June 14, 2021
There can be no greater tragedy than the loss of a child as a result of an accident. Children are naturally inquisitive, curious and playful. Unfortunately, they do not know the bounds of safety and often do not have the gift of balance. Occasionally, we read in the newspaper about the tragic death of a child from falling from the window of a home or apartment building. Or, equally tragic, a fall resulting in severe traumatic brain damage or paralysis, like quadriplegia or paraplegia. Applying modern safety standards, these tragic accidents should never occur.
There are no federal standards that require the use of safety equipment to prevent a child from falling out of a window. There are, however, national statistics that tell us that approximately 8000 children are treated for window falls each year. Safety standards can be found in local building codes, and standards published by the American Society for testing and materials, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Standards and recommendations can also be found in literature published by window manufacturers. In addition, you can look to the company that manufactured the window to see if they offer a variant that would be more childproof, such as one that opens vertically rather than horizontally. Finally, you can look to literature published by companies that sell window safety devices and locks.
In addition to the owner of the premises, a personal injury lawyer may look to the manufacturer of a safety device that failed. For example, screw-on window locks can fail, whereas safety screws function better and are just as economical. When it comes to hotels and landlords, it will be important to review inspection records to see if window safety was ever addressed. An ignorant landlord or hotel owner is a negligent one.
The State of New York and New York City have been particularly vigilant about addressing concerns about child safety when it comes to windows and balconies. In the 1970s, N.Y.C. developed an educational program titled “Children Can’t Fly.” This PSA includes a discussion about safety devices that must be implemented in order to prevent children from falling from heights.
In litigating a serious personal injury or wrongful death claim arising out of a fall from a building, the law of premises liability applies. While this law may vary slightly from state to state, generally, a landlord or property owner is held liable for those hazards that they know about or should have known about. The same law applies when objects fall from a balcony or ledge and land on a passerby causing death, severe personal injury or brain damage. In these instances, landlords and property owners are deemed negligent if they fail to eradicate dangerous objects that can be inadvertently knocked off, like flower pots and icicles, or, in some instances, thrown from the hotel, onto populated areas below.
If you have been the victim of an injury or death of a family member related to objects falling from a building or a child falling from a window or balcony, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer so that they can conduct an inspection of the property as soon as possible in order to document the hazardous condition before the landlord or property owner repairs it.
June 5, 2021
Business law encompasses an enormous variety of services a business lawyer can provide, including the resolution of employee issues. Other representative legal services include the following:
- Business entity formation
- Start-up capital procurement
- Workers’ compensation insurance procurement
- Business insurance procurement
- Contract negotiation and drafting
- Intellectual property protection
- Acquisitions and mergers
- Business growth strategies
- Business tax planning
- Representation in lawsuits brought by or against your business
- Business dissolution
One of the ways a business lawyer can assist you with employee issues is to help you try to ensure that they don’t arise in the first place. For instance, such a lawyer can help you do the following:
- Develop and draft clear and succinct employee policies and procedures
- Develop and draft wage and hour policies
- Develop and draft break policies
- Develop and draft vacation, sick time, and other time off policies
- Develop and draft safety policies
- Develop and draft a company dress code
- Develop and draft employment agreements
- Develop and draft independent contractor agreements
- Develop and draft nondisclosure agreements
- Help you establish and maintain a non-discriminatory workplace
Keep in mind that while Federal laws exist that regulate the way in which your business must be run with regard to your employees, your state may well have additional laws and regulations in place. Your experienced local business lawyer undoubtedly will not only know these laws but also will keep himself or herself updated on the changes that take place.
Should one of your employees sue you despite your best efforts to the contrary, your business lawyer likely can represent you and the interests of your company in court. If he or she does not do courtroom work, he or she can certainly refer you to a colleague, possibly another member of his or her law firm, who focuses on business litigation work.
In-house Versus Outside Legal Counsel
If you’re just starting out or if you’re a small company that doesn’t yet need an in-house legal department, you may wish to consider retaining a lawyer to act as your outside legal counsel. Many business lawyers offer this service on a monthly or yearly retainer basis. Having this immediate access to a trusted business lawyer can make your life a great deal easier.
