September 23, 2019

Discretionary Trust Defined

Medical Malpractice Attorney

While you’re setting up your estate plan, choosing the right entities to protect your assets and your family from unnecessary taxes, legal fees, and lengthy court hassles is vitally important, if you want to provide your family with stress-free security upon your passing. For complex estates, you may need a few different entities and vehicles for your various types of assets and beneficiaries to fully ensure your wishes are executed as you intend, and so no one can interfere with their own ideas or misjudgments.

A discretionary trust is one type of entity you can set up for your beneficiaries while giving a trustee full discretion regarding what funds should be provided to the beneficiaries and when. In this scenario, your beneficiaries have no legal rights to the funds until they are paid out to them, and the unpaid funds are not considered a part of their assets. Some individuals set this trust up with the rule that the beneficiaries will not acquire the funds until they reach a certain age, or they are allotted a certain monthly allowance determined by the trustee. The trustee becomes the legal owner of the trust, but they cannot benefit from it. As well, beneficiaries cannot demand income or assets from the trustee.

This type of trust is beneficial for beneficiaries who you know cannot be trusted or relied on to manage large sums of money or investments responsibly. It is also valuable if there are creditors they need to be protected from.

The discretionary trust is useful for beneficiaries who are:

  • Disabled or mentally impaired
  • Immature
  • Gamblers
  • Bankrupt or in debt
  • Prone to divorce or other unstable relationships

Further Security

To have a successful discretionary trust, you must be able to fully rely on the trustee to make the right decisions about paying out the trust assets, in the best interest of the beneficiaries. This can unfortunately lead to resentment, mistrust, and suspicion. So, to ensure the trustee continues to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, you may assign a few people to be “appointers” who can vote out the trustee and assign a new one. If you have minors involved, you may also consider assigning a guardian who can “veto” the trustee’s decisions at any time.

Ensuring Your Final Wishes

Protecting your assets and your beneficiaries while leaving them with financial security is a great legacy to leave behind. But, without the proper protections and entities put into place, things may not go the way you would like. Speak with an estate lawyer in Sacramento to ensure your estate is well-planned, setup correctly, and that there are no loop-holes left for anyone to take advantage of.


Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and discretionary trusts.

September 22, 2019

Questions About Medical Malpractice Cases Answered

Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex and confusing, which is why most victims of a doctor’s error meet with a reliable attorney in their town for help. Here are some of the most common questions that people ask their attorney during a legal consultation for a potential medical malpractice case: 

What if my doctor failed to notify me of risks?

A doctor has a duty to warn their patients about risks regarding a course of treatment or procedure. By notifying a patient, this is known as a “duty of informed consent”. A doctor may be held responsible for medical malpractice if a patient would have opted out of the treatment or procedure if they were adequately informed beforehand. The doctor may also be held liable for patient injuries if the patient was harmed by the procedure in a way that he or she wasn’t aware of due to lack of warning. 

How much time do I have to file a claim?

Medical malpractice cases have to be filed soon after the injury occurs. Depending on the state, you have to submit a claim fast, anywhere between six months up to two years. The timeframe in which victims of medical malpractice have to file a lawsuit is called the “statute of limitations”. Additionally, the time may start when the negligent action happened, or when the patient should have noticed the injury. To find out how much time you have for where you live, you can meet with a reputable medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Can expert testimony help my case?

Based on the facts pertaining to your medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney may suggest getting expert testimony. This can be helpful as the expert can evaluate whether another doctor in similar circumstances would have committed the same mistake that the victim’s doctor had. A major factor in medical malpractice cases is proving that the doctor had failed to provide a reasonable standard of care expected within the medical community. 

Are there any factors that would make my case void?

Yes, a patient that is not happy with how their treatment turned out, is not automatically entitled to financial compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The doctor must have made an avoidable mistake which led to a worsened condition. A patient that is just disgruntled because their treatment or procedure didn’t go as planned despite understanding the risks and without doctor error, may not have much of a chance of winning their case. 

What does it mean if my doctor failed to diagnose?

A doctor who failed to discover a patient’s illness when another doctor would not have missed it, may be held liable for failing to diagnose. For example, a patient may have made an appointment to see their doctor about several peculiar symptoms. A doctor that didn’t diagnose the patient with an illness despite these symptoms (or even diagnosed them with the incorrect condition), may face a malpractice lawsuit if the person was harmed because of it. 


Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into medical malpractice and getting answers about your case.

September 18, 2019

The Complexities of Liability After a Truck Accident

Truck Accident Liability

Liability is a legal concept that basically means responsibility. When a person is injured in an accident, the driver who is liable is the one responsible for the medical bills. Determining which driver is at fault can be a complicated situation. State laws may dictate some aspects of liability. Commercial drivers who are in an accident have even more liability issues. Let’s talk about some reasons that determining responsibility after a truck accident is so difficult.

State Laws Concerning Liability May Play a Role

If a driver is 100% liable for an accident, that driver should pay 100% of your medical bills and other damages. It gets complicated when both drivers share fault. In some states, if you are even a little responsible or at-fault for the accident, you can’t get any compensation. In other states, your compensation may be discounted by the percentage of fault you share.

Federal Laws May Also Apply to Your Truck Accident

State laws apply to liability, but federal and state laws regulate commercial vehicles. All commercial trucks have standards that they must meet. These laws can also apply to liability. When a truck doesn’t follow regulations, it can mean that their fault is greater.

Many Parties Might Be Liable

When an accident occurs between two personal vehicles, liability is usually between the two drivers. Commercial drivers have many more parties that could be liable. If the driver owns the truck, you are just up against one insurance company. If the driver is an employee of a company, you have to go through the business insurance. If the truck company hired a negligent driver, that could indicate liability.

The accident could be the shipper’s fault for not loading the back of the truck correctly. It could be a manufacturer malfunction of the truck, in which case you’d ask the manufacturer to pay damages. Liability could be also be determined by the driver’s contracts with the various companies involved in logistics.

Depending on where and how the accident occurred, liability could fall under a construction company that didn’t mark lanes properly. A municipality that didn’t have adequate traffic signals could be liable for an accident.

Liability Isn’t Cut and Dried

Commercial truck accidents can be quite confusing. The science is different because the trucks are so much bigger. You may be fighting more than one insurance company. After a truck accident, it can be beneficial to talk to a truck accident lawyer in Minneapolis, MN who can help you get the best possible outcome for your situation.

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and liability after a truck accident.

September 16, 2019

DUI Isn’t Limited to Alcohol

DUI

With many states having now legalized marijuana and others more likely to come, it’s worth keeping mind that DUI isn’t limited to just alcohol.

Since alcohol tends to be the dominant legal substance when it comes to driving while impaired, many people mistakenly believe that DUI charges only stem from driving after drinking. In fact, a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that close to 70 percent of respondents thought it was unlikely a person would be even caught by police while driving under the influence of marijuana (https://newsroom.aaa.com/2019/06/americans-dont-think-theyll-get-arrested-for-driving-high/). In addition, based on responses to the survey, the AAA estimated that around 14.8 million people likely drove within an hour of using marijuana over the last 30 days.

There are questions surrounding how well the current methods law enforcement have to determine impairment work, especially when it comes to the impact of medications and THC, the compound in marijuana that produces the “high” effect and is now found in many other products. These questions are likely adding to the public’s perception that you will not get caught if you drive after using a product with THC.

However, according to Dr. David Yang, an executive director of the AAA’s traffic safety foundation, THC can impair driver judgment and alter reaction times. Despite this, Dr. Yang says that many people don’t view THC-impaired driving as being as risky as drunk driving or using a phone while behind the wheel.

While there currently isn’t any research that has identified an exact impairment level with a corresponding level of THC—unlike the blood alcohol content levels in place for drunk drivers—many law enforcement agencies are now training their officers so they are better at detecting people driving under the influence of substances other than alcohol. It’s likely only a matter of time before there is a more consistent way to determine THC impairment. In fact, researchers are already attempting to create a test similar to the breathalyzer for THC levels.

Even current breathalyzers used for alcohol testing—both the chemical test and the roadside one—are not perfect. Depending on how the tests are administered, the officers administrating them and how they are maintained, results from these tests can be challenged by experienced DUI attorneys.

