Why do Personal Injury Claims take a long time to resolve?

 

 

There are several reasons why a personal injury claim may take several weeks to months to resolve.

 

  1. Your personal injury claim is contingent on your bodily injuries. Sometimes a person is highly injured due to a fall or car wreck. Those injuries may take months to heal. Considering the treatment and the doctors involved, personal injury attorneys may chose to wait until your treatment is complete to order all medical records and bills to send to the other party’s insurance company.
  2. Medical records and bills retrieval takes a long time. Some hospitals and doctor’s offices take weeks to get the medicals records and bills to the requesting attorney. The attorney, like a personal injury or car accident lawyer Arlington TX trusts, also has to ensure that the records received are complete.
  3. Review of Medical Records is a must. Personal injury attorneys, via their paralegal or assistants, have to review all of the records and bills to ensure the information they seek is in the records. In order to meet the causation element of the negligence claim, the attorney should be able to prove that all of the injuries claimed are related to the incident. Medical records (doctor’s notes) are the best way to prove that element.
  4. Drafting a demand. Depending on a particular law firm’s demand drafting requirements, it may take a few days to draft a demand. Some law firms only include a couple of pages of information in their demands, while others thoroughly review and include all medical treatment information related to the incident to ensure a readable summary for the adjuster to consider.
  5. Correspondence with insurance company. Adjusters typically handle bodily injuries claim for traditional insurance companies. In a commercial policy case, an attorney may handle. Every adjuster has several hundred bodily injury claims they handle for the insurance company. Sometimes it takes them a couple of weeks to get back to the attorney’s office with an offer or denial of a claim.
  6. God forbid, litigation. If an offer is a low-ball offer, or complete denial, and your attorney recommends that you file suit in order to get compensated for your claim, that could take at least 1-2 years, if not longer, to come to a close. Litigation runs on 5 different calendars – your attorney’s, yours, opposing attorney’s, opposing party’s, and finally, the Court’s calendar. You can only imagine how hard it might be to get everyone on the same date together to litigate your matter, as well as conduct hearings and mediations.

 

brandy-austin-law-firmThanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims.

 

What is Forensic Accident Reconstruction?

Car accidents have risen significantly over the last few years. In Arizona, there was a 6% increase in deaths caused by car crashes last year alone! Forensic accident reconstruction gives lawyers the ability to examine for negligence by either party that caused an accident. Reconstruction of an accident quickly became a vital part in personal injury claims, because now there are experts that are trained with the latest software that can recreate a car accident. 3D technology is used in order to reconstruct a car crash. Whatever the findings are, they may be used in order to confirm a witness is telling the truth, determine any flaws within a witness’s testimony, show impact related to injury, and even in some cases determine fault. Forensic accident is most commonly used in pedestrian related car accidents.  Determining the force of the impact and assessing the crash in all five kinds of pedestrian accidents, like fender accidents, forward projection accidents, roof vault accidents, somersault accidents and wrap trajectory accidents is very beneficial. Another common accident that forensic accident reconstructions helps with a lot is car accidents between cars and larger vehicles like buses or semi trucks. Often times, the sheer size of the truck or bus, their center of gravity being higher, and their momentum are all taken into account when forensic accident reconstruction techs determine the severity of impact.

 

Injuries That May Require a Personal Injury Attorney

 

There are many injuries that may require the aid of a personal injury attorney. Injuries that are especially severe or serious, like if your leg was broken or you incurred horrible back pain. A personal injury attorney can help you get compensation for medical expenses for the past, present and future. Injuries that cause you permanent damage or result in your being permanently disabled will definitely require an attorney. A personal injury attorney will fight for lost wages, emotional damages, and medical expenses to ensure that you get the most you receive in a settlement. You may also need to obtain an attorney if your insurance company declines to offer any monetary compensation.

 

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

 

It is important that you hire an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Fort Collins CO can count on, rather than pursue a settlement alone because personal injury claims can be very complicated when it comes to forensic accident reconstruction. If you do not have an attorney, you will most likely not receive any accident reconstruction and fault may be placed on you.

 

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

Ways To Avoid Probate

 

Trying to determine your deceased loved one’s last wishes can be challenging if they did not leave behind a will or estate plan. Resolving their financial and legal affairs can be tedious and stress inducing. Probate can be a positive thing if the deceased did not leave behind a will. Usually, the probate process goes pretty smoothly for all beneficiaries. The deceased’s will can be legitimized by the court and their money and property are distributed to beneficiaries or closest relatives. Usually, in bigger cases where an estate is larger, or a will is challenged by an outside individual, probate can be quite costly.

