After being bitten by someone else’s dog, you’ll probably be contacted by the dog owner, or his or her insurance company, to discuss a settlement to compensate you for your dog bite injuries. This article discusses when you should sue and when you should accept a settlement.
Type of Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
State personal injury laws and state dog bite laws give accident victims-including those who have suffered dog bite injuries-the right to collect damages, or compensation, for injuries that are someone else’s fault.
Damages are designed to compensate you for:
Past, present, and future medical bills for treatment related to your dog bite injuries
The repair or replacement of any property (such as glasses or clothing) that was damaged or destroyed when you were bitten
Lost wages for time off from work (including time spent going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy)
The cost of hiring someone to do household chores that you’re unable to do because of your injury
Permanent disability and disfigurement stemming from the dog bite
Emotional distress stemming from the dog bite
Any other costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries
There are two ways in which you can collect this compensation: in an out-of-court settlement or in a court judgment.
How Dog Bite Injury Compensation Is Determined
When you settle a case, you and the dog owner, plus the dog owner’s insurance company and your dog bite attorneys, privately negotiate an agreement to compensate you for your injuries. The money is paid by either the dog owner, his or her insurance company, or both the owner and insurance company.
In a court judgment, your case is presented to a judge or jury who listen to the evidence, decide who is to blame, and can order the party at fault to compensate the injured party. They will also decide how much you are owed in damages though this amount can be adjusted by the judge or the losing party can appeal the case in an effort to have the damages reduced.
Settling a case offers several advantages:
It resolves your case more quickly than if you went to trial
You receive money more quickly than if you went to trial, and you can use that to pay injury-related bills
You can get emotional closure and start to move on after the accident
Your attorney’s fees and expenses may be lower
You have the certainty of knowing how much money you’ll receive
Settlement agreements can remain confidential
The primary disadvantage to settling your case is that you may ultimately receive less money than if you’d gone to trial. However, there’s no guarantee you would have received more had you gone to court.
The advantages to going to trial include:
You may feel a greater emotional satisfaction if you win the case
There’s a chance you’ll receive a larger award than if you settled the case
Going to trial, however, has its disadvantages:
There is no guarantee that you’ll win your case or receive a larger award than if you settled
Your attorney’s fees and expenses may be higher than if you settled
The verdict and judgment will be publicly available
It can take a long time to schedule and prepare for a trial
Timely Action Can Protect an Injured Party
Your willingness to take action quickly not only protects your legal rights to maximum recovery of compensation but it also gives you the best possible chance to avoid infection and other complications typically associated with dog bites. For this reason, you need to take any dog bite seriously even if you do not yet believe that you have sustained critical injuries as a result of a dog’s attack.
Keep all evidence associated with the accident and record pictures and videos of the injuries. Get a copy of your medical records after visiting with your physician to identify the implications of the dog bite attack. If there are any complications that develop as a result of the injuries from your dog bite, you need to keep track of these as well.
Many people may be particularly susceptible to infection because of a dog bite. You need to monitor the wound very carefully as advised by your doctor.
You may need to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury claim directly against the person who is responsible for the dog. This can be a very delicate and difficult situation if the owner is a family member or a friend. However, as the victim, you should not be responsible for paying your medical bills because of a sudden dog attack.
How To Protect Yourself As A Dog Owner?
There are a few things that you should keep in mind if you’re a dog owner. It will prevent you from the unnecessary trouble of defending yourself if a personal injury case is brought against you, the dog owner.
As a dog owner make sure there are visible display signs about the presence of a dog/ dogs at your place.
While you’re out, remember to keep a leash on your dog.
Ensure the fencing is tall enough so that the dog can’t jump over and sturdy.
Talk with your insurance provider regarding a dog bite insurance and sign up for one. It will help you tackle any contingencies that may arise in the future.
If someone files a charge against you, the insurance company will cover for it. They also hire dog bite attorney to defend your case.
The Advocates Dog Bite Claim Process
Step 1: Investigate the Accident
The first steps The Advocates will take is to investigate your accident. Our attorneys do this by requesting a police report about your accident, examining any videos or photographs of the crash scene, and by contacting any relevant witnesses to the accident. Once we have firmly established liability, we will begin to hard work of building your injury claim.
Step 2: Build Your Claim
Building your car accident injury claim is one of the most time-consuming steps in the entire process. Our staff must wait until you are finished treatment for your injuries before we can compile a comprehensive medical record of the injuries you have suffered from your accident. This is a timely process so be patient.
Step 3: Negotiate a Settlement
Once you are finished treating your injuries and your medical records have been gathered, your attorney will send out a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance. Afterwards, negotiations with your attorney will begin. If we are unable to negotiate a fair offer, then you will have the option to file a lawsuit.
Step 4: Litigate If Necessary
Time wise, litigation is the longest step in the claim process, possibly extending the life of your claim one or, even, two years. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, be prepared to potentially appear before a judge and jury.
Questions To Ask A Dog Bite Lawyer
What Kind Of Settlement Can I Expect If I Hire A Dog Bite Lawyer?
Many factors determine the amount of compensation a victim receives. These include the severity of the injuries and whether there is permanent scarring or other lasting damage. Because a dog attack is a traumatic experience, the psychological damage is also taken into consideration.
Who Are The Most Common Victims Of Dog Bites?
Children are bitten more often than individuals in other age groups. In addition, children are more likely to sustain serious injuries. The next most common victims are senior citizens, followed by postal carriers.
Should My Children Take Precautions Around Familiar Dogs?
Yes. Statistics show that most children are bitten by a dog they know, including family pets and those belonging to neighbors.
What Should I Do If A Dog Bites Me Or My Child?
In the event of a severe attack, you should call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency room. Then wash the wound(s) with soap and warm water. If possible, take photos of the injuries and the area where the attack occurred.
What Are The Advantages Of Hiring A Dog Bite Lawyer?
