Monthly Archives: October 2013

How much do auto accident attorneys make?

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, then you will probably wonder if you can afford an auto accident attorney to represent you and help you receive compensation for your injuries, damages, pain, and suffering. Auto accident attorneys are compensated by two different methods. This makes it difficult to figure out how much money they make, and how much thy will charge to represent you and handle your case. Yet you can get a good idea of how their compensation works, regardless of where you live in the country.

How Much do Auto Accident Attorneys Actually Make?

There are no easy statistics available for how much attorneys who specialize in auto accidents make. Lawyers do have national statistics for income, regardless of where they practice in the country and what law specialization they pursue. The average hourly wage for all types of lawyers in America is $62.23. Their average annual income works out to be $129,440. Naturally, some attorneys who practice more lucrative types of law will earn far more than this. Auto accident attorneys can be very successful, and their compensation depends heavily on how many cases they win.

Hourly Compensation Method of Payment

It may surprise you to learn that car accident attorneys do not typically take these types of cases for a per hour rate. In the unusual cases where they might though, you would have to compensate the attorney for literally every hour that he or she spends on your particular case. These fees would accrue and have to be paid even if you did not win and never saw any money from the party who bore the responsibility for the car accident in the first place. Even if your case was not settled out of court and you could not win it in court, you would still be required to compensate your attorney and cover the legal fees.

Consider yourself warned that there is a reason why this by the hour billing rate is not a common method of compensation for car accident attorneys. Any attorneys who insist on representing you by the hour are not giving your case much of a vote of confidence. They are telling you that they have very little confidence of winning or settling your case. This is why they insist on getting paid, regardless of how your case goes. It might be an indication that you should settle for the insurance company offer and live with it.

Contingency Fees for Auto Accident Injury Claims

By far the most common means of compensation for car accident lawyers is the contingency fee method. When an attorney is compensated by contingency fee, you are only required to pay him or her if the lawyer is successful in collecting money from the party (or his or her insurance company) who was responsible for the car accident. This means that if the attorney is unable to settle or to win your accident case, then you will not have to pay for their services.

The prevalence of these contingency case payments explains why it is so difficult to determine how much auto accident lawyers make on average. Contingency fees are determined using a percentage amount of the final judgement or settlement. Some of the attorneys work on a percentage of the gross amount of the award, before the expenses are subtracted. Other attorneys get a percentage of net monies awarded, after the expenses are subtracted. It gets even more complicated as some states, like New York, have limits on how high a percentage that contingency case lawyers are able to take. These percentage amounts are also different from one region of the U.S. to the other. It is also true that you could haggle your car accident attorney down on his or her percentage, if you are able do so persuasively before hiring the firm.

The upside to this method of payment is that should your attorney lose your case or fail to settle, then you do not have to pay for their time and services. Besides this, attorneys working on contingency are highly motivated to win and win big, as their compensation is directly determined by the monetary size of the award or settlement.

The downside to contingency is that you may feel the end result is unfair. Your lawyer might be able to settle the case without much work. In this case, you could believe that your attorney’s efforts did not justify the hefty percentage fee, which could easily be twenty-five to thirty-five percent and even up to fifty percent in some cases.

Examples of wrongful death settlements

Over the years, there have been many cases brought before a judge regarding wrongful death. These cases can be a result of many types of circumstances. Discussed below are the more common wrongful death case settlements.

Medical Malpractice

It is very unfortunate, but medical malpractice is becoming a very common cause of wrongful death. When a person goes through training to provide medical services to patients, he or she accepts a code of ethics in which he or she will provide care in accordance to a certain standard of practice. When this standard of practice is not properly followed, this often ends up resulting in the wrongful death of a patient. The family of such a patient has the right to bring forth a wrongful death case. Some of the more common professionals found in the medical field who wrongful death settlements have been won against include:

– Psychologists
– Doctors
– Surgeons
– Nurses
– Hospitals

Criminal Acts

When a person commits a criminal act and it results in the wrongful death of another person, in addition to a criminal lawsuit, the person will also face a civil wrongful death case. It is not required for a person to be criminally convicted of a charge before a wrongful death case can begin. Some of the more common instances in which a wrongful death occurs during a criminal act are those relating to burglary and assault.

Workplace Accidents

Another example of a circumstance in which wrongful death case settlements are obtained on a frequent basis include those relating to workplace accidents. Employers must follow certain rules and standards to ensure the safety of their employees, and when these things are not met and an employee dies as a result, this can turn into a wrongful death case. Construction employers, including those who carry out logging and mining, are those that endure the most wrongful death cases. Other fields of work that also see a high number of wrongful death settlements include the trucking and electrical industry.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

When a person is at-fault for a car accident that results in the death of another person, if negligence took place, this can result in a wrongful death settlement. The person(s) who would receive the settlement would be a family member of the loved one who became deceased. To avoid becoming the defendant in a wrongful death case involving a motor vehicle accident, it is important for drivers to abide by all road signs as well as take into account all weather-related factors.

