Archive for February, 2019

When Is a Company Liable For a Slip and Fall Injury?

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

When Is a Company Liable For a Slip and Fall Injury?

You walk in the door to an office building, slip on wet ground, and land on your back. It’s painful and embarrassing, but worst yet, you’re injured. Who’s to blame? Slip and fall injuries can be anywhere from a minor inconvenience to a very serious problem. Whether you received a minor bruise or you were hospitalized, you still have a right to compensation in most cases. In some situations, however, you aren’t able to receive as much (or any) compensation. So what determines whether or not the company is liable for your slip and fall injury? Every case is different, and you should contact a personal injury attorney in your state to find out exactly what you should do, but here are some general guidelines.

Knew and Took No Action

If the property owner knew about the condition but took no action to prevent an injury or remedy the dangerous condition, then the property owner is probably liable. From a legal standpoint, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to know what’s going on in their building and to protect those who enter it — whether they work there or are visiting. It can be hard to prove that the property owner knew about the condition, but if you can prove that the owner knew and didn’t do anything about it, you likely have a solid case against the company or property owner.

Should Have Known

Another legal stipulation that may come into play during your case is whether or not the property owner should have known that the dangerous situation existed. For instance, if the elevator in a building was seriously damaged and its faulty operation caused your injury, the property owner should have known that the elevator was dangerous. Why? Because they own the property and, therefore, have a responsibility to keep up the maintenance of those types of things.

Created the Situation

Maybe the property owner created the situation. In that case, you almost certainly have legal options when attempting to get restitution from the company or property owner. For instance, if a property owner had an event in the lobby and water ended up on the floor, that would probably fall under the category of the property owner creating a dangerous situation. This is particularly true if no warnings, signs, or other precautions were put into place to warn people that an area would be wet.

Went On For Too Long

There are some dangerous situations that cannot be addressed immediately. However, if a property owner let a dangerous situation go on for too long, he or she may be liable for any injuries that occurred because of that dangerous situation. To use the elevator example, perhaps the property owner realized there was a problem with the elevator but waited a year to fix it. In a court of law, that would probably be considered too long to have waited to fix an issue as serious as a faulty elevator.

When Companies Are Not at Fault

While the company or property owner is responsible for making sure that their property is safe, there are some situations in which the property owner will not be found liable. For instance, if the victim of the slip and fall was careless in their actions, the court may find that their actions contributed to the situation. While that victim may receive some compensation, it likely will not be the same amount of compensation they would have received had they not been a contributor to the accident. Another reason that somebody would not get the compensation they thought they deserved from a company is if the victim themselves created the situation or ignored posted signs or warnings. Any time a victim contributes to or causes their condition of being a victim, the court will either not allow them to receive any compensation or will seriously decrease the amount of compensation they can get from the property owner.

If you have been the victim of a slip and fall accident, it’s important that you exercise your legal rights. Only an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney in your state will be able to provide the type of defense you deserve. Make sure to get a quote immediately by consulting with a personal injury attorney and seeing what can be done to remedy your situation. Contacting a personal injury attorney and obtaining your first consultation is the first step towards protecting your freedom and your future.

Does a Cop Need a Permit to Search My Car?

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Does a Cop Need a Permit to Search My Car?

If you’re pulled over, cops have a right to ask you to exit your vehicle, and you have to comply. But what about searching your car? In most cases, a cop need either a warrant or an observable, actual cause to search your car. In other words, if the cop can see an open bottle of beer in the cup holder or a bag of drugs in the back seat, yes, they can ask you to search your car. But if a warrant or a real, observable cause for suspicion are not present, you do not have to consent to a search. Here’s what to do.

Be Respectful and Calm

Your case is almost always going to be undermined if you lose your cool. Yes, it’s scary to have your car searched and it feels like an invasion of your privacy – and it is. But that doesn’t mean you get to lose control. Address the cop as “Officer”, “ma’am”, or “sir”. Always be courteous and respectful. You don’t want anything you say or any action you make to be used against you.

