Monthly Archives: November 2013

Case Study: Example of a Successful Case from a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, you are likely distraught and anxious about your future. Arrests involving drunk driving are the most common infractions on the road. Due to the inexperience of some lawyers, DUI cases often lead to suspended licenses, extensive fines, and at times a jail sentence or prison time. However, hiring an experienced DUI attorney Los Angeles firm often makes a positive impact on the outcome of a driving under the influence case.

A skilled lawyer that specializes in DUI cases will use a variety of proven strategies that are relevant on each specific case. At every stage of the investigation, the attorney can build an effective defense based on the evidence obtained by the DUI prosecutor.

In fact, it is the prosecutor’s duty to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact driving your vehicle while drunk. The arresting officer likely used a variety of means to obtain evidence for the prosecutor’s case. In all likelihood, the officer noticed you poorly navigating your vehicle, or noticed a strong odor of alcohol from your breath. It might be that you appeared intoxicated, perform poorly on the standardized field sobriety test or had positive results on a breath or blood alcohol test.

Even so, every piece of evidence the prosecutor uses to support the allegations of you driving under the influence is ambiguous, and highly subject to a variety of interpretations. The evidence can be very unreliable and is usually based on faulty assumptions. A skilled successful DUI attorney in Los Angeles can develop an effective defense that openly attacks one or all pieces of evidence the prosecutor will want to use at a plea bargain or trial.

An experienced DUI defense lawyer understands that most evidence obtained through a DUI arrest is not based on hard science. Many times, a defense lawyer can prove that the evidence is actually founded on junk science. Unfortunately, innocent people in Los Angeles are convicted in court of driving under the influence, usually because they plead guilty even when facing spurious evidence by the prosecution.

An Unwarranted DUI Arrest Case

A successful attorney in Los Angeles noted that one of his clients, like others that have been arrested for DUI, had an innocent explanation for their faulty driving. After pulling a double shift at work, the attorney’s client was beyond exhaustion and eager to drive home to go to bed. Unfortunately, the arresting officer noticed that he was swerving behind the wheel for a short distance. Apparently, every now and then he would drift out from his lane and made wide turns. While these are typically sure signs that an individual is driving drunk, in reality, he was completely sober even while providing obvious cues to the officer.

Surely, all of us have witnessed drivers reading a map, talking on their mobile phone, eating, or displaying other bad driving habits including swerving in and out of lanes. However, being late at night, the overzealous officer neglected in his observations to determine whether or not the client had actually been drinking.

The officer stopped the attorney’s client, and even though there is no notation of smelling any sign of alcohol on the driver’s breath, ordered him out of the vehicle to perform the standardized field sobriety test. Upon exiting the vehicle, he noticed the driver had watery bloodshot eyes. Due to the driver’s sheer exhaustion, he was slow to respond to the questions posed by the officer. In fact, he struggled to perform the sobriety test, which requires good coordination and vigilance. As a result, the officer arrested the driver, read him his Miranda warnings and charged him with driving under the influence with derisory evidence at best.

As tired as the driver was when reaching the police station, he was smart enough to recognize he needed to call his attorney before speaking to anyone. The attorney reminded him to protect him constitutional rights to remain silent until he arrived.

Building a Defense

The skilled attorney recognized that there were various ways to build the case in an effort to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. His first defense strategy could be based on an unlawful traffic stop. The officer likely believed he asked specific articulable facts that indicated to him that there were reasonable suspicions that a traffic violation was being committed. However, there were not. This action alone could bring the DUI lawyer to file a “motion to suppress” on the behalf of his client to have the case dismissed.

In addition, the attorney could argue that the officer lacked “probable cause” in his efforts to execute the arrest. Even if the officer had smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath, the attorney could use a proven tactic for a defense. Laboratory studies indicate that an individual’s breath with the smell of alcohol in no way correlates with their blood alcohol level.

Even though the attorney had the two above legal arguments to present to the prosecuting office to have the charges dismissed, he instead chose a different strategy. The police car camera captured video of the entire observation, stop, field sobriety test and arrest. It was the claim of the arresting officer that the attorney’s client had “perform poorly” when taking the sobriety test and that this showed evidence of impairment.

In discussions with the prosecuting attorney, the skilled DUI defense lawyer was able to show that individuals vary greatly in their ability, or inability, to perform the standardized DUI field sobriety test. In fact, taking the test on a slippery surface, dealing with inclement weather, wearing unsuitable footwear or being tired, frustrated, anxious or nervous can easily make an individual fail the roadside tests. The prosecutor agreed with the evidence presented and dropped all charges.

