Passenger in MVA

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is not fun for anyone — the individual who is at fault, the other driver, or any passengers. Each party involved is handled differently when concerning any personal injury claims. However, when you are not a driver, the process is less of a headache for many reasons.

Liability
In most motor vehicle accidents, insurance companies are expected to pay out for property damage and any bodily injury caused on a victim. However, insurance companies do not give money to anyone without further investigation, in hopes of finding information that works in their favor. As it pertains to passengers in these cases, liability does not have to be proven, and therefore takes a huge load off of them. Liability is one of the most important things that must be proven when pursuing a personal injury claim, and it is unlikely for a passenger to cause an accident. It is much more likely that one of the drivers will be seen as liable in an accident. 

Filing a Claim
Filing a personal injury claim as a passenger is fairly normal. Typically, the claim is made against the at-fault parties insurance company only, however, in these cases both drivers’ insurance companies may receive a claim.

Seek Medical Treatment
No matter who is the at-fault party, the injured passenger should still seek medical treatment for their injuries. Once treatment is completed, this information will be brought to the insurance companies and a settlement will be negotiated. As a passenger, these negotiations are usually seamless, as it is difficult for an insurance company to deny responsibility to an innocent passenger. In the rare case that the insurance company does not wish to settle due to their belief that the other party’s insured holds more responsibility, your case may actually be taken to trial. At this point, a jury will review the details of the case and determine who is to pay what and to whom.

Contact an Attorney
As a passenger in an automobile accident it is okay to be confused. This is why you should contact an auto accident attorney, like an auto accident attorney in Dekalb County, GA, as soon as possible. Sometimes the at-fault party is the driver whose car you were a passenger in, and it may be difficult to pursue charges against someone you know. Speak with a personal injury attorney to see what legal options are available to you. This way, an attorney can handle the difficult part, while you or your loved ones work towards a full recovery.

Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch for their insight into what a passenger in a car accident should do if they were injured. 

Tips for Establishing a Visitation Schedule During Divorce

Tips for Establishing a Visitation Schedule During Divorce

Reaching an agreement with your ex may seem impossible, especially when it comes to your children. If you are embroiled in a high-conflict divorce, or one wrought with fighting, you may believe that reaching any mutual resolution is beyond the realm of possibility. However, there are ways that you could try to compromise an agreement on the child visitation front without the input of a judge. Take some time to think about these issues when trying to negotiate with your ex.

Consider the Current Ages of the Children

When you and your spouse decide to split, there are many elements of a divorce to consider. At the top of your list has to be your children. The court does not like to make decisions about how to split time between parents, but they will if no compromise can be reached. When contemplating a fair split, you must consider the ages of the kids and what their needs dictate. For example, when an infant is involved, the requirements are more significant than if you have teenagers. More time with one parent for smaller children may be the preference of the court.

Understand that the needs of the children will change as they get older. You must remain flexible and contemplate changes in the schedule set forth when you first divorce. You can account for possible changes in the document before filing it with the court.

Be Realistic With Your Schedule

You may want to spend as much time with your children as you can, especially knowing they will need your support now more than ever. However, this does not mean that you should contemplate a schedule that does not work for you. If you have a pretty rigid schedule at work that doesn’t have you out before 5:00 p.m., don’t sign a document that promises to pick the children up at 2:00 p.m. This will only open them up for heartache and result in conflict with your ex. Consider what you believe you can reasonably do, not what you would like to do.

Create a Neutral Meeting Place

School or daycare is an excellent place to drop off/pick up your children, and when you want to avoid interaction with your ex, this cuts that possibility off completely. There may be times when visitation ends on a Sunday evening, and if so, arrange to meet in a neutral area halfway between the houses. This will help you steer clear of run-ins.

In drafting a parenting agreement, your children’s needs must come first. A divorce lawyer can help get you through establishing this blueprint for your post-divorce life and do what is best for your children.

 

Who Pays Medical Bills in a Car Accident Claim?

After a car accident, you may have extensive medical treatments to undergo. This can lead to costly medical bills. If you were not at fault during the accident, who is responsible? If you are filing a claim against another driver, what happens with your bills in the meantime?

Should You Accept an Early Offer?

The medical bills are beginning to stack up and you feel like you may drown in them. This is what many people feel after a serious accident. Most do not have money to pay medical bills easily. If you have insurance, this can help you with the bills before you can reach a settlement. If the other insurer offers you a settlement right away, you need to think hard about it. Odds are, you should not accept it.

Early offers are tempting because you want the money as soon as possible. No one wants to have to go through a long trial process before receiving any compensation. This is why it is important that you hire a good personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Washington, DC, to talk to whenever an offer comes up. Your lawyer can calculate the appropriate settlement amount. If you accept a low amount, you may cover some of your initial medical bills and none of the treatments that you need later. You may receive far less than what you deserve.

Should Your Attorney Pay the Bills?

There is a misconception about medical bills during a car accident claim and these misconceptions involve the attorney paying your bills. Your lawyer does not pay your medical bills before you receive your settlement. When it comes to your bills, you are responsible for them initially. It does not matter if you are in the middle of a lawsuit with the other driver or not; the hospital still looks to you for payment. 

