Insurance Law Attorneys Directory

What You Are In For As A Lead Class Action Plaintiff

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Since a class action involves many plaintiffs, one plaintiff (called the lead plaintiff) usually represents the interests of the other members of the class and act on their behalf. If you happen to be the lead personal injury attorney, you need to know what the position requires of you before the lawsuit process commences. Here are three essential tasks you will be expected to accomplish: Hiring the Attorney Your first task as the lead plaintiff is to instigate the lawsuit by hiring an attorney. You need to get the right attorney just as you would when pursuing an individual personal injury case. This means choosing a lawyer with appropriate credentials, experience, reputation, focus, and objectivity. You may have to consult several lawyers before settling on one. This may not be difficult if you are the only lead plaintiff. However, it may be a bit complicated if the lead plaintiff is actually a small group of people, which sometimes happens if the class size is big (think thousands of plaintiffs). Getting several people to agree on the law firm to hire might require some work. Consulting With the Attorney As the lead plaintiff, you represent the members of the class since it’s usually not practical to gather all of them every time the attorney needs to consult with the people he or she represents. As such, it is your duty to consult with the class action lawyer, just as you would consult with your attorney in an individual lawsuit. Some of your consultative tasks include producing the necessary documents, making sworn testimonies, attending hearings, and being involved in court processes. As you can imagine, this is likely to take up a lot of your time. Agreeing to the Settlement Lastly, it’s also your duty to evaluate the settlement and accept or decline it. This is a difficult task because you are sealing the fate of many people. Members of a class action are usually prohibited from pursuing individual claims or lodging appeals if they are dissatisfied with the courts’ decisions. Therefore, you must look at the interests of the class at large, and not just your interest. For example, it’s your duty to reject a settlement that the majority of the class members feel is inadequate, even if you would be satisfied with your share. As you can see, it’s not easy to be a lead member of a class action. That’s why you need to choose a lawyer with a personality you can work with; after all, you will be dealing with him or her most of the time on behalf of the other members of the class. It would be best to decline the responsibility if you can’t perform it to the satisfaction of the class members....

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4 Primary Custody Options for Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

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If you are raising your grandchildren, or if you think it looks like that is a possibility in the near future, you need to understand the different custody options available to you as a grandparent. You also need to understand how your custody options affect both your rights and your grandchildren’s parents’ right. If you have any questions about your custody options, you need to consult with a family law attorney. Option #1: Physical Custody In this arrangement, your grandchildren are in your care because their parents have agreed to let them be with you. There is no court order that mandates that your grandchildren have to be in your custody.  In this arrangement, even though your grandchildren are living with you, you have no legal rights to make any decisions for your grandchildren, including school and medical decisions. If your grandchildren’s parents sign over power of attorney to you, your custody is strengthened and you are able to make some medical and school decisions for your grandchildren.  Your grandchildren’s parents still retain full legal rights over their children and have the power to terminate the power of attorney that they granted you. This arrangement works best if you have a positive relationship with your grandchildren’s parents and are in agreement about you raising them.  Option #2: Legal Custody Legal custody can be arranged and agreed upon between you and the parents of your grandchild and sanctioned through a legal agreement. The court system can also grant you legal custody, even without the consent of the parents, if they feel it is in the best interest of your grandchildren. In this arrangement, you will have some legal authority to make day-to-day care decisions for your grandchildren. You may still not be able to make medical decisions for them; those will either have to go through their parents or their court appointed advocate.  Your grandchildren’s parents will have the rights to visitations and may have to follow a formal visitation schedule, like in a divorce. In this arrangement, there is hope that the parents will eventually be in a position to regain custody of their children again at some point. They can even position the courts to regain custody in the future. Option #3: Guardianship This arrangement will grant you more rights over your grandchildren than a legal custody arrangement. You should be able to make most medical and school decisions for your grandchildren as well as day-to-day care decisions.  Once again, the parents of your grandchildren may be granted visitation rights and could potentially petition the court at some point to regain custody of their children. Guardianship is for grandparents who want long-term custody of their grandchildren and want to be sure they have the legal ground to make all decisions in relation to raising their grandchildren. Option #4: Adoption This is the most extreme of the custody arrangements you could have. If you choose to adopt your grandchildren, their parents are giving up all legal rights to their children, including visitation, and cannot ever petition for custody of their children again. In this case, you would in the eyes of the law become your grandchildren’s parents and would get to make all decisions related to their care, just like a normal parent would. If you want to ensure...

