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Three Types Of Disability Benefits And Claims You Can Make Under The Law

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Becoming disabled, even in the short-term, has a negative impact on your life. Thankfully, there are some disability benefit options available to you, if you qualify and if your situation applies. These benefits are provided under the law to help many individuals with disabilities and prevent levels of poverty that otherwise might result in homelessness or death. ADD, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Benefits This is a disability package offered to you by your employer at the time you are hired or shortly thereafter. The “ADD” stands for “Accidental Death and/or Dismemberment” and only applies if such an event takes place while you are on the job. Likewise, the short-term and long-term disability insurance in these packages typically only applies if you become disabled while on the job. However, some plans also cover pregnancy as a disability when it affects your job performance. If you opted to take part in this type of insurance, you can file a claim when and if the required circumstances apply. Social Security Disability Benefits Social Security Disability benefits are provided by the Federal government. You must have a qualifying disability as listed on their long list of disabilities, and you have to go through your local SSA (Social Security Administration) office to apply. You may also apply online, but then you will still have to bring all of your medical records, documents, and evidence supporting your claim to the office for review. It may take as long as six months or more to get a decision, and you may be denied benefits if the SSA does not feel that your condition is chronic or severe enough to warrant benefits. Still, if you cannot work and are not working, you should attempt to apply. You can always appeal. ERISA Disability Claims and Benefits ERISA is a private employer benefit for employees. It is only available to employees who work for a company that provide this benefit. You would have had to sign up for ERISA insurance when you were hired, and there may be a waiting period before the insurance takes effect. Your employer may also require documentation from your doctor to show that you are no longer able to work in any capacity for the company before the ERISA insurance kicks in and pays on the claim. ERISA may only last as long as the money that was put into it for your use as well, so be sure to check the terms of your ERISA plan before filing a disability claim and have a long-term plan if benefits are expected to run...

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Interviewing Prospective Personal Injury Lawyers? Make A Plan First

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to get compensation for your pain and suffering by filing a personal injury claim. It’s a good idea to hire a lawyer, such as those at Bennett & Sharp PLLC, to represent you throughout the process, as they have the investigative team and experience needed to properly value your claim and optimize the chances of winning your case. To make sure you’re hiring the right legal representative for your needs, consider scheduling an initial interview with a handful of prospects before making any commitments. Here’s how to plan for those interviews: Send Letters of Intention A great way to make sure that you and each prospective lawyer you consult with are on the same page during your initial meetings is to send letters of intention, whether through email or snail mail. The letters should outline everything you plan to talk about and request any portfolio, reference, and licensing documentation you’d like a copy of to ensure that they’re brought to the consultation. Ask each lawyer you’ll be consulting with to bring along an outline of how they plan to handle your case so you can compare how each of them differ from one another when deciding who to ultimately hire as your legal representative. These letters will help ensure that each lawyer you meet with is fully prepared to address your questions and concerns, as well as present you with a solid plan for winning your case. Create a Questionnaire Outline To make sure that nothing important is overlooked when meeting with prospective personal injury lawyers, it is important to create a questionnaire outline that includes everything you want to talk and learn about. Start by making a list of important questions you want each of them to answer, such as: How will the negotiation process with the other party’s insurance company and legal team work? Who will be working on evidence gathering and processing? How will things like medical bills and legal paperwork be managed? Once your list of questions is fleshed out, make copies of them so you can provide one to each lawyer as you meet with them. Use the paperwork to make notes during your consultations so you can refer back to them when deciding which representative to hire. Prep Your Meeting Space Hold your consultations at home where you have access to your own belongings and all the personal paperwork that pertains to your accident in case you need it. Have paper and pens handy, and set your printer up on a table near your meeting space if possible so you can make copies of any paperwork the attorneys want to give you or that you need to provide them with. If you can’t schedule the consultations at home for some reason, ask the lawyers to give you a list of paperwork they’ll want to go over when you meet so you can prep your to-go bag accordingly.   Don’t Forget to Follow Up After you’ve completed all your consultations with prospective personal injury lawyers, take the time to follow-up with each of them in case they have any more input to give you or questions to ask. You may find that your meetings bring up more questions for you...

