Monthly Archives: December 2013

What can one typically expect from an auto accident settlement?

Car accidents often have dangerous and life-threatening complications. Accident settlement compensation is often the only resolve that people get after going through such an experience. The value of a settlement depends on the damages incurred and the validity of your liability claim. These two factors play the biggest role in what to expect from an auto settlement. There are certain states where it’s easier to get a settlement action as well. These factors and other parts of the settlement process are explained below.

How to File a Liability Claim

Most people think there are one of two ways to file a property claim or liability claim after an accident. You can file a property damage claim with the other driver’s car insurance company, or you can file a claim with your own car insurance company.

However, personal injury liability is separate from a property damage claim. Personal injury liability involves the option to sue. In personal injury cases, there are two main issues: liability and damages. If you can prove that you received damage and can also prove that the other driver is to blame, then you have a successful liability lawsuit.

Is Your Liability Strong?

In order to make a case, you have to have a strong liability claim. In no-fault states, you can’t recover monetary settlements unless liability exists. If you plan to sue for an auto settlement, you have to show that the other driver was negligent while driving. This can include:

  • Not seeing another vehicle that was clearly seen by others
  • Closely following another vehicle to the point of recklessness
  • Driving too fast during inclement weather or bad visibility
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Not adhereing to traffic signs or signals
  • Talking on the phone or texting while driving

Auto settlements are easier to win in no-fault states because the emphasis is less on liability. However you still have to show that the other driver was negligent and caused damage. Your settlement may be reduced or defeated if you can’t prove total liability or if you also had some liability in the accident.

How to Determine Damages

If liability exists, then damages will determine how much you may recover in auto settlement compensation for personal injuries sustained. There are three ways to figure out what the value of your settlement will be.

1. Colossus
Most insurance companies use a software called Colossus to value a car accident settlement claim. Aetna, CNA, Erie, Farmers, Metropolita, Ohio Casualty, MetLife, USAA and others all use this software. There are also derivative software that essentially do the same thing as Colossus that other insurance companies use.

Colossus estimates settlement value based on your medical records. It gives different points of severity to injuries sustained and also considers the history of the attorney involved. Other factors that go into the decision include the place where the accident occurred and how the accident happened. The software then compiles a settlement range.

There are some injuries that increase the value of your claim according to Colossus. These include muscle spasms, neurosis, confusion or dizziness, intense pain, headaches, impaired movement, nausea, vision impairment, depression and anxiety. If you suffer any of these after an accident, you must report them to a medical professional. The system only recognizes your medical records in calculating your settlement range.

There are several other factors that determine the value according to your medical records. If you were hospitalized, the software values overnight stays, which obviously mean a more serious injury. It also considers the following:

  • Type of treatment – The system recognizes diagnoses only related to your accident. So if a chiropractor diagnoses you with a sprain or strain in the neck, then you have a valid damage. If you see a specialist, your settlement value goes up significantly.
  • Treatment Length – After 20 or so visits to a chiropractor, the value of your settlement starts to depreciate.
  • Physical Therapy – Accurate documentation is key to receiving a higher value based on your need for physical therapy.
  • Delays and Gaps in Treatment – These will depreciate your settlement significantly.

In addition to Colossus, multiple of specials and per diem also qualify the value of your auto accident settlement claim.

2. Multiple of Specials
With this method, you add medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering together to get the value of your settlement. However, an insurance company can challenge the amount. No-fault states do not compensate for pain and suffering.

3. Per Diem
This method assigns a value to each day that you endured pain and suffering. The total amount is added to the financial losses to find the total auto accident settlement value.

The auto accident settlement process can be very short or long depending on a variety of factors. For one, proper representation from auto accident attorneys can significantly speed up the process and win a lawsuit case if you have significant damages and a valid liability claim.

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.

Case Study: Seattle DUI Attorney Outcome

If you have been charged with a DUI in Seattle, you are likely scared and confused of the possible outcome of your case. It may be that you have failed the blood test going well over the allowed limit. Because of that, you may be considering simply pleading guilty and suffering the consequences.

On face value, your decision might make a lot of sense. Looking at the case straight on it appears to be cut and dry. You likely believe that if your blood test is over the limit you will be found guilty anyway, correct? Not necessarily. In many incidences, a successful DUI attorney might be able to prove that the test is inadmissible. If successful, the inadmissible test will not be used against you.

