December 2017

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Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

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The explosion in Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) has created problems for a wrongful death lawyer representing clients who have been injured due to the negligence and carelessness of others.

In years past, insurance companies would often hire private investigators to follow injured plaintiffs and take movies of them engaged in physically demanding tasks in order to disprove that the person was not seriously injured. These videos would then be shown to the jury during trial and sometimes prevented an injured person from obtaining a just monetary verdict. The problem with these videos is that they were a brief snapshot in time, and often showed the plaintiff engaged in an activity that he had not performed for some time and which afterward resulted in many days in bed recuperating from one day of “overdoing it.”

In today’s world, insurance companies and defense attorneys often avoid the expense of hiring a private investigator and instead subpoena records from Social Media accounts.

A June 8, 2017 article posted in Forbes magazine online detailed the unfortunate experience of injured persons who torpedoed their case by the Social Media post they made.

Consider a case of a woman who sustained a serious back injury in a car crash and, after spending over a month bed-ridden, her husband takes her on a trip to Florida to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Her husband takes a photo of her on the beach in Miami in a swimsuit, with a drink in her hand and smile on her face. She then posts the photo to Facebook. Of course, the photo will not show the chronic pain she is enduring, or the fact that she did not even feel strong enough to go into the water to enjoy a good swim. In other words, a totally honest photo could create a false impression in the minds of a jury viewing that photo.

For the above reasons, people involved in personal injury lawsuits should stay away from Social Media as much as possible until their case is concluded. Moreover, attempting to delete their Facebook account might further damage their case if the defense attorney at trial argues that the injured party engaged in the unlawful spoliation of evidence. Spoliation of evidence is a legal term for the intentional or reckless destruction of evidence. Courts have the ability to punish the destruction of evidence in several ways. For example, the judge might instruct the jury that the jurors are to infer that the destroyed evidence would have been evidence damaging to the plaintiff’s case. In extreme cases, the trial judge may simply order the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, resulting in the recovery of no monetary damages.

 

Help Me Help You.

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Close your eyes and imagine you just got into a car accident. You are coming into a complete stop at a red light and the vehicle behind misses the light change and rear ends you at about a speed of 45 mph. Police show up at the scene information is exchanged. What now? How does that make you feel? Confused, shock, anger, etc. Consulting a Car accident lawyer Arlington, TX trusts is the next step.

Assuming you first response is to look for an attorney, this blog will inform you what to expect from the moment you call a law firm, and through your consult. You will be walked step by step.

  1. Call the attorney that you feel will be a good fit for you. Of course always keep in mind the Brandy Austin Law Firm.
  2. Set the consult. Before calling check your calendar to see what days work best for you, that makes scheduling a lot easier. Also, that helps avoid rescheduling for conflicts in schedule. Be prepared to share a brief summary of how the accident happen. Your frustration is understood but please, BE POLITE.
  3. Your consult has been scheduled. Please prepare a day before all documents you will be bringing in for the consult. Don’t be nervous, the attorney is here to help you.


Documents to bring for your consult:

  • Defendant’s information
  • Your insurance card
  • Health Insurance Cards
  • Drivers License/ Identification
  • Police Report
  • Pictures of damages
  • Contact information of any medical facilities you have treated with due to the accident
  • Defendant’s insurance information


The attorney needs anything and everything that will help with your case.

1. At the time of the consult, please arrive on time if not at least 5 minutes before your scheduled time. Attorneys are here to help you but please be mindful of their time. During the consult always be honest. It helps a lot in the long run. If you gave a statement to either insurance companies please inform them. If you have a criminal background be ready to share that information with us. Everything that will be asked is for the best of your claim, in a client and attorney confidentiality. If you have any questions, please ask away. The sky is the limit.

2. At the end of your consult, please feel comfortable letting the attorney know whether you want to move forward and retain, or if you simply feel like they are not a good fit.

3. Assuming you retain. You have successfully retained/hired an attorney to stress for you. All your worries should be about treating and feeling better.

See this is like a “help me help you” situation. Your helping the attorney by bringing all the above information to the consult, and the attorney is helping you by taking over your case and working hard to get the best settlement for you.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brandy Austin Law for their insight on how to prepare for your first interactions with an attorney.

 

Deposition Basics

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The deposition process is a component to discovery that is often used in gathering testimony prior to trial legal situations. If you are recovering from a personal injury, a deposition can add more stress during a time that you are trying to heal from the accident. A personal injury attorney may be helpful in guiding you through the process by helping you understand what the expectations will be of you and how best to prepare for your deposition. Rest assured, the deposition process can go smoother if you have an understanding of the deposition process and what may be expected of you.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition allows for the opposing counsel to interview you outside of the courtroom. This is considered an on the record testimony that can be used in the event the case goes to trial. The attorney who is interviewing will base their questions around aspects or details of the personal injury that are relevant to the case.

Role of the Court Reporter

The court reporter Mobile AL, or stenographer, plays a large role throughout the deposition. They will transcribe all information that is shared during the deposition. Following the deposition, the court reporter will provide the attorneys involved with a copy of the deposition transcript. In some situations, you can expect to be recorded auditorily or visually, which can add to any jitters you may already be experiencing.  

Never Guess

  • In most cases, if you use the word “guess” during your deposition you can rest assured that the attorney will want to know more information. An estimate is a better term to use as it will appear to the attorney that your approximation is more knowledgeable than a guess.  
  • It can be challenging to recall the details that attorneys are asking you. They will be looking for case specifics, however, it is important that you not attempt to provide an answer when you do not have one. It is advised that you tell them you can’t recall or give them and estimation.

