Tag: Personal Injury Lawyer

Can Heirs Recover Punitive Damages Against a Driver Who Causes Death?

Personal Injury Lawyer

When your loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you have the right to sue that person for your loved one’s wrongful death. If the death resulted from injuries your loved one sustained in a motor vehicle accident, you would sue the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.

Wrongful death is a civil action, meaning that money damages are the only thing you can recover from the defendant if you win your lawsuit. While no amount of money can make up for losing your loved one, many family members find that winning a wrongful death lawsuit gives them not only a sense of closure, but also a sense that the defendant received justice, at least financially.

Types of Damages

Generally, you can recover two types of damages in a wrongful death suit: economic and noneconomic. Your economic damages consist of such things as bills you actually paid on the decedent’s behalf, including ambulance bills, hospital bills, funeral bills, and more. Your noneconomic damages are more subjective, but no less real. For instance, noneconomic damages include such things as the following:

  • Your loss of your loved one’s support
  • Your loss of his or her companionship
  • Your loss of his or her advice and counsel
  • Your mental and emotional anguish over his or her death

Punitive Damages

In some situations, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. These are damages that a court awards you above and beyond your economic and noneconomic damages. Their purpose is to punish the defendant, not to compensate you for your losses. 

Courts don’t always award punitive damages. In fact, it’s the exception rather than the rule. To receive this type of an award, you will need to present clear and convincing evidence at trial that the defendant’s actions or failure to act that caused the accident were deliberate, willful, wanton, or reckless. In other words, was he or she driving drunk? Was he or she driving at an excessive speed? Was his or her behavior particularly egregious?

Why You Need an Attorney

Each state has its own laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits. This is why you need to consult with a lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC. He or she will know the specific laws that apply to your state, such as which family members can file such a suit, how long you have after the death to file, and whether or not it sets limits on the amount of damages you can recover.

When Can You File a Lawsuit for Injuries Due to Medication Use?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Most Americans use prescription or over-the-counter medications to help them feel better. When you are prescribed a drug by your doctor or you pick up medicine from the local pharmacy, you expect that the medicine will not harm you. Everyone knows that drugs can have some side-effects. Usually, your pharmacist will warn you of these effects. In general, side effects are mild. The deadly or more severe side effects are extremely rare.

What happens if you suffer a serious injury or illness due to the drugs that you took? If the medicine turns out to be unsafe, you may be wondering what you can do. After all, a serious injury or illness could compromise your job, your ability to make an income, and force you into medical debt.

Medication Effects

It can take years to find out all of the side-effects of a medication. If you are taking medication and you wind up with a serious illness, you could have a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Sometimes, medicine will be released to the public and later it is found that it causes serious illnesses. These dangerous medicines may be recalled. If recalled, you still have a case. 

Unfortunately, not all medications with severe side effects are recalled. A lawyer can help discuss whether your illness or medication qualifies for you to file a personal injury lawsuit. With dangerous drug cases, the drug companies also have legal teams, so you need a lawyer to help fight against them.

Pharmacy Errors

Sometimes, the pharmacy can make mistakes. Did the pharmacy fail to flag a medication that interacts poorly with another medication that you are on? Pharmacists tend to have patient records on file. They will have access to your other medications and also your list of allergies. If you are prescribed something with an ingredient that you are allergic to or a medicine that will have a severe side effect due to interactions with other medicine, then you may have a case against the pharmacy.

If you took medication for an illness and ended up worse afterward or with a new illness or injury, then you may have a personal injury case against the doctor, pharmacist, or drug manufacturer. When it comes to personal injury lawsuits in the medical field, it can become very complicated, so it’s important to have someone on your side who knows about personal injury law. Set up a consultation with a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, as soon as possible.

