Category Archives: Uncategorized

Safety Tips for Bike Riders

 Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Bicycling has gained in popularity over the past few years, for recreation, exercise, and transportation. As healthy as cycling is, it also poses dangerous risks of catastrophic injuries because of the high rate of bike accidents. According to national statistics, more than 800 people are killed each year in bike accidents involving vehicles. Thousands more suffer serious injuries that often leave them with permanent disabilities, changing their lives forever. Tragically, these numbers continue to increase each year.

If you are a cyclist, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of injury. If you are injured in a bike accident, call a law office to meet with a bike accident attorney and find out what damages you may be entitled to.

Cyclists who live in urban areas are at a significant risk of being involved in a crash because of the high number of vehicles and traffic on the roads. In fact, more than 70 percent of all bike accident deaths happen in urban areas. People who ride their bikes on city streets need to take extra precaution to stay safe while riding. The following safety tips are recommended by safety advocates and bike accident attorneys:

  •       Always wear your helmet: Research shows that a bicyclist who wears a helmet substantially reduces their risk of a brain injury. More than 70 percent of all fatal bike accident victims suffer a traumatic brain injury, while more than half of those victims were not wearing helmets. No matter how short your trip may be, wear your helmet whenever you ride.
  •       Make sure you can be seen: Approximately 20 percent of all fatal bike accidents occur in the evening, between the hours of 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Riders should do all they can to avoid riding at night, however, if you do need to venture out, make sure you are wearing bright colored clothing. You should also make sure your bike is equipped with a headlight in the front, a blinking light in the back, and reflectors so vehicle drivers can see you.
  •       Never drink and drive: Bike riders are required by law to follow the same traffic laws as vehicle drivers. This includes drinking. It is against the law for a cyclist to drink and then drive their bike. It is also extremely dangerous. Approximately one in five cyclists who are killed in bike accidents have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, over the legal limit. If you are going to drink, keep your bike at home and take a ridesharing service, taxi, or have a friend who is a designated driver.

Let a Firm Help

Regardless of how many safety tips you follow, you still may find yourself with injuries because of a negligent driver. Call a law firm if you have been injured and speak with a bicycle accident lawyer in Trenton, NJ to find out what legal recourse you may have.

 


 

Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into personal injury claims and safety tips for bike riders.

Why Are Medical Malpractice Awards Becoming More Sizeable?

Medical Negligence Lawyer

When it comes to news stories about medical malpractice litigation, there are usually two competing narratives. The first is from the victim’s point of view. It typically details the injury and suffering they experienced as the result of a preventable error or physician negligence. In some cases, the damage can be permanent or even fatal.

But there is also a second narrative pushed by self-described “tort reform” advocates. It usually claims plaintiffs are bringing bogus claims, simply looking for a big payday and that these out-of-control medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up the costs of healthcare.

Which side is right? It depends on who you ask. But those who argue that medical malpractice lawsuits need to be reined in are often driven by personal financial motives.

New Report Claims Medical Malpractice Awards Are Growing Bigger

Two hospital professional liability insurers recently released a report (https://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/news/medical-malpractice-becoming-more-costly) based on analyses of their own claims records. The report finds that between 2009 and 2018, the average cost of a medical malpractice claim increased by 50 percent in the United States. In real numbers, the average paid claim increased from $400,000 to $600,000.

The report also states that the percentage of large claims (seeking $5 million or more) has increased significantly in recent years, from 1.2 percent to 1.9 percent. Why the increase in claim costs? According to the report’s authors: “We attribute this rise to a combination of aggressive plaintiff attorneys and generous jury awards.”

The Actual Reasons Claims May Be Increasing

The assertion that aggressive medical malpractice attorneys are responsible for driving up claims costs is overly simplistic. Here are some other factors to consider:

Healthcare costs are rising: the costs of medical care continue to grow at a considerable rate, which means that claims need to grow as well. After all, a medical malpractice lawsuit typically seeks reimbursement for medical bills past, present and future.