Product Liability

When a manufacturer goes about creating a product, it must do so with the safety in mind of those who will be using the item. If it ends up distributing or selling a product that brings death to those purchasing it, this can result in wrongful death settlements. Any time a product has the ability to bring death to the person using it, it must be clearly stated on the product. Most of the time, it is when proper labeling, including warning signs, on the product are not implemented that a wrongful death settlement can be obtained.

If you have further questions relating to this topic, contact a wrongful death attorney in Miami today. Each case is unique, and the best outcomes are with experienced wrongful death attorneys.

Is Mesothelioma Litigation Really Worth the Time and Effort?

Unlike other forms of cancer, mesothelioma originates from but one causal factor: asbestos exposure. Exposure to asbestos can happen in any number of circumstances, many of which occur on a daily basis for many people. The materials used in building construction, manufacturing workplaces and even school settings are just a few of the types of circumstances where asbestos exposure is possible.

Asbestos’ damaging effects on the body have been known for decades. In spite of this knowledge, asbestos manufacturers continued to use this deadly material to produce a wide range of products. Once the general public became aware of asbestos poisoning, mesothelioma litigation became a matter of protecting consumer rights.

If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma lawsuits provide a way to hold manufacturers accountable for negligence in the marketplace. Understanding your legal rights and options can help you decide whether to consult with a mesothelioma attorney.

Mesothelioma Exposures

For most of the 20th century, asbestos was used to make a wide range of building products. As a raw material, asbestos carries strong fire-retardant properties, which accounts for why it was so widely used for manufacturing purposes. Common uses for asbestos include –
• Interior walls
• Chimneys
• Floors
• Roofs
• Ceilings
• Insulation material
• Ceilings
• Ductwork
• Heating systems

Up until the 1980s, asbestos was a commonly used building material. This means any homes or buildings built before this time are likely to contain asbestos in one area or another. As long as the material remains intact and undisturbed, asbestos poses no immediate danger.

Over time though, building materials tend to breakdown. Since asbestos is a fibrous material, damaged surfaces release asbestos fibers into the air. When this happens, anyone breathing the air can inhale these fibers into their lungs. Once inside the lungs, asbestos fibers become lodged inside lung tissue and start the long process of destroying lung tissues.

The damage from inhaled asbestos fibers can take as long as 50 years before a person experiences any symptoms. This is a key characteristic of mesothelioma-related conditions. Asbestos poisoning has also been linked to other respiratory conditions, some of which include –
• Lung cancer
• Asbestosis
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The long gestation period accounts for why manufacturers were able to conceal asbestos’ damaging effects. It also means someone who worked in a manufacturing plant or lived in a home that contained asbestos may not even know they have mesothelioma until decades after being exposed.

Legal Rights

Medical evidence establishing a direct link between asbestos exposure and lung cancers has been in existence since the 1930s. Regulations prohibiting the use of asbestos in building materials were not put into place until the 1970s. These factors coupled with mesothelioma’s long gestation period have made mesothelioma litigation the longest and most costly mass tort lawsuit in United States history.

To date, over 600,000 plaintiffs have filed mesothelioma lawsuits with over 6,000 defendants brought to trial. It’s estimated the total outlay for asbestos-related lawsuits may well exceed $200 billion. New lawsuits continue to be filed as more and more litigants are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancers.

Anyone affected by asbestos exposure has a legal right to hold negligent manufacturers accountable. With the associated treatment costs, loss of income and declining health, many affected people have spent large amounts of money towards treatment and living costs. Considering mesothelioma conditions are likely to reach the terminal stage by the time they’re diagnosed, many families stand the risk of losing loved ones in the process.

Unlike other types of cancer, mesothelioma is a preventable condition. The withholding of vital product information on the part of manufacturers places these companies at fault for failing to, at the very least, issue product warnings for asbestos-containing materials. Ultimately, protecting your legal rights is the only way these companies can be held accountable for their actions.

Legal Options

When considering filing a lawsuit, keep in mind that everyone’s case is different. The laws and regulations surrounding mesothelioma litigation are complex and require the expertise of attorneys who are well versed in dealing with asbestos-related issues.

Identifying when and where a person was exposed to asbestos becomes a key factor when filing a lawsuit. This information enables a mesothelioma attorney to track down the product manufacturers. Attorneys also review a person’s medical and financial records to determine what types of costs and expenses are involved with each case.

Compensation awards available through mesothelioma lawsuits can help litigants pay for –
• Medical bills
• Travel expenses for treatments
• Lost wages
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional support
• Costs not covered by insurance
• Funeral expenses

Anyone who has an asbestos-induced disease would do well to contact an attorney as soon as possible as these types of cases carry a time-sensitive element. The statute of limitations can vary from state to state. Cases filed after these time limits expire cannot tried. Litigants may also be able to file lawsuits in multiple states depending on the circumstances of their case.