Inadmissible Evidence
In fact, a skilled Seattle DUI attorney might be able to help you in a variety of ways to find any test or evidence against you inadmissible. These could include:

• Insufficient Grounds for Pulling You Over – When you were pulled over, the officer might not have had sufficient grounds to stop your vehicle. If your attorney can prove that to the prosecutor or judge, any evidence that was collected by the officer after the stop including the field sobriety test could be excluded.

• Insufficient Grounds for the Test – Even if the officer is found to have sufficient grounds for pulling you over, they might not have grounds to give you the test. If your attorney can prove this in court, the field test and any other subsequent chemical test taken at the police station will be inadmissible.

• An Invalidated Test – Many times officers are not provided with adequate training to perform the standardized field sobriety test, or the testing equipment does not meet the acceptable standards. If your attorney is able to invalidate the field sobriety test you took before your arrest, then most likely any subsequent chemical test taken at the police station might also be inadmissible.

• “DashCam” Video Evidence – More than likely the police vehicle DashCam video was recording during your test. If the officer administering the test concluded that your efforts failed, the DashCam video might prove that you in fact passed. If so, any subsequent chemical test taken at the police station could likely be inadmissible.

• No Probable Cause – If the officer chose not to administer the field sobriety test but elected to arrest you for DUI based on other evidence including your appearance of being impaired they may not have had probable cause. Other information including footage from the DashCam video recorder might show insufficient probable cause, which might find any subsequent chemical test inadmissible.

• Improper Testing – Sometimes the test equipment used to perform a chemical analysis on your blood is not properly calibrated or maintained. This can produce unreliable evidence, which could be inadmissible.

Skilled Seattle DUI attorneys have years of experience in proving how evidence by the prosecutor’s office is inadmissible for a variety of reasons. An experienced lawyer can thoroughly evaluate and investigate every aspect of your case. Their efforts can help to determine if they can make a good argument in making any or all of the evidence against you inadmissible in a court of law.

A Case Study

A Seattle DUI attorney noted that a client of his had been stopped, tested and arrested for driving under the influence late one night. In fact, the officer had arrived at the scene of an accident where a vehicle hit a tree and the driver sitting in the car ended up in the middle of the road. Even though the airbag had deployed, the driver said he was okay, and exited the vehicle. It was then that the officer noted that he appeared to have been drinking.

The officer asked the driver if he had been drinking, to which he replied he had one drink before getting behind the wheel. The officer then said he wanted to conduct a field sobriety test to which the driver refused. The officer then began to coerce the driver, and offered legal advice concerning his rights of what would happen in his case when arrested for DUI. His coercing efforts finally persuaded the driver to reluctantly give in to take the test.

After the experienced Seattle DUI lawyer had reviewed the evidence in the case including the officer’s vehicle DashCam, the recorded evidence proved damaging to the prosecutor’s case. The recorded evidence clearly showed that the officer had provided legal advice, even though he was not a licensed attorney in the state of Washington.

The officer’s coercing techniques made the field sobriety test inadmissible as evidence in court. In fact, the officer had never taken into account that the airbag had deployed and this might have been why the driver was unable to perform the field sobriety test. After the prosecutor’s office reviewed the actions of the arresting officer as recorded at the scene of the accident, all charges were dismissed.

Hiring a Skilled Attorney

There are many circumstances in your DUI case where evidence might have been obtained improperly, or the police mishandled the arrest. It may be that there were insufficient grounds for the stop and any subsequent testing. It might be that the officer arresting you for DUI had no baseline to judge your performance when taking the test in the field.

In fact, the officer might not have taken in consideration that your poor performance during your sobriety test was a result of a variety of factors in the field that could include:

• Inclement weather
• Slippery terrain or uneven surfaces
• A darkened test area
• Glaring police lights
• Unsuitable dress shoes, high heels or boots
• Being injured, scared and/or nervous

Even individuals that have not had any alcohol to drink might find it struggling to perform the field sobriety test under any one of these conditions. There might have been any other reason other than being intoxicated that could have caused you to fail the test.

Washington state law concerning driving under the influence is continually evolving. Because of that, it takes a skilled DUI defense lawyer to determine if a mistake has been made in stopping, testing and arresting you for the alleged charge of driving drunk. In addition, a hunch or an assumption is not enough for an officer to arrest you for a DUI.

How Much Could it Cost if I Didn’t Have an Attorney?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the worst crimes for which the authorities may charge a person. The consequences for such a crime are stiff, because of the statistics that show a large amount of deaths and injuries occurring in the United States. When a person chooses to operate a vehicle under the influence, that person is endangering the lives of innocent drivers and passengers, as well as himself or herself. Therefore, a guilty charge will bring forth several consequences. Also, it’s advisable for a person living in the Phoenix area to consult with a Phoenix DUI attorney as quickly as possible after a charge. The reason is because of the wide range of losses the person may suffer. A person found guilty of DUI in Phoenix can lose license privileges, time and much more money than he or she would lose by hiring an attorney.

