What is a Cross-Examination?

In a court case, examination refers to questioning a witness. There are two types of “examination”: direct and cross-examination. Cross-examination is generally the questioning that is done by a lawyer who didn’t initially call the witness to the stand. However, it can also include questioning done by the lawyer who called the witness when the witness is “hostile” or generally aligned with the other side.

For example, in a criminal case, the defense almost always examines police officers by cross examination. In auto or personal injury cases, the defense lawyer almost always examines the plaintiff by cross examination. This is because even if they aren’t called by the government, police officers are aligned with the government (because they’re employed by the government). Similarly, no one can be more aligned with the plaintiff than the plaintiff, so the defense is allowed to question him by cross examination.

The significance of cross examination is that it permits the lawyer to use leading questions. All 50 states and the federal courts have a rule permitting cross examination to use leading questions. In practice, this means that the lawyer makes a statement that he wants the witness to agree or disagree with.

Examples of leading questions:

• Your name is Frank, isn’t that true?

• The defendant’s car was purple, isn’t that true?

• You’ve been married for 42 years, isn’t that true?

By contrast, the same issues could be covered in a non-leading manner by asking:

• What is your name?

• What color is the defendant’s car?

• How long have you been married?

As you might imagine, leading questions are very valuable when dealing with difficult or hostile witnesses. When a witness has an agenda or wants to tell a particular story, asking open-ended questions invites runaway responses. Leading questions narrow the issues and tend to keep the examination on track and productive.

A skilled criminal lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trusts knows that cross-examination is often a far more effective way to tell his client’s story than direct examination for a couple reasons. First, on cross examination, the lawyer can control the flow of the story, the order of the facts, and even which facts come out. Secondly, on cross-examination, the story is being told by the other side. When the other side is telling your story, it has instant credibility because jurors (rightly) assume the other side wouldn’t say something helpful about you unless it was true.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense and cross-examination.

FAQ: How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Lawyer

If the bills and unpaid debt are piling up and you feel like you have no other feasible option, you may be considering filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But before you try to take on this enormous feat yourself, it’s important to do your homework and understand your options. Here is everything you need to know about filing for bankruptcy.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a court process that includes a judge and court trustees examining your financial situation, including your assets and liabilities, and deciding whether to discharge those debts so that you are no longer obligated to pay them.

Bankruptcy gives individuals whose finances have collapsed an opportunity to start over. Whether it was due to bad luck or bad decisions, bankruptcy gives you a second chance.

Who Declares Bankruptcy?

People who typically file for bankruptcy have far more debt than funds to cover them. Folks who have taken on financial obligations such as auto loans, student loans, or a mortgage, and do not have the means to pay it may file for bankruptcy. In 2018, there were 779,828 bankruptcy filings reported, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

While bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to start anew, it definitely will take a toll on your credit and future ability to use money.

When Should I Declare Bankruptcy?

There is never an ideal time to file for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But if you think it’s going to take more than five years to pay off all of your debt, it may be a good option. If loans and debt have financially devastated you, bankruptcy may be your best answer.

How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a legal process that will restructure, reduce, or eliminate most of your debt. Filing bankruptcy with a court is your first step. It’s important to not go at it alone. You should hire the services of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney to help guide you through the process.

You will need to compile all of your financial records, including debts, income, expenses, and assets. This will give you, and your attorney, a better understanding of the situation you face.

The next step you will need to take is to receive credit counseling within 180 days before filing your case. This is mandatory. Many counseling agencies offer these services over the phone or online.

Next, you will file the petition for bankruptcy. You are taking a serious risk if you select to represent yourself, so be sure to call a bankruptcy lawyer Tampa, FL trusts. This is because you may not understand how state or federal bankruptcy laws work or be aware of which ones apply to your unique case, especially when it comes to debts that can or cannot be discharged.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy and how to file.

Is Making a False Accusation a Crime?

Criminal Defense Attorney

If an individual reports a crime in good faith and later turns out to be mistaken in their assessment of the situation at hand, it is unlikely that their behavior will be treated as a false accusation by law enforcement officials. However, when individuals intentionally make false accusations of significant criminal behavior, both serious criminal and practical consequences may result from those decisions.

Criminal Consequences of Making a False Accusation

If someone falsely accuses his or her next-door neighbor of stealing that person’s trash cans and no such theft occurred, the criminal consequences associated with this poor judgment are likely to be minimal. But if an individual falsely accuses another person of committing abuse, neglect, a sex crime, a drug crime, a violent crime, a serious white collar crime, terrorism or another significant criminal offense, the accuser may face serious criminal consequences as a result.