Statistics show that plaintiffs who hire personal injury attorneys achieve better financial outcomes than those who represent themselves. Victims must provide extensive medical records and other documentation according to stringent filing deadlines. A knowledgeable lawyer will obtain and submit the necessary information in keeping with the legal requirements and timelines.
What are the four categories of criminal defenses?
Exploring the four major criminal law defenses used today
While there are definitely more than four, these four are the most common, and they are some you are most likely familiar with already.
ACTUAL INNOCENCE DEFENSE – YOU DIDN’T DO IT
It sounds simple enough, and it should be. If you didn’t do it, then why not argue that you are innocent. However, it takes more than just taking the witness stand and saying you didn’t do it. Instead, your attorney would build his or her defense around that innocence. They find witnesses, experts to testify, and even find evidence that helps show you didn’t commit the crime or there was no way you could have committed it. Sometimes, that means having a strong alibi witness, while other times it means presenting enough evidence in court that another party should be convicted of the crime instead of the defendant.
The prosecution still has to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty – it is not your job. However, the more evidence you can present to counter anything the prosecutor uses, the easier it will be to show that the prosecution cannot prove their case.
SELF-DEFENSE – YOU DID IT, BUT TO PROTECT YOURSELF OR OTHERS
Self-defense claims are often used in instances of assault, battery, and even murder. In these cases, the defendant claims that he or she harmed or killed the victim to protect themselves from threats of violent action. Self-defense claims, unlike in the movies, are hard to win. Not only must the prosecutor show that the defendant had no reason to use such drastic measures, but the defense often must prove that there was an incredible risk of danger to the defendant and that justified his or her actions.
The defense of others may also apply in these cases. In this instance, the defendant harmed or killed the victim to defend themselves or someone else from violent acts that would have happened against them if they did not intervene. For example, someone pointing a gun at a person’s head, threatening to harm that person.
Usually, the defendant is protecting family and loved ones, but there are instances where the defendant is protecting someone that they do not know.
INSANITY DEFENSE – YOU WERE NOT OF SOUND MIND AT THE TIME
Unfortunately, TV and movies have given a false impression of what it means to be “insane” at the time of a criminal act. This defense does not apply in all situations, and insanity defenses are considered affirmative ones. This means that, instead of poking holes in the prosecutor’s case, the burden falls on you. Now, the defense must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was suffering or suffered at the time a mental illness or defect that caused them to commit the act.
What Makes the Insanity Defense So Difficult?
To claim insanity, the defense must show that the defendant could not determine right from wrong at the time of the crime, or they had an impulse that was irresistible. In that case, they would have been aware that they were doing something wrong but were unable to stop themselves from doing so.
Also, to use the insanity defense, the defendant is basically admitting guilt, but saying that their guilt should be excused because they were insane at the time. It is a very risky defense strategy to use, and only one a good attorney uses it when it is possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury were to doubt a defendant’s mental status at all, it is most likely not worth it for the defense to risk this strategy.
Whether you have committed a crime or not, you are entitled to specific protections under the U.S. Constitution. In a criminal trial, constitutional violations come up a lot, especially when it comes to how a defendant was treated, the circumstances of his or her arrest, and even how the evidence was collected to use against them.
Often, a good Constitutional violation can result in the charges being dismissed entirely or force the prosecution to agree to a plea bargain for a much less severe charge. These are the violations attorneys will immediately look for, because they are a powerful, effective defense.
Defense – Others or Self
Murder, battery, and assault are legal reasons for defense of self and/or others. In some cases, a violent act may prompt an immediate violent response to defend one’s own or another’s life. For example, if you witness a person trying to harm another person, under the right category of reasonings, you are allowed to defend that other person to a point in which the person inflicting the harm is forced to surrender, but not beyond that point. Once you go beyond the point of defending the innocent person (continuing to harm the person whose surrendered from harming the innocent party), you have crossed into the category of assault and battery. The same rule is applied to self defense. Once the person has relinquished control, you should refrain from continuing bodily harm to that person.
Common Criminal Defenses
When a defendant goes on trial for allegedly committing a crime, a prosecutor must establish that the defendant is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, the criminal defendant is entitled to present a defense and may do so through a variety of means. The defendant may attempt to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, argue that another individual committed the crime, or argue that he or she did commit the crime but had a legal and reasonable defense for doing so. There are numerous criminal defenses available that may allow a defendant to avoid punishment for his or her actions.
The Defendant Did not Understand the Significance of the Criminal Actions
One category of defenses available to a criminal defendant argue that the defendant cannot be found guilty for the crime because he or she did not understand what he or she was doing or that his or her actions were wrong. At its most severe, this includes the defense of insanity. The defense of insanity requires the defendant to prove, depending on the state in which the case is tried, that either he or she had a mental disorder that rendered him or her incapable of understanding right from wrong, or that it prevented him or her from controlling his or her actions and resisting violent impulses. In some states, the defense of insanity will allow a defendant to avoid prison but will require that the defendant be held in a psychiatric facility for treatment.
The Defendant Was Justified in His or Her Actions
Another category of defenses applies when the defendant committed the crime but argues that he or she was justified in doing so. The most commonly recognized of these defenses are self-defense and defense of others. A defendant may argue, for instance, that he did shoot an intruder but did so in self-defense because the intruder was threatening him with a knife. Similarly, under a defense of duress, the criminal defendant argues that he or she only committed the crime because he or she was forced to do so by someone else. For example, a criminal defendant may argue that a co-defendant told him that if he didn’t commit a burglary, the co-defendant would kill him. Finally, under a necessity defense, the criminal defendant may argue that he or she committed the crime in order to prevent a more significant harm. For instance, the defendant may contend that it was necessary for him to steal a car in order to chase down another individual who was threatening to use an explosive device.