Skilled Los Angeles DUI attorneys use their years of experience and proven tactics to fight the system for their clients. They recognize that the police officer has no “special ability to judge any individual’s intoxication levels. Los Angeles officers are not skilled in recognizing mental impairment or driving while tired. Without proper justification to make a driving under the influence traffic stop, many cases handled by experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys have charges reduced or dismissed.

What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Denver Criminal Lawyer

You need to enlist the services of a lawyer immediately if you have been charged with a crime. Finding the right Denver criminal lawyer can be difficult if you do not know where to turn for guidance. You must also know what questions to ask. Follow the tips below to ensure that you are adequately prepared to choose the right advocate to beat your charge.

Questions You Should Ask Your Prospective Criminal Defense Attorneys

What is your practice area of expertise? This should be one of the first questions you ask prospective attorneys if you have not already gleaned the answer from their promotional materials or some other third-party source. Not all criminal defense attorneys are created equal. For example, hiring a lawyer who primarily defends indecent exposure or hit-and-run defendants when you are facing a DUI charge would be an illogical decision. What you really need is an attorney whose primary practice area is DUI defense.

How long have you been practicing in this jurisdiction? A lawyer’s experience level will affect the price he charges for his services. That is, you will likely pay more for an experienced attorney than you would for one who has recently graduated from law school. The upside is that the extra money you spend on a lawyer who knows how to handle cases like yours and handle them well increases your chances of being exonerated or, at the very least, being offered a desirable plea bargain.

What is your fee structure? Lawyers who specialize in a particular practice area generally charge more for their services than general practitioners who have no specific specialization. Criminal lawyers are not permitted to accept payment on a contingent fee basis. This means that they will bill you regardless of whether your desired outcome is achieved. Most bill their clients at a set hourly rate, although some charge a flat fee for certain types of cases (e.g., a DUI defense). Fees are an important part of the equation but should not be wholly determinative, especially in criminal cases where your freedom and record could be at stake.

Do you have time to represent me? Hiring a successful criminal defense attorney is a double-edged sword. The attorney’s history of success proves that he is capable of obtaining a favorable outcome for you. However, it also likely means that he will have a long list of prospective clients who are vying for his time. This can also be the case for a new attorney who takes every case he is offered. Thus, you should make every effort to determine each prospective attorney’s caseload and take it into consideration when deciding whom to hire.

Will you be personally handling my case and appearing in court with me? Busy attorneys often delegate work to their associates, law clerks, paralegals, secretaries or other office staff members. Make sure you know who will be doing the legwork for your case before deciding which attorney to hire.

How much does it cost to engage a birth injury attorney?

A lawyer who specializes in birth injuries is available for a new case evaluation. Birth injuries have several causes, and the specific details of each birth injury case are unique. A free initial case evaluation may help to evaluate each case. A birth injury lawsuit is a type of medical malpractice case that often is paid on a contingency basis. This type of lawsuit cost is a certain percentage of the settlement funds that are awarded for the injury case. Settlement funds for a medical malpractice birth injury case may request compensation for medical expenses, future medical care for the child, future lost income due to the cost of child care, and an awarded amount for pain and suffering.

Possible Birth Injury Caused by Negligence
A medical malpractice attorney is one who manages and represents a birth injury claim. Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury that has usually been caused by professional negligence. The medical negligence may be the result of one or more of the following medical reasons:

1. Less than standard medical care by the delivering doctor or other health care provider may have significantly contributed to the subsequent birth injury.

2. Certain proper procedures were not followed during the baby’s delivery. A baby’s shoulder may have gotten caught at birth resulting in a shoulder injury. Certain delivery procedures are required for all births, and not using a proper procedure may be cause for a medical investigation, at the least.

3. Too much force was used to dislodge the baby at birth. Using too much force to dislodge a baby at birth is an example of not following proper medical procedures. This type of negligence could result in a medical investigation as well.

4. Lack of oxygen at birth is a common cause of subsequent birth injuries or later developmental delays. Lack of oxygen has several delivery causes, and medical negligence is among the reasons for this delivery diagnosis.

5. Certain nerve damage was caused during the birthing event, and the nerve damage can be medically traced to a negligent act of a medical professional. Nerve damage at birth may be the cause of developmental delays later on, problems learning in school, motor and speech delays, and other neurological problems.

6. Birth injury negligence may be the result of poor follow up or poor planning on the part of the hospital or medical doctor. Certain tests are required both before and after birth. A woman during pregnancy has certain tests that are required in order to monitor the health of the baby. Any prenatal problems need to be diagnosed properly, and a failure to not diagnose a prenatal problem may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Certain tests are required after birth as well. These required tests should be recorded and are a part of the medical records for each delivery. Failure to diagnose a condition can lead to the medical problem getting worse.

