Month: April 2017

5 Ways to Beat a DUI Charge

Have you been in the unfortunate situation of being pulled over by a police officer when you have had one too many drinks before getting behind the wheel? There are many ways to legally beat a DUI charge–because police officers make mistakes, there are many ways to challenge the accuracy of how they determined you were driving under the influence.  A good lawyer can evaluate the likelihood that the evidence the state might hold against you will be found inadmissible because of human error, or rather, an officer’s ability to accurately enforce the law in accordance with your rights. As well, some of the “scientific” ways that the police use to determine a person’s blood alcohol level may not give accurate results.

If you have lost all hope, know that there are ways to beat a DUI charge.

Lack of Probable Cause and Inadmissible Evidence

If you were pulled over while minding your own business, and then arrested for driving under the influence, there is a chance that there was a lack of probable cause.  Many DUI charges come from being pulled over by common things that many of us do — but NOT because the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over and test you for drunk driving.  These things include but are not limited to: driving above or below the speed limit; weaving or drifting from your lane; following too closely; having a head or tail light out; not turning on your turn indicator; or making an illegal turn or stop.  If a stop that resulted in a DUI arrest was not legal, evidence collected during the investigation is not admissible.  With no evidence, your case is likely to be dismissed.

Inefficacy of Field Sobriety Tests

If you were given a field sobriety test that resulted in a DUI arrest, there is a good chance that you can reduce the amount of evidence that can be used against you.  For most people, doing things such as saying the alphabet backwards, closing our eyes while trying to touch our nose, or standing on one foot, are hard or impossible for us to do regardless of whether you’ve been drinking.  You can question the efficacy of a field sobriety test.  While this may not get your case dismissed, it may reduce the amount of evidence against you, and cause credibility issues for the prosecution.

Challenge BAC Results from a Breathalyzer Test

Breathalyzers often deliver readings that do not reflect actual amounts of consumed alcohol.  There are many reasons for this.  Improper calibration of the equipment and equipment failure, or user error, are common reasons for breathalyzer inaccuracy.  Breathalyzers cannot typically differentiate between different kinds of alcohol.  For example, mouthwash and certain foods can be detected as alcohol.  As well, there are many medical conditions such as GERD and acid reflux, or ketosis (which can be the result of a low-carb diet) that can cause a breathalyzer test to be inaccurate.

Miranda Rights

If you’ve been taken into custody, you must be informed of your Miranda rights that are protected by the law.  An arresting officer is supposed to tell you that you are not required to make incriminating statements, that what you say can be used against you, and that you have a right to an attorney.  Law enforcement is legally obligated in most states to inform a detained person of these rights prior to questioning.  If a police officer fails to Mirandize a driver, the evidence collected in a DUI investigation can be ruled inadmissible.

Not All DUI Checkpoints are the Same

DUI checkpoints are controversial for many reasons.  Many cases contesting their constitutionality have been tried in order to determine whether checkpoints infringe on Fourth Amendment rights.  The way law enforcement is supposed to set up and operate roadblocks is very prescribed.  If these protocols were not implemented when you were stopped, it may be possible to prove that you were stopped illegally.  Some requirements for DUI checkpoints include:

  • Choosing who will be stopped must be done in accordance with a uniform procedure.  For example, if every third car is supposed to be pulled over, they must do this throughout the entire duration of their road block.
  • Safety of drivers must be upheld.  This includes adequate lighting, and clear and advance notice of the upcoming roadblock.
  • A person’s constitutional privacy rights must be maintained throughout the entirety of a stop.

If you are dealing with a DUI arrest, there are many ways that the law can protect you and your rights.  A compassionate and experienced DUI attorney can help to ensure that your rights are upheld. Feel free to call our office today for a free consultation!

How do I submit an accident claim?

After an accident, it is important to notify the right parties of a potential claim. The failure to do so can sometimes lead to problems, including the potential denial of a claim.

