December 18, 2020

What Is an Arraignment?

When you are charged with a criminal offense you may be asked to appear in court. Usually the first appearance is called an “arraignment.” While many people have been charged with criminal offenses, they may not understand what an arraignment is. Appearing in court can be new for many people, and for that reason it could be very confusing and intimidating. This is why it is always advised to contact a criminal defense attorney to get a better understanding of what is going on with your case and what your legal options are.

 Going to Court

In some cases you may be given a ticket or a citation. That citation will tell you what you are being charged with and when your court date is. In many cases the court date is not the next weekend. Often it is around a month away. Either way, this is called the arraignment. It is the prosecution’s job to prove your guilt so you do not have to admit any guilt. The best thing to do is tell the judge you are not guilty. This will buy you time to stop around for an attorney, get another court date, and discuss your legal options to build a defense.

Every Case Is Different

Every criminal case is different and every stipulation depends on the extent of the criminal offense. Although you may say you are not guilty, the judge may give you stipulations until the next court date. Depending on the charges, you may be forced to stay in jail or in custody at home. If it is a domestic violence incident, a judge may say you are not to be in contact with the other party. Every case is different and therefore every outcome can be different as well.

Speak to a Lawyer

This is why it is best to speak with an attorney, like a criminal defense attorney from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C., as soon as possible. While your arraignment may be scheduled over 30 days away from the incident date, do not wait until the last minute. While you wait for your court date, you may already begin the process of working on your defense or even submitting a plea. If you or someone you know is currently facing criminal charges, speak with a lawyer in your area to get advice on what to do next.

December 12, 2020

4 Common Questions About Wrongful Death

When you’re in a situation in which your loved one died as a result of another’s actions, you may be beside yourself. What do you do? Where do you turn? Who can you trust? It’s not a situation you would have ever imagined yourself in, but there is something you can do about it, even if you can’t get your loved one back. 

A wrongful death lawsuit is something you can file to seek compensation from the individual or entity who caused the death. The following are some questions you may want to be answered if you’re considering a wrongful death claim. 

  1. What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is what the plaintiff (you) files against the defendant (the person who caused the death). The file will contain the reason for the claim, the evidence to back it up, and the damages you seek. A wrongful death claim could arise out of a fatal car accident, product liability, medical malpractice, or domestic abuse.

  1. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

After someone wrongfully dies, there is an order of people who can file the wrongful death lawsuit. In some states, a personal representative is the only individual able to file the lawsuit, and the settlement money would go straight into the estate. In other states, immediate family members can file the lawsuit, including a spouse or children. Parents and siblings might also be able to file the lawsuit, depending on the relationship status of the deceased. Talking with a wrongful death lawyer will help you understand the laws in your state.

  1. What Damages Can Be Sought?

Every wrongful death situation is different and will allow for different damages to be sought. If your loved one was receiving medical care between the injury that caused the death and the time of the actual death, you may be able to seek medical expenses. If you depended on the deceased’s income to care for your family, you could seek lost wages. Funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and a variety of other emotional damages could also be sought.

  1. Who Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death?

Any person or entity who causes someone’s death can typically be sued for wrongful death. There are not many who are exempt. People and entities to be sued include drivers in a car accident, product manufacturers, property owners, truck owners, government agencies, and a wide range of others.

Getting Your Lawyer’s Assistance

To get the help you need when dealing with a wrongful death, you may want to speak with a legal professional, like a wrongful death lawyer from a law firm like Johnston Martineau, LLP. Contacting a wrongful death lawyer today for assistance will help you understand and guide you through the process of making a wrongful death claim.

November 28, 2020

Some Reasons You May or May Not Want a Prenuptial Agreement

Personal Injury Lawyer

Getting married is often one of the best events of your life, and you don’t want to think about what would happen if it didn’t work out. Most people get married, intending it to last until “death do you part,” so a prenuptial agreement may not be something they’d consider. While they’ve been around for many thousands of years, not every couple gets a prenuptial agreement. Should you?

Prenuptial Agreement Benefits

You don’t want your marriage to end up in divorce, but you should also prepare for the worst case scenario when you get married. Some benefits of a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Forcing the couple to examine certain financial matters before they enter into the marriage.
  • Allowing family ties to be preserved and inheritances to stay intact.
  • Protecting children from a previous marriage or relationship.
  • Putting all expectations on the table before sealing the deal with a legal marriage.
  • Learning more about your spouse’s desires and expectations for the marriage, as well as how he or she would handle separation or divorce.
  • Allowing the couple to avoid battles and arguments over commonly fought over issues during other divorce proceedings.
  • Protecting personal assets accumulated before the marriage.
  • Determining which assets each spouse would leave to children or each other if one of them dies.

