Category Archives: General Information

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim When the Deceased Did Not Have a Job

You may have a family member who died a tragic death that you believe was a wrongful death. How do you know for sure? A wrongful death is a death that has been brought about due to the irresponsibility, recklessness, negligence or intentional behavior of another party. This may have been one individual, more than one individual, an entity or a company.

You know that nothing can give back the life of your family member, but you would like to see the party or parties responsible for the wrongful death of your family member held accountable for their death. Have you considered filing a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death lawsuits can compensate the family of a breadwinner who suffered a wrongful death due to the negligence of another person, but what if the deceased did not work or has never worked? Are you allowed to file a wrongful death claim? And if you are allowed to file a wrongful death claim, is it a good idea? What damages could you hope to recover?

Wrongful death laws and statutes vary from state to state. There are a minority of states that will not allow you to file a wrongful death claim for non-economic damages. These are damages for losses that are not financial. However, the majority of states will now permit you to file a wrongful death claim for recovery of non-economic damages. So this means that even if the deceased was not working and earning an income, most states recognize that their death does cause your family loss.

For instance, what if the mother of the family dies? She may not have been supporting the family economically, but no one would argue that her death does not cause the family substantial non-economic loss. The good news is that most states now agree.

The best thing to do is to go to www.personalinjuryplace.com where the attorneys will know what the wrongful death statutes and laws are in your state. The attorneys at www.personalinjuryplace.com will be able to advise you on whether it would be wise to proceed with a wrongful death claim.

If your family member was an adult who could have been employed at the time of their wrongful death or a homemaker, even though they may never have had a job, your family may, under certain circumstances, be able to recover damages.

Personal injury lawyers can review your wrongful death claim and help you estimate the loss of wages that you family member might have earned in the future or what it would cost to replace the services that are done by a homemaker. Do not hesitate. There are time limits on wrongful death statutes and laws.

Teenage Bullying Hits Cyberspace and Lawyer Dad Fights Back

Add one more weapon to the arsenal of teenage bullying. Pranks in the bathroom or notes passed in the classroom, these childhood tactics to harass and annoy are passé in 2011. Kids now are resorting to “cyber bullying” using technological innovations such as Twitter and Facebook.

According to The Houston Chronicle, one Texas dad is fighting back by filing a defamation lawsuit against students who have posted derogatory remarks and a video on Facebook about his daughter.

Jason Medley, a Texas lawyer, first attempted to resolve the issue with school officials and the girl’s parents by issuing a cease-and-desist letter. When the families failed to meet the demands of the letter, which included stopping all communication with his daughter and donating $5,000 each to the non-profit Centre for Safe and Responsible Internet Use by early June, he filed a defamation suit against the girls.

The issue of this case, as reported by The Houston Chronicle, is defamation, and the accusation is that these girls used false statements that “impute sexual impropriety and misconduct” to Medley’s daughter. Medley also contends that the video provides evidence that the girls intended to physically harm his daughter.

Parents everywhere will be watching this case. Some would argue that this case should never have been filed in court and it should be discussed between parents and school administrators. Others contend that if defamatory statements are made and an amicable resolution cannot be found, taking it to the courts may have been Medley’s only remedy.


What is Defamation?

Defamation can take many forms. Defamation is false or negative information about a product, group or person. It can include any statements which are false but are made as if they were true. The defamatory statements must be made or communicated to other people other than the victim.

Defamation can include slander which is spoken words, sign language or gestures. If the defamation is pictures or printed words it is called libel.


Winning a Defamation Lawsuit

Defamation lawsuits are like other personal injury claims, and there are specific legal aspects which must be proven to win damages. To win a defamation suit the plaintiff must prove:

  • The statement or written words were false.
  • The statements were published or shared with a third-party.
  • The statement caused injury or loss. This could be to the reputation of the plaintiff or in some jurisdictions, mental anguish.
  • Under some conditions, it may be possible to prove defamation without proving loss or damage. There are four types of defamation called “defamation per se,” which are considered defamatory if they are made and they are false. These include claiming that a person has STD or highly contagious disease, they are guilty of sexual misconduct, they have committed a crime or they are inept at business.

    Defamation laws for public figures are a bit more complicated and allow some statements to be made which might be considered defamatory if they were made against a common person. Government officials, officers of large corporations, and movie stars must prove not only that the defamatory statement was false but that the statement to defraud was made with “malice” and with “disregard for the truth”.


    Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyers

    Defamation can cause severe personal loss, emotional suffering and loss of profits for a business. Filing a defamation suit generally should not be your first action to resolve minor disputes, but if you have attempted reconciliation and your actions have not stopped the defamatory actions, a personal injury lawyer can help.

