Determining Real Property

Real property is one of the biggest factors in determining if an estate will go through probate in California.  As an estate planning attorney, my goal is to prevent the need for probate by ensuring that any real property you own has a line of succession.  This is usually in the form of a Trust Transfer Deed because it all but guarantees that your real property will not be subject to probate, thereby ensuring that your property will be distributed per your wishes without the costly delay of the California probate process.

 

As recent as two years ago, California passed a law enabling individuals with real property to create a line of succession for their property through a Transfer on Death Deed.  While this document is faster and potentially more affordable, but there are some serious drawbacks to a Transfer on Death Deed. If ownership of the property is transferred using a Transfer on Death Deed, when the property is put on the market for sale, title companies will not issue title insurance for that property. The pamphlet created by the Sacramento County Public Law Library (Link here) does a great job of outlining the basics of a Transfer on Death Deed, but it does not discuss all of the issues that can occur if you chose to use this document instead of a revocable trust funded with your real property.

 

If you have property in California, it is very important that you discuss all of the options when creating your estate plan to avoid the probate process. Work with an experienced attorney such as the Estate Planning attorney Rocklin CA locals turn to.

 

 

Thanks to authors at Law Office of Alexandria Goff PC for their insight into Estate Planning.

Tennessee School Bus Driver Found Guilty in Fatal Crash

A school bus driver from Tennessee has been found guilty in connection with the deaths of six elementary school children in a crash from November of 2016, reports CNN.

At the time of the crash, driver Johnthony Walker had 37 Woodmore Elementary School students on his bus, which flipped over and hit a tree, killing six students between the ages of six and ten. Walker was originally facing 34 charges in connection to the crash, including multiple counts of a vehicular homicide, but he was found guilty on lesser charges of criminally negligent homicide in each of the six deaths. In addition, he was convicted of 11 reckless aggravated assault counts, seven assault counts, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and using his phone while driving.

Over the course of the trial, prosecutors alleged that Walker was going more than the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit in the area and was actually on his cell phone when the bus left the road. Walker, in his defense, said that he had to swerve to avoid a vehicle that entered into his lane and was not on his phone when the accident occurred.

Walker’s defense attorney asserted that the case was not investigated properly by local police, particularly when it came to the white vehicle the bus driver said he had to go off the road to avoid, but investigator Joe Warren disputed those claims on the stand during the course of the trial. According to Warren, Walker was going at least 50 miles per hour when the bus left the road, according to tire marks at the scene and the testimony from witnesses who were in the area at the time. It was also discovered that Walker was not on his designated route at the time of the accident. Walker did say in court that he had a route sheet from older drivers, but the route had since changed because students had been taken off or added to that route.

Prosecutors also said the bus driver was on his phone with a co-worker from his second job, Takiesha Nixon, for four minutes before the accident happened. Nixon testified that as soon as she realized Walker was driving the bus while they were talking, she ended the call. She said that she didn’t learn about the deadly crash until later.

At the time of the tragic accident, Walker was just 24, and the horrific event caused the state to pass a law that changed the minimum bus driver age to 25. This law just went into effect on January 1, 2018, and it also increases the state’s oversight regarding transportation of students. This accident also incited calls for a seat belt requirement on school buses, and a state representative introduced a bill that would have had all buses in the state equipped with a restraint system by mid-2023. That bill has since been removed from consideration.

Bus accidents can have horrific consequences for riders and people nearby, especially when the driver behaves recklessly or negligently. Speak to an attorney, like a bus accident lawyer Denver CO residents rely on,  if you’ve been injured in a bus crash.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into bus accident cases.

 

Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice

How does one prove negligence in a medical malpractice case? This is probably one of the single most difficult tasks in the civil system because we start with the assumption that doctors are not perfect in their practice, and that can be hard to digest. Often times, individuals are not sure if they have experienced medical malpractice. This article is intended to help you discover if you have a medical malpractice claim, and the necessary materials you will need to pursue it if you choose to. There are a few things that you have to prove in order to pursue a successful medical malpractice claim:

1. The standard of care was compromised and not adhered to properly. Doctors are humans just like everyone else and they are not expected to be perfect. However, they are expected to be reasonably competent. In other words, they have to meet the standard of care expected of a healthcare physician, so you will need to find a doctor who is willing to testify about what the standard of care typically is.

