How Much is my Case Worth?

When you’ve been injured in an accident and decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you might wonder how much your case is worth. The best way to know how much your case is worth, is to know how much your “damages” are.

Damages is a legal term for the money awarded to a party in a lawsuit based on a monetized calculation of the injuries they sustained. Some injuries are easy to translate into money, for example, medical bills and lost wages already come with dollar amounts. Other injuries, like pain and suffering, can be a bit harder to monetize.

Special Damages

The damages that are easily calculable are often called Special Damages. These damages are easy to assign a dollar amount to because they are derived from things like:

  •   Automobile Repair Bills
  •   Medical Bills
  •   Future Medical Bills
  •   Therapy bills
  •   Lost wages (calculated from your salary)

Special damages are pulled straight from the actual dollar amounts assigned to your bills. If you want to know how much the Special Damages are worth in your case, you need only look at the actual numbers. Things are a little less clear when future costs must be calculated, but those numbers can be assessed through expert witnesses (professionals in their field) and past evidence (previous bills for example).

General Damages

General damages intend to compensate a party for loss or injury that is not easily calculable. Common general damages include:

  • Physical Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Pain and Suffering
  • Physical Disfigurement/Impairment
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Lower Quality of Life

The dollar amount awarded for general damages varies greatly from case to case. As a result, general damages are often estimated by using a “multiplier”.

The Multiplier

Used by insurance adjusters and juries alike, the multiplier is way to place a dollar value on General Damages. It begins by calculating all the Special Damages (the ones that already have numbers assigned to them) then multiplies that sum by a number between 1.5 and 5. Which number between 1.5 and 5 is used is often hotly debated. But the multiplier should be based upon other factors in the case, including the severity and longevity of the general damages.


A special thanks to our friends and contributors at Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insights.

 

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

When unmarried couple are deciding whether or not they should create an estate plan, they should keep in mind that it can offer just as many of the same goals and benefits as couples who are married. However, there are a few key differences, and this article will go into depth explaining them. Unmarried partners typically have no requirement that they must leave behind something to their significant other like married couples do. Married couples, who in most states, cannot completely cut their spouse out of an inheritance, have stricter rules because they are bound by law. A will for a single person (or a living trust in some cases) can list a non-spouse as a beneficiary of the estate, along with other blood relatives like parents and siblings. In a case where an unmarried couple is creating wills, those wills will not affect disposition of jointly owned homes and accounts.  That is because assets held in joint tenancy pass to the other tenant (the significant other in this case) when the other tenant passes away.  This tends to complicate matters even further, where a couple is not yet married but still owns assets jointly like a married couple would own them.


Things to Consider First

Obviously, an unmarried couple completing an estate plan would likely need their own separate advice and lawyer to represent their separate property plans for jointly held assets. Something else to consider is that setting up beneficiaries could be a vital mistake for an unmarried couple.  This is because unmarried couples tend to list each other as beneficiaries for life insurance but do not stop to think that if there is a breakup and the beneficiary is never changed, that long forgotten ex could end up receiving a windfall from being listed as the beneficiary on an insurance policy or bank account.  In many states, these beneficiary designations are considered contractual and unaffected by later failure in the relationship. An unmarried couple can also list each other as healthcare and financial power of attorney in case of incapacity.  Each person in the relationship should consider how well they know the financial aptitude and healthcare attitudes of their significant other, especially where the couple keeps their finances separate. Unmarried couples should also be sure to list alternates in place which would cover them in the event that there is a breakup subsequent to the documents being created.


Contact an Attorney

If you are not married and are considering creating an estate plan, you should reach out to an estate planning attorney today such as the estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ locals turn to. Unmarried couples should keep in mind that they must make an estate planning if they want to ensure their non-marital partner receives something from their estate.  The heirs of an unmarried person who dies intestate (without a will) are normally siblings and parents. Estate planning is necessary for unmarried couples who want to leave everything they own or at least some of their estate to their significant other.

 

Thanks to authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate Planning.

Relocating with Children After Divorce

 

Once you finish getting through a divorce process, there are many tasks you may still need to accomplish. After dealing with paperwork, hours of deliberation, child custody matters and more, you will then have to consider how and where you plan to move with your children. These tips below go over how you can make life a little easier for you and your children when it comes to relocating.