Litigation is resource-intensive: Medical malpractice claims are among the most difficult personal injury cases to litigate. They require months of research, coordination with medical experts and a detailed understanding of the standard of medical care and how a physician failed to meet that standard. Few attorneys dabble in medical malpractice. It is an area of personal injury law that requires dedication, staff, time and money. With so many resources required on the front end, the jury award needs to be sufficient to compensate the victim and pay the costs of litigation.

Hospitals evade responsibility: When mistakes are made that cause harm, patients and their families are often looking for an explanation and an apology. Because hospitals are worried about their legal liability, however, physicians are often prohibited from giving patients these basic respects. Desperate for answers and justice, many patients turn to medical malpractice litigation as their only remaining option. This may not drive up the costs of individual claims, but it does result in more lawsuits than necessary, placing a financial burden on the entire system.

Legal Assistance Is Available

If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed (or worse) by medical negligence, you have the right to understand what happened and to seek appropriate compensation. For all the reasons mentioned above and more, it is important to work with an experienced attorney throughout the process. Please contact an attorney, like a medical malpractice attorney in Memphis, TN, to discuss your rights and legal options today. 

 


 

Thank you to the Law Firm of Darrell Castle & Associates PLLC, for their insight into medical malpractice law. 

Are There Additional Laws that Apply to Truckers to Keep the Roads Safer?

Are There Additional Laws that Apply to Truckers to Keep the Roads Safer?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a division of the United States government that works to improve commercial vehicle safety, as well as other aspects of travel over the country’s highways and roads. Three primary concerns evolved from FMCSA’s analysis of the most severe dangers.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers must stay focused entirely on driving to safely operate a semi weighing up to 30 tons. As text messages have become part of day to day life, texting while driving has become a serious problem. The average text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for up to 5 seconds. The FMCSA reports that commercial truck drivers who text while behind the wheel are 20 times as likely to cause an accident than a driver who leaves the phone untouched while driving. Portable computers also pose a distraction for drivers. Some even try to watch television or movies on their devices while driving.

Texting while driving a commercial vehicle is against federal rules. The first offense is a warning, and the second within three years takes a driver off the road for 60 days. A third violation within three years is a 120-day suspension from driving. Regarding personal computers, federal regulations also govern where screens can sit in the cabin.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving comes in many forms for commercial truck drivers. While alcohol and illegal drugs are the most common, some drivers are impaired by prescription medications or stimulants taken to stay awake to stay on schedule. Any substance that affects a driver’s judgment and reaction time can cause impairment.

Trucking companies are required to administer random screenings to drivers to monitor for alcohol and drug use. Also, the FMCSA holds an annual Drug and Alcohol Strike Force to take unsafe drivers off the road. Drivers and companies can be fined for failure to comply with regulations.

Fatigued Driving

Drivers who don’t get enough hours of sleep cause a significant risk to other travelers on the road. Just like alcohol or drugs, fatigue slows a driver’s reaction time and impairs decision-making abilities. Because the trucking industry is so focused on meeting deadlines, drivers are tempted to take risks and drive without appropriate rest.

The FMCSA has Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that govern how long a driver can drive in a designation number of hours. For example, a driver carrying cargo but not passengers cannot drive more than 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off. Drivers cannot drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 straight days. Compliance is monitored through the drivers’ logbooks and supporting documentation.

If you or someone you love is injured in an accident caused by an unsafe commercial driver, you should contact a competent and experienced truck accident attorney, like a truck accident attorney in Houston, TX, to help you protect your rights.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into the extra laws truck drivers must follow to keep the roads safe, and what to do if you are involved in an accident with a truck driver. 

Assault and Battery Victim

We live our lives on a day to day basis hoping that we are protected by law enforcement, and that people will not intentionally do us harm. Unfortunately, the world can be cruel, and some people have terrible intentions. Being attacked in any form can be traumatizing for a victim or their loved ones. Even more unfortunate, abuse is not only physical, and therefore victims may suffer far more than others may realize. Assault and battery cases are special personal injury cases, in that not just any attorney can handle them. In the event that you or someone you know has been or is currently a victim of an assault and battery injury, please contact a personal injury attorney to verify whether or not you have a potential claim on your hands.