Prenuptial Agreement Pitfalls

Not every couple signs a prenuptial agreement, whether that’s due to religious beliefs or personal convictions. Some pitfalls might include:

  • The appearance of planning your divorce before you even plan your wedding.
  • A lack of commitment due to the benefits one might achieve through divorce.
  • An unromantic and uncomfortable evening of sitting down and discussing divorce when a couple is often in the midst of the most romantic period of their lives together.
  • The possibility the prenuptial agreement would be set aside due to fraud, unfairness, duress or other issues.
  • The cause of contention and resentment that lasts throughout the marriage.
  • Always having the terms and conditions in the back of your mind, even when the marriage is seemingly happy.

Hiring a Family Lawyer To Help

If you’re engaged to be married, this might be a wonderful time for you. Whether you or your future spouse want a prenuptial agreement, you have to both agree on whether it’s right or wrong for you as a couple. When you’re ready to get started, or if you want to learn more, contact a local divorce lawyer in New York, NY, like the Kleyman Law Firm to help you make those important decisions.

November 2, 2020

How Long Will It Take to Get a Divorce?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Getting divorced is a complex process that takes time. How long it takes in your case depends on many factors. In some cases, you may get through the process in as little as 3 months, but it can take 10 to 11 months in others. Some divorce cases have taken five or more years to resolve, but those cases are rare. Some of the factors that determine how long your divorce takes to resolve are out of your control. You just have to wait for the courts to get your paperwork through the process. Here are some things to consider.

An Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse agree on most things about your divorce, you may be able to file the paperwork and get your divorce finalized pretty quick. This depends on waiting periods in your state and how long it takes to bring your case before the judge. Some states have waiting periods that mandate you have to wait six months or some other time frame before your divorce can be signed off. If the courts are backlogged, it may take longer.

Mediation and a Divorce

If you and your spouse can work through your issues with a neutral third party to resolve some of the stickier issues, you may have a better time line than waiting for the court to decide the issues. When both parties want to resolve their problems, mediation can help you find solutions you might not consider on your own. The mediator drafts the resolution and may even file the paperwork. Then, you’re just waiting on the court.

Contentious Divorces

Divorces in which the parties can’t agree will take the longest. In some cases, you may ask that an arbitrator hear your case to deal with specific issues. In most cases, an arbitrator is a retired judge or family law attorney who can hear your sides then make a decision as part of your divorce. Alternatively, you could let your attorney negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to resolve the various issues. If the divorce is so contentious, you can always let the judge make a ruling. These types of divorces tend to take the longest to resolve because you may be waiting for an appointment with an arbitrator or the court.

Ask a family law attorney, like The Mckinney Law Group about the divorce timeline in your state to find a solution for your situation. The timeline for your divorce mainly depends on how well you and your spouse can resolve the issues in your divorce.

September 25, 2020

What Is Your Time Limit for Reporting a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you suffered an injury while on the job, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation. Of course, to file, you must stay within the time limits allotted to you. Your time limit for filing a claim is dependent on the state that you live in. Some states have more relaxed regulations. For instance, in some states, your deadline may be six years from the date of the injury. 

Most states require you to report an injury or illness between one and three years. There are exceptions to the time limits in most states. If you developed an illness at work and had to go into quarantine because of it, then you may have more time to report the illness.

Should You Report the Injury Right Away?

If you suffer from a sudden injury at work, you should report it to your employer as soon as possible. In most states, you have between 10 and 90 days to file a report with your employer. In some cases, you do not have to make a written report. If your employer knew about your injury, then the lack of a written report will not harm your case. The biggest priority that you should have is to inform your employer that you are injured and that the injury took place while you were at work.

What About Illnesses and Conditions That Develop Over Time?

Some illnesses and conditions may develop over time. Repetitive strain injuries, for instance, may develop over a length of time. In these cases, you may not recognize that you have an injury when the condition first develops. If you have carpal tunnel, for instance, you are most likely going to seek medical attention and need time away from work when it flares up or is serious enough to affect you. Similarly, if you come down with an illness, you may not have it when the event that caused the illness occurred. For instance, sailors who have mesothelioma did not contract it when they first were exposed to asbestos.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, you always want to file a report as quickly as possible. If you suffered an injury that affects your ability to work, then you should report it quickly. The sooner that you report it, the sooner you will receive compensation. For more information about workers’ compensation, contact a lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from Hickey & Turim, as soon as possible.

September 15, 2020

Will You Need to Go to Court in a Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury cases can be very complex. If you’re worried about going to court to settle your case, you should understand the process. In most cases, going to trial is a last resort for both sides. A trial is more expensive for everyone involved. The circumstances of your case will determine whether you end up in court or not.

