Regaining Your Life

When Can You Represent Yourself In A Car Accident Case?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Can You Represent Yourself In A Car Accident Case?

Should you ever represent yourself in court? Most lawyers will tell you no, and for good reason. The law has a language and a set of rules all its own, and it’s difficult, if not impossible, for a layperson to learn them quickly enough and well enough to effectively represent themselves. But not every car accident case goes to court, and there may be times when you can handle a settlement on your own. Take a look at a few signs that you may be able to handle your car accident case yourself. When There’s an Admission of Liability Half the battle is getting the insurance company to agree that you’re owed a settlement in the first place. After that, it’s just a question of how much. So, if the other driver’s insurance company agrees that the other driver was at fault and that they’re liable for the damages, you may be able to safely negotiate the settlement yourself. If the insurance company denies liability, however, you’ve got a fight on your hands. In that case, you’re going to need to prove legally that they are, in fact, liable and do owe you money. You can bet the insurance company will have lawyers ready to argue the reason why they aren’t liable, and you will need your own legal expert to make your case. When You Agree to Alternate Resolution There are options in-between no negotiation and a full-blown court case. Many states allow and even encourage alternative dispute resolutions like mediation or binding arbitration. Why is this important? Because when you go to court, you have to know all the legal rules, or you could end up losing out on money that you should be owed, simply because you made a technical legal error. But mediation and arbitration have far fewer technical rules. You will still need to do some research into the best way to negotiate for yourself before taking this route, and you should definitely make sure to read the fine print before agreeing to alternative dispute resolution. Most of the time, you won’t have the option to pursue a court case if mediation or arbitration doesn’t go your way, and that’s a serious thing to consider. However, if you do opt for alternative dispute resolution, you won’t necessarily need a lawyer to understand and navigate the rules. When You Have Limited Damages Some car accidents are more serious than others. If you come out of a car accident with a crumpled fender, minor scratches and bruises, and a sprained wrist, you may be owed money, but it’s not going to be a huge settlement. On the other hand, if your car is totaled and you have broken bones and head trauma, your losses are going to be a lot higher, because your damages are more serious and more permanent. In the first type of case, the stakes are relatively low, and negotiating for yourself is not a big risk. In certain very minor cases, you may have trouble finding a lawyer to represent you even if you want one, because the claim is so small. In the second type of case, if you negotiate for yourself and lose, the effects of that loss could financially devastate you. If you’re going to risk negotiating with an...

read more

What Legal Options Does The Passenger In A Car Accident Have?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Legal Options Does The Passenger In A Car Accident Have?

When you are the passenger in a car accident, you may worry that you’re not covered for injuries sustained. You are, but it will depend on several factors to determine who you claim through and what legal options you have. Here’s a look at your rights if you’re a passenger in a car accident. No Need to Prove Liability It will actually be easier for a passenger to claim in most cases. There’s no need for you to prove liability, as you were not the one driving the car. All you will need is to prove the costs. Make a Claim Through the Drivers’ Insurance You will need to claim through the person at fault of the accident. In some cases, this is harder to tell and it will be up to the insurance companies to determine this. You have the right to make the claim as a third party, and you will be covered. This is the main reason insurance is a legal requirement; to make sure those not at fault are covered. It may be that two claims need to be made. This covers expenses should one person’s insurance not have enough liability to pay out. The second claim is only to make sure you are not out of pocket, and not to claim double your injury costs. Where the accident was clearly one driver’s fault, you will start with their insurance policy. If it is unclear whose fault it was, you can start with both at the same time and allow the companies to decide. Being Related to the Driver You may not be able to claim under the driver’s policy if you are related and living with them. This is because you will be included within the policy itself, so not a third party. There may be another section of their policy that will pay out in the terms of an accident, or you may need to claim through the other driver. Some policies will have a “med pay” section, which you can claim for your medical costs under. Only your medical bills will be included in this. There are times that these cases are taken to court. You can take the drivers to court too, if neither insurance policy is willing to pay out. Passengers may be stuck when insurance companies can’t decide who is liable, and it is up to a jury to decide. Remain patient, you will not be left out of pocket forever. Contact lawyers like James Lee Katz in your area to begin the...