Luckily enough, negligence in these cases are very clear. Whereas in other personal injury incidents, there is a lot of investigating to prove who may or may not be seen as liable for injuries that a victim may have sustained. Investigators are able to tell if injuries were self-inflicted and it is quite evident if these injuries occurred intentionally. In these types of cases, it is also common for the offender to likely have a criminal history which also makes it easier to file a claim against this individual.

The difference between assault and battery is that assault requires no physical abuse whatsoever. Assault occurs when there is an emotional or mental. What makes it more painful is many physical injuries heal in time. Emotional scars can last a lifetime. Assault abuse, for instance, someone may threaten you but never physically touch you. May say they will kill you, but you run away just in time; that person has assaulted you and may have potentially scarred you forever.

Battery is of course when there is physical contact. Any form of unwarranted physical contact may be considered battery, even more so, if you must seek medical help due to this physical contact your personal injury attorney may see to it that you receive compensation for these damages as well.

Whether assault or battery, it is unacceptable. Should you or someone you know be a victim, please contact a skilled Decatur lawyer as soon as possible to see what legal options are available for you. The right attorney will be able to point you in the right direction and answer any questions you may have.

Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and assault and battery cases.

How to Know if You Have a Case

While attorneys try to settle personal injury claims outside of trial through mediation and settlement negotiations, sometimes resolving cases through mediation is not possible. Therefore, before suing, it is necessary to understand the merits of a strong case. The stronger the claim, the more likely the risk of a costly trial is worth it. Ask yourself, “what makes a strong case?” and discuss the risks with your attorney, focusing on four primary determinants.

Liability

Before choosing to sue, you need to determine liability. Was the accident your fault? Do you live in a no-fault state? Answering some basic questions can help you determine responsibility and whether there is a need to make a claim. Also, consider your share of the accident. Did you do anything that might have made your injuries worse or the accident unavoidable? For instance, if bitten by a dog, did you somehow provoke the animal?

Proof

If you are reasonably certain that the accident was not your fault, then you need to prove your argument. What evidence exists to help you make your claim? Get a copy of any official documents related to the incident – police reports, medical records, photographs, repair receipts, etc. While the evidence may not show conclusively that the defendant is the responsible party, it may help your attorneys lay the groundwork necessary for a settlement.

Recovery

Besides liability and proof, ensure the defendant has the means to pay any potential settlement or jury verdict. While the accused may have insurance, their policy may not cover the costs associated with your claim. Also, they may not have insurance despite it being a requirement in most municipalities. Without a means of recovery, there is no need to go through with mediation or a trial.

Time

Last, check the statute of limitation on the claim type you are making. While most people sue well within any specified timeline, others cannot file immediately following an event because of emotional and psychological issues, and they may miss their window altogether. For example, in Ohio, a plaintiff filing a medical malpractice claim has only one year to file.
When trying to assess the strength of your case, consider liability, proof, recovery and time. These four determinants help you evaluate the strength of your case. While collecting this information may present a challenge for some, you can reach out to a personal injury lawyer in Deer Park, TX for help. They likely offer a free consultation where they will help you determine if your case is worth fighting.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and how to know if you have a case.

Will My Affair Affect My Child Support and Custody?

Child Support and Child Custody

There is not a clear answer to this question, because it depends on the case. A judge will look at your case and the best interests of your child when they determine support and custody arrangements. Your affair may or may not affect a judge’s decision regarding child support and custody, depending on whether or not it has a negative impact on the child. Your affair can affect your child support if your infidelity is what causes you to lose your custody battle with your partner.

It can also affect your support and custody if you have wasted any kind of marital assets on your affair. If you have distributed, wasted or destructed money or property that was marital property, a judge may have you pay even more child support to make up for your lack of financial spousal support during your marriage. If your affair has caused a negative effect on your relationship with your child or your ex-spouse, a judge might rule against your favor regarding support and custody.