No Crime Actually Occurred
Finally, a smaller set of defenses may be used to argue that although it appears there was a crime, the defendant did not actually commit a criminal act. First, the defendant may argue that no crime occurred because of the defense of consent. For instance, the defendant may argue that although sexual intercourse occurred, it was not rape because there was consent. Likewise, he may argue that there was no assault because the victim consented to the harm. Second, a criminal defendant can assert the defense of abandonment/withdrawal if he or she initially intended to commit or participate in a crime but later had a change of heart and withdrew from participation. Third, the defendant may argue entrapment. Entrapment occurs when the government induces an individual to commit the crime and then attempts to punish the person for it. The defendant may argue that no crime would have occurred but for the government’s inducement, and he or she should therefore not be held responsible.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT DEFENCE ATTORNEY?
Being charged with a crime and/or convicted of a crime will have serious, long-term consequences on your life. Mainly, it can affect your chances of getting a job or keeping the one you have, getting an education, keeping custody of your child (if applicable), and can even lead to deportation if you are not already a U.S. citizen. It is very unwise to represent yourself in court, even if you think your case if very straightforward and that your defence is obvious. Prosecutors will fight aggressively for you to receive the harshest punishment possible. That’s why you need to hire an experienced, successful attorney to represent you. But you may want to think about the kinds of advantages you’ll have if you hire someone who has experience as a prosecutor, who will be familiar with the types of arguments you will face. Of course, you will also want to schedule your consultation right away.
Physical force or threats of violence to steal property from someone. The penalty is up to life imprisonment.
Physical force directly or indirectly without permission on another person or attempting or threatening by act or gesture to apply force to another person. The penalty is up to five years imprisonment.
Possession of Drugs
Having illegal or prohibited drugs in your possession. The penalty is up to six months imprisonment and/or a $1000 fine if prosecuted by summary conviction; penalty depends on what substance it is and how much is in possession; if prosecuted as an indictable offence it could be up to seven years.
Trespassing by Night
Being on someone else’s property at night without permission or lawful excuse. The penalty up to six months imprisonment.
Breaking and Entering
Definition gaining entry into someone’s house or commercial premises and committing or intending to commit another offence. The penalty is up to life imprisonment if the property is a house; up to ten years if the property is a commercial property.
Choose an Award Winning Attorney Who Has
Dealing with an injury is never easy, especially if it leads to hospitalization, medical bills, and missed wages. If you or your loved one has suffered harm and losses because of another person’s negligence, is ready to help you pursue justice
No Recovery, No Fees – You Don’t Pay Unless
When you bring your case to our firm, you
can trust that our team will do everything in our power to win your case. This
is because we work off of contingency fees, meaning that you only owe us if we
successfully recover a settlement on your behalf. We believe that every victim
of negligence should be able to retain affordable representation, without sacrificing
quality and competence
Need a Personal Injury Attorney
After an injury, facing an insurance
company alone can be difficult and frustrating. These companies are in the
business of profit, meaning they will do whatever they can to avoid or minimize
payments to policyholders. Too often, people who are injured do not get the
full and fair settlement that they deserve, because they did not hire a
competent and aggressive lawyer. Our attorneys can be your advocate in
negotiations with insurance companies, and we can fight to protect your best
What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim or you may lose your right to compensation. See O.C.G.A. Section 9-3-33. However, there are exceptions that can shorten or extend the two-year time limit.
Situations that Can Shorten the Statute of
Situations that will shorten the two-year personal injury statute of limitations include filing a personal injury claim against or its employees. In this situation, the claim falls under Tort Claims Act (‘GTCA”). The GTCA requires that notice sometimes referred to as ante litem notification, be given within one year from the date of the incident instead of two. The notice must meet the requirements as outlined in the GTCA and if it does not the claim may be barred forever. See O.C.G.A. Section 50-21-26
FREE CHECKLIST FOR CHOOSING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
When you are dealing with an injury,
physical pain is, unfortunately, often just the start. Adding to the strain is
emotional, psychological, and financial stress — as bills mount, as you miss
work, as you struggle to make ends meet for you and your family, an injury
becomes an all-consuming part of your life. Fighting at-fault parties and
insurance companies is one burden too many.
It needn’t be this way, not when you have a
partner who can help you navigate this difficult terrain and build a compelling
case for the compensation you are owed. Choosing a personal injury lawyer with
deep experience and legal insight is, perhaps, the most effective way to
relieve the pressing weight you’ve been carrying on your shoulders
The team at the LaBovick Law Group has
developed a comprehensive checklist to help you select a qualified personal
injury attorney at law. With the right ally on your side, you position yourself
to receive just, fair compensation. You find a guide who can lead you through
your current stressful situation and towards a better outcome. Fill out the
form now to download your free checklist for choosing a personal injury lawyer.
THREE TIPS IN CHOOSING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
So many choices, so little time. Choosing a personal injury lawyer who can
meet your specific expectations can be a challenge. After being injured in an
accident you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you as
quickly as possible. At least that is my
opinion after representing thousands of clients on their car accident and
injury cases over my 20 years in practice.
The problem is that you have to sort through all of the noise in order
to find the right attorney for you. You
are bombarded by advertisements on TV, the radio, and billboards all day
long. Your friends and family all want
to refer you to “their” lawyer. So what
should you do? Below are three tips that
I hope are helpful in picking the right personal injury lawyer for you.
Small law firm versus a larger personal
injury law firm – choose what is right for you
In my experience, most attorneys will take
on your personal injury case even if they normally do not handle many of them
and, unfortunately, they will not tell you that they only handle a few case
each month or each year. I think that
this is an extremely important factor to consider and evaluate. When I think of small law firms I am really
talking about law firms with one to three lawyers. I consider larger personal injury law firms
to be those that employ more than ten attorneys.