Birth Injury Attorney Process Evaluation
Not every birth injury is the result of medical malpractice. Other reasons that could cause certain neurological problems and developmental delays include the following:

1. Genetic predisposition is a term that is used for several childhood developmental delays. A child could inherit the speech problems or the reading delays. Certain neurological and psychiatric disorders are passed down from generation to generation.

2. The doctor or health care professional may be able to prove that standard operating procedures were used according to a set and predetermined process.

3. Certain hospitals and doctor’s offices have disclosure and risk statements that are signed before any operation is performed. The hospital may have a certain waiver against delivery procedures, and a medical malpractice attorney can research these exclusions for any potential client.

4. Negligence is hard to prove. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer may have a nurse practitioner look over any medical claims initially, for example. This allows each case to move forward only on sound legal procedures as well. A report from a medical expert is one of the first steps for a complete birth injury lawsuit.

Costs to Engage a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Birth injury lawsuits can be based on medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Certain tests and monitoring visits are needed to ensure the proper and healthy development of each baby. A medical malpractice lawsuit may be successful if the resulting medical damage is caused by medical negligence that can be documented. The cost of engaging a medical malpractice attorney may be settled as a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the successful attorney is paid a percentage of any settlement funds that are awarded for medical negligence and birth injury.

Other Costs for a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Other costs may be incurred for a birth injury lawsuit. There are office fees and travel fees that can add up for any lawsuit that is filed. Certain documents will need to be copied and mailed. Travel time to and from the court house or to and from the lawyer’s office may be an expense to consider. Time will be needed to meet with the nurse adviser. Documents will be needed from every medical practitioner involved. Time away from work may be a factor to consider before taking on a sizable lawsuit of this magnitude. Medical malpractice lawsuits tend to be large and can affect other areas of a claimant’s lifestyle. Certain considerations need to be taken into account before embarking on a lawsuit journey.

A birth injury lawyer is a medical malpractice specialist. Medical malpractice is an area of personal injury law that has undergone several changes over the past several years. There have been monetary caps placed on the amount of settlement funds that may be awarded. There are rules and regulations that a birth injury lawyer will understand and explain. A personal injury lawyer has a job to represent each client as a unique case and to gain the best settlement legally possible.

How Is Personal Bankruptcy Different Than A Business Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a last resort for individuals or companies struggling to pay their bills. While the concept of filing for bankruptcy is the same for both groups, the actual process of filing for and the ramifications of a bankruptcy are different for an individual are different than for a business. What are the differences between a personal bankruptcy and a corporate bankruptcy?

Individuals File For Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy

An individual can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a debtor to completely discharge their debts. In other words, a debtor who has a Chapter 7 bankruptcy approved will no longer have any obligation to pay his or her creditors.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy sees a debtor liquidate certain assets with the funds used to pay off their creditors. Additional payments are then made to creditors over a period of up to 60 months. If all payments are made on time, the debts are wiped away and the debtor is no longer obligated to pay their creditors.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Is Used For Business Bankruptcy

Corporations will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect themselves from their creditors. Contracts with union employees, vendors and other suppliers will be temporarily suspended until new terms can be agreed upon.

During the bankruptcy process, the corporation will continue to operate as usual. A bankruptcy liaison will be appointed to deal directly with the court trustee overseeing the reorganization. During a period of several months, assets may be sold to help the company become leaner and stronger financially.

What Are The Consequences Of Filing For Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy?

An individual debtor who files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will see his or her credit score drop significantly. The bankruptcy filing will be reported to lenders for the next 10 years with no exceptions. This is the only item that will be reported on a credit report for more than seven years.

Debtors who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will take less of a credit hit because they are still paying their creditors. The filing will be reported on their credit reports for the next seven years. Depending on the overall health of the economy, it may be easier for those filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get loans in the near future.

What Are The Consequences Of A Business Filing For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

For corporations, the impact of a bankruptcy filing can be minimal. Assuming that the company successfully reorganizes, it can emerge from bankruptcy within 18-24 months as a strong entity that makes a healthy profit. While select top executives may be relieved of their duties, the company as a whole may not be adversely affected by a managed bankruptcy.

What If You Are Filing For A Personal Bankruptcy Because Of A Failed Business Endeavor?

Unfortunately, sole proprietors and partnerships are not treated as separate entities under the law. Therefore, you may be forced to file for bankruptcy as an individual if your company fails. This means that assets such as your house or car could be foreclosed upon or liquidated to pay outstanding business debts. The best thing to do is to find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can help you through such a complicated process.

Bankruptcy is never the goal for an individual or corporation. However, bankruptcy allows a person or a business entity to reorganize debt and satisfy creditors without losing everything. While it may sting initially, filing for bankruptcy can help individuals and businesses become financially stronger in the long run.