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How Speeding Tickets Affect Your Insurance Rates And How A Lawyer Can Help

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If you have never bought car insurance, and you are now just purchasing it for the first time because your state requires it, you may be surprised at what can affect your monthly costs. Take a look at how speeding tickets can affect your premiums and how a lawyer can help you out in a bind. The Number of Tickets You Have Can Cause Rising and Falling Premiums Most insurance companies expect that some people will have a traffic violation here and there. While it does affect your monthly rates by a few dollars, if you drive more carefully and avoid getting any more tickets in the next few months, your insurance costs could drop. The minute you add another speeding ticket, your rates will rise again as soon as your insurance company catches wind of the ticket. (Even if you do not tell the insurance company yourself, moving and traffic violations are public record, which is how many insurance companies learn of your tickets before you tell them.) What Happens When Excessive Speeding or a DWI is Involved? Another problem that can cause your insurance rates to reach new heights is excessive speeding. The more traffic tickets you have on record, the greater risk on paper you appear to be to the insurance company. After a certain number of tickets, some companies will refuse to insure you because you pose too much of a dangerous risk. If you throw DWIs in with the speeding tickets, you may be very hard-pressed to find an insurance company that will insure you at all. Click here for info about information regarding DWI tickets. If you hire a DWI and/or traffic lawyer, he or she can possibly get the charges dismissed. When the ticket and charges are dismissed, the record does not exist and/or is not accessible to the public or your insurance company. Additionally, if you can prove that you are not at fault for the traffic incident you are accused of, you may get the charges and ticket expunged from your record entirely. Your best bet is to avoid a DWI in the first place, especially if you know that you have “a lead foot” and tend to speed even when you do not intend to do so. You may also want to consider the possibility of suing an insurance company that drops you after you have incurred a couple of speeding tickets and/or a...

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Living Trusts: What They Can And Can’t Accomplish

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Older people with considerable assets need to start thinking about the best way to leave their property to their heirs. One popular tool for transferring assets after you die is known as a living trust, a type of estate trust. Property and other assets placed in the trust are distributed by a trustee to your heirs after you pass away. Living trusts allow you to achieve some goals but not others. Here is a closer look at what these legal instruments can and can’t accomplish.  Can Accomplish  For most people with a sizable estate, the primary reason for setting up a living trust is to avoid the probate process. Having your assets distributed through probate is often a long process. Many older people with significant estates prefer to avoid having their heirs wait a long time to inherit. In some cases, the wait might be as a long as a year. Also, legal expenses incurred during the process can be as much as 5 percent of your estate’s value.  With a living trust, you do not need to worry about control of any assets placed in the trust if you become incapacitated. The person you name in the trust document as the trustee will have control of your property and will conduct all necessary transactions concerning the assets. You can rest easy knowing that even if you become unable to manage your own affairs, a person in whom you have confidence will be in charge of your estate.  Can’t Accomplish  Although some types of trusts give you certain tax advantages, this is generally not the case with living trusts. You still have ultimate control over the assets in the trust, so your tax obligations are the same as if the assets were separate from the trust.  Living trusts also do not let you avoid obligations regarding debts. Creditors have the legal right to come after your estate assets in the trust. They can sue you in court and take property placed in the trust to satisfy a debt. If your main goal is to protect assets from creditors, you need to set up another kind of legal instrument, known as an irrevocable trust.  Although it’s legally permissible to set up a living trust by yourself, this is probably not a wise course of action because of the complexities involved. A better way is to consult with an estate planning attorney who has experience with these...