All in all, your business lawyer can be your company’s best friend and strongest advocate, helping you head off employee, vendor, and other problems before they become major issues requiring litigation. A litigation law firm, like Brown Kiely LLP, could also be contacted if you feel that it may be needed now or in the future for your business if a dispute may arise.
May 26, 2021
There are two types of brain injuries, and while they can have similar effects, their causes are different. An acquired brain injury occurs because of an underlying medical problem, such as a tumor or a stroke. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs due to something outside the body acting on the head in a violent or impactful way. Specific types of traumatic brain injury can have different causes.
1. Open Head Injury
An open head injury occurs due to a foreign object penetrating the brain after first punching through the skull. It is called open because the object breaks through the skin on its way to the brain. Bullets and shrapnel are common causes of open head injuries, but any object that strikes the head with enough force to penetrate the skull may result in this type of injury.
2. Closed Head Injury
A closed head injury occurs when something strikes your head with enough force to cause a traumatic brain injury, but there is no foreign object penetrating the skull, nor any breaking of the skin. Examples of closed head injuries include concussions and contusions, which can range in severity.
The skull is usually very effective at preventing injury to your brain, so the mere fact that you hit your head does not necessarily mean that you have a TBI. However, any unusual and troubling symptoms after you hit your head should be evaluated for evidence of a traumatic injury.
3. Severe Shaking
Violent shaking back and forth can cause tearing of nerve tissue, leading to brain damage. While anyone can potentially get hurt by this type of treatment, very young children are especially vulnerable. Not only are their brains still developing, but they also lack muscle stability in their neck, meaning that the effects of the shaking can be even more severe. For this reason, the damage that results is often referred to as shaken baby syndrome.
Whiplash refers to a single, involuntary, violent back-and-forth motion of the head and neck as opposed to rapid shaking. Car accidents, especially rear-end collisions, are among the most common causes of whiplash. While whiplash is known primarily for injuries to the neck, there is evidence that it can also contribute to brain injuries. For example, people with whiplash are more likely to develop Chiari malformation, a condition in which part of the brain extends down into the spinal column. It can cause headaches and other neurological symptoms. A brain injury lawyer like one from Hall Justice Law Firm can help you file a claim. One of our attorneys may be able to help you collect damages for a brain injury caused by someone else’s actions. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.
May 26, 2021
Family Lawyers are responsible for dealing with legal issues that arise between members of the same family. They represent clients in court for contentious cases concerning divorce and domestic violence, but also oversee family estates and offer advice on areas such as adoption and guardianship.
What is Family Law?
Family law – sometimes known as matrimonial law – is a practice area concerning legal issues and domestic relations between family members. Much of family law concerns marital, civil and domestic partnerships, as well as the termination of these relationships including matters such as:
- Divorce — Whether your divorce is relatively amicable or highly contested, it is important to assert your rights and safeguard your interests so you can move forward to a successful resolution.
- Child custody and visitation — handle child custody and visitation arrangements with skill and sensitivity.
- Property division — Under equitable distribution law, judges have wide latitude to determine what is fair when dividing marital property. In negotiations, mediation and litigation, review the relevant information exhaustively and press for a proper outcome.
- Child support — Each parent has a responsibility to meet the financial needs of their children. During initial child support determinations, modification requests and enforcement actions, pursue a result that is supported by the facts.
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements — Creating an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can protect your assets and avert costly disputes if the marriage ends. Regardless of the particular property that’s at stake, a family lawyer advises clients on how to reach a consensus.
- Alimony — a family lawyer advocates in cases where one spouse seeks support payments during the course of divorce proceedings and after the marriage is dissolved
Other types of family law include:
- Child care & protection
- Domestic violence
- Juvenile law
What does a Family Lawyer do?
Advising a range of clients – including vulnerable individuals such as children and the elderly – on their options and rights, the duties of a family lawyer can vary greatly from case to case. However, the key responsibilities of a Family Lawyer usually include:
- Attempting to resolve complex claims and reach settlement outside of court through alternative dispute resolution.
- If no settlement can be reached, proceeding the case in court, representing your clients and carrying out all duties associated with Dispute Resolution or Litigation Lawyers.
- Drafting, negotiating and reviewing court documents such as pleadings or witness statements.