2. The next thing you will need to prove is that the doctor breached the standard of care. In other words, did the doctor do something that a reasonably competent doctor do? If the doctor did any of the following, you need to provide some sort of proof (documents, video, audio):

  • Failed to inform you of costs
  • Failed to make sure you were under anesthesia before operating
  • Sexually harassed you
  • Did not inform you of potential risks
  • Left something inside of you during surgery
  • Operated on the wrong side of you
  • Failed to diagnose you properly
  • Prescribed you the wrong medication

3. The third thing you will need to prove is causation. This means that what the doctor did not only was a breach in the standard of care, but resulted in injury (physical or financial) or harassment.  Did the doctor fail to wear latex gloves when operating on you and as a result you incurred an infection? If they failed to wear latex gloves and you did not incur an infection or injury because of this, you may not have a case.

Let a Medical Malpractice Attorney Fight for You

If you or a loved one has been injured or developed a medical condition as result of medical negligence, contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney. We have years experience in medical malpractice cases and will thoroughly investigate your case, consulting with the medical specialists we work with on a regular basis, and determine what type of financial compensation you are due for the losses you have suffered. Contact a medical malpractice attorney Chicago IL relies on if you need any assistance with medical malpractice.

 

Thank you to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for providing their insight and expertise on car accidents.

 

Why is the insurance company low balling me and my injury claim?

Victims of negligence who attempt to navigate through the world of an insurance claim without a Little Rock personal injury lawyer are often bewildered at the amount of time expended, the delays in decisions, the records necessary for evaluation of the claim, and the seemingly insensitive small offers sometimes extended.  There are some things to keep in mind to understand why you feel like this.

Insurance Companies are in business to make money

You may be under the belief that an insurance company is in business to settle claims for injuries, damages, and losses. While that is a nice thought, the reality is that settling claims for compensation is not the primary reason an insurance company is in business.  An insurance company is primarily in business to make money for its shareholders. Reality is that an insurance company increases its profits, and enhances the amount of money paid to shareholders, by decreasing the amount of money paid out in insurance claims.

The objective of an insurance company to decrease claim settlement and increase profits means that it will employ tactics and strategies that can result in it offering a small amount of money for your injury with the hopes you will accept it.

Minor injury claims

If you are injured but not severely, you may be receiving an offensively low offer because the economics of taking the case to trial just does not make sense for an attorney. The insurance company knows that the out-of-pocket costs for an attorney to handle this type of case probably exceeds the money that the attorney would reasonably expect to make on the case. In that situation, the injured person and the attorney lose the leverage that a lawsuit and trial gives them.

Starting the claim by allowing your injuries to be boxed in

If you have been injured in an accident, you likely will be contacted promptly by a representative of the other person’s insurance company. A big mistake an injured person makes, which results in that individual receiving a low offer of compensation for injuries, is being too free in discussing an accident and injuries with an insurance company. It’s also very easy for an injured person to answer questions put forth by an insurance company representative at a point in time before even the full extent of injuries are known.  Your best strategy is to forgo immediately discussing the accident and your injuries with an insurance company until you have at least taken the time to consult with a lawyer.

It’s important to know everything about the extent of your injuries before discussing the claim

Talking to an insurance company representative too soon after the accident will cement your injuries in their claim file before the extent of the injuries is even known.  It’s common for a victim of a car crash to be taken by ambulance to an emergency room for treatment. Contrary to popular belief, emergency rooms are for life-threatening situations. For injuries that are not deemed life-threatening, most of the time, the injured person is discharged with instructions to follow up with the appropriate doctor or clinic.

Insurance companies (and juries) will often view this to mean that the person was not seriously injured.  However, it is often not until more sophisticated testing is done that the extent of an injury is known by the doctors and the victim. If you have stated your injuries before the extent of your injuries is known, it can be a reason why you are being lowballed.  And, it makes it more difficult to supplement your claim file later without the questions being posed of “well, you didn’t mention that at the outset of your claim.” “Would your memory of the injuries received in the accident be better as soon as the accident occurred or months later?”  The way to avoid this trap is to wait to discuss your claim until your injuries are known.

Attempting to Handle the Case Without a Lawyer

The most significant mistake that people make is to assume that they will be treated fairly without a lawyer. However, without a lawyer, you have no hammer or leverage for the insurance company to be fair, as you likely aren’t experienced in evaluating the true value of a claim, considering all the elements of damages. Because insurance companies know this, you will often receive a frustratingly low offer. They also know that once you have discussed the claim with them without a lawyer, you have already done damage to your case.

All of these issues should be considered prior to discussing your claim with an insurance company.  


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into the reasons for lowball offers from insurance companies.

 

FAQ: Birth Injury Rights

A birth injury occurs when bodily damage is caused to a newborn before, during or after being born. Legally, a birth injury can refer to injuries sustained while in the pregnancy stage as well. Below, we go over common questions patients may have when it comes to information and legalities surrounding birth injuries.