    Personal injury lawyers understand the law and can review your defamation claim and determine if you have a personal injury case.

    Some claim that parents and administrators have over reacted to bullying; others claim that not enough has been done to stop bullying. With the tools that students have today, parents and administrators will have to be more vigilant to stop adolescent pranks and harmful actions. This time, one Houston dad said enough is enough.

    Eight Steps to take if you have caused a Car Accident

    What should you do if you are in a car accident? What if the car accident is your fault? What if you are only partially to blame? If you are involved in a car accident it is time to take steps to protect yourself.

    Several steps should be taken prior to operating a motorized vehicle such as checking your tires, brakes and lights to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. But what about after an accident, what steps should you take immediately after the car accident?

    Eight steps to take if you have caused a car accident:

    1. Make sure that all parties in the accident are safe. If someone needs medical assistance, call 911. Do not move anyone who is injured unless they are in imminent danger.

    2. Contact your insurance company immediately. If you are involved in a car accident or if you have been sued after a car accident, call your insurance company and find out if you liability coverage provides legal representation. If you do not have insurance you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to review and defend your personal injury claim.

    3. Whether you have caused the accident or not, take pictures of the accident scene. Photographs can be strong evidence which can be used to prove your innocence or to prove that the other driver is partially responsible for the car accident.

    4. Gather information from all of the drivers involved in the accident including their name, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance information.

    5. Gather witness names, phones numbers and statements.

    6. Do not admit fault. You may think the accident was completely your fault, but you need to allow the courts to make the legal determination for fault.

    7. Talk to your car accident lawyer to find out how your state determines compensation. In some states you may not have to pay compensation to another driver in a personal injury claim if you can prove that the other driver was partially at-fault for the accident. In other states the plaintiff may not be entitled to compensation if they are more than 50% or 51% responsible for the accident.

    8. If the insurance company agrees to make a settlement offer and forego a personal injury trial, discuss the pros and cons of this option with your defense lawyer. Under some conditions, it may be wise to settle a claim and avoid the costs of going to court

    Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

    If you have insurance coverage you should be provided with a lawyer. Do not wait to get the help you need. Do not seek your own legal counsel without first finding out what the insurance company will do for you.

    If you do not have car insurance or your coverage does not provide a personal injury lawyer, it may be time to find your own personal injury defense attorney. Personal injury defense lawyers are your advocate if a personal injury claim is filed against you. They will advise you of your rights and advocate for you. They will review the personal injury claim, monitor the process, respond to allegations and legal requests and review information and discovery from the plaintiff’s attorneys.

    Do I have a Wrongful Death Claim?

    If someone you love has died from the negligent actions of another person or from a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for their wrongful death.

    For example, recently the family of a Cleveland man who was killed during a robbery in 2009 at a local bar has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the security company and building owners. The family claims the security officers did not do enough to stop a group of men from killing the victim, Jeremy Pechanec, who was shot in his parked car across the street from the Cleveland bar. Jeremy Pechanec’s family is asking for more than $100,000 in damages in their wrongful death claim.

    Will this family win their wrongful death lawsuit? To win their wrongful death claim they will have to prove that the security officers and the building owners owed Mr. Pechanec a duty of care, which they breached, when they failed to protect him. The family will also have to prove that this breach of duty or negligence caused or contributed to the death of Mr. Pechanec. They must also prove that they have suffered loss from the death.

    This wrongful death claim was caused by a criminal action on the part of the perpetrator, and if caught, they will likely face criminal charges, but the Pechanec family is also claiming that the security officers and building owner were negligent, and this negligence contributed to Mr. Pechanec’s death.

    Do you have a Wrongful Death Claim?

    All states have enacted wrongful death laws. If you can prove that the death of a family member has caused you loss, and the death resulted from another person’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation. The most common recipients for compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit are the spouse, the children or the parent’s of the victim. A wrongful death lawsuit may only be filed by a personal representative of the victim’s estate.

    Keep in mind, unlike a criminal charge which must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”, you may be entitled to compensation if you can prove your wrongful death claim through a “preponderance of evidence”.

    Even if a family does not win a guilty verdict in a criminal trial, they may attempt to recover compensation for their losses through a civil lawsuit. This is similar to what happened several years ago in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Although he was found not guilty in his criminal trial, the family of Nicole Simpson successfully won a civil claim against him and he was required to pay them compensation for their loss.

    What type of Compensation Can You Expect to Win in your Wrongful Death Claim?

