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Barrister

When Should I Settle My Personal Injury Case?

In personal injury cases, the decision to settle or go to trial can be incredibly nerve-wracking for the injured party. Already dealing with the effects of ill health, the injured wants to receive adequate compensation, but fears that a trial may leave them worse-off financially than when they started. It often times can feel like a big gamble, one that is far too important to lose. With the uncertainty of trial litigation, and the difficulty of even securing a trial date, the decision to go to court rather than settle needs to be made with all rational and reflective faculties working at full capability. This article will aim to aid in the process of this difficult decision.
It may seem like shamefully obvious advice, but many people fail to heed it and pay the price in their personal injury cases: Choose the right attorney! Choosing an effective, knowledgeable, honest and dependable attorney can alleviate much of the psychological and emotional distress inherent to litigation. A good way to tell if an attorney is going to be cooperative and helpful is to see how responsive they are to questions early on. Attorneys who seem bothered or are dismissive to inquiring clients may not have the experience or skills needed to navigate the choppy waters of litigation. Answers need to be provided with patience and in language that can be understood by a person without legal training.
Additionally, the numbers of the case should be well-known and understood, that is, the financial particulars. Damages for personal injury include coverage for lost wages, medical bills, rental car expenses and, more generally, pain, suffering, humiliation and distress. A good attorney will be able to work through all of these possible factors with their client, ensuring that the maximum damages will be collected. If an attorney seems abrasive or uninformed, and is unable to assist adequately in these important ways, then it might be time to seek new counsel.
Experience is the best indicator for an attorney’s quality- the more cases he or she has worked and been a part of, the better ability he or she will have in advising a client to go to trial or to settle. Experienced attorneys are able to assess both a client’s best option, the opponent’s best option and subsequently to decipher a middle ground between the two that will leave all parties feeling some measure of satisfaction. The best attorneys in the business will know after learning all the facts of a case if it is worth the gamble of going to travel, or if a settlement is the best option. Unfortunately, however, no attorney knows for sure what a particular judge or jury will see in the facts of a case, and any that pretend to know for certain the outcome of a case before it happens should be regarded with a healthy amount of incredulity.
The retainer agreement is an extraordinarily important document for an empowered client. Some retainer agreements sign over settlement power to the attorney, meaning that he or she can settle the case without the client’s consent. It’s important that the particulars of the arrangement are well-known on both sides, to prevent a settlement being made against a client’s wishes.
Sometimes, in addition to an attorney, mediators can be extremely helpful, especially if a settlement seems like the best option. Voluntary mediation contributes to an atmosphere of good will (or at least not one of open hostility) between both sides, and can help both parties come closer together, or at least help them understand one another’s goals in the case.
Attorneys and mediators aside, the decision to settle is ultimately personal (if those rights have been maintained, as they should be, in the retainer agreement). The injured person is the one who gets to decide; the or she os the one who suffered and will be the one to either gain the reward or suffer further if the case goes to trial. Of course, professional opinions should be gathered and considered, but it is not the attorney who has been wronged or wounded, and he or she needs to respect their client’s wishes. As with any hard decision, careful reflection, patience, fact-gathering and temperance will ensure the best outcome in deciding if a personal injury case should go to trial.…