When to File a Claim

Mesothelioma injury cases fall into one of two categories: primary asbestos exposure and secondary asbestos exposure. Primary asbestos exposure applies in cases where a person has had direct contact with asbestos materials. These lawsuits are typically between the litigant and the manufacturer(s). Secondary asbestos exposure applies in cases where a person has been exposed to asbestos through contact with someone who’s handled asbestos, such as a spouse or a coworker.

Cases involving primary and secondary asbestos exposures are filed as personal injury claims. Cases in which a loved one has died from asbestos exposure are filed as wrongful death claims. As each state has its own laws and guidelines concerning these cases, a person’s specific rights can vary depending on where a case is filed.

While mesothelioma may have only one known cause, any one lawsuit may involve multiple manufacturers in more than one state. Add to this the legwork involved with tracking down all responsible parties while adhering to state-specific guidelines and the importance of hiring a qualified attorney cannot be overstated. Ultimately, only a qualified mesothelioma attorney can determine whether your circumstances warrant filing a lawsuit.

Five Crucial Questions to Ask When Interviewing DUI Lawyers

Driving under the influence cases are in an extremely complex area of law with large-scale legal procedures and constantly changing statues. In addition, it is an offense that comes with serious consequences to the accused, including hefty fines, increased insurance premiums, loss of license, and possibly incarceration. If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence, your next move must be to begin searching for a qualified DUI lawyer immediately. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney will be able to protect your rights and your freedom, while providing you the peace of mind that your case is being handled appropriately.

Since the criminal justice system is notorious for moving rapidly, you may be wondering how to find a good DUI attorney quickly. First, you should conduct some research about the lawyers that specialize in DUI arrest cases in your local area, either on the Internet or by referrals. After you receive the name of two or three DUI attorneys, call them to set up a consultation to meet with them. Most attorneys are willing to meet with prospective clients to discuss their case and introduce themselves for free. During the meeting, the following are five crucial questions that you should ask the DUI lawyers to determine if they are a good legal match.

1. How Much Experience With DUI Cases Do You Have?

Since driving under the influence litigation is one of the most complicated areas of criminal law, it is essential that potential DUI attorneys are well-versed in the procedures and possess extensive knowledge of the laws. It is important to inquire about their education, legal background, bar associations, and the length of time they have been practicing criminal law. Specifically ask how long they have been representing clients facing similar DUI charges, or how many DUI cases they usually represent in one year. Furthermore, you should ask about their experience in taking DUI to trial. While any lawyer can accept fees and then plead clients guilty, your ideal DUI defense lawyer should be able to provide a record of winning trials.

2. What Percentage of Your Practice is Devoted to DUI Cases?

Although there are many advertised DUI attorneys in Orange County, some may be stretching the truth and are not actually exclusively practicing DUI defense. Hiring a general attorney without at least 75 percent of their practice devoted to DUI cases is comparable to going to a dentist for heart surgery. In order to get the representation you deserve, you need an attorney that knows all of the tricks of the trade. Someone who has limited their practice to DUI defense is likely to have significant relationships with the prosecutors and judges assigned to your case. An attorney with an exceptional reputation in DUI defense also stands a much better chance at negotiating better terms, and may be the only difference between you getting community service or jail time.

3. How Many DUI Cases Do You Currently Have?

In the DUI defense business, there are some attorneys that are considered “turn em and burn em” types that have a large number of clients, but only wish to resolve the cases quickly to move on to the next one. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to provide high-quality legal services customized to meet a clients specific needs when multiple cases are being juggled at once. If the attorney answers with an unusually high number, chances are that the lawyer falls into this category and will not provide the representation or support you require. In fact, it is highly likely that the attorney will try to convince you to plead guilty, even without substantial evidence against you and a lack of criminal history. Ensure that the attorney has a manageable caseload, which will guarantee that he or she has the necessary time to devote to your case and improve your results. You should also receive a guarantee from the attorney that they will be the one representing you in court at all times.

4. What Legal Expenses Should I Expect?

Hiring a qualified DUI attorney in Orange County and other parts of Southern California can be quite expensive. However, it is definitely worth the investment in order to avoid the even more costly fines, insurance rates, and jail time. When meeting with prospective attorneys, it is highly recommended that you ask about all legal expenses that you will be charged during the case upfront. If an attorney is not able to provide a detailed list of estimated costs, it is best to walk away and steer clear of all the surprise expenses down the road. Since the fees are usually pricey, it is also essential that you ask about payment plans they offer and forms of payment that they accept to be certain they align with your financial situation.

5. What Will Be the Outcome of My DUI Case?

Honestly, this is one of the most important questions that you can ask a DUI defense lawyer before deciding to sign on the dotted line. How the attorney responds is a good indicator of how they will handle your case and their legal practices in general. If the lawyer tells you that your case will be dismissed without any consequences, it is highly likely that you are being fed empty promises by a rather manipulative lawyer. Instead, a good DUI lawyer will not promise a specific outcome. It is impossible to know how a case will end, so they should only make predictions and reassure you that they will put forth their best effort to beat the charges.