The Cost of Divorce: What You Need to Know

Personal Injury Lawyer

Divorces have the potential to wreak emotional havoc on a couple, but they can also cause problems financially. Many people on the verge of getting a divorce wonder how much it will cost them by the time the divorce is finalized. The answer is usually never straightforward at the beginning, and every divorce contains different aspects that will affect the final cost. Here are things to carefully look at to better understand how much your divorce may cost.

Time

Depending on the amicability between the two spouses, some divorces can be wrapped up rather quickly and without fuss. Others can take a very long time to settle, and the more complications involved, the longer the case will be dragged out. Of course, time equals money, and the longer you need to hire a lawyer to reach a settlement, the more you’ll pay in the end.

Property and Investments

You may end up paying more to split up shared property and investments between you and your spouse. You may also have to settle debt owed between the two of you, and these matters need to be settled fairly and equally. Sorting this out can take time and cost more.

Trial Versus No Trial

The numbers for the average cost of overall divorce expenses can become skewed by the small few who pay above-average amounts for their divorces. Oftentimes, cases that settle out of court cost less than those that need to go to trial, which is why it is always encouraged to try to find a compromising ground without a court’s intervention. Those who go to court may pay twice as much as those who settle out of court. To give you an idea of overall cost, the median average of a divorce case can fall between $5,000 and $7,000, though some people pay over $10,000 and others less than $5,000 depending on their situation.

Lawyers

The cost for lawyers can vary widely depending on where you live and the experience of your lawyer. On average, many people pay between $200 and $300 per hour for a divorce lawyer. However, in some regions, such as metropolitan areas, the cost can be as high as $400. A more experienced lawyer generally costs more than a less experienced one.

In the end, the cost of your divorce comes down to individual factors. Discussing your case with an attorney can help you estimate how much your divorce may cost and if you should hire legal help.  Contact a local divorce lawyer in New York, NY, like the Kleyman Law Firm to schedule a consultation and discuss your best path forward.

6 Documents Your Should Bring When Meeting a Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury attorney can help you determine the compensation or damages you should seek during settlement negotiations or trial. They can also help you understand if your case is worth taking to court. However, to determine the value of your claim, the lawyer will need to review specific documents — six to be exact.

  1. Identifying Documentation

While it may seem redundant, you will need to not only introduce yourself to the attorney but also show some form of identifying documentation, like a driver’s license. An attorney must verify that you are who you say you are before discussing the specifics of a potential claim. Once you are verified, you and the lawyer can begin discussing the specifics of your accident.

  1. Police or Incident Report

One of the first pieces of information a lawyer will want to see is the police or incident report, which discusses the cause of the accident. An attorney wants to evaluate your liability or responsibility in the situation preliminarily. While fault laws may not matter in your state, some jurisdictions will not allow a lawsuit if the victim is even partially to blame for the incident.

  1. Photographs

Photographs of the scene and your injuries help a lawyer understand the full story. Pictures also help to corroborate your version of the events. It is encouraged that accident victims take pictures after an accident, but it is also understandable if they were unable to follow the incident.

  1. Medical Bills

An attorney will also want to get a detailed review of your medical expenses. They will want to see the out-of-pocket costs and the costs covered by your insurer. Most often, your insurance provider will expect to be repaid for coverage of injuries due to someone else’s negligence.

  1. Receipts

If you were in a motor vehicle accident or if a fall resulted in damage to personal property, then you will need to also provide the receipts for any repairs or replacement costs. Your attorney can help you determine if the expenses are valid to your claim.

  1. Lost Wage Information

Finally, if the accident forced you to miss work or lose wages, you will want to show proof of loss to the attorney. For example, if an injury has left you unable to work because of a permanent disability, then your lawyer can help you determine adequate compensation.

To allow a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Martin Wren, P.C., to give you an accurate picture of your potential compensation, you must provide them with documentation proving your costs. Contact a local personal injury attorney for help.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Bankruptcy Process

Personal Injury Lawyer

Bankruptcy can be a useful tool if you’re struggling with large amounts of debt. Most Americans file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. To file for bankruptcy, you have to be eligible. When you choose to file for bankruptcy, it may feel overwhelming at first. No doubt you’ll have your share of questions to ask.

