Truck vs. Auto Accidents – Everything You Need to Know to Help Protect Your Rights

With an estimated 300 million cars and trucks on the road, vehicle accidents are inevitable in today’s busy, commuting-centric world.  For minor fender benders, parking lot accidents or other low speed collisions that don’t involve bodily injury, direct interaction and negotiation with insurance company is usually all it takes to resolve any liability and make a person whole.  When it comes to trucks, specifically big-rigs or other large commercial vehicles, the situation can get more complicated.  Many times, these complications will lead to the need to hire a personal injury lawyer Brookhaven GA relies on with experience in truck accidents in order to make yourself and your property whole after a crash.

Bigger Vehicles Equal Greater Damage
Trucks are naturally larger vehicles so it makes sense that the damage they can inflict in an accident would be greater than that of a typical vehicle.  Big-rigs, 18 wheelers or other commercial vehicles can easily crush a smaller personal automobile, leading to significant property damage.  In addition, the force created by these larger trucks is more likely to cause bodily injury for those driving passenger autos.  When these higher dollar amounts are at stakes, insurance companies can be less likely to settle or assign fault in your favor, necessitating the need for professional help.

Additional Evidence Collection
The bigger stakes of big-rig and other truck accidents often create the need for collection of additional or different evidence than that of a typical car crash.  In an accident involving two automobiles, the police will typically take statements and prepare a report which is then used to assign liability and resolve any claims or criminal actions.  Modern commercial trucks are often equipped with dashboard video cameras or other sophisticated monitoring systems that are used to collect evidence that may or may not be in your favor.  Witness statements, driver logs, vehicle weigh ins and other key pieces of evidence may all play a potential role in your accident.  These details often escape owners given their lack of day to day experience in dealing with the nuances of truck accidents but can be turning points in determining liability and compensation.

Who is Responsible
When drivers are involved in an automobile crash they generally don’t have to worry about any third parties that may be responsible for paying the bill.  In the case of a truck, there will often be employers, companies, insurers, contractors or other individuals or organizations that may be responsible in the end.  This can create a whole host of complications.  In some cases, car owners involved in collision with a truck may not want to communicate directly with the driver.  In others, it may be downright detrimental to do so.
Who the driver was delivering from or to, the carrier, or who paid for their vehicle insurance and maintenance, are just a few of the questions that may help to determine liability.  For victims that are unrepresented by experienced legal counsel, it can be difficult to understand which questions you should be asking and why, much less how their answers may affect yours or another party’s liability for damage or injury.

The Bottom Line
In the end, experienced legal counsel with knowledge of the specific facts and nuances involving truck accidents versus automobile accidents can be a critical factor in recovery in the event of a crash.  Automobile accidents, especially those that do not involve major bodily injury, can sometimes be resolved on your own.  This is not the case for truck versus auto.  Solid legal representation will protect your rights and ensure a better resolution.
ButlerTobin
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into truck and auto accident cases.

Should I include my personal injury award in a prenup?

As a law firm who practices both personal injury cases and divorces, we know that people going through a divorce are concerned about their assets and how the assets will be divided in a divorce. A common question for those who have been involved in a car accident case, or any other personal injury case is what happens to the personal injury settlement check? Most states give at least some consideration to the spouse that was not injured, meaning the personal injury award generally belongs to both spouses.

One of the ways to protect a personal injury award is by either doing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement otherwise known as a prenup or postnup . If your personal injury award has already been given, or it will be given before you get married, then the settlement would be considered separate property and you would not have to worry about doing a prenup.  However, if you expect your personal injury settlement to be awarded after you get married, or if you expect you may be in a common law marriage relationship, then you should consider doing a prenup to protect that personal injury award as separate property that would belong to you. If you are already married and get involved in an accident after your marriage and expecting a personal injury award, then you will need a postnup instead of a prenup.