Litigation firms versus non-litigation
Many personal injury law firms, in
particular smaller firms, tend to not litigate many cases. This can be directly related to a lack of
manpower, a lack of finances, or a lack of experience. A very successful lawyer once told me that
lawyers don’t try cases because they are either scared (lack of experience) or
lazy, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. Although the vast majority of personal injury
cases are resolved without a lawsuit, you are much better served if your law
firm not only has the skill set needed to litigate your case but also has the
reputation of being a firm that is willing to sue. In my opinion, it is hard to gain this
reputation if you are a small firm that only files a couple of lawsuits per
Location of your lawyer
Although we only has offices, we actually represent clients who have been injured in accidents around the United States as well. So how is this possible? It generally happens in one of three ways. First, we are hired by clients who live in Arizona, but were involved in a car accident in another state. Second, we represent clients who live in another state but were injured in a car accident while in Arizona. Third, we represent clients who were injured in a car accident, typically on a products liability claim, but there are some circumstances where we are able to make a claim against an insurance company. The above are all examples of different circumstances where the lawyer that you choose may be down the street, but could also be across the country. It is simply up to you to choose what works best for you, but with today’s technology location should not be an obstacle to representing a client well.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
WILL AN ATTORNEY TAKE YOUR CASE?
First, for many Plaintiff’s attorneys
(note: a plaintiff is the person who initiates the lawsuit), the first thing
they’ll do is consider, “How likely is the personal injury case profitable?”
For a case to be profitable, there must be
a Defendant or party who can pay a judgment or settlement. If there are no such deep pockets, there is
often no case. In fact, there is a term
called “judgment proof” for someone who cannot afford to pay a judgment. That is simply because a person without cash
or other assets most likely will not be sued.
A contingency model simply means that the
attorney’s fee will be calculated from a percentage of the client’s recovery.
TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS
There are many types of personal injury
lawsuits. Such lawsuits range from boating accidents, to refinery explosions,
to slip and fall accidents, to commercial vehicle (18-wheeler) wrecks, to
run-of-the-mill car crashes.
BOATING ACCIDENTS – JONES ACT
For example, an offshore boating accident
case can be brought under the “Jones Act”. The Jones Act is a federal maritime
law that gives specific rights to injured seamen, crewmen and other maritime
workers. Such workers have a right to make a claim for lost wages and health
benefits. They can also file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent employer or
third party, and/or file a seaworthiness claim if improper vessel maintenance
caused the accidental injury. The Jones Act also includes a provision that
gives you the right to visit a doctor of your choosing and receive a second
Accident Injury Lawyer
If you are hurt in an accident, you need to speak with the best accident injury lawyer. The insurance company of the person who hurt you is not on your side. Do not listen to the advice of the insurance adjuster. Instead, contact our qualified and experienced personal injury legal team. You will be happy that you did.
Why Choose Inland Empire Accident Injury
Choosing an accident injury law firm with a
reputation of success is important. Napolin has a track record of success.
However, many firms boast that that their years in practice and past trial wins
make them your best attorney choice. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How Do I File An Auto Injury Claim?
Be sure to get the other driver’s insurance
information. If they do not have insurance, you should set up a claim with your
own insurance company. Call the insurance carrier of the other driver. Explain
that an accident happened and you need to set up a new claim. If you are hurt,
it is best to contact an auto accident lawyer like Napolin.
If you require an attorney to represent your interests in
court or you just need one for personal consultation on an ongoing negotiation,
you should opt for a good personal injury attorney rather than an ordinary
attorney. You can build enough confidence with a personal injury attorney to
ensure a comfortable legal process.
Today there are many attorneys with sufficient knowledge to
successfully tackle a personal injury claim; however you should take time to
choose one with the right skills and experience to stand for your interests in
a personal injury case. Irrespective of the years of experience, refrain from
choosing an attorney who mainly works with an insurance company because it is
only normal for these attorneys to put the interest of the insurance company
first before yours.
Why an attorney might not be interested in handling your
Searching for the perfect personal attorney is no easy task,
avoid going for just any kind of attorney. You will need to select an attorney
that shows sufficient interest in your case and this would typically involve a
lot of research. You will also need to agree on a mode of payment once you have
found the right attorney. It is advised that you choose an attorney you can pay
based on a contingency fee. This means that the amount of money the attorney is
paid depends on the compensation you get.
Important questions to ask your personal injury attorney
A lot of victims are usually unprepared and confused in the
event of an accident, leaving them unsure of how to handle the case
effectively. It is necessary to make swift decisions if you sustain any
injuries in an accident. First and foremost, you should seek urgent medical
attention and after recovery you should contact a personal injury attorney to
fight for full compensation if you are sure you are not to blame for the
accident and the damage was caused by some other person’s negligence.
What is your area of specialization?
It is important to be informed about your attorney’s area of
specialization. Just as it would be unwise to have an auto mechanic deal with a
leaking pipe rather than a plumber, it is also a terrible idea to hire an
attorney that does not specialise in personal injury cases. Hence, with the
vast array of attorneys available today focusing on different areas of law
like; wrongful death, accident, product liability etc., ensure you go for an
attorney that specializes on personal injury law to increase your chances of a
Tips to Help You Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney
Pick the Right Type of Attorney
When you have a medical condition that requires treatment,
the first thing you will usually do is search for a doctor that specializes in
that kind of ailment. The same thought process applies to selecting an attorney
Research Several Attorneys
It is essential to conduct research on any attorney or firm
before deciding who you wish to interview. You may want to start by speaking to
family members and trusted friends about their personal experiences with
attorneys in your area. When conducting your research, look for issues with
their reputation that may affect your case
Interview the Attorney
When you have a repair performed on your home, you would
never think twice about asking the repair company about their credentials or
experience. This consideration should be no different when deciding on an
attorney. You will want to talk to your potential lawyer about their past cases
and outcomes and ask how they feel they could represent your case.
Ask About Your Case
Ask your attorney what they think about the merits of your
case. Ask how they will handle the case and what outcome they would like to
see. Does the attorney only take cases that they can settle out of court or are
they willing to represent your case before a judge and jury?