What is DUI?

DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. The term usually refers to alcohol. However, some authoritative figures use the term to describe a person who is under the influence of some kind of illegal drug. In terms of alcohol consumption, a police officer may charge someone with DUI if that person has a blood alcohol level of over .08 percent. The offensive blood alcohol level is .04 for drivers with commercial licenses. There is no tolerance for a person who is under the age of 21, so any alcohol in the blood is unacceptable for the driver.

The police officer will determine this level by requesting that the individual perform a Breathalyzer test. Any driver who refuses to take the test will receive an immediate license suspension of no less than one year for a first offense. Once the police officer receives a reading that is over the allowable limits set forth by Arizona legislation, this person will issue a citation to the receiver. The receiver may choose to hire a Phoenix DUI attorney, or attempt to fight the charge of DUI alone.

Cost of Fighting a DUI Alone

A person who is fighting a DUI charge alone will not have the benefits that an experienced attorney can bring. Several defenses exist that an attorney can present to a judge. This person might be able to have the entire case dismissed due to an error on the accusing party’s part. Furthermore, an attorney will have associations with certain members of the law. He or she may be able to barter in the defendant’s behalf should that person receive a guilty charge.

An individual who selects to fight the process alone to save money may end up with more expenses than he or she bargained for. For a first time DUI offense, a guilty party will receive a minimum jail time of 24 hours. The judge may sentence the individual up to 10 days in jail, which will make the guilty party unavailable to spend time at work or at home. Just one week in jail can cost a person $500 or more in lost wages. Additionally, the individual may lose his or her job, which is an automatic loss of at least $20,000 in annual income.

A guilty party will also have to pay an original fine over $200, a separate DUI charge of $200, and a special probationary charge of $10. The courts will also asses a $500 fine that is related to prison assessments and an additional $500 for Arizona DUI extra assessments. The state may also suspend the person’s license for a period of 90 to 360 days, which would call for the person to spend money on public transportation and taxis to get back and forth to work and run errands. Additionally, when the individual finally restores his or her driving privileges, the automobile insurance policy rates will rise drastically.

Taking all of the previously mentioned information into consideration, a person who chooses to fight a DUI charge without an attorney may end up spending over $10,000, and that figure is not counting the costs associated with losing his or her job.

Saving Money by Hiring an Attorney

Attorneys operate by using either a flat rate system or an hourly rate. Even an attorney that charges a $1,000 retainer fee or $100 an hour would be much less expensive than fighting the judicial system without help. Costs will be minimal as opposed to losing a battle for lack of representation. As previously stated, an attorney can take a thorough assessment of the incident and try to develop a strategy for a dismissal. The objective is for the accused party to leave the court building with no blemishes on his or her record. If the attorney cannot achieve such, then at the very least this person will be able to reduce the costs for his or her client.

Choosing the Right Attorney

To find the right Phoenix DUI attorney, one must conduct research to find a reasonable and competent provider. The best course of action to take when choosing an attorney is to review the credentials, find out case histories and success numbers, and call to set up a consultation. Some attorneys offer free consultations, so the prospective client has nothing to lose. Other attorneys may offer a low price for a first consultation. The law firm’s integrity, availability, reputation and tenure should play a role in deciding which firm would be best to hire.

Since a Phoenix driver has so much to lose in receiving a guilty charge, it is best for that person and his or her family members to secure representation. Calling a law firm takes less than 30 seconds and a consultation takes less than one hour. A Phoenix driver can literally save his or her reputation and life by asking for help from the appropriate organization. No one should ever fight a DUI charge alone. If you are facing such a charge, you could benefit greatly by scheduling a meeting today.

Austin DWI Examples

Austin may have the reputation of being a laid-back community where having a good time is always encouraged, but that doesn’t mean the city can’t take things seriously when it has to. A strong business community, top-notch restaurants and a booming tourism industry all underscore the serious side of Austin. Another area in which Austin does not mess around – its DWI policies. Convictions for driving while intoxicated are treated with the utmost seriousness in Austin, and grave consequences can result, especially when the accused lacks a skilled Austin DWI attorney.

Consider a few examples:
– An Austin firefighter charged with a DWI while not on duty was suspended by the department for 10 days before even having his scheduled court hearing. The zero-tolerance approach taken by the department did not offer any leniency to the firefighter, who was in his personal vehicle and not on the clock at the time.

