Recent Articles

If Collaborative Divorce Fails

If Collaborative Divorce Fails

Divorce can be an emotionally-draining and demoralizing experience, much more the process to resolve it, especially, if it ends up in a family court room. This type of divorce process, called litigated or contested divorce, which is the traditional way of settling divorce and divorce-related issues (such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony or spousal support, and division of marital properties, assets and debts), is heard in a courtroom and, therefore, open to anyone who wishes to witness it. Besides making divorcing couples destroy and hate each, a contested divorce is also sure to leave them with huge legal fees (court fee, attorneys’ fees and expert fees).

The many inconveniences and negative effects of contested divorce are major factors that have caused spouses to reconsider going to court to settle their divorce. These same factors have also led spouses to consider and find alternative ways through which they can settle their divorce and other issues in ways that are faster, much cheaper and more peaceful. Good for them there are now new methods available in setting divorce and all divorce-related issues faster, peacefully, and without spending as much time as one will spend in a court-settled divorce. These methods include: Uncontested divorce; Divorce mediation; and Collaborative divorce.

“Collaborative divorce,” as explained in the website of The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, “can be the best route to take for former spouses whose points of view on issues pertaining to divorce—such as child custody, visitation rights, and asset division—are neither in complete accord nor high conflict. While the relationship of divorcing couples can be characterized by anything from utmost civility to adversarial strife, many couples fall in the middle of the spectrum. Some former couples simply need help and advice in coming to a decision that would benefit both parties. Rather than having decisions finalized by an objective third party, couples in a collaborative divorce can openly discuss and negotiate their issues with the assistance of two appointed attorneys. The process allows couples to reach stable end negotiations without having to take the case to trial.”

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses are given the chance to settle their differences and finalize their divorce with the help of professionals, like an accountant, a child custody specialist, and others, if necessary. Both spouses will need to meet with their own collaborative divorce attorneys, while meeting with their former spouse and his/her attorney. The four of them will work together to settle their divorce without resorting to litigation. A collaborative divorce offers spouses the following benefits:

  • Expediency of the divorce case;
  • More control over the outcome;
  • Less stress and anxiety; and,
  • Lesser costs compared to the traditional divorce process

At the outset of the collaborative divorce process, the spouses and their lawyers enter into what is called a “Participation Agreement.” This agreement states that, in the event that the collaborative process fails, then the spouses will have to hire new attorneys, who will have to file their divorce case in court.

Hazardous Road Conditions

Traffic accidents often occur because of driver error, negligence, and recklessness. But there are instances where they occur because of external factors, such as mechanical defects and hazardous road conditions.

According to the website of the Pawtucket, Rhode Island car accident lawyers of the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD., these factors can warrant an investigation of the auto accident. If a party has been proven to be negligent, it may be taken to court for compensations. In the case of hazardous road conditions, the party that may be proven negligent is the municipality responsible for road design and maintenance, or a construction or trucking company that has triggered the hazardous condition.

Common dangerous road conditions
Road Defects: Roads that have cracks, potholes, and uneven surfaces may pose a danger to motorists. Going through these conditions may make drivers lose control of their vehicles momentarily, resulting into a crash or a collision.

Defective Road Signs and Lights: Sometimes the defects are not on the road itself but on the equipment that complement it. Signs that are non-existent or incomprehensible can potentially cause an accident, as well as traffic signals that work improperly or do not work at all.

Lack of Barriers: Lane dividers, guardrails, and other barriers are there to properly allocate lanes for vehicles and prevent the vehicles from veering to the opposite lane and embankment. The lack of barriers puts motorists in danger of head-on collisions and rollover accidents.

Snow, Ice, and Water: The elements can also contribute to road crashes, primarily because of their effect on the tires’ traction to the pavement. These elements can easily be seen on roads that are not properly maintained and those that have drainage system problems.

Weather Conditions: Aside from the elements that may affect traction to the pavement, the weather itself should also be taken into consideration. Conditions such as rains and fogs may affect visibility. Winds can also be a problem, as they can knock down trees and other potentially hazardous objects.

Harm Caused by Defectively Designed Shoulder Replacement Devices

It was during the 1950s when shoulder replacement surgery was first performed in the U.S. to treat severe shoulder fractures. In this surgical procedure, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis (artificial component materials are typically metal or durable plastic).

