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Law Blog by Wiseman Bray - Memphis Probate & Injury Attorneys

Workers Who May Not Be Eligible for Compensation

Most employees are eligible to claim workers’ compensation from their employers when they become ill or injured due to their jobs. However, not all workers are employees, and there are even some employees who do not qualify for compensation.

The question of whether you qualify for workers’ compensation is not necessarily straightforward because the requirements vary by state. If you fall into one of the following categories, there may be a question about your eligibility for workers’ compensation at the very least.

Undocumented Workers

Some people come to the United States from another country without going through official immigration channels. They get jobs without providing evidence of eligibility to work in the United States. These people are undocumented workers, and different states have different rules governing whether they are eligible for compensation when they get hurt on the job. Some states specifically require that workers’ compensation cover immigrant workers who are undocumented. These include states along the Mexican border, such as Texas, California, and Arizona. Other states, including Wyoming and Idaho, do not require that workers’ compensation cover undocumented workers.

Non-Employees

Not everyone who works for a company is an employee. Some employers outsource certain types of jobs to independent contractors. These are people who provide services to other companies on a contract basis. In the eyes of the law, independent contractors are self-employed, which means that they cannot claim workers’ compensation.

Difficulties can arise when there is uncertainty over whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. A worker may believe he or she is an employee only to find out that the employer has inappropriately categorized him or her as an independent contractor. Sometimes this is a genuine mistake, but there have been instances in which employers purposely misclassified employees as independent contractors specifically to avoid paying benefits like workers’ compensation. If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you may need to provide evidence to prove your status as an employee.

Other Workers

People who work on a temporary or seasonal basis are often not eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Agricultural workers are sometimes not included, even if they work full time. Workers’ compensation may not cover people like babysitters, housekeepers, and nannies who work domestic jobs.

Contact our office if you believe you have been denied workers’ compensation unfairly or if you have questions about your eligibility.  Contact an on the job injury attorneys at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. for more information on how to get started.

How to deal with a car accident during COVID-19

According to experts, traffic in the United States has been down 38 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that car accidents have also been reduced thanks to fewer cars on the road (Researchers at AutoInsuranceEZ.com report that fatal crashes in the Seattle area are down 100 percent).

Despite quarantines and sheltering in place, there are essential workers headed to job sites, so there are still cars on the road, making anxiety-inducing crashes a real possibility. While you may think that COVID-19 has brought enough anxiety into your world, knowing what to do after a crash before one occurs is an important way to ease stress in the event that one should occur.

If you should find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as best as you can is the first step.

Following social distancing or donning a mask before exiting your vehicle are both important elements during the pandemic, even though they can be tricky to remember in the midst of a traumatic event.

Staying calm can help you process the accident and prevent the potential spread of coronavirus in the aftermath of an accident.

Here’s what to do:

  • Contact 911 to ensure the safety of everyone involved. There will also be police on hand to communicate safely with the other driver if you don’t feel comfortable doing so yourself or the other driver fails to take social distancing or other safety measures seriously.
  •   Practice social distancing (that’s six feet away from the other driver) and wear a mask to collect information, including the driver’s name, insurance information, plate number, license number and contact information. For safety, collect information to input into your cell phone rather than accepting a piece of paper, which according to experts, could carry the coronavirus for four or five days after handling.
  • Take photographs of the scene. Photos are important pieces of evidence, and along with a police report can tell a complete story of an accident scene.
  • Seek medical attention. We understand that visiting a medical facility can be nerve-wracking during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if your injuries aren’t serious, you might be able to set up an appointment by videoconference to reduce anxiety levels. Still, if you are experiencing any kind of pain, medical treatment is necessary. Because of rising wait times at emergency rooms, however, you might be better off visiting an urgent care facility to seek treatment.
  • Contact your insurance company. It’s important to report an accident as soon as possible to begin the claims process, if the accident was your fault. If it was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you.
  • Consider calling an attorney. If you expect to have medical bills, physical therapy, or extensive car repairs, an attorney can help ensure that the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t try to offer you less than you need to cover your expenses, including lost wages and pain and suffering if your injuries are severe.