    If you win the wrongful death claim you can expect payment for your economic losses. This is called a pecuniary loss and can include payment for lost wages, pensions, funeral costs, medical costs and lost inheritance. To determine your pecuniary loss a legal expert can review the age of the victim, their potential life expectancy, and their future earning ability.

    You may also be entitled to punitive damages if the wrongful death was caused by the intentional or malicious actions of another person. Some states allow punitive damages to be assessed to punish the defendant, others do not.

    Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

    The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case varies in all states. The amount of time allowed may be different, depending on the type of claim. In general, most states will allow approximately one to three years for claims to be filed after the death occurs.

    Do not wait to talk to a wrongful death lawyer. Wrongful death attorneys understand the law and can review your wrongful death claim. If someone you love was killed by a defective product, talk to a wrongful death lawyer who specializes in product liability claims.

    6 Rules When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

    Personal injury lawsuits can seem like a bitter pill when you have to fill out boxes of paperwork, sit in court, and try to negotiate. They can be much easier if you hire the right personal injury lawyer. This guide can help you do just that.

    Look for Multiple Lawyers
    Instead of just choosing the first one you find – or the cheapest one you find – why not look for multiple lawyers? You have far more options than the referral you got. You may look online. You might find one at the local state bar. You may have some connections. Try to connect with at least 4-5 lawyers before hiring one.

    Pay Nothing Down
    When you hire a lawyer, hire one for the “no win, no fee” philosophy, which means you only pay if you win. If you settle your lawsuit out of court – 8 out of 10 do – you may pay 25% of the settlement to your lawyer. If you go to court and win, you may pay more like 35%. If you lose, you pay nothing.

    Hire a Specialist

    Hire someone who specializes in personal injury law – not the friend, or the family member, or the one who promises winning. There are DUI lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, immigration lawyers, and a variety of others, but you need a good personal injury lawyer. You need someone who has relevant in court experience.

    Hire a Winner
    You want someone with court room experience. It can be hard to differentiate from lawyers until you look at their records. The more court room experience they have, the better. You want someone capable of winning, of course, and in order to get that you need to be critical in who you hire.

    Communicator

    You should be able to communicate well with your lawyer. This is critical part of the process. Why? Some personal injury lawsuits drag on for years. First, the injury occurs, and you typically wait 6 months to a year to get better before filing any claim. Then you file a claim and want, and if you’re denied you have to hire a lawyer, file a lawsuit, and perhaps go to court. This entire process can seem to drag on. If you can hire an experienced lawyer you can communicate well with, you stand to save yourself a lot of headaches. And if you hire one you simply cannot communicate well with, you may consider firing him or her.

    Should you fire your lawyer?
    Finally, you may consider firing your lawyer on some occasions. Usually you can weed out the bad ones in the hiring process, but not always. There is no rule saying you have to keep on a lawyer you do not like. You can always get a new lawyer. You do have to pay any fees up to that point, so find out as early as possible.

    Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement

    Since 8 out of 10 personal injury cases are settled before anyone sets foot in a court room, you may wonder about the “secrets” to closing a close before it has to go to court. But is going to court that bad? It depends. You might get more, but you might spend more on your lawyer. And a lawyer is the first step in correctly negotiating a personal injury case.

    Should you file a lawsuit?
    Do not file a lawsuit without a lawyer. The first real step is sending a letter explaining your injuries to the adjuster in the case. This is far more important than you might think. If you claim an injury of less value than it ends up being, you make it harder to get a quick settlement. If the adjuster sets a low number for the case, that is very hard to change. If you make clear your injuries, which can be difficult without a doctors help, you may get your full compensation.

    Negotiating with the Adjuster
    What happens if the adjuster sets your reserve too low, or too high? It can be almost a mind game. You should consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer if negotiations are tough. You can make clear your injury beforehand, but be sure you know exactly what has occurred. With a doctor’s guidance, you can do so. Right after any accident, even your doctor won’t know the full extent of your injuries. This is why personal injury cases can sometimes drag on; until you know the full physical and psychological issues, you cannot make a complete claim. On the other hand, you can keep your adjuster abreast of what is happening to better help you in later negotiations.

    Consulting with a Lawyer

    Make no decisions without a lawyer. This can be hard; will you really need a lawyer? Some lawyers may advise you to only submit your claim when you know the full extent. It all depends on your situation; few cases are exactly alike. Therefore, if there is some uncertainty with any decision, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. It’s his/her job to help you make decisions.

