Author Archives: admin

How Your Social Media Accounts Can Affect Your Injury Case

In this day and age, social media plays a huge role in our day to day interactions. Your online profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms are often seen as a virtual representation of you, your beliefs and attitude towards others around you. In fact, a tweet or a post gone awry can often lead to a lot of problems.

With celebrities and even presidents coming under hot water for their social media activity, it goes without saying that your social media accounts can prove to be detrimental for you, especially if you’re involved in a personal injury case.

Personal injury cases can be rather tricky, especially when the damages sought are rather substantial, as a personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL trusts can explain. For this reason, if you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you need to be sensitive to the fact that the lawyer representing the other side can use your social media postings against you.

Misinterpretation of Posts

Sometimes, the defendant’s lawyers will try to determine that the fault for the incident lies with the injured party, even when there is evidence that suggests otherwise. When concrete proof is not present, the defendant’s lawyers can use your social media posts to imply that the incident was pre-meditated, showcase that the injured party is at fault, or garner some other piece of information which can be misconstrued.

For Example: If you have filed a personal injury case, are asking for damages due to emotional distress and have a post or two that show that you went to the spa, to the beach or even choose to go for a walk in the woods, the defendant’s lawyers can use the post to show that you are not suffering emotional distress since you are indulging in healthy activities. The fact that you resorted to these activities to alleviate the emotional distress you are feeling will become minor when looked upon in this light.

Similarly, if you were involved in a car accident and are claiming serious physical injuries, a post about the road rage you felt before the incident can also be misconstrued as motive for causing the accident, making it appear pre-meditated. Sure, everyone has bad days but the post will make it appear as if you really wanted to hurt someone that day.

False Pictorial Evidence

The images you post can also be used to weaken your claim for personal injury in court. This can be the most damaging scenario to deal with since it becomes difficult to claim that someone is in pain when they appear so healthy on their pictures online.

For Example: In the Amber Rose and Johnny Depp case, Amber Rose filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable grievances and also claimed that Johnny Depp physically assaulted her, leaving a bruise on her face. However, a day or two after the incident, Amber Rose was pictured at a BBQ cookout with friends, without the bruise and looking extremely happy.

While there is a possibility that she could have used makeup to cover the bruise and might have been genuinely happy in the company of her friends, the picture caused a lot of harm to her case. Even though it was later deleted, it still garnered a lot of questions regarding the truth behind her claims.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into vicarious liability.

3 Reasons to encourage clients to terminate probation early

When navigating the criminal justice system, clients can get confused with the amount of information swirling around them. Plea Bargains. Deferred Adjudication. Orders of Non-Disclosures. These words are like second nature to a criminal defense attorney but for most clients, they have never heard nor understand what you are talking about. During a plea bargain, it is imperative to explain to a client exactly what they are agreeing to AND why it is the best option for them.

Clients in the past literally cringe when discovery the offer on the table from the district attorney is 5 years probation. They begged and plead to get a better offer. However, it is important for everyone to realize that five years DOES NOT necessarily mean 5 years. There is generally an opportunity to terminate probation early and not take the full 5 years.

Termination of probation early is one of the easiest tasks a criminal lawyer Arlington TX trusts can do, but it takes experience to know exactly when to approach a judge. According to the law, a probationer on straight probation is eligible to terminate his/her probation after he/she has served one third of the time or two years, whichever is less. However, judges are not required to review the request until a probationer has served half the time he/she received. Alternatively, a probationer is eligible to terminate probation early when they are placed on deferred adjudication once all conditions are met. Again, just because all conditions are met does not mean the Judge has to terminate, only that the judge can terminate. In this type of probation, knowing when and how to ask the Judge is paramount to being successful.

Termination of probation also requires a probationer to meet the conditions that were placed onto him/her when placed on probation. Typically, those conditions are fines, community service, and classes. As long as the probationer has fulfilled the conditions, he/she should be an eligible candidate for termination. However, there are several crimes that are disqualifying crimes for even being eligible to have your probation terminated early. The list of disqualifying crimes is lengthy, which is why hiring a good attorney from the beginning before a defendant agrees to a term of probation is key. The last thing a defendant wants is to agree to a term of 10 years probation thinking he/she can get off after a little over 3 years and learn at that point that the entire 10 years may have to be served.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into criminal defense practice.

The Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Those who are convicted of driving under the influence can face a variety of different legal actions. Many may lose their license for up to a year or more. They may also have to pay a fine of up to $5,000 or more in addition to legal fees, court costs and fees related to getting their car and license back. An ignition interlock device, or device that’s used to test the driver’s sobriety before starting the vehicle, may be required depending on state law and other facts in your case. You may even be responsible for paying to have the device installed and rental fees.

Personal Consequences 

  • Financial Strain: Court and legal fees, while necessary when fighting a DUI charge, can be very costly. This cause a strain on relationships and even disrupt your ability to maintain the same the level of social and communal engagement.
  • Educational Repercussions: Institutions of higher learning may not accept or revoke acceptance into the university if you’re even charged with a DUI. While this may not permanently prevent someone from getting a degree, it could complicate matters for those who were under the age of 21 when they were convicted.
  • Stripped Accolades: Those who are going to school to play sports may find that they are no longer a part of a team. Therefore, it could hamper both their chances of getting a scholarship and their chances of playing professionally at some point. This may be especially true of someone who may have a high profile entering college.

Professional Consequences:

  • Ability to get to work may be hindered: If you are unable to drive, it may be difficult to get to work on time. While an employer may be somewhat sympathetic to your situation, no employer is going to keep someone who cannot reliably arrive at work on time.
  • Immediate Termination: It’s possible that your employer will terminate you immediately upon your conviction or as soon as you are charged with DUI. In this happens to you, there may be little recourse except to start looking for other employment as charges like these are commonly outlined in many employee guidelines as grounds for termination.
  • Ability to find new employment may be hindered: Finding a new job or moving up in your career may be difficult because you will have to disclose the conviction on most applications. This is generally true whether you want to work in the private sector, for the government or for a public or private college or university.

Legal Recourse

If you are convicted on a DUI charge, your life could change significantly. A DUI lawyer Peoria IL relies on may be able to reduce your charge as well as fines. Most criminal attorneys offer a free case review. If you have been charged with a DUI it may benefit you to seek legal counsel.

 Thanks to our friends and contributors from Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into DUI charges.

5 Common Accident Scenarios Involving Trucks and Cars

In accidents involving two or more cars, they commonly involve one vehicle running a red light, losing control while speeding, or a distracted driver. When it comes to accidents with large trucks, there are additional accident risks unique to these vehicles.

1.    Accidents Involving Blind Spots

According to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted in 2015, just over 3,850 people died in crashes that involved a large truck. Sixty-nine percent of the fatalities were occupants of smaller cars. One of the most common accident scenarios involving trucks and cars relates to the blind spots found on large trucks. Truck drivers operate their vehicles with three separate blind spots, one in the very front of the truck, one in the back, and one beside the right-hand door of the truck. Not everyone knows this, which is why accidents can occur when a car driver stays in one of these spots for an extended period of time.

2. Tired Drivers

At first glance, many people believe that driving a truck would be an easy task. However, the reality is that truck drivers must arrive at their destinations by strict deadlines, which invariably means driving lengthy hours without many breaks. Even for experienced truck drivers, driving long distances on hardly any sleep can cause them to lose focus and veer into other lanes. A brief moment of nodding off can cause a large accident and is one of the more common reasons for accidents involving trucks and cars. If ever you notice a truck driver who seems dazed or inattentive you can do any or all of the following:

●      Honk your horn several times

●      Make signals to the driver that indicate they should pull over

●      Drive quickly away

●      Call 911 and report an unsafe driver with a description and location of the vehicle

3. Poor Road Conditions

Another common accident scenario involving trucks and cars is when there are poor road conditions. While icy and wet conditions are dangerous for any vehicle to drive on, these conditions are especially hazardous to large trucks, as up to 18 wheels will have to be properly maintained. Poor weather conditions can lead to accidents where the truck spins out of control or skids into another vehicle, which is why it’s always recommended to stay at least five seconds away from a truck during tricky conditions.

4. Changing Lanes Too Quickly

One of the most common causes for accidents with trucks and cars is when a car attempts to switch lanes too quickly. Since large trucks have massive blind spots to their sides and rear, a car that switches lanes too quickly will likely not be seen by the truck. Trucks also require more time to slow down than smaller vehicles, so it’s definitely ill-advised to pull in front of a truck too quickly when the roads are busy.