Preparation is key

In order to ensure your safety in the event of a car accident, keep masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer in your vehicle at all times so you won’t find yourself at risk if you do have an accident.

A card with your personal information on it should also be kept in your car in case you are knocked unconscious in a crash and are unable to share such information.

If you have questions, contact a car accident attorney, like Auto accident lawyer Boca Raton FL, from The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A.

How Uber and Lyft Accidents Differ From Normal Ones

Auto Accident Lawyer

Filing a claim after getting in an accident with a ridesharing company like Uber and Lyft can process similarly to those of normal accidents with private citizens. It depends heavily on the situation, though. Uber and Lyft both have immense insurance policies to cover accidents, but your accident must fall in the parameters of certain criteria for it to apply. Trying to make a claim with the companies without understanding how their insurance works could be a mistake that leads to lost time. Here are what you might see in an accident with one of their drivers.

Who Pays

Compensation for injuries and damages often falls to the insurance company of the negligent driver. Since that driver is at fault for causing the accident, it makes sense that their insurance should be responsible for covering everyone involved. In ridesharing cases, you cannot assume that Uber and Lyft will be the ones to foot your bill. Oftentimes, it can be the company driver’s personal insurance that you file a claim with. Only accidents that occur in specific situations can involve claims with the big companies.

Types of Accidents

There are three different scenarios dependent on the Uber or Lyft driver that determine who pays your compensation.

  • A driver who is not on the job: if an Uber or Lyft driver is not on the app when the accident happens, the company cannot be held liable for damages
  • A driver who is on the app with no passengers: if the driver is on the app or going to pick someone up, the ridesharing company is still not likely to be liable, though some states may require they pay some of the bill
  • A driver is on the app and carrying a passenger: this is when the $1 million coverage comes into play from Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies

Only in the third situation will the large policy cover everyone involved in the accident: drivers and passengers. You can only make this claim if you have evidence proving that the company driver was negligent and caused the accident.

Passengers

If you are injured in a ridesharing accident as a passenger, proving negligence has nothing to do with you. Instead, you simply file a claim for your injuries from the insurance of whoever is at fault.

If you’re having a difficult time dealing with insurance companies or feel you’re not getting rightful compensation, talk to an attorney, like an auto accident lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates. He or she can help you navigate your situation and get you on the right path to recovery.

Common Types of Pharmacy Malpractice

Personal Injury Lawyer

Many people believe that medical malpractice cases only involve doctors and surgeons. However, other medical professionals can also be negligent, including pharmacists. Pharmacists must go through extensive training to ensure they adhere to specific guidelines to keep their patients safe. If they fail to act with due care, they risk their patients’ safety.

Here are the common types of pharmacy malpractice.

Dispensing the Wrong Dosage

Before giving patients their prescribed medication, a pharmacist must dispense the correct dosage. If the pharmacist gives a larger dosage than prescribes or gives instruction to take the drug too many times, a patient can overdose.

Dispensing the Wrong Drug

Believe it or not, sometimes patients leave the pharmacy with the wrong medication. This is more likely to happen when two patients have similar names. The pharmacist may be more likely to mix up the names and dispense the wrong medication. The pharmacist is also more likely to dispense the wrong medication if the prescription is difficult to read or a prescription is similar to another prescription.

Not Providing Adequate Counseling

Pharmacists have a duty to provide patients with specific instructions about how and when to take their medication. If they don’t give proper instructions, patients might not know exactly how much of the drug to take and take too much or too little.

Failing to Ask About Allergies

It’s important for pharmacists to find out if patients have any allergies that would keep them from taking a medication safely. If they assume that the doctor has already asked the patient about allergies and dispenses the drug anyway, they might miss dangerous drug allergies.

Not Catching a Drug Interaction

Pharmacists have a duty to know about possible adverse reactions to medications and possible interactions with other drugs. They must be aware of risk factors for a bad reaction and give patients the proper warnings. If they don’t do this, patients are in danger of experiencing complications, like nausea, diarrhea, bleeding, dizziness and trouble breathing.

Were You a Victim of Pharmacy Malpractice?