    What if they pay?
    If the insurer covers everything – it happens all the time – you can focus on recovery. If the insurer decides to set your claim lower, you may have to file a lawsuit. Once again, the majority of the time you will not have to set foot in a court room; you can settle beforehand, saving everyone legal fees. However, your trump card is the willingness to go to court. You may get a low settlement offer, reject it, then get a higher one. You may be able to prove more in court, such as with pain and suffering issues, and double the value of the claim. In any case, you need a lawyer to help make this decision, so hire one you can work with over a long period and who specializes in personal injury law.

    6 Points on Dealing with an Insurance Company

    How much is your personal injury claim worth? It depends on what happened, the company you deal with, and on who you hire to represent you. It depends on if you settle out of court or go to court. It depends on fault, too, among many other points. Dealing with an insurance company, which may sometimes be simple and other times difficult, requires some skill. This blog guide points you in the right direction.

    Know Your Full Injury
    Before you take any legal steps, it’s time to get better, to focus on your physical and psychological health. If it appears you, or your spouse, will have a long recovery process, it’s time to find out what compensation you can get and how soon.

    Hire an Experienced Lawyer
    If you are just trying to get better, it can be difficult to find an experienced lawyer. Where do you find one? Online, at your local state bar, or based on recommendations. Generally online is easiest, as you can go the state bar of your state, find a lawyer, go over his or her experience, and make a quick phone call. A lawyer is invaluable no matter if you’re stuck in bed or trying to handle your health. It’s your lawyer’s job to ensure you get proper compensation from the insurance company.

    Notify
    You want to be sure to notify the party at fault that you have been hurt and will file a claim. This may seem minor – letting them know you are injured – but if you fail to make contact, and then file a claim, you may run into some problems.

    Who’s At Fault?
    Evidence, such as witnesses, experts on this type of problem, and a police report are often the deciding factors in personal injury claims. If your lawyer can prove to the insurer you were clearly not at fault, you should get a nice offer. If not, your lawyer can prove fault in court and potentially get even more compensation. Most often, you notify, find evidence, prove who is at fault, and settle. If the insurer becomes difficult, you have legal rights.

    What is your claim worth?
    This is an open ended question, as there is no immediate answer. Much like no two accidents are exactly alike, no two personal injury claims will have the exact same compensation for certain injuries. However, you can expect, if you get an experienced lawyer and fault is clear, to be compensated for points like lost wages, medical bills, and any property damage. If you go through much pain and suffering, this can greatly increase your claim.

    The Demand Letter

    Once you figure out a fair number for your claim, you submit a demand letter to the insurer of the person at fault. Decisions will be made, you’ll often be negotiating, and quite often you will get fair compensation.

    The Ending
    How does this end? Well, the final point is that compensation is your legal right. The ending should be one where you are not in severe pain or going through financial turmoil because you cannot work. With the right game plan, the ending can be a good one.

    6 Ways to Avoid Inexperienced Personal Injury Lawyers

    1-Go for a Specialist
    One common problem is with lawyers who do “a little of everything,” meaning they will take on any paying case. While there is nothing wrong with that on the surface, especially for minor cases, the more serious your lawsuit, the more you want a specialist. Get a lawyer who only does personal injury lawsuits. While you may be referred by a friend or loved one to this lawyer, be weary of referrals to lawyers who don’t specialize.

    2-Look At References
    On the other hand, references can be good. They can show positive experiences with the lawyer. They can show the value of a lawyer. They can show how many cases he or she has won. They can even show how valuable some of these cases were to the plaintiffs (the ones suing). Therefore, if you get a personal injury specialist who has done a load of cases, he or she should have some strong references.

    3-Look Over The Site
    An experienced personal injury lawyer will not always have a website, but if they do, it can give a volume of important information. You can see just how this lawyer has helped his or her clients. You can see cases won and sometimes even the compensation amounts. You can see who the staff is, the secondary people who may help in winning your case. They can also show personality and communication abilities. You want a lawyer who can explain how this process works to you.

    4-Give a Fair Fee
    You can tell a inexperienced personal injury lawyer – or one who does not specialize – by the fees. Oddly, “we can work that out” or a very low fee often means you have an inexperienced lawyer. The fair rates are 25%-35%. if you cannot get a lawyer to take on your personal injury case, an inexperienced lawyer may try and get you to pay upfront. You should almost always pay with the “no win, no fee” philosophy: you only pay if you win. A lawyer who tries charging you may know your case isn’t a winner.

    5-Ask Questions
    Ask your personal injury lawyer as many questions as you possibly can. Just as in school, when you don’t prepare for a test you might end up failing. If your lawyer has little to no knowledge on how much compensation you deserve, if you should go to court or simply take a settlement, how liability is made, or how to get experts and witnesses, these are warning signs.

