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Danger on the Roads: Emergency Vehicle Accidents

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Danger on the Roads: Emergency Vehicle Accidents

If you have ever been involved in a car wreck, needed assistance from law enforcement personnel or needed help putting out a fire, you were likely extremely grateful for the valuable service that the emergency responders provided. They work long hours for modest pay and put themselves in danger nearly every day, all to protect virtual strangers from harm. Sometimes, however, the emergency vehicles play a part in accidents. To learn more about the dangers of emergency vehicle accidents, read on. Heavy and Fast If you’ve ever been up close to an ambulance or firetruck, you may have been impressed with the solid build and sturdiness of the vehicles. They are built to hold heavy equipment and to withstand forces that normal trucks don’t have to contend with. Additionally, by their very nature, they are often moving at a high rate of speed, and that is understandable; if it were your loved one inside, you would want that ambulance to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. If you combine both the increased weight and the higher speeds that these vehicles travel on a regular basis, you can see the potential for problems when the worst happens and a passenger car collides with an emergency vehicle. Deadly Statistics Accidents involving emergency vehicles often cause more trauma to the injured due to their speed and weight. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has studied the incidents of crashes that involve ambulances, police cars and firetrucks and the results show that injuries and fatalities are more likely to occur with those types of vehicles. The NHTSA studied accidents over a 20 year period and the findings are striking: Every year, on average, there were 29 ambulance accidents that caused an average of 33 fatalities. Of those fatalities, 63% consisted of people in the passenger vehicle; 21% were ambulance passengers. 60% of accidents occurred while the vehicle was in emergency use, in other words, when they were traveling to or from an accident. Dealing With an Accident If you have been involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle, you should not be reluctant to seek compensation just because of the circumstances. You have a right to travel the roadways and be safe, regardless of speeding police cars or firetrucks. These first responders could make mistakes when driving just like anyone else, but the result of a crash with one of these speeding vehicles could result in serious injuries and a life-changing recovery process. Talk to an auto accident attorney right away for professional legal assistance to get you the compensation you need and...

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3 Costly Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Your Taxes As A Self-Employed Freelancer

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Costly Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Your Taxes As A Self-Employed Freelancer

Breaking away from the nine-to-five and being your own boss sure comes with its fair amount of perks as a freelancer, but when tax time rolls around, all the glory you take advantage of through the year can pale in comparison to the hassle of filing your self-employment taxes. It can sometimes feel like just being a freelancer means you are being penalized by the IRS, with costly self-employment taxes to pay and complications at every turn. However, you can make things even harder on yourself during tax-filing season if you don’t get professional help. Take a look at these common filing mistakes you have to avoid as a self-employed freelancer.  Mistake: Not claiming deductions out of fear of an audit.  Why? The big and scary idea of being an audit risk prevents a lot of freelancers from claiming deductions they are truly entitled to that can save them a lot of money during tax time. Even though your risk of an audit goes up slightly with deductions as a freelancer, you should never let this slight risk keep you from claiming these deductions. As long as you are being honest and have the paperwork to back up whatever it is you are claiming, you should be fine even if you do get audited after filing.  Mistake: Trying to write off too many deductions.  Why? At the other end of the spectrum from those who are scared to claim deductions at all falls the freelancer who tries their darndest to write off everything they can think of. While it is definitely ideal to claim as many deductions as you can, whether it is fuel costs to get to meetings or hotel stays relative to business, you cannot go overboard and try to write off things that aren’t even business related. keep receipts on all of your purchases through the year and talk to your accountant or tax adviser about what can and cannot be deducted.  Mistake: Not getting advice from a professional about your tax filing situation.  Why? So now you are a freelancer, and even though the taxes you have to file look more complicated, you try to navigate through on your own. Because you are self-employed, you are now basically a business owner, which can completely change everything about how you file your taxes. It is especially important to get some helpful advice from an income tax preparation expert the first few years that you are self...