After meeting with a few attorneys and asking these crucial questions, it is time to make your decision about who is the most qualified to represent your case. If you are having a hard time deciding between two or more potential DUI lawyers, you may want to ask for client testimonials or contact information to receive some firsthand information that could aid with the selection. Once you find the very best DUI attorney, you can rest assured that you are ready to face the prosecution with confidence.

How do I know if I can afford a criminal attorney?

There may be a time when you find yourself with a legal issue but uncertain whether or not you can hire a criminal attorney. When this happens, it’s important to figure out whether you can afford one, and if not, what you can do to still get the legal help you need.

Imagine this scenario: An officer just wants to “talk with you” or you’ve just been arrested for one reason or another. There is never a good time to be charged with criminal activity, but when it does happen, you need to be on the ball with getting your defense set up. The only line of defense you will have at this point is a good attorney.

The crime could be any number of ones in the book, even for one you didn’t realize was a crime. People are often surprised with the ramifications that these charges can come with. The obvious ones include fines and imprisonment, but it can also affect more than just the short term; having that stain on your record can hinder your ability to obtain home or student loans, retain custody, get a job, get credit or become employed, among others.

Attorney Fees
The politicians who have prided themselves on being tough on crime are the ones who have turned the system into one that churns out convictions, leaving prosecutions to be more about money in an effort to balance a budget that is strained in this day and age. With that in mind, if you’ve been charged, you now have crosshairs over your head; you’ll need a good lawyer to defend yourself.

The truth is you’ll need to pay for your attorney, probably more than you will expect to pay. You’ll also likely need to pay a fee up front before he will assist in your legal case. Most criminal attorneys are willing to provide a flat fee at the start of a case while others offer payment plans. Some of the costs you’ll need to keep in mind include transcripts, subpoena fees, reproduction of discovery and the cost of investigators.

If you are not financially stable enough to get a criminal lawyer, the best advice you will receive is to make it happen anyway. If there is ever a good time to ask for help from your family, friends or even your employer, this is it. You are fighting for your freedom, your future and your life; you don’t want a discount if you can help it.

Talk to relatives and those close to you, informing them you’ll need a lawyer for a charge. If possible, borrow from them or use your credit cards as most defense lawyers will accept them. You may even sometimes get an emergency credit card from your bank. If you can sell assets, this is also worth looking into so that you don’t need to deal with imprisonment or lost employment from a criminal conviction.

Remember, you can always get your assets back, but you can rarely erase the stains of your reputation. Nobody gets a second chance when it comes to a criminal charge, and the repercussions will carry with you farther than your car will. You may not be able to reasonably afford a good defense lawyer, but you definitely can’t afford not to hire one.

Public Defender
If you cannot come up with emergency funds or borrow from those close to you, the Constitution still gives you the right to get help from an attorney. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you can request to be represented by a public defender, which is a lawyer that the government pays to work for you. If you do plan to go this route, there are a few things you will need to know first.

For example, you are not going to be appointed a public defender unless you really are not able to afford one of your own. With that in mind, you might be asked to offer proof of the money you make as well as what assets you own that may qualify. Each state will vary in terms of what assets qualify, and you might even be asked to provide some in order to help pay for what it would cost to hire the public defender.

Even with that, you will not be able to pick which public defender you want. The government will assign one to you, which means the quality of your lawyer will vary. If you are facing charges that could result in prison time, you will need to seriously ask yourself if you are willing to put yourself in the hands of the public defender roulette or if you can try to seek out other options.

Pro Bono Programs
Another option is a pro bono program, which you can find at many bar associations. These are staffed by attorneys who have agreed to provide legal representation at no cost to clients who are eligible. There are a number of factors that can help you qualify, such as your income, being elderly, being an abused spouse or having a disease like AIDS.

Similar to getting a public defender, you might be asked to provide proof of your qualifications as well as provide information on the assets you have.

If you do opt for a pro bono lawyer or one with lower costs, don’t be put off by cheap furniture or the young age of the attorney. Remember that the limited money that is put into this kind of program goes largely to office supplies and similar overhead. In addition, your lawyer might already be handling several cases, so you may need to have patience if he does not immediately return your calls.

Regardless of your path, it is very helpful to keep a copy of everything regarding your case, such as bills, letters, contracts and much more. Remember to always stick with the facts when working with your criminal attorney on a case. Finally, don’t worry that you may be looked down on just for not having money; chances are good that your lawyer has faced financial trouble himself at some point or knows someone who has.

Case Study: Success Story of a Chicago Case

Perhaps you are wondering if you should seek a birth injury lawyer. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area and believe your child was injured at birth, you should consider it. The following is a true story based upon one couple’s struggle to get help for themselves and their daughter so that they could get proper care for a birth injury that happened to their daughter. Names have been changed in order to protect the people who were actually involved in the case.

Kathleen and John wanted to have a child of their own very badly. So, as one could imagine, they were absolutely overjoyed when Kathleen told John that they were going to be parents. It was their first child, and they had been trying very hard so that Kathleen could finally get pregnant. Little did they know that the birth of their first and only child would later prove to be a nightmare of legal entanglements.