Can I file a mesothelioma claim without an asbestos attorney?

Have you been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma? If you or a loved one have received this diagnosis, you may have a lot of legal and medical questions, but aren’t sure where to turn. To ensure you receive the highest compensation possible, and guidance to the best medical treatment, you need an experienced asbestos attorney familiar with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos exposure is the only cause of malignant mesothelioma, a disease that affects the cell wall linings of internal organs or structures. Most victims of mesothelioma are diagnosed with it in the lungs, heart, or abdominal cavity. Because it takes ten to forty years after exposure to asbestos before mesothelioma is diagnosed, you need an experienced, successful asbestos attorney to help you navigate the treacherous legal waters. Your attorney will determine the party or parties liable for the exposure, and initiate a lawsuit or settlement.

If you were exposed to asbestos while in the military, the lawsuit will not be filed against the military or government, but against the asbestos company. You may be eligible for treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Your attorney should be able to help you apply for veterans benefits. You may also be eligible for financial assistance from the military.

Are you too sick to work? Apply for expedited Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. You may also be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Refer to state laws and state worker’s compensation boards to find out your eligibility for these additional benefits. Your mesothelioma attorney can be of assistance.

Your attorney will help you receive compensation for the cost of treatment, lost wages, physical suffering, and mental suffering. Don’t attempt to file a mesothelioma claim by yourself or accept the meager settlements some asbestos companies offer. Large companies have an aggressive team of lawyers that don’t play fair. You deserve to have a fighting chance by hiring a qualified, experienced asbestos attorney familiar with insurance regulations, award caps, and statutes of limitations to ensure you get the money you deserve. You should be aware that some mesothelioma claims are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and only an experienced attorney can help you build a case for this amount.

Impact of One Mesothelioma Representation
Are you still not convinced you need a lawyer to file a mesothelioma lawsuit? Consider the case of a Texan man diagnosed with mesothelioma who worked for the Navy in the 1960s, then worked in an electrical power plant until 1995. His wife saw a TV advertisement for mesothelioma compensation, contacted the company, and received $45,000. Later, she had an attorney review her case and found out her claim could have ranged from $2.5 to 3.5 million dollars. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything further.

If you’re concerned about upfront costs, most mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they get paid only if you receive compensation. You won’t be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs while the case is ongoing. Lack of finances is not an obstacle when it comes to hiring an attorney for a mesothelioma claim.

Nothing can undo the injustice of a mesothelioma diagnosis. The right attorney will give you or your loved one the greatest chance of adequate compensation for this dreaded disease. An experienced, highly successful mesothelioma attorney is your best bet for getting the money you deserve.

How Much Does It Cost for a DUI Attorney?

Driving under the influence is a serious charge that can face steep penalties, such as jail time, loss of license, and thousands of dollars in fines. Although being pulled over for drunk driving is anyone’s worst nightmare, it only gets worse and more complex from there. As a result, it is essential that you protect yourself by hiring a professional to assist you in navigating the complicated legal system. A skilled and experienced DUI attorney with a strong legal defense strategy will be able to ensure the best possible result for your case, and may even be capable of having the charges dismissed. It is certain that there is a dire need to invest, so the following is an in-depth explanation of what expenses you should expect when hiring an attorney.

Factors That Affect the Cost

Typically, when an attorney is more experienced in representing DUI cases, his or her fee will be considerably higher. Those with exceptional reputations among prosecutors, judges, and other lawyers reflect this expertise in hiking up the fee prices. An attorney’s specific focus in the specialized field of DUI defense will likely increase the cost as well. In comparing estimated quotes from various attorneys, you should keep in mind that experience and reputation are good indicators of how the lawyer will handle your case. Therefore, it is usually worth the added investment to have such a proficient DUI attorney on your side during your hearing or trial.

In addition, fees can be impacted by the circumstances and severity of your individual case. Accidents, injuries, speeding, high blood-alcohol levels, children in the car, prior criminal records, and test refusals are just a few of the complex situations that cause increased work by the lawyer and amplified costs. Legal expenses also take into consideration the time that has to be devoted to the case by the attorney. For instance, if the attorney must repeatedly appear in court, there will be higher costs. When lawyers need to make stronger efforts to obtain copies of video recordings, find breathalyzer records, or represent you in-person at a DMV hearing, you should expect the costs to reflect this work.

Although it is often overlooked, attorneys must also cover some costs for handling your case, which will have to be reimbursed in your own fees. The attorney may re-analyze blood samples by an independent laboratory, consult with a forensic toxicologist about your breath tests, and/or subpoena police records on the breathalyzer used. While all of these tests and records will increase your costs, it will also increase the likelihood that the lawyer is able to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and achieve favorable results. All of the evidence that he or she uncovers will be a main factor in how the prosecutor resolves your case.