If you are the victim of pharmacy malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation. It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice attorney from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC, as soon as possible. He or she can help you file a timely claim and improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Decoding the regulations on E-scooters

With today’s younger generations, climate change and sustainability has become a hot button issue. A charge led by the millennials and generation Z, they want to encourage greener practices and to alter the slippery slope of increasingly negative effects that result from climate change before it’s too late.

 

One innovation that’s becoming more popular with the masses is the usage of e-bikes and e-scooters. Being solar powered, you’ll never have to worry about it running out of energy as the solar panel is built into it. The concept is that you open the corresponding app, open a map to show available e-scooters in your area, pay a small fine to unlock it and you have a greener way to travel at your disposal.

 

But unfortunately its greatest benefit is also its greatest caveat. E-scooters are faster than regular bike while being slower than a motorcycle. Motorists have already managed maintaining a rocky relationship with those on regular bikes so that relationship becomes even more precarious with the integration of e-scooters which are even less easy to track in one’s peripheral vision while keeping an eye on the road. All it takes is one hairpin turn by either person to cause a collision and with the technology still being newly integrated into society, the laws and guidelines regarding e-scooters are still murky and a tad difficult to interpret.

 

While there’s no federal mandate regarding e-scooters, nearly every state has its own guidelines regarding e-scooters, as an attorney, like a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney at Eric Roy Law Firm, can attest. Each of these guidelines are seemingly tailored to the infrastructure in the state’s most populous cities as well as the landscape and their ability to accommodate e-scooters with the least amount of risk to motorists and other pedestrians.

 

For instance in the state of Nevada, the mandate is that one needs to be 16 years of age or older and that you can only ride them on a sidewalk. An interesting detail considering that slower bikes are allowed on the street. Meanwhile, in Oregon, the usage of e-scooters on sidewalks is prohibited and can only be used in the street. These guidelines can be expected considering that sidewalks in Nevada are larger, wider, and better kept up by local city governments compared to Oregon’s. Also, Oregon has invested more state finances into the development of bike paths and multiuse lanes compared to Nevada.

 

There are some states like New Mexico that increases the age limit to 18 and others like Rhode Island where you need a driver’s license just to use one even though the mechanics of using one is immensely different than that of a car. On the opposite hand, in Hawaii, e-scooters are treated in the same manner as bicycles and in New York, e-scooters aren’t legal for anyone to use altogether.

 

No matter where you happen to be traveling, make sure you keep up with the regulations and guidelines regarding e-scooters. Though federal laws are still murky, what guidelines that do exist were put up for the safety and well-being of everyone.

 

 

 

Deadly Shooting at Howell Apartments in North Memphis

When choosing a place to call “home,” a basic requirement we all have is finding a place that makes us feel safe and secure; a place we can comfortably live and raise our families without fear of the dangers this world so often seems to bring. For the tenants and guests of Howell Apartments, however, living in fear seems to be the new norm.

Memphis, TN Crime Victim Attorneys | WisemanBray

This past Friday, May 15, 2020, a shooting occurred at the 2200 block of Howell Avenue in the courtyard of Howell Apartments located in Memphis, Tennessee, ultimately claiming the life of 53 year old, Keith Brooks. Unfortunately, this is not the first violent crime and shooting incident to occur in this area.

By Law, Apartment Owners are Required to Provide Reasonable Security

In Tennessee, apartment owners are generally required to provide reasonable security measure to tenants and guests of the property. What is “reasonable?” It depends on the circumstances, such as the type of crime committed against a victim and the history of crime on the property and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Every single apartment shooting case is different. We can’t help but wonder if in the Howell Apartments shooting case, security measures could have prevented Mr. Brooks’ death another sad story of the loss of life at apartments in the Memphis area. We do not know enough yet about the cases to make an assessment.

Call Us. We Are Lawyers for Crime Victims.

We are lawyers for apartment crime victims in Memphis, TN. If you are the victim of an apartment shooting or crime, please call us today at (901) 372-5003.

We have the experience, know-how, and financial resources to properly investigate and prosecute your case. If the apartment complex where you were injured did not provide reasonable security, you may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering.   This is the case even if you weren’t a tenant and were just visiting.

We have helped others like you. Let us help you. Call (901) 372-5003 and ask to speak to the experienced apartment crime lawyers in Memphis, TN.

Is Equitable Distribution Always Equal?

Family Law

The state in which you live is the one where you need to file for divorce. Unless you have lived there for less than the required timeframe (often six months), then it is that state’s laws that will dictate the procedure you should file for divorce.

There can be numerous issues that stress you out during your divorce. The top two most cited examples are child custody and finances. When a couple goes to divide up the property and debt they have amassed over the years of their marriage, things can go south pretty fast. If you live in an equitable division state, you may want to read up on how the process works so you can get an idea about what you may get when the divorce is finalized.

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?

If your state law says that property is split equitably during divorce, then the process is not cut and dry. First, the court will determine what you owned separately. This is anything that you had in your name before you got married. The items you owned, assets and debts, before you got married will remain with you. Everything you own jointly or secured during your marriage will be put in a marital pot for splitting.

Equitable division does not mean a 50/50 split. Instead, the court examines your married life and decides who gets more or less of the assets and debts. The process of equitable division is meant to be fairer, especially for the spouses who left the workforce to care for children.

What Does the Court Consider When Splitting Assets?

The court does not just do a cursory examination of your marriage to decide who gets what. A judge will want detailed descriptions and examples of each spouse’s contribution to the relationship. The court will commonly consider:

  • Who made the most money?
  • Was this able to happen because the other spouse sacrificed their career?
  • What was the emotional contribution of each spouse?
  • Did one or the other contribute more to the demise of the relationship?

If your state allows for divorces based on grounds or reasons, then you may cite if your spouse did something wrong to cause the marriage to fail. A judge may factor this in when deciding how much of the marital pot goes to you versus your spouse.

An equitable split may find you coming out with more assets and less debt, or you may be on the other end. It is best to consult with a family lawyer, like a family lawyer in Frisco, TX, to explore this and other divorce issues more fully.

 


 

Thanks to Scroggins Law Group for their insight into equitable distribution after a divorce. 

Do I Need An Attorney For a DUI Arrest After a Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyer

If you were recently arrested at the scene of a car accident on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, then yes, you absolutely do need a DUI attorney in DC. And, you don’t just need any attorney, it is best for you to consult with one that has many years of experience representing clients in criminal defense cases. Being found supposedly drunk when a car accident happened may automatically make you look guilty in the eyes of the police officer.

While it may be tempting, do not try to claim your innocence to the officer as you are being placed in handcuffs. If a police officer has already made up his or her mind that you are drunk, then no matter what you say the chances of them letting you go is slim-to-none. Of course, it can be terrifying to be coaxed into the back of a cop car, and perhaps even more so for something that you didn’t really do.

The Booking Process

Regardless of whether you think you were at-fault or not, it’s better to stay quiet and calm and ever admit guilt. The officer may try to act like your friend or someone is on your side, but rest assured that they are not. The booking process entails confirming your identity, logging you into the jail system, and inputting a description of the supposed crime. This may take anywhere from one hour or up to several to finally complete. A note may be included about not only the DUI, but your involvement in a car accident that caused injuries to the other driver. Once you have been booked at the local police station, you may spend time in a holding cell or conditionally released with bail. 

Interrogation Attempt

When you are being booked, you may also be interrogated by police about what happened. This may be especially true if the other driver in the auto collision was seriously harmed, and the police want to pin the accident on you. You should refrain from answering any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. Be mindful that the police may use a handful of tempting strategies to get you to talk. But, anything you do share could be used against your favor in court. As your attorney may explain to you, the methods police may use to get you to talk or answer their questions include:

  • Informal Questioning: anytime that the accused interacts with an officer that is in an informal setting. Ask if you are free to leave, and if the officer says yes, then you should vacate the police station right away. If you aren’t, then request an attorney before you speak further.
  • The Reid Technique: maximization, mimization, and isolation are categorized under the reid technique. The accused may be intentionally left alone for extended periods of time, an officer may claim that they know they are guilty and propose a theory for the crime, or the officer may come off as a “good cop” and as if they understand why the accused did what they did. 