Don’t Speak

You may have to answer certain questions or address the officer to be respectful, but you do not have to answer any incriminating questions. While it’s your right to not speak, it’s not their duty to tell you that unless they’re detaining you. Always keep your responses minimal, and if you don’t want to answer a question you can always say “Officer, I respectfully decline to answer that question without legal representation.” That’s absolutely fair and within your rights to do so.

Are You Being Detained?

Unfortunately, officers are not required to tell you that you’re free to go. Sometimes, a traffic stop feels like a detainment when it’s not a legal detainment. If you’re detained, it means you’re likely under arrest or about to be and the officer isn’t going to let you leave. Legal detainment is any substantial restriction of movement, meaning you can’t go anywhere. That being said, officers can sometimes use slightly manipulative tactics to get you to stay and let them search, even when they know you can go. In other words, most officers won’t say “Just so you know, you can refuse this search and go because you’re not detained.” It just doesn’t happen that often. Use the phrase “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” That question will inform your next move. If you’re not being detained, let the officer know you’re leaving and are happy to answer any further questions with legal representation present.

Refuse the Search

Unless there’s a real, observable cause for suspicion or the officer has a warrant, you can absolutely refuse to have your car searched. Simply say “Officer, I do not consent to have my vehicle searched.” If you get threatened or it seems like the officer isn’t going to use proper conduct, opt for safety, try to keep the situation calm, and then tell your attorney exactly what happened. Tell your traffic or criminal defense attorney that you didn’t consent, that you in fact expressed refusal, that you were threatened (or whatever happened), and that the search happened anyway. It’s always better to collect information (and footage or evidence if you can) at the scene than it is to cause a scuffle or be aggressive with the officer. Officers are trained to see every traffic stop as a potential threat. Don’t give them a reason to see you as one.

Never try to best the legal system alone. If you were the victim of an illegal search or you feel that evidence against you was gained through illegal means, it’s important that you hire a defense attorney right away. Whether it’s a traffic attorney or a criminal defense attorney, only a legal professional with experience and qualifications can assist you in creating the best possible defense. Exercise your right to fight erroneous charges and get a legal consultation today. Your future and freedom depend on it.

What is Elder Abuse and How Do I Take Legal Action?

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

What is Elder Abuse and How Do I Take Legal Action?

Putting your loved one’s safety in the hands of others is always nerve-racking. Finding out that the people you trusted to take care of that loved one have abused them is downright heartbreaking — and angering. Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than you might think. Three million people in the U.S. experience some kind of neglect or abuse while in nursing homes. So what is elder abuse and how can you take legal action? Here are some tips.

What is Elder Abuse?

Any time someone in charge of caring for an elderly person abuses, neglects, or takes advantage of them, it’s elder abuse. An elder is legally defined as anyone who is 60 years of age or older. This care can be in any capacity. Nursing homes, in-home care, assisted living, someone else’s home, in a hospital, during physical therapy — all of these situations can put an elderly person at risk of elder abuse. The elderly may not always speak up. Sometimes they’re embarrassed. Other times they don’t think anyone will believe them. And in many cases, they feel threatened by their abuser and feel that if they speak up, worse things will happen to them. You can help by looking for the signs of elder abuse.

Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can take many forms. There are five main types of elder abuse: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, financial, and neglect. Knowing the signs of each of these forms of elder abuse can save lives. Here are the warning signs to look for that can help you identify each type of abuse.

