August 29, 2019

What Is a Trust?

 

According to national statistics, more than half of the adults in this country do not have an estate plan in place to address what should happen to their assets when they die. And the majority of those who do, only have wills. But as a trust attorney can explain, there are many estate planning tools that are available which can ensure your family’s future will be secure even when you are not longer here.

One such tool is a trust. There are several different types of trust, but many people stay away from using trusts as an estate planning tool because they are unsure of how trusts work or they are under the misconception that only the rich uses trusts and you have to be wealthy in order to set one up. The truth is that the majority of people can benefit in having some type of trust in place.

How Do Trusts Work?

When a person establishes a will, they give instructions on how their property should be distributed upon their death. A trust can do the same thing, but the process is different. The person creating the trust is referred to as the grantor or the testator. The person who receives the contents of the trust is called the beneficiary. The person who is in charge of managing the grantor’s assets and distributing them to the beneficiary is referred to as the trustee.

Often the grantor will appoint themselves as trustee and this way they maintain complete control over the assets of the trust. They then appoint a secondary trustee who will make sure the assets are distributed per the grantor’s instructions when the grantor passes away.

Trusts offer many more benefits over just having wills. As a grantor, you still have complete control over the assets in the trust. For example, if you plan on leaving all of your assets to your adult child but feel that they are not mature enough to handle receiving all of those funds at once, a trust allows you to set up stipulations as to how and when they will get funds from the trust.

Having a trust also means there is no probate for the assets that are held in the trust like there is for wills. This serves multiple purposes. Probated wills are available to the public, which means anyone will be able to find out how much money is in the estate and who the beneficiaries are. Trusts information are not available to the public. The probate process also takes approximately one year and involves legal expenses, as well.

Trusts also protect the beneficiary from any creditor or divorce actions that could result in seizure of the inherited assets.

Contact a Trust Attorney Today

If you would like to learn more about the different trusts available and how trusts can be used in your estate plans, contact a trust attorney in Sacramento, CA today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and what a trust is. 

 

 

August 16, 2019

How Long Do I Have To File a Claim?

Car Accident Lawyer

If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, there is an important aspect you need to understand. It is called the statute of limitations. This is essentially your time limit to file your lawsuit. If you wait too long, you will not be able to file, and if you try to file a lawsuit then it will be thrown out. If you want to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know exactly how much time you have. This guide will go over everything you need to know, but it is also a good idea to speak with a personal injury lawyer in St. Paul, MN to learn more.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?

It is easy to understand the concept of a time limit on your lawsuit, but there are two aspects that many people do not fully understand. First, the statute of limitations begins counting down at the time of the injury. All the time you spend recovering from the injury is included in the statute of limitations. Luckily, it is always at least a year long, so you have plenty of time to recover.

Second, the statute of limitations is how much time you have to file your case. The lawsuit does not need to be finished within that time frame. It can take months for a lawsuit to conclude, so you do not need to worry about yours extending beyond the statute of limitations. However, it does take a few days to file a lawsuit, so do not think you can wait until the very last minute to file.

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations?

The exact length of the statute of limitations varies from one state to the next. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is:

  • One year in three states
  • Two years in 23 states
  • Three years in 16 states
  • Four years in four states
  • Five years in one state
  • Six years in three states

What Are the Exceptions?

Some states do have exceptions to the statute of limitations, which allow lawsuits to be filed after they are expired. The exceptions vary greatly from one state to the next, but the biggest exception is called the discovery rule. Essentially, in the unlikely event that it does not happen at the same time as when the injury is sustained, the statute of limitations does not begin counting down until the injury or responsible party are discovered. This is a bit of leniency to help in unusual cases.


Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and how long you have to file.

August 7, 2019

Medical Malpractice – What Is It Worth?

Medical Malpractice Attorney Chicago, IL

No amount of money can reverse time. No amount of money can erase a memory or reality of pain. If only we could ask for a reversal of the circumstances instead of a monetary settlement. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. Medical malpractice happens and it happens too often. In 2012, over $3 billion was paid out in medical malpractice settlements. With the rate of surgeries growing, it only makes sense that mistakes will also increase. If you or your family member has been injured from a medical procedure involving errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management, there are a few factors that determine whether or not medical malpractice may be the cause: improper or insufficient standard of care, injury as a result of negligence and the considerable damage has been done. Considerable damage is:

  • suffering
  • enduring hardship
  • constant pain
  • considerable loss of income
  • disability

Types of Damages

Three categories of damages can be paid to the victim or plaintiff in a medical malpractice case.

General Damages

General damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the patient’s loss and suffering, such as:

  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • physical and mental pain and suffering
  • loss of future earning capacity 

Frequently, this requires expert testimony to help determine the scope of damages, particularly in determining future earnings lost.

Special Damages

Special damages are to reimburse the victim for present and future medical bills and other expenses like home health care, durable medical equipment (DME) and physical therapy.

Punitive Damages

This category requires proof that the actions of the doctor or medical practitioner were willful and malicious or that they knew that their actions would cause injury.

Wrongful Death

These cases are filed by the family members of the deceased. Also known as survival action, damages cover loss of support, consortium, companionship and guidance.

Mitigating Factors

Damage Caps

In State Farm v. Campbell (2003), the court ruled that punitive damages cannot exceed damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries by a nine to one ratio.

Pre-existing Conditions

If the victim or plaintiff has a pre-existing medical condition that was made worse by the action of the physician, then it can reduce the amount of the award.