Avoiding Probate

If you create a living trust or will, you can avoid probate automatically by transferring the ownership of your assets to a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. When you pass, your beneficiary has the legal authority divide your assets to whomever they see fit. Once you write a trust and pass away, your property is no longer considered yours and not part of your estate. It is vital that you remember that while assets are written in the trust, they may be liable to undergo estate taxes. Usually, joint ownership is shared with the deceased’s wife or husband, but it is not mandatory that this is so. Sometimes joint custody of a vehicle or property is shared with a close friend. When an individual passes, whoever they are sharing joint ownership receives sole ownership. Many people make the choice to divide their assets before they die in a will. If you want to avoid probate, you should consider gifting a beneficiary with an asset. Just be sure to keep in mind that costly gifts may be subjected to gift taxes. Insurance policies and retirement accounts will require the deceased to have to designated a beneficiary in order for the funds to be claimed. Usually the beneficiary is the husband or wife of the deceased, and if not then the child or grandchild. The only thing that would need to be presented is the deceased’s death certificate and the beneficiary’s government issued identification.

Contact an Attorney

You should consider contacting an estate planning lawyer  such as the Estate Planning Attorney Scottsdale AZ locals trust so that they can help you to write an estate plan or will. They can give you information specific to your current state’s laws, guide you through more ways to avoid probate and further explain the probate process to you.

 

Arizona Estate Planning AttorneyThanks to authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate and Probate Law.

Personal Injury — Wrongful Death From Hurricane Season

During hurricane season, anything could happen and anything does happen.  Everyone takes precautions to ensure that both they and their family members are safe.  Despite the countless warnings and alerts, some people were either unable to leave their homes.  While all of the consideration was taken to ensure that everyone was safe, incidents occurred that superseded the expectation of meteorologists and lay people alike.  Downed power lines, flooding, and falling trees were just a few of the complications brought on by the storm.  The elderly and children were likely the most vulnerable in that they are the ones most likely to need assistance.  The storm preparation included evacuating areas where flooding was likely, getting perishable food and water from the store, and securing flashlights and batteries in the event of power outages.

For example, with the recent storms and the loss of power, countless entities got involved to ensure that those who could not take care of themselves were aided.  Despite the countless measures that were taken, there were still people who were either left alone or left alone too long and subsequently succumbed to injuries.  While it is an unfortunate situation, this is a situation where someone was failed and accountability must be imposed.  If you or someone you know lost a loved one due to the negligence or absence of care of a nursing home or medical care facility, you may need to speak with an attorney.

 

The only way to be certain of the laws in your state and to quickly have the situation accessed, you must reach out to an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on, in your area who can better advise you on the matter.  An attorney will be able to better explain your rights.  Any entity deemed responsible for the loss of a loved one due to negligence or poor care, an attorney can aid you with addressing the matter and moving forward to gain both clarity and seek compensation for the loss.  If you or someone you know has recently experienced a loss due to the negligence of someone else, an attorney with wrongful death or personal injury experience will be able to review the facts of the case and direct you on what will happen next.   Your attorney will be able pinpoint the issue, determine what your options are, and with your help, devise a course of action that will aid in getting you the compensation you deserve.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death.

 

 

Creating an Estate Plan When You Have Young Children

 

Estate planning is the farthest thing from your mind when you are a new family just starting out. As a young family, you may not be considering an estate plan as you don’t have as many assets that would need to be sorted out if you were to pass. One important thing that may have slipped your mind is the importance of estate plan so there is a plan for your children should you pass away unexpectedly. There are many things  that must be taken into consideration when creating an estate plan to include your minor children.

 

Who Will Raise Your Children?

The primary reason to create an estate plan is so that there is a legal document outlining who will take care of your children if you were to pass away. As difficult as it may be to consider such a tragedy, failure to make a plan around this will put the decision in the hands of the state if you and your partner were to die at the same time. Your loved ones know you and your children best. Wouldn’t you prefer that they managed the process as opposed to the courts?

Both you and your loved ones will feel more at ease knowing that you have identified caregivers for your children outlined in your estate plan. Without a plan in place, your family may argue over who will take care of your children. If you were to pass away, and both you and your spouse had parents, it’s highly likely that they would fight over who would take care of the children. Planning for this well in advance, will give you the opportunity to go over your final wishes with them. Doing this, will save the family from a potential custody battle.

 

How Will Your Assets be Managed?