Average Costs for Hiring a DUI Lawyer

For a basic first offense DUI arrest, DUI attorneys in Los Angeles and Southern California will typically set average prices between $1,000 and $7,500. Lawyers that have minimal experience, will spend little time on your case, and will not cover costs will charge at the low end, from $1,000 to $2,000. On the other hand, lawyers that are specialized attorneys in DUI defense, maintain a solid reputation in the field, and will spend an extensive time on the case will charge at the high end, from $4,000 to $7,500. If your case goes to trial, you should expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. The classic saying remains true here; you will get what you pay for.

Most attorneys require a deposit made upfront in order to take on your case. While the exact amount will vary depending on the specific circumstances, the price for most proficient DUI attorneys in Los Angeles can be expensive. Therefore, ensure that the attorney is willing to establish a type of payment plan to help you manage these costs. Some will be expected to be paid by cash or check, while others will take credit cards. If you are trying to gather a large sum of money quickly, the latter may simplify things greatly. Either way, make sure that the attorney is able to work out a payment plan that suits your financial needs and budget.

A Word of Caution

When searching for an attorney to represent your DUI case, it is important to be attentive to some of the misleading practices that are somewhat common among unqualified attorneys. Beware these attorneys that promise unusually low costs for their services. Although it is easy to be tempted by these low figures, there is a very good reason that the attorneys can offer discounted deals. Generally, the lower prices signal inexperience, bad reputations, and lack of ability to handle your specialized case. In the legal field, these attorneys are known as “dump trucks.” Since their costs cannot justify the hard work, time, and repeated court appearances, they will usually dump the client by pleading guilty within the first hearing.

Similarly, you need to be on the lookout for attorneys that are seeking ways to take advantage of clients and get rich in the process. Be wary of any lawyers that give you a quote that is higher than ranges presented above. Some attorneys may try to trick you into believing that they are the best in the field, while insisting on charges upwards of $10,000 for a first-offense DUI arrest. This is relatively common in DUI defense firms that spend a humongous amount on advertising, while you are left paying their bills and stuck with an inexperienced attorney. Beware these attorneys with unusually high costs and their empty promises.

Some DUI attorneys are willing to provide a free consultation before signing a contract, so take this opportunity to meet with multiple prospective attorneys. Inquire about all of the legal expenses that you will be charged, including attorney fees and retainer fees. If the lawyer shows any of the mentioned warning signs or will not provide an estimated price, it is highly recommended that you walk away immediately. Ensure that you are fully aware of all expenses before signing on the dotted line, in order to avoid costly surprises down the road.

What can I expect from a free lawyer advice?

If you find yourself in trouble with law enforcement, there are a lot of complicated issues that you have to work through. For many people, the first question is how they will find a lawyer and how they will pay for it. At first, many people assume that they can’t possibly afford a lawyer, and turn to free legal help. There are a number of things that someone should consider, however, before choosing this method to find a criminal lawyer.

To start, it is important to understand that there are different types of free lawyer advice. Some supposedly free lawyers are provided by non-profit organizations, others are provided by the government, and a third type is provided by lawyers who are working for profit. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of advice.

Non-profit Organizations
In many areas, there are non-profit organizations that offer free legal representation. In nearly all of these cases, however, defendants or clients have to agree to certain terms and meet pre-set criteria in order to apply for help. While this criteria can vary widely, it is usually a requirement that clients pass some sort of means or income check. In other words, most non-profits will only help people who do not have enough income to afford a lawyer on their own. In many areas, these organizations have extremely low income limits for people who need criminal representation. Keep in mind that these groups usually operate entirely on donations, and have very little in the way of funds.

Furthermore, it can be very difficult to get a non-profit organization to take an interest in a criminal case. While there are well-funded non-profits that fight for a variety of social issues, groups that serve those accused of crimes are very few and not well funded. Also, being reliant on donor money makes them very hesitant to take on a case involving violence and/or those in which there is strong negative public opinion. This means they have to be be picky about which cases they take on. Even if a person has a low enough income to qualify and a case that these groups believe they can help with, it can still takes weeks or months to access a lawyer.

Government Lawyers
By law, a court has to appoint an attorney to someone who is unable to afford one. These lawyers are often pro-bono, meaning that they donate their time. Often, they are required to donate a certain number of hours per year in order to keep their license. This means that a pro-bono lawyer has a large case load, and very few resources to give to a non-paying client. In fact, several studies have shown that accused persons with pro-bono, court-appointed lawyers are more likely to serve jail time and pay higher fees than those who pay for legal services.