What are Birth Injury Conditions?

There are many scenarios and injuries that can be associated with poor medical practices. The most common birth injuries can include the following:

  • Brachial Plexus Injury (Erb’s or Klumpke’s Palsy)
  • Cerebral Palsy (impaired motor function)
  • Spina Bifida (failure of embryonic neural tube to seal before birth)
  • Premature Birth (due to overdose of folic acid)
  • Cerebral Ischemia (reduced blood flow)
  • Pulmonary Hypertension (difficulty breathing)
  • Cephalohematoma (bleeding surrounding skull due to improper use of forceps or other birthing tools)
  • Intellectual Disability (due to trauma during labor or delivery)

What are Signs My Doctor is At-Fault?

If any of the above birth injury conditions were diagnosed of your baby, your doctor or medical team may be at fault. Additionally, if you witness bruises, swelling, unusual bleeding, cuts, and/or fractures on your newborn after delivery, improper practices may have occurred.

How Can I Seek Compensation?

You can seek the professional advice of an experienced birth injury attorney Chicago IL trusts to evaluate your circumstances. By providing as much detail and evidence as possible about what happened, your attorney can help you decide if you have a solid case against your doctor or medical provider. If the complications that arose could have been prevented, it is possible you were treated in a negligent or reckless manner during pregnancy or delivery by hospital staff members.

What are Some Harmful, Yet Preventable Actions?

A birth injury of an infant can be preventable. The most common behaviors committed by staff during pregnancy or delivery can include:

  • Twisting, pulling or moving infant improperly during birth
  • Negligent handling and usage of tools that assist with delivery (forceps, vacuum extraction tools)
  • Administration of incorrect type or amount of medication to mother during the pregnancy stage or delivery period
  • Failure to observe the infant for distress or irregular/fading heartbeat
  • Failure to schedule and promptly perform an emergency C-section

Are There Any Future Consequences?

Due to the seriousness and severity of injuries your newborn can sustain due to a medical malpractice, there may be future long-term impacts. Some signs of further medical issues include:

  • Decrease in Stamina & Strength
  • Impairment of Cognition
  • Impairment of Emotions
  • Failure of Bone Structure to Develop Correctly
  • Joint Dysfunctions or Osteoarthritis
  • Psychological Problems
  • Lack Of or Decrease in Nerve Sensations
  • Learning Difficulties in School

It is important to find legal representation if you believe your baby could have suffered from medical negligence or malpractice during any stage of your pregnancy. By using the above information as a guide, it can help you decide if your medical team could have been at fault.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into birth injury.

 

Applying for Disability Benefits After Fighting Lyme Disease

You probably already know that Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by a deer tick bite. You may also know that Lyme Disease may remiss and then exacerbate later on and that someone infected with Lyme Disease may be facing symptoms that leave them unable to maintain employment. If you cannot work due to your symptoms and are deciding if you should apply for disability, read the general information below to gauge your situation.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease Can Disable

The severity of Lyme Disease SYmptoms can vary between the afflicted, but there are some general symptoms that present themselves in three stages. They tend to get worse as they go untreated, so be sure to visit a physician right away.

STAGE ONE: DAYS TO WEEKS AFTER BITE

  1. Symptoms begin to appear.
  2. Headache, body ache, and flu-like symptoms begin to present themselves.
  3. There is a telltale bulls eye rash that typically develops where the bite occurred at this stage.

STAGE TWO:  WEEKS TO MONTHS AFTER BITE

  1. More severe muscle pain begins accompanied by joint and tendon pain.
  2. Muscle control of the face decreases.
  3. Dizziness, shooting pain, heart problems, sleeplessness, and changing mental state are all developing at this stage.
  4. Encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, can begin to cause memory loss, mood shifts and changes in sleeping patterns.

STAGE THREE: MONTHS TO YEARS AFTER BITE

  1. The neurological system is beginning to experience serious chronic symptoms.
  2. Two illnesses may develop at this stage:

Lyme Encephalopathy: causes issues with concentration and short term memory loss.

Chronic Encephalomyelitis: causes cognitive issues, impacted ability to walk and move facial muscles, vertigo, overall pain and bladder incontinence.

How Symptoms Influence Ability to Work

An experienced attorney can inform you that these symptoms and others not listed here can significantly change your ability to perform daily tasks. Besides physical symptoms, the mental toll is expressed through changes in your emotional state, a detachment from reality, increased anxiety, delusions and more. You may even have difficulty doing things like making plans and scheduling, or remembering things in the short term.