What Is the Means Test?

The means test has a couple of different parts. The first part of the test checks your household income. Gather as much documentation as you can about your income for the last six months. Also, make sure to include any changes to your income in the last six months. For instance, if you had a high-paying job for the last six months but recently lost your job, this is an important exception. If you now have a higher-paying job, this will also be considered.

If you have a lower income than the median income, you pass the means test. If you don’t, this doesn’t mean that you can’t file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is another part of the test that you can rely on.

To start the second part of the means test, you need to document all of the expenses you’ve had for the last six months. You need to list your medical costs, clothing costs, groceries and more. These are allowable expenses. If you have a low enough disposable income, this means that you can continue forward with the Chapter 7 process. If you do not pass the means test, then you still may be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Can You Keep Your Credit Cards?

When you file for bankruptcy, you have to list all of your debts. If you have any zero balances, then you do not have to list the card. However, once you file for bankruptcy, your creditor may cancel your card anyway. In some cases, the creditor may allow you to sign a new contract, but don’t expect to keep all of your old and current cards. If you owe debts on your card, you do have to list them in the bankruptcy documents.

If you are struggling with your debts, there is a good chance that you qualify for bankruptcy. The type of bankruptcy that you’re eligible for will depend on your circumstances. To figure out whether you’re eligible for bankruptcy, set up a consultation with a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer, like the attorneys at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC as soon as possible.

What is a contingency fee?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Your personal injury case has been open for quite some time now and it’s finally the time to give out the checks to the medical facilities, to the medical professionals, to yourself, and last but not least, to your personal injury attorney. You sign a contract or get an agreement with your personal injury attorney when you first meet with them to work alongside with you. Their job is to do whatever that they can to pull through with their part in the agreement that you have with them, and in return, you don’t have to pay them with money upfront or by the hour. Contingency arrangements are usually common and are agreements that happen in most personal injury cases. Your personal injury attorney will wait until your case has come to an end until they will be able to be compensated. If your personal injury attorney meets the requirements in the agreement that you have both come to in the contract, they will be compensated with their contingency fees. A personal injury attorney will usually ask for a portion of what is paid to you, the client. Don’t confuse this with a job to repay your expenses to your personal injury attorney or the courts for filing, depositions for witnesses, or other things.

The personal injury attorney will pay money out-of-pocket on a contingency fee contract from any of the work that must be done to go forward with the lawsuit that’s going on. Your personal injury attorney will pay for a number of things such as postage of agreements, for all of the court documents that have been documented, for hiring court reporters, and for hiring people to investigate. They will typically pay anything that would help have your personal injury case result in a success.

Contingency fees are put in place to protect you from any more financial burdens than necessary. The right attorney will understand what this can mean for you and the outcome of your case and also offer this option to you. Contingency fees are more common than you think. So, should you or someone you know be involved in a personal injury incident, do not be afraid to speak with an attorney. While attorneys are typically very costly, the free consultations and contingency fees should put your mind at more ease. Contact a personal injury attorney, like from The Law Offices of Andrew R. Lynch, P.C., to discuss your options as soon as possible.

If I Don’t Agree With The Alimony Judgement, Can I Refuse To Pay?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Being forced by the court to pay your ex for alimony is certainly not the most fun thing to do. After separation, the topic of alimony can be a heated one. Especially since most couples who go their separate ways don’t want to be reminded of their ex and the last thing they want is to give them some of their money. But, the court may have determined that one person has to pay their ex alimony as a way to help the other get back onto their feet. Here we have explained why refusing to pay out of spite may end up making things worse for you in the end: 

What can I do if I think the ruling is unfair?

One thing most of us learn in life is that things aren’t always fair. If one ex isn’t happy with the verdict, instead of just refusing to pay they can appeal the judgement. It isn’t a good idea to purposefully halt payments if the outcome didn’t pan out in your favor. Failing to pay alimony after being enforced by the court may result in indirect civil contempt of court, losing your license, or even being viewed as in criminal contempt of court in some states. 