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Personal Injuries That You Cannot See: Handling Cases With Internal Causes

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Personal Injuries That You Cannot See: Handling Cases With Internal Causes

Not all personal injuries are on the outside and visible. Case in point: mesothelioma, which is brought on by the inhalation of asbestos. Mesothelioma is just one of dozens of personal injury causes and cases involving damage to the internal organs of a person’s body, and often it takes years for these diseases to appear. If you have recently been diagnosed with a health condition that could be job-related, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. Here is why. Caustic Chemicals Take Their Toll Imagine inhaling fumes from industrial cleaners, solvents, or bleach for a few months. Despite the fact that this comes with the territory of many production and industrial jobs, you should still have adequate protection against the inhalation of the fumes. All of your facial orifices (including the mucus membranes of your eyes) should be protected while you are at work. These caustic chemicals are linked to loss of vision, loss of sense of smell and taste, nasal and throat cancers, lung cancers, etc. Some of the chemicals will present effects almost immediately, but others will build up in your system over time. Even if you can tolerate the pungent smells, you still have rights under OSHA for proper protective equipment (i.e., equipment your employer is required to pay for and you are required to wear). Delays Between Exposure and Health Problems As mesothelioma and asbestos and hexavalent chromium and cancers have shown, time and again, the time between first exposure and initial onset of health problems can be anywhere between one and ten years. As such, most states do not carry a statute of limitations on lawsuits regarding personal injuries of the internal kind. You also do not have to work for that company anymore, nor does any exposure to others living in the same house but not working for the company have any impact on your lawsuit. (Lawsuits regarding high radiation exposure, for example, and the transmission of radiation to others in your home fall under this type of personal injury lawsuit. Your spouse and/or children who are exposed by direct contact with you and indirect contact with your job have a right to sue as well.) Lawsuit Development First and foremost, talk to a lawyer. Present the lawyer with medical records as far back as you have had these medical issues. Find out what chemicals or dangerous elements you may have been exposed to while you were working in every job for the last decade. Investigative efforts are necessary to find out if your health issues are related to your job or to any environmental exposure of injurious toxins. If so, you have a personal injury case. For more information, contact local professionals like Bennett & Sharp...

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Telltale Signs Of Elder Financial Abuse

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Telltale Signs Of Elder Financial Abuse

Elder abuse isn’t restricted to physical abuse; there are other forms of abuse, including financial abuse. Financial abuse takes different forms such as forgery and fraud. For example, a caregiver may promise lifelong care to an elder in exchange for a real estate property. Here are some of the telltale signs that may point to elder financial abuse: Mysterious Asset Transfer Mysterious expenditures or transfer of assets should rouse your suspicion, especially if they were open and straightforward before. Check written to “friends,” large donations to charities, unexplained credit card charges, and sudden financial difficulties to confirm that they haven’t been victimized by financial abuse. Perpetrators of this crime have ingenious ways of carrying out their schemes, so don’t let anything slide if it seems suspicious. For example, a caregiver may convince an elderly person to give them power of attorney to manage the elder’s finances. The caregiver can then use this power to siphon the elder’s assets for personal gain. Unpaid Bills and Liabilities You should also be suspicious if your loved one seems to be struggling financially despite adequate income and assets. For example, you should investigate your loved one’s finances if their phone contract has been terminated, rent is in arrears, the yard is unkempt, and insurance premiums aren’t being paid in time. This is likely to happen if another person (the abuser) is using the money that should be used for settling these bills. Unexplained Disappearances of Valuable Items Elder financial abuse doesn’t have to involve grand schemes of fraud; sometimes it takes the form of plain theft. Those who have access to your loved one’s residence may “help themselves” to the elder’s valuable items, especially those small enough to be carried out with ease. Expensive watches, jewelry, and cash may start disappearing from the house without the usual signs of burglary, such as broken windows or doors. Missing Financial Statements Those who commit elder financial abuse obviously don’t want to be caught. To cover up their trails, they may also steal or hide financial statements from the victims. You should be suspicious, therefore, if your loved one doesn’t get their credit card statements, communications from their insurers, and their bank statements as before. Don’t wait until you are sure that financial abuse (or any form of abuse) is taking place before you can take action. Whenever you suspect something fishy is going on, carry out some investigations to get to the root of the matter. You should also consult a lawyer, such as those at Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S., to discuss your options for legal...