 

#1 Check the Details in your Custody Agreement

Make sure that your decree of child custody permits you to move anywhere with your children. There may be restrictions on being able to move beyond a certain geographic location or mileage. The topic of traveling restrictions can be common during divorce resolution meetings, and can be worked out between both you and your spouse.

 

#2 Check the Laws in your State

Some states may actually establish a geographical limit on each divorced spouse and his or her ability to relocate with their kids. It can vary by state, but typically the parent of custodial custody has to give the other parent a written notice of their intention to relocate. The noncustodial parent then has the option to file an official objection, where a trial regarding the move will be scheduled with a judge. In some states, the custodial parent has to submit a written request for a court’s permission to move. Then the court will probably schedule a hearing to decide whether this relocation is in the children’s best interest.

 

#3 Consider Hiring a Moving Company

In the midst of moving plans, you will likely have a large to-do list of things to accomplish. The most obvious and major task is moving all of your belongings into another home. This can be the hardest and longest part of the moving process. When you have children to consider and still take care of during the move, it may help you save a large amount of time and energy to hire movers Fort Washington, MD recommends. Many believe believe moving everything yourself will save money, but will be worth it when you can focus on other details of your move. Some moving companies also offering packaging and cleaning services, which will prove useful when your previous landlord comes by to inspect the place for cleanliness once all of your belongings are out.

 

#4 Maintain a Healthy Negotiation

If it all possible, it is in every family member’s best interest that you and your spouse maintain somewhat of a healthy communication dynamic. Perhaps you can attend mediation and find a resolution you are both happy with regarding the move, without having to attend a court hearing. It may help to offer longer periods of visitation to the noncustodial parent, in exchange to not fight the relocation request.

There are ways you can make moving with your children easier. The above tips can alleviate stress, minimize time and help prevent any roadblocks in your moving plans. Your children will thank you for it when you can spend more time focusing on moving together, versus the tedious and heavy lifting tasks at hand.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Suburban Solutions for their insight into moving services.

 

Signs of a Concussion After a Car Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident which involved any sort of sudden blow or violent jolt to the head and/or neck, you may have suffered a mild concussion, also known as a traumatic brain injury. Concussions have some distinct telltale signs such as a loss of consciousness, headaches, and immediate amnesia surrounding the accident. However, the symptoms of a concussion are not always immediately apparent after an accident and may manifest themselves in different ways from person to person.

Concussions are as unique as the circumstances which may lead to one and thus can be difficult to identify, especially amidst the shock of being involved in a car accident. Symptoms of a concussion may begin to exhibit themselves even weeks or months after an accident.

The key signs of a concussion are:

  •      Temporary loss of consciousness
  •      Memory loss and/or amnesia surrounding the car accident  
  •      Headache or feeling like there is pressure in the head
  •      Fatigue and feeling dazed
  •      Nausea and vomiting
  •      Ringing in ears
  •      Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  •      Confusion or feeling as though you’re in a fog
  •      Slurred speech and/or a delayed response in answering questions

Some symptoms of a concussion will become apparent after some time has passed. These signs are sometimes subtler and may even go unnoticed by the individual with the concussion. In these instances, family and friends can be helpful in notifying an individual that they have had a recent change in their personality or behavior.  Such symptoms include:

  •      Problems with memory and concentration
  •      Appearing dazed, lethargic, tiring easily
  •      Depression, crying spells or crying excessively
  •      Change in sleeping patterns or the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  •      Irritability and increased aggressive behavior
  •      Less restraint in stating inappropriate or hurtful things
  •      Change in taste and smell

The most important thing you can do if you have been involved in a car accident is to see your medical provider as soon as possible. It is important for your doctor to rule out any sort of serious injury that you may have received as a result of the car accident.

Secondly, you should seek out an attorney, like a car accident lawyer Orange County CA trusts. A qualified and skilled personal injury lawyer can assist you with establishing the foundations of your personal injury lawsuit and can provide resources that will assist you with reporting the claim to your insurance and finding doctors that may treat you on a lien basis so no payment is due up front.  Being involved in a car accident is stressful enough; dealing with injuries can only make a stressful situation worse. By obtaining a personal injury lawyer, you will be saving yourself the stress of dealing with insurance companies and the uncertainty of what will happen next. If you believe you may have suffered a concussion as a result of a car accident, do not wait. The sooner you receive medical treatment and legal representation, the better chances you will with obtaining an optimal settlement in your personal injury lawsuit.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bruno Nalu for their insight into concussions after a car accident.