- Liaising with a variety of other professionals including psychologists, doctors, social workers and police officers.
- Researching historic cases that bear resemblance to your ongoing files.
- Examining and evaluating any evidence that may prove beneficial to your clients.
- Effectively and empathetically managing emotionally unpredictable situations.
Address Your Concerns Today
Each family law situation is unique, but whether your concerns can be resolved through effective communication or require litigation, always work to eliminate unnecessary delays and expense.
If you have any questions or need any help with a divorce or other family law matter, seek the guidance of seasoned professionals from a reputed law firm like The McKinney Law Group. Learn more about the ways a family lawyer can help you address your concerns.
May 18, 2021
If you’re currently going through a divorce, know that you don’t have to navigate the legal aspects of this process on your own. An experienced Colorado family lawyer can walk you through each step of the divorce process in a client-focused way that is uniquely tailored to your needs. Here are some of the primary reasons why former clients of Zweig Law, PC – Attorneys at Law have chosen to work with our experienced legal team…
Serve as a Mediator
Couples who are going through a divorce often have a great deal of negative emotions towards each other, which can make it difficult to communicate about important issues effectively. This is where a divorce lawyer comes in. They can serve as a mediator and redirect any negative emotions that may interfere with the efficiency and effectiveness of the divorce negotiation process.
Reduce Unnecessary Stress
Even if you and your spouse are separating amicably, divorce is one of the most stressful things that you can go through. Because you don’t tend to make the best decisions when you’re stressed, a divorce lawyer can help guide you through the process and ensure that you’re making smart decisions. This can include:
- Determining what you’re entitled to
- Negotiating a settlement that’s most beneficial to you
- Ensuring that all income and assets are fully disclosed
- Constructing a parenting agreement that is in your child’s best interests
Protect You From Your Spouse
If you believe that your spouse will retaliate against you or abuse you or your children, you should hire a divorce lawyer right away. A lawyer can act as an advocate while also protecting you from your spouse. If you believe that you or your family’s safety is in jeopardy, a divorce lawyer can give you peace of mind.
Expedite the Process
If you’re going through a divorce, chances are that you hope to resolve your situation as quickly as possible. The good news is that a divorce lawyer can help you achieve this. They can make sure the necessary documents are filed and maneuver the complex legal environment to better ensure a smooth and efficient process.
Determine if You’re Getting Your Fair Share
One of the most important parts of a divorce process involves dividing property and assets. Because different states have different laws for distributing property, it’s important to hire a divorce lawyer to determine if you’re getting the property that you’re legally entitled to under your state’s laws.
Going through a divorce is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily difficult. Connect with our experienced team today to learn more about our approach to representation and about how we can help you, moving forward.
May 17, 2021
The consequences of sustaining an injury after an auto accident can be devastating, making life for victims exceedingly difficult. The financial expenses can be just as damaging to victims as the physical injuries. However, not every car accident claim gets approved. So what do you do when your claim gets denied?
This issue is more common than people think. If you believe that your valid car accident claim was denied, talking to an auto accident lawyer like one from Ward & Ward Law Firm can give you legal assistance so that you can challenge the denial and keep your legal rights protected.
Why was my claim denied?
An insurance company can deny your claim for several reasons. It can be denied for small errors on your application, such as your name misspellings or putting an incorrect address. Some of the most common reasons claims are denied include:
- The value of your claim exceeded your insurance coverage. If your claim results in $100,000 of medical expenses and your coverage only goes up to $75,000 the remaining balance will not be covered under insurance.
- Your information is not accurate or detailed. You may not have put enough detailed information in your application, such as not reporting specific parts or enhancements to your vehicle.
- You were breaking traffic laws. If you were driving with an expired license or driving drunk prior to the accident, it can result in your claim getting denied.
If you find out that your claim was denied, here are the next steps that you should take:
Learn your legal rights
Become familiar with your rights as an accident victim. Having a basic understanding of your rights is recommended so that you can make informed choices.
You may have the option of settling your dispute through mediation. An arbitrator will hear your case and obtain an estimate to determine the value of your total losses.