Other than doing a prenup or postnup, be sure to follow other ways to protect your personal injury award such as keeping a separate bank account for the money awarded. Following these kinds of tips have commonly helped protect award like these in divorce proceedings from becoming a marital asset.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your divorce process and how your personal injury settlement may be divided in a divorce,  contact a skilled divorce lawyer in North Texas or else where before proceeding any further.

ATLAWThanks to our friends and contributors from A.T. Law Firm for their insight into if and how to define a personal injury award in a pre- or postnuptial agreement.

Criminal and Civil Consequences of Driving under Revocation or Suspension

Driving under revocation or suspension is when you are caught driving while your license has been suspended or revoked. Your license may be suspended for a variety of reasons, both criminal and civil, but it is usually related to a violation committed with your vehicle. This may be a DUI, or an accumulation of penalty points, or your car is involved in the committing of a serious crime.

Criminal penalties

If you are convicted of a DUI or for having too many driving violations you license will be suspended for a period of time depending on your local laws. If you are found driving during this period of revocation you will be cited and possibly arrested. The consequences may be steep fees, jail time or a longer suspension period. If you are on a conditional sentence like a deferred judgment or probation, a DUR may cause those to be revoked.

Depending on the underlying violation, driving under revocation may also affect one’s immigration status.

Civil Penalties

Sometimes the suspension is a conditional one, and once those conditions are met the license may be reinstated. This could be a hold on your license for a failure to appear in court or pay a fine; or even to maintain special insurance like an SR-22 if it is required of you.  A hold on your license may occur for other civil reasons too, like failing to pay child support or another civil judgment.

Unfortunately, when your license is suspended you may only be informed by mail. If you have moved or mail is misplaced in some way, you would not know that you are under revocation until you are stopped for another reason. Once this driving under revocation charge is made it could complicate opportunities to alleviate the civil conditions. Maintaining a current address and checking your driving record with the DMV if you are facing civil penalties may help avoid this situation.

Consequences for both civil and criminal revocations may also include extended suspension and seizure of the vehicle under nuisance and abatement statutes, if that vehicle is suspected of being part of a serious crime.

Reinstatement

In most cases the driver’s license is not automatically reinstated. The driver usually has to reapply for a license and meet certain conditions, usually paying fees and retaking the driving tests, as well as proving any other holds or conditions related to the revocation have been met.

Driving under suspension is a serious charge that can lead to significant consequences and complicate other legal matters you may be dealing with. Contact Colorado’s trusted criminal defense firm if faced with a driving under revocation charge.


Thanks to our friends at Hebets & McCallin for their insight into driving under revocation cases!

 

What Are My Responsibilities as an Estate Executor?

An executor is the person designated in the last will and testament to oversee the affairs of a person’s estate after that individual has died. Legally speaking, an executor is legally responsible for marshalling or collecting the assets of an estate, safeguarding them, and overseeing the proper distribution of a deceased person’s property according to the directives contained in a will. In this regard, if you are named as an executor, you have certain duties you must appropriately discharge.

Fiduciary Duty

The paramount responsibility you owe to an estate as an executor is what legally is known as a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is classified as the highest standard of care, according to the Cornell University School of Law.

As an executory, you have a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of the estate. Your decisions and actions must be directed towards ensuring the assets of the estate are protected and properly utilized and distributed according to the provisions of the estate and mandates of applicable law.

 

Obtain Key Documents

As part of your duties as an executor, you need to obtain a certified copy of the deceased individual’s death certificate. You also need to find the original copy of the last will and testament, and any other testamentary or related documents the deceased person may have prepared. This can include a trust agreement in some cases.

 

File the Will with the Court for Probate

Another primary task of an executor is filing a will with the appropriate court to have it probated. Depending on the nature and extent of the deceased person’s assets, and related considerations, the probate process might be fairly simple. On the other hand, a larger estate may result in a more complicated court process to probate the estate.