– The rules are relaxed for no one – A Travis County District Attorney was arrested and taken to jail to spend the night, where she blew a .239. One week later, the District Attorney was sentenced to 45 days in jail, despite the incident being her first arrest for driving while intoxicated.

– Drivers getting behind the wheel while intoxicated may be more common than people suspect. During a four-day stretch in July, police in Austin stepped up enforcement and targeting efforts against drunk drivers and ended the stretch with 99 arrests; a similar effort over Memorial Day weekend drew 94 arrests.

Austin takes drunk driving seriously
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the state has the most drunk driving crashes and deaths in the United States. The legal limit for DWI is a .08 BAC, and an arrest means you’ll need an Austin DWI attorney if you want to avoid the costly penalties and other adverse consequences associated with an arrest for this offense.

And while the penalties for this crime – and make no mistake, the state treats it like a crime, not merely a violation – get more severe with each recurring offense, even first-time offenders face significant consequences. A first-time DWI arrest in the Austin area or anywhere in the state of Texas will subject you to fines up to $2,000, a prison sentence of up to six months, suspension of your driver’s license for up to twelve months, and an annual $1,000 charge for three years just to maintain your license. Obviously, these are severe penalties; they can dramatically alter your financial outlook and severely interrupt your life. Losing your freedom and the opportunity to work while you serve out your jail sentence can lead to the loss of your job and an indefinite period of financial uncertainty.

A second conviction brings about even more severe penalties; the maximum fine is $4,000, the maximum jail sentence is one year, the annual license payment required is $1,500, and you may lose your license for up to two years.

If you have the misfortune of experiencing three convictions for DWI in the state of Texas, the prospects of putting your life back on the right track are grim. First, you will face a staggering fine of up to $10,000. In addition, you may lose your license for up to two years, and you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $2,000 each year just to maintain your license. But what is truly disturbing is prison sentence – a range of two to ten years will result from your third DWI conviction.

Due to the dramatic severity of the consequences, it’s essential to get an Austin DWI attorney so you can avoid a conviction whenever possible. If you do get stuck with a DWI charge, don’t delay; contact an attorney as quickly as you can. Engaging competent representation early in the process will help ensure you don’t make any missteps that could impair your chances to be acquitted or have charges dropped.

Working with your attorney in an open and honest manner is also crucial. Remember that your attorney is on your side, and will do the best job with all of the facts, not just the details you may believe are favorable. Whether you are a public official like the aforementioned District Attorney or a hard-working private citizen such as the off-duty firefighter mentioned above, the law will treat you the same. Thus, cooperating with your attorney and being respectful and obedient in the courtroom are of the utmost importance.

Are victims of asbestos still making mesothelioma claims?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which has been linked to exposure to asbestos. This exposure could have occurred in many ways, but is most often related to those who have worked directly with the fiber or dust of the material. It also occurs in other ways such as those who clean the clothes of those who worked with asbestos.

Just as in the case with many diseases and conditions, mesothelioma can occur at any time, most often many years after the exposure. It is for this reason that most mesothelioma claims are filed by those suffering from the disease or the loved ones of those who have been killed by it many years after their exposure.

Use of Asbestos
Asbestos has been known of since antiquity but it was not mined or widely used until the late 19th century, peaking during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of Americans who worked in shipbuilding, construction, mining, and other trades were regularly exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma is unique among diseases in that it can take as few as 1-3 months of exposure to asbestos to develop the disease, however, the actual disease can take as long as 30 years to develop latency.

It is for this reason that state laws usually give people from one to five years from the time of diagnosis or discovery of the disease to file a lawsuit.

The law provides for the families of those who have already died of mesothelioma to file a lawsuit from one to three years after the date of death.

It is important to understand that since medical conditions and prognoses can differ victims and their families cannot join or initiate class action lawsuits. Each suit must be filed individually by the victim or his or her heirs.

How Long Does a Mesothelioma Case Take?
A vast majority of mesothelioma cases are settled out of court, which means that a settlement amount and conditions of the settlement are reached prior to going to court. This is largely dependent on a variety of issues, mainly the ready source of a settlement fund. If this is available a victim could receive a settlement in less than a year after the date of filing. Otherwise, it can take as long as one to three years for a settlement to be arrived at. Fortunately, states recognize that mesothelioma victims might have a short life expectancy, and these particular cases are often fast tracked.