Most states treat false accusations of criminal behavior as a misdemeanor. But there are instances in which false accusations can lead to even more significant criminal and civil liability. Depending on the details of the false accusation, the accuser could face jail time, fines, significant community service requirements, mandatory counseling and a permanent criminal record.

Practical Consequences of Making a False Accusation

It is important to understand that in addition to potential criminal consequences, making a false accusation may result in practical consequences as well. For example, if one parent falsely accuses his or her child’s other parent of abusive or neglectful behavior in order to prevail in a child custody hearing, the parent who falsely accused the other may lose primary custody of the affected child. Family law judges do not take false accusations lightly, partially because behaving in this way tends to illustrate that the guilty parent is more concerned with getting his or her way than with seeking a just outcome to the case. Sometimes, parents who are desperate to protect their children from an abusive or neglectful former romantic partner will utter false accusations in an attempt to keep those kids safely away from the other parent. But it is a far better idea to share safety concerns with an experienced family law attorney in order to craft a strong legal custody strategy that is grounded in the truth.  

Legal Guidance Is Available

If you have either made a false accusation against someone or have been falsely accused of criminal behavior, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Once an attorney understands the details surrounding your situation, he or she will be able to advise you of your legal options and help to mitigate any damage that has already been done. In addition, after crafting a strong legal strategy, an attorney may be able to help you mitigate any additional negative consequences that may have yet to manifest. Accusations of criminal behavior are serious business and should not be handled lightly. Please consider connecting with an experienced criminal defense attorney Fairfax, VA offers at your earliest possible convenience in order to address the situation at hand.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal law and false accusations.

How a Remarriage May Affect Alimony

Family Lawyer

It’s not uncommon after a divorce for one or both former spouses to remarry. However, a remarriage can affect alimony payments and terms that were determined by the court at the termination of the previous marriage. If you or your former spouse has recently remarried or is engaged, you may benefit from seeking the legal guidance of an experienced alimony lawyer. Laws that affect eligibility status for alimony can be confusing. Below is some general information that you may find helpful, but because your circumstances may differ, we encourage you to contact an attorney.

Income from a New Spouse

If you or your former spouse has remarried, you may be wondering if the new spouse’s income will be considered by the court, and because of that that the alimony payment amounts might increase. Your alimony lawyer can confirm this holds true in your situation, but usually the new spouse’s income is not considered. This is because unless they adopt your child (with your permission) they do not have a legal responsibility to support your child. If you feel there is sufficient reason for an exception to be made, your alimony lawyer can offer legal guidance.

When the Support Recipient Remarries or Moves in with a Partner

In most cases, alimony is based in large part on the recipient’s income level and their ability to improve their income level. When that person remarries, the court will often decide that if they are now part of a two-income earning marriage, they no longer require alimony. After considering all involved parties’ financial health, your alimony lawyer may advise you that even if the source recipient (whether that’s you or your former spouse) is simply living with a partner, they may no longer qualify for support. However, there are always exceptions to the rules. In petitioning the court to terminate the alimony obligation, the arguments that may be used to prove the cohabitation of the couple include:

  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have made joint major purchases.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have a joint savings and/or checking account.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have joint debts.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because both of their names are on utility bills and other cohabitation agreements such as a rental agreement.

Remarriages with Blended Children

When people remarry, very often one or both spouses has at least one child from a previous marriage. Known as a blended family, how do the additional children affect the spouse’s obligations for alimony? As an alimony lawyer might tell you, it’s unlikely to have any affect. However, as with anything else, there are always exceptions. Your alimony lawyer can review the details of your circumstances to provide you with the legal insight you require.

Cal an Attorney Today for a Consultation

If you have questions or concerns about how a remarriage may affect the alimony payments you make or receive, call a law office today to request a consultation with an experienced family lawyer Frisco, TX offers.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Group for their insight into family law and how remarriage can affect alimony.

Attorney Advice: How to Stay Safe When Riding Your Bike

Bike Accident Lawyer

Bicycle accidents are not a rare occurence on the road, as riders and car drivers often have to share the street when traveling where they need to go. A bicyclist who is struck by a car may not be able to walk away from the scene without medical help. The fact is, the human body is very fragile, especially when compared to the sturdy exterior of a vehicle. If the driver was responsible for the bicycle accident, he or she may have to pay compensation to the rider for injury costs and other damages.

If you or someone you know has suffered in such an accident, we encourage you contact an attorney for assistance. They understand how much of a physical and financial setback this may have caused you. We highly recommend you obtain legal representation for the accident.