In some places, defense lawyers for people who cannot pay work full-time for the government. Representation by these lawyers tends to be a little better, but many people report that they have problems staying in contact with their attorney. Furthermore, many of these lawyers are at the will of local governments. When budget cuts loom, they are often expected to increase their caseloads.

For-Profit Free Legal Advice
Believe it or not, there are several for-profit lawyers and companies that have figured out how to make a profit (or at least, get paid) by offering “free” legal advice and services. Again, quality of advice can vary.

Legal Help Lines
One of the most common examples of this are legal help lines that offer to answer basic questions. It is very rare that these services will offer very specific advice, however, and none of them will represent you in court. While these can be a good place to start, many of them make their money by referring the caller to a lawyer who is experienced in the area of law that the caller needs help with. While the caller may end up paying for a lawyer, these lines and websites are a good way to find a lawyer that has the right kind of experience.

Company lawyers
Many people who work for large companies or are members of a labor union have access to free legal advice. These lawyers are paid for by the company, but the services they offer can vary widely. Generally, these are great resources for people who need to navigate the property tax or need help with an adoption, but very few of these lawyers have experience with criminal matters. Furthermore, a lot of people prefer to keep their employer in the dark about any potential criminal charges.

No Upfront Cost Attorneys
While these lawyers aren’t exactly free, they can be a good way to get top-notch legal representation at an affordable price. These lawyers offer payment plans for their clients that don’t require them to pay anything right away. By making payments, hiring a lawyer becomes affordable.

Free legal advice services can seem like a good deal at first glance, but nearly everyone facing criminal charges will be better off by figuring out a way to pay for their own legal representation. Fortunately, there are many ways to finance legal fees.

What size settlements do birth injury cases see?

There is always some risk of injury to mothers and children during hospital births. However, negligence by doctors and other medical staff members is the cause of many injuries to mothers and infants. Injuries that occur during birth can have a lifetime of consequences for you and your baby. Many of the most common injuries can put your or your newborn’s life in immediate danger and can cause debilitating physical conditions. Some can permanently stunt your baby’s development, leaving him or her unable to mature mentally and emotionally and preventing him or her from living a full, happy life.

Many birth-related injuries occur because of negligence on the part of your doctor or maternity staff. Doctors who are not properly prepared, hospital staff who do not properly sanitize instruments used and nurses who do not carefully handle your baby after birth can all cause drastic injury with long-lasting complications to you and your child.

If your child has been injured during birth procedures, you may be able to seek compensation from the hospital where your birth took place. Many people whose babies develop crippling physical and mental disabilities have to pay burdensome medical costs and provide frequent care to their children. Medical devices, special education, home nursing care and other expenses can be prohibitive, and insurance companies often have a cap on how much care they will pay for. For a baby with a lifetime of therapy and care ahead, this limit can be exhausted within a few years, leaving parents with no options to care for their disabled children. The medical bills associated with ongoing care can cause families to go bankrupt within a few years of the child’s birth.

Hospitals are often quick to respond to claims of birth injury and malpractice. They often offer sizable settlements to families who are pursuing a birth injury suit. Parents are often quick to take these settlements because they have accumulated medical bills and other expenses that need to be paid off. However, studies have shown that when birth injury lawsuits go to trial, the parents are often awarded a judgment that is twice what the hospital or other responsible party offered during settlement talks.

What is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?

It is difficult to calculate an average settlement for birth injury cases because each case is unique. Factors like the severity of the injury, the extent of the baby’s disabilities and what type of care the child will need throughout his or her life all affect the amount offered in a settlement. In addition, some states have established a limit on the amount that people can seek for non-medical damages such as emotional trauma.

Personal injury and birth injury laws in most states allow parents to seek damages of an amount that will cover healthcare and other injury-related expenses over the course of their child’s life. Medical bills, treatment and life-support devices and in-home nursing care can all cause the cost of a child’s care to reach tens of millions of dollars. Many high-profile birth injury trials have resulted in a judgment for families in these amounts.

When Should I Call a Birth Injury Lawyer?

Contacting a birth injury law firm as soon as you are able to do so after your child’s injury is critical. Your state may have a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. Attorneys can help you in the process of gathering the documentation that will be necessary to prove your case. An attorney will also represent you in any discussions with representatives from the hospital or other responsible party.

Your hospital’s team may be proactive in offering you a settlement after your child is injured during birth. Representatives may tell you that what they are offering you is a fair settlement and that it is unlikely that you will receive a higher judgment if you take the case to court. They will tell you these things for a few reasons.

  • Settling out of court is less expensive than going to court because attorney’s fees are lower and there are no court costs to pay.
  • The hospital knows that you have a clear case for their liability in your baby’s birth-related injury.
  • The hospital can usually convince plaintiffs to accept a settlement that is lower than a judgment awarded during a trial would be.