How Much Can a Case Be Worth?
The final settlement amount that could be awarded to a mesothelioma victim and their heirs is difficult to estimate. Some victims in the past have been awarded millions of dollars in compensation. Others have received relatively little. The primary determiner is the availability of funds, and since some firms which have exposed their workers to these substances have gone bankrupt, they are not able to pay. Insurance companies and victim funds are other sources that can be used for settlements.

When determining how much of a settlement a victim will receive the courts generally look at how much the disease has affected the victim’s life and that of his heirs. It is also important to understand that lawsuits take time and money to pursue, all adding to the time that must be allowed to receive a settlement.

How Do I Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
Most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that their payment is dependent on the amount of the final settlement, plus their expenses. Naturally, if there is no cash award, the attorney receives nothing.

How Do I Find a Mesothelioma Attorney?
Finding an attorney to handle a mesothelioma case for you is either very hard or very easy, depending on how hard you look. In the legal business, finding an attorney is usually easy, but finding the right attorney can be very difficult. The truth is, you don’t want to find just any attorney to work for you. You want to find someone who has experience dealing with the type of case you have. In this case, someone who knows about how to pursue your case in as efficiently a manner as possible is important. This will result in a mesothelioma victim receiving an equitable amount for their case. How do you do that? Ask. If the attorney is any good, they will be happy to provide you with the information you are asking for. If not, keep looking.

If I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit and My Cancer Goes Into Remission, Do I Have to Give the Settlement Back?

Mesothelioma is a rare, but deadly form of cancer that develops in the mesothelia, the lining found around your lungs, heart and other organs, and development of the disease usually means that the patient was exposed to asbestos. Because mesothelioma has a latency period of as much as 60 years, many people who develop the disease may not even have been aware they were exposed. In fact, spouses and children of many workers who worked with asbestos sometimes develop the disease after breathing fibers on contaminated clothing. (

Asbestos and Mesothelioma
In June 2010, an article in Science Daily reported that a study conducted at the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center found that when asbestos kills a cell, it uses a process known as “programmed cell necrosis,” which introduces a molecule that begins an inflammatory reaction that promotes tumor growth. The study attempted to learn how asbestos, which kills any cell its fibers invade, could cause tumors to grow as a dead cell should not be able to divide at all. Researchers hope that this discovery could lead to better treatments, and possibly a cure for the deadly disease, as currently, the disease has a high mortality rate. (

Current Mesothelioma Treatments
Because there is no cure for mesothelioma, treatments currently involve slowing the progress of the disease and lessening the symptoms. Prognosis and treatments often depend on the stage of the disease when it is diagnosed, as later stages of the disease, like most cancers, are difficult to treat. In addition, because the symptoms of mesothelioma often mimic other illnesses, diagnosis may be delayed as doctors rule out other reasons for a patient to be short of breath, pain located below the rib cage, abdominal swelling, or unexplained weight loss. Surgery is one treatment used to treat mesothelioma, and some of the surgeries performed may be extensive, including:

• Removal of the tumor and the healthy cells surrounding it
• Partial removal of the lungs, lining of the chest and portions of the outside surface of the lung
• Removal of one lung, portions of the chest lining and diaphragm, as well as portions of the lining of the heart
• Surgically introducing chemicals to create a scar between the layers of the pleura which helps stop the build-up of fluid in the cavity

Chemotherapy and radiation are additional treatments used to slow the progression of the disease, and some patients who undergo surgery must also receive these types of treatments. Clinical trials are being conducted using biologic therapy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal therapy.


Mesothelioma Remission
With advances in technology and growing knowledge about the development of mesothelioma, earlier detection has helped promote remission in some patients with malignant mesothelioma. However, in patients with advanced disease, life expectancy is still between one and two years. Despite this grim prognosis, newer treatments are leading to some patients seeing some forms of remission. Some treatments are providing patients with partial remission, where the tumors either shrink or cease to grow larger. This increases the patient’s quality of life as symptoms decrease, and even though the tumors still exist, life expectancy may be longer. Rarely, patients experience complete remission where all evidence of the cancer disappears. Researchers are still studying why some patients achieve complete remission, some patients have partial remission, while still others do not enter remission at all. Research into systemic therapy that treats cancer cells throughout the body, as well as immunotherapy which uses specific cells that target and kill mesothelioma cells are showing promise in putting patients into remission. (

Difference Between Remission and Cure
According to the National Cancer Institute, a cure means that all traces of cancer are gone from the patient, and although there are no guarantees the cancer will not return, it is less likely. Remission means that there are either no signs of the cancer in the patient or that the cancer is reduced so that symptoms are lessened, improving the quality of life for the patient. If the patient remains in complete remission for more than five years, a doctor may claim them cured, but because cancer cells can remain in the body undetected, especially mesothelioma, it is possible for a remission to end even after five years. (

Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Remission
Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma and remission for people diagnosed with the disease is rare. Therefore, entering remission should have no bearing on any settlements regarding asbestos exposure that more than likely caused the illness. The prognosis for those diagnosed with mesothelioma is a less than five year survival rate, and even those who enter remission may still succumb to the illness within five years. Even those who survive past five years have no guarantee that the disease will remain in remission permanently. Therefore, lawsuits pending regarding a mesothelioma diagnosis, settlements received or even the potential for settlement offers should not change due to remission.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestos cancer, even if the disease is in remission, contact a qualified personal injury attorney to learn what rights you may have. Contact us today online or by telephone to set up your initial consultation.

Successful Phoenix DUI Attorney Outcomes

Being stopped, arrested and charged for driving under the influence can be a stressful experience. Even though you have the right to represent yourself in a court of law, it is crucial to hire a Phoenix DUI attorney that specializes in your type of case. There are various reasons to consider hiring a skilled attorney immediately after you have been arrested.

The possible penalties you are facing can create a damaging impact on your family’s lives. In all reality, jail time is not a viable option due to the responsibilities you have to support your family and yourself. The possibility of going to prison or receiving a lengthy jail sentence could ruin your position of maintaining your current employment, or obtaining a job in the future. This could have a negative impact on meeting your monthly obligations and paying your bills.

In spite of that, cases are dismissed every day across Arizona, or the charges are reduced. Reduced charges are almost always the result of the skills of an experienced DUI lawyer and their ability to negotiate with the prosecutor’s office. A skillful attorney provides has a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system. Your attorney is your legal representative that builds your case by working directly with the court system.

Hiring an Attorney Quickly

It is important to hire a lawyer right away. A successful Phoenix DUI lawyer will work quickly to gather evidence before it is lost. They will start the process of interviewing witnesses before the facts in the case become difficult to remember due to passing time. A solid defense witness might be your most effective tool in creating a successful outcome at trial, or through the negotiation process.

In addition to building your case, the lawyer can work hard to limit the potential penalties you could receive in a conviction for a first DUI offense. As a way to avoid possible jail time, the attorney might be able to negotiate community service, attendance at DUI school and probation. They may be able to limit any court-imposed fines and the suspension of your driver’s license. In their effort to reduce or dismiss your charges, you might possibly avoid facing a misdemeanor criminal charge and significantly higher vehicle insurance rates.

If you had an excessively high blood-alcohol level rate, you might be facing the installation of an ignition interlock device once the suspension of your license has been lifted. If this is not your first DUI conviction, you may be facing license revocation, imprisonment penalties and fines based on the severity of your offense.

However, all hope is not lost. The skills of a competent Phoenix DUI attorney can develop a case that will sway the court in your favor. Their efforts might provide a pathway to bypassing sentencing terms. Your attorney may be able to negotiate your attendance in an alcohol abuse treatment program instead.

In addition, there are always potential plea bargains that could offer less punishment on you in exchange for providing a “guilty” plea. However, a skillful attorney will usually proceed with extreme caution in a plea bargain.

Developing a Defense Strategy

A skilled attorney that specializes in Arizona DUI law recognizes that no two driving under the influence cases will ever be the same. Because of that, your attorney will assess every aspect of your case to tailor-make a defense strategy on your behalf. Every part of your case will be handled with the ultimate dedication, consideration and respect required to create the most successful outcome.

Your attorney might be preparing your defense by investigating your drunk driving charges. It might be determined that the arresting police officer did not have probable cause when they pulled you over. Based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected under the law against any type of unreasonable search or seizure. In fact, a law enforcement officer does not have the right to investigate or arrest you unless they have a warrant or probable cause.

If the officer stopped you as a result of committing a traffic violation, speeding or swerving they had the legal right to do so. However, they cannot simply stop you on a hunch that you may be driving drunk. Additionally, there are limitations of the officer when you are required to take a roadside breathalyzer test or perform the standardized roadside field sobriety test.

If the arresting officer did not observe any indication of an impairment that might include the smell of alcohol, blood-shot eyes or slurred speech, he or she might have violated your U.S. constitutional rights. Your skilled attorney might be able to prove this through a motion before a judge, or to the prosecuting attorney’s office to have all of the charges dismissed.