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What Can You Do To Protect Your Children While Divorcing An Alcoholic?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Alcoholism can be devastating to your family. Unfortunately, despite efforts to help an alcoholic spouse, your relationship could reach a point at which you have to decide whether or not to remain in the marriage. If you are considering divorce and share children with your spouse, here are some tips to help you prepare for the process.   Gather Evidence of Your Spouse’s Addiction Most states allow for no-fault divorces, but your spouse’s addiction could still be important if you have children. If you are concerned about your spouse’s ability to properly care for the children while battling alcoholism, you will need to prove to the court that his or her addiction exists and that it interferes with his or her decision-making.   In family court cases involving custody, the judge is tasked with determining what is in the best interests of the children. By gathering evidence of your spouse’s addiction and how it has impacted his or her daily life, you are providing the proof needed to prevent your spouse from having custody. Your evidence could even impact the visitation order.   It is important to note that although the divorce decree effectively ends your marriage to your spouse, there is still a chance that a modification for custody and financial support could be made. If you feel guilty about restricting the other parent’s access to your children, once he or she is sober, both of you can ask for a modification that would give him or her more rights.   Create a Parenting Agreement  Part of protecting your children during this process involves creating a parenting agreement. The agreement can be used as the foundation for the custodial order that is included in the final divorce decree. The parenting agreement will not necessarily be accepted by your spouse or the court, but it can be a starting point for negotiations.   You can use the parenting agreement to do more than establish visitation and support. You can use it to protect your children from potentially dangerous situations.   For instance, you could require that your spouse be subjected to alcohol testing before he or she is allowed to leave with the children on visitation. If your spouse has a history of drunk driving charges, you might even be able to convince the judge to agree to the addition of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device to prevent your spouse from driving with the children while intoxicated.   Talk to your divorce attorney about other ways you can protect your children throughout your...

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Coping With Divorce While Pregnant

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Your marriage can break down at any time, even when you are pregnant. However, pregnancy may complicate your divorce so you should know these three things if you intend to divorce while pregnant: State Laws Will Affect Your Decision Don’t waste time preparing for divorce without knowing whether your state’s laws allow people to divorce during pregnancy; some states don’t allow it. Other states (such as Arkansas) allow you to file for divorce but won’t grant you the final divorce agreement until after delivery. That requirement will affect your plans if you are in your first trimester and wanted a quick divorce. The Timing May Affect the Paternity of the Baby You should also know that the timing of your divorce agreement may affect your baby’s paternity. Usually, your partner automatically becomes your baby’s legal father if you deliver the baby before the divorce is finalized. However, depending on your state’s law on the issue, this may not be necessarily true if you deliver the baby after the divorce is finalized. The issue of paternity is serious and has long-term consequences because a legal father has some rights that other people don’t have. For example, your baby’s father has a say on your child’s religion or schooling while others don’t have that right. Therefore, know what you want and time your divorce to achieve it. You May Start Child Support Negotiations Lastly, if you have decided to go ahead with the divorce, you should know that you don’t have to wait for your baby to be born to start child support negotiations; you can start the negotiations right away. In fact, it’s advisable to start the negotiations so that the child support agreement becomes part of your divorce agreement. If you don’t do that and wait until after the baby is born, you will have to go back to court for the child support hearing, which may be costly. At the same time, you should check if your start laws allow you to demand support for pregnancy-related costs; some states do. In fact, some states will ask your partner to reimburse you for delivery-related costs if your partner doesn’t pay their fair share of the costs during delivery. It’s clear that pregnancy complicates divorce, but it doesn’t rule it out. You just need to be a little bit more careful and protective of your legal rights. The best way to do this is to consult an attorney immediately you have decided to divorce your partner....

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Hiring An Employment Attorney Could Be The Right Choice

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Uncategorized |

There are many situations where an employee may feel like they have been snubbed. This happens on a regular basis, and it can truly be unfair. Many employees do not understand that they actually have some pretty significant employee protective rights. There may be numerous different ways that an employee may feel like they are treated unfairly, and it could be that your employer could be breaking and employee protective law. here are just a few different reasons that you should consider talking with an employment attorney. These attorneys have become experts in the laws that protect those in the work force.  Discrimination  If you feel like you have ever been discriminated against based on; age, ancestry, color, disability, marital status, medical conditions, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation then you may want to contact an employment lawyer. Usually, a consultation will be very affordable, and in some cases free. Just by visiting with a good lawyer you may find that your employer indeed has broken a few employment laws. If this is the case you may be able to get help from your lawyer. There is no reason that a boss or employer should discriminate against you upon these grounds.  Sexual Harassment There are times when an employer or another co-worker makes you feel uncomfortable based on an off-color sexual comment. Sexual comments and sexual harassment have no place in a job site. If you have ever felt that you have been sexually harassed at work then you definitely need to talk with an attorney. They will be able to break down the laws that protect you against such harassment. You may be able to fix the problem with the help of your attorney. Also, do not just think that women can be sexually assaulted. It is very common for a man to be sexually assaulted.  Unfair Termination When you were hired by an employer it is very likely that you had to sign a specific contract of employment and employer agreements. There are times that unlawful termination of employment can occur. If you feel that you have been unlawfully terminated from your job based on any reason, you should talk to a lawyer. Your lawyer is going to be able to review any contract that you may have agreed to. The employment attorney can then advise you on legal action and represent you in a court of law. ...