Lyme Disease is not listed in the Social Security Blue Book of impairments. This means it will be difficult to convince Social Security that you deserve benefits and you will probably not get an automatic approval like someone would if they met a listed condition.

What Our Legal Team Can Do For You

Lyme Disease Symptoms cause many limitations that are obvious to sufferers. However, it may be difficult to convince Social Security by yourself. Our team has gone through the process before and can direct you when filling out paperwork and assure you have completed it thoroughly and properly. If you have never done this before, it is best to have someone on your side to guide you through the process.

If you have suffered disabling symptoms of Lyme Disease and are unable to work, contact an experienced lawyer such as the social security lawyer Memphis TN locals turn to. Do not be intimidated by Social Security.


Thanks to authors at Darrel Castle & Associates PLLC for insight into Disability Law.



 

Wheelchair Bound Victim of Diving Neck Accident Sues Tour Operator

Owning a pool has its own shares of responsibilities such as preventing someone from drowning.  The National Safety Council reports that almost 80 percent of all reported drowning incidents occur in residential pools and spas. As a result, anyone who owns a swimming pool risks facing lawsuits once an individual gets injured in or near the pool. However, what if you are not a pool owner but rather a tour guide introducing clients to a pool?  Apparently, you too can be liable for any injury accrued as a result of use of a pool, at least in the United Kingdom.

Cory Peyton was a 15 year old teenager when hit his head on the bottom of a indoor pool at the Holiday Village resort in Albfeira Portugal.  Peyton states that he was “trying to teach a girl to dive” and while demonstrating a diving method, struck his head in what he reports as a “shallow” pool.  His head injury resulted in severe consequences, leaving him paralyzed in a wheelchair since the 2013 incident. Cory’s lawyers are now blaming the staff of the Holiday Village for the accident, stating that the resort “encouraged holidaymakers, including children and young persons to dive into shallow water” through its “dangerous” pool games they organized.

The target of Peyton’s lawsuit is Holiday Village’s parent owner TUI UK Ltd, who provided the holiday package to Peyton and his family.  Cory Peyton is demanding that TUI UK Ltd. provide massive financial responsibility for the incident. However, the TUI’s lawyers argue that there was an obvious and very strict “no diving policy” implemented at all of their resorts.  The resort’s lawyers continue their argument, stating the tour operators there had also relied on the many “no diving signs” located all over and around the pool to notify pool users of the prohibitive nature of diving in the pool. The victim’s lawyers argue otherwise.

Stephen Killalea, one of Peyton’s lawyers, continues his argument that because resort staff members continued to encourage the use of diving in their poolside games, they had “rendered such (no diving) signs as there were irrelevant and of no effect.”  Furthermore, Mr. Killalea claimed that the staff had failed to demonstrate reasonable proper care and skill in response to the safety of Cory Peyton, allowing him to dive in the shallow area of the indoor when it could have been easily prevented by the staff.  As a result, Peyton’s claim is likely to be worth several millions due to his age at the time of the accident (13 years old) as well as the severity of his injuries.

For more information, or if you believe you’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY relies on, today.


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

Burns in a Restaurant

Everyone has enjoyed food or drink from cafeteria, restaurant, or any other establishment that welcomes patrons of food and beverage.  With this knowledge the establishment is aware that they have a responsibility to ensure that all that they have to offer is safe for their customers as well as their staff.  One of the most serious and painful injuries a person can suffer from are severe burns.  Considering severe burns can affect your physical appearance and your health. Severe burns from liquids that include soup, coffee, wax, etc., can damage several layers of the skin causing possible nerve damage. Because burns are treated in a burn center, a victim with a severe case may have surmountable medical bills; it’s always best to know your rights.

Those that experience severe burns are subjected to plastic surgery and skin grafts and they may have to live with the risk of infections, even after the time of the accident. Victims often have inoperable scarring that results in them having to limit their time in the sun. Victims also are at a higher rate for skin cancer, opening the door to sometimes countless procedures and treatments for an ailment for which they may not be at fault. For example, if you are shopping in a store and you are exposed to any hazardous material that subsequently causes you harm, please seek medical attention and think about what’s next once you are seen by a doctor.

While some may attempt to trivialize your wounds because they are not industrial plant explosions, numerous cases where serious burns occur are likely second or third degree burns. The worst of these injuries can require extensive reconstructive surgery. An accidental spill of any hot food or beverage can result in severe burns and permanent nerve damage. Burn injuries arising from explosions and fires can result in expensive medical bills, missed time from work and lengthy, painful recovery times. What can make these dangerous, painful injuries so hard to deal with is that the majority of burn injuries are caused by the negligence of others.