Review All Paperwork
Make sure that you review all paperwork the attorney
presents to you, so you are in full understanding of what you are about to
sign. Once you sign the documents to accept their legal services you have
entered into a contract
How To Find The Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Finding an Experienced Lawyer
The practice of law has become highly specialized, and many
lawyers know less about personal injury law than you will after some reading
through this site. So, your first task is to find a lawyer who has experience
representing claimants (known as “plaintiffs”) in personal injury
cases. You do not want to be represented by someone who has primarily been a
lawyer for insurance companies, even if they’re experienced. Such a lawyer may
be too accustomed to taking the insurance company’s side and might not fight
hard enough for your claim
A Lawyer Might Not Want Your Case
Finding a lawyer you want to hire is one thing. But that
lawyer also has to want your case. And a lawyer could have several reasons for
rejecting you as a client
Friends and Acquaintances
Contact friends or coworkers who have been represented by a
lawyer in their own personal injury claims. If the friend or coworker says good
things about the experience, put that lawyer on your list of people with whom
to have an initial consultation. But do not make any decision about a lawyer
solely on the basis of someone else’s recommendation. Different people will have
different responses to a lawyer’s style and personality. Also, at any
particular time a lawyer may have more or less energy or interest to devote to
a new case. So do not make up your mind about hiring someone until you have met
with the lawyer, discussed your case, and decided that you are comfortable
entering a working relationship.
Lawyers You Already Know
You may already know a lawyer, either personally or because
the lawyer has represented you before in some legal matter. And that lawyer may
be very good at the job. So, when you consider hiring a lawyer to work on your
personal injury claim, it may seem obvious to hire this person you already know
You can search for lawyers through advertising directories.
Nolo’s lawyer directory at www.nolo.com/lawyers provides extensive profiles of
attorneys, including each attorney’s experience, education, and fee structure.
Lawyers.com also has an extensive directory of personal injury lawyers,
complete with client reviews and peer ratings
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring the right person to handle your legal case is a
daunting task. Whether you have been injured in a car accident or are having
trouble after a hip replacement surgery, you want to ensure that the lawyer is
the best for the job
Ask friends and family to refer their injury lawyer
Word of mouth is not going away. The preferred way to find a
good personal injury lawyer is to ask friends and family for a referral to an
attorney who represented them in the past
Make sure to discuss fees before signing
Says Neal Davis of the Neal Davis Law firm in Houston,
Texas, “It’s always important to ask about fees upfront. Transparency is
crucial in any significant financial transaction, and that includes your
lawyer. Always get any fee agreement in writing.”
Research attorneys online
Research different attorneys online. Make sure they are
licensed and in good standing in the state where the accident occurred.
Listen to your gut
“Pick the personal injury attorney that genuinely cares
about you as a person and your long-term wellbeing,” advises Evan Guthrie,
a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. “Some attorneys
may care more about the value of the case over making the decisions that will
benefit the client in their recovery. The attorney should also be real and
honest about the weaker parts of the case up front instead of playing up the
strengths of the case. Trust your gut feeling when choosing an attorney. If it
does not feel right, move on to another attorney immediately even if
representation has already begun.”
TIPS ON FINDING THE RIGHT PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, retaining a
personal injury lawyer may help you pursue compensation for any damages incurred
as a result. However, it can be incredibly difficult to find a lawyer for your
needs, especially if you are recovering from your injuries. With thousands of
personal injury lawyers online, how do you find the right one?
An ideal law firm has a track record of success that can be
easily found. Many law firms spend large sums of money on billboard or TV
advertising but do not obtain good results for their clients. Insurance
companies and large corporations know the track record of the attorneys they deal
with and generally offer more money in settlement to those with a higher
percentage of success because they know that law firm is willing and capable to
go to trial. Additionally, trial lawyer of the year awards or outstanding trial
lawyer of the year awards are a great indicator of this as well. These awards
are only given to the top trial attorneys who have exceptional experience and
Look at the experience of the attorneys. Many larger
personal injury law firms have younger associates that handle personal injury
cases, but these associates do not have the experience or expertise of an
attorney with 20+ years of experiencing practicing personal injury cases.
Likewise, firms that have many younger associates don’t need to pay those
associates as much as an experienced personal injury trial lawyer – and in
personal injury law, you typically get what you pay for. Having an experienced
attorney will assist in getting you a larger settlement and better result on
Personal Injury Attorney
Make sure the personal injury attorneys have the capability
to represent you in a trial if necessary. Although not all personal injury
cases go to trial, an attorney who has courtroom experience can more
effectively represent your case needs
Personal Injury Attorney
Research. There are tons of lawyers out there and it can be
overwhelming to pick the right one. A good place to start is to ask friends and
family for referrals and then research online. Then call a few different
lawyers and see who you’re comfortable with
What Is Family Law, and What Is a Family Law Attorney?
Family law refers to the branch of the legal field that
deals with issues relating to domestic relationships. Thus, a family law
attorney is an attorney that specializes in family law, as opposed to other
branches of the legal field.
Some of the most common subjects covered by family law
Divorce and Marriage: This includes
prenuptial agreements, divorce, spousal support, division of property,and
domestic violence issues. This may also include matters related to civil unions
and domestic partnerships, claims for reimbursement for marital expenses,
non-marital agreements, and annulment procedures;
Issues Involving Children: This
includes child custody, child support, adoption, child abuse, and child
neglect. This may also include paternity testing and fraud related to paternity
Other Family Law Issues: This
includes emancipation, “Power of Attorney,” estate matters, inheritance laws,
and name changes.
As you can see, family law attorneys are able to practice several
different types of law under the family law umbrella. Most attorneys do
practice the spectrum of legal matters associated with family law as a
However, some attorneys who practice family law choose to
specialize even further. For example, some attorneys will specialize in
adoptions, while others may solely focus on divorce and other related issues.