While having probable cause—a legitimate reason for an officer to pull a person over and examine their state and their car—does seem to be harder to prove with THC and some other drugs when compared to alcohol, that doesn’t mean you’re not driving impaired in these types of situations. You can still be charged with DUI if you are driving under the influence of a substance other than alcohol, and in some cases, you can be charged even if the substance you are impaired by is legal to use in your state.

A DUI charge will have a significant impact on your life now and down the line. If you have been charged with DUI, it’s imperative you contact a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as you can.

 

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and DUI charges.

 

September 15, 2019

Workers’ Comp and Volunteers

Workers’ Comp and Volunteers

If you are like many people, you probably have a lot of questions about workers’ comp. This is normal, whether you were recently injured while working or just want to know what to do in case that ever happens. One of the most common questions is who qualifies for workers’ comp and whether you are covered while volunteering. This matter is actually quite simple and easy to understand.

Who Is Covered?

To be covered by workers’ comp, you need to be paid and you need to be considered an employee. Sorry, but this means that unpaid volunteers receive no workers’ comp benefits. The good news, however, is that almost every worker that meets these rudimentary requirements is covered.

The first point is quite simple. It will be very clear whether or not you are being paid for doing something. The second point is a little more complicated. The easiest way to tell if you are an employee is if you have a portion of your pay withheld for tax purposes. Independent contractors are paid but are not covered because they are not covered employees. Likewise, freelance workers and even paid volunteers are not considered employees. All of these kinds of workers do not have a portion of their paychecks withheld for taxes. Both part-time and full-time employees are covered, however.

Other Requirements

In addition to needing to be the right kind of employee, the injury needs to meet a few simple conditions to qualify for workers’ comp. These are:

  • The injury must happen while being paid
  • The injury must happen while performing work-related activities

These conditions are quite easy to understand. If you are injured while on break, before you clock in, or after you finish work, you are not meeting the first condition. If you are doing something that you are not being paid to do, even if you are on the clock at the time, you are not meeting the second condition.

It can be frustrating to fail to meet the requirements for workers’ comp, whether it is due to being a volunteer or being injured while on break. If you find that you cannot receive compensation through workers’ comp, then there may be a few other options available to you to receive the compensation you need. Of course, if workers’ comp is not an option, then you can instead go through your insurance policy. You may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if someone else was responsible for the injury. Speak with work injury lawyers in Milwaukee, WI to learn more.

Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and injuries while volunteering

September 7, 2019

Pediatric Chiropractic Care

You do everything to ensure your child is healthy and successful. Children’s dental exams, well-child visits, school assessments, and other important visits are a regular part of a parent’s life. Have you considered your child’s nervous system? Regular chiropractic care can encourage well-being and a lifetime of good health for your child.

How Chiropractics Works in Children

Just as in adults, there are events in a child’s life that can cause a subluxation. These misalignments in the spine can disrupt the brain to body communication of the nervous system. What happens then is decreased function overall. Chiropractic care consists of gentle adjustments of the vertebrae to bring order back to the spinal system. The chiropractor generally uses his or her hands, though small, gentle tools may be used as well.

The Age a Child Should See a Chiropractor

The good news about physical therapy in Rockville, MD is it can begin almost immediately after birth. Infants go through a lot of stress as they make their way through the birth canal. A subluxation can occur during those first moments of life. Later, toddlers and young children often experience trauma as they are learning and exploring because they often trip, fall, stumble and tumble. Subluxation can occur during those events as well.

As children get older, they begin to participate in sports and other activities that are hard on their bodies. As the neural pathways are produced during adolescence, it’s essential chiropractic care is part of the child’s life from the very beginning. It’s possible your child won’t feel any symptoms of subluxation, or may not be able to pinpoint what is wrong, but a chiropractor can still help to keep him or her in good health.

How Adjustments Benefit Children

There are a lot of benefits parents of pediatric chiropractic patients see. In addition to reduced stress and pain on those little bodies, a child could sleep better, behave better and have a more pleasant attitude. The immune system often functions better after receiving adjustments, and there is a multitude of issues that could be relieved. These include colic, ADHD, allergies, seizures, torticollis, digestive issues, ear infections, and asthma.

Contact a Chiropractor Today

You may have a lot of questions regarding pediatric chiropractic treatment. After all, you’re dealing with the little people you love more than anyone else in the world. Contact a chiropractor today for answers to those questions, to learn more about how chiropractic care can benefit your child or schedule an initial assessment.

Thank you to the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into the benefits of physical therapy and chiropractic care.

August 29, 2019

What Is a Trust?

 

According to national statistics, more than half of the adults in this country do not have an estate plan in place to address what should happen to their assets when they die. And the majority of those who do, only have wills. But as a trust attorney can explain, there are many estate planning tools that are available which can ensure your family’s future will be secure even when you are not longer here.

One such tool is a trust. There are several different types of trust, but many people stay away from using trusts as an estate planning tool because they are unsure of how trusts work or they are under the misconception that only the rich uses trusts and you have to be wealthy in order to set one up. The truth is that the majority of people can benefit in having some type of trust in place.

How Do Trusts Work?

When a person establishes a will, they give instructions on how their property should be distributed upon their death. A trust can do the same thing, but the process is different. The person creating the trust is referred to as the grantor or the testator. The person who receives the contents of the trust is called the beneficiary. The person who is in charge of managing the grantor’s assets and distributing them to the beneficiary is referred to as the trustee.

Often the grantor will appoint themselves as trustee and this way they maintain complete control over the assets of the trust. They then appoint a secondary trustee who will make sure the assets are distributed per the grantor’s instructions when the grantor passes away.

Trusts offer many more benefits over just having wills. As a grantor, you still have complete control over the assets in the trust. For example, if you plan on leaving all of your assets to your adult child but feel that they are not mature enough to handle receiving all of those funds at once, a trust allows you to set up stipulations as to how and when they will get funds from the trust.

Having a trust also means there is no probate for the assets that are held in the trust like there is for wills. This serves multiple purposes. Probated wills are available to the public, which means anyone will be able to find out how much money is in the estate and who the beneficiaries are. Trusts information are not available to the public. The probate process also takes approximately one year and involves legal expenses, as well.

Trusts also protect the beneficiary from any creditor or divorce actions that could result in seizure of the inherited assets.

Contact a Trust Attorney Today

If you would like to learn more about the different trusts available and how trusts can be used in your estate plans, contact a trust attorney in Sacramento, CA today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and what a trust is. 

 

 

August 16, 2019

How Long Do I Have To File a Claim?

Car Accident Lawyer

If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, there is an important aspect you need to understand. It is called the statute of limitations. This is essentially your time limit to file your lawsuit. If you wait too long, you will not be able to file, and if you try to file a lawsuit then it will be thrown out. If you want to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know exactly how much time you have. This guide will go over everything you need to know, but it is also a good idea to speak with a personal injury lawyer in St. Paul, MN to learn more.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?

It is easy to understand the concept of a time limit on your lawsuit, but there are two aspects that many people do not fully understand. First, the statute of limitations begins counting down at the time of the injury. All the time you spend recovering from the injury is included in the statute of limitations. Luckily, it is always at least a year long, so you have plenty of time to recover.

Second, the statute of limitations is how much time you have to file your case. The lawsuit does not need to be finished within that time frame. It can take months for a lawsuit to conclude, so you do not need to worry about yours extending beyond the statute of limitations. However, it does take a few days to file a lawsuit, so do not think you can wait until the very last minute to file.

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations?

The exact length of the statute of limitations varies from one state to the next. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is:

  • One year in three states
  • Two years in 23 states
  • Three years in 16 states
  • Four years in four states
  • Five years in one state
  • Six years in three states

What Are the Exceptions?

Some states do have exceptions to the statute of limitations, which allow lawsuits to be filed after they are expired. The exceptions vary greatly from one state to the next, but the biggest exception is called the discovery rule. Essentially, in the unlikely event that it does not happen at the same time as when the injury is sustained, the statute of limitations does not begin counting down until the injury or responsible party are discovered. This is a bit of leniency to help in unusual cases.


Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and how long you have to file.

August 7, 2019

Medical Malpractice – What Is It Worth?

Medical Malpractice Attorney Chicago, IL

No amount of money can reverse time. No amount of money can erase a memory or reality of pain. If only we could ask for a reversal of the circumstances instead of a monetary settlement. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. Medical malpractice happens and it happens too often. In 2012, over $3 billion was paid out in medical malpractice settlements. With the rate of surgeries growing, it only makes sense that mistakes will also increase. If you or your family member has been injured from a medical procedure involving errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management, there are a few factors that determine whether or not medical malpractice may be the cause: improper or insufficient standard of care, injury as a result of negligence and the considerable damage has been done. Considerable damage is:

  • suffering
  • enduring hardship
  • constant pain
  • considerable loss of income
  • disability

Types of Damages

Three categories of damages can be paid to the victim or plaintiff in a medical malpractice case.

General Damages

General damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the patient’s loss and suffering, such as:

  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • physical and mental pain and suffering
  • loss of future earning capacity 

Frequently, this requires expert testimony to help determine the scope of damages, particularly in determining future earnings lost.

Special Damages

Special damages are to reimburse the victim for present and future medical bills and other expenses like home health care, durable medical equipment (DME) and physical therapy.

Punitive Damages

This category requires proof that the actions of the doctor or medical practitioner were willful and malicious or that they knew that their actions would cause injury.

Wrongful Death

These cases are filed by the family members of the deceased. Also known as survival action, damages cover loss of support, consortium, companionship and guidance.

Mitigating Factors

Damage Caps

In State Farm v. Campbell (2003), the court ruled that punitive damages cannot exceed damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries by a nine to one ratio.

Pre-existing Conditions

If the victim or plaintiff has a pre-existing medical condition that was made worse by the action of the physician, then it can reduce the amount of the award.

Patient Negligence

In the event that it is proven that the plaintiff failed to follow the doctor’s instructions, leading to the injury, then the damage award may be reduced.

If you or your family member has suffered injury or loss of life due to medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago, IL at  The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC so that you know your rights and the damages that can be recovered.

August 6, 2019

Recovering for Pain and Suffering – Beyond  Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve become sick or been injured because of something that happened on the job, the consequences may be more severe than just paying your medical bills and wages for lost time. Unfortunately, worker’s compensation is limited in what it pays for, and you may have to take additional steps to recover these expenses.

Why Doesn’t Worker’s Compensation Pay for Pain and Suffering?

Worker’s compensation laws are a trade-off.  Employers have an obligation to pay for the costs of medical care and, in most cases, lost wages, regardless of liability. Even if an employee is responsible for their own sickness or injury, the employer still has to pay. In return, employer’s liability as to pain and suffering is waived.

Worker’s Compensation Does Pay for Permanent Disability

However, you may be entitled to compensation for permanent disabilities under worker’s compensation law. For example, if an injury caused you 20 percent loss of strength or dexterity in an arm, there is a formula to determine an award you would receive for future lost income potential. If you suspect that you might have any permanent disability due to an incident at work, you may want to consult an attorney to ensure that you are receiving just compensation.

What Are Your Options to Recover for Pain and Suffering?

Even though worker’s compensation doesn’t cover pain and suffering, this doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless. In many cases where there is a severe illness or injury, there are some additional circumstances that might allow you to recover that compensation.

  1. Your employer may have failed to secure adequate worker’s compensation. If the coverage is not adequate, you may be able to sue your employer for this reason.
  2. Your employer may have caused your illness or injury through gross negligence or intentionally. For example, if your employer knew that you were working with hazardous substances, but didn’t provide protective equipment, this situation might qualify as something you could bring an action for. If your employer struck you, this would also be a comparable situation.
  3. A third party may be responsible for your pain and suffering, even though the event happened on the job. If you were in a car accident while on company business and you were struck by a drunk driver, you could sue the driver for pain and suffering.

You should not assume that you are not entitled to other damages, nor should you take the word of insurance companies on this matter. Contact work injury lawyers in Milwaukee, WI if you feel you might be entitled to pain and suffering compensation.


Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and recovering from pain and suffering.