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Ace The Exam: How To Prepare For Your Worker’s Comp Independent Medical Exam

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’ve been injured on the job and are receiving workers’ comp benefits, you may be asked to participate in a medical exam. This exam, called the Independent Medical Exam (IME), is very different than the exams you have had in the past, and is also different from the medical treatment that you have been receiving for your work-related injuries. This exam will play a prominent role in your workers’ comp case, so being prepared is important. Read on to learn more about this exam and how to handle it. Why am I being asked to undergo this exam? This exam may be requested after you have been recovering from your injury for several weeks or months. If you are still unable to return to work due to pain or other issues, the workers’ comp insurance company will want to gather more information about your condition. You are especially likely to be targeted for this exam if you seem to be taking longer to heal than normal. What happens at the exam? You will be interviewed about your injury and the specific body parts involved will be closely examined for pain, flexibility, sensitivity and more. Keep in mind that this doctor is not there to provide treatment for your injuries, but to get more information about your injuries for the workers’ comp insurance company. Preparing for the independent medical examination. 1. Take some time before your exam to refresh your memory of the accident and what has happened since it occurred. Look over any notes or journal entries, the accident report and other documentation you may have. 2. Having copies of your medical records could help you answer the doctor’s questions better and to more accurately explain the extent of your medical treatments so far. Don’t hesitate to take this, and any other documentation, with you to the exam. 3. Be sure to prepare an updated summary of your current medical condition. Include a list of your medications and ongoing treatments, like physical therapy. List the pain, discomfort, mobility and other physical symptoms that prevent you from returning to your job. Additionally, include the emotional effects of the accident, such as eating and sleeping problems and the effect on your family. After the exam. The doctor will send a report with the results and their opinion of your injury to the workers’ comp insurance company. The results of this exam could have 3 different ramifications. 1. You may be deeded permanently disabled (or partially permanently disabled) and your weekly benefits will convert to a lump sum payment. Note: some lump sum payments are structured to be paid weekly or monthly, but are still considered lump sum and are very different than the portion of your wages you have been receiving up to now. 2. You may simply need more time to heal to from your injuries and you will be given another IME after some more time has passed. Your current benefits will continue. 3. You may be judged to have recovered enough to return to work either full time or on restrictions. If you disagree with the results of your IME, contact a workers’ comp attorney to help you get the benefits that you need and deserve....

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4 Things To Do Immediately After A Slip And Fall Injury

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

One of the keys to a successful slip and fall claim is to avoid the “he said/she said” scenario. This requires beginning a paper trail and collecting evidence as soon as possible after the accident occurs. The following tips can help you start the process on the right foot and increase your chances of success. Tip #1: Report immediately If you have an accident at a private business or on public property, it is vital that you report it immediately – even if you aren’t sure if you are injured at the time. For slips on private property, report the accident to the owner or manager on duty. Most businesses have accident reports that they fill out – ask for a copy. If they refuse, at least get the name of the person that you spoke with. If the fall occurs on public property, report it to the municipality the same day and get a copy of your report. Tip #2: Look for witnesses The best time to find witnesses is right after the slip occurs. If there is anyone nearby, request their name and contact information. At the very least, get their name. Waiting until later can make finding a witness nearly impossible – you may need to hang fliers or take out ads to try and track down anyone that saw the slip and fall. Tip #3: Take photos One great thing about modern cell phones is that you always have a camera on hand. Take photographs of the scene of the accident – including the cause, from multiple angles. A property owner can quickly repair damage or clean up the scene otherwise, making it difficult to prove that there was any cause for you to slip and fall. If you are injured and can’t take photos, ask a bystander to please take them for you. Otherwise, you will need to return to the scene as soon as possible and hope that the cause of the accident is still there. Tip #4: Get treatment Even if the injuries seem minor, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. You can visit a walk-in urgent care or schedule an emergency appointment with your family doctor if you don’t need emergency services. Having a written report from a medical professional is proof that your injuries were severe enough to warrant the lawsuit. Keep all medical paperwork for every visit, including those for any necessary therapy or medications. For more information, contact Putnam Lieb or a similar...