Dealing with family law issues?
Family law generally concerns domestic relations and
family-related matters such as marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships,
adoptions, paternity, guardianships, domestic abuse, surrogacy, child custody,
child abduction, the dissolution of marriage and associated issues. Each state
has its own set of family laws, and traveling across state borders can
sometimes affect your rights and those of your family.
Contrary to popular belief, seeking the advice of a family
law attorney does not necessarily mean that something is amiss in your family.
A family law attorney can help negotiate prenuptial/premarital agreements for
clients in anticipation of marriage or advise same-sex couples on relevant
legal issues affecting their relationship. They also can help with adoption
proceedings and other procedures involving children.
Family law attorneys often do represent clients seeking a
divorce, annulment or legal separation, and the complicated issues that can
arise as a result. Although domestic abuse is a criminal offense, some family
law attorneys are skilled at handling these situations, as they are often
entangled with other family law issues.
Some jurisdictions certify lawyers as family law
specialists, which means these attorneys have met the certifying body’s minimum
requirements for education, experience, and examination.
5 Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You
Family lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in
matters to do with family law. They handle legal issues that are concerned with
members of the family. Such legal issues include divorce, child custody, and
guardianship among others. Family lawyers can act as mediators when family
disagreements develop. They can also represent litigants in family conflicts
that end up courts. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.
divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can
face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it
calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist
them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a
competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to
settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court.
Estates and Wills
A will is a
legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to
be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for
assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to
ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.
Child Custody Agreements
couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what
happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the
children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is
defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms
therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting
ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in
amending child custody agreements if need be.
agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil
union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to
another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and
division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family
lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling
any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.
Litigants in Court
family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some
of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are
best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases
almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge
and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of
the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.
3 Qualities to Look for in a Family Law Attorney
for family law attorneys does not stop at the point where you finally find some
recommendations or names. Lots of people do not follow through these steps and
more than often, they end up losing their cases due to lack of skills.
Excellent People Skill
A family law
attorney should always have excellent people skill. They should know the tricks
and turns of handling an emotional client who is about to lose the custody of
his/her child or a marriage. A family law attorney should always be very
attentive to the details and not dismiss the client’s story easily.
Excellent Communication Skill
the people skill, the communication skill is another feather which family law
attorneys should have in their hats. A lot of domestic cases get resolved
outside of the courtroom and parties settle through their attorneys. In this
case, your family law attorney should be a confident speaker and a good
negotiator to deal with the case firmly outside the courtroom and not give nod
to the terms of the other party without a counter attack.
Excellent Research Skill
quality might a common one for all the attorneys, family law attorneys should
be extra attentive with their research skills. With the right clause or with
the right case law reference, a family law case can be won quite easily and
this wholly depends on the skill of your chose attorney.
After Choosing a Family Law Attorney
important to provide your lawyer with all of the information that he or she
needs to help you. In some situations, there may be details that you feel
uncomfortable sharing, but you will get the best results if your attorney knows
the whole story. If, for example, you’re in the throes of a contested divorce,
you may not want to share information that could portray you in a lesser light.
But, once your lawyer has all the relevant facts in his or her possession, then
there may be ways to present your case in a way that mitigates any potential
your attorney with clear records and timelines of relevant events can help
significantly, too. So, even if you didn’t keep comprehensive records in the
past, or didn’t organize them well before, start doing so now. Keep track of
relevant dates and times, locations, conversations, and so forth.
Benefit Plans Can Help
You may know
that you need legal help, but also recognize that the fees are more than you
can afford. That’s why legal benefits are so helpful. These are voluntary
benefits plans that employers offer to their employees—and, as a member of a
group legal plan, like Family Defender™, you would have access to the
legal help that you need, simply by paying a low monthly fee.
Forty to fifty percent of all marriages in the United States
end in divorce. In 1969, California was the first state to legalize no-fault
divorce. In 2010, New York was the last of the fifty states to approve it.
No-fault divorce does not require any evidence of wrong-doing on the part
of either spouse. Although divorce is a difficult emotional decision, in terms of
the law, it can easily be granted under a no-fault divorce ruling.
Divorce in the United States is in accordance with state law
rather than governed extensively by federal regulations. A divorce lawyer
specializes in civil law. This field can be saturated with emotions and
life-changing decisions. Therefore, a divorce lawyer must delicately yet justly
handle a wide variety of family law issues from divorce, marriage annulment,
and legal separation to child custody, child support and visitation rights. They
are also called divorce attorneys or family practice lawyers.
A divorce can take three to twelve months to finalize.
However, it depends on how the divorce is filed. It may be a fault or no-fault
divorce, contested or uncontested divorce or simplified divorce. The many legal
issues to settle and the amount of conflict to mediate influence the time
There are no specific educational requirements for a divorce
lawyer however, some courses are advised. Law school attendance and passing the
bar examination is compulsory. With an interest in divorce law, a law
student may select courses in family law to help him specialize in child
custody issues, family dysfunction and property rights. While pursuing a Juris
Doctorate (J.D.), a law student can receive a certification in family law. In
addition, certain law schools offer a Master of Law (LL.M) in Family Law which
would follow the acquisition of a J.D..
Description & Skills Required
When terminating a marriage, many legal aspects must be
addressed. A divorce lawyer is responsible for the division of assets and debt
among spouses. If there are children involved, a divorce lawyer helps set the
terms for child custody and child support. Thorough research is required in
order to gather supporting evidence in each case. Detailed paperwork must be
compiled and then submitted to the court documenting the evidence. For
legal separations, a divorce lawyer carries out the separation through court
A divorce lawyer must excel in a few unique skills. They
have to be an attentive listener because the decisions made in or out of court
will greatly affect their client’s lives. Although it may be difficult,
it is vital a divorce lawyer remains non-judgmental to assist them in promoting
their own client’s best interests. Their interpersonal skills must be strong
because they are dealing with a variety of relationships in their profession.