read more

How To Avoid Having Your Workers Compensation Claim Denied

Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Avoid Having Your Workers Compensation Claim Denied

If you get injured at work and need to recover lost wages and pay for medical bills, you will want to receive workers compensation. Workers compensation is offered by employers to employees who get injured on the job, regardless who is at fault, and, in return, employers are protected from being sued directly by their injured employees. It’s win-win protection in most cases, but there are times when a workers compensation claim gets denied. If this happens to you, you can face having to pay for medical bills and wage losses on your own. To avoid this from happening, do these things for a smooth workers compensation claim.    File as soon as the injury occurs The longer you wait to file a workers compensation claim, the harder it can be to prove you were injured while on the job. File an incident report the day of your injury or as soon as you can to make your employer aware of the incident, how it happened, and who may have seen it occur. Many workers compensation claims get denied by employers simply because an employee waited too long to file. File the day of the injury or within 30 days. Make sure your immediate supervisor in charge, as well as your boss, are aware of all reports you are filing regarding your accident. Get an attorney Workers compensation claims can be tricky, especially if your injury was strange or if your employer suspects there were drugs or alcohol involved that may have attributed to your accident. Hiring a workers compensation attorney to help you file your claim can be beneficial in many ways. They can make sure you fill out the right paperwork, speak on your behalf to your employer or supervisor, and ensure that you include pertinent details that can help your claim. If you need help with medical bills right away, they can even help expedite your claim so you can get it approved more quickly than doing it all on your own.  Check your claim’s status Talk to your employer or workers compensation claim attorney about how you can check the status of your claim in your state. This way, you are prepared for any delays in your claim and can know exactly when it gets approved. If any snags show up due to missing or incorrect paperwork, your status-checking efforts will let you know as soon as possible so you can keep your claim moving forward more successfully. When you get injured at work, you want to be able to receive workers compensation right away. By hiring an attorney, filing on time, and checking your claim’s status regularly, you can help prevent having your claim...

read more

Two Insurance Problems That Can Reduce Your Medical Malpractice Award

Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Insurance Problems That Can Reduce Your Medical Malpractice Award

In general, it’s better to file malpractice lawsuits against medical professionals who have insurance to cover the incidents. It’s easier to collect damages from insurance companies with billions of dollars in assets than from individuals who may have more debt than cash. However, there are things that can impact the amount of money you receive from an insurance company. Here are two issues you should be aware of. Coverage Limitations One common issue that affects the amount you actually receive from the insurance provider is coverage limits. Many policies have per incident and aggregate ceilings on the amount of money that’s paid out for malpractice claims. For instance, the provider may only pay $1 million per incident and up to $3 million total for all claims that occur within the year. If the insurance company has already paid $2.5 million for malpractice claims, there will only be half a million left for yours. That’s not the only problem, though. Your total payout may also be reduced if the coverage limitation includes attorney’s fees and court costs. The court orders the defendant to pay $1 million in damages plus your attorney and court fees of $100,000, for example. If the coverage limit is $1 million, that’s all the insurance provider is going to pay. In the end, you’ll only get $900,000 since the attorney’s and court costs will come out of the money you receive. You may be able to avoid this by checking whether the medical professional is covered by an umbrella policy. Sometimes the medical facility the individual works for will have an overarching insurance policy that kicks in when the person’s coverage maxes out. Multiple Claims Lumped Together Another insurance problem that can affect your payout is if the provider lumps multiple occurrences of malpractice into a single claim. This can happen if each incident is factually related. For instance, a doctor improperly treats your medical condition in the office and then prescribes the wrong medication. These incidents can be sued for separately, but the insurance company may treat them as a single claim because the facts of the case will likely apply to both issues. If multiple occurrences are treated as a one claim, the maximum amount you can collect is whatever the coverage limitation is for a single incident. The only way to break out of this situation is to prove each incident is completely separate from the other. There’s a lot of complexity inherent in litigating medical malpractice claims. Contact a personal injury attorney, like R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C., who can help you navigate the challenges and get the compensation you...