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which functions as a part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), says that an estimate of 53,000 people in the U.S. undergo shoulder replacement surgery or shoulder arthroplasty every year. Despite this big number (though much smaller compared to the 900,000 Americans who have knee and hip replacement surgery), orthopedists only recommend this procedure if the extreme shoulder pain or limited range of shoulder motion complained of by patients cannot be treated through non-surgical means, or if a debilitating shoulder injury cannot be corrected by more conservative methods.

Shoulder replacement surgery is said to be a tremendously successful procedure for providing pain relief and for restoring shoulder motion, function and strength. This is never the case, however, in patients who have been implanted with a faulty replacement device. For, instead of increased function and minimized pain, the surgery has rather resulted to increased pain, additional medical expenses and the necessity of corrective surgery.

One device that is said to be causing greater harm in patients is the Wright/Tornier shoulder replacement. According to doctors and patients, the defectively designed Wright and Tornier shoulder replacement products have only led to these devices failing soon after implant or, in many other cases, instead of delivering the promised corrective solution to shoulder pain, the outcome are rather harmful effects, which include metal poisoning, bone and tissue damage, and implantation failure, dislocation of implanted parts and revision surgery.

A shoulder replacement mass tort is in the process of being filed by those who have been seriously harmed and made to endure increased pain due to defectively designed shoulder replacement devices.

Determining Fault In A Car Accident

When it comes to car accidents, one of the hardest things to determine is liability for the accident. Determining who pays for accidents in car accidents is known as “fault” in legal parlance. There are different factors that will dictate if you are at fault in an accident where you got involved. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, there is an expectation that your insurance provider will pay a portion of your claim. But as mentioned, certain circumstances will determine your liability in a car accident.

Generally, the determination of liability is based on motor vehicle statutes than common law. The car insurance sector has lobbied state legislatures to base liability on motor vehicle statutes than on the traditional common law definition of fault. For this reason, it is much easier for insurance providers to challenge fault and liability when there is violation of traffic laws involved. So a car driver who has no liability insurance may find it difficult to collect damages even if there was partial negligence on the part of the motorist.

Common Law

In common law, there are four basic levels of fault:

  1. Negligence. Negligence is defined as the careless or inadvertent behavior that caused harm or damage to another driver. Not yielding to the right of way or beating the red light is an example of negligence.
  2. Reckless or wanton conduct. This is the willful disregard for the safety or welfare of others.
  3. Intentional Misconduct. When it comes to intentional misconduct, it is so easy to determine fault. Drunk driving is an example of intentional misconduct.
  4. Strict Liability. This may be imposed even without fault if the accident was due to accidents that involved certain defective products or extra hazardous activities.

State Laws

Different states have passed several laws that regulate the manner by which drivers should operate their cars in public roads. Some of these laws are codified versions of common law while others were results of legislative act. These laws always generally carry a presumption of negligence. For instance, since motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets, non-wearing of these safety accessories is a negligent act.

In proving fault based on state laws, it needs to be proven that the negligent act was not the proximate cause of the injuries. So while the non-wearing of helmet may have caused serious injuries to the motorcycle driver after being accidentally sideswiped by a car, there is also negligence on the part of the motorcyclists who did not wear the helmet.

In explaining proximate cause with respect to the motorcycle accident, the helmet would not have prevented the accident from happening but would have limited the injuries. In this case, the car driver may not be held liable for the brain injury of the motorcyclist.

Volkswagen Facing Lawsuits after Emissions Fraud Scandal

The news regarding the admittance of Europe’s biggest car manufacturer Volkswagen about cheating their emissions tests through installation of illegal devices in order to help improve sales and pass vehicle approval has caused feelings of anger, betrayal and being cheated. Millions of consumers have been left wondering whether that should also try filing a VW diesel lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit. Knowing what option best suits you will be the most effective way for you to get compensation following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

In order to get the best from your lawsuit, you must first understand three major factors: what are you filing the lawsuit for, what have you actually lost, and what you could possibly gain should you join a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is where one or few individuals help to represent a great number of plaintiffs who are suing one or more defendants. These plaintiffs typically have similar interests that will provide them with similar damage recoveries following the lawsuit. It is a very effective way for individuals who suffered the same or similar damages of harms to secure compensation.