Everything had been going right in terms of the pregnancy. Kathleen and John could not be happier. About nine months later, it was around the time that Kathleen was supposed to deliver the baby. Sure enough, on her due date, Kathleen began to experience contractions. By the time she got to the hospital, she was fully dilated and ready to deliver her bundle of joy. Everything seemed to be occurring naturally. Kathleen was breathing just the way she had practiced in her Lamaze class, and John was right beside her holding her hand every step of the way. The obstetrician kept telling her to push as hard as she could.

Kathleen was doing her best to push as hard as she could. Finally, the doctor could see the head of the baby. But, instead of a crying baby, there was no sound. The reason was because, unbeknownst to Kathleen and John, the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around the little baby girl’s neck. In desperation, the obstetrician unwrapped the umbilical cord from the child’s neck. However, by this point some damage had been done. The baby girl had been deprived of oxygen for just a few minutes. Unfortunately, this would lead to the child having cerebral palsy, a type of paralysis that she would have to live with for the rest of her life.

Kathleen and John were beside themselves with grief. They named their little daughter Laura. Laura was a beautiful little girl. It really upset her parents, however, that the obstetrician had not done a full work-up of tests on Kathleen before delivery to ensure that there would be no complications, in which case Laura could have possibly been delivered via Caesarean section in order to minimize the risk or chances that she would have developed brain damage as a result of these complications at the time of her birth.

Although Kathleen disliked the idea, John decided to file a civil suit against the hospital and against the obstetrician for medical malpractice, malfeasance, and negligence for punitive damages incurred as a result of Laura having been born with complications which could have possibly been prevented. The suit sought to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future. Also, John wanted Laura to have the best life possible even in lieu of her parents’ absence should something happen to himself and Kathleen.

Kathleen and John were able to receive monetary damages for their trouble, considering that their daughter would now have to receive specialized care for the rest of her natural life. Of course, her parents were worried about who would take care of Laura if something should happen to both of them. However, with the money they received from the court–which had rewarded them handsomely for the birth injury Laura had suffered–they were able to purchase life insurance for themselves and for Laura. They were also able to get assistive devices for Laura when she became older. Some of these assistive devices included a special motorized wheelchair, not to mention a DynaVox, which was a communication device Laura would later use to be able to speak.

Much of the money received in the lawsuit also paid for numerous medications which Laura would have to take over the course of her lifetime. Since many children and adults with cerebral palsy have seizures–like Laura–she would have to take antispasmodic medications for the rest of her life. These types of medications would include types such as Valium, Lioresal, and Dantrium. Anticonvulsant medications might also be ones that Laura would take, including Neurontin, Lamictal, and Topamax. People with cerebral palsy would also have to take medication to suppress uncontrollable body movements–taking medications such as Cogentin, Sinemet, and Robinul. At any rate, it is doubtless that, in addition to having partial paralysis, basically Laura would have to take some combination of these medications daily for the rest of her life. Reaping the monetary benefits from the lawsuit would also help Kathleen and John provide care for Laura for the rest of her natural life in the event that one or both of them became incapacitated or unable to care for their daughter due to illness, injury, or disability.

As a result, the funds awarded them by the court helped with the ongoing cares. Kathleen and John would not have had much financial recourse considering that the amount of care, medication, and overall expenses of caring for Laura on a 24/7 basis far outweighed any amount of money that they could ever have made just by combining their two salaries alone, plus savings. They made the right choice in consulting a lawyer who dealt with birth injuries first, before proceeding.

Five Crucial Questions to Ask a Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is stressful enough on its own, but then there is the further challenge of selecting a proficient bankruptcy attorney that you can trust to handle your case. Although it may be overwhelming and confusing, there are some tricks to making the process a little less cumbersome. Since many provide free consultations, take advantage of this opportunity to meet with several potential attorneys to assess whether they are a good legal match. But, how do you decide who is the most qualified and the right choice? Read on to discover five crucial questions you should ask in order to ensure you choose the best bankruptcy lawyer for your situation.

1. How Much of Your Practice is Devoted to Bankruptcy Law?

It is commonly misunderstood that all bankruptcy law offices are devoted solely to a primary practice in bankruptcy. This does not always hold true because attorneys that practice bankruptcy law often also practice other areas of law, such as divorce or personal injury. However, it is important to make sure that the attorney does not just dabble in bankruptcy law here and there. The best candidate to handle your case should devote a minimum of 50 percent of their practice to bankruptcy.

In addition, you may want to ask what percentage of their clients are individuals versus businesses, as well as debtors versus creditors. Ideally, you are searching for an attorney that represents mostly individual debtors. Inquire about how many bankruptcy cases they typically handle in a month, how many they have successfully completed, and how long they have been practicing law as well. If the attorney responds with answers in the ballpark of over 5 years and ten to twenty cases a month, you can rest assured they have the experience necessary for your case.