    6-Consult With Multiple Personal Injury Lawyers
    Finally, you want to consult with more than one lawyer. Don’t settle on the family friend or the “friend-of-a-friend” who needs the work. Consult with a minimum of 5 lawyers. Only consult with lawyers who offer a free case review. If you had to pay for every review, you would be paying hundreds of dollars.

    Injury Lawsuits and Bankruptcy

    You get hurt, hire an effective lawyer, file a lawsuit, start negotiating, and then the business or person you are filing the claim against files bankruptcy. This does in fact happen. But with this blog post, you’ll know some crucial rules – such as the fact that usually bankruptcy does not cancel a personal injury claim  – and get some strategies for getting your compensation.

    Who Files Bankruptcy?
    According to legal resource Nolo.com, when a person or business files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may lose some rights to your money. Also according to this legal resource, if the business files Chapter 7, and you have a personal injury claim, you have options for getting your money.

    How can you get your compensation?

    You still have your rights. There is no loophole for a business to be allowed to file bankruptcy and avoid punishment for mistakes. For example, if an insurance company refuses to pay your claim, then attempts to file for bankruptcy, you may be able to intervene in the bankruptcy with some legal help. There is a lot of legalities to understand here, namely whether wrong doing was committed. According to Nolo, this is a “malicious behavior” which can be open to interpretation.

    When should you file your lawsuit?
    You should still go ahead and file your lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the bankruptcy will go through. If you file against a business which is still running, typically they simply pay for a settlement – which is why settlements are so common in personal injury lawsuits – and you can move on. You should therefore file for your claim as soon as you understand your injury.

    Will you lose your claim?
    This is where the legal process gets complicated. If you won a large lawsuit against a person or entity, they will not always have the option of bankruptcy. For example, bankruptcy can only be filed so often, so if they recently filed, and your injury happened after, they would have to wait years before filing again. That helps you.

    You will not always necessarily lose your claim. The best thing you can do is get proper legal representation. An experienced personal injury lawyer is best for situations where you’re worried your claim will either fail or never be paid. If you are unsure about the personal injury legal process, or how bankruptcy might affect you in some other way, choose an experienced lawyer. He or she can consult with you, negotiate for you, protect your rights, and protect your future. If you have a defendant wanting a fight, get someone who can help you win the battle.

    Your Options and Your Rights – On Personal Injury Law

    What kind of claims call for a personal injury lawsuit? More than you might think. And you may be wondering why you have options when injured, or what your rights mean when you walk into a court room. This blog guide can help.

    Do you have a claim?

    A useful legal resource for lawyers, experts, and “newbies” is Nolo.com, who recommend you file a claim in four scenarios. You suffer a permanent injury. You or a loved one may be incapable of walking correctly for six months to permanently. You suffer from medical malpractice. An incompetent doctor or hospital makes crucial mistakes and it costs you. You suffer a severe injury, such as loss of sight, because of a car accident or fire which should not have occurred. Finally, in a world full of science and technology, sometimes “toxic” problems, such as dangerous gases or some other contaminate, can lead to major injury or death. In all of these examples, there is room for discussion on when a claim is worth pursuing. You should never make this decision alone; get a lawyer’s help.

    You Have Rights

    As a citizen of the U.S., as a worker, as a parent, as a safe driver, as someone who puts trust in a hospital, you have rights and they must be protected. It may sound like the Bill of Rights, but the point is that you have rights and sometimes you have to protect them. Often enough, it will be you, not someone else, making the decision for a lawsuit. You should make an educated decision by reading pieces like this one and consulting with a lawyer.

    Who should you hire?
    You have the option of literally thousands of lawyers pretty much anywhere in the country. Your options are many, but they are not all equal. Not all lawyers are capable of helping you. You want someone who specializes in personal injury, perhaps even has direct experience in your situation – if you were in a car accident, accident law is important. You need someone who has the time to help you, not a lawyer who passes the ball to his or her second. And you want someone who is willing to work on the “no win, no fee” philosophy, where if they lose, they get nothing, and if they win, they get something.

    How much?

    How much can you expect from your personal injury settlement? It’s a critical question, one we’ve went over before. This depends on how you act legally. If you settle out of court, it may be a “win, win” situation, where you can avoid a long legal battle. On the other hand, you may get more in court. Most lawsuits are settled out of court, and if you get the opportunity, consider it a gift. However, make no legal decisions without an experienced lawyer. There is always room for negotiation.