More than likely, your child will stand to inherit assets that you may have. Naming someone to manage your assets until your minor child comes of age is important. The state will step in if you do not have a plan in place. You will be able to include stipulations with your assets. For example, money in a specified account can be put away only to be used for your child’s education. It can be a lengthy process if the court is responsible for your assets, as this would require that the court be petitioned each time funds are needed.

 

When Will Your Children Inherit Your Assets?

A big decision you will need to make is when your child will be able to access their inheritance. This is a personal decision that is different for everyone. Some believe that 18 is the appropriate age, while others think it is best to wait until a child reaches the age of 21. You could even wait longer, until they are married, to give them access to their inheritance. With an estate plan, you will be able to specify when you believe they should have access to the account you set up.   

 

An experienced attorney such as the living trust lawyers Phoenix, AZ locals trust can be useful in providing you with guidance information on how to develops an estate plan when you have children who are minors.

 

Kamper Estrada LLPThanks to authors at Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into Personal Injury Law

Including a Personal Injury Settlement Award in an Estate Plan

Permanent and long-term consequences can sometimes be at the hands of irresponsible individuals when someone is injured. Personal injury attorneys can provide valuable consultation to help the victim weigh their options to provide guidance that is in their best interest.

Ongoing medical attention may be needed to rehabilitate a victim’s injury, along with pain and suffering. It is normal for questions to arise as the victim is in the recovery process. Their best interests can be better protected when the victim spends time understanding and weighing his or her options.

When another person’s negligence was the result of the accident, it can leave a victim feeling terrified, confused and frustrated. Chances of receiving compensation to the victim with the guidance of a well versed attorney can help to soften the blow.

Personal Injury Lawsuit and Damages

The type of accident or severity of the injury in a personal injury case has a direct impact on the amount of money awarded to the victim. The majority of states, in efforts to deter from victims seeking out wrongful compensation, have caps on the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded. In some states when there is a financial loss of more than $50,000, the victim injured in the car crash may only be awarded monetary damages.

Personal Injury Settlements and Estate Planning

At times, life can throw unexpected curve balls. Being the victim of a serious injury can push people to plan for their inheritors after they pass away. When you are clear about your final wishes by making planful and mindful arrangements regarding the distribution of your settlement, beneficiaries will prosper. When including a personal injury settlement in estate planning, many choose to utilize an estate planning attorney as the process can be complex. An attorney, like a skilled Sacramento estate planning lawyer, can help to ensure that your estate does not become a burden tax wise for your heirs. Accessing an attorney well versed in this area of practice will help you to have an idea of available estate planning options.

Yee Law Group Sacramento Probate Attorneys and Estate PlanningThanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and personal injury practice.

The Nature and Purpose of a Personal Injury Award | Eric H. Luckman Law

The impact of a personal injury and loss can weigh heavily on a marriage. At times, a divorce can arise out of the aftermath of a tragic incident. Divorce may also be a fact of life that has nothing to do with a personal injury case. In any case, the question may arise as to what happens to the proceeds of an injury settlement or award in divorce. There is a range of law and opinion in community property and common law property states. Community property states presume all the assets of a marriage are community property, which could include a personal injury award. To override the presumption that your spouse will receive half of your injury award, there are several steps you can take to separate proceeds from a personal injury award. Consulting with a Personal Injury lawyer such as the Family Lawyer Collin County TX locals trust can help assist with this process.

The nature and purpose of a personal injury award

One day you may be driving along your route to work or the local grocery store when you are struck by an eighteen-wheeler and suffer significant injuries. You may be unable to walk, work or do much of anything for a short time or forever based on the extent and permanence of your injuries. When you are an income earner supporting a marriage, the loss of wages certainly affects household income and everyone in a marriage and family may suffer. The loss of the vehicle and other property also affects your spouse and any children.

Aside from lost wages and property damage, personal injury damages include pain and suffering, medical and hospital bills, disfigurement and loss of companionship. What if you need to pay for wheel chair ramps, catheters, home healthcare and wheel chairs for the rest of your life? The purpose of a personal injury award is not to create a windfall or annuity for your family, it should be compensation for your current and ongoing personal loss and expenses.

To protect your right to your personal injury settlement or award, consider the following list of strategies you can use to keep your compensation separate from being divided as community property in the event of divorce:

  1. Coordinate with your personal injury and divorce attorney if possible.

Your personal injury case may take years to settle and a divorce can be finalized in a matter of months. There are no guarantees of the outcome of an injury case and whatever future money you may receive from an injury case should not be part of the divorce and should not delay the finalization of your divorce. Also, your opposing divorce counsel might want you to hurry up and settle your injury case but they cannot force you to do so. Let your personal injury attorney know if you are currently in a divorce or if it is something you reasonably believe may occur.