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Confused About VA Claim And Appeal Denials? You’re Not Alone

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Dealing with the Veterans Affairs (VA) claim and appeal system can be a major challenge. Many veterans struggle to tailor their claims paperwork to match the VA’s requirements, but disconnects in what the VA needs and what the veteran can prove may mean months of waiting, only to receive a denial or a request for better information. To understand why denials happen and to make your appeal more successful, take a look at the VA decision process and ways that a legal professional could help. Denied? But The Pain Is So Real For many veterans, the decision to seek disability doesn’t come lightly. Many veterans are fortunate to leave the military in one piece, but some mark their departure after a close call or when their body just can’t keep up anymore. Even though the military can sometimes have an aura of pushing forward, it also has a spirit of doing the right thing to avoid impacting the team and needlessly ruining yourself. The goal of getting disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs is actually fairly simple; prove that you were injured or otherwise afflicted during military service, and then prove that you still have a problem. This proof creates what is called a service connection. Your injury or condition must be connected to military service and verified by documentation to receive benefits. Although the goal is simple, getting that proof is tough. The best chances at getting claim approval is to either be severely or obviously injured in the military to the point of getting a medical discharge or to start working on your disability paperwork while you’re still in uniform. Some veterans are able to leave the military at a comfortable duty station with enough time to organize their paperwork. Other service-members may mark their last days in uniform by rushing from a ship, flying home from a remote location or flying to a debrief from a combat zone. If you didn’t have time to prepare your paperwork, there may be some disconnects in your proof. A Lawyer May Be Needed To Fill The Gaps Do you have a medical record that shows exactly how your condition started? If you’re dealing with a disease or complex condition, do you have supporting evidence that shows your exposure? Some veterans were exposed to harmful substances or hostile environments without an administrative building to thoroughly document the exposure. If you don’t have the documentation, you’ll need to make the documentation as fast as possible. The longer you wait, the more it may look like your condition was caused by civilian events, not military events. If you’re working on an appeal after years of military service and think that you’re missing vital information, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. An injury lawyer can research parts of your military career and compare your situation against similar claimants. If there’s anyone who could have had the same exposure as you or some document that could verify your condition, a lawyer’s resources and information organization skills can craft an appeal that is airtight. You’ll have an easier time getting an approval or an increased rating if you have a legal professional on your side. Contact a personal injury lawyer to push for a more successful VA disability...

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Ways You Can Have Your Business Contract Cancelled

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After your company has entered a contract with another business, you may discover that you may not be able to meet the terms of the contract or you may realize that the contract is not in the best interests of your company. Fortunately, there are some ways you can get out of a contract without facing any penalties. Contact the Other Party Begin by contacting the company with whom you have the contract. Sometimes, in an effort to maintain a healthy business relationship, the other company may be willing to agree to have the contract nullified or may only charge you a small fee. The business may provide you with its own cancellation form or you may need to draft your own cancellation letter. The cancellation letter will include your name, contact information, the specific contract you would like to cancel and a clear statement that you are canceling the contract. Draft an Agreement You may then want to draft an agreement that both of you sign verifying that the contract has been nullified. Write an agreement that stipulates that both parties agree to have the contract canceled. Then, in the presence of a notary and your attorney, both you and other party should sign the contract. Make sure that your attorney looks over your contract before signing it. Have Your New Contract Cancelled Legally If you recently signed a contract, you may be able to get out of the contract depending on the state you live in. There is sometimes a cooling-off period. You will need to fill out forms and the state will then send a legal cancellation notice. Look for a Material Breach When the other party refuses to have the contract nullified and the penalties for canceling the contract are severe, you should consult with an attorney regarding how you can minimize the impact of the contract’s cancellation. By looking through the contract thoroughly, you may be able to identify a way in which there was a material breach. This is a violation that strikes at the heart of the contract. For instance, if you were promised several services, but you did not receive one of them, this would be considered a material breach. The material breach will allow you to choose to not uphold your end of the contract. If there is evidence of fraud or if the contract is found to be impossible to perform, this would also be grounds to have your contract nullified. You may also be able to seek damages. For more information, contact a law office like...

