The Law: My First True Love

Proving a Slip-and-Fall Accident Was Staged

If you own a small grocery or convenience store and you had noticed a patron walking around inside your establishment, looking rather shifty, and then they claim to have fallen down and gotten hurt, you may be the victim of a staged slip-and-fall accident. Unfortunately, some people pretend to get hurt inside a store or on a public walkway, falsifying information so they can collect benefits through insurance and their employer as a result. Here are some ways to prove that an accident that happened within your store was not because of negligence on your part.

Collect Witnesses

To find out who was present in the store at the time of the incident, go through credit card receipts to get a list of names of people who had made purchases. Use this information to make a list of addresses and phone numbers so you can contact the people to see if they can be a witness if the slip-and-fall incident goes to court. Ask your employees if there were any people in the store whom they personally knew so they can contact them for the same reason.

Check Footage

If you have surveillance cameras inside your store, pull the footage and look through it to see if there are any telltale signs that prove the person claiming to fall had pretended to get hurt. You may see the person lie down without falling at all. They might pull something off of a shelf and lay it in the aisle to use as a prop that caused them to trip. If you find any information on the tapes at all, your lawyer will be able to use it in court to show to the jury and judge, possibly clearing you of all charges.

Do Safety Checks

Call in a safety company to do an evaluation of the interior of your store to look for areas where things are not as safe as they can be. Use the report they give to you to prove that there was no reason for someone to fall in the area where the incident occurred. You can also use any negative information on the report to help make repairs to areas needing more work in keeping customers safe.

Hire a Detective

If you hire a private investigator to help you with your case, you will have the benefit in having surveillance done on the person who claimed to get hurt. If they are seen walking around as if they didn’t become injured at all, this information will come in handy in proving that they are fraudulently collecting insurance money when they didn’t sustain an injury necessitating payout.

Additionally, a lawyer like True Guarnieri Ayer LLP can help you with all aspects of your case.

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Dispelling 2 Myths About Estate Planning

Planning for your own death is not a pleasant task, but it is something that can help your family avoid confusion, arguments and stress. Sadly, there are many people that fail to appreciate the importance of this type of planning because they are ill-informed about the estate planning process. However, learning the realities behind the following two myths should help you to better appreciate the value of an estate plan and what you need to create one.  

Myth: Only Rich People Need An Estate Plan

There are many people that assume an estate plan is only for the wealthy. However, this is not always the case, and even those individuals with limited assets may benefit from this legal tool. An estate is essentially a collection of your assets, possessions and property, and you do not need to be rich to be able to pool your lifelong collection of wealth into this type of plan. 

In fact, one of the primary benefits of creating an estate plan is a greater ability to manage the burden that your survivors must pay on the assets you leave them and speed. Estates can use a variety of methods to distribute or offset taxes that your family members will be required to pay. For example, it is possible for this entity to be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, and this is tax free income which can be used to offset any tax burdens that your loved one’s will incur. Also, an estate is able to fully bypass the court system, and this can help avoid your loved ones’ needing to spend weeks or months going through the required legal channels. 

Myth: Your Attorney Will Need Minimal Input When Preparing The Estate Plan Document

In order to create an effective estate plan, you will need the services of an professional attorney, like those at Wright & Wayment, PLLC, in this area of law. There are many different ways that an estate can be organized, and the option that is best for you will largely depend on the type and amount of assets that you will be leaving behind. 

As a result, you will need to provide your attorney with ample input during the process of making your estate plan. In particular, you will need to provide a copy of your complete financial records as well as an inventory list of any possessions that you are bequeathing to your survivors. Once they have been given this information, your attorney will be able to start work on the estate, and it will usually be completed in a matter of weeks. However, you may still be contacted by the attorney to answer questions about your wishes during this process.

Creating an estate plan does not have to be a daunting or confusing experience to go through. By learning the truth about some common estate planning myths, you can help remove much of the confusion and stress that comes from preparing these documents.

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3 Reasons To Have A Family Law Firm Assist With An Adoption

Going through the adoption process is a great and rewarding experience, but it can also be complicated and risky. Thankfully, a law firm that specializes in family law can make the process much simpler and less risky. A family law firm can assist you when it comes to dealing with international adoptions, private adoptions, and adoption agencies.

International Adoptions

One of the most complicated adoption processes that you can undergo is adopting a child from another country. However, many people still choose to attempt an international adoption because of the many children that are available to adopt, or because they want to help get many of these children out of harmful environments.

In addition to helping you with the primary adoption process, you will need to have a lawyer assist you with getting the child into the country. In that situation, a lawyer is vital because immigration law is involved, which adds a whole other layer of red tape and complications.

Adoption Agencies

A family law firm can also help you make sure that you are only dealing with reputable and legitimate agencies. This is done by informing your attorney about any agencies that you are considering so that he or she can research the agency’s background before you give the agency any money.

By allowing an attorney to research the agency for you, you lower the chances of being the victim of adoption fraud. Another way that the law firm can help you find legitimate agencies is by providing you with the contact information for agencies that they have dealt with over the years.

Private Adoptions

Private adoptions are adoptions that are typically performed without the involvement of an adoption agency. These adoptions are popular with many people because they can be cheaper than working with an adoption agency. In many cases, the adoption agreement will simply be for you to pay for the pregnant person’s medical expenses throughout the pregnancy in exchange for the child.

A possible risk in that scenario is that the pregnant individual can change her mind and choose to keep the child, thus resulting in a lot of lost money for you and your family. However, a family law firm can draw up a contract that can provide you with a means of getting a judge to order the pregnant person to repay you because she did not follow through with the adoption.

Speak to a family law firm such as Kalamarides & Lambert today in order to greatly simplify the adoption process. A law firm can make dealing with private adoptions, adoption agencies, and international adoption so much easier for you and your family.

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4 Responsibilities of an Estate Administrator

Losing a loved one is never easy, but if your friend or family member has entrusted you to be the administrator of his or her estate you will be responsible for managing several things to ensure that the probate process goes smoothly. Most people are not familiar with the probate process and the responsibilities involved with being an administrator of an estate, so it is highly recommended that your hire an estate administration attorney to assist you and ensure that everything is done properly. As an appointed estate administrator, you will be responsible for the following:

Go through Probate

Probate is a legal process in which a will is examined by the court system to ensure that it is legal and valid. As the administrator of an estate, you will be responsible for initiating the probate process and providing any documentation that may be required. During the probate process it is also a good idea to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in writing to inform the organization that you are the administrator of said estate. This will allow you to settle any taxes that may be owed by your deceased loved one.

Pay Off Debts

It is not uncommon for a person to die with debts, and the administrator of the estate must use assets from the estate to pay off those debts. Before making any payments, it is important to ensure that the debts are valid and actually owed. 

Manage the Estate

In the weeks and months after the death of your loved one, you may have to manage real estate holdings, run or liquidate a business owned by the deceased, or take care of financial portfolios. Taking charge of these functions can be difficult if you do not have experience, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney, accountant, or financial planner to ensure that the decisions you make are in the best interest of the estate.

Distribution of Assets

If you are the administrator of an estate, you will be responsible for distributing the assets according to the terms of your loved one’s will. This can be a complex legal matter, especially if the estate is large. Distribution of assets typically does not occur until probate is completed and all debts of the estate are paid. If you are the administrator of a large estate, an estate administration attorney working on your behalf is essential to ensure that all assets are distributed properly.

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Possible Complications Stemming From Auto Accidents While Pregnant

Nobody would wish to develop pregnancy complications after an auto accident. However, you should know that different complications do occur for expectant victims of auto crashes. Knowing about these possible complications will help you not only to protect you and your baby’s health, but also to bolster a personal injury claim. Remember, you may need the money for enhanced medical care for your condition. Here are some of the complications that may befall you:

Placental Abruption

This complication occurs when the placenta separates, either partially or fully, from the uterus. You are likely to experience it if something hits your abdomen directly. This is a serious injury that needs prompt medical care because it places both your life and the baby’s life in danger.

This complication can manifest itself immediately after the impact or develop after some time. According to Mayo Clinic, you should suspect placental abruption if you are experiencing symptoms such as: 

  • Sudden onset of pain in the abdomen and back
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Rapid uterine contractions

Premature birth

Causes of premature birth include stress (physical and emotional) and injuries, both of which you are likely to experience after a car accident. This is one of the reasons you must seek medical care after a car accident if you are pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeling any pain or not, some internal injuries may not have obvious signs, but the doctors will know what to do.

Miscarriage

Though a miscarriage is rare, because your baby is well protected by the amniotic fluid, it is still a possibility. The risk of a miscarriage increases with the severity of the crash. The more direct force or injuries you experience in your abdomen area, the higher the risk of the amniotic sac (that holds the fluid) getting ruptured. Again, the value of seeking prompt medical care cannot be underestimated.

Birth Defect

Lastly, there is also the risk that you may give birth to a baby with a birth defect. The severity of the defect depends on the severity and type of injury. Although accident-caused birth defects are not very common, they are still risky because there might not be any associated symptoms. This means you will need constant health monitoring, which needs money too.

In short, the main things to remember about auto accident while pregnant are that you should:

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are injured in an auto accident.
  • Inform your doctor about your pregnancy
  • Inform your lawyer about the pregnancy if filing a personal injury claim

To find out more, contact a professional like Solomon, Sherman & Gabay.

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What Should You Know About Purchasing On A Land Contract?

If you’re interested in purchasing a home, but your credit isn’t quite up to par for a traditional mortgage, you may be considering a land contract or rent-to-own arrangement as a viable alternative. These arrangements can provide many benefits to both buyer and seller — however, because they can be more complex than traditional mortgages, you may want to seek legal advice from professionals like Heil & Saylor before embarking on this transaction. Read on to learn more about land contracts and what you should know before signing one.

What is a land contract? 

A land contract differs substantially from a traditional mortgage, but still allows you to obtain full ownership of your home after spending a specified period of time making regular monthly payments. 

Unlike a traditional mortgage, in which you purchase the home from a seller using funds from a third party bank, a land contract involves only two parties — the buyer and seller. When you sign the contract, the seller will agree to finance the property on your behalf — and instead of paying a bank, each month you’ll pay the seller the agreed-upon price. After you’ve made all payments required under the contract, the seller will give you the deed to the home.

When can you seek a land contract?

In general, land contracts are used for home purchases when either the borrower or the home itself does not qualify for a traditional mortgage. For example, in some areas it can be difficult to take out a mortgage for a mobile home, or for raw land that is not zoned for residential or commercial use. In these situations, the seller may be willing to carry financing on the home in exchange for regular monthly payments.

Many buyers also seek a land contract if they’re currently renting a home and the owner indicates his or her wish to sell. By agreeing to a land contract, the owner can continue to receive regular monthly payments without going through the hassle of transferring ownership of the property.

What should you keep in mind during a land contract transaction? 

Land contracts can be riskier for the buyer than a traditional mortgage. If the property is subject to an underlying mortgage in the seller’s name, you have few legal protections if the seller fails to pay the mortgage payment (even if you’re making timely contract payments yourself). 

These contracts can also present problems if you’re having trouble making payments yourself. Rather than having the seller go through the foreclosure process and its related consumer protections, you’ll instead be subject to an eviction — with a much shorter timeline and fewer opportunities to repay any deficiency and reinstate your mortgage.

Before signing a land contract, be sure to have an attorney look over the agreement to ensure that you’re adequately protected in case things go awry.

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How Do You Handle A Vehicle Accident Due To The Road Conditions?

If you have been in a vehicle accident that resulted in damage to your vehicle, it is usually other drivers involved that are involved in your personal injury claim. However, when it is due to bad road conditions, there is more to think about. In order to file a claim, you need to know who is liable, whether filing against vehicle damage or because you suffered bodily injury. Here is more information about accidents due to road conditions and how to decide who is liable for them.

Deciding Who is Liable

In many cases, the local government is actually responsible, since they should be maintaining the roads. If the accident was due to road conditions that could have been prevented with regular maintenance, such as oil and chip problems, shoulder drop-off that wasn’t properly labeled, or potholes in the road, you may have a chance. However, the county, state, or city government must deem that the roads were not reasonably safe.

This is where this type of claim can get tricky. The government is not responsible for every accident caused by road conditions. The government is allowed a decent amount of time to improve road conditions when they become aware of them. If they are within their own reasonable amount of time for repairing the roads, and you get into an accident during this time, they might not be liable.

On the other hand, if the government was fully aware of the dangerous road conditions and failed to make the proper repairs, then you might have a case.

Filing a Claim for Poor Road Conditions

When it comes to filing your claim, you need to know everything you can about the road conditions and how it caused your accident. This will include the name of the road, what direction you were driving, where the poor road condition is located, how and why it caused your accident, and any physical characteristics you remember. Make note of the road conditions, whether you got into an accident due to a deep pothole or because the asphalt was in poor condition and with the rain, it make it impossible to drive on without getting into an accident.

To file a claim, you also need to narrow down who is liable. This means deciding what government will be responsible for maintaining that road. If you check in with your local county commissioners’ office, they should be able to tell you if the road was the city or county’s responsibility. Make sure you fill out the right paperwork and file your claim on time, otherwise it might be denied with no appeal.

Providing Documentation for Proof

The most difficult part of this type of personal injury case is that it can be hard to prove. You need to be able to prove that the government was aware of the road conditions and that it was dangerous, and that they refused to repair it within the designated time. This involves the government actually admitting that they were aware of it. If you are having problems with it, you can check recent survey records, which show surveys conducted on road conditions. If someone noticed the poor road conditions during an inspection, you can use that in your case.

Get a personal injury attorney to help you gather documentation and proof, and complete filing your claim. To learn more, contact the experts at Stapleton Law Offices

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