5. Passing When a Truck is Turning Right

Many car drivers spot a truck turning right and decide to pass it by moving around them in the left lane. However, this is extremely dangerous and is a common cause for accidents. The reason is because trucks will steer widely to the left in order to safely turn right, which means that your vehicle could easily be swiped when attempting to pass the truck.

If you’ve been in an accident involving a truck, contact an a trucking accident lawyer Colorado trusts immediately to determine if you may have a valid claim or lawsuit against the trucker and their trucking company.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon Hadfield Stieben, LLC for their insight into truck accident cases.

Homicide under the Federal Law

The United States Code has several different homicide crimes.  18 U.S.C. §1111 defines the first homicide crime, murder, as the unlawful killing of a human being with “malice aforethought”. Every murder committed by poisoning, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful and premeditated killing, or committed while in the process of committing another felony is murder in the first degree. Any other murder is murder in the second degree.
The term “malice aforethought” is not used to mean hatred of the victim.  Rather it is used to mean that the person who committed the homicide did because he desired the person to die, or was indifferent to whether the person lived or died.  Malice as used in the federal murder statute is when the defendant intends to kill the person he or she is charged with killing, or if he or she intended to cause the victim serious bodily injury but the victim died. It is also when the person does not care whether the victim lives or dies.
18 U.S.C. §1112 defines manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.  Manslaughter is divided into two types.  The first type of manslaughter is voluntary manslaughter.  Voluntary manslaughter is defined as manslaughter taking place in a sudden quarrel, or in the heat of passion.  Involuntary manslaughter is defined as in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.
Murder in the first degree is punishable by death or life imprisonment in a federal prison.  Murder in the second degree is punishable by up to life imprisonment in a federal prison.  Attempt to commit murder under 18 U.S.C. §1113 is punishable by up to twenty years in federal prison.  Attempt to commit manslaughter is punishable by up to seven years in federal prison.
The homicide crimes are mostly handled in state courts, but in some situations, murder or manslaughter is a federal crime.  It will be a federal crime when a killing is related to drug trafficking, when the incident crosses state borders, or when the killing is considered an attack on the United States government or judicial system.  The murder of a federal judge or federal law enforcement officer is a federal crime, as is the killing of immediate family members of federal law enforcement officials.  A killing committed during a bank robbery is a federal crime, as is a murder related to rape, child molestation, and sexual exploitation of a child is considered a federal crime.
Murder is obviously a very serious criminal charge.  You need a qualified and experienced federal criminal lawyer Arlington TX trusts on your side.  Before you talk to the police, call a federal criminal defense who attorney that can advise you. Having an attorney from the very beginning of your case can help greatly.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense practice.

Can You Sue a Store for Selling Expired Food?

Have you ever bought an expired food item from the supermarket? When you are in a hurry, you might not check the label on a food product. Unfortunately, after consuming expired food, you might experience minor or severe side effects. If this happens, you might wonder about your rights and if you have legal recourse.
Can Stores Sell Expired Food?
  • The federal government does not require expiration labels on food products.
  • With the exception of baby food and baby formula, food products can be sold after the expiration date.
  • State governments can create their own regulations.
  • In the past, states have sued major retailers for selling expired food. The state can file a class action lawsuit against a food manufacturer.
What is the Purpose of a Food Expiration Date?
  • The expiration date is an estimate of the item’s freshness.
  • The expiration label does not determine the safety of the food items.
  • Usually, some food items are safe to eat a few days after the expiration date. If you do not want to take the risk, you may want to avoid expired foods altogether.
How to Deal With Expired Products
  • If you accidentally purchase an expired food item, you should consider returning the item to the store.
  • Do not eat expired food. The store should give you a refund or an exchange if you purchased the food after the expiration date. Contact the store manager and the corporate office if they refuse to reimburse you despite proof of receipt with the date of purchase. You can also contact the manufacturer.
  • Consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the FDA and the state attorney general that the store sold expired food, especially if it caused you sickness.
What if the Food Item Makes You Sick?
  • Sometimes, expired food products can make you sick. If the manufacturer or the retailer is responsible for your illness, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
  • Product liability laws hold distributors and manufacturers accountable for their faulty products, including expired food that causes illness.
The Burden of Proof
  • The outcome of a lawsuit will depend on the extent of your injuries.
  • To win your case, you will need to prove that the product caused your illness.
  • You must understand that the expiration date might not be enough to support your product liability lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
  • An attorney will need to see your proof of injuries.
  • You might not win your case if your resulting illness is minor. For example, if you consumed spoiled milk which only gave you a stomach ache for a few hours.
  • The illness must have caused major side effects, and as a result negatively impacted your financial health. For instance, if you were admitted to the hospital for a few days, you might have cause for a lawsuit.
A Phoenix personal injury lawyer may be able to help you pursue legal action against the food distributor or the manufacturer. An experienced attorney can help you understand your local food safety laws. In addition, a lawyer can help you recover damages associated with a serious case of food poisoning or illness from expired product.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead LLP for their added insight into personal injury practice.