Hire an experienced lawyer
To improve your chances of challenging your claim successfully, hire a skilled lawyer who has helped clients with rejected claims. They will be able to offer you legal advice and represent you in court if necessary.
If your auto accident claim was denied, don’t panic. There are options that you can look into, and you may still be able to recover the compensation you need. Schedule a consultation with an auto accident lawyer now to learn about your options.
May 2, 2021
As a bankruptcy lawyer from a law firm like Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can explain, if you are responsible for paying child support and you’re also having trouble managing your finances, you might be considering filing for bankruptcy.
Is Bankruptcy a Good Choice?
While bankruptcy can be a good option for some people, it’s important to remember that isn’t a perfect solution for everyone. Not only will it affect your credit score for years to come, but depending on the debts that you have, you might not even be able to get your debts discharged. Child support payments are a prime example of debts that cannot be discharged during any bankruptcy (even a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where most debts can be discharged and erased).
However, there are some cases where filing for bankruptcy can be a good option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for example, allows you to reorganize your debts and create a repayment plan — not to mention, it also stops harassment from debt collectors.
No matter your situation, you’ll want to arrange a meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer before moving forward with a bankruptcy case. Each person’s case is unique and it’s important to know what to expect if you do choose to file for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy and Child Support
Some parents file for bankruptcy thinking that their unpaid child support payments will be discharged along with all their other debts. This is not what happens. In fact, a child support lawyer would likely tell you that the opposite occurs: child support debts are considered “priority debts” and they are paid off before any other creditors are paid. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this means that your assets may be seized and used to help repay outstanding child support bills.
With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this may mean that your repayment plan prioritizes paying off your child support bills before any other debts. Because a Chapter 13 repayment plan cannot last longer than five years, it also means that your monthly repayments may be quite high (depending on how long you have been delinquent in child support payments). Furthermore, you’ll be expected to continue paying current child support bills on top of making back payments in your payment plan.
This can sound very overwhelming, but keep in mind that a bankruptcy court will assess your total financial situation and your ability to pay back your debts. If you are earning income on a regular basis, the court will look at your average monthly income to determine how much your payments will be. If you change jobs or lose your job and your income decreases, the court may be willing to reassess your payment plan. (Similarly, if you get a raise or a new job that pays more, the court may require you to make higher monthly payments.)
Taking Action Sooner Rather Than Later
Both a bankruptcy lawyer and child support lawyer would likely recommend that you take action as soon as possible if you’re having financial trouble. If you are having difficulties making child support payments on time, it’s better to seek an adjustment in your payments than to let these missed payments pile up.
April 16, 2021
Two Types Of Divorce Cases.
What Is Divorce?
Typically speaking, there are two kinds of divorce. One is called “divorce from bed and board,” which is readily available in some states. At its core, this enables couples to legally different, and is typically used by partners who wish to live their own lives but, for whatever reason, do not want to officially end their marital relationship. Divorce from bed and board is infrequently seen nowadays.
The more typical kind of divorce is an “outright divorce” which dissolves the marriage. A legal tidy break, so to speak. It’s this principle that this short article will focus on.
There are numerous approaches available to reach the objective of having a judge problem a judgment of absolute divorce. For the sake of benefit, it’s become standard practice in the law to identify each of these techniques as a separate kind of divorce, which is how we’ll explain them listed below.
In lots of states, an expedited divorce treatment is readily available to couples who have not been married for very long (generally 5 years or less), don’t own much property, don’t have children, and do not have substantial joint financial obligations. Both partners need to agree to the divorce, and need to file court papers jointly.
A summary (sometimes called “streamlined”) divorce includes a lot less documents than other types of divorce– a couple of forms are typically all it takes. For this reason, summary divorces are easy to do without the help of a legal representative. You can normally get the types you need from your state court’s main website, or from the regional family court clerk’s office.
In regards to handling the court procedure, the path that typically produces the least quantity of tension is an uncontested divorce. That’s one in which you and your spouse settle up-front all your differences on issues such as custody and visitation (parenting time), kid assistance, spousal support, and department of property. You’ll then integrate the terms of your settlement in a written “home settlement agreement” (often called a “separation agreement”).