What if I can’t pay the alimony amount?

If failing to pay alimony occurs, the court may take into consideration whether that person makes enough money to afford such payments. The more severe punishments are typically reserved for exes who don’t pay but make well more than enough to satisfy the payment terms established by the court. Not paying one or a couple payments due to timing or paperwork errors is usually forgiven by the court.

However, if it appears that you are attempting to deceive the court and/or your former spouse, then chances are they won’t be very kind when it comes to repercussions. If you contact the court and notify them that you are struggling to make payments, then it shows the court you are trying to be transparent and do what you can to abide by alimony terms. 

Can I return to court to request modification?

An experienced family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, like from Robinson & Hadeed, can help you request a modification for alimony. Keep in mind that you will need to make a strong case for yourself as to why the adjustment is necessary. Be prepared to bring documentation that supports your claims and what amount you would be able to pay on a recurring basis. Some common reasons why alimony gets approved for modification include:

  • The former spouse got a new job and is now self-sufficient
  • The former spouse used to earn less during the marriage, and now earns more than the other
  • The former spouse is now living with a new partner and has someone to help support living expenses
  • The paying spouse cannot financially afford payments due to a change in job, medical condition, or injury 

What Is Equitable Distribution?

Personal Injury Lawyer

“Equitable distribution” is a legal term that comes into play when you get a divorce. What it means is that the property settlement you and your soon-to-be former spouse agree to must treat both of you fairly and impartially. Most states require this kind of a property settlement agreement.

If you live in one of the following states, however, equitable distribution is not an issue:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

These states are community property states, meaning that all marital property must be divided equally between spouses during a divorce. If you live in Alaska, you have the option of designating your marital property as community property.

How Equitable Distribution Works

If your state requires equitable distribution, you have a great deal of leeway in how you construct your property settlement agreement. You can take many things into consideration, including the following:

  • Whether one of you incurs substantial health care and prescription drug costs due to a chronic disease or medical condition
  • Whether this medical condition prevents the affected spouse from working
  • Whether one of you earns significantly more than the other
  • Whether one of you pays child support to a former spouse or partner
  • Whether one of you has an alcohol, drug, or gambling problem that causes you to dissipate assets

In other words, your property settlement need not make anything approaching an equal distribution of your marital property in order to be fair and equitable. Your own unique situation dictates which of you gets what.

Separate Property

Keep in mind that your separate property, also called nonmarital property, plays no part in your property settlement agreement whether you live in a community property or equitable distribution state. Separate property includes such things as the following:

  • Any property you acquired or owned before your marriage
  • Any property you received as an inheritance during your marriage
  • Any property you received as a personal gift during your marriage, including gifts your spouse gave you

This property is and remains yours and yours alone.

Obtaining Legal Help

Given that constructing a fair and equitable property settlement agreement can become quite complex and complicated, you would do well to retain an experienced lawyer, like a family lawyer from Scroggins Law Group, before attempting to put one together. You definitely need the advice and counsel of a competent attorney before agreeing to any property settlement your spouse urges you to sign. Your attorney knows the laws of your particular state and can protect your rights. He or she can also advise you of the tax consequences of various property settlement provisions.

Alimony and Divorce Basics

Personal Injury Lawyer

No one plans for divorce when getting married. The statistics say that around half of marriages will result in divorce at some point in their lives. That means 1 in every 2 people will need a lawyer in the future to represent their divorce case. If you or a friend or family member is heading towards divorce, it can help to get advice from a lawyer from the very start. A lawyer can protect your interests during one of the most complicated and sensitive legal processes. With emotions running high and worries for the future, it makes sense that someone would find reassurance from a lawyer who is familiar with divorce cases. 

How do I know whether I will have to pay alimony?