2. How is Your Bankruptcy Practice Different from Competitors?

Even though this is an open ended question that can be answered in multiple ways, it is a great tool to judge how the attorney responds in favor of his or her firm. If the lawyer responds that the firm is similar to other ones out there, it is highly recommended that you run away as fast as you can. When asking this question, you should be expecting to gain a wealth of positive information about the firm and the lawyer’s practices.

For instance, if the attorney shares that the practice features an effective follow-up program that is designed to help clients rebuild their credit and make sound financial choices down the road, they may be a keeper. Overall, use this question to make sure that the attorney’s practice aligns with your needs and goals for an optimal match.

3. What Legal Expenses Am I Expected to Pay?

Since you are already struggling through a financial crisis, it is essential that you understand every expense that you will have to pay before signing any contracts. Bankruptcy attorneys should be able to provide a comprehensive list of all legal expenses, including federal filing fees, attorney fees, and retainer fees. Fees will vary between attorneys, but the average cost for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection is about $1,500. If the lawyer cannot give you an estimate or provides one that is not in this ballpark, it is wise to walk away and avoid costly surprises later on.

Moreover, be sure that you understand fully what is included within these fees. Attorneys should be very willing to discuss in detail all of the costs that will be charged during the entire course of your case upfront. If the lawyer provides vague information, it sends up a red flag that cannot be overlooked. You should also inquire about whether the attorney will work out a payment plan that you can afford and that suits your finances.

4. Who Will Work on My Case and Accompany Me to Court?

For most bankruptcy filers, appearing in court is one of the most terrifying parts of the bankruptcy process. Since it is not unheard of for experienced attorneys and partners to push cases off to associate lawyers or even paralegals, you need to receive a guarantee that the attorney will accompany you to court. Having the attorney that has been handling your case from the start by your side in court is truly invaluable.

If there is a practical reason to involve another attorney, gain confirmation that this attorney is experienced, will be thoroughly briefed, and will meet with you prior to the court appearance. Ensure that the attorney has the time to commit to your case and provide the assistance you deserve through this tough process. Be certain that the lawyer is also willing to share contact information that will help you get in touch with them at a moment’s notice.

5. May I Have Contact Information for Past Clients?

While these other questions are great indicators of how the attorney will handle your case, there is no way to truly be confident that the lawyer is not just trying to sell himself and lying. Therefore, it is always suggested that you ask for previous client testimonials from all prospective attorneys before making a final decision. Previous clients will usually be brutally honest about the services they received, so it may also be beneficial to call or email them directly as well.

Another good reason to ask this question is to assess how the attorney responds as well. If he or she instantly clams up and responds that they are uncomfortable with that, there is a high chance that attorney has a slew of unsatisfied clients in their past. Contacting clients or reading client testimonials are the best methods for finding out vital information about the attorney from a trustworthy third party.

Use these crucial questions to find the most qualified and experienced attorney to represent your case. When you select to have the right bankruptcy attorney on your side, the process becomes significantly less challenging and uncomfortable. Within no time, you will be able to begin a new chapter of your life and be on your way to a bright financial future.

CASE STUDY: A Costly Scenario in Denver

The Hazards of the Road

It is hard for most of us to imagine a world without automobiles. As a mobile society, our entire culture is built around our vehicles. Unfortunately, there is a high price paid for this modern marvel with more than 30,000 fatalities and 2.5 million injuries in the U.S. each year. While these numbers have declined by a small amount in past years, conservative estimates are that more than 20,000,000 lives have been lost in automobile crashes in the past century.

Colorado, of course, is not immune to the reality and cost of auto accidents. According to the National Highway traffic Safety Administration, Colorado experienced 27,213 traffic accidents that resulted in 447 traffic fatalities and more than 11,000 serious injuries in 2011. Of these, 36 percent were in accidents where alcohol-impaired driving was a contributing cause.

The Automobile Association of America conducted a study in 2008, reporting in its conclusions that each traffic fatality represents a cost of $3.2 million and each injury an average of $68,110. That placed the costs of traffic accidents in 2007 at a stunning total north of $166 billion dollars when all costs were included.

Dealing with Automobile and Truck Accidents

These costs underline the importance of acting to protect your rights if you or a loved one is involved in a vehicle accident. All states require drivers to have a certain level of auto insurance and have enacted laws to protect individuals in cases of injury caused by negligence. There are specific laws and guidelines that spell out the steps necessary to protect your legal rights when involved in an accident.

In almost all cases involving fatalities or serious injuries, it is important to consult with qualified accident lawyers for advice and guidance. These professionals are experienced in the issues surrounding automobile and truck accidents and understand the important issues that must be addressed. Experienced accident lawyers will play a vital role in protecting the rights of you and/or your loved ones.