Advocacy, mediation and alternative dispute resolution skills should be
acquired and mastered in law school as well as through continual work
experience in the field.
The cheapest way to get a divorce with a child
The cheapest way to get a divorce with a child involves both
you and your spouse to remain cordial, and be ready to compromise on several issues.
Property division and child custody, which are the main battle fronts in most
To get a cheap divorce, you can start the process online and
minimize the number of professional services you contract. In order to get the
cheapest divorce possible, you must make sure that both you and your spouse are
willing to work together and your divorce is uncontested.
Even if you plan on representing yourself, divorce can be
expensive. However, there are ways to make it cheaper or even divorce with no
Here are some tips to
go about it:
Divorce fee waiver
Each state has an indigent fee
waiver that allows you to file for your divorce without paying the filing
costs. When you go into your local court, ask the court’s clerk what forms you need
inorder to waive the fees. This option is only available and designed for those
with limited finances while filing for divorce.
Getting divorce forms
You can get the divorce forms online from the local divorce
court site or use a service like mydivorcepapers.com we highly recommend. You
can also download the form for asking for a fee waiver. Some sites have
instruction booklets that help users in filling the forms. If you can easily
access the courthouse, then the clerk can help you with the forms and instructions
for filling them.
Provide financial proof of indigence
Include proof of your income, debts, and tax returns to
prove to the court that you cannot afford the court fees. You will then get the
forms notarized by your bank or the court clerk.
Once the is done, the court will review your applications
and once the fee waiver is approved or deferred, you can move forward with the
case. You can simply file a settlement or make a court appearance together and
tell the judge what you have agreed on. If the divorce is uncontested, then
your ex-partner does not need to appear in court, this will be a quick process
and much cheaper on both of you.
Here is a list of the 9 things you should never do during a divorce:
1. Don’t forget to consult an attorney.
A lawyer can make sure that you both review and understand
anything before you sign or agree. An experienced family law attorney is often
a good idea for situations where the divorcing couple has a large amount of
assets, property or other complicated financial matters. In more contentious
divorces, an attorney can make sure that your interests are represented in
court. Even in a “friendly” divorce you are often better off hiring a lawyer to
help file paperwork and guide you through the court system.
2. Don’t neglect your finances.
If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to immediately
begin to set aside money for the all the expenses involved. Make copies of all
your financial documents and legal records before your divorce proceedings
begin. These documents should include bank and investment statements, wills,
trusts, tax returns, property deeds, insurance policies and vehicle titles to
name a few. Keep these copies in a secure location not accessible by your ex.
3. Don’t immediately tell everyone you are getting a
Emotions are running high, it’s perfectly normal to want to
let others know what’s going on in your life. You may desperately want support,
you may not want to suffer in silence, or you may just want to punish your
partner and embarrass them. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep your a
divorce secret from everyone, you just need to decide who you tell and why.4.
Don’t use your children as pawns.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it still
happens, even unintentionally. Check your own behavior and don’t use your kids
to punish or manipulate your spouse. In the end, this will cause resentment and
have a negative impact on the relationship you have with your children.
5. Don’t take divorce advice from family and friends.
It’s only natural that those close to you want to provide
support during this time. Everyone wants to share their experiences, offer
opinions and give advice. Your family and friends may have good intentions, but
their divorce experience is based on the facts and circumstances that are
unique to them and may not apply in your situation. Let these friends and
relatives be there for you emotionally, but if they offer financial or legal
advice about your divorce, politely say “No thank you.” Your future is too
6. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later.
While it is normal for you to feel conflicting emotions
making the end of your relationship into a bad reality show is never a good
idea. Act like everything you say, do, post, tweet, text or snap will
immediately be posted on YouTube. Don’t take your negative emotions feelings
out on your children, pets, or personal property. Don’t self-medicate with
drugs and alcohol. Don’t rant or fight with your ex on social media. At
best, these things could be used against you during the divorce proceedings, at
worst you could land on the wrong side of the law or lose visitation rights.
7. Don’t jump into another relationship.
This is not the time to start a new romantic relationship.
If you already have, consider putting it on hold. Even if you and your spouse
no longer live together, in some states a relationship outside of marriage can
become an issue during the divorce process. With all of the changes going on in
your life, avoiding any type of romantic relationship is often the best thing
to do for your emotionally.
8. Don’t focus so much on the little things that you
forget what’s important.
In a contested divorce, you are likely to accumulate
thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees because your lawyer must spend an
enormous amount of time preparing the case and filing paperwork. You may be
angry but remember the more you and your spouse argue over issues or
items, the more you pay in attorney’s fees. Concentrate on what really matters,
and focus on that. Leaving a decision up to a third party often means you end
up not getting what you really want, and with a gigantic legal bill to boot.
9. Don’t put your friends in the middle.
Having a couple close to them end their marriage can bring
up mixed emotions in your friends as well. They will often feel awkward and
uncomfortable around you or your ex. Let them know that this is okay, and that
you understand. It’s not fair to demand that your friends take sides. It’s up
to your friends–not you–whether or not they will continue to stay friendly with
your ex. Respect the choices that they make, even if you don’t agree with them.
Ten Things You MUST Do Before You File for Divorce
Be Certain You Want to Get Divorced
While this may seem obvious, the decision to get divorced is
an emotional one, and shouldn’t be made when you’re feeling overly emotional.
Make sure you’ve exhausted all hope of reconciliation before you file for
divorce. Once you’ve served your spouse with divorce papers, it can be
difficult to go back on that decision, even if you’ve changed your mind. The
court can grant a divorce even if only one spouse wants to end the marriage. If
you’d still like to give marital counseling a try, do so before you file for
It’s a good idea to interview more than one attorney before
you decide to file for divorce. You’ll want to work with an attorney that fits
your style, and understands your goals for litigation. Avoid lawyers who offer
you solutions before listening to the particular facts of your case. Attorneys
come at different price points and experience levels. If your divorce is likely
to be messy or deals with specific types of assets, be sure your attorney is
qualified to handle your particular case. For more information, see What to
Look for in a Divorce Lawyer.