Practicing Safety

Sadly, even the most cautious bicyclists who practices safety strategies is still at-risk for being hit by a car, simply because they cannot control how a driver behaves on the road. Perhaps the best thing a bicyclist can do is try to minimize the chances and be alert to surroundings at all times. Here we have listed more safety tips, to help keep yourself out of harm’s way:

  • Refrain from wearing earbuds or using a cellphone while riding, as this can be a distraction and hinder your ability to hear honks or cars approaching
  • Keep both hands on the bars except for when you need to signal
  • Wear appropriate shoes meant for bicycle riding
  • When in a group ride in single file
  • Wear reflective clothing or flickering lights when riding at night
  • Do not ever ride against traffic flow (direct head-on accidents can happen)

What To Do If You Get Hit

If you are ever hit by a car while riding a bike, call 9-1-1 immediately for help. Do not let the driver convince you into not calling the police. He or she may be trying to escape responsibility for what just happened, because the costs for hitting a pedestrian on a bike can be costly. Try to remain calm, and wait for the officer and ambulance to arrive. An attorney is likely to suggest you receive a medical evaluation at the scene, since many injuries may not show themselves in the moments right after due to the shock.

While it isn’t necessary that you hire an attorney for help regarding your bicycle accident, it can make the difference between receiving the compensation you need or having to pay out of pocket for months to come. The costs for injury treatment and recovery can be expensive. A bike accident lawyer Salt Lake City, UT trusts do not believe you should have to pay for this yourself, when it was the driver who caused the accident in the first place.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into bicycle accidents and tips for staying safe.

Meeting with an Attorney About Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers Compensation Lawyer

A pivotal step in seeing that your workers’ compensation claim is being handled appropriately, is to consult with an attorney for protection. Being injured on the job can cause the employee physical harm and financial loss. By meeting with an attorney, it can provide the injured employee with an understanding of what to expect as their claim is being processed.

The First Meeting

When first meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney, bring as much information as you can about how the workplace accident occurred and the resulting injuries. This could be things like a copy of the incident report, photographs, medical exams, and witness statements from coworkers who saw what happened. By providing these documents, it can help your attorney protect you from mistreatment from your employer or the company’s insurance agency. Consider obtaining the following documents before the initial consultation:

  • Summary of the workplace incident, including date and time
  • Records that are proof of your employment and list information like position, job duties, and date of hire
  • Name and contact of the supervisor or person who receive notice of the accident, and the date he or she was informed
  • Name and contact of the medical facility treating your injuries
  • Name and contact of the treating physician
  • Date of when medical care was sought and exam medical records
  • Receipts for medical bills accumulated due to treatments
  • Photographs of the injury and how it has progressed overtime
  • Emails, letters, or other forms of communication between you and your employer regarding the accident

Topics During the Consultation

An attorney is likely to go over with you plenty of information about workers’ compensation programs and your rights. The initial consult can help clarify any concerns or questions the employee may have during this time. Topics that may be covered during the appointment can include:

  • Benefits you may be able to collect upon claim approval
  • The starting date for when you are able to begin receiving these benefits
  • Whether you can continue to get workers’ comp benefits once returning back to work
  • Whether you must be treated by the work-assigned doctor, or your own physician
  • How long you must be out of work before collecting on lost wages is an option
  • The timeline that you must report the injury accident to your employer
  • Whether your employer may be committing illegal retaliation against you for using workers’ compensation benefits

Please reach out to a workers compensation lawyer Wytheville, VA relies on today, to talk more about your situation and how we can be of assistance. They understand that the accident could have been a direct result of employer negligence, in which safety protocols were not enforced or a workplace hazard went unaddressed. It is important that you let us know if this is could be a factor in your injury accident. They are ready to get started protecting you, as you focus on healing from the workplace injury.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into workers compensation and meeting with an attorney.

Seek Chiropractic Help for Personal Injury from Auto Accidents

Find a Chiropractor

Being involved in a vehicle accident, especially one where the other party is at fault, can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. If you’ve sustained injuries in a car crash due to another person’s negligence, you’ll need to seek out the appropriate medical treatment.

That’s where treatment by a chiropractor, specifically one versed in caring for auto or other vehicular accident victims, can not only help you feel better and fully recover but can also cooperate with insurance companies to see that you don’t end up paying astronomical treatment bills.

Indeed, the cost of treatment should never discourage you from getting the chiropractic care or medical help you need for your injuries. Yet, you as the injured party should also not be held responsible for medical bills when you did not cause an accident.