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How To Handle A Wage Garnishment

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Your wages could be garnished for a number of reasons ranging from owed child support payments, back taxes, or student loan debt that has gone unpaid. If you’ve discovered that your wages are being garnished, it can be detrimental to your disposable income and could take a long time before your debts are repaid. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stop or even prevent a garnishment from occurring if you know your rights. Work It Out Many times, people simply forget about some of their debts and are not alerted about it until they see a smaller paycheck. If you are dealing with a wage garnishment, call your creditor immediately to ask about working out a repayment plan that will work with your budget. If they agree, be sure you get it in writing and ask that they cease from the garnishment. Just be sure you begin making the newly promised payments immediately or else you could fall victim to garnishment all over again. Consider Bankruptcy While bankruptcy is not always an ideal way to handle a wage garnishment, it will stop it from occurring. Depending on the amount of money you owe, filing may be a better alternative than having money taken out of your paycheck each week. The bankruptcy process will work for most debt such as loans or large medical bills, but child support is not applicable in this case. If you have a lot of debt and are concerned that the garnishment will be too much for your ability to pay necessary bills or rent, bankruptcy can be a viable choice.  Try To File An Appeal Another option to get out of a wage garnishment is to file an appeal with the court. You will need to be able to prove that the amount of money being taken out from the garnishment will prevent you from paying other bills such as electricity, water, and even food. Get all of your other current bills together so you can present this information to the judge. If the court deems your garnishment too large for your current situation, they will either request the garnishment amount be reduced or attempt to have it stopped on your behalf. It is always recommended that you speak with a professional, like Sinsheimer, Stuart J, who can guide you through the process and explain your rights so you can get back to enjoying a complete...

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Three Things You Need To Do Before You File For Divorce

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Getting a divorce isn’t typically pleasant. It’s common for negative emotions to get in the way of rational thinking, and when that happens, people either rush through their divorce too quickly or end up fighting about every small decision they need to make. However, if you approach divorce slowly, and take care of everything that you need to before filing your divorce paperwork, the process becomes a lot easier on everyone involved. Make Sure Divorce is What You Want If you and your spouse made the decision to get divorced while tempers were flared, there’s a chance that you’ve allowed your emotions to guide you into making a rash decision. Before you even begin discussing the terms of a divorce with your spouse, take some time to think about how you truly feel about your spouse and what life will be like for you and your family during and after the divorce process. If you think there is a chance that you or your spouse will want a reconciliation in the future, you might want to consider going to marriage counseling before rushing into a divorce. Discuss Custody Goals with Your Spouse One of the hardest parts of getting a divorce is determining how to handle the custody and visitation arrangements for your children. Talking about your expectations for your children before you file your divorce papers makes the process easier. In addition to visitation guidelines and child support, you need to determine how the children will be claimed when it’s time to file your annual taxes, how you and your spouse will handle paying for things such as extracurricular activities or medical expenses that aren’t covered by your health insurance, which parent will be responsible for providing your children’s health insurance, and how you’ll handle paying for college. Additionally, you’ll want to discuss how visitation will be handled during holidays, school breaks, and birthdays. Assess Your Finances Before you file your divorce papers, you need to have at least a general idea of where you stand financially. In order to do this, you need to gather all of the financial documentation that you can, including: Mortgage papers Car loan documentation Credit card statements Personal loan documentation Inventory of valuable assets, such as artwork and jewelry Pension plan, 401K, and bank account statements Credit reports Income tax documentation for the past few years While you may not be able to iron out every detail of your divorce with your spouse before you file your divorce papers, the more decisions you make before court, the easier the divorce process becomes. So, take the time to calmly discuss your divorce with your spouse so that you know that it’s what you both want, and how you want to...