 

Obtain Letters Testamentary from the Court

Once the probate process commences, the court will issue what are known as letters testamentary. This is a court order that grants you formal, legal authority to serve officially as the executor of an estate. This is the legal document that gives you the power to address the affairs of the estate.

 

Locate and Inventory the Estate’s Assets

Once the will has been filed for probate, and letters testamentary are issued by the court, your next step as an executor is to identify, locate, inventory, and protect the assets of the estate. The inventory also includes identifying all liabilities of the estate as well. As a general rule, you will be required to file a formal inventory of major assets with the estate.

 

Pay Taxes and Bills Owed by Estate

Once the inventory of the estate is complete, as the executor, you pay the legitimate bills and taxes due and owing associated with the estate. Some liabilities may require specific court approval before they can be paid.

 

Regular Reports to the Court

Depending on the nature of the probate proceedings, you may be required to provide the court with recurring reports on the status of the estate. This must be filed in a timely manner to avoid sanctions from the court.

 

Final Distribution

Once all of the liabilities of the estate have been satisfied, you return to the court for approval of the proposed distribution of assets in the manner directed in the will. An order from the court provides you the authority to complete the work of an executor in regard to an estate. In some cases involving a smaller estate, you can make the distribution without prior specific approval of the court.

 

Obtain Professional Guidance

If an estate is larger or more complicated, you may be best served retaining legal representation to assist you in your role as an executor of an estate. An estate lawyer Sacramento trusts typically will schedule an initial consultation with you at no cost to you or the estate.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning practice.

Who Pays For Damages After A Truck Accident?

Few accidents on the road can be as absolutely destructive as an accident with a commercial truck. These large eighteen wheelers can smash a smaller car to pieces while barely sustaining any damage themselves. In the aftermath of the accident, victims can be left with many questions, especially if the accident was the fault of the truck driver. Perhaps the biggest question that will be on the victim’s mind is who will pay for the damage and injuries that were the fault of the driver. A truck accident attorney Dekalb County GA is proud to have working for its community may be able to guide you through this type of legal matter.

Under the law, a company is responsible for the actions of their employees, assuming they are acting within the responsibilities of their job. Applying this principal, the employer of the truck driver would be responsible for any damage caused by the negligence of the driver in an accident.

However, many truck drivers do not work directly for an employer and are considered independent contractors, which is an important legal distinction. Independent contractors have much more freedom to operate as they choose, and the law does not hold a company legally liable for the negligence of an independent contractor. If the driver owns their own truck, pays for the costs of maintenance, and is paid by the company on a per job basis, then they are an independent contractor. In the aftermath of an accident, it will be very difficult or impossible to seek compensation for damages from the company who hired them.

Another important distinction to make is whether the driver was acting within the scope of their responsibilities when the accident took place. Even if it can be established that the driver was an employee of the trucking company, the company can only be held responsible for damages caused in an accident if the truck driver was actively hauling freight to a destination at the time. If the driver had decided to take a detour or drive home early, then the employer will not be considered liable for the driver’s negligence, as they were acting in their own individual capacity.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact a skilled truck accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to determine whether the best case will be against the driver or the employer, and can ensure that you receive the compensation you need to fix the damage caused by the negligent driving of the truck driver.

logo.fw_Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their information on commercial truck accident law.

 

What to say and not to say after an auto accident?

The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be shocking and scary, especially if you know the accident was not your fault. Right after the accident, it can be nerve racking to get out of the car and speak with the other driver or drivers involved. It is important to be careful what you say however, because saying the wrong thing could come back to haunt you later.

 

We all want to be polite, and it may seem like common courtesy to apologize to the other drivers even if you know the accident was not your fault. After all, they may be hurt or worrying over the damage to their car as well. Unfortunately, there is a real and legal danger to telling the others involved in the accident that you are sorry, as it may be used against you as an admission of fault. Even if you think the accident may have actually been your fault, it is best to limit discussion with the other parties to ensuring that they are okay and exchanging insurance information and other details. Anything else may have unforeseen legal ramifications.