Deciding when to Use a Personal Injury Lawyer for Traffic Accidents

Whether or not it is advisable after a traffic accident to consult with an auto accident lawyer Denver firms employ depends on several factors. You should seek an appointment with a qualified attorney or firm if you feel any of the following factors are relevant:
• You or a loved one is involved in a serious accident and you do not know what to do
• The other driver in an accident was uninsured or underinsured
• There is a dispute over who was at fault in the accident
• Your and/or a loved one suffers serious injury, especially If it is a type that has long-term consequences, physical disabilities, and costs
• You do not believe you are being offered adequate compensation for your injuries and medical expenses by the insurance carrier
• You are approaching the limits of your state’s statutes for time to file a legal claim and resolution is not in sight
• The insurance provider involved is exerting pressure for you to agree to a quick settlement, especially if encouraging you to not seek legal counsel

While it is always best to err on the side of being safe and protecting your rights, not every fender-bender accident justifies the time and expense of involving accident lawyers. If you suffer only minor injuries, such as a small bruise on the arm, there is limited physical damage to the autos, and it appears that insurance is adequately covering all the expenses, retaining an attorney might not be necessary.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Responds to Your Case

If you feel your case justifies seeking legal counsel, the first thing that an auto accident lawyer Denver accident victims use will do with you is review your case and the facts surrounding it. Many firms and attorneys will allow an initial, free consultation for this process. Providing advice and guidance is one of the most important activities that will occur at this point.

Depending on the unique circumstances of your specific situation, you may decide to engage the attorney to handle your case and to deal with the insurance company and other necessary issues. You will be asked to sign a contract that details the working relationship. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers work on what is called a contingency basis. In this arrangement the lawyer receives no initial or progress payments and usually covers the expenses of the case. When a settlement is reached, the lawyer and/or the law firm will receive a percentage of the funds collected.

Hopefully, you will avoid the need to deal with these issues. If, however, you or a loved one becomes part of the statistics, carefully review your options and ensure that you act to protect your legal rights by contacting an auto accident lawyer Denver residents trust.

What should I expect when going through a wrongful death case?

Wrongful death is the legal term applied to a matter where someone has died through the fault of another person or entity (such as the manufacturer or a product). In these cases the survivors of the deceased person may be able to recover damages from the responsible party or parties. These damages may include the deceased person’s lost wages, loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and others. This article will serve as a primer on what wrongful death is, who can sue and for what, who can be sued, and what damages can be recovered.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can be brought by the survivors of a deceased person and other interested parties against the person or persons who may have caused that death. Every state has a wrongful death law.

A wrongful death can be caused by a wide variety of reasons to be entitled to recovery, from simple accidents to more complicated events such as product liability and medical malpractice. Those who could cause a wrongful death might be held responsible whether they acted intentionally or negligently.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can be brought on behalf of those who have suffered loss as a result of the decedent’s death. These usually include family members such as a spouse and children of the decedent, but more recently have expanded to include others such as life partners, financial dependents, and common law spouses. Depending on the state in question, each siblings, grandparents, and others who suffer financially, even if there is no relationship by blood or marriage.

Who Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against practically anyone who, directly or indirectly, had something to do with the death of a person. If, for example, a person who during working hours stopped to have an alcoholic drink, becomes intoxicated, and ended up being killed on the roadway after he left, his survivors might have recourse against the following in a wrongful death lawsuit:

* Another driver responsible for the accident.
* The designer and builder of the roadway.
* The government agency who might not have installed adequate signage that might have prevented the accident.
* Those who had input on the design and manufacturing of the vehicle.
* The owner of the establishment who served the alcohol.

Who Might Be Held Immune From Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Some agencies and their agents might be held immune from pursuit for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These guidelines vary from state to state.

What Damages Might Survivors Be Entitled To?
There are three types of damages that may be awarded to survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit. These are:

Compensatory Damages. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate survivors for the monies they were denied due to the death of the decedent. This includes the loss of income, medical and funeral expenses, loss of pension plans and other benefits, and the value of goods and services that the decedent would have expected to provide.

Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are awarded to the survivors of the decedent in order to punish the offending party for their part in causing the death of the victim.

Interest and Attorneys’ Fees. Some states allow for those suing another party for the interest accrued on damages from the time they were incurred to the time they were awarded. Oftentimes, attorneys’ fees and expenses are also awarded to the survivors.

How Much Can I Expect to Get From My Lawsuit?
The process for determining the amount that is finally determined to be appropriate for a person’s wrongful death claim is complicated, tricky, and very time consuming. This is mainly due to the fact that so many elements involved in the determination are unknown and based solely on estimates from economists and actuaries. Beyond this there are a whole host of other expenses that must be included that are only estimates at best.

Statutes of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit
The amount of time after an action has taken place before a lawsuit must be filed is called the Statute of Limitations. Every state has their own statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. It is for this reason that it is in everyone’s best interests to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after an incident has occurred to prevent that clock from running out. On the other hand, time often has a way of benefiting those who want to accurately estimate losses and other factors. An attorney is the best person to advise you on how you should handle your case and its timing.

How Can I Find a Good Wrongful Death Attorney?
There are no “majors” in law school. When an attorney is graduated from law school he or she is simply an attorney, with specialties determined after years of experience in the type of law they wish to practice. In many cases, attorneys will want to represent your case and because they are attorneys they are able to do so. This does not mean, however, that they are just as qualified to handle your case as another.