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Bail And DUI’s

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If a loved one was pulled over and arrested for a DUI, then you might be panicking. You might want to help them, but probably don’t know how you can really do that. One of your best tools in this case is to help your loved one out with bail. To do this, you’ll want to be aware of how your state treats commercial bail and how you can help your loved one get a low rate. How Does Commercial Bail Work in Your State? The first thing that you need to do is find out is what laws your state has about bail. Some states do not allow commercial bail at all, while others restrict the cost of commercial bonds by quite a bit. This can help you get a good idea of how much you will need to spend in order to get your loved one out of jail. You won’t know exactly how much money is involved until the bail hearing, but you can start talking to bondsmen long before then. Vet Your Options Early It’s a good idea to examine your options and compare rates as early as possible, since that will allow you to pay bail and get your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible. Additionally, talking to a bondsman before the bail hearing can give you a good idea of how much the bail will actually be. These experts are quite familiar with DUI’s and have a pretty good idea of how much bail will be involved in the situation as you describe it. Once you find a bondsman that fits your needs, you can get their contact information. As soon as your loved one has their bail hearing, you can call up the bond agency and arrange a contract. If there is a long line of people waiting for appointments, having a contract can greatly speed up the process, getting your loved one out of jail a few hours or even an entire day early. Get a Lawyer Discount Your loved one will likely need a lawyer to help argue their case in court. If they already have a lawyer, then they are off to a good start, but if they don’t have a lawyer, you can help them shop for one at a company like Boehmer Law. Once you do find a lawyer, you might find that there is a referral discount for bail. Talk to your lawyer and any potential bail agencies to determine whether they are offering such a discount, which could result in some pretty substantial savings. After all, both the lawyer and the bail agency would benefit from the services of the other. If your loved one is out of jail on bond, then their lawyer will have an easier time meeting with them, since they won’t need to travel to the jail. Similarly, if your loved one has a lawyer, then a bondsman can have much greater faith in the likelihood of your loved one (their client) appearing in court. Few people are willing to spend money on a lawyer and then fail to appear in...

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Running A Business: What Is Your Legal Obligation To Older Individuals?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Back in the day, when you retired, you retired. You didn’t go back to work. However, it isn’t like that today. This is likely because the cost of living has risen so much over the years. By 2022, it is estimated that more than 30 percent of retirees between 65 and 74 years of age will still be in the workforce. With that being said, as a new business owner with little knowledge of the law, how do you handle older applicants – retirees or not – in all aspects of the business? The Hiring Process Both state and federal laws prohibit you from discriminating against a potential job candidate due to their age, especially if they’re 40 years of age or older. So, you cannot simply refuse the job opening to an 68-year-old individual with gray hair because of their age. If they have the skills necessary to perform the job, you must consider them for the position. The law does not only keep you from discriminating in terms of hiring, but it also impacts how you advertise a job opening. So, be careful with wording your job advertisements to ensure they don’t come off as discrimination. The Employment Process Well, now you have to make sure that you don’t discriminate against them during their employment with you. They must always be treated like any other employee. Compensation, promotions, demotions, job assignments, and work evaluations must be performed like any other case and cannot be based on the employee’s age. You also cannot force older employees to pay a higher premium for health, life or any other type of insurance plan that you offer your employees. In addition, federal law states that you must set forth policies that will protect your older employees from harassment based on their age from other employees. The Firing Process Just as you can’t use age as a basis to hire an employee, you also cannot use it if you want to fire them. In fact, if you are downsizing your business, you cannot target an older individual in this process. You also are prohibited from trying to force an older employee to retire early. State and federal laws dictate a lot of what you can and cannot do when it comes to older employees and retirees. It’s a lot to take in when you’re just starting out as a business, especially when age discrimination is a bit more complex and less obvious than other types of discrimination. So, if you’re worried about whether you are opening yourself up to an age discrimination lawsuit or need assistance in creating clear guidelines and policies, don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable lawyer like Robert L Lilley Co...

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4 Ways to Get a Defense Lawyer if You Can’t Afford One

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When you get into trouble with the law, you have the right to get a criminal attorney. Not only do you have the right to have a criminal attorney, you really have a need for one. However, you may not be able to afford one. When that happens, what are you supposed to do? Public Defender The public defender is usually a lawyer hired by the city or state for you. Some areas have a public defender office, so there are lawyers that are already on call and can appear in your case. Other areas have a list of defense lawyers that can be hired to be public defenders. There are also areas that use both options. The defense lawyers that can be hired out from local firms are often used for the more severe cases, such as murder cases or capital cases.  You can have a public defender appear for your arraignment or bail hearing, and then switch to another option. There are a few other options out there for you to try.  Law Schools In some states law students can practice law as long as they are supervised by a licensed and accredited lawyer. Generally, in those states where this is a law, the students have to be sufficiently advanced in their training. For example, a first-year student may not be allowed to do represent you, but a third-year student would be.  Bar Association Every state has a bar association. In order to be licensed to practice law in your state, the lawyer must have passed the bar exam and be licensed by the state. You can call the local bar association to see if they have a list of lawyers who will work for a reduced fee, on a sliding scale, or on a pro bono basis, which would mean free.  Call Local Firms Many local firms, especially brand new firms or larger firms, may have lawyers who are willing to work on a reduced fee schedule. New lawyers will do it so that they can get their names out into the public and as a way to get more potential clients. Sometimes larger firms will dedicate lawyers, especially young lawyers, to work on reduced fee cases.  Having a hard time hiring a criminal defense lawyer doesn’t mean that you can’t get a lawyer to represent you. You can use the public defender, but there are other options that are available to...