Spousal support, or otherwise called alimony, is not automatically enforced in most states. However, it can be ordered by a court judge based on specific circumstances. If a spouse is going to endure significant hardships without monetary support, then spousal support is likely to be considered. The ultimate deciding factor depends on what degree the spouse needs help in order to have a reasonable standard of living. The law does recognize that a spouse should not be compulsory as a result of the marriage ending. Alimony is unlikely to be approved if any of the following apply:

  • Both spouses are self-sufficient and employed
  • The duration of the marriage was less than 2-3 years
  • If the spouses can agree on alimony, then it would just need final approval from the family court judge

What does a marital settlement agreement consist of?

Essentially, a settlement agreement for divorce is going to list the terms of the separation. These terms often cover property division, plans for children, alimony, child custody, and other issues that are relevant for their divorce. The spouses can either arrange the terms of the settlement between themselves, or have a family court judge decide for them. Most spouses will be motivated to be amicable when they realize that it’s either they reach a solution together, or a court judge who isn’t in their shoes will be deciding for them.

Does reconciliation happen and can a divorce be cancelled?

Yes, marriage reconciliation does and can happen. and your spouse can cancel the divorce even if papers have been already filed. What you would need to do is request a divorce dismissal from the county clerk before a judgement has been entered. The court may send each spouse paperwork to complete, in which both would have to sign the divorce dismissal form. 

Anyone who has ever said that divorce was easy has probably never actually been through one. Thankfully, there are legal professionals who understand how difficult this life transition can be, even when things are amicable. Consider reaching out to a divorce attorney in Staten Island, NY, such as from Kleyman Law Firm, for insight if you anticipate divorce is on the horizon. 

What if my trademark is refused or opposed by another party?

Personal Injury Lawyer

You’ve applied for a trademark, and you’re eagerly awaiting a response from the USPTO. You’re certain everything will be okay because you performed an extensive search for pre-existing marks that are the same or similar. You believe your mark is strong, unique, and overall perfect. Then, you get a reply that is not what you wanted. Rather than your application being met with little resistance, it came with challenges and hurdles that you are now trying to figure out how to overcome. 

When your trademark application has been denied, opposed, or met with some other obstacle in the way from getting you an approval, you should consult an intellectual property lawyer. 

Trademark Refusal and Appeals

If the USPTO refuses your trademark application, it is your right to appeal.This is done through a process that requires you to present your appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Like other intellectual property procedures, appealing a trademark refusal is complicated. In general, you want an intellectual property lawyers’ assistance. Our firm has handled many appeals over the last few years. We can explain what is going on and help you to determine whether you should pursue an appeal. 

Opposition from Another Party

If your trademark is accepted, you must clear another hurdle. Each week, the USPTO will publish your trademark in their Official Gazette online. This is a notification to the public regarding your trademark. Once it is published, there is a 30 day period in which the public can object to your trademark. In general, an objection occurs when the mark is similar to another mark and could cause confusion. If this should occur, you would likely need to attend a proceeding with the Board to determine the fate of your trademark. 

Should the 30 day period pass, and there is no objection to it from the public, your trademark will become registered. However, it is possible for a third party to initiate a cancellation proceeding which is similar to an opposition. If you’re in either situation, you may want to ask an intellectual property lawyer for assistance. 

Maintaining Your Mark

Once your mark has been approved and registered, every few years you will need to file various documents with the USPTO. It is also possible, after so long, to ask the USPTO to make your trademark registration incontestable. This is a process that strengthens your mark.

Let an Attorney Help You

Whether you would like to apply for a trademark, file an appeal, or recieve a trademark audit, an intellectual property lawyer can help you. Their services are typically broad, and will include:

  • Trademark search
  • Filing for a trademark
  • Communicating with the USPTO
  • Appeal a trademark refusal
  • Fighting for trademark rights in the event of a dispute
  • Trademark litigation

A lawyer can help you with just about any task related to trademarks and intellectual property. To get started, call a trademark lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC