Hit & Run: Still an Unresolved Threat to the American Public

Hit & Run: Still an Unresolved Threat to the American Public

Oct 05

Under common definition, hit-and-run, or hit and skip, refers to a person’s act of leaving or fleeing from the scene of an accident in order to escape responsibility for injury. On a wider context though, hit-and-run can also be referred to the act of speeding away from a situation that damages properties, whether personal or public, or collides with an animal, injuring or killing it as a result (some states include this within the scope of hit-and-run accidents).

Based on the two definitions above, a hit-and-run accident, therefore, can involve not just a pedestrian or another vehicle (wherein its driver, usually the one who may be identified as the victim, is injured and rendered unconscious), but fixed objects and animals as well. While all state laws require that it occurs on public roads and highways, some states include collisions occurring in parking lots as well.

It is the legal obligation of drivers who are involved in accidents to stop, provide whatever kind of assistance may be needed by anyone who gets injured or loses consciousness, contact traffic enforcers and wait for them to arrive at the scene – this is regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Even if nothing more than damage to property is the issue, both drivers are still legally required to exchange information regarding their identification, insurance provider and contact details. In parking lots where the owner of a vehicle that is damaged is nowhere in sight, then the driver who is at fault should leave a written notice with his/her identification and contact details.

State laws differ when leaving the scene of an accident is the issue. While some states would charge the driver (who is guilty of hit-and-run) a misdemeanor offense, others consider the act a felony, a much more serious offense. Whatever the charge is, though, the following are certain: time behind bars; punitive and compensatory damages; cancellation of insurance policy (upon identification of the hit-and-run driver); and, revocation or suspension of driver’s license (some states are authorized to permanently cancel the offender’s driver’s license).

To mention specific charges and punishment imposed by some states:

  • In Texas, after September 1, 2013, the charge was raised from a third degree felony to a second degree felony. This means up to 20 years in prison, instead of just up to 10
  • In Florida, seriously injuring someone will mean a seven-year sentence, and 10 years if there are fatalities
  • In Arizona, once a hit-and-run driver is identified, he/she will have his/her license suspended for five years (if the case involves serious injuries); fatal accidents will mean 10 years automatic suspension of license. These do not include time in jail yet
  • In Colorado, a law was passed in 2012, which made hit-and-run accidents (with serious bodily injury) a Class 4 felony.

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that majority of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians and, with regard to the cause of the accidents, the major factor is alcohol impairment.

In another study, it is said that drivers tend to run due to varying reasons, including: driving without a license; high blood-alcohol content; or, they’re very young to be charged with a major offense. As the number of drivers fleeing from the scene of an accident continuous to rise, so too does the difficulty of catching them since many have resorted to means that will help them avoid identification, like having their vehicle immediately repainted or have the part damaged by the impact quickly repaired.

Often, victims of hit-and-run have nowhere to turn to, especially for financial support. They will have to understand that they have the law as their ally and a personal injury lawyer, in whatever state they live, as their defender; a Tennessee personal injury lawyer is one example.

Lawyers can never guarantee that a personal injury case, or any case for that matter, will be decided in favor of the plaintiff or complainant; however, filing a civil lawsuit and arguing with the defendant in court without being represented by a truly skilled personal injury lawyer would be similar to getting severely injured the second time, only this time, he/she is face-to-face with the driver at fault.

There are also times, though, when a case is filed against an insurance provider that keeps denying a claim filed by a hit-and-run victim or which employs tactics that will allow it to pay a claimant lesser amount of benefit or make delayed payments.

Assault and Battery Charges in California

Assault and Battery Charges in California

Jul 02

Assault and battery charges can cover a wide range of acts. Some of these acts can be considered relatively minor and result in a misdemeanor. There are also acts that are found to be extremely severe, meriting harsher penalties and a felony charge. For example, incidents that involve minor physical altercation that arise from an argument are typically considered a misdemeanor. On the other hand, the act of making threats with a handgun is commonly understood as something more serious and could constitute to a felony charge.

Under California law, assault is defined as an intentional attempt to physically injure another individual. Threats that make a person feel like they are in danger fall within this definition. On the other hand, battery is seen as the intentional and unlawful use of violence against another person. This includes the use of any type of force that involves physical contact. The law also delineates different ways to classify assault and battery crimes. According to the website of the San Jose criminal defense lawyers with the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., there are 5 different assault and battery charges in California: domestic violence, sexual assault or battery, aggravated assault or battery, simple assault or battery, and motor vehicle assault.