While you do not usually have to pay your lawyer until after you receive your settlement, it is not your lawyer that pays the bills in the meantime. You are responsible for your bills until you receive your settlement. Medical bills can stack up quickly and even with insurance coverage, you may feel like you are going into deep debt due to the bills. This is why it is important that you do not accept an offer right away. You need to make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve to pay the medical bills off later. In the meantime, you may have to pay out of pocket or with insurance.

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into who pays the medical bills when someone is filing a car accident claim. 

What Is Virtual Child Visitation?

What Is Virtual Child Visitation?

Over the past few decades, the ways in which Americans communicate and connect with each other have changed dramatically. Emails and texting have generally replaced physical letters and short, informative phone calls. Nearly every adult in America has access to a cell phone, and the Internet connects individuals in ways that probably would have been perceived as science fiction only a few decades before it became widely available.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that child custody and visitation agreements are increasingly addressing the concept of virtual visitation or virtual parenting time. These arrangements provide whichever parent is not physically caring for their child at any given time access to them via virtual means. It does not matter if parents have joint custody or some other arrangement. Virtual parenting time essentially just helps parents and kids remain connected and involved in each other’s lives when they are not physically located under the same roof.

Creating Virtual Parenting Time Expectations

Virtual parenting time clauses contained within custody agreements are generally approved by the courts unless they interfere with a child’s best interests. For example, if both parents agree that the child uses Skype each evening to say a ten-minute “goodnight” to whichever parent is not present, this term would likely be considered reasonable. However, if one parent insisted that the call occurs at 10:30 pm in order to accommodate his or her social calendar, this term would be rejected in favor of the child’s best interests in getting a good night’s rest.

It is generally a good idea to set expectations that are both reasonable and flexible when need be. It is also important to take into account your child’s unique needs when setting virtual parenting time expectations. For example, if your child attends church services every Sunday morning, it will not make sense to schedule a call during this time. Having a set schedule can help your child to count on a consistent routine, but that schedule needs to make sense for him or her.

In addition to calls and virtual chats that allow you to see each other, you may want to think about whether email, social media, texting, and other forms of virtual connection will or will not serve your child’s best interests. Every family is different, so please consider your family’s unique needs carefully.

Child Custody and Visitation Guidance Is Available

If you have questions about child custody or visitation, please consider connecting with an experienced family law attorney. Every family’s situation is unique, so it is always important to look at issues with a child’s best interests at heart. Arrangements that may serve one family perfectly well may not be ideal for another family. Similarly, simply because many families have the ability to physically see each other regularly does not mean that physical proximity is a luxury afforded to every parent-child relationship. Working with an experienced family law attorney will help to ensure that the resolutions to your child custody and visitation challenges reflect both your family’s unique needs and your child’s particular interests whenever possible.

 

Slip and Fall Hazards

Slipping and falling, especially in a public place, can be embarrassing. But even more so, a slip and fall can result in a painful injury for the victim, including injuries that can result in the need for medical treatment, lost wages, and more. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident that occurred because of a negligent property or business owner, call a law firm to find out what legal options you have.

Slip and Fall Accident Statistics

According to national data, there are more than 30,000 people killed because of slip and fall accidents each year. These fatal accidents happen at businesses, homes, and work.

The most common places where slip and fall accidents occur are:

  •       Areas where spills occur frequently (i.e. fast food restaurant self-serve drink area)
  •       Doorways
  •       Hallways that have lots of clutter
  •       Heights that are unguarded
  •       Ladders
  •       Ramps
  •       Stairways
  •       Uneven walking surfaces
  •       Wet or icy areas

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Incidents

There are steps that people can take – both the property owner and the potential victim – that can help lower the risk of slip and fall accidents. These include the following:

  •       Clean up spills right away
  •       Use warning signs to alert people the walking area may be hazardous
  •       Wear shoes with non-slip soles
  •       Do not block walkways with boxes or furniture
  •       Install handrails on both sides of stairways and inspect periodically to make sure the railings are secure
  •       Periodically inspect stairways, including treads on stairs
  •       Periodically inspect walkways for any issues
  •       Make sure all indoor and outdoor lighting is adequate
  •       Make sure ladders are on a solid and firm surface

Damages for Slip and Fall Injuries

State law allows victims to sue the party or party responsible for their slip and fall injury losses. Some of the damages that a victim can be financially compensated for include:

  •       Any medical bills and expenses associated with the injuries. This also includes future bills
  •       Loss of income and benefits if the victim was unable to work while they recovered from the injuries
  •       Pain and suffering
  •       Scarring
  •       Disfigurement
  •       Permanent disability
  •       Emotional anguish

Contact an Injury Attorney

If you have sustained injuries from a slip and fall accident that was a result of a negligent business or property owner, call a law firm to find out what legal recourse you may have. They will schedule a free and confidential consultation with a slip and fall lawyer in Washington, DC who will evaluate your case and determine what type of damages you may be able to pursue. Keep in mind, however, that under state law, there is a statute of limitations in how long you have to file your claim. This timeframe may be even shorter if the responsible party is a government entity. Call today.

Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and slip and fall accident injuries.

Do I Get Any Privacy After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

After you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to privacy just as you were before the claim, but that might start to look a little different for you. Before your accident, you never had to worry about someone keeping an eye on your life and your habits because there was no reason for anyone to do so. Now that the insurance company is trying to protect themselves against potential false claims, there may be someone watching your public interactions.

What an Insurance Company Can Do Legally

The workers’ compensation insurance company will want to look out for themselves to ensure your claim is legitimate. Every year they lose money to false claims, so it’s understandable they wish to do this. In most cases, once they determine your injuries and your claims are real, the surveillance will discontinue. Some tactics they can legally perform include the following.

  • Running a background check
  • Surveying your home
  • Searching your public social media posts and comments
  • Taking pictures and videos of you when you’re outdoors
  • Ordering medical evaluations of surveillance video of you
  • Following you to doctor appointments
  • Talking to coworkers and neighbors

Insurance company investigators are not allowed to do anything illegal. This includes trespassing on your private property, tracking your car, entering your home without permission and hacking into your email account. In some states, they are allowed to take photos of you while you’re in your own home, as long as it’s a clear view through a window from public property. This is illegal in other states.

What You Should Do

Because there are so many tactics the insurance company is allowed to employ, it’s important you understand the legal rights they have. If they do even one small thing that is against the law, it could make all of their evidence inadmissible in court. Any time you see the investigator or find out they’ve been snooping around, write down exactly when, where and what they were doing.

You should also be careful not to do anything beyond the recommendation of your doctor. Don’t do anything that could remotely look like you are. For example, if you are told not to lift anything above five pounds, but an investigator takes a picture of you carrying a large box into your home, it could be used against you. What the picture doesn’t show is the box was empty, but you may not have any way to prove that.

Contacting the Professionals for Assistance

Being in the middle of a workers’ compensation lawsuit is often made easier when you have the assistance of a qualified Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyer. Contact your lawyer today for help understanding your rights.

Thanks to the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation and privacy.

Another Fatal Shooting at Country Squire Apartments

Violent crime isn’t limited to urban centers, or run-down properties. Areas in eastern Shelby County, including Cordova, TN are experiencing violent crime, often at what many people would consider to be luxury apartment complexes.

Earlier this morning another victim was shot and killed in the 200 block of Glen Park Drive at The View at Shelby Farm Apartments in Cordova, TN. This apartment complex was formerly called Country Squire Apartments, and this is not the first such incident that has occurred at this complex.

Shooting at Cordova Apartments

Another shooting at Country Squire Apartments

DID YOU KNOW THAT APARTMENT OWNERS MUST 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 Appling Lakes and Country Squire shooting cases, security measures could have prevented the victims’ deaths and injuries.  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.

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 can help you seek alimony, call a law office today to schedule a consultation.

 

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

While you might have a strong suspicion that someone’s negligence or direct intent led to the death of your loved one, the suspicion is not the same as knowing or proving fault. Wrongful death claims are notoriously tricky legal actions because, like a criminal case, they depend on evidence. Unfortunately for the surviving family members, emotion is not the same as evidence, and belief in the guilt of the defendant is not enough to carry a lawsuit through trial. Wrongful death claims are complex actions, and there are at least three things you should know before you file a suit.

  1. Application

The term wrongful death is not applicable to every situation where a death occurs. The use of a wrongful death claim can typically be siphoned down to three instances: intentional killing, medical malpractice and negligent accidents. While criminal trials are usually held for murderers, it is possible that a person can be found innocent at a criminal proceeding and found guilty in a civil action. For example, O.J. Simpson was sued for wrongful death after being found not guilty in criminal court. Therefore, it is apparent that the burden of proof is not as high in civil matters. You can also file suit against medical professionals if you feel that their professional negligence led to your loved one’s death. Last, a wrongful death claim can be filed when someone’s negligence results in an accident that takes the life of your loved one.

  1. Proof

While a civil case may not require the same level of evidence as a criminal trial, these cases still depend on evidence to determine liability and fault. However, the burden of proof is on the family in these trials. Therefore, you must show that the defendant had a duty of care for your loved one. You must demonstrate how they breached that duty, causing your loved one’s untimely death. Then, you must show how their death caused the need for the recovery you are seeking. An attorney should be able to help you put together all the necessary pieces of evidence.

  1. Filing

It is necessary to note that not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. The suit must be brought forth by the family directly or a representative of the decedent’s estate. Spouses are the most common claimants. However, parents or even siblings can also file. Although, while extended family might also be permitted to file, cases are harder to argue the more distant the relationship.

A wrongful death claim is a legal action that requires evidence to succeed. It is necessary for relatives to only file a claim when their case meets the burden of proof mentioned above. Contact a wrongful death attorney in Houston, TX for more information and insight.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and understanding wrongful death.