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What To Know About Your Personal Injury Court Appearance

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If, despite your hopes of an out-of-court settlement, you now find yourself in court, you may be feeling a little bit nervous. It’s only natural, especially when you consider that you have been waiting for the opportunity to have a wrong done to you righted by the justice system. If you take some time to learn what is ahead and be prepared for the courtroom experience, you may not only calm your nerves but also do a better job when it comes time for you to tell the story of how you were injured because of another person’s negligence. Read on for an idea of what to expect once that gavel pounds. Be patient and expect delays. The patience you’ve shown up to now must be continued since court cases tend to get bogged down and proceed at what seems to be a snail’s pace at times. Court cases should not be expected to follow a predictable pattern since parties have other cases ongoing and court calendars are crowded. Additionally, court procedure itself almost guarantees that your case will be interrupted and delayed by continuances, motions, hearings, and more. While some of these delays are important to one side or the other, some are mere formalities that are meant to cause delays on purpose to give one side or the other more time to prepare. Be ready to have your personal life exposed in open court. From the very moment you file suit against the at-fault party, you are essentially opening your life up to exposure and scrutiny. It has become commonplace for defendants to pursue a background investigation of plaintiffs (you), and you can expect to have several areas of your life looked into. For example, you can expect and be prepared for a look into your criminal, employment, financial, educational, and personal relationship histories. It cannot be over-emphasized that you need to be completely honest and upfront with your own attorney about any and all issues in any area in your background because you can rest assured that the other side will find any crack in your armor and use it to weaken your case against them. Give your attorney a fighting chance to dispute and refute any allegations by letting them know about these things ahead of time. Be cool and calm on the stand. You can count on your legal team to prepare you for your time on the witness stand by doing some question and answer practice sessions. Be sure to do your part by reviewing your notes about the accident, your medical records, and any accident or police reports to refresh your memory and ensure that you won’t get rattled by the opposing council. Talk to an attorney like Loughlin Fitzgerald P C for more tips on being ready for your time in...

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Still Working On Those Stories? Don’t Hand Them Out Too Freely

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Uncategorized |

It can be hard to push out a story that not only tells a story worth telling, but with enough content to put a price tag on. Whether its a short story or a novel, your personal creations could be just a first exercise or a passing fancy to you, but a breath of fresh air to a world of potential readers–some who may want to make a dime on your work without giving you a cut. Before allowing any of your work to roam the internet without your name on it somewhere, here’s a look at what’s at stake and how you can protect your best interests. Intellectual Theft Isn’t Sharing Not all authors want to make millions by releasing a book with their name on it. For some, releasing a prototype book or short story to get their name in the world or just to have fun is enough. Unfortunately, even if you want to give your information to the world, someone could cut your sharing short. Anonymous attributions can become part of someone’s copyrighted collection, and loosely-published tales can become the building blocks for a popular new movie. In a perfect world, you could either ask for royalties with only negotiations to worry about or be happy that your work is getting greater treatment at no cost to you. In the real world, your own work could come back to bite you. If you planned on giving the world a free book, someone could ruin your gift and charge money while quietly erasing evidence of your publishing. It may happen years from now when you’ve forgotten about the work, or a few days from now in a foreign language market. Whether you’re out to make money, promote your name, or just spread your ideas to the world, even a free gift needs to have proper protection. Getting Legal Assistance For Distribution And Free Product Control You’ll never know what the future holds for you. Releasing a free book now is a great way to promote yourself, but what if the idea really takes off and you want to make some money on the original work? It’s unfair–but not impossible–to crack down on the free copy, but focus on a second way to get things done. Editing the first release and creating a new edition can be a high-demand item among fans. People will still flock to the free version, but if you add more information and make some subtle changes–not enough for people to reject the new copy in favor of the character of the original–you can make new sales. People who have copies of the free edition may have the same idea. To stop them from trying to print and sell new editions as well, an entertainment lawyer is necessary to explore your options. Online distribution is difficult in the underworld of the internet, but it’s much easier to track down cash flow for a tangible product. Even if you’re selling e-books, tracking down customers who can’t figure out how to get a book for free, but instead purchase illegal copies can be an easy way to track down those who want to make money from your work. Contact a team of entertainment lawyers,like Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC, to discuss your writing rights for now and the...