Innocent until Proven Guilty

While you have likely heard the phrase of being “innocent until proven guilty”, it likely has never meant as much as now. In fact, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove their case beyond any reasonable doubt. The prosecutor can only obtain a conviction if they can prove you are actually driving under the influence. This heavy burden of proof required of the prosecutor provides the opportunity for your attorney to offer subjective evidence in your defense.

Your skillful attorney can use calibration and maintenance records that indicate that the officer’s breathalyzer equipment might not have produced an accurate reading at the time you were arrested. In addition, your attorney can obtain the dashboard video camera in the police car to determine if any errors were made in administering or explaining how the field sobriety test is given.

The courses of action that your attorney can take are numerous. By hiring your skilled Phoenix DUI attorney now, they can begin the process of developing a strategy in your case.

Case Study: Success story from a criminal lawyer in Miami

Finding the right criminal lawyer can make or break a case. One success story from a criminal lawyer in Miami shows how quickly a person can be acquitted of a crime if he chooses a competent lawyer.

The Castroneves Case
Roy Black is one of the most well-known defense lawyers in Miami. In 2009, he successfully defended popular Indy-Car driver Helio Castroneves from tax evasion and conspiracy charges.

The federal government had accused Castroneves of hiding money in offshore accounts, in order to avoid paying taxes on it. The government accused Castroneves, his sister Katiucia Castroneves and their lawyer Alan Miller, of coming up with a complex scheme to shelter (Helio) Castroneves’s money using financial accounts in banks located in Panama and the Netherlands. Black won Castroneves’s acquital by arguing that a suspicious Panamanian account that the prosecution said had been used by Castroneves and his sister to shield money, had actually been created and controlled by Castroneves’s father and that Helio Castroneves was not responsible for any taxes related to it.

The government also accused Castroneves of attempting to trick his employers into paying him money without withholding any of it for taxes. This is legal under certain deferred royalty plans, but authorities suspected Castroneves of plotting to defer payment indefinitely when he moved to another country lacking a federal income tax. Black, however, argued that Castroneves had every intention of paying taxes on his income when it came time.

The jury originally acquitted Castroneves and his co-defendants of the tax evasion charges but continued to deliberate over a charge of conspiracy. Black argued that it would be illogical for the jury to find Castroneves innocent of the tax evasion charges, but then to convict him of conspiring to evade them. The jury, eventually, cleared Castroneves on all charges, thanks, in large part, to Blacks defense.

Hiring an effective criminal defense lawyer like Black can be expensive. Criminal defense attorneys in Miami usually charge a flat fee, which is based on the severity of the charges. The fee for a case involving a misdemeanor is typically lower than that for a felony. Criminal Defense retainers typically run upwards of $2000 for cases involving misdemeanors and upwards of $5000 for cases involving felonies. These fees can seem very steep, yet not hiring a lawyer or hiring the wrong lawyer might be even more expensive.

In the Castroneves case, not hiring Black might have resulted in serious consequences for Castroneves. Another lawyer might not have used Black’s strategy of arguing that the Panamanian account was controlled by Castroneves’s father and that Castroneves himself was not responsible for the taxes on the account.

If Castroneves had been convicted, the price he would have paid would have been steep. He might have been sentenced to six years in prison and/or been deported. His racing career might have been over and his advertisers might have been able to recover the money they had paid to sponsor him if his contract were canceled.

The prosecution was tasked with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Castroneves and not his father owned the Panamanian account. Because it could not prove that and because it did not offer evidence that Castroneves planned to move outside of the United States, the defense won its case.

Challenges and Impediments to finding a good criminal lawyer
Sometimes the best criminal defense lawyers are also the most expensive. Lawyers who
win most of their cases will be able to increase their fees.

The best lawyers may also have the heaviest case loads. Criminal Defense lawyers who are in high demand may not have as much time to dedicate to your case as others.

With so may lawyers to choose from in the Miami area, it can be difficult to know which ones to pick. One way to get a good idea of how successful a lawyer might be in defending you is to look at past cases that lawyer has been involved in. Searching news archives can be very revealing. It can show you major wins and major losses of attorneys and may even give some indication as to how that attorney has treated his clients.

Questions to ask before selecting an attorney
1. Have you ever successfully defended a case like mine before?
2. Do you charge a flat fee or an hourly fee?
3. If you charge a flat fee, would you be willing to sign a contract agreeing on the exact amount to be paid?
4. Will I be asked to testify on my own behalf?

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer can seem time consuming and expensive, yet it may be more costly to go without one.

Is There a Do-It-Yourself Way of Declaring Bankruptcy?