Gather Financial Documents
Divorce cases depend heavily on documentation. Your
financial account records, phone records, mortgages, and car notes are all
likely relevant to the divorce. To the extent possible, gather all the
documents you’ll need for your case before filing for divorce.
If you and your spouse have a shared file of paper records in your home, make
copies of everything before meeting with your attorney. It’s also smart to
obtain records of your shared online accounts. Not all spouses react well to
being served with divorce papers, and some will make it difficult to access
documents after you’ve filed. Save yourself potential future headaches by
getting your hands on the documents ahead of time.
Determine Your Goals for Custody
If you have children, their custody situation is probably at
the forefront of your mind when getting a divorce. You should know that, absent
extreme circumstances, you and your spouse will end up sharing custody of the
children. It’s a good idea to sit down and carefully review your work schedule,
your children’s schedule, and your other obligations and come up with your
desired schedule for custody. If you can come up with a arrangement that gives
both you and your spouse time with the children, you’ll be leaps and bounds
ahead of most people who file for divorce.
Make Necessary Purchases or Sales
In most jurisdictions, the judge automatically issues an
order at the beginning of your divorce case that prohibits you or your spouse
from selling, buying, or otherwise encumbering or disposing of any marital
property. Courts do this to prevent either spouse from draining the bank
accounts, or dissipating the marital estate out of spite.
If you’ve long been meaning to upgrade your car, or sell a
rental property, you’ll be prevented from doing so if you file for divorce
first. While it’s not appropriate to drain the bank accounts before filing for
divorce (as that can come back to bite you), if you have a legitimate sale or
purchase that’s been in the works, it’s best to complete it before filing for
Figure Out Your Living Situation
Do you want to stay in the same house with your spouse
during the divorce? Do you plan to move elsewhere? Do you want your spouse to
move out? Decide what your goals are for your living situation, both during and
after the divorce. How you behave in the weeks and months leading up to your
divorce can affect your chances of winning use of the marital residence during
the divorce. For example, moving in with a relative or friend in the weeks
leading up to your divorce won’t help your chances of staying in the residence
during the divorce. Speak with your attorney about how to best position
yourself for the living situation you desire. Click here to find out more
about housing issues during divorce.
Talk to an Attorney About Joint Bank
Accounts and Credit Cards
Depending on how you and your spouse handle your joint
financial accounts and credit cards, your attorney may advise you to close the
accounts or leave them the same. You don’t want to be in a situation where your
spouse has the ability to run up bills in your name or drain the bank accounts
– both circumstances may take the entire divorce to sort out. Your attorney can
best advise you about whether you should divide the accounts in half, close
them, or leave them the same before filing for divorce.
Don’t Live Like You’re Single
Even if your marriage is for all intents and purposes over,
refrain from living the single life prior to filing for divorce. In most
jurisdictions, even if you and your spouse are living separately, having a
romantic relationship with another person is still considered adultery.
Additionally, a judge may consider money you spend on a paramour dissipation of
the marital estate, and could require you to reimburse your spouse for those
expenditures. In any case, it typically doesn’t help your case to have started
another relationship before your divorce has been filed. In some states you can
begin a relationship after filing for divorce; speak with your attorney about
how the court will view dating before your divorce is complete.
See Divorce and Dating for more information.
Prepare a Marital Balance Sheet
You can’t decide your financial goals for your divorce
without having an accurate picture of your assets and debts. While it’s not
usually necessary to hire an accountant prior to filing for divorce, it’s a
good idea to put together a simple balance sheet showing all of your assets and
debts. Include real property, cars, retirement accounts, bank accounts and
other assets, as well as any mortgages, notes, credit cards, and other debts.
This can give you an idea of what you and your spouse will split, and you can
start working on your desired division of the marital estate. Determining your
total assets can also help you set a budget for how much to spend on your
attorney and the divorce litigation.
One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll
it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and
obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who can help
you through this difficult time.
Develop a Support Network
One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll
it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and
obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who
can help you through this difficult time. If you have the financial means,
it can help to speak with a therapist or other mental health professional. At
the very least, speak with friends who have been through divorce. Let your
family and friends know that you’ll be leaning on them for advice and moral
support. Being emotionally stable will better prepare you to make smart decisions
as your divorce progresses.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?
When it comes to divorces, most people want to get through
them as quickly as possible. Since the majority of the states accept no fault
divorces, you can quickly and easily get through the entire divorce process
within a matter of hours or days, depending on your state’s requirements.
However, just because you can get through a divorce quickly and without hiring
a lawyer does not mean that you should. The answer to, “Do you need a
lawyer to get a divorce?” depends primarily on your situation when you
begin to seek the divorce.
Times When You May
Not Need a Lawyer
A lawyer isn’t necessary for a divorce when you have no
marital assets or children. Oftentimes, this comes up when you’re getting an
annulment or when you’ve been married for only a short time. The quickest
routes through divorce court involve relinquishing all of your rights for
equitable support, as well as spousal support. If you don’t want these things,
then you don’t need a lawyer. All you need are the forms, which you can
generally obtain from your local courthouse or clerk’s office.
Times When You Do
Need a Lawyer
Whenever children are involved, you will want to have a
lawyer assist you with the agreement. In some states, the court may even
provide legal assistance. All states have some variation on a “best
interests of the child standard,” meaning that the primary focus in the
divorce will be providing for the children. Your rights as a parent could be
severely restricted, or you may find yourself in a difficult position. Whenever
you have assets in the marriage to be divided or want spousal support, you will
also want a lawyer. You should also get a lawyer if your spouse decides that
she wants any of these things, since you could easily find yourself losing just