Accident Victims Should Seek Professional Care

Many accidents result in injuries such as:

  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar sprains and strains
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Scrapes and cuts
  • Head Injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Herniated disc
  • Knee trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Chiropractic care is one of the most commonly sought after types of care that victims of automobile accidents seek. It’s probably best to seek medical treatment as soon as you can after you’re in an accident. Still, even if you get the “all clear,” some injuries take time to show up. You might be seriously hurt without realizing it.

Getting an evaluation from a chiropractor can help you identify specific injuries that you may not be aware of, and that may get more serious without treatment. You should be evaluated even if the vehicle accident seemed minor.

Choosing a chiropractor who can give you the necessary treatment for your injuries is an important decision. You may want to take into account the extent to which that healthcare professional and his or her staff can help you with the complex insurance paperwork and forms, and how they may influence the outcome of your overall personal injury claim. Ideally, you’d probably like to have both restoration of your physical well-being AND financial compensation to cover bills and personal damages.

Make Sure Your Medical Bills Get Paid

Some chiropractors may have a focus on personal injury accident victims, so your choice of a chiropractor after an accident where the other party is at fault is significant. An accident injury chiropractor can work with you to influence the outcome of a personal injury claim and your monetary settlement.

You will likely want fair compensation for your injuries and to ensure that all of your medical bills and treatments are paid by the at-fault person’s insurance company. Plus, a chiropractic office can handle third-party billing and either hold the negligent person’s insurance company accountable to pay the medical bills or refer you to a personal injury lawyer who will fight for your rights and best interests.

Remember, timely intervention is essential when you have been involved in a car crash. To get a chiropractic evaluation, find a chiropractor Rockville, MD offers today.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into chiropractic care after a car accident.

Sexual Assault vs Consent

Personal Injury Lawyer

One thing is certain about sexual assault — it is never the fault of the victim. Sexual assault comes in many different forms and includes:

  • Rape
  • Forcible sodomy
  • Marital rape
  • Sexual conduct with a minor — be it consensual or not
  • Incest
  • Any unwanted sexual touching
  • Any sexual contact that is unwanted or forced

If you feel you are a victim of sexual assault, you need to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. Attorneys are highly experienced in sexual assault cases and are discreet and thorough with their investigation into your case.

Drugs and Sexual Assault

A sexual assault charge can be brought up when drugs are involved, such as at a party or social event. If someone discreetly puts a drug in your drink without your knowledge and you experience the effects of those drugs which may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slurred speech

If any of these conditions apply to you as a result of drinking something that has been altered by a drug, the criminal justice system states you are unable to consent to have sex. This also applies to alcohol when over consumed.

Acquaintance Rape

Acquaintance rape accounts for over 80 percent of all rapes. The frightening statistic is that over fifty percent of these rapes occur while on a date.

Common relationships where acquaintance rape occurs include:

  • Boyfriends and girlfriends
  • Co-workers
  • Classmates or friends
  • Athletes and coaches
  • Patients and doctors
  • Students and teachers
  • Church leaders and members of the congregation

Regardless of the relationship, it is important to remember that sexual assault is never acceptable and never the fault of the victim.

What is Consent?

Asking and receiving consent before any sexual activity is the key to reducing and preventing sexual assault.

Consent is an informed, sober, mutual, honest, voluntary, and verbal agreement. It has to come without any coercing. It is never implied or assumed regardless of the nature of the relationship. It can never be legally given while intoxicated. If you are too drunk to talk with your partner or make decisions, you are too intoxicated to give consent. And just because you did not say no does not assume you are consenting. Both partners need to be a part of the decision to move forward.

There is Such a Thing as Marital Rape

When the sexual assault victim is a wife or ex-wife, the rape is significantly underreported. There may be fear that the husband will physically abuse the wife if she reports him. She may be worried that her children may be taken from the home. If the sexual act is committed without consent, it is still considered rape, married or otherwise.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Make an appointment with a sexual assault lawyer Washington, DC trusts that handles sexual assault cases. Attorneys are experienced, discreet, sympathetic and professional and will treat you with dignity and respect. Trust and integrity are important to us and we will work with you to earn that trust by diligently investigating your case and bringing about justice in your case.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury cases and sexual assault vs. consent.

Wrongful Death and Pecuniary Damages

Personal Injury Lawyer

A loved one is killed because of the misconduct or negligence of someone else and even though they may be charged in a criminal court, you want to see if you can pursue legal action to recover damages or compensation you feel is owed to you because of the death.