Even if the hospital comes to you offering a settlement, it is always a good idea to contact an attorney to represent you in any discussions with the hospital and their legal team. Hospitals usually have excellent attorneys and it is in your best interest to ensure that you have adequate representation as well. An attorney will review the hospital’s settlement proposal and, if necessary, fight for a fairer amount that will cover your child’s medical expenses and ensure that he or she can receive the best care.

There are several advantages to settling out of court rather than taking your case to trial.

  • Settlements proceedings are usually fast, whereas medical malpractice trials can last for months.
  • You will have immediate access to your settlement winnings, which gives you a chance to pay bills and secure immediate care for your child.
  • Attorney fees are less expensive since you will only be retaining your lawyer for the duration of the settlement discussions.

However, it is occasionally necessary to take your case to court, especially if the hospital’s legal team feels that you will be unable to prove that the hospital exercised negligence in caring for you and your baby.

When you or your child experience a birth-related injury, the consequences can be far-reaching, causing your child disability and drastically reduced quality of life. It is important that you are represented by an experienced birth injury lawyer. Experienced attorneys can represent you in all interactions with the hospital after your injury and can fight to ensure that you and your child receive fair compensation so that you can begin providing the proper care for him or her from an early age.

How does bankruptcy work?

Many people may want to get out from under overwhelming debt, but they may wonder how does bankruptcy work?

The first thing they should realize is that bankruptcy may not be able to eliminate all their debt. In some cases, it can wipe out all your liabilities, but certain types of debts like student loans, secured loans, child support, alimony and tax debts may persist even if you win your bankruptcy case.

Types of bankruptcy
There are three main types of bankruptcy filings in the United States:

• Chapter 7 – A debtor with minimal or no assets available for liquidation can file Chapter 7 as a “no-asset” case. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 set income thresholds for debtors to file Chapter 7 claims. Individuals and businesses may file for this type of claim. In some cases, you may be able to avoid liens on your property with a Chapter 7 filing.
• Chapter 13 – A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an “Adjustment of Debts” in which the debtor repays the loan using a repayment plan set by the courts. The debtor is able to keep their assets and property using the Chapter 13 claim. This filing is a good alternative for debtors whose income level is too high for a Chapter 7 filing. The repayment period is from three to five years.
• Chapter 11 – A Chapter 11 filing is available to business owners and involves a reorganization of the business to include a repayment plan for at least part of the existing debt. The court, however, may discharge some of the debt to relieve the burden on the business.

Other types of filings are Chapter 12 for farmers and fishing professionals, Chapter 9 for municipalities that are in debt, and Chapter 15 for debtors that have assets in at least one foreign country.

Dischargeable debts
The courts can eliminate some types of debt that you may own and are having difficulty paying.

• Credit card debt – Bankruptcy is a great alternative for wiping out credit card debt unless that debt is of the “secured” type. A secured credit card is one in which the creditor has a lien on some or all of your property. If you default on the debt, the creditor has the right to repossess the security on the loan.
• Unsecured debts – A bankruptcy court can discharge all or some of your unsecured debts. These debts can include bank loans and other types of loans. Home and car loans are typically secured debts in which the creditor can repossess the property if you fail to make your loan payments.

Non-Dsichargeale Debts
Bankruptcy generally cannot relieve you of the following types of obligations:

• Secured debts – If a creditor has a lien on your property for a secured debt, then the bankruptcy will not prevent the creditor from repossessing that property. A Chapter 7 filing, however, may offer the debtor ways of avoiding liens. For example, the debtor may be able to redeem their property by paying the creditor the current replacement value. Property pledged as collateral, other than homes or personal cars, can also avoid liens in some cases.
• Student loans – At one time, bankruptcy was a popular way of finding relief from burdensome student loans. However, current law only allows bankruptcy for student loans in cases that involve “undue hardship.” According to this standard, the debtor must not only be unable to pay their loans at the time of filing, but they must also show a low likelihood of being able to meet their obligations in the future.
• Alimony and child support obligations – Bankruptcy will not protect debtors from having to pay their child support and alimony payments. A Chapter 13 filing will require that you fully pay these obligations at the same rate as before the bankruptcy.
• Tax debts – In most cases, the court will not discharge tax debts although there are some exceptions. For example, some old income tax debts may be eligible for discharge. However, you must meet strict requirements in order to receive this type of relief.
• Non-dischargeable debts – Certain types of debts do not qualify for relief through bankruptcy. These include debts that you fail to list in your filing, debts resulting from legal fines or penalties, and debts caused by drunken driving. Debts involving fraud on the part of the debtor may also be non-dischargeable.