  1. Incorporate detailed language in settlement agreements to identify separate property.

When your personal injury attorney negotiates a settlement or where the jury awards money in an injury case, it is important to specifically identify how a lump sum or structured settlement is allocated. Identifying property damage and lost wage compensation individually is helpful in a divorce to the extent that money is viewed as community property subject to equal division. Likewise, your pain and suffering, disfigurement and future medical and special damages are personal and when identified as such, you may be in a better position to have those monies separated from the marital estate in a divorce.

  1. Negotiate an agreement with your spouse to acknowledge separate property.

Like the conversation one would have in negotiating a prenuptial agreement, you can ask your spouse to sign an agreement acknowledging that part or all your personal injury award be considered separate property in which your spouse may have no claim. If you are contemplating or are already in a divorce, this conversation may be sensitive. It is something worth considering because such an acknowledgement would provide certainty to this issue.

  1. Avoid commingling the proceeds of an injury award.

If you consulted your attorneys as suggested, they may advise you to not spend any marital money on costs and expenses involved in personal injury. Keep it all separate. When you do receive an award or settlement, regardless of whether you are in divorce or contemplating one, deposit your money in a separate personal bank account. The more efforts you take to identify separate money derived from your personal injury, the better your chances are that you may be able to retain that money in divorce instead of it being divided with your spouse.

  1. Create a trust to shelter personal injury money.

A great way to hold your injury award money is to lock it down in a trust. There are revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts that shelter your money in a bank or with an attorney who serves as the trustee for dispensing the money to named beneficiaries such as yourself and possibly your children. Trust proceeds are distributed in accordance with the conditions and instructions in the trust document. An opposing counsel in a divorce is going to have a more difficult time persuading a judge to crack into a well-established trust.

Despite efforts to identify and keep your injury award money separate from division in divorce, you may be at the mercy of the laws and judicial propensities in the state and county where you reside and where your divorce may be litigated. Local attorneys know what you can expect, which may vary from state to state, and from county to county. It is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney experienced in complex divorce and financial matters.

Scroggins Family Law A special thanks to authors at Scroggins Family Law for their insight into Personal Injury and Family Law.

The Value of Hiring a Financial Advisor After Receiving a Personal Injury Settlement

At the end of a personal injury case, an injured victim may be awarded a large sum of money. Depending on the circumstances in the case, that award could be worth millions of dollars. For some people, that is more money than they have ever had in their life. Therefore, it may be a good idea to hire a financial adviser to help manage that windfall.

That May Be the Last Paycheck You Ever See

If you are unable to work because of the injuries in an accident, the settlement or jury award that you receive may be the only money that you receive for the rest of your life. Therefore, you will need to make that cash last for however much longer you expect to live. A financial adviser may be able to help you invest that money to ensure that you have enough to live on for the next several years or decades.

The Money Could Be Subject to Taxes

The money that you receive could be subject to state and federal income taxes which will reduce the amount that you actually get to spend. With the help of a financial adviser, it may be possible to put the award money into tax-efficient entities that reduce this burden. It may also be possible to transfer it into investments that produce income that is taxed at a lower rate or is exempt from taxes altogether.

The Settlement Could Jeopardize Access to Government Benefits

By putting the money into a trust, it may be easier to retain access to government benefits such as social security disability insurance. You may also find it easier to access Medicare or Medicaid benefits by keeping settlement money separate from your estate. Typically, you can put the money into a living trust, which gives you control of your money without having to use it to repay the government.

Keep the Money from Creditors

In most cases, the money that you receive from a personal injury settlement can’t be seized by creditors. However, putting your money into a trust might make it more difficult for anyone to access it for a past due debt. Depending on what the debt is and who the creditor is, an irrevocable trust may offer the most protection.

Pass the Money to Future Generations

A financial adviser may be able to explain how to pass money from a personal injury settlement to future generations. Once again, you may opt to put the money in a trust as it gives you more control over how it is used. However, it may be possible to include provisions for how the money is to be transferred in your will.

If you keep your money in a bank or in an investment portfolio, you will likely have the option to name your children or others as beneficiaries to those accounts. In this scenario, your beneficiaries generally do nothing more than present your death certificate to have the account transferred into their name.