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Law Firms

What You Should Know About a Claim of Negligence

In our society, people have a duty to behave in a way that does inflict physical or emotional harm upon others. If you have suffered as the result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation is usually in the form of a payment.
Some of the most common claims of negligence include a vehicle accident, work accident, slip and fall, defective product, and medical incompetence, including dentistry.
People have a legal duty of care not to act recklessly to others. Duty of care can be considered a social contract held by individuals towards others within society. It is the first factor that must be established to proceed with a claim of negligence. The plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care which resulted in significant damage either physically or psychologically. .
A claim of negligence can also result in receiving special damage compensation. You may be entitled to receive all losses associated with the injury. This includes: loss of wages, property damage such as a vehicle accident, costs for rehabilitation, medical costs, and, added expenses resulting from the injury such as car rental expenses, and pain and suffering.
To make a claim you have to prove that you suffered a loss as the result of someone’s negligence. Some examples include:
– Another driver was speeding and crashed into your car
– A doctor administered the wrong medication.
– A company allowed a contaminated product to be sold
– Severe injuries resulting from a dog attack
– An injury resulting from an unsafe working condition.
Once a duty of care negligence exists, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached it. Breach involves proving that the defendant’s actions resulted in breach of standard care. This can vary because most professions have different standards of care. For instance, a physician’s standard of care is different from a lawyer’s standard of care. The breach is proven when the plaintiff shows that the defendant’s actions fell below a reasonable standard of care and directly caused the injury. If a defendant can prove that every precaution was taken, but the injury still occurred and would have likely occurred, then the plaintiff will not prove negligence.
If you think you have suffered an injury as the result of negligence, you may be able to make a negligence claim in civil court. Because negligence claims are very complicated, it is important to seek legal advice before proceeding. There are personal injury lawyers that specialize in specific areas of negligence. It is important to consult a lawyer who specializes in the area of your particular injury. For instance, a brain injury lawyer will have expertise in traumas associated with the brain. They will have a list of medical experts who specialize in brain conditions. Because states vary regarding the time limits to make a claim of negligence, it is important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Ask your lawyer to review your claim to see if negligence has occurred. A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a valid negligence claim. It is a good idea to consult with a couple of lawyers to make sure that you are receiving an accurate claim assessment.
Suffering an injury can be a traumatic time for victims and their families. If you feel you have a claim of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury lawyer will fight on your behalf and free you of the stress associated with a civil court case. You will be able to focus your attention on recovery.…

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Lawsuit

3 Things Your Privacy Policy Should Have

In my last post I discussed why I think virtually every small biz website should have a privacy policy. This time, I’d like to discuss three things every policy should have, which I commonly find to be missing.

First, a quick run-down of the basic purpose for a privacy policy is in order. Privacy policies basically fulfill two functions. They: 1) tell visitors what information you collect from them (whether the collection is overt, such as through an email opt-in, or covert, such as through tracking cookies); and 2) what you will and will not do with the information.

Now on to the three things every policy should have (but often don’t):

A Notice About Tracking Cookie Usage. If you use third-party analytics or ad serving, then it is virtually guaranteed that your site places tracking cookies on your visitors’ computers. If you have any sort of “sign-in” functionality to your site, chances are session cookies are also utilized keep users logged in, for security, or to make log-in easier. Your privacy policy should disclose your cookie usage, how information collected is used, and what cookies are controlled by third-parties. When appropriate, reference the privacy policies of these third-party cookie using providers so your visitors know what they do with information collected.

COPPA Notice. Whether or not your site is oriented toward collecting information from children under 13 years of age, you should be referencing the Children’s On-Line Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) in your privacy policy. On one hand, if your site either expressly collects information children under 13 or can be seen as attractive to children under 13 (think cartoon characters, child-oriented language, toys, etc) then you MUST make sure your privacy policy complies with COPPA. On the other hand, if your site clearly doesn’t market to or collect information from children under 13, then you should say so both in your site’s Terms and Conditions, and in your privacy policy. You should also give parents an email address they can use to contact you if they believe their under 13 child has been submitting personal information your site, and specify in your policy that you will delete any information that you end up inadvertently receiving from any children under 13.

Email Contact for Complaints. I firmly believe that many lawsuits against businesses come about because people either feel like they have been offended and/or cannot contact the offending business. Indeed, good customer service can often be better than effective legal planning for avoiding lawsuits. When it comes to liability relating to your privacy practices, a dedicated email address for receiving and resolving complaints can be a very effective safety valve that can allow you to address them before they blow up into a lawsuit or social media crisis.

Finally, posting a privacy policy that you do not follow can create legal and regulatory risks than the previously discussed risks. Accordingly, it is of critical importance to understand not only your own privacy practices and the data collecting features of your site’s platform, but also the privacy practices of third party apps or services you utilize – and make sure your privacy policy accurately reflects everything.

How about you? What do you think privacy policies should have but often don’t?…