Fling alone or on your own does have its advantages or drawbacks, but with defendants as big as Volkswagen it can be tiring to you and your lawyers’ time, effort and money to face such a company that may require extensive evidence. Unless the damages are unique and particular for your case, you might consider simply joining a class action VW diesel lawsuit rather than filing one on your own.

Given the international nature of the case and the German company’s admittance of their actions, it may be easier to get compensation for the damages that may make reselling the vehicle difficult. Furthermore, the civil lawsuit will not protect Volkswagen from possible criminal charges, and punitive damages can also be awarded to the plaintiff, adding to a significant amount of compensation.

Is an EB-5 Visa Right for You?

For those considering an EB-5 visa, choosing a designated targeted area is a very important classification. Targeted employment areas (TEAs) as locations determined by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that are either (a) have high rates of unemployment, or (b) in rural areas. These are just two kinds of TEAs that the USCIS, and these often require lower a lower amount of investment as compared to the general US$1 million from the whole of the United States. TEA designation can be requested through the EB-5 applicant investor’s I-526 petition.

According to the website of the AmLaw Group, investing in regional centers is among the most advantageous options for investor’s visas since it permits an investor to provide a cash investment without the need to create actively manage a new business enterprise. The key factor in having the best results in the investment, however, is to ensure that it will be spent on a well-managed and effective regional center. Despite being on the USCIS list, there are still risks that the investor will lose money on a regional center.

The designation of TEA is adjudged as being part of the I-526 application where the immigrant investor has to prove that the invested project is on a location that is within a high unemployment or rural area through the submission of a letter of TEA designation to the USCIS. There are a number of ways that can prove that the investment will be carried out within a TEA, such as gathering and furnishing relevant state and federal statistics which are available publicly. The TEA designation can be pursued through two ways: via USCIS which requires the investor to provide evidence that the location has an average unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average, or via state government which the investor presents a letter from the state government affirming the location of the new commercial business has a high unemployment rate.

Despite the advantages of investing in a regional center program, it is only temporary and is set to expire this year unless Congress renews the program.

Considerations to Make When Filing for Bankruptcy

The recent financial crisis dealt a huge blow all over the United States. Across America, plenty of plenty of people are struggling with insurmountable debt. It’s an unfortunate reality that thousands of Americans are having a hard time meeting their financial obligations and regaining control of their credit scores. Thankfully, those stuck in such situations have the option to file for bankruptcy and be granted financial relief by the law.

When filing for bankruptcy, a business or individual makes a legal declaration that they are no longer able to meet financial obligations and repay the debts they have to creditors. Through the process of bankruptcy, the court can give a business or individual several benefits that can help them get back on their feet and work towards financial stability. Among these benefits include the discharging of unsecured debts, the restricting of the debt payment scheme, and the liquidation of some assets to help pay debts to the government. However, specific outcomes will depend on the type of bankruptcy that was filed for. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows people to file for a certain type of bankruptcy that best fits their situation and needs. As pointed out on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., two popular options are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The first option allows the applicant—if successful—to have their debts completely eliminated through the liquidation of their assets. Meanwhile, the second option gives the applicant the chance to have their debt reduced while protecting them from foreclosure or wage garnishment.

Going through the bankruptcy process also assures a business or individual protection from debtors or any action they take to cover unpaid debts. Anyone who files for bankruptcy are awarded by the court with something that’s called an “automatic stay”. This prevents debtors from making any sort of contact or action in attempts to urge debtors to meet their payments.

While it can definitely be a challenge, regaining control of finances and other similar obligations is not impossible. If you have been struggling with mounting debts and other financial difficulties, it might be time to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer and learn more about your legal options.

I’ve Been Injured! Can I Do Anything About It?

Personal Injury can be a difficult legal case. There are several kinds of circumstances wherein a case like this could ensue and it is extremely dependent upon the circumstance on what kind of case you’re going to have.

Some examples of more private matters, usually involving just a few parties, are those along the likes of drunken driving accidents or any other kind of vehicular accident. Some cases can get a bit more public as they might involve large corporations or resourceful insurance companies who will do everything to ensure that they need not pay out the due compensation for something that was their fault in the first place. Such instances are likely in instances of unsafe premises, medical malpractice, defective pharmaceuticals, and the like. These cases, should legal action be pursued, require expert help and opinions.