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Your Child Just Got A DUI

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Your Child Just Got A DUI

You sent your child to college with the best intentions and high hopes for a better future. Now, all of your dreams for your child are in jeopardy after hearing that they just received a DUI. While it is normal to want to rant and cry, it is important to realize that your child needs you now more than ever. As you step into a world full of legal jargon and frightening consequences for your child’s behavior, use these strategies to help them get their life back on track. Get In the Right Mindset Finding out that your child was driving under the influence is enough to send any parent into hysterics. However, your child has likely already experienced the hardships of jail time and having their car impounded. If they were involved in an accident, then they are also dealing with the heavy weight of responsibility that accompanies knowing that their actions caused an injury or damage to another person’s property. Simply put, your child is probably scared, embarrassed and worried about their future. Spend a few moments collecting your thoughts before going to deal with your child. This way, you will be able to focus with a clear mind on the issues at hand because they might not be able to look at their situation rationally just yet. Understand the Potential Consequences Before you can begin to help put your child’s life back together, you will need to fully understand the charges and potential penalties. For underage drivers, the consequences of a DUI are usually harsh and designed to deter future instances of driving under the influence. Jail time, stiff fines and the loss of their driver’s license are just a few legal penalties your child may face. Socially, the stigma of having a DUI on their record can also affect their future ability to continue their education, start a career and obtain positions of leadership within their community. While many parents initially think that their child should take responsibility for their actions, it is more important to focus on avoiding having your child suffer for years due to a one-time mistake. Seek Legal Counsel An experienced DUI attorney helps explain the specifics of your child’s case while identifying potential options that can minimize the effects of a conviction on your child’s life. For example, evidence collected at the scene such as a blood test may not always be admissible in court if the proper protocol for collection was not followed. Even if your child is found guilty, there are ways to minimize the long-term penalties by agreeing to seek treatment and counseling. Having qualified legal counsel on your side will also help your child deal with the stress if they have to go to court. While hearing from your child in jail is the most heart sinking feeling imaginable, it is important not to lose hope. The college years are a time when many kids make mistakes as they test the boundaries of their newfound independence. By helping your child handle their DUI case correctly as they take responsibility for their actions, you can look toward the future with new hope that they will reach their fullest...

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Time For A Divorce? 4 Reasons A Collaborative Divorce May Be Your Best Option

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Time For A Divorce? 4 Reasons A Collaborative Divorce May Be Your Best Option

Filing for divorce is never easy, but if you and your spouse are still on speaking terms, there are some steps you can take to make the process less difficult. One way to simplify the process is to choose a collaborative divorce. Unlike traditional divorces, where both sides are pitted against each other, and the case usually ends up being battled out in court, the collaborative divorce takes a more respectful approach to the process. If you and your spouse have remained on amicable terms, a collaborative divorce may be your best option. Here are four steps that make a collaborative divorce so unique. The Attorneys Work Together During a traditional divorce, attorneys work to further the demands of their client. This requires both sides to take on adversarial roles. While this approach may be necessary in some situations – especially when both parties are at odds – there are times when it can be avoided. If you and your spouse choose a collaborative divorce, your attorneys will work together to develop a divorce settlement that will benefit both of you. Information is Freely Shared One of the benefits of a collaborative divorce is that information is freely shared on both sides. This means that you and your spouse won’t have to spend additional money trying to track down information that’s necessary for the settlement. This is particularly important when it comes to financial disclosures such as bank statements, retirement accounts, and investment portfolios. Negotiations are Confidential Unlike traditional divorces where the case becomes a matter of public record, a collaborative divorce allows you to maintain your privacy. This is possible because all your negotiations will be confidential. Your divorce paperwork won’t even be filed until you and your spouse have reached a settlement agreement. Courtroom Battles are Avoided One of the problems with a traditional divorce is that it often requires judicial intervention to come to an agreement. Unfortunately, that means a judge will be making the final determination regarding your settlement. With a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will work with your attorneys to reach an agreement without judicial intervention. It should be noted that if the collaborative process fails, you still have the option of proceeding with a traditional divorce. If you and your spouse have reached a unanimous decision to call it quits, you might be able to avoid the stress associated with a traditional divorce. Talk to your attorney about the benefits of choosing a collaborative divorce. For more information, contact family lawyers, such as Scott Lyons Attorney at...