read more

Pain And Suffering Damages In Car Accident Personal Injury Cases: A Brief Primer

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pain And Suffering Damages In Car Accident Personal Injury Cases: A Brief Primer

Pain and suffering damages refer to a negotiated or court-appointed settlement for injuries you received due to the accident in question. Pain and suffering damages are often times awarded for those who were injured due to a car accident and levied a personal injury suit against the individual or entity who caused the accident. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn a bit about how pain and suffering damages are qualified by the court and insurance companies. General Damages Pain and suffering damages usually fall under the umbrella category of “general damages.” This can refer to both mental anguish, as well as physical trauma. As such, there is not a particularly easy way to quantify how much you will receive as a settlement. The amount of your settlement will almost always correspond to the extent of your injury. Soft tissue injuries that do not require medical treatment, like bruises or minor scrapes, will usually not see a payout. However, broken bones and deep lacerations that require stitches or staples most certainly will. As a rule of thumb, it is generally easier to generate a payout for physical trauma – as the evidence has a very clear visual element – than it is with regard to emotional and mental anguish. Insurance Companies The manner in which courts determine pain and suffering damages can be even more difficult to ascertain than how a court will award you your settlement. While the logic of court usually dictates pain and suffering to fall under the category of general damages, insurance companies all operate differently. However, they mainly operate with one major underlying linchpin: if you did not go to the doctor for treatment regarding the purported pain and suffering, then you must have not been experiencing either pain or suffering. How an insurance company will process your claim largely depends on corroboration with your recent medical history, in addition to records regarding time off of work or school due to the pain or suffering you experienced. Evidence Review An insurance provider will usually submit your claim to what is referred to as an evidence review. This means that a claims adjuster will review a litany of your documents related to your claim, including photographic evidence of your injuries, records of prescriptions that were given or assigned to you due to the pain and suffering caused by the car accident, medical bills, and receipts regarding any OTC medications you purchased to alleviate pain caused by the car accident. For more information on pain and suffering damages in car accidents, visit law firms such as Antonucci Frank & Associates...

read more

Do Not Settle Your Auto Accident Claim Before Reading This

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do Not Settle Your Auto Accident Claim Before Reading This

One of the biggest mistakes you can make after an auto accident is to deal with the other party and insurance company without professional advice. The driver accused of negligence usually has a lawyer to help them. Moreover, the insurance company has legal counselors and number crunchers experienced in preventing victims from receiving financial justice. To help you better understand how difficult it can be to reach a fair accident settlement, here are some of the tools used by insurance claim adjusters and defense attorneys to deny victims needed money. Offering Low Ball Settlement Amounts Offering a so-called low ball award amount is widespread practice in the insurance industry. The company has to make a profit and paying out large settlements is not the optimal way to achieve this goal. If they can outwit an unknowing, desperate accident victim with a very low offer, then all the better. Ignoring Emotional Injuries Insurance claim adjusters cannot announce a large settlement to their bosses without tangible evidence of your injuries. Instead, adjusters want a stack of medical bills and reports demonstrating physical damages. The problem is that emotional stress is not so easy to document. Yet, people can experience emotional trauma after an auto accident and deserve just recompense. Denying Negligence To recover damages, accident victims need to prove the other party was legally negligent. Few novices understand this point. You have to demonstrate the elements of negligence, as defined by state law, present in the case facts. There is no better source of information on how to prove such negligence than an experienced personal injury lawyer. Using Legal Precedence to Refute Claims Similarly, you have to demonstrate that the case facts match with some legal precedent. Good luck with all the required research! It could take weeks or months in the law library to find the necessary information. Yet, a personal injury lawyer has already graduated law school, passed the bar and spent years honing their craft. Take advantage of this knowledge because the other side will surely have its set of precedent cases available. Being able to point to precedent cases that demonstrate you could prevail at trial is a good way to persuade the other side to offer a fair settlement. Get Professional Help Today Before attempting to settle with an insurance company or negligent driver, you should consider talking the situation over with a compassionate personal injury lawyer. This legal professional can help you avoid settling for a low ball offer, getting your emotional injuries ignored, failing to prove negligence and being unable to cite relevant past...