Never Speak Out of Turn

  • Do not interrupt or speak over anyone during the deposition, this can create confusion.
  • It will be difficult for the court reporter to capture clearly, which may prove difficult when transcribing the record. If everyone were talking out of turn, the transcription would not read in a way that would be helpful for anyone on the case.

Speak Loud and Clear

  • Answer questions with a verbal response. Do not nod your head or use gestures without a verbal answer. An attorney will always ask for an audible answer.
  • This allows for the court reporter to capture the response with ease. If you do use gestures, always be sure to verbally respond.

Working with a personal injury attorney can help ensure that you go into a deposition feeling prepared to answer the questions being asked of you by the opposing counsel. Enduring a legal process can be time consuming and stressful. An attorney can help you navigate through the legal process and the deposition smoothly.

Thanks to our friend and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions and court reporting.

Can I claim my injury as work related?

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It is unfortunate, however; people are injured at work every day.  Whether it is a minor injury, an extensive injury or surgery, worker’s compensation insurance will help pay for medical bill, therapy, other related damages, as well as help you recover wages lost while you are out of work. The following is a list of some of the injuries you can claim with workers’ compensation.


Broken Bones or Fractures

Fractures and/or broken bones are common workplace injuries.  Injuries such as these can cause loss of mobility, swelling, bruising and pain.  Brakes and fractures can be caused by falling or something falling on you, running into things or accidentally hitting something.  You will need to see a medical professional as soon as possible to be treated and recovery can take weeks, even months depending on the severity of the injury.


Punctures and Cuts

Punctures and cuts, also known as lacerations are obtained from many sources around the workplace such as; working with equipment, falling and/or dropping something on yourself, working with tools, even desk jobs.  Some may be minor but still painful, causing immobility. Others can be severe enough to require stitches and possibly surgery.  In some cases, people return to work promptly while others require some time off to recuperate.


Sprains and Strains

Police officers, construction workers and landscape workers have a higher tendency of straining a muscle or spraining something which occurs when you overextend a ligament or tendon.  These types of injuries typically require 3 to 6 weeks to overcome.  Up to 30% of workplace injuries are related to strains and sprains and you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.


Bruises and Contusions

Bruises and contusions seem to be minor injuries however; most always involve pain and sometimes swelling.  These types of injuries are usually caused by a blow to a body part. It is important that you seek medical help immediately because these types of injuries may require surgery and bed rest.

 

Inflammation

Symptoms of inflammation are normally swelling or redness around the area that is affected along with pain, heat and some loss of mobility.  A job that requires the extensive daily use of the same body part may cause inflammation.  Construction workers, nurses and clerical workers are most likely affected by this which can also lead to tendonitis and/or carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, if you use your legs and back to lift or move heavy objects, it can cause knee arthritis or tendonitis.

 

It is important that you obey safety rules and regulations in the workplace because this is where a lot of accidents take place.  As an employee, if you happen to notice potential workplace safety issues, you should immediately report it to your superior and if you are injured at work, you should retain a work injury lawyer Fort Lauderdale respects.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers’ compensation.

 

Can I sue my ex-husband if I slip and fall at his house?

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Yes, you can sue your ex-husband if you slip and fall at his house. If your ex-husband fails to keep his property in a reasonably safe condition you can certainly file a lawsuit against him like any other defendant. Should you choose to pursue that course of action, consult a family law attorney Plano TX trusts. If your ex-husband is liable for your slip and fall injuries, his homeowner’s insurance policy may pay the claim for your injuries and damages. Whether it is a good idea to sue your ex-husband may be another story, especially if you and he are co-parenting children and will see one another for years to come.


What is the general law regarding slip and falls?

The general law regarding slip and fall cases is called “premises liability” and involves personal injuries sustained from slips, trips and falls at the property owned or under control of another person. The legal issue is often whether there was a dangerous condition that the owner or occupier knew or had reason to know about, which could reasonably lead to injury.


Is it a good idea to sue your ex-spouse?

As a general rule, you do not make more friends by suing people, especially your ex-husband. Especially if you have children together and must see or communicate with one another with any frequency, additional litigation might make things uncomfortable for everyone. That said, when you have a legitimate injury and damages, you absolutely have the right to seek compensatory damages. Injuries, even from minor slip and fall accidents can lead to long term problems. Like injuries sustained in a rear-end collision, a slip and fall can seem not so bad at the time it happens and soon thereafter you might have nerve and muscle pain stemming from all kinds of internal injuries. Chiropractor and hospital bills can be extensive, and you may need to file a lawsuit against the liable party, even it if is your ex-husband.


How may judges and juries react to a suit against a former spouse?

What would you think if you heard your neighbor say they were suing their ex-husband after slipping and falling on their driveway when going to pick up a child after weekend visitation? Would you be surprised if a judge or jury member raised their eyes at your claim? While it may be human nature to be suspect of ex-spouses and their claims against one another, an injury is an injury.

Consider neighbors and dog bite cases and the reality that when a dog bites your neighbor you understand why they make a claim against you for injuries and you anticipate your homeowner’s insurance policy will pay the claim. Similarly, with a slip and fall occurring at the home of an ex-spouse, the injury happens as it would and is not likely purposeful or a function of a vindictive ex. So long as the facts are clear, the injury case should be treated like any other and the status of the defendant being a former spouse should not be at issue.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Groufor their insights on this subject.