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Three Tips For Knowing When To Settle Your Personal Injury Claim

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Tips For Knowing When To Settle Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have filed a personal injury claim, the insurance company of the opposite party is who you are going to be dealing with. You will fill out forms to properly file your claim and the insurance company will contact you for further information. This is the best way for the insurance company to determine what they believe is a fair amount to compensate you for. However, before you accept a settlement offer, especially the first one that is offered to you, here are three tips you need to consider: Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: If you are completely unaware of how much your case is worth, you need a personal injury attorney. You also need a personal injury attorney if you feel that your case will need to go to court. This is the case if you know that you are being offered much too little for compensation, but the insurance company will not work with you on a compromise. Either way, you need a personal injury attorney who can help you determine the worth of your case, deal with the insurance company, and be by your side if your case does go to court to ensure that you are not taken advantage of. This last part is especially important if you are up against a big insurance company.  Be Realistic: When a settlement offer is given to you, you need to be realistic. Is the offer reasonable and within your range? If so, then it’s probably best to accept it instead of attempting to fight for more money. If you aren’t realistic, it can land your case in court, which isn’t ideal, especially if the insurance company has already been willing to work with you and offered a reasonable amount of money. This is because, once your case is taken to court, you have no control over the settlement amount given to you. This amount is instead determined by a judge with no negotiations.  Weigh the Risks of Rejecting an Offer:  If the insurance company has offered you a value lower than what you and your attorney have ranged your case is worth, then you can reject it and provide thorough reasoning for why you deserve more. If they come back with an offer that is still lower than your range, you need to weigh the risks that come with rejecting that second offer. If you reject the second offer, your case may be taken to court. Be sure to talk to your attorney about whether or not you should accept. Your attorney may suggest that you do accept it despite it being low because, once your case is taken to court, there is a high risk that you will actually be given a lower amount in compensation still.  When you consider these three tips for knowing when to settle your personal injury claim, you can be sure that you are not settling too soon, but also taking enough time to consider each offer that comes...

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3 Tips To Help You Strengthen Your Working Relationship With Your Attorney

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips To Help You Strengthen Your Working Relationship With Your Attorney

If you are in the process of going through a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want to make sure that you are able to create and maintain a strong relationship with your attorney. Here are three tips that will help you make your relationship more productive for your case. #1 Always Tell The Truth Your attorney is going to need to ask you a lot of questions and get a lot of information from you in order to proceed forward with your case. When your attorney asks you questions, it is important that you answer honestly and provide your attorney with an in-depth answer. Remember, when you talk with your attorney, the information that you share is protected by attorney-client privilege. It is not like testifying in court, when you want to keep your answers short and to the point. It is best to give your attorney in-depth and truthful answers to that they are prepared for whatever you say when you are on the witness stand. They need to know everything that you know so if you give more information than necessary on the stand, they are prepared to deal with it. You also don’t want the other attorney to surprise your attorney in court with information that you didn’t share. #2 Understand Their Job Most attorneys are not working on just one case at a time. In order to maintain their practice, most attorneys work on multiple cases with numerous clients at the same time. That means they have to balance their schedule so that they are able to meet and keep all clients informed about what is happening with their case, attend all court dates, and research each case. Your attorney, for each case that they have, has to reach out to numerous organizations and individuals to gather information for each case. They also have to meet with opposing counsel. Being aware of all the time and relationships that your attorney is juggling will help you better respect their time and understand what they are dealing with. Try to make any appointments, whether in person or on the phone, that you set up with your attorney. They have a lot of people to juggle and it can be difficult to fit you in if you blow off a meeting. #3 Understand How Your Case Works Finally, make sure that you understand the steps of your case. This will help you communicate more effectively with your attorney. Most cases go through the following steps: attorney consultation, attorney investigation into your case, and settlement negotiations with the other party. Once your case is actually filled, it will go through the following steps: complaint and answer, discovery, motions, mediation, and trial. Each of these steps can take days or months to complete. Coordinate with your attorney so that you understand what step you are on and how much time that step may take. Understanding the flow of your case will improve your communication with your lawyer and will help you manage your...