 

Do not talk to the police! And of course you can’t search me!

If the police ask to speak to you about a criminal case, you should politely decline. They are just trying to get information out of you and might make you accidentally incriminate yourself.

Here are several reasons why you should avoid talking to the police:

Reason 1:

You cant talk your way out of it!

No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t be able to talk the police out of anything. If they want to speak to you, it’s likely that they suspect your involvement in something. Police are trained on how to interrogate and get information out people. If they truly think you are involved in a criminal act, they will not stop questioning you.

The only way to avoid incriminating yourself is to stop talking and request to speak to a lawyer.

Reason 2:

Even if you are innocent, you could tell a small lie that hurts you later

If you know you didn’t commit a crime, you might think it’s perfectly okay to talk to the police. However, you might accidentally tell a small lie that could hurt your credibility. For example, if you tell the police that you don’t know the person involved in the crime and they show photos of you with that person, they will know that you lied and won’t trust you.

Reason 3:

Even if you are guilty, there is no deal on the table.

Unfortunately, the police are allowed to lie when questioning people. They may tell you that they have video of you doing something illegal when they actually don’t. If these lies cause you to confess, it will count against you.

The police may also tell you that they will go easier on you if you confess to a crime. However, police don’t have the power to cut deals. Only the prosecutor can do that. This means you have nothing to gain by talking to the police.

Reason 4:

The police may not accurately recall your statement.

Believe it or not,  not all statements to the police are recorded. That means the police may not remember what you actually told them and not recall your statement accurately. The police may also twist your words in court. That’s why it is best to stay silent.

Reason 5:

If you really want to talk, there is a time and a place.

Even if you are guilty, you shouldn’t talk to the police the day you are arrested. You should first speak to a lawyer and see if he or she can make a plea deal for you. If you were never in trouble with the law before, for example, an experienced lawyer such as the Criminal Defense Lawyer DC locals turn tomay be able to get you a lighter sentence.

No matter, don’t agree to speak to the police. There is nothing to gain from it. Exercise your right to remain silent.


A special thanks to our authors at Brynn Law for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.

What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

Car accidents are scary and stressful experiences.  A glimmer of hope and solace is offered in knowing that automobile insurance will help cover the costs of property damages and personal injuries. If you were not at-fault, you can file a claim against the other party’s insurance. But what if that other party is uninsured? Fear not, there are still a few options to help you recuperate your losses.

Uninsured Driver Coverage

If the person who hits you has no auto insurance, there is not much you can do in the way of making a claim as there is no third-party insurance company. For exactly this reason, many states either require drivers to have, or at least require automobile insurance companies to offer, uninsured driver coverage.  If you are unable to make a claim against the other party, you can make a claim with your own insurance company and be offered coverage by this policy. There is often a cap to this coverage, so it won’t always cover everything, but it can be better than nothing!

Underinsured Driver Coverage

Similar to uninsured, underinsured driver coverage helps protect you in the event that the at-fault party does not have ENOUGH coverage to fully compensate you. This coverage is often offered as a bundle package with uninsured driver coverage.

Collision Coverage

Collision is another good coverage to add to your policy. Collision coverage will help pay for the repair to your damaged car if you are struck by an uninsured (or hit-and-run) driver. Be aware that this coverage only applies to the property damage to your vehicle, NOT to any personal injuries sustained.

Lawsuit

If the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance, you can try to make a claim against the person themselves but filing a complaint in the court system. This option is rarely pursued with uninsured motorists.  Since the driver didn’t have auto insurance to begin with, chances are they won’t have the money to compensate you. Lawsuits can quickly become expensive and your chances of recuperating your property damage, personal injury, and lawsuit costs are slim to none.

Experts estimate 1 in 7 drivers are uninsured. Don’t rely on the other drivers to offer insurance compensation in the event of an accident. Protect yourself and your loved ones but adding uninsured/underinsured driver coverage and collision coverage to your automobile insurance policy.