If you or someone you know has recently been involved in an incident where they were burned by food or drink due to the malfeasance of another, you may need to speak with an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Dekalb County GA residents turn to.  Attorneys are trained professionals and are available at your convenience to discuss your rights. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to find out what, if anything can be done.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.

 

Best Practices for Reporting a Car Accident to the Police

Being in a car accident can be stressful and unexpected which means that it can be that much harder to gather your wits together after one and report the accident, as a car accident lawyer Boyton Beach FL relies on knows all too well. Obviously, a major accident will result in the police showing up and preparing a police report about the accident.  Here’s what you need to know about contacting the police regardless of the type of accident you have.

Is it always necessary to contact the police about an accident? The short answer is yes.  Some states require that the police be contacted whenever there is an accident.  Even if there is no state requirement to contact the police, calling the police and letting them decide whether to come fulfills your obligation in terms of at least notifying the police that an accident occurred. That being said, some accidents are just so minor that it would be a waste of everyone’s time to call the police, especially if the damage is very minor and there are no injuries.

When is a police report of the accident required? Again, this depends on the state in which the accident occurred which in turn sets various limits of injury and property damage before they require a report to be filed. For example, if no one has more than $1,000 in damage, some states may not require a police report to be filed. Other states’ thresholds are higher or lower, so it really depends.

The thing is it’s still a really good idea to get a police report of the accident because even if the state does not require that a report be filed, you never know what may happen later on.  There are some injuries that are legitimately not evident at the time of the accident or in the immediate aftermath. Having an accident report completed by the police can be really helpful when those aches start appearing later on because it can either support or disclaim the newly found injuries.

Police reports are very valuable in litigation, especially if your minor fender bender is now being characterized by the other driver as a full on t-boning complete with whiplash and vague back problems. A detailed police report can stop this money grab in its tracks and be an insurance policy itself.  

Speaking of insurance companies, many of them will require that you have some sort of police report to corroborate the damages you are asking the insurance company to pay to fix.  So, the moral of this story is, get a police report.

What happens if the police don’t come out? Remember this mostly depends upon the nature of the accident – a fender-bender versus a double head-on collision – and the injuries and damages that have occurred. It is always a good idea to call the police, however, and report the accident and let them make the determination of whether they are going to come out.  If they do not decide to come out, document that as well as the damage and the information from the other driver.  Find witnesses, since their independent third party information can be valuable if there is later litigation. Get photographs and video of the scene and the damage. Then, take all of this to the police and file a report as soon as possible.  

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.

Why You Should Have a Will

You don’t have to be wealthy to have a will. In fact, it’s beneficial for many people to have a will in place. It will protect your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you die. Here are several reasons why you should have a will:

Your Assets Will Go to the Right People

When you draft a will, you can include which relatives you want to inherit your assets when you die. Without a will in place, there’s no guarantee that your belongings will go to the people you want to have them. This can create a lot of fights among family members.

You Can Prevent a Long Probate Process

All estate plans have to go through a probate process before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. However, the process can be drastically shortened if there is a will in place. Instead of taking over a year, the probate process could be completed in just a few months. Your beneficiaries will be happier to receive their inheritances earlier.

You Can Decide Who Will Care for Your Minor Children

You love your children with all your heart and you want someone you trust to take care of them if you die suddenly. That’s one of the most important reasons to have a solid will in place. In your will, you can name the person you want to raise your minor children if you die. If you don’t have a will, the court may appoint a guardian you don’t want to care for your kids.

You Can Choose an Executor

In your will, you will also be able to appoint an executor of your estate. This person will be responsible for distributing your assets and making sure all of your affairs in order. This is a huge job, so it’s essential to pick someone who is trustworthy and responsible. Be sure to notify the person that you want him or her to be your executor.

You Can Disinherit Individuals

A will also allows you to disinherit who may otherwise inherit your assets upon your death. For example, if you don’t have a will in place, your ex-spouse may end up with your estate.

You Can Relieve Your Loved Ones of Additional Burden

Your loved ones will already be upset about your passing. You do not want to leave them with the extra burden of planning and paying for your funeral when they are grieving. In your will, you can state exactly how you want your funeral service and cremation or burial carried out.

As you can see, there are many good reasons to have a will. It’s never too early to draft one. Creating a will can be a complex process, so it may be necessary to hire a reputable estate planning attorney. He or she can ensure all of your wishes are included in the document. Make an appointment with a wills and trusts lawyer Scottsdale AZ recommends today to get the process started.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into wills.