As implied in the earlier examples, particular details will determine whether a given crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. There are also cases when a crime will be considered a “wobbler.” A crime charged as a wobbler leaves room for the prosecutor to use his or her discretion when pursuing the case. A person convicted with simple assault could face up to six months in jail, additional six months of probation, and a $1000 fine. Meanwhile, a simple battery conviction could lead to about six months in county jail, up to six months of probation, and as $2000 fine. Penalties for more serious crimes like sexual assault or battery are much steeper, especially if the crime led to serious bodily harm. In such cases, a convicted individual could face up to 4 years in state prison, as well as formal probation.

Wrongful Death: Information about Taking Legal Action

Wrongful Death: Information about Taking Legal Action

Jun 29

As the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP eloquently puts it, there are very few things in life as tragic and devastating as dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one. There’s no way around the emotional turmoil that such an experience is sure to bring. What’s worse is when this grief becomes compounded due to the knowledge that death could have been avoided if not for the negligent behavior of another party. This leaves the surviving family to deal with consequences that will only increase the burden they are already carrying and make it hard to find the closure they need.

Fortunately, the law provides avenues of relief and comfort for grieving families in these situations. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, individuals seeking out answers can find closure through pursuing a wrongful death claim against the party or individual responsible for their loss. Wrongful death claims encompass all manner of accidents and scenarios that have been made possible due to negligent action committed by another person or entity. This includes fatalities caused by vehicular accidents, workplace explosions, and medical malpractice. A successful claim entitles the family to compensation covering financial expenses caused by the incident like medical expenses and income loss, as well as additional damages for the bereavement and suffering they have had to endure.

A wrongful death claim may be pursued by those that the law recognizes as the “real parties in interest”. While the definition varies from state to state, this usually includes the victim’s immediate family members, spouses and life partners, as well as financial dependents and other persons who stand to suffer financially due to the accident that occurred. These individuals will be allowed to pursue their claim within a specific period of time called the statute of limitations. Again, this differs depending on state laws. Usually, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is at 2 years. If you are looking to pursue a claim in the wake of an unexpected loss, it would be best to consult a legal professional as soon as possible.

What is Court Reporting?

What is Court Reporting?

Jun 26

Plenty of action happens behind the scenes when a case goes to trial. While popular culture suggests that the lawyers are the only ones who put in hard work to craft a formidable argument, there are actually a lot of other players that contribute in building a strong case. For one, there are evidence to be gathered and witnesses to be interviewed so lawyers can point to concrete details to add weight to their points. Tasks like these fall under what’s called litigation support.

As pointed out by the Defender Services Office, the main objective of individuals working in litigation support is to organize, analyze, and present materials that will contribute to the improvement of a given case. Ultimately, the people in litigation support aims to assist lawyers by providing services through records retrieval and court reporting.

While all tasks that fall under litigation support are crucial to the success of a case, court reporting is particularly vital because it involves the documentation of depositions. According to Stratos Legal, a deposition is a sworn statement given by a witness, typically used to pinpoint any issues or contradictions in the testimony delivered during the actual trial. It can also be integrated into the hearing should the witness be unable to make it to court on a specific day.

Traditionally, court reporting is accomplished simply through transcribing the statement made by a witness. Court reporters made use of a special machine called a stenotype in order to be able to type depositions using the shorthand system. However, with the technology available today, court reporters have been able to create more accurate documentations through the use of digital videography and recording.

Brazilian Blowout: What You Need to Know Before Giving it a Try

Brazilian Blowout: What You Need to Know Before Giving it a Try

Jun 23

A Brazilian Blowout is one of the most sought after hair treatments available today. Women who seek out this treatment leave with voluminous, frizz-free, and manageable hair. The whole process involves the use of amino acids to smoothen and seal the hair cuticle, ensuring that these results last for up to three months.

The Brazilian Blowout treatment is the perfect alternative for relaxers and other methods of straighteners that don’t typically last as long. However, most experts agree that Brazilian Blowouts become even more effective when performed on top of these treatments. The amino acids used to the procedure helps target the roots of the hair and fortify the effects left by other chemical treatments.

The men behind Therapy Hair Studio, a Houston hair studio, say the best candidates for a Brazilian Blowout are women with frizzy or damaged hair. It works perfectly regardless of hair type. It doesn’t matter if you have fine, course, or curly hair. If you’re looking for a way to enhance the look of your crowning glory without risking further damage, a Brazilian Blowout is the best option. This is because the treatment is all about working with the natural texture of the hair and improving it for better effect. After the treatment, wavy hair looks naturally straight and bouncy. It will also minimize the look of frizziness for curly and course hair. Meanwhile, women with straight hair will leave with something that looks a lot smoother and shinier following the blowout.

It’s important to note that getting a Brazilian Blowout involves the use of chemicals. While there have been plenty of debates around the harmfulness of these ingredients, these safety concerns won’t be an issue if the treatment is administered by a qualified professional. If you are considering a Brazilian Blowout, you will need to do your research and find the best stylist for the job.