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FAQs Of A Conservatorship For A Mentally Incapacitated Parent Or Child

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Sometimes, estate planning is not limited to just yourself. If you have a child or parent who is mentally incapacitated, you might have to make decisions for him or her. In order to do this, there are a few legal steps you need to take to ensure that you have the right to make estate plans for him or her. Here is what you need to know.  Can You Create a Power of Attorney? Even though a child or parent is mentally unable to make decisions on his or her own, you are not automatically granted the right to do so. This limitation applies to creating a power of attorney. In order to gain the right to create a power of attorney for your child or parent, you need to seek conservatorship. What Is a Conservatorship? Conservatorship gives you the right to manage your parent or child’s affairs. This is an option if your parent or child has not had the chance to make any estate plans. In some states, conservatorship is known as adult guardianship.  Should You Request Conservatorship? Whether or not conservatorship is debatable. The process can take time and be expensive since you have to go through the court to be approved as the conservator. You also are required to keep records of every transaction conducted in the name of your child or parent. Those records must be filed with the courts so that they can be reviewed on a regular basis.  However, conservatorship does have its advantages. It is an opportunity for you to ensure that your parent or child’s needs are met. You can also establish a power of attorney that can be used in the event that you are unable to manage his or her affairs. In addition to these benefits, a conservatorship helps to ensure that others are not taking advantage of your parent or child.  How Can You Become a Conservator? To become your parent or child’s conservator, you need to file a formal request with the court. In your request, you need to explain why it is necessary and why you are the best choice. Documentation to support your claim as to why a conservator is needed should be provided. For instance, if it is due to your parent or child’s mental state, a letter from his or her treating physician can help support your claim.  To assist you in your attempt to gain a conservatorship, work with an estate attorney like Albert & Slater PS. He or she can help you file the documentation necessary and help create the power of attorney you were originally...

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3 Common Mistakes To Avoid During An Auto Accident Claim

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If you’ve been in an auto accident and the other driver was clearly at fault, you may think you’ve got this case in the bag. Unfortunately, there are a number of mistakes that can be made during this process which can impact the settlement amount you receive. Below are three mistakes you can make as an auto accident plaintiff and how you can avoid them. Poor Communication As your lawyer is your main line of communication between you, the other party, and the legal system, it’s vital that your communication remains constant and consistent with them throughout the case. Lack of communication on your part can get you and your attorney into some sticky situations making it more difficult for your attorney to rally for you. Withholding important information, whether purposely or not, can be the downfall of your case. So, how can this be avoided? Luckily, an experienced auto accident attorney will know all of the questions to ask making it less likely for important information to be left out. You can also request a weekly consultation with your attorney, either by phone, in-person, or through email, that keeps you updated on legal measures and him updated on medical and other factors in your life that can affect your case. Social Media Activity Insurance companies will do all that they can to lessen the settlement amount that they’re required to pay which is why it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to posting anything on your social media accounts. It’s generally a good idea to refrain from discussing your auto accident case with anyone, but it’s also important to be aware of other things you post during this time. If you claim a back injury, for example, but spend the day at the fair and post about it on Facebook, the opposing side can use this against you. Sure, you may have been in a wheelchair all day and just enjoying the food, but these activities can sometimes be twisted into more making it difficult for your attorney and yourself. Taking a break from social media during this time can be helpful, but if you’d rather not, asking your attorney which posts are okay and which aren’t can be just as good. Going Against Medical Advice When you’re injured in an auto accident, the defendant’s side will be looking to downplay your injuries or otherwise discredit them. This makes it important to follow all of your doctor’s advice to a tee. Going to all scheduled appointments and seeking all required treatments is the best thing you can do at this time. Your attorney will handle all of the legal aspects of the case, and it’s your job during this time to focus entirely on your healing. This process may include regular appointments, prescription medications, and visits with a physical therapist. Whatever your doctor orders pertaining to your injury should be followed so the other side cannot claim your injury isn’t as bad as you say. Remember that medical records can be obtained through a process called discovery, so the defendant’s side won’t be unaware of what you should be doing. If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to follow the advice of your lawyers and your doctors exactly. This can help to greatly boost your...