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There Is Life After Bankruptcy: Making A Fresh Start

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on There Is Life After Bankruptcy: Making A Fresh Start

Most people only declare bankruptcy as a last-ditch effort to get out from under a burden of debt and to make a fresh financial start. Your financial future can be quite uncertain when you are in the middle of the process, but once you file you will undoubtedly begin to feel a great sense of relief. Many bankruptcy filers wonder sadly if they will ever be able to use credit again to buy a car or a house, since the federal filing stays on your credit report for a very long time. All is not lost, however, people do recover from bankruptcy and go on to a much better financial future, so read on to learn more about life after bankruptcy. 1. Before you can make better financial decisions, you should examine the reasons that landed you in bankruptcy court in the first place. Only by examining your mistakes can you avoid repeating them in the future. Fortunately, making a budget, learning to use credit more wisely, putting aside money for emergencies, etc are all skills that can be learned. 2. Your credit report is your financial status report, so make it a habit to view your report every few weeks. Once your bankruptcy is final, ensure that all debts included in your bankruptcy petition are showing the correct status on your report, not as open or accounts in arrears. Any inaccuracies must be reported, in writing, to each of the 3 main credit reporting agencies. 3. Be wary of credit card offers that arrive soon after your bankruptcy is complete. These creditors use the public filings database to target consumers who have no credit thanks to their recent bankruptcy. Often, these cards offer punitive high interest rates and numerous fees just to have an account. 4. Keep up with your credit status by using a free site; don’t get suckered into a monitoring program that you have to pay for. These sites have the unpleasant side effect of ads and credit card “suggestions”, but the information is reliable and free. Check out Creditkarma.com and Credit.com. Additionally, use the internet for more help and support in your journey back to good credit by visiting a forum like Creditboards, where you can ask questions about credit and everything credit-related and hear some success stories from those in the same boat as you. Your financial fresh start is closer than you think. Talk to a bankruptcy attorney, like one at Dunbar & Dunbar, for more information about declaring...

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2 Ways That An Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help Strengthen Your Case

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Ways That An Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help Strengthen Your Case

One of the most important calls that you can make after being involved in an auto accident is to an accident lawyer, mostly because of the many ways in which he or she can help you increase the chances of winning your case and getting the money that you deserve. Listed below are two ways that an auto accident lawyer can help you strengthen your case. Investigate The Events Leading Up To The Accident One of the most important ways that an attorney can strengthen your case is by investigating the events leading up to your accident. This is vital because one of the most common defense strategies used by a person who has caused an accident is to try and push the blame onto the victim. Not only can this lead to you having to pay for every accident-related expense on your own if the strategy is successful, but you may even find yourself being held liable for the medical and repair expenses of the person who actually cause the accident. However, your attorney will investigate the accident in order to compile evidence to help prevent the blame from being dropped on you. One piece of evidence that your attorney can use is the responsible party’s phone records to determine if he or she was on a call or texting just before the accident occurred, which can lay the blame firmly on him or her. Another piece of evidence that the attorney will look for are any eyewitness accounts or police reports of the accident that state that the responsible party was driving aggressively, swerving around, or simply driving way too fast and recklessly. Negotiate A Settlement Another way that an auto accident lawyer can help you with your case is by making sure that any settlements that you accept are actually beneficial. This is vital because accepting a settlement offer means that you can no longer sue at a later date for more money if it turns out that the settlement that you accepted did not provide enough money for your medical care or vehicle repairs. However, an attorney can help negotiate a favorable settlement because he or she will be able to use documentation from your doctor in order to estimate how much money you will need to pay for that care and make sure that you receive at least that amount. That medical documentation can be used as leverage to increase the amount that is offered by the insurance company or to convince a judge to give you a larger award if the insurance company refuses to increase their settlement offer. In addition, the attorney can also try to negotiate a larger settlement to cover lost wages if your doctor says that you cannot return to work for some time. Contact an auto accident lawyer or law firm today to discuss how they may be able to assist with your particular case. An attorney can strengthen your case by investigating the events leading up to the accident and by negotiating a favorable settlement on your...

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