While no one wants to be hurt in an accident, it could result in a significant financial award. To ensure that the money is able to last as long as you do, it is important to talk with a financial advisor such as the Financial Advisor Gaithersburg MD locals trust. This person may be able to give you many different tips and strategies to help you make the most of the rest of your life.

CIC Wealth ManagementA special thanks to authors at CIC Wealth Management for their insight into Financial Advising.

 

How to Report Elder Abuse

When you place an aging loved one under the care of someone else, you assume that he or she will be well cared for. And, while that is sometimes the case, it is also true that many elderly people suffer from abuse by their caregivers. In fact, the National Council on Aging reports that about one in every 10 Americans aged 60 or older will experience elder abuse.

With the sad reality that abuse of elderly people is so prevalent, it is important to know how to protect your loved one. If despite your efforts to prevent it, they do suffer abuse, you’ll have a better understanding of how to stop the abuse, and your legal options.

Call 911

If your loved one was abused, is being abused, or is at risk for abuse, call 911 immediately. Explain the situation in detail and don’t be shy or hold back from sharing pertinent information. The law enforcement authority that responds can assess the situation and make a formal report. Be sure to get a copy of the police report so that you can provide it to a lawyer like a personal injury lawyer Harrisonburg VA trusts should you decide later on to file a claim or lawsuit.

Voice Your Suspicions to a Healthcare Professional

If you suspect that elder abuse is occurring to your elderly loved one in a residential care facility, tell a nurse or other healthcare professional on staff about your suspicions. However, this is typically only the best option if you live in a “mandated reporting” state. Check with an elder care attorney to be sure.

  • These are states in which certain professionals, including healthcare professionals, are required by law to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.
  • Follow up to make sure they carried out their responsibility to report it and they should provide you with proof of having done this.

Document Evidence of the Abuse

No matter how you choose to address the abuse that you suspect, be sure to document any potential evidence you may have. Taking photos of the injuries or getting written statements from the victims and/or the witnesses of the abuse can go a long way toward helping you and your loved one get the justice that you deserve.

Once you have appropriately reported and documented the abuse, be sure to seek the help and advice of an elder care or personal injury lawyer experienced with handling these types of cases. It’s important that you consider seeking legal counsel so that the abuse case is handled appropriately and your loved one can recover their damages.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into nursing home negligence and elder abuse cases.

Injuries After Motorcycle Accidents

Injuries After Motorcycle Accidents

While it is commonly known that motorcycles are exciting, yet risky to operate, did you realize that data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that motorcycle accidents cause more traffic fatalities each year in the United States than other types of vehicles. It is logical that the types of injuries that occur in a motorcycle accident are more serious because riders do not have the same protection from an impact that occupants of cars and trucks do. Without crumple zones or airbags, riders are often thrown into oncoming traffic, cement or into other hard surfaces at high speed.

The following are four of the more common severe injuries that result from motorcycle crashes:

Wearing a helmet reduces a motorcyclist’s risk of head trauma but only by a small percentage. The Centers for Disease Control report that wearing a helmet only lowers the risk of a head injury by 69 percent. More comforting, helmet use does lower the risk of death by 37 percent. As you can see, even with helmet use, serious head injuries can still occur. These can include:

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Brain hemorrhaging
  • Spinal Cord Injury

Because a motorcyclist’s body is exposed to an impact, the spinal cord can sometimes be damaged. Spinal cord injuries must be stabilized immediately to avoid further complications from developing. Victims of spinal cord injuries can temporarily lose movement and sensory abilities in part of the body. They often have chronic pain, and nerve damage that may impair key bodily functions. Victims with serious spinal injuries may experience complete or partial paralysis and may need to be in a wheelchair the rest of their lives.

Motorcyclists are often thrown off their bikes with high velocity, which commonly results in them hitting the pavement or another hard object face-first. Common facial injuries from a motorcycle crash include:

  • Broken cheekbones
  • Broken nose
  • Damage to the teeth
  • Broken jaw
  • Eye injuries

Motorcyclists sometimes try to catch themselves to avoid face injuries, but the impact often breaks their limbs, wrists, hands or a combination of these. Facial injuries require extensive and costly treatment and can cause lasting facial damage and scarring. Often expensive dental procedures are also required.

Because the injuries in a motorcycle crash can be so severe, anyone who has suffered injuries should speak with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer such as the Bicycle accident lawyer Chicago IL locals trust to discuss their legal rights.

The Law Offices of Konrad SherinianThanks to our authors at The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into Personal Injury Law.