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How To Fight A Theft Of Services Charge

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When you take your car through a drive-thru, you may later discover that you do not have enough money to pay for your meal. Your answer might be to simply drive away without paying. However, doing this can be considered a crime known as a theft of service. If you are then accused of this crime, you will need to be prepare to fight the charges because the penalties might be more severe than you think. Defining Theft of Service A theft of service occurs when you request a service without the intention of paying for it. This crime would be considered a misdemeanor. This type of charge most often occurs when ordering food from a restaurant, bar or nightclub. Common Defenses Depending on the nature of the business, you may try to argue that you did not anticipate needing to pay for a meal. For example, if you believed that the bill was already paid for by someone else, but you were misinformed, this may be used to prove that you did not have the intention of stealing. You may also believe that you were being provided a service for free and was not notified that you would be expected to pay for it afterward. When Defenses are Futile Many services are provided with the assumption that you will pay for the service after it has been rendered. Consumers are expected to pay for meals after they have been ordered at a restaurant, for example. If a gas station does not require pre-pay, it is assume that the driver will pay for the gasoline afterward. Therefore, if it was obvious that you would be expected to pay, it is better to focus on having your charges reduced rather than getting them dismissed altogether. What Charges You Can Expect Being charged with theft of service can lead to you spending up to a year in prison. However, for a first time offense, it is more likely that you will not spend any time in jail. In some states, you may be able to take an anti-theft class that will allow for you to have the charges dismissed afterward, which can prevent the theft from going on your permanent record. Why You Should Fight the Charges To be charged with theft of service, you will have the theft on your permanent record. This can negatively effect your employment opportunities. For this reason, even if you are not seriously concerned with the criminal penalties, you should still consult with a criminal defense attorney (like those at Cross, LaCross, & Murphy PLLC) and try to have the charges dropped....

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Planning A Celebration That Involves Alcoholic Beverages

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Throwing a celebration for your friends and family can be a lot of fun, but it does come with a lot of responsibilities. This is especially true if you plan to serve your guests beer, liquor and wine. When alcohol is involved, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your guests don’t get overly intoxicated or attempt to drive home drunk. Assign a Bartender You don’t need to go out and pay top dollar to have a bartender work your party, but you should have someone designated to serving the drinks to your guests. Allowing your guests to serve themselves can, and probably will, lead to over-intoxication. Have someone that you trust serve the drinks so that drinks aren’t poured too heavily and those who are drinking too much can be slowed down. This will also help to prevent underage guests from getting their hands on alcohol and putting you and themselves at risk of underage drinking charges. Plan a Menu Drinking on an empty stomach is dangerous. Not only does it contribute to over-intoxication, but it can increase the chances of alcohol poisoning. Provide your guests a variety of foods to eat during the party. Leaving a buffet of food out all day/evening will help to keep your guests eating as they drink. Another thing to consider is limiting the number of salty snacks that you serve. If you place bowls of chips, pretzels and peanuts out, your guests will continually be thirsty. This will increase the number of drinks that they have. Provide Transportation In some areas, having the number of the local taxi service is the best option, but not all rural areas have taxi services to turn to. If this is the case, have a few good friends designated to be drivers for the day/night. You don’t want anyone to drive away from your party after having a drink too many and taking someone’s life or losing their own. Plan for Sleepovers There may be a guest or two that consumes too much even after you take all of these precautions. Have some sleeping bags and pillows on hand for the guests that have had too much to send home. Taking these precautions and planning for a safe, fun celebration will help you to keep yourself, your family and everyone who attends your party safe. Talk with some trusted friends to find the ones that are willing to help you make your celebration a success. If you’re looking to purchase liquor, visit Arizona Liquor Industry...

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