In order to have a clean slate and be relieved of debts, federal laws allow provisions for declaring bankruptcy. Before 2005, the laws were comparatively easy but now, they are pretty complicated. So much so that it is always recommended to hire a lawyer to make matters easy and hassle free. Before you decide to file for bankruptcy and hire a bankruptcy attorney, there is some education you need on the matter. The following points will clear your doubts about bankruptcy –

Consider All Options – It is only a hearsay that equates bankruptcy with a clean slate. In reality, there are a lot of things to consider. Most important of them being – Are you willing to have an almost permanent record on your credit history? Bankruptcy record would stay on your records for 10 years. Also, your creditors, if they are business clients or associates, might stop or refuse to do any more business with you. This is why bankruptcy is always the last resort. If you can, you need to try these options before declaring bankruptcy –

 Refinancing – You can pay back your loans by refinancing or modifying your credit and owed debts.

 Consolidation – For credit card debt, you can go for consolidation and get on top of your debt. Also, you can try negotiating with your creditors and work out a plan of payment that works for both of you.

 Credit Counseling – There are professionals who can be hired for guiding and educating you through your debt situation.

However, sometimes you may not have any other option other than filing for bankruptcy. If you –

 Are unemployed and have used up the remaining savings you have;
 Still have back-taxes to pay;
 Have a foreclosure on your home; or
 Are going to be sued for the debts you have not paid.

In these cases, bankruptcy might be the only viable option.

Types of Bankruptcy – Basically, there are two common types of bankruptcy that can be filed by you –

 Chapter 7 – This is the popular option. It is liquidation bankruptcy, which means that all your owed debts will be cancelled. Your protected property can be kept by you as long as you keep making payments. However, you will have to hand over your non-exempt property so that it can be used to pay back your creditors.

 Chapter 13 – This allows you a time period of 3 – 5 years to set up a repayment plan to pay back your creditors. If you continue making your payments, you can keep your property, car and other large assets. Sometimes, you could be forced into this option after the means test is conducted.

Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer – Hiring an attorney is entirely up to you. It depends on the amount of confidence you have. However, it is still a recommended option because of the complexities involved in declaring bankruptcy. You need to file the papers properly and in the right way, otherwise your case could be thrown out of court and that would not be good. A bankruptcy attorney would know all the details and would save you from a lot of trouble. You can leave everything to them and focus on things that require your personal attention. Trifles and technicalities can be dealt by your attorney. The American Bar Association would help you get some free legal service, and you can explore your options with them as well.

Fees to Consider – Filing for bankruptcy is not a free of cost process and the following are the fees you need to consider –

 Lawyer’s Fee – You need to consider the lawyer’s fee unless you go for the free legal service option. Different bankruptcy attorneys charge different fees – some charge a flat fee while others vary their fees depending on the amount of debt owed. Usually, you should look for a bankruptcy lawyer who charges a flat fee.

In order for your lawyer to file Chapter 7 case, they cannot be your creditor. Thus, the lawyer’s fee needs to be paid in full before the case gets filed. However, if some amount is still owed by you to your lawyer when Chapter 7 case is filed, the fees will have to be waived off by the lawyer if they want to continue representing you.

For Chapter 13 case, the fees can be paid to your lawyer through the chapter 13 plan and you need not pay it all on full before the case.

The average lawyer’s fee is around $1700.

 Court Filing Fees – This would come around $200, but you can apply for bankruptcy fee waiver. That would allow you a reasonable time after the filing to pay your bankruptcy fee.

Credit Counseling – Under Bankruptcy code, as amended in 2005 by BAPCPA, it is necessary for every individual filing bankruptcy to undergo credit counseling from an approved entity by the US Trustee. This should be done within 180 days of filing the bankruptcy case. BAPCA has a means test to pass, which your lawyer can help you. Lesser means individuals will get to file Chapter 7 and others with better means will file Chapter 13.

The purpose of the counseling would be to discuss and educate you about the alternatives to filing bankruptcy and keeping it as a last resort.

Completion of the Filing Process – After the means test, the lawyer you have hired will file your case. The next step is a “meeting with creditors” so that the trustee can make sure all your answers and claims in your case are truthful. The meeting does not last for more than 10 minutes. You can go through the common sample questions with your lawyer prior to the meeting. Creditors will be within their rights to ask you questions. After 4 – 6 months of filing, your case will be completed.

Your creditors are allowed to challenge the decision within 60 days. After filing the petition, you will get an “automatic stay” from your creditors. For any questions, they have to contact your lawyer.