When you select an attorney to handle your case, you should select a person who has demonstrated that they are indeed experienced at handling wrongful death cases, and have a record of earning their clients fair awards for their lawsuits. How do you get this type of information? Ask. Most attorneys who are qualified in their particular area of the law will tell you what kinds of cases they handle, and will often even provide you with happy clients to speak with. Regardless, you should make sure that your wrongful death attorney is someone you feel confident with. In the long run this is the best determiner of all.

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of organs like the lungs, stomach and heart. The form of mesothelioma that affects the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. The malignant form of pleural mesothelioma is usually the result of breathing in asbestos particles at work. More than 700,000 people have filed claims related to asbestos since 2002. Many of the lawyers who specialize in handling these mesothelioma/asbestos claims work on contingency. This means that they do not charge their clients a fee up front for their services; instead, they receive a percentage of the settlement if there is one. The lawyer’s fee will usually be less than a third of the settlement or award. The client pays only if the claim is successful. A contingency fee arrangement means that an individual who has mesothelioma incurs no financial risk by engaging a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma lawsuits.

Is a Mesothelioma Attorney Worth the Cost?
The preventable nature of asbestos exposure is one of the reasons that mesothelioma sufferers file lawsuits. The fact that it was preventable means that their exposure was the result of someone else’s negligence. The mesothelioma sufferer will likely have high medical bills as a result of their condition, along with lost wages and other expenses. It is only fair that the person responsible for their exposure to asbestos be held responsible. Most mesothelioma cases never get to the trial stage as the defendants usually settle out of court. A lawyer who is experienced at dealing with mesothelioma cases can help to ensure that the settlement is favorable to their client.

How Much Will the Plaintiff Recover?
When considering the cost of mesothelioma lawyers, it is usually worthwhile to consider how much the plaintiff is likely to recover from a suit. This is a difficult figure to estimate. Some cases result in multimillion dollar settlements while others settle for considerably less money. Factors taken into account when arriving at a settlement figure or jury award include:

• The plaintiff’s degree of pain and suffering
• The financial costs of the illness (including medical expenses and lost wages)
• Whether a settlement is accepted or if the amount of compensation is decided by a jury (settlements tend to be less money)

Many people with mesothelioma are seriously ill, which means that they may be more inclined to accept a settlement since a jury trial can take several years.

What Do Asbestos Attorneys Do?
Lawyers who specialize in mesothelioma and asbestos cases earn their fees by taking steps to ensure that the lawsuits they file on behalf of their clients are successful. The steps for a successful mesothelioma lawsuit include:

• Evaluating the Case
An asbestos attorney will evaluate an individual’s case and determine if it is strong enough to be successful. It is important for those with the condition to note that the time that they have to file a suit after their mesothelioma diagnosis is limited. The length of time varies depending on the state in which they file the suit.

• Preparing the Case
This is the stage where the lawyer gathers all the information that is relevant to their client’s case in order to determine who is liable. During this stage they will gather information related to their client’s work history and medical history.

• Filing the Case
To begin the lawsuit, a formal complaint must be written. A part of the attorney’s work is to prepare this document. It may be possible to file a complaint in multiple courts in multiple states.

• Handling Responses
Upon receiving the plaintiff’s complaint, the defendants will have a chance to respond to it. They will usually have about 30 days. Most defendants will deny the claims and hire attorneys to represent them.

• Dealing with the Discovery Process
This is the part of the process where evidence is collected and shared with the other sides. Both the lawyers for the defendant and the lawyers for the plaintiff will be seeking information about the plaintiff’s case. There will be written questions and depositions. The information that is acquired in these proceedings will be used if the case goes to trial. The plaintiff’s lawyer will help the plaintiff to respond to discovery requests and will also demand information from the defendant.

• Handling Settlements
A defendant may decide that it is in their best interest to resolve the case as quickly as possible before it goes to trial. In which case, they will offer a certain amount of money to the plaintiff. If there is no settlement before the trial, the defendant may make an offer during the trial. The plaintiff will rely on their attorney to handle these negotiations.

• Handling the Trial
The trial process varies depending on where the court is located. In some cases, the plaintiff will have to make an appearance in court; in others, an appearance will not be necessary. In any case, their lawyer will appear in court on their behalf.

• Managing the Appeals Process
If the plaintiff wins, the defendant may appeal the verdict. While an appeal will delay the payment of compensation, the defendant will still have to post bond for the jury award until the appeals process is complete. If the defendant loses their appeal, the plaintiff will receive their award. The plaintiff’s mesothelioma attorney will continue to represent them through this part of the lawsuit.

Hiring a lawyer to handle a mesothelioma case involves more than just considering the cost. It is important for the mesothelioma sufferer (or their surviving family members) to meet with the attorney and find out about their experience and how they practice law. Finding the right attorney will provide the best chance of getting compensation.