Can I Sue Someone Twice If My Personal Injury Turns out to Be More Serious?

Accidents happen at the most inconvenient times and strike without warning. While most accidents are not difficult to resolve, those involving serious injuries can take months or even years to complete. The following is a brief overview of how personal injury law may be able to help you seek monetary compensation for your accident related expenses and if you can sue the at-fault party more than once for your injuries.
Accident Types
Personal injury law covers a variety of accidents that lead to injury and mounting medical bills. The most common types of accidents leading to lawsuit filings in the U.S. are:
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Pedestrian incidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle crashes
  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injuries
  • Dog attacks
  • Commercial vehicle incidents
  • Product liability cases
Accident Related Injuries
Accident related injuries can vary greatly, depending on the type of accident that occurred and the force of impact. The most commonly reported injuries in personal injury cases include:
  • Broken bones
  • Closed head injuries
  • Spinal cord fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Paralysis
  • Compound fractures
  • Disfigurement
Proving Liability
The success of any personal injury case depends on the plaintiff’s ability to prove the at-fault party was negligent and caused the accident. Because this can be difficult in some cases, it is best to have an attorney working to protect your interests.
Can You Sue the Same Person Twice?
It is important to be as thorough as possible when you bring a lawsuit against someone who injured you. Be sure to provide a local or Las Vegas personal injury lawyer with your medical records, accident reports and receipts for out of pocket expenses at the time of filing. In most states, an injured person cannot sue the same defendant twice for the same accident so it is critical to get it right the first time.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you are considering bringing a lawsuit against someone, it is essential to hire a lawyer. While many people worry that they cannot afford legal counsel, most lawyers who practice personal injury law work on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay your lawyer unless you win a monetary settlement. The majority of lawyers provide the first consultation at no cost, so you have nothing to lose.
What Damages Might I Win?
Every case is different, but some of the most typical damages awarded in personal injury cases are:
  • Lost wages
  • Cost of medical care
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Therapy fees
  • Price of ongoing medical care
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with a lawyer to discuss your options. This is important even if you feel your injuries are not serious. It is better to be prepared in the event your condition worsens because you only get one chance to obtain a settlement.
 Thanks to our friends and contributors from Nadia von Magdenko & Associates for their insight into personal injury cases.

Who is liable in an Uber accident?

Ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have quickly risen as a staple of transportation in American cities. What was once an idea has now almost eclipsed the taxi industry and is only expected to grow in the coming years. However, Uber and Lyft are not taxi companies and do not have to follow the same regulations. This has begun to create a lot of confusion for customers of these companies, especially regarding what to do when your driver gets into an accident while you are in the car.

Uber and Lyft drivers are covered by insurance provided by the company, but only while they have a ride in progress. As a passenger of one of these cars, this means that the company insurance will be able to cover your injuries and medical expenses up to a certain amount. However, if the medical bills exceed the insurance coverage, things may grow more complicated. This insurance also does not cover the Uber and Lyft drivers while they are driving to pick up a passenger, meaning that the drivers are primarily using their own car insurance. To make things even more complex, most car insurance companies will only cover personal use of a car. So, for the majority of the time that an Uber or Lyft driver is on the road, they are driving in a grey area for insurance law.

Ride sharing companies argue that they merely provide the service of connecting willing drivers to customers in need or a ride. This is how they get around the established laws and regulations for cab companies. As Uber and Lyft are arguing that their drivers are independent contractors rather than employees, it can be very difficult to win a lawsuit against the company due to negligent driving on the part of a driver.