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3 Benefits of Settling Your Auto Accident Case

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Uncategorized |

One of the more challenging times in life may be when you are involved in a lawsuit. This can be something that takes a great deal of your energy and may be extremely draining in the process. The best way to get through civil litigation is to consider your options. For instance, it’s likely you will need to attend mediation to help you get the case settled outside of the courtroom. The benefits of having a successful mediation and settling your personal injury case as quickly as possible are numerous.  Benefit #1: Less emotional distress If you’re concerned all the time about how your auto accident case may turn out, this can increase the amount of emotional distress you experience. Over time, being consistently anxious may have an adverse impact on your health and well-being. Working to get your case settled at mediation is sure to allow you to feel better mentally. This can allow you to focus your thoughts on other things and this may be the key to getting past this challenging time. Benefit #2: Decreased attorney fees Working to keep your lawyer bill lower is sure to be one benefit of getting your case settled sooner rather than later. When your mediation is a success, this can allow you to avoid paying extensive attorney costs, and this could be ideal for allowing you to get through the dispute as fast as you can. Be sure to consult with your lawyer to enable you to know how you will be billed for services. Some legal service providers may charge by the hour while others tend to work on a case by case basis. Additionally, in order to secure the attorney you want, you may need to pay a certain amount for a retainer. Benefit #3: Reduced possibility of a public situation If your case does proceed to trial, you may receive more publicity than you want in your life. Being able to get your case settled during the mediation process can help you keep it more private. Working to get your case settled during the mediation process is sure to be one of the ideal ways to only move on with your life after a legal dispute occurs. The advantages of doing so are many and may help you feel better faster. Be sure to consult with a car accident attorney like those at Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd to guide you in this legal meeting for greater chances of...

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Injured After An Accident Involving Michigan’s New Higher Speed Limits? What Are Your Options?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Drivers traveling through Michigan may find the flow of traffic quicker than they remember because of recently-approved changes to the speed limit laws, raising the potential speed limit on the state’s freeways to 75 miles per hour and the highway speed limits to a maximum of 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, although this raised speed limit can allow individual commuters to get from one point to the other more quickly without risking an expensive speeding ticket, speed can kill — in fact, raising the speed limit from 55 to 65 miles per hour has been shown to increase traffic fatalities by nearly 30 percent. Read on to learn more about your legal options if you’re injured in a high-speed accident shortly after the new speed limit laws have taken effect.  How could higher speed limits affect liability in an accident? When you’re injured in an accident that isn’t your fault, the at-fault driver has legal responsibility for your medical expenses, property damage (like damage to your car), and even general “pain and suffering” expenses. These are usually paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but the compensation for damages can also be obtained through a civil lawsuit and personal injury judgment if you’re unhappy with the settlement amount being offered. In most cases, being able to show that the at-fault driver was breaking the law at the time of the accident — whether speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — can go a long way both toward proving negligence in your personal injury case and being awarded a more significant sum if you choose to take the matter to trial. The prospective increase in the speed limit will not only make accidents (including accidents resulting in serious injury or death) more likely, but it will make it harder for injured plaintiffs to demonstrate negligence if the driver — who would have been illegally speeding prior to December 2016 — was traveling at or below the newly-increased speed limit at the time of the accident. The at-fault driver may maintain that he or she was traveling at an appropriate speed and cite the increase in the speed limit as evidence that lawmakers believed drivers to be capable of safely traveling at up to 65 (or 75) miles per hour without incident. What can you do to maintain your rights if you feel the at-fault driver was traveling too quickly at the time of the accident?  Although the increase in the speed limit may make it harder to demonstrate per se negligence based on the speed limit alone, you may still be able to show that the defendant was traveling too fast for the conditions or circumstances. If it’s raining, snowing, foggy, or otherwise inclement outdoors; if a driver is traveling west at sunset or east at sunrise and the glare makes it difficult to see; or if a driver with poor night vision is traveling through a new part of town at night, driving well under the speed limit may still be dangerously fast. An attorney can help you examine the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine whether (and how much) speed was a factor and what your strongest arguments in favor of negligence may be. Pulling cell phone records, viewing surveillance or traffic camera...