Patient Negligence

In the event that it is proven that the plaintiff failed to follow the doctor’s instructions, leading to the injury, then the damage award may be reduced.

If you or your family member has suffered injury or loss of life due to medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago, IL at  The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC so that you know your rights and the damages that can be recovered.

August 6, 2019

Recovering for Pain and Suffering – Beyond  Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve become sick or been injured because of something that happened on the job, the consequences may be more severe than just paying your medical bills and wages for lost time. Unfortunately, worker’s compensation is limited in what it pays for, and you may have to take additional steps to recover these expenses.

Why Doesn’t Worker’s Compensation Pay for Pain and Suffering?

Worker’s compensation laws are a trade-off.  Employers have an obligation to pay for the costs of medical care and, in most cases, lost wages, regardless of liability. Even if an employee is responsible for their own sickness or injury, the employer still has to pay. In return, employer’s liability as to pain and suffering is waived.

Worker’s Compensation Does Pay for Permanent Disability

However, you may be entitled to compensation for permanent disabilities under worker’s compensation law. For example, if an injury caused you 20 percent loss of strength or dexterity in an arm, there is a formula to determine an award you would receive for future lost income potential. If you suspect that you might have any permanent disability due to an incident at work, you may want to consult an attorney to ensure that you are receiving just compensation.

What Are Your Options to Recover for Pain and Suffering?

Even though worker’s compensation doesn’t cover pain and suffering, this doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless. In many cases where there is a severe illness or injury, there are some additional circumstances that might allow you to recover that compensation.

  1. Your employer may have failed to secure adequate worker’s compensation. If the coverage is not adequate, you may be able to sue your employer for this reason.
  2. Your employer may have caused your illness or injury through gross negligence or intentionally. For example, if your employer knew that you were working with hazardous substances, but didn’t provide protective equipment, this situation might qualify as something you could bring an action for. If your employer struck you, this would also be a comparable situation.
  3. A third party may be responsible for your pain and suffering, even though the event happened on the job. If you were in a car accident while on company business and you were struck by a drunk driver, you could sue the driver for pain and suffering.

You should not assume that you are not entitled to other damages, nor should you take the word of insurance companies on this matter. Contact work injury lawyers in Milwaukee, WI if you feel you might be entitled to pain and suffering compensation.


Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and recovering from pain and suffering.

August 3, 2019

How Do You Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Accident in Georgia?

Personal Injury Lawyer

When a car collides with a pedestrian, the injured pedestrian is entitled to seek compensation from the driver. A successful insurance claim will require proof that the driver was negligent.

Drivers are negligent when they drive carelessly. Looking at a smartphone screen instead of watching for pedestrians in the road is an example of negligence. Disobedience of a traffic safely law (such as speeding or running a red light) is usually sufficient evidence that the driver was negligent.

Allocating Fault in a Georgia Pedestrian Accident

Georgia law allows an injured pedestrian to recover compensation from a negligent driver unless the pedestrian was more negligent than the driver. For example, a pedestrian who unexpectedly darted into a busy highway might be more negligent than a driver who failed to stop in time to avoid a collision.

Georgia’s comparative negligence law requires a jury to assess the fault of both the driver and the pedestrian. If the driver’s fault was greater than the pedestrian’s, the pedestrian recovers compensation in proportion to his or her share of fault. For example, if the jury finds an injured pedestrian to be 40% at fault, the court will award 40% of full compensation to the pedestrian.

Georgia pedestrian accident lawyers present evidence at trial to prove the driver’s fault. While the lawyer will conduct a thorough accident investigation, there are many things an injured pedestrian can do to gather or preserve the evidence that will be needed at trial.

Working with the Police to Determine Fault in a Georgia Pedestrian Accident

Injury victims who are not taken to an emergency room in an ambulance may be able to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. Hit-and-run victims should try to get the license plate number of the car that hit them. Calling the police immediately and describing the car while it is still fresh in the victim’s memory may enable officers to identify the negligent driver.

Even if the driver obeys the law and remains at the accident scene, it is important to call the police. Georgia law requires every accident that causes an injury to be reported. 

The officer who responds will conduct an initial investigation and will prepare a report. The injury victim and his or her lawyer will be able to obtain a copy of that report. It is important to review the report to make sure it is accurate. Most officers are willing to correct mistakes if it is clear that they made an error.

The accident report will contain important information, including the driver’s name, address, and insurance company. The officer might also draw a diagram of the accident scene. If witnesses observed the accident, the officer should include their names and telephone numbers in the report. 

The officer who investigates will probably provide a card with the accident number. Accident victims should give that card to their attorney as soon as possible. 

Obtaining Other Evidence to Prove Fault in a Georgia Pedestrian Accident

Since witnesses might not wait for the officer to arrive, it is helpful for the accident victim to ask them for their names and numbers before they have a chance to leave. Most witnesses are happy to provide that information to an injured pedestrian.

Before leaving the accident scene, try to pinpoint exactly where the collision occurred. If you have a smartphone or access to a camera, take a picture of that spot. Also take pictures of the vehicle that was involved in the collision, including dents or scratches that might indicate the part of the vehicle that struck your body.

Your pedestrian accident lawyer in Atlanta, GA will want to investigate the accident as quickly as possible. You can help that investigation by explaining the accident to your lawyer while the details are still fresh in your mind. Delay in contacting a lawyer may allow important evidence to be lost.


Thanks to Butler Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and determining fault for a pedestrian accident.