As the very existence of these companies is a relatively new phenomenon, there are not yet any clear answers as to who is liable when an Uber or Lyft driver gets into an accident and causes injuries or property damages. As the law is quickly growing to fill the confusing void that ride sharing has created, new regulations and rulings are bound to come. If you have been in an accident caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, the best thing to do will be contact an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney Atlanta GA relies on. Your attorney will know what the latest laws are, and will help you build the best case you can to make sure that your injuries are paid for, and you are taken care of.

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

Independent Contractor Versus Employee: Personal Injury Law

The distinction between who is an employee and who is an independent contractor can be an important factor in a personal injury case. If you are injured by a person who was “on duty” or who was working for someone else at the time you were injured, you may have an additional cause of action against that person’s employer. As a personal injury lawyer Memphis, TN respects in the legal community, we can tell you that’s important because it represents another potential source of recovery for you.  Make sure you tell your lawyer if you think the person who injured you may have been “on the job” or working for someone else at the time of your accident.

The General Rule 

As a general matter, an employer is liable for the acts of his or her employees committed during the course and scope of their employment. On the other hand, while there are exceptions, a person employing an independent contractor to perform a job is usually not liable for the independent contractor’s negligent actions.

Factors Courts Consider 

Courts consider the following factors when deciding whether a work relationship is that of employer-employee or independent contractor:

(1) the right to control the conduct of the work,

(2) the right of termination,

(3) the method of payment,

(4) the freedom to select and hire helpers,

(5) the furnishing of tools and equipment,

(6) the self-scheduling of work hours, and

(7) the freedom to render services to other entities.

Independent Contractor Agreements

The existence of an “Independent Contractor Agreement” does not, in and of itself, mean that a Court will find that the relationship was that of an independent contractor as opposed to an employee/employer relationship.  Regardless of any agreement, the Court will look at all of the surrounding facts and the elements listed above before reaching its decision.

If you need help with your personal injury case, contact a top personal injury lawyer today.

WBThanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience fighting for injury victims in Tennessee.

Is the value of your case diminished if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt?

What happens if you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash?  Even if it was clearly not your fault, are you still allowed to recover the full amount of damages?

The answer is that it depends upon the state.  States vary widely on this issue, from the “seatbelt defense,” which allows Plaintiffs to recover the amount of money they would be able to recover if they were wearing their seatbelt, to the other end of the spectrum, where there is no reduction at all.  Steve Harrelson of the Harrelson Law Firm, provides an overview of this issue for the states in which he actively practices: Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas.

Damages for injured parties not wearing their seatbelt in Louisiana

Louisiana does require both the driver and all passengers to use seatbelts, and those who fail to do so can be fined. However, for anyone asserting a claim for injuries, medical expenses, or other damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident, the fact that the injured person may not have been using a seatbelt is usually not admissible in evidence in a civil suit in Louisiana. Louisiana actually has a statute directly on point, and Louisiana Revised Statute 32:295.1E provides as follows:

“In any action to recover damages arising out of the ownership, common maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seatbelt in violation of this Section shall not be considered evidence of comparative negligence. Failure to wear a seatbelt in violation of this Section shall not be admitted to mitigate damages.”

All drivers and their passengers should wear seatbelts at any time they are in a vehicle. However, if you are injured in an accident in Louisiana and you were not using your seatbelt when the accident happened, your claim against the at-fault (negligent) driver and his or her insurance company will not be reduced in value

Damages for injured parties not wearing their seatbelt in Texas

Evidence that you were not wearing a seatbelt in Texas is admissible in court as an issue to reduce the value of the case by the issue of comparative fault.  This means that the jury can assess a percentage of fault to the Plaintiff if they believe that the Plaintiff’s lack of a seatbelt contributed to his or her own injuries.  Texas follows the 51% bar rule, which means that if the jury finds that the Plaintiff is 51% at fault for his or her own injuries, the Plaintiff takes nothing, even if he or she incurred $1 Million in medical bills as a result of the accident.

Damages for injured parties not wearing their seatbelt in Arkansas

Likewise in Arkansas, evidence of not wearing a seatbelt can be a factor utilized by the jury to assess the percentage of fault for the injured party contributing to their own injuries.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced Texarkana car accident attorney who has been involved in presenting car crash cases to juries for years.

SHThanks to Steve Harrelson from the Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for his added insight into the connection of not wearing a seatbelt and the value of personal injury claims.