the job as soon as possible, but be careful that your rights are being respected. Contact a St. Lucie County workers compensation lawyer with experience in worker’s compensation claims if you have any doubts.

Thanks to the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation and how long until you get paid for lost wages.

Are Sobriety Test Mandatory?

Drunk Driving Lawyer

If you are pulled over, are you required to take a sobriety test? This is something you should know before you are pulled over. It can be a terrifying thing to have those lights appear in your rear view mirror and for the police officer to ask you to get out of your car. It is vital to know what your rights are in advance, so you can act rationally and calmly in the moment. If you have already been charged with a DUI, the first thing you should do is hire a DUI attorney.

Are Sobriety Tests Mandatory?

So, the big question is whether or not you are required to take a sobriety test. This includes the breathalyzer, as well as any other test. This includes blood tests, urine tests, and challenges that test your physical or mental abilities. You may be surprised to learn that you are almost never required to take a sobriety test. There are only three situations where an individual is required to take a sobriety test:

  • The individual is under the legal drinking age
  • The individual is on probation for a DUI
  • The individual has already been arrested.

Let’s go through these one by one. The first is quite simple. If you are younger than the legal drinking age, you must always take a sobriety test if an officer requests you to.

Second, those who have been found guilty of a DUI in the past and are now on probation for this charge must also take a requested sobriety test. This is also a simple concept.

Finally, after you have been arrested, you can be required to take a sobriety test. Remember, you cannot be arrested without probable cause, and a failed sobriety test counts as probable cause. If you do not take the test, it may not be possible for an officer to arrest you.

Should You Take a Sobriety Test?

As you probably suspect, it is never in your best interest to take a sobriety test unless you find yourself in one of the above situations. You may be thinking that a sobriety test can prove your innocence, but this is never the case. It is impossible for a passed test to prove innocence, but a failed test can prove guilt. The test results are also subject to the officer’s interpretation. These facts make it dangerous to take any sobriety test. If you are legally required to take it, however, you should not resist. A DUI attorney in DC can tell you more.

Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and mandatory sobriety tests.

Avoid These Bad Faith Tactics from Auto Insurance Companies

Car Accident Lawyer

Getting into any auto accident can really set your life back personally and financially. Many car accident victims go through insurance companies to receive compensation for their losses stemming from the accident. However, while it may seem as if the insurer wants to help you, it’s important to remember that the insurer is primarily focused on what is the most beneficial outcome for them and not you.

Sometimes, insurance companies engage in what is known as “bad faith” tactics. These are tactics they try to employ to avoid paying you the entire amount of your valid claim.

Delaying at every turn

The insurance company may delay sending payment or even making offers. The idea here is to frustrate you so you accept a lower offer later because you are paying out-of-pocket medical bills and other costs and need the money.

Failing to conduct a proper investigation

An insurer may only look into some of the accident and use those partial factors to determine how much money to offer you. In reality, they should conduct a thorough investigation to determine what a complete and reasonable settlement offer would be. Without all the facts and elements of the accident examined, the insurer will not have a complete picture of what happened and cannot set a proper value for your damages.

Offering a low-ball offer

After the car accident, an adjuster will work on your claim to determine how much the insurer will offer. Often, this first offer is a “low ball” that is far less than what you should receive to fully recover from the accident financially.

What to look out for

You need to be aware of the red flags that may indicate the insurer you are dealing with is acting in bad faith. They may press you for a written or recorded statement or try to have you sign documents that are necessary to start your claim. These documents can harm your rights. Be aware that any statement you make to an insurer could be used to damage your claim, so never give a statement unless your attorney is present.

You will need to look for signs that the insurance company is acting in bad faith. The adjuster may press for a recorded or written statement or even prompt you to sign certain documents that are not necessary to process the claim. Some of these documents involve waiving the right to sue or pursue more compensation based on all factors of the claim. If you sign a blanket medical authorization, for example, the insurer can get your medical history and try to say your injuries were from something else.

Never give a statement to the insurer without your attorney present. What you say can be used against you later to damage your claim. If you do not have an attorney yet, contact one as soon as you can. Your car accident lawyer in Denver, CO will be prepared to handle an insurer who is acting in bad faith when it comes to your claim.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injuries and dealing with insurance companies after a car accident.

Safe Alternatives to Driving While Intoxicated

Car Accident Lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee

The decision to get behind the wheel of a car and drive intoxicated is often a poor lapse in judgement. For some, doing so can become the norm. Some drivers regularly make the decision to drive intoxicated. Although there are a number of reasons for this, none of them warrant or justify the risk driving drunk can pose to not only the driver, but others on the roads. 

Each year, drunk driving claims thousands of victims. In 2016, more than 10,000 fatalities from car accidents involved drunk driving. This made up nearly 28% of all fatalities on the road that year. The consequences of a DWI, and the risk to others on the road can be easily mitigated when a driver accesses safe alternatives when intoxicated. Next time a driver considers getting behind the wheel after overindulging in alcohol, it’s always best to make alternative plans to getting behind the wheel and driving:

Call an Uber, Lyft or Taxi Service

Contacting a company to transport you to your destination may ensure that you arrive safely. Not only is it easy, with technology today people rarely have to spend time looking up phone numbers. The yellow pages are a thing of a past when it comes to hunting down a professional to drive a person home. Many companies, such as Uber or Lyft even offer a phone app that allows for the person in need of a ride to handle the transaction entirely from their phone. Some of these services may not be available depending on a person’s location. It’s important to pre-plan whenever possible and secure availability prior to the precise moment you are in need of a ride. The last thing a person wants is to find that companies like Uber or Lyft do not have drivers in your area. 

Appoint a Designated Driver

When going out with friends for a night on the town, do you appoint a designated driver? Appointing a designated driver, whom you can trust to refrain from drinking for the night can be a safe option for a group. It’s important to be sure that the person volunteering to drive is someone you know will be able to resist the temptation to consume alcohol. Make a clear plan at the beginning of the night before people become intoxicated. Knowing what to expect can help to prevent any problems or confusion over who was supposed to carry this responsibility. 

Stay the Night

If you find that you are stranded, or are unable to find a way home, don’t take getting behind the wheel intoxicated as the only option. Driving drunk should never be an option. Make plans to stay at a friend’s house or walk to a nearby hotel. The decision to drink can be more costly than putting yourself in a hotel room for the night. 

Walk 

If you are close enough, it is safe enough, and the weather is appropriate, walk home. This can be a good alternative for people who live conveniently enough to be able to do so. However, those living in colder climates should take care in ensuring they have the ability to make it home safely, as winter conditions can be unsafe for someone walking home. 

Public Transportation

Take advantage of public transportation in your area. Is there a subway or metro available for you to take? Most cities, even smaller ones have some form of bus transit. It’s important to note that you may want to look into this ahead of time to ensure that public transportation will be available to get you to where you need to go, you understand how to use it, and it runs during the hours that you need it to. 

In an instant, one bad decision can be life-changing, not only for a driver who has received a DWI, but for victims. Accident victims stand to face grave consequences at the hands of drunk drivers. Consequences that they may carry with them for a number of years. As an accident victim, the idea of being left to pick up the pieces to tragic events that were beyond their control can be disheartening. For victims facing damages, contacting a car accident lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee may be the proper recourse for securing the compensation they may be entitled to. 

Call Wiseman Bray, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and alternatives to driving drunk.