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Five Steps To Setting Up A Limited Liability Company

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Setting your company up as a limited liability company (LLC) has a number of advantages. Chief among them is that under such a set-up, your personal assets cannot be used to pay for your business debts or seized as part of a legal settlement. Although the laws regarding LLCs vary slightly from state to state, there are a number of sets that are common to all 50 states. Knowing them will help you prepare well for meeting with your business attorney. Five things you need to do in setting up an LLC 1. Choose a name. The name of your LLC needs to be unique from any other LLC business in your state. It also needs to include LLC in the name of the company and not use words that have additional restrictions in your state, such as “insurance” or “bank.” You’ll register your business name at the same time you register your business and get your business license. 2. File your Article of Organization. The Article of Organization is a standard form required by every state for Limited Liability Companies. This form outlines the basic contact information about your company as well as the names of the business members. Where you file this form does vary by state. In some states, you file with the Secretary of State; in others, it’s the Department of Commerce or the Department of Consumer Affairs. 3. Write your operating agreement. Most states, but not all, require that you draft an operating agreement when you file your initial paperwork, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. This document outlines your business hierarchy and how your business finances will be handled. 4. Get the necessary licenses and permits. Another step to creating your LLC is to get the permits and licenses required to operate your type of business. This includes the general business license as well as any special permits unique to your industry, such as a food and beverage license or liquor license. 5. Announce your business. The Small Business Administration also advises that many states require you to announce the creation of your LLC to the public in the local newspaper. Your attorney and the filing office will be able to tell you if this applies to your area. While creating your business as an LLC isn’t the right choice for every small business owner, this type of incorporation helps protect your personal assets from your business liabilities, has less record keeping requirements than an S corporation and offers fewer restrictions on how the profits of the business are shared among the principals. For more information on how to set up an LLC, check with a professional like those at Philip L. Burnett, Attorney At...

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6 Things You May Not Be Able To Include In A Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Establishing the division of assets in the event of a divorce is a common purpose of prenuptial agreements, but engaged couples have many other reasons for setting up these legal arrangements. People with children from previous relationships, for instance, may want to stipulate that their offspring receive a certain amount in an inheritance. If you plan to draw up a prenuptial agreement with provisions not related to division of assets in a divorce, learn examples of some aspects that may not be allowed by your state laws. Some provisions may not be forbidden by law but are unlikely to be approved by the judge who reviews your agreement. Child Support Restrictions No states allow restrictions on possible future child support payments. Child support is determined by state laws, although judges can make certain changes when a parent petitions the court.  Child Custody and Visitation Issues These matters typically are not allowed to be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. First, family law courts will not uphold agreements designed to limit one parent’s rights to visitation or custody. Second, even if you and your betrothed have created a reasonable shared custody or visitation schedule, a lot of things can change over time. One of you may want to dispute that agreement in the event of a divorce, and the court will want to start fresh with the situation as it stands.  Spousal Support Restrictions Some states do not allow a person to waive the right to spousal support in a prenup, but others do.  Domestic Issues A prenuptial agreement is not intended to set forth legal parameters on domestic issues such as who is responsible for certain household tasks which holidays are spent with which relatives how much vacation time will be spent with each person’s parents how much time each person is allowed for separate vacations Issues Qualifying as Unfair Judges are unlikely to approve prenuptial agreements that include clauses that are unfair or appear to only be included to discourage divorce. For instance, one person cannot specify that they receive 80 percent of all assets accumulated after the marriage if the other person files for divorce. Divorce Threats The agreement cannot contain provisions specifying that if one person takes a certain action, such as being unfaithful, the other person is allowed an uncontested divorce.  Concluding Thoughts States vary on what factors can be stipulated in prenuptial agreements. A family law attorney can tell you whether anything you want to include is acceptable or not. Contact a lawyer like The Law Office Of James R. Kennedy Jr. for further...