Filing an Insurance Claim Is a Private Matter 

After an accident, the first step is filing an insurance claim. At this stage, there is no lawsuit involved. You submit your injuries and damages and ask for compensation. The insurance reviews your claim and decides how much they will offer, if at all. The first counter offer may not be enough money to pay for your damages. You may negotiate with the insurance company. You can also hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. Once the insurance company makes its final offer, you can accept or walk away. You can appeal the decision through the insurance company’s process, which doesn’t mean you’ll go to court. Although most appeals won’t result in a better decision, it is an option.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Usually Settle Out of Court 

If an appeal doesn’t yield you the result you want, you have the option to file a lawsuit with the local court. Although this puts the case in the hands of the court, it doesn’t mean that you will have to go to trial. The court tries to get you and the other party to come to an agreement before setting a trial date. You may have to enter mediation with the other party. The mediator can help you come to an agreement. You can still have your lawyer advise you. If you and the other party can’t come to an agreement after mediation, then the judge may schedule a trial.

Going to Court May Not Be in Your Best Interest 

It’s estimated that 95% of all personal injury cases settle out of court. It’s not only the costs involved, but the risk is greater. You don’t have any guarantee that you’ll win in a trial. If you have been offered a settlement, at least you know that you will get some money for your damages. A settlement gets the money in your hands quicker. Going to trial can take time, months and even years.

Make an appointment to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim SC, who can help you navigate the process and get the best outcome.

August 18, 2020

What Exactly Is a Living Will?

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Estate planning terms can be confusing. That is certainly true of a living will, which sounds like it should be similar to a last will but is actually something very different. Someday, an injury or disease may affect your mind to the point that you can no longer communicate with doctors or family members regarding your treatment. A living will informs your loved ones and your health care provider of the treatments that you do or do not want to receive in this scenario.

How Is a Living Will Different From a Last Will?

A last will only takes effect when you die and describes what you want to happen to your property following your death. A living will describes what you want to happen to yourself if you become incapacitated and therefore unable to make decisions or communicate your wishes to your doctor. It also goes by the terms advance directive and health care directive, which may be less confusing terms.

When Does a Living Will Take Effect?

A living will only takes effect under a specific set of circumstances: You must be alive but unable to communicate and/or incompetent to make your own medical decisions. There are many reasons this could happen. You could develop dementia due to a neurodegenerative disease or go into a coma due to a traumatic brain injury. Once a living will goes into effect, it remains effective until you either recover your faculties, meaning that you no longer need it because you can make your own decisions again, or you die, meaning that there is no longer any reason for you to receive medical treatment.

Do You Need a Living Will if You Have a Health Care Proxy?

If you have a health care power of attorney, you have already designated someone as a health care proxy who can make medical decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to. If you have absolute confidence in this person’s decision-making ability, you may not need a living will. However, if you have strong feelings about certain end-of-life decisions, it may be a good idea to have a living will in addition to a health care proxy to be absolutely sure your wishes are respected. The decision-making powers of your health care proxy do not extend to overturning or contradicting your living will. An advance directive has precedence because it expresses your own wishes.

Contact a law office with your estate planning questions. An estate planning lawyer, like from the Yee Law Group, can add clarity to what can sometimes be a complicated process.

August 17, 2020

What should I know about workers’ compensation benefits?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Have you been injured at work? If so, you may have a lot of questions and are unable to find the right answers. Below, our workers’ compensation lawyers have addressed some of the most popular questions we receive most often. If you would like further assistance, please call to speak with a work injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim, SC, today. 

What Should I Know About Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that is available for most employees who have been injured on the job. The program is meant to provide coverage for medical treatment and a portion of lost income when you cannot work. In general, any employer who has at least three employees must have this coverage. There are many different exceptions; therefore, if you don’t know whether you are eligible, you can call a workers’ compensation lawyer. 

When Does Coverage Begin?

Workers’ compensation coverage should begin on your first day of employment. If you are unsure, you might consider reviewing your employee handbook. 

What Steps Should I Take After an On the Job Injury?

Following an on the job injury, you should report what happened to your employer as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you may lose your ability to recover benefits. In the event you are incapacitated, family members may be able to file a claim on your behalf. 

Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation covers injuries that occur while you are working. In other words, the injury must have happened while you are performing your work duty and because of your job. The injury does not necessarily have to happen at the site of your job, but rather is covered as long as it occured in the course of your work day. For example, a delivery driver, who was making deliveries, would likely be covered.