A criminal conviction cannot award monetary damages. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the family of the victim as a civil action against the party you feel was responsible for your loved one’s death. A wrongful death attorney can review your situation and determine if you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death case uses the similar or same evidence presented in the criminal case; however, the burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is lower than the criminal lawsuit.

There does not have to be a criminal conviction to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. A criminal conviction demands that guilt be established beyond a reasonable doubt. In a wrongful death lawsuit, proof using a preponderance of the evidence is all that needs to be accomplished. Here are the components needed to be on the winning end of a wrongful death suit:

  • A person’s death
  • The cause of that death is because of someone else’s negligence or misconduct (they intended to bring harm to another person)
  • Because of the death, surviving family members are suffering from financial injuries
  • There must be a court-appointed representative of the victim’s estate

How the death occurred will determine if there is reason to bring a wrongful death claim:

  • Airplane or car accident
  • Death as a result of a medical malpractice
  • Criminal event
  • Death occurred while attending an activity that was supervised
  • Death as a result of being exposed to hazardous substances or conditions while on the job

What Kinds of Damages are Awarded in a Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Compensation for financial hardships caused as a result of the death of the loved one is the primary purpose for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are called ‘pecuniary injuries’ and included are:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Lost inheritance

How are These Costs Computed?

Taken under consideration when figuring pecuniary losses are the character, age, and health of the decedent prior to their death, their earning capacity, intelligence, life expectancy, and the financial situation of those asking for the damages. Figuring out the pecuniary losses can be complicated when taking into account the victim’s circumstances when they died. If the victim was the primary wage earner and has dependants, the main focus for damages will be:

  • Actual income lost
  • Parental support lost
  • Wages at the time of death
  • Future potential earnings

In addition to pecuniary damages, you may seek punitive damages, which are awarded in instances where the wrongdoer commited a malicious or action so serious the court assesses damages to send a message hoping to deter others from similar behavior. An experienced attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Melbourne, FL, will discuss the laws in your state as some states will not permit you to ask for punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie, & Woods for their insight into personal injury and wrongful death.

Bankruptcies and Foreclosures?

Real Estate Lawyer

It is very common for people who are facing foreclosure on their homes to seek protection declaring bankruptcy may offer them. There is legal protection offered during bankruptcy called an automatic stay The stay starts as soon as the petition for bankruptcy is filed. It works as an automatic injunction, working to protect the debtor from creditor’s attempts to collect debts, file liens, or begin filing legal action against the debtor.

There are cases where the automatic stay won’t work for the debtor. Contact a bankruptcy attorney to clarify which type of bankruptcy you are interested in filing — Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, which will dictate how the automatic stay is applied to your particular case and if there are any exceptions.

Mortgage Expectations and Failure to Meet Those Expectations

When you sign a mortgage on a home, the terms of the contract you are agreeing to upon your signature state that if you fall behind in your mortgage payments, the lender has the right to foreclose on your home. This means that the bank/lender becomes the owner of the home which they will proceed to sell and apply the proceeds to the balance of your loan.

There are federal and state laws pertaining to the procedures that the lender has to follow to take ownership of your home. The formal name is foreclosure.

Before the bank can take your home, they have to allow time for the homeowner to catch up on back payments owed or perhaps apply for a modification in their mortgage. Once the legal amount of time has been given, the bank can move ahead with the foreclosure.

How Does Filing for Bankruptcy Affect Foreclosure Proceedings?

As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the foreclosure proceedings will stop, assuming the bank hasn’t already sold your home. State laws may differ so be sure to check with your bankruptcy attorney as to the specifics in your state.

When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it immediately starts the automatic stay. There is no need for you to do anything else for the stay to begin.

Are there Exceptions to the Automatic Stay Rule?

There are two reasons the automatic stay will not work for you during a bankruptcy.

  • If a bankruptcy case was dismissed within the past year you will only be able to use the automatic stay for 30 days once you file for bankruptcy.
  • If you have had more than two previous bankruptcy cases dismissed within a year you will not be eligible to use the automatic stay at all.

How Does the Automatic Stay Work With Foreclosure Proceedings?

The automatic stay gives you more time to work with a possible foreclosure. How the stay works will depend on what type of bankruptcy you are considering. Consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy best fits your situation.

Your lender may file a motion requesting to terminate the automatic stay so that it can go ahead with the foreclosure. You have the right to file a response. If you wish to oppose the motion, a hearing will be held in the bankruptcy court and decide if the stay is terminated or not.

Foreclosure and bankruptcy are two complex legal proceedings that require a foreclosure defense lawyer Tampa, FL trusts with the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process, protect your rights, and explain the advantages and consequences of each decision.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler Law, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy and foreclosures.