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Preparing For A Divorce: 3 Financial Tips To Keep In Mind Pertaining To Your Assets

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

It’s unfortunate, but divorce is quite common in the U.S. The partner you once thought you’d be able to spend the rest of your life with might not show their true colors until after the marriage, or both you and your spouse might be splitting amicably due to irreconcilable differences. Almost 50% of all marriages in the U.S. will end with either divorce or separation. Before filing for divorce, you should speak with a divorce attorney to determine whether there is anything you need to keep in mind in regards to your assets. Here are 3 financial tips that can make your life a lot easier and protect your finances. Know What Assets You Actually Want Before filing for a divorce, make a list of all of the assets that you and your spouse owns. Take this opportunity to go down the list, and determine which assets you actually want to keep. For example, you might want to keep certain expensive heirlooms that were passed down from generation to generation in your family. You should also consider which assets you are willing to part with. Often times, disgruntled spouses get so caught up emotionally in the divorce that they waste a lot of time and money fighting over assets that they don’t even want. You’ll want to give this list to your divorce attorney, so they know exactly what to fight for. Knowing what you value can also help a divorce attorney come up with a feasible and practical plan that will allow you to come out of the divorce with everything you want without having to put up a huge fight. Choose the Date for Initiating the Divorce Wisely The list of all of your assets will also come in handy when your divorce attorney tries to come up with a game plan. The date for initiating the divorce needs to be chosen wisely, as it can have profound effects on how assets are valued and distributed during the divorce. Generally speaking, the division of assets is usually determined by the date of the separation or when the divorce proceedings were first initiated. Basically, if you’re expecting some of your assets to gain a huge increase in value, you should initiate the divorce before then. This will help you protect your assets and will look out for your own best interest. Make Purchases or Get Educated Before the Divorce If you know you’re going to need certain tools or assets before the divorce, you should definitely consider purchasing them before filing for divorce. Often times, the court will place a stay on your finances when you are getting a divorce. This means that you will no longer be able to access your finances during these tough times. This type of advice is usually most helpful for when one spouse might need to get their own car during a divorce. If this applies to you, you need to make the purchase before you file for divorce. Your divorce attorney will help you get your finances in order. If you don’t, you will not have an opportunity to purchase a car until after the divorce has been settled. You never know how long that might take. Conclusion One of the most important and difficult aspects of getting a divorce is...

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Motorcycle-Accident Claims: 3 Things You Should Do Before Bringing Your Bike in for Repairs

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in Uncategorized |

The thrill of driving a motorcycle comes with many risks. Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die from an accident than those driving a car. Due to the lack of protection offered by the motorcycle, motorcyclists often are more severely injured in accidents—even if the accidents appear to be rather minor. If you intend on filing a motorcycle-accident claim and getting full compensation for your losses, you need to build a strong case. While having your motorcycle handy to use as evidence in court can be beneficial, you might not have the luxury of waiting that long. If you absolutely must bring your motorcycle in for repairs, here are three things you should do first. Getting the Accident Reconstructed Understanding how the accident happened can really give your motorcycle-accident attorney the evidence needed to build a strong case and to negotiate a reasonable settlement. If you don’t have a credible witness to testify on your behalf, let your motorcycle do the job. The damages sustained by the motorcycle can be very telling and will allow a professional to reconstruct the accident as it happened. The accident-reconstruction professional will take a look at the severity of the damage to determine the speed of impact. They can also take a look at the angle of the damages to determine where the vehicles were positioned during the accident. This can be sufficient in determining fault. If your attorney plans on hiring an accident-reconstruction professional to recreate the circumstances surrounding the accident, you must give the other party access to your bike as well, as they have a right to hire their own professionals to examine the damages. Taking Photographs and Videos of the Bike One of the main reasons why most attorneys recommend against repairing the motorcycle is because the motorcycle can give the court insight as to the extent and severity of the accident. This can be beneficial in establishing the extent and severity of the mental trauma and pain you’ve  suffered. Before getting the motorcycle repaired, make sure you take photographs and videos of the bike in different angles and in different lighting. Use a professional camera or even get a professional to take the photographs for you. Videos or photographs in different angles can provide a better picture of the damages your motorcycle has sustained. Keeping Irreparable Parts Depending on the type of damages that your motorcycle has sustained, not all of the damaged parts may be repairable. Some parts may need to be replaced. If possible, avoid discarding irreparable parts until after a reasonable settlement has been reached and the case has been finalized. The damaged parts can be presented as physical evidence in court to show how severe the damages were. For example, if some of the exterior parts are damaged to the point where they are barely recognizable, your attorney can establish the degree of impact. If the internal parts of the motorcycle were damaged, this will show just how severe the accident truly was. This can give your case a better leg to stand on. Conclusion If it’s possible, try to repair your motorcycle only after the claim has been finalized. The damaged motorcycle can prove to be an excellent piece of physical evidence in court should the claim go to trial. It’ll also...

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