read more

Legally Protect Your Trucking Company With A Substance Abuse Policy

Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legally Protect Your Trucking Company With A Substance Abuse Policy

For truck drivers, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. If a truck driver is intoxicated or high, and involved in an accident, they’re often held responsible. They may not be the only party held responsible for the collision, though. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also places expectations on trucking companies. If you own a trucking company, make sure your company’s protected by a well-written substance abuse policy. Understanding the FCMSA’s Regulations Per the FCMSA’s regulations, trucking companies are legally required to educate the drivers and supervisors that work for them about the dangers that drugs and alcohol pose. Along with other requirements, FCMSA 49 C.F.R. §382.601 says that trucking companies have to do the following: Write up a substance abuse policy Give the substance abuse policy to all drivers Keep signed statements saying that employees received a copy of the company’s substance abuse policy Section B of 49 C.F.R. §382.601 details precisely what must be included in a substance abuse policy. A few of the specific items that your company’s policy must have include the following: When truck drivers are expected to be in compliance with your company’s policy Under what circumstances alcohol or drug testing is justified What the consequences of not cooperating with an alcohol or drug test are What effects drugs and alcohol can have on truck drivers If your company fails to meet all requirements of 49 C.F.R. §382.601, it may be held responsible for an accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drafting a Substance Abuse Policy Few people are better qualified to help your company draft a substance abuse policy than a truck accident attorney. Truck accident attorneys specialize in understanding the laws that govern the trucking industry including 49 C.F.R. §382.601. They’ll know precisely what your company needs to include in its policy, and they’ll know how you trucking company needs to administer its policy. If your trucking company doesn’t have a substance abuse policy that was specifically written to meet all 49 C.F.R. §382.601 criteria, contact atrucking accident attorney today. They’ll be able to help you quickly draw one up that will meet all legal requirements and will protect your company. They’ll also be able to help you quickly create a policy and disseminate copies, so your company can be fully protected as quickly as...

read more

Avoiding Hand Numbness To Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Avoiding Hand Numbness To Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

For new motorcycle riders, hand numbness can be a startling occurrence. In fact, it can even lead to accidents and potential lawsuits if you fail to understand what it is and how to avoid it. Some of your driving habits can actually contribute to hand numbness, which can put you at risk of an accident that could end up costing you significantly. Here are some guidelines to remember to help you avoid this problem.  Learn To Let Go Your grip on the handlebars should only be tight enough to hold. You should be able to wiggle your fingers easily without interfering with your grip. This is important because holding on to the handlebars too tightly can actually strain your forearm muscles and the tendons in your wrists. The strain can cause tingling and numbness. Take the opportunity to shake out your hands a bit at every red light or another stop, because this will help to loosen your muscles and encourage sufficient blood flow. Loosening your grip also helps to minimize the vibration transmitting through the handlebars. That vibration can be a key contributor for the numbness that you might feel, so this is an important consideration. You can minimize it even further by installing foam grips on your handlebars. Foam will dampen more of the vibration. Perform A Balancing Act The position you ride in can also contribute to numbness as well. If you ride with most of your weight leaning on your hands, that’s going to lead to wear and tear on your shoulder muscles as well as your hands and wrists. Make an effort to balance the distribution of your weight across the entire bike. To do this, grasp the tank with your legs. That way, you’re drawing some of your weight into your core muscles and your lower body. This reduces the strain on your hands.   Embrace Change Changing the position of your handlebars can often make a big difference in the comfort of your ride. When the handlebars are adjusted properly, it creates a more streamlined riding position. Don’t be stuck in the ruts of leaving things where they’ve always been or assuming that the stock position is right for your bike. You should be able to grasp the handlebars easily without needing to bend your wrists. If you’re bending, you’re compressing the carpal tunnel and median nerves. These tips can help you preserve the feeling in your hands when you’re on your bike, reducing the risk of an accident. If you are in a motorcycle accident and you injure someone, reach out to an attorney (such as one from Welsh & Welsh PC LLO) right away. He or she can help you protect your financial interests along the...