 


 

Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and DUI arrests.

Bounce Back With Caution After Bankruptcy

Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the biggest fears that people have when considering bankruptcy is their credit score. Will they ever be able to build their credit again? Is it better to keep the debt and pay it off than to file bankruptcy? In a lot of cases, bankruptcy is the better option. This is especially true if your debts are too high that you will not be able to pay them off within the next five years. If you decide to file bankruptcy, don’t worry, you can still rebuild your credit! You just want to stay careful through the process.

Remember Why You Filed Bankruptcy

Once you file bankruptcy, after it’s over, it is easy to forget the amount of stress that you were in before you filed. You do not want to go out and get a credit card right away. In a lot of cases, you cannot receive one right away and if you do receive offers as soon as you are finished with the case, these are going to be credit cards with high interest rates. You want to be careful about the credit cards that you choose. You do not want to end up in the same position that you were to begin with. Only apply for cards that you can afford and make sure that you always have money to pay off the balance.

Consider a Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are a lot like unsecured credit cards. They work the same. The big difference is that you have to pay a refundable security deposit. The deposit that you pay will serve as your credit limit. This provides your card issuer with collateral. You can then use the credit card like you do any other credit card and make your monthly payments. The best part about these cards is that they have a lower interest rate and so you can use them without fear of being unable to pay them off.

When it comes to bankruptcy, you can always build your credit again. This is a tool that can help you alleviate some of your debt, but it does not have to ruin your credit forever. You will bounce back! It is important that before you rebuild your credit that you take care and practice caution so that you do not end up with overwhelming debts again. To find out more about bankruptcy and what to expect after you file, consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, today.

 


 

Thank you to the experts at Darrell Castle & Associates for their input into bankruptcy law. 

5 Police Mistakes That May Lead to DUI Dismissal

Facing a DUI charge can be stressful and overwhelming. However, you’ve got to keep in mind that being arrested for a DUI doesn’t automatically lead to a conviction, especially if the officers involved made any mistakes when handling your arrest. With the guidance of your DUI lawyer, you can increase your chances of the best possible outcome in your case and possibly even get your case dismissed because of one of the five common police errors in DUI cases below.

DUI Checkpoint that Doesn’t Meet Requirements

Sometimes, police officers fail to follow the rules required for DUI sobriety checkpoints. If the police violate multiple guidelines, the checkpoint could be labeled unconstitutional. Checkpoints must be publicized in advance, supervised, have adequate staffing, have an unbiased procedure in place for stopping cars, have a drug recognition expert on site and have safe procedures in place to prevent the creation of a traffic hazard.

Failure to Show Probable Cause for an Arrest

Outside of a DUI checkpoint, officers must have what is known as probable cause before stopping a driver and arresting them. This means the officers must have a valid reason to suspect you before they pull you over. If they do not, evidence gathered at the time you were arrested could be tossed out of court.

Mistakes with the Breathalyzer Test

A field breathalyzer has an error rate from .005 to .02 percent, and officers can also make mistakes when they are administering them. It’s usually advisable to take this test if you are asked to do so–refusal could lead to more serious penalties down the road–but your breathalyzer could also yield results that are not consistent with your true blood alcohol levels as shown by more reliable tests, resulting in the breathalyzer results being thrown out of court.

Not Able to Show You Were Driving While Intoxicated

As odd as it may sound, it’s not always easy for police to prove to the prosecutor that you were actually driving while intoxicated. If you were in an accident with others and no one saw you driving, for example, you could have been simply a passenger and never had physical control over the car.

Ketosis Test Inaccuracies

Both the popular Keto diet and ketosis stemming from having diabetes can lead to trouble with the breathalyzer results. The metabolic process during which your body burns stored fat for fuel can cause ketones, and they are similar in makeup to isopropyl alcohol. When you take a breathalyzer, the ketones can be emitted via your breath and cause a false positive.

As noted above, there are several mistakes that police can make in your DUI case. Even if these missteps were unintentional, they could allow for key evidence to be removed from consideration in your case. Speak to a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO about your case as soon as possible to see if any of the above mistakes could be factors in your defense.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and breathalyzer tests.