Activities That May Not Be Covered

In general, you will not be covered for benefits during your lunch break or while commuting to and from work. If you were injured at these times, you may need to file your own insurance claim. Engaging in reckless behavior or horseplay, or being injured in an accident caused by intentional misconduct will likely disqualify you from the benefits. 

What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

After you have been injured on the job you may have the right to recover benefits for your associated medical care, rehabilitation, and a portion of your lost wages. Additional compensation for necessary travel expenses might also be covered. If you cannot work, the amount of lost income you can receive is set by law. In general this is approximately two thirds of your weekly wage. When the injury resulted in death, benefits for any dependents, as well as funeral expenses may be available. 

Give a workers’ compensation lawyer a call to schedule an initial consultation with a leading law firm. They’ll review your case, answer your questions, and help you to understand what you should do now. 

July 15, 2020

How to Avoid the Negative Impact Unpaid Medical Bills Have on Your Credit Score

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you might be waiting for a settlement to be reached. You probably plan to pay your medical bills with that settlement money, but is there anything you can do in the meantime? If you don’t pay those medical bills, will that impact your credit score? Unfortunately, yes.

What Happens to Unpaid Medical Bills?

Just like any other type of bill, medical bills could eventually end up in collections if they don’t get paid. Your medical provider might send you a 30-day notice, 60-day notice, and even a 90-day or 180-day notice first, but if those all go ignored, your next notice could be a call from a collections agency. When that happens, it makes a dent on your credit score. There are some changes to credit reporting practices that are meant to protect your credit, but not every medical bill will fall within the requirements.

How Can One Stop This from Happening?

If you’re worried about the negative impact your unpaid medical bills could have on your credit score as you wait for a personal injury settlement, you do have some options. The following are some ways you can prevent that from happening.

  • Using personal health insurance – Even if the accident you were involved in wasn’t your fault, you may be able to use your personal health insurance to cover the costs. Chances are, your insurer will place a lien on the settlement, which means the company will be paid back with your settlement before you receive any of the cash yourself.
  • Using personal injury protection – PIP is a type of coverage meant to pay medical expenses that resulted from an accident, no matter who was at fault. PIP usually tops off at a certain amount, so as soon as those first medical bills have been paid, you won’t have any more PIP to cover the rest.
  • Working with your healthcare provider – Some healthcare providers will work with you on a payment plan or a reduced rate. This is often for services paid in cash at the time of service, but every provider has different benefits they offer, so it’s worth looking into.
  • Signing an authorization and assignment – If you have no other way to pay for medical care, you can sign an authorization and assignment document that basically promises the expenses will be paid from your settlement before anything else gets paid from it.

Allowing an Attorney to Intervene

Not every situation is straightforward and easy to handle. If you’re dealing with a future settlement from a personal injury lawsuit, and you’re trying to get your medical bills paid in the meantime, contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Hickey & Turim, to intervene in your case.

July 13, 2020

REPORTING TO YOUR INSURANCE

Personal Injury Lawyer

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is not fun for many reasons. The physical agony, the mental agony, and the financial burden it causes can affect so many different things. One of those things is our car insurance. Usually when a motor vehicle accident is report it to an insurance company the monthly premium is increased. This causes many people to avoid reporting a motor vehicle accident that they were involved in. In most cases if there are no serious injuries many people may think there is no need to inform the insurance company. And even more cases if the damage is not severe to the vehicle people may feel it is unnecessary to contact Their insurance company. This is not entirely untrue but there are some things to take into consideration when making this decision.

Before deciding to keep your motor vehicle accident away from your insurance company make sure you review your car insurance policy. In many cases, which policyholders do not know, your car insurance policy requires that you report the accident to them. In some cases you feeling to report an accident would affect you even more than the accident itself. Sometimes both involved parties come to an agreement amongst themselves in regard to any damages. However, these agreements are not obligations. So now you have to think of what happens. Should that person not uphold their end of the bargain and you are forced to then report your accident later to your insurance company that could affect you more negatively.

Unfortunately, it may cost you more to not report your accident to your insurance company. The increase in your premium may be less than the cost of any repairs. Failing to report the repairs means that you will have to pay for them yourself. These are ways that feeling to report your motor vehicle accident to your car insurance company can affect you. Being involved in a motor vehicle accident with another party can make this very complicated. Your smartest and best option will be to contact your car insurance company and discuss what your options are regarding your premium and having any damage is covered regardless of who was at fault.

If you or someone you know was involved in a motor vehicle accident and are unsure as to whether they should contact their insurance company, contact a personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Dekalb County, GA from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. By speaking with an attorney you will learn what your legal options are and also see if you can seek compensation for any damages from the other party.