Insurance Bad Faith: What to Do When Your Insurance Policy Doesn’t Hold

Insurance Bad Faith: What to Do When Your Insurance Policy Doesn’t Hold

Jun 20

There’s no way to predict when an accident will happen, nor is there a way to know the exact consequences that such an incident could lead to. The only way people can mitigate the risks they face is by being well-prepared for the possibility of accidents and natural disasters. It’s extremely important to set up safety nets so that damages and injuries can be properly covered and addressed. One such safety net is setting up an insurance policy, which allows an individual the means to prepare for financial losses caused by any catastrophic event.

Unfortunately, having an insurance policy doesn’t always guarantee financial security. Even with individuals that opt to pay more to receive higher benefits, there are some insurance providers that fail to hold up on their end of the agreement. In an act of bad faith, certain insurance providers grant payments that are much smaller than the policy that has been purchased. There have also been instances when insurance providers flat out refuse to act on legitimate claims, by denying the petition or even impeding its processing through malicious and questionable practices.

According to the lawyers at Smith Kendall, PLLC,  insurance bad faith is both a violation of legal statutes and the implicit trust that policyholders place on their providers. It happens because these questionable insurance providers are mostly concerned about avoiding liability, and are much more willing to protect their own interests than that of their clients. Such thinking is incredibly alarming, considering that these companies are in the business of ensuring that individuals won’t have to suffer more that they should. Common types of bad faith practices include false advertising, exaggerating or misrepresenting the coverage of a given insurance policy, and committing insurance code violations like delaying investigations of claims made.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Jun 17

Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other similar institutions all play a vital role in promoting the well-being of a given community. In America, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than a million people currently residing in these establishments in order to receive extended and rehabilitative care they don’t have access to in their own homes. Majority of these residents are elderly individuals aged 65 and older.

Ideally, elderly individuals reside in nursing homes and other similar institutions in order to receive the care and attention they need that their own families might not be able to provide on their own. As such, a nursing home is seen as a place of comfort, allowing relief for some of the most vulnerable members in our society. Unfortunately, the facts of reality don’t always coincide with this objective.

According to the Administration on Aging under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an overwhelming number of elderly residents have been victims of nursing home abuse. In particular, they estimate that about 2 million individuals have been vulnerable to different types of mistreatment and violations. As the website of the Texas nursing home abuse lawyers at Hotze Runkle points out, these cases of nursing home abuse typically revolve around physical abuse, sexual abuse, negligence, and medication errors. The website of Memphis personal injury lawyer John Michael Bailey also adds that cases of psychological abuse, theft, and fraud are also rampant in nursing homes.

Such facts are a serious cause for concern, especially for families that have put much of their trust in these culpable institutions. If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of your loved one, there are ways you can prevent these devastating outcomes from occurring. One way is by keeping an eye out for warning signs that might point to nursing home abuse and neglect. Unexplainable injuries and sudden physical changes are telltale signs that something is wrong. Physical signs like sudden weight loss, bruises, and cuts should be investigated and reported immediately.

Some warning signs of abuse might not be as obvious, so it’s important to be extremely sensitive to changes in misdemeanor and personality. Observe how your loved one acts around the nursing home staff. Take note that the staff should always be open about medication and treatment plans, and any changes should have to be consulted with the family first.

Are Car Accident Victims Entitled to Disability Benefits?

Are Car Accident Victims Entitled to Disability Benefits?

Jun 15

Car accidents happen at an unprecedented rate in the United States. The non-profit Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates that over 37,000 people die in vehicular crashes every year. In addition to that, they estimate that 2.35 million individuals become seriously injured after a car accident.

LaMarca Law Group, P.C. notes on its website that being involved in such an accident can be extremely traumatic. Those who are lucky enough to walk away devastating car wrecks are left with debilitating injuries that are hard to recover from. Those who are disabled by car accidents are prevented from being able to assimilate back to their old routines. One significant consequence that stems from such an outcome is the victim’s inability to return to work. This becomes particularly problematic considering the financial strain they are already in. After receiving costly medical treatments, victims of debilitating injuries will only be burdened by the absence of a steady income as they take time off to fully recover from their trauma.

Fortunately, car accident victims who find themselves in this situation can turn to Social Security benefits for the financial assistance they need. In most cases, victims that have been badly injured or disabled by a car crash are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to this Indiana Social Security disability lawyer, qualifications for temporary disabilities caused by fractures, soft tissue injuries, and burns will depend on several factors, but such injuries are generally covered by the federal government program. Receiving benefits for permanent disabilities caused by traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries are more clear-cut.

All in all, victims badly injured in a car accident have access to methods that can help them regain financial stability.