 

You should always call the police after an accident so that they can file a police report and help make a determination of who is at fault. The police may ask you questions about what happened to cause the accident, and it is important not to estimate or guess when talking to them. In fact, it is completely acceptable to tell the police that you are not sure what happened, or what the conditions were if you are actually not sure. Guesses can be wrong, and can result in invalid information in the police report. Of course, you should also never lie to the police. If the police determine that you are at fault or issue you a ticket, this is not a final determination and can be fought later in court.

 

After the accident, the best way to protect yourself is to contact ancar accident lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on who can represent you in any legal proceedings or settlement negotiations, and who will be an expert on your rights and responsibilities moving forward from the accident. Even a simple accident can grow complicated once insurance companies and the courts are involved, a skilled auto accident attorney will be able to take the headache out of navigating the legal process.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.for their insight into auto accident cases.

Common Workers Compensation Claims

Employees who sustain injuries while at work are eligible for compensation through the workers’ compensation insurance program. Upon injury, the employee should file a claim after which the insurer commences an investigation to verify the viability of the case. The worker’s compensation claim is categorized into one of two groups

 

  • Occupational disease
  • Accidental injury

 

Unfortunately, not all injury cases qualify for compensation under this program. However, if your claim was denied, that does not mean you should give up hope. A work injury attorney New York trusts may be able to refile your claim with additional substantiated information and recover your damages.

 

Not Issuing Notice to the Employer

 

Worker’s compensation laws require employees to notify their employers of an injury within a given timeline, usually thirty to ninety days. It is a good rule of thumb to provide notice to the supervisor immediately after the injury occurs or as recommended by a personal injury attorney.

 

The Statute of Limitations

 

States have a time limit during which employees must file a workers’ compensation claim after sustaining an injury while on the job. Depending on the state, the statute of limitations is usually anywhere from one to three years after the injury occurs or else the claim will be denied. The statute of limitations tends to be more flexible if victims have suffered a late appearing illness as a result of exposure to toxins. This is because the effects and symptoms may not appear until years after leaving the job.

 

No Substantial Link to Employment

 

If an employee suffers a cut at work but fails to attend to it and the cut subsequently escalates to a serious condition, they may not qualify for compensation. If the employee did not make a reasonable effort to provide self care, they will have a difficult time proving that their employer is liable. Here are additional examples of injuries sustained by workers that may not qualify for compensation due to:

 

• Negligence or violation of employer’s safety rules
• Lack of proof of the cause of accident
• Not attending doctor’s appointments
• When the injury isn’t as grave as claimed by the worker

 

Common Injuries that are Valid for Workers’ Compensation Claims

 

1. Slip and fall injuries

 

These are the most common types of injuries for workers compensation. They often occur as a result of wet or slick floors, or rough and uneven surfaces in the work area. Injuries such as broken bones, torn ligament, or nerve damage resulting from trip and fall at work are viable for compensation. If you sustained an injury of this type, as much as is practical, photograph and otherwise document the conditions for proof of your claim.

 

2. Overexertion

 

Overexertion involves injuries from pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing and carrying activities in the workplace. Under this category, claims for torn ligaments and overstretched joints are very common. However, they are difficult to prove, and their effects are long-lasting. A workers comp attorney with experience in pursuing claims similar to yours may be able to help you receive fair compensation for your injury.

 

3. Adverse Body Reactions

 

These injuries result from free body movement like slip without falling, repetitive body motion and staying in unnatural positions among others. Such injuries occur in areas with machinery and tools strewn everywhere, or in limited spaces and unusual sites. They can be hard to prove or follow up step-wise.
Prompt action in reporting an injury and documenting evidence, coupled with good legal representation, are key for successfully receiving workers’ compensation.

 

polskyThanks to my friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and workers compensation claims.

 

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.