read more

3 Times Where You Can File A Wrongful Death Suit

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Times Where You Can File A Wrongful Death Suit

A wrongful death suit can be filed as a personal injury case. A wrongful death suit can allow the family or care taker of the deceased to claim damages for emotional and financial woes caused to them due to the plaintiff’s role in the deceased’s death. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn of a few situations where you can file for a wrongful death suit. Vehicle Manufacturer If a vehicle manufacturer is found to be distributing a vehicle part, aftermarket accessory, or even an entire faulty vehicle without recalling it, then they can be held liable for damages in a wrongful death suit if an individual died due to any of the above factors contributing to their death. If an auto manufacturer knowingly allows such parts to go to market, then they may be held responsible for even more damages, particularly punitive damages. Intent must be established in such cases, and if the vehicle manufacturer claims negligence on their behalf, then chances are they will not be levied with punitive damages unless there is solid proof that can claim otherwise. Faulty Roadway Design and Road Construction If a person has perished due to the design of roadway (and not merely the construction) contributing to their death, then the entity involved in the design of that roadway can be held liable for damages if he or she is sued via a wrongful death case. In most cases, this is a particular state’s Department of Transportation. There are cases where an external design firm is involved in the design of such roadways, in which cases they too can be held liable for damages. In the case of road construction, the state’s Department of Transportation can be held responsible for damages in almost every case in which construction played a salient role in someone’s death. Auto Accident If a person was negligently driving, then he or she can be held responsible for damages. Establishing negligence in these cases usually involves proving that the defendant was driving negligently or recklessly. If an individual was driving with reckless abandon, this means that he or she had no intent of killing someone, but may have been breaking the laws in such a way that no reasonable person would think of doing, such as driving high above the speed limit. If you believe that someone — or an institution — can be held liable for damages due to a loved one suffering from a wrongful death at their hands, then it is highly recommended that you speak to a local and trusted personal injury or...

read more

Three Things You Should Know About Compensation For Pets Injured In Auto Accidents

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Things You Should Know About Compensation For Pets Injured In Auto Accidents

State laws govern the issue of pets injured in car accidents. Therefore, don’t assume anything if your pet is injured in a car crash; what you think is true may be very different from the reality. Here are three essential things to know about pets injured in such accidents: Pets Are Property You may consider your pet a family member, but the law usually disagrees; most states consider pets as personal property. On one side, this is good because you will be compensated for your pet just as you would be compensated for damaged property. In the case of a damaged or totally destroyed property, you expect to be compensated for the repair costs or the value of the property, respectively. For a pet, expect compensation for veterinary bills or value of the pet (if they don’t recover). On the other hand, this classification of pets means you won’t be able to recover the kinds of damages usually reserved for injured loved ones, such as pain and suffering. A Lawsuit May Not Be Financially Worthwhile  As described above, pets are considered property, and this leads to limited recovery of damages. This can be problematic if you file a lawsuit because you will have to prove that the accident caused your pet its injuries, and prove the value of the injuries too. For example, you may need the help of a veterinarian to act as an expert witness to prove that your pet did not have preexisting injuries. Unfortunately, lawsuits aren’t cheap, and, you may end up spending more on your lawsuit than you can recover from the settlement. In fact, injury attorneys know this, which means your lawyer may be reluctant to pursue the case on a contingency basis. Your best bet, therefore, is to aim for negotiation and an out-of-court settlement. Insurance May or May Not Cover the Pet Whether or not your auto insurance extends to your pet largely depends on who was at fault for the accident. In most cases, your insurer will not compensate you for the pet if you caused the accident.  Most insurers will pay for your car’s repairs and damage to personal property while excluding your pets. You don’t have to worry about this if another motorist caused the accident because their insurer will foot the bill. The best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve is to let an automobile accident lawyer handle the issue on your...

read more