No-fault divorce laws do exist in every state, but adultery can be a factor in certain child custody cases. If the person who was unfaithful did so in such a way that the child was aware of it or witnessed it, a judge could rule that they were an unfit parent and take custody away or raise support payment amounts. During mediation and division of assets and child custody battle, adultery can be a very real negotiation factor. If the cheating parent feels guilty for their infidelity, they may be more inclined to give away things to help alleviate their guilt. Male partners who are unfaithful are more likely to allow their female partners sole custody of their children and pay more child support during mediation.

As long as you have not carried out your affair in front of your child or children, it should not play any role in determining custody rights. Having a new partner living with you when you have custody of your child is frowned upon by many family law judges. Because most judges are so against the idea of prematurely introducing a new romantic partner to children, if such an event happens to occur during the duration of your divorce, he or she may make a custody determination based on the fact you were so quick to jump to a new partner without considering the best interest of your children. If you have questions about a specific case, contact a lawyer, like a Child Custody Lawyer in Arlington, TX, today.

Thank you to the experts at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, for their contributions to family law.

 

 

Do You Need an Attorney at Your Arraignment?

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Most people go their entire lives without getting into any trouble with the law. For this reason, most people do not really know how the criminal justice system works. A very important part is called the arraignment or initial appearance. What is the arraignment? Do you need to have your attorney present? This short guide will provide you with the answers you need about your arraignment.

What Is an Arraignment or initial appearance?

No matter what you are accused of, whether it is big or small, the first legal step is the arraignment or initial appearance. You can think of this as your first court appearance, but do not let that concept frighten you. You are not on trial yet and nothing will happen at the arraignment that determines whether you are found guilty or innocent. Only administrative matters are taken care of at your arraignment. There are three important things that are taken care of at an arraignment:

  1. You are notified of your charges and the potential penalties
  2. You are notified of your right to counsel, including potential representation by the Public Defenders office
  3. A court date is determined

You also may be asked to enter a preliminary plea.  This is why it is important to have an experienced criminal attorney present with you.  If you hire an attorney in advance of your arraignment or initial appearance you may not even have to go to court.

A date for your trial will be set. Pre-trial conditions may also be put on you, such as not being able to speak or have contact with people involved in the case, or not being able to return to where the alleged incident took place.

Should Your Attorney Be There?

You are not required to have your attorney at your arraignment, however it will not inconvenience anyone or slow the process to have your attorney present. No legal matters will be addressed outside of those mentioned above, so although not necessary, it can be very helpful to have an attorney with you.  

It is a very good idea to have spoken with a criminal lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland prior to the arraignment, even if you do not need him or her to be there for that meeting. You should have legal advice about which plea to enter. Additionally, you cannot know how much time will be between the arraignment and your trial, so you should hire an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible.

 


 

Thanks to Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into criminal law and arraignments.

Product Liability Injury

 Personal Injury Lawyer

Motor vehicle accidents and slip and falls are not the only personal injury instances that lead to serious injuries. Defective products may potentially trigger harm to an individual that causes injury. Product liability laws are in place to protect the individual who is harmed by a defective product and hold the individual or entity responsible for the defective product accountable. Laws vary from state to state, but product liability laws help establish limits and assist in ensuring the hurt individual receives compensation should the claim be legitimate because unlike normal personal injury cases there are other parties outside of insurance and just a specific individual that are involved.

When product liability becomes a factor in an injury case there are so many factors to consider. Was the issue on the seller’s part? The manufacturer? Each product has specific expectations to fulfill before a product is sold and should they fail to comply, they will be held responsible. This is because it does not meet the minimum and usual expectations that it should for a consumer. 

In order to have a legitimate product liability case, the product must not have caused injury due to the consumer’s negligence. For example, swallow pieces of the toys, stepping on the product due to failure to pick them up or not noticing it on the floor. Instead, the product must fail to some extent, which causes the injury.