If you have been injured in an accident by a driver with no insurance, contact experienced attorney, like a car accident lawyer Central Phoenix, AZ can count on.

 


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into car accident and personal injury practice.

Physical Therapists to Treat Personal Injury

After experiencing a personal injury, your first priority should be to seek treatment. Though, various treatments are available depending on the type of injury sustained, it may be beneficial to consider Physical Therapy care as a primary solution. Though Physical Therapists can be especially useful for neck and back injuries, they may be able to treat other injuries as well. Of course, not all Physical Therapists are equal. It is important to research your local Physical Therapists and ask questions about their methods and their specialities; this is especially important if you are looking to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim after treatment.

More people seek Physical Therapy treatment following a personal injury than any other specialist treatment. Nearly 35 percent of victims annually will visit a Physical Therapist following an accident. Physical Therapists are not only trained to treat injuries, but also diagnose injuries. Many accidents result in musculoskeletal injuries: thoracic and cervical sprains, soft tissue stears, and whiplash are not uncommon. Though you may not be feeling injured immediately following an accident, it is still recommended to visit a doctor or Physical Therapist for an assessment. If you do not seek treatment for your injury, the injury may worsen which can result in denial of compensation from both insurance and personal injury claims. If you visit a Physical Therapist and the Physical Therapist believes the treatment will be appropriate for your injury, they will maintain records of your visits, treatments, and other medical information associated with the accident. These medical records are critical when trying to provide evidence for a personal injury suit.  

It is not uncommon for victims of motorcycle accidents, car accidents, slip and fall incidents, or workplace accidents to seek treatment from Physical Therapists. Physical Therapists may help reduce pain, increase mobility, and restore strength to your body by making spinal adjustments. Often following a collision, a victim’s vertebrae may become misaligned. By adjusting the back and neck, the Physical Therapist can help reduce pressure on nerves throughout the spine and reduce pain. It is not uncommon for patients to report better recovery after visiting a Physical Therapist than if they were to undergo surgery or use medication. Though, Physical Therapy may not be for everyone, many individuals claim Physical Therapists can help not only treat symptoms of injury, but also treat the underlying issues such as the physical therapy Gaithersburg, MD offers to locals.

If you have incurred injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Speak with the attorney and inform them of accident details. Once you have completed treatment and are healthy, you may be advised to file a claim. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement to provide you with compensation for damages.


Thanks to authors at Pain and Arthritis Center for their insight into Physical Therapy Care.

 

What is Your Claim Worth?

 

If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, except to receive a settlement offer at some point. However, the offer you receive might be too low. Before you sign a settlement, be sure it’s what you deserve. Have an experienced personal injury lawyer look over the settlement and determine if it’s fair or not.

Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement on Your Own

You should never accept a settlement that’s lower than value of your case. The value of your claim will be based on many different factors, such as witness statements, photographs and medical documents. Insurance companies are there to make money and will likely try to pay you as little as possible. Do not feel pressured to accept an insurance company’s first offer. If you believe the settlement isn’t fair, you can articulate your demands to the insurance company. If they still don’t budge, you can pursue legal action.

Attorney Negotiating Your Settlement

While you do not have to hire a personal lawyer to negotiate your settlement, it is in your best interest to do so. A skilled personal injury lawyer has handled similar cases in the past and won’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. He or she will negotiate with insurance adjusters to get you the settlement you deserve. If insurance adjusters see that you have a qualified lawyer on your side, they will be less likely to lowball you.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The evidence you have will determine the value of your personal injury case. It’s likely that the insurance company will try to avoid taking the case to court so that there isn’t any bad publicity. They may offer you a higher settlement offer than they made before.

If you can avoid giving into early settlement offers and file a lawsuit with a personal injury lawyer, you are more likely to obtain a settlement you deserve. A reputable personal injury lawyer will work hard to get you a settlement that reflects your injuries.

During your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer, remember to bring documents that relate to your case, such as medical records, photos of your injuries and witness statements. Your lawyer can use these documents to estimate the value of your case. Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by setting up a consultation with one.

Injury-In-Idaho-personal-injury-lawyer-scottsdale-arizona Thanks to authors at Injury in Idaho for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

What Happens When Divorce and Bankruptcy Intersect?