If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you notify your own auto insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. This will start the claims process, and depending upon the coverages available under your policy, will start the process of getting your car repaired and getting your medical bills paid. If you were at fault in causing the accident, it will also give your insurance company an opportunity to begin to investigate the facts surrounding the accident so that your insurance company can protect you from any potential claims that may be made against you. Most every policy requires you to cooperate with your insurance company into the investigation of the claim, so your insurance company may ask you to provide a statement regarding how the accident happened. Your failure to cooperate with your insurance company into the investigation of the claim can result in the insurance company denying coverage for the claim. Likewise, as most insurance policies require you to timely notify it of an accident or claim, your failure to do so can result in the insurance company denying coverage for the accident. The reason for this is because insurance companies want to begin the investigation into the accident as soon as possible after it occurs, when the recollections of the witnesses are still fresh and when all of the evidence should still be available. If you notify your insurance company of the accident long after it occurs, the insurance company may deny the claim on the basis that its ability to investigate has been prejudiced due to the passage of time.

If someone else is responsible for an accident, it is also important to try to notify their insurance company of the incident as soon as possible. In the event the responsible party doesn’t notify its insurer of the accident, your notice to the insurance company will trigger the start of claims process and potentially avoid a denial of coverage by the insurer due to late notice by its policyholder. However, the injured party has no obligation to cooperate in the investigation of the accident by the at fault party’s insurance company. If the at fault party’s insurance company asks for a recorded statement or medical authorization (in order to obtain medical records), it is often best to decline to do so. Each case is different, however, and in is recommended that you speak with a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL counts on for advice and guidance if the responsible party’s insurance company asks for this type of information.

Other insurance companies should be notified of an accident as well. For example, if you are injured, unable to work and have disability insurance, the disability insurer should be notified of a claim. Usually a phone call to the disability insurer is enough to start the process, although you may be required to complete and sign additional forms. If you have been injured while on someone else’s property, the insurance policy covering the property may have something called “medical payments coverage.” This coverage will pay for any medical expenses you incur if you have been injured on the property. This coverage generally does not require proof of fault on the part of the property owner, so even if the accident was your own fault, you can get the benefit of this coverage. The amount of coverage available is usually modest-$5000 or under. Once again, however, you must provide timely notice of the accident to the insurer in order to get the benefit of this coverage.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Luckman Law for their insight into proving fault after a car accident.

What Workers’ Compensation DOES Cover

Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws. The law requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for this purpose. When an employee is injured at work while doing their job, he or she can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. That general rule applies even if the employee was injured through his or her own negligence. Injuries that aren’t likely to be covered are those that occurred when:

  • The employee was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when injured
  • The injuries are intentionally self-inflicted
  • The employee violated company policy
  • Injuries arose from activities outside of the employee’s course and scope of employment

Workers’ compensation laws also cover certain occupational illnesses or diseases that are a risk of a particular employee’s employment. Depending on the nature and extent of the injury, an employer is generally required to provide the following benefits, as a skilled Brooklyn workers compensation lawyer might explain:

  1. Medical Expenses

All reasonable and necessary medical expenses must be paid by the employer or its insurer regardless of whether the injured employee is eligible for temporary total disability. That includes:

  • All reasonable medical, surgical and hospital treatment in connection with the injury.
  • Any lost time from work and traveling expenses to be seen or treated by health care providers must also be compensated.
  • In some states, the injured employee must be treated by a doctor appointed by the employer. In other states, he or she has a choice of a first free doctor and any other doctor that might be referred through a chain referrals and doctors.
  1. Temporary Total Disability

When you’re out of work for a certain period of time as a result of a covered injury or occupational disease that you sustained while at work, you should start receiving temporary total disability (TTD) payments. In most states, you need to be off of work for seven straight days, after which you will be eligible for TTD benefits on the 14th day. However, it might be more than 21 days before you receive your initial TTD payment. The TTD rate is ordinarily set at a sum equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Each state has a maximum average weekly wage that is allowed.