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4 Mistakes To Avoid When Taking The Bankruptcy Means Test

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you’re in the midst of a financial bind, you may want to strongly consider filing for bankruptcy. If you qualify for this legal status, you may be capable of getting most or all of your debt discharged. In order to determine your eligibility, you will be required to take a bankruptcy means test and you will need to provide a great deal of information about your financial situation. Knowing some of the most common mistakes to avoid while taking this test may allow you to have success in achieving this status.  Mistake #1:  Listing the wrong household size You will be required to list how many people live in your home to help determine if you’re eligible bankruptcy. This can be an area of confusion for some people because of tenants, elderly people and other individuals who reside on your property. The best method to help you accurately determine the amount of people to list will depend on if these individuals are financially dependent on you. For instance, if you have an older parent living with you that relies on your support, this person could be included. However, a tenant who is renting a room for you could not be. Mistake #2: Providing false information about your income One of the main factors that affect your eligibility for this status will be your income. It’s important that you provide accurate figures when responding to this question. Be prepared to have the proper verification of this amount with a W-2 or old paystub. Mistake #3:   Taking deductions that aren’t deductible While taking the means test, you will be allowed some deductions, such as education expenses to help you get a better job. However, paying for your child to attend college is not a deduction that you will be able to take. Additionally, payments that you contribute to your 401k plan can’t be listed either.  Mistake #4: Including child support that you don’t get It’s important to include all of the money you receive each month, but if you’re legally required to get child support, and your ex-spouse doesn’t pay it, don’t list this amount. You should only include the actual money that is deposited into your checking account. The key to being successful at getting bankruptcy is by knowing how to qualify for it. If you need additional assistance when filing for this status, be sure to rely on the expertise offered by a bankruptcy attorney (such as...

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5 Things That You Should Know About The Law And Treason

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you love the U.S. but are dissatisfied with government actions or policies, you may wonder if any actions you take regarding these could be considered treasonous. Here are five things you should know before proceeding. For specific advice on your activities and future plans, you would do well to consult a criminal law attorney to protect yourself and your interests. 1. Treason is any act that could be considered harmful to U.S. interests. Treason is any action that involves acting against the security and safety interests of the U.S. government and the public it serves. 2. Charges involving treasonous acts are considered serious felonies. It’s likely that any charges you would receive for a treasonous act would not be strictly called treason. The burden of proof for it is higher than for other crimes. In fact, actual treason charges have been brought less than thirty times in the U.S. It takes a confession in open court, two witnesses, or other solid evidence to be convicted of treason. The punishments for treason are death, life in prison, and/or forfeiture of assets received for the crime. 3. Exercising freedom of speech can intersect with laws about treasonous acts. It is not illegal to speak negatively about the U.S. government. You can write an article, protest, or make a public speech about things you disagree with, about the history of the U.S., or changes you think ought to be made. However, if your speech is broadcasted as propaganda or is put in printed form to serve the interests of a U.S. enemy, it can be considered treasonous. This is especially so if you conspire with an enemy to encourage other citizens to break the law; for example, trying to demoralize soldiers and encourage them to defect to the other side. 4. Sharing or stealing classified information to public entities or other countries is considered a treasonous act. Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked confidential information about NSA spying to the press and left the country, he was charged with three felonies related to his activities. The charges involve relaying classified information to an outside source, revealing communications intelligence, and stealing government property. Other unlawful acts related to this type of crime are money laundering, helping a country develop technology for possible use in military action against the U.S., or selling unauthorized technical information that could be used to develop weapons. 5. You can break the law by sending donations to someone who is defined as a national security threat/criminal. The charge of treason gets bandied about quite a bit in the media, but if the government is pursuing charges against someone for treasonous activities, you would put yourself at risk if you tried to give them assistance of any kind. For example, no matter what your opinion is on Edward Snowden (whether you think he is guilty of treason or is a whistle-blower), sending money or other aid to him is prohibited by a U.S. executive order. So, to recap: your criticism of the government could generally be considered protected under free speech. However, if you make active efforts to undermine the military, engage in activities that could harm fellow citizens, share confidential information to entities that aren’t entitled to it, further the interests of another nation over your own country, or send tangible support to...

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