Some other benefits of bankruptcy
In addition to the benefits listed above, bankruptcy can stop collection activities and harassment by creditors. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure on your home. The court can force the lender to accept a repayment plan that you can afford instead.

A Chapter 13 will also allow you to keep all your non-exempt property so long as you make your repayments.

In certain instances, you may be able to have the court reduce a secured debt to the security’s replacement value. For example, if you still owe $12,000 for your car that is now worth only $10,000, the court could reduce the debt to $10,000 discharging the remaining $2,000.

Certain property is exempt, and creditors have no access to taking possession of that property. The definition of exempt property differs from state to state. In some states, for example, the home where you live is exempt up to a certain dollar amount.

Filing eligibility
Filing for a Chapter 7 will require meeting the income threshold through a “means test.” Even when the debtor exceeds the threshold, they will still have the option of filing a Chapter 13 claim.

In all cases, it is best to seek the advice and representation of bankruptcy lawyers to help you with your filing. They will have the experience and expertise that you need to have maximum chances of success. They can quickly analyze your case to see what type of claim is right for you.

While it is possible to file a claim on your own, there are many possibilities of error that you can easily avoid by utilizing the services of a professional attorney.

Case Study: Process to Engage a Car Accident Attorney in Seattle

A Seattle auto accident lawyer is available for injured parties who have suffered from auto accident negligence and subsequent costs. The department of transportation has indicated that over 32,000 fatalities have resulted from car accidents over the past recent year. These auto accident fatalities in the U.S. have resulted from the negligence of other drivers. The results of an auto accident can include fatality, serious bodily injury, loss of time from work, pain and suffering, and large medical bills. Engaging an attorney who specializes in this area of law can provide a shield against further economic damage and can result in an appropriate settlement from the other driver’s insurance company.

Car Accident Attorney in Seattle
A car accident lawyer is available for legal representation when the accident is not the client’s fault. Compensation is probable for any injuries that have incurred, for continued medical care, for lost wages, for emotional trauma, and other types of loss that have resulted from the other driver’s negligence. Each U.S. citizen has certain rights of reimbursement for negligent acts of others that have created pain and suffering for a victim. A competent and professional attorney who specializes in the legal area of automobile accidents can guard against any abuse or against any insurance company trying to take advantage of a claimant.

Legal Rights When Involved in a Car Accident
There are certain legal rights that need to be protect when a driver is involved in a car accident. The responsible driver’s insurance company expects a claim from the other driver. Each modern insurance company manages these accident claims in a certain manner. Most modern insurance companies will try to settle each new claim quickly and for the least amount of money for the victim. There are several attorneys who are hired by each company, and the insurance group has many resources to battle each new claim.

When Necessary and Not Necessary to Pursue Legal Course of Action
A legal course of action against an insurance company may be necessary in many instances. The managers of the settlement funds are trained to pay out each new claim quickly and for the least amount of money. The injured party can contact the insurance company for the other driver with a personal injury claim. The insurance pay out could be minimal, however. There are additional reasons to hire an auto accident attorney for each new insurance claim, and these reasons are the following:

1. The medical liabilities for an auto accident are not obvious in many cases.

2. The amount of funds needed to make a victim whole may not be evident immediately.

3. The insurance company settlement representatives may contact the victim and indicate that the claim can be paid out with a simple and minimal payment.

4. Each car accident has certain compensation rights that may not be represented with a direct telephone call from an insurance settlement representative.

Process to Engage a Car Accident Attorney
Accepting an insurance company pay out may eliminate any further cost reimbursements allowed. The insurance representative will have certain documents signed that eliminate any further money being paid out for that particular accident. Any additional medical costs are not paid for, and the accident victim may have additional expenses later on. Hiring an auto accident attorney in Seattle may have additional benefits, and these benefits are the following:

1. Each case has a free initial consultation that allows the new attorney to review any information about the car accident.

2. Any questions that the car accident victim has may be answered initially in the evaluation sessions.

3. An accident may be under certain jurisdictional laws, and these laws may include certain statutes of limitation. This means that a claim against the other driver needs to be processed within a particular period of time. Any claims that are filed outside of the statute of limitation may not be recognized or compensated.

4. An insurance claim can be started quickly by an auto accident lawyer. Any witnesses may need to be interviewed as soon as possible. Witnesses tend to loose significant memory ability after certain periods of time have lapsed.

Starting an auto accident claim quickly usually works in the favor of an accident victim. A competent and professional lawyer can provide the legal shield necessary against many of today’s insurance company claim departments. Most insurance claim representatives are trained to pay out a minimum amount only. Additional money for claims may involve a lawsuit.