The defect may be due to the design, this means when a design is made and before production, there were bound to be flaws. Any product liability claim will then fall on the designer. Should that design be foolproof and somehow the manufacturer did not follow the design and thus not distributing the product as intended, the liability will also involve the manufacturer. Failure to include warning labels or list improper warnings entirely, may fall on the marketing teams. It is fairly easy to determine who is in at fault in these cases, based on how the injury came to be. 

Should you or your family suffer from any product liability injury, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. Following this, speak with a personal injury attorney in your area, like a Dekalb County attorney, who has experience with product liability. The right attorney will assist in holding the right party responsible and work their best to see that you are compensated for the damages. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.

 


 

Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch for their insight into product liability injury. 

How to Restore Your Maiden Name

Divorces ultimately lead to a lot of personal changes. No matter how long you spent with your spouse, it is a huge adjustment back to single life. You may be moving out of your family home, you may have to split the finances and the visitation schedule if you have children. The truth is that you have to go through a lot of changes in a short amount of time. Despite how these changes are often for the better if you chose to divorce your spouse, you may still feel overwhelmed. When it comes to changes, what about your last name? If you changed your last name when you were married, you may be wondering how to change your legal name back. Is it possible?

How to Change Your Last Name

On your divorce forms, you will find an area where you can request a name change or request to restore your maiden name. This is the form that you can use to change your name back to your maiden name. In your final divorce decree, you will want to make sure that it mentions the name change. Then, you can use the divorce decree to change your name at the SSA, DMV and the bank.

Now, if the divorce decree does not have the name change and you are not allowed to alter the decree, there are other ways that you can receive a name change. While it is easiest to have the divorce finalized with the right language to change your name, sometimes this does not happen. If you do not have a request of a name change, then you will have to go through a little more work. You would need to use documentation with your former name and change it. As long as you plan to take your maiden name back, there should be less problems. It is much more complicated if you want an entirely different name. With a maiden name, you should have proof that it was your name.

It is possible for you to reclaim your maiden name after your divorce. While some people may choose to keep their married name, most want to return to their former name and they want to do so quickly. If you do not have the name change as a part of the divorce, there are ways that you can change it. If you need help with your name change or any other part of the divorce, then consult with an Arlington family lawyer as soon as you can.

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law and restoring your maiden name.

Restraining Orders

There are some things that are put in place that protect individuals or businesses that may face any harm. Restraining orders give people the peace of mind knowing that a court has ordered that an individual or entity is to stay away from someone. There are several reasons someone may wish to have a restraining order against someone, things that can lead to potential harm or where alleged violence may occur. Such as assault, battery, harassment or even stalking. Domestic violence is a common instance that warrants a court mandated restraining order against someone. This occurs when individuals that know each other, whether they are former lovers, spouses, or live in the same household, these people can have a restraining order put out against one another. There may be an instance where an individual has trouble accepting a relationship has ended and starts to get aggressive. A restraining order will allow a petitioner space from that person by law. Laws vary from state to state and often are put in place by women, this is not to discourage men from requesting restraining orders as well. Luckily, restraining orders help with a lot of toxic relationships not ending in hurt or serious danger. Because of this mandated court order, people feel more protected and at peace.

Restraining orders are not limited only to past lovers, but also parents, children, and other individuals you may feel have harmed you, or would like to harm you. In the even that you or someone you know has come to worry for their own safety for any reason, it is best to speak with an attorney about what your options are regarding your safety. There is also a possibility that these concerns may lead to criminal charges on the other party’s behalf. It is important to note that, should you file a restraining order against someone, and they disobey the restrictions, they can FaceTime in jail. Your safety is a very high priority and if you feel as though you are unsafe, please contact a criminal defense attorney in your area to see what your options are. There are specific steps that must be taken to ensure you are granted what you are asking for, and sometimes it is easy to overlook a step and prolong the application process which in turn prolongs your safety, speak with a Decatur lawyer before making any decision or taking any action.

Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and restraining orders.