  1. Permanent Partial Disability

If you suffered a covered permanent injury or illness at work that was partially disabling, you might be eligible for a permanent partial disability award.

  • These usually come as a lump sum of compensation that represents a loss of a percentage of a person as a whole after reaching maximum medical improvement.
  • Depending on the state, if it’s a severe injury, it might come with one large payment and then monthly payments for the duration.
  • If a person suffers a catastrophic injury, he or she is eligible for permanent total disability. These cases are rare.

Every state contemplates job re-training benefits, but they might not be mandatory. Re-training could ultimately be less costly for the employer or insurer. Every state also provides for death and survivor benefits in the event of a fatality that occurred at work. Don’t prejudice your right to workers’ compensation benefits by trying to represent yourself. That’s when the insurance company has you right where it wants you. Preserve and protect your rights after any workplace injury or illness.

Contact a workers’ comp lawyer immediately after suffering a workplace injury or if you acquire an occupational illness. Most attorneys will provide a free consultation and case evaluation. When you retain a skilled lawyer, you can expect to receive quality, aggressive and compassionate advocacy.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen,  P.C. for their insight into workers compensation cases.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Common psychological injuries in car accidents

Car accidents remain a major cause of death. It is estimated that over five million accidents are reported every year. Too many accidents result in fatalities, with one million resulting in serious injury.

Aside from the apparent physical effects, accidents can also have negative psychological and long-term effects. In most cases, however, injured victims do not file claims for emotional or mental anguish. This is despite the fact that personal injury laws allow parties to recover damages for psychological pain and suffering. It is important for victims to understand the types of emotional pain they can experience in an accident so that they can get help paying for treatment.

Depression

Sudden and unexpected traumatic events can cause depression. As a result, an accident can cause mental and emotional anguish. This can be experienced as a result of being involved in an accident or witnessing your family or friends get injured in accident. The emotional pain is often more acute in children or minors. This is because their minds are still not developed to handle severe trauma. Signs of emotional anguish include:

  • Emotional numbness
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness
  • Shifting between various emotions such as guilt, denial, disbelief and anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Short concentration spans
  • Changes in appetite
  • Recurring memories and flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Increased use of toxic substances

It is wise to journal and keep an account of what you are feeling. To build a strong case in your personal injury claim, you need to go for regular checkups and a psychological evaluation. You should also inform your doctor if you suffer any suicidal thoughts. Aside from getting the necessary treatment, he or she will document it which you can then use when filing a claim.

Anxiety 

Once you have suffered a tragic accident, you may feel uneasy and uncomfortable about driving or even being in a car. This fear can develop into anxiety. It is normal to feel anxious now and then, but it can evolve into a serious condition that deprives the victim of a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. There are several signs and symptoms of anxiety, among them:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Feeling weak
  • Tension or nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased heart beat
  • Fear of impending danger
  • Hyperventilating
  • General sadness
  • Chest pain

Severe anxiety can also cause panic attacks. Severe feelings of heart palpitations, chest pains, and shortness of breath.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental condition that is triggered by a traumatic event. Flashbacks of the scene of the accident can trigger reactions. This can result in any of these common PTSD reactions:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Uncontrollable thoughts
  • Severe anxiety
  • Intrusive memories
  • Changes in moods.

It is often hard to put a monetary value on psychological pain. Again, in most states, you will find that there is a limit to non-economic damages. There are also some states where emotional distress damages are not optional. The general principle applied by those states is to issue a statutory cap on the damages that can be awarded for emotional pain.

The Need for a Personal Injury Attorney

Proving emotional damage requires expertise. This is why you should consult with a car injury attorney Des Moines IA relies on . A skilled lawyer can help you overcome the bias and prejudice against emotional damages shown by juries and judges. Choose an attorney who has represented many victims of both physical and psychological pain. Due to the emotional trauma that accident victims can endure, they deserve to be compensated based on the merits of their injuries.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston | Martineau PLLP for their insight in car accident cases.