●     Physical Abuse – unexplained cuts and bruises, bleeding, sprains, broken bones, person doesn’t want to seek medical attention, repetitive injuries (often of the same kind)

●     Sexual Abuse – torn clothing, bloody clothing, STDs, bruises on or around sensitive areas, bleeding from sensitive areas, change in behavior

●     Psychological Abuse – unexplained changes in behavior, rocking, thumb sucking, talking to self, confusion, depression, no interest in preferred activities, withdrawn behavior, frightened behavior, insomnia, nightmares

●     Financial Abuse – unexplained withdrawals, “new friend” that seems too close, missing financial paperwork, forged signatures, letters or documents that change or disappear, collection call, utilities that get shut off

●     Neglect – Hygiene not kept up, dirty clothes, skin rashes, missing medical devices (like hearing aides or walkers), rapid weight loss, bedsores, disappearance of hunger

This is not a complete list of symptoms, but it should give you a good idea of what to look for. Any time your loved one shows a change of behavior or things don’t seem right, follow that intuition and look deeper.

Seeking Legal Help

Speaking with the victim of elder abuse to get as much information as possible is important. Try to make them understand that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that you care about them, and that you’re going to make sure this abuse stops. However, if pushing them to answer more questions is going to cause them undue anxiety, just get whatever information you can. Record what you can and take it to the facility. However, since many facilities may feel more pressure to protect their reputation than to take action, call 911, as well, and seek the advice of an elder abuse attorney in your state.

Never try to go it alone in the legal system. If your loved one is being abused or you suspect elder abuse is going on, let the facility know, call the authorities, and hire an elder abuse attorney in your state. Only a qualified and experienced elder abuse attorney will be able to help you gather evidence, create a case, and defend the rights and physical safety of your loved one to the fullest extent of the law. Get a consultation today and take the first step down the road towards healing for you and your loved one.

Will I Be Sued If an Auto Accident Was My Fault and the Other Party Was Injured?

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Will I Be Sued If an Auto Accident Was My Fault and the Other Party Was Injured?

If you’re at fault in an accident and somebody else gets hurt, it’s a terrible feeling. The first thing you think about is getting help for anybody who is injured. But the next thing on your mind is likely the legal ramifications. Most incidents are resolved with insurance, but you could be sued in a few situations. Here are some reasons somebody might decide to see you if they were injured in an accident that you were at fault for. If somebody does sue you, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible so that you have the best chance when you go to court.

Reckless Behavior

If you were engaged in any form of reckless behavior, it might be grounds for somebody to sue you. Excessive speeding can be seen as reckless behavior. So can driving while drinking or under the influence of drugs. Even distracted driving, such as looking at your phone or another device, can be seen as reckless behavior in the eyes of the law. This is not a complete list of things that can be considered reckless behavior but it might give you an idea of some of the things you might have to worry about if you were engaged in such behavior.

Negligence

Negligence is typically anything that involves abandoning the implied duty to your fellow humans. For instance, let’s say you caused an accident that resulted in injuries and then left the scene or didn’t call for help. Either of those things could be seen as exhibiting negligence. If you show a lack of regard for those who are injured, that’s a problem. Any time you could have provided care but either refused to do so or just didn’t do so, you can almost be sure that a negligence claim will be filed against you.

Other Reasons

If you were driving without headlights or exhibited suspicious behavior, those could be factors that lead someone to sue you. If there were contributing factors that you could have controlled, such as failure to wear the proper corrective lenses or driving with sunglasses in the dark, those could be seen as reckless, negligent, or just irresponsible behavior. Any time minors are involved, your situation worsens, as well.

No Insurance

Driving without insurance is probably the best way to get sued. It shows disregard for the law and for the safety of others, at least from a legal standpoint. Not only is having car insurance mandatory in most states, it’s also important because that’s how most driving-related incidents are taken care of. If you don’t have any insurance, the injured party’s insurance company might want to take legal action against you because they’re being left with the brunt of the financial responsibility.

If you think you’ll be sued due to an accident, it’s important to get an attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced, qualified attorney can help you craft the best defense and present your case in a court of law. The legal system is intentionally complex and confusing for the average citizen. That’s why law schools exist. Get a consultation as soon as possible and take the first steps towards defending your freedom and your future.