Once your case is settled, you can declare divorce with the court. Courts almost invariably fast-track these types of cases, so you can get divorced in a fairly brief period of time. In some states, you do not even need to make a court appearance, however rather can submit an affidavit (sworn statement) with the notary.
July 17, 2020
In many contested divorces the contest involves issues of custody of children. Frequently these battles involve two parents who are both capable and competent care givers. Typically both parents love their children. Unfortunately, parents who are getting divorced have to learn how to share their children. In most cases, if the parents were good at sharing and cooperating together they probably would not be getting divorced.
Each person has their own reason for fighting for custody. For some people it is ego. For some, it is a desire to hurt their spouse. For others it is money. Some people have a genuine belief that the children are better with them than with the spouse.
Some people fight over custody because child support is tied to the issue of custody. If a parent doesn’t want to pay child support then he or she needs to obtain primary custody of the child. If primary custody is not available then shared custody with each parent having parenting time for one half of the time available is a goal. Even 50 / 50 custody can result in lower child support payments. Of course, the parent with the lower income may fight for custody only to get child support payments or higher child support payments.
Courts approach custody from the point of view of what is best for the child. The name for this concept is “the best interests of the child standard.” This simple statement gives a judge broad discretion in making a custody judgment. This standard can be difficult to translate into presenting evidence so attorney Alan J. Pransky would tell you to consider the following:
1.) What was the custody arrangement when the couple was together? Custody trials tend to have a lot of contradictory evidence. Each spouse tends to exaggerate the other spouses flaws and minimize their own. Start with the question of who was the primary custodial parent when the couple were together. Most couples have an allocation of responsibilities within the marriage. One spouse tends to be the primary wage earner and the other tends to be the primary housekeeper and child custodian. When the wage earner testifies how dangerous the other spouse is and how that spouse poses a threat to the child, ask “How did you go to work each day leaving the children in the care of this person you claim is a threat?” When day after day a parent is left alone with the children it is hard to believe that they are a danger to the children.
2) Which parent has the strongest bonds with the child? While children may love both of their parents, they usually choose one parent over another for comfort and security. When a child is injured, which parent do they seek for comfort and protection? As children get older, which parent do they feel more comfortable talking to? Children may indicate that they can’t imagine living separate from one parent but can easily imagine living separate from the other.
3) Each parent’s plan for taking care of the children. In order to argue for custody, a parent must provide care for a child 24 hours a day, every day that the child is with the parent. This means that the parent must have an appropriate physical setting. Do both parents have separate bedrooms or is a parent proposing to share a bed with the child? Where will the child be going to school? How will the child get to school? If a parent proposes 50 / 50 custody but lives an hour away from the other parent then the child will be subjected to unreasonable commuting to get to and from school. How will the parent provide care to the child when working? How will a parent care for a sick child that can’t go to school? Will the child live in the same home as prior to the divorce and be able to continue to play with the same friends? Judges may call this evidence “stability and continuity in the child’s life” but once can tend to think of it as having a better parenting plan.
4) For many judges, the ultimate measure of the best interests of the child is the success the child achieves in school. This means that each parenting plan should be considered in terms of how it encourages success in school. A judge should consider how each parent deals with the child’s homework and school preparation. Are the parents consistent on bedtimes on school nights? How have the parents interacted with teachers in the past?
5) A court will also consider living arrangements and lifestyles of each parent andhow such circumstances may affect the child. The mere fact that a parent intends to live with a new romantic partner should not determine child custody. While some states consider such a living arrangement to be morally harmful to the child, most states don’t consider such moral evidence. Instead, courts should consider how the new love interest treats the children. Any live in partners will have to be involved in care giving for the children. A Court should view cohabitation from the viewpoint of benefits and disadvantages to the way the children are treated.
6) Increasingly courts are considering the manner in which each parent interacts with the children about the other parent. Parents should protect the child’s relationship with both parents. No derogatory comments about the other parent. No excessive questioning the child about activities with the other parent. No blaming the spouse for the termination of the marriage. Potential or actual parental alienation should be considered by a judge in a custody decision. Most experts advocate that children need quality time with both parents. There is a current trend to give both parents significant time with the child.
Contested child custody cases can be very difficult. If you can’t agree with your spouse about custody of your children you should consult a child custody lawyer for advice and assistance.