According to the website of law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, it is necessary for attorneys that deal with cases of this nature to have sufficient knowledge of the medical procedures that the client was involved in, if the injury came from a medical procedure, or the procedures that the client will need due to the incident that caused injury. In the event of a personal injury, deadlines are also strictly followed. This can be stressful for anyone who has just been through what is undoubtedly a traumatic experience and legal action might be the last thing on their minds.

Getting help from professional attorneys, however, could be more beneficial in the long run as the services extend far beyond documentation and logistics. If you are uncertain on whether or not you are qualified to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is recommended for you to consult with legal help immediately in order to know the best path to take with the situation. A lot of people are, at first, unaware of their rights to financial compensation for the damages sustained by the accident in question.

Some Facts about the Texas Juvenile Justice System

It is difficult for most adults to think of a child as a criminal, but the sad truth is the children of today have become inured to violence on many levels. There has been a constant debate on what caused this shift, but whatever that is the fact remains that while juvenile offenders should have the benefit of rehabilitation and training, this is not always possible. Society also has to be protected against the habitual violent juvenile offender. Texas juvenile justice system addresses these issues.

Juvenile offenders in Texas typically fall under the Juvenile Justice Code of the Texas Family Code if a criminal act was done by an individual between 10 and 16 years of age. Any person 17 years and older that commits the same crime falls under the criminal court for adults.

The juvenile court decides if a juvenile offender has to be transferred to adult criminal court. This will depend on the age of the child at the time of the crime and the nature of the crime. For capital felonies, aggravated drug felonies, or first degree felonies, a child of 14 may be tried as an adult. For second or third degree felonies, however, the child has be at least 15 years old. The transfer is not automatic; the juvenile court judge will hear the arguments of the criminal defense lawyer for retaining the child under the juvenile justice system and weigh it against the potential harm the child may pose to society.

It is a significant benefit to the juvenile offender to be retained under the juvenile justice system. The punishment meted out to a juvenile is much lighter than the sentence that may be handed down for the same offense when tried in adult court. As pointed out on the website of Mark T. Lassiter, the consequences of a felony conviction to a child’s future are considerable, so every effort must be made to mitigate the results. However, the juvenile court has to transfer a child if the offender has already been certified to adult court.

It should also be noted that even if the juvenile is tried under the juvenile justice system, it may result in determinate sentencing. This means that the child may be committed to juvenile detention for later transfer to adult prison upon attaining the age of 18. At that point, the term may be extended for up to 40 years. This type of sentencing is reserved for juveniles that habitually engage in felonious conduct. In other words, they exhibit a propensity for serious or violent crime that they will likely carry on to adulthood. Juveniles that received determinate sentencing will not be eligible for having their criminal records sealed or restricted.

If your child is facing serious criminal charges, you must engage the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The age of the child is no protection from severe consequences; failing to get proper representation can result in lifelong repercussions to your child’s future.

After Falling Victim to Insurance Bad Faith

Reaching financial stability is a remarkable achievement and so most adults do the intelligent thing: have insurance. It is a necessary precaution as some circumstances cannot be avoided like natural disasters or unprecedented accidents. As a policyholder, you might feel yourself secure should the worst, perish forbid, happen to you.

But what should you do when your insurance provider doesn’t quite deliver what it promised, sending you into an even worse financial state? You need not fret as there is something you can do about it! According to the website of Pohl & Berk, one option that is available to you is filing a claim that you have been made a victim of insurance bad faith.

Should an insurance provider treat you in a way that is most uncouth and deny you what you are due or further inconvenience you, you are legible to receive financial compensation for your troubles. Seeking legal aid is advisable in situations like this as the process is quite complicated. If your claim can be proved that the insurance provider in question performed in bad faith either intentionally or maliciously, you (as the policyholder) are warranted better recompense than the initial investment.

There are many cases that could be deemed as a complaint of insurance bad faith. If your financial compensation was unreasonably delayed or were not given full coverage for unjustifiable reasons, you may be liable to pursue a case of insurance bad faith. Misrepresenting the insurance plan or withholding imperative information about the insurance plan in question are also possible reasons as to why you could file a case of this nature.

If you are looking to pursue justice for being made a victim of insurance bad faith, you will need to make sure that you are represented by a legal team that has experience and knowledge of cases of a similar nature. Ensure that you have the best help available so you can rest assured that those behind your hardship via insurance bad faith are held accountable.