Both divorce and bankruptcy can be life events that lead to the other. After divorcing, some people cannot make it on their own if they have debts they cannot afford to pay. Large medical bills and credit card debt are leading causes of financial stress for people already working hard to pay their bills. It is smart to ask for a legal consultation with not only your divorce attorney but also an experienced bankruptcy attorney so you can plan the best strategy that makes sense for you and your future.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies?

Most people think about bankruptcy and the full discharge of all your qualified debts, which would be Chapter 7, the full discharge. To qualify for Chapter 7, you must meet income and means tests. If you make too much money you can still qualify for Chapter 13 and repay a portion of your debts over several years to get caught up.

Do I have to wait until after my divorce to file for bankruptcy?

People considering a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy frequently ask their bankruptcy attorney how their divorce filing will affect the bankruptcy. You may have your own individual bankruptcy case or a joint bankruptcy filing as husband and wife. Once the bankruptcy is filed, your status as married or divorced does not matter and it will not affect your bankruptcy.

If, however, you are unable to make the scheduled payments to the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 13, reorganization bankruptcy, your bankruptcy lawyer may file a motion with the court to adjust your payments based on your ability to pay.

Eliminating debts in bankruptcy before dividing assets in the divorce can make sense.

If you and your spouse have shared responsibility to creditors and are joint obligors on credit cards, and if one or both of you filed for bankruptcy, it can make sense to wait until the bankruptcy is discharged before dividing marital assets.

It is important to have both an experienced divorce and bankruptcy attorney.

Divorce lawyers Collin County TX residents frequently rely on can help you through these complicated issues. While some divorce attorneys also practice bankruptcy law, it is more likely you will hire separate attorneys for each. If you consent for your attorneys to talk to one another about your best interests, they will be able to consider your financial situation properly and help determine the best course of action.

Scroggins Law Group logoThanks to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Group for their insight into divorce.

 

Will a Wrongful Death Claim Impact an Estate Plan?

 

 

If a family member or loved one passes away and it is believed that the death was at the fault of another person, then it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is possible only if it is proven that the person’s death was a result of someone’s negligence or intentional actions. A claim allows for family members or loved ones of the decedent to claim damages. Filing a claim, however, can be a difficult process, because the laws pertaining to wrongful death may vary by state and the circumstances of the case. It may be beneficial to hire a wrongful death lawyer to file a claim on behalf of the family and loved ones.

 

Filing for Wrongful Death

There are specific laws dictating who can file a wrongful death claim after a person’s death. The laws and requirements vary by state, so it’s important to learn the eligibility in your state. Eligible members can usually include a spouse or life partner, children, parents, siblings and grandparents. You do not, however, have to be family to file a claim. In order to be able to file a wrongful death claim, it is usually required that the person:

  • was financially burdened by the person’s death, or
  • was financially dependent on the decedent.  

Typically, multiple family members and loved ones will want to file a wrongful death claim. In this case, it is wise to join them into one claim and have a wrongful death lawyer file the claim on behalf of everyone.

 

Damages

The point of a wrongful death claim is to allow family members and loved ones of the decedent to receive compensation for damages they incurred as a result of the death. These usually include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages, services, inheritance or other monetary contribution from the decedent that family members or loved ones relied on
  • Emotional damages

 

Compensation and the Decedent’s Estate

Regardless of whether the decedent has a Will, wrongful death money is disbursed as if there is no Will in place. The laws vary by state, but typically, the award is disbursed and expected to be divided among the beneficiaries according to the losses and damages. Because it is not itemized, this can add a lot of stress to the family when trying to distribute the money among the beneficiaries. When the family is unable to reach an agreement, the court will usually step in. It’s still important to have a sound estate plan in place. An experienced estate planning attorney can help accomplish this.

Grieving the loss of a loved one is already difficult enough. Don’t let the complexities and stress of a wrongful death claim make things harder on you. Wrongful death and estate planning lawyers such as the Estate Planning attorney Scottsdale AZ locals trust can help alleviate some of the stress by handling the legal aspects of the process.

 

Arizona Estate Planning AttorneyThanks to authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate and Personal Injury Law.