Wrongful Death Damages

Jun 16

When someone who is loved dies at the hands of a reckless individual, it is up to the family to seek justice. Although it is normal for surviving family members to hesitate before filing a lawsuit, it may be the only way to hold the other party accountable. Nothing will be able to correct the terrible events that took place, but financial compensation can at least ease the burden moving forward. Whether you are facing a personal injury lawsuit or in need of an attorney to hold someone else responsible for their negligent actions, it is a good idea to understand the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Are Damages?

The term “damages” refers to the amount of financial compensation the guilty party owes to the grieving family, and it is an amount determined by the judge and possibly a jury. No amount of money can equate to a human life, but some cases cary steeper financial awards than others. For instance, if an adult family member who earns a considerable portion of the family’s income is killed, the law is more likely to award more money than if a young child meets the same fate. This is largely because of the greater financial burden that is now placed on the surviving family members who were dependent on that person’s contribution to afford things like food, medicine, and education.

Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Each wrongful death case is different and complex, and it will be up to your lawyer’s ability to calculate the amount of damages that should be argued before the judge. The amount of damages is determined by the following factors:

  • Medical Bills – Sometimes the deceased received significant medical treatments in an attempt to keep them alive. Things such as emergency surgeries, ambulance rides, and careflights are very expensive. When the court awards these damages to the family, it alleviates some of the financial burden they now face.
  • Funeral Expenses – Funerals are costly, and your loved one deserves to be remembered well. The judge may award these damages to prevent the family from having to bear this economic responsibility.
  • Lost Income – This is an important damage to be considered by the court. If the deceased was a strong contributor to the family’s financial earnings, their death can cause the family’s financial future to become unstable. The courts often turn to independent counsel to calculate the anticipated income for years into the future, and take into consideration economic impacts such as inflation, life expectancy, and the victim’s health.
  • Pain and Suffering – Although this is not always awarded, it can contribute significantly to the total amount of damages.  Pain and suffering goes beyond grief, and may be awarded to a family member who witnessed the death.

These are only some of the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn more about your rights, contact a trustworthy attorney in your area.

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Multi-car crash with fatalities blocks Interstate 80

Sep 22

A multi-car crash with fatalities caused major blockage on Interstate 80 near Cisco Grove on Thursday, and California Highway Patrol is telling drivers to avoid the area if possible. According to authorities, sixteen vehicles may have been involved in the crash, which they believe may have been caused by a driver speeding through a hail storm. At least one individual was killed and multiple others were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The extent of the injuries to other drivers and passengers in the crash has not been reported yet, but local news outlets like Fox 40 are working to find out more details.

In the event of a serious accident, it is important to let the officials investigate the cause of the accident. If it turns out that one of the drivers was indeed speeding, the other injured parties may be eligible to take legal action in the form of a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for their medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, property damage, as well as pain and suffering. A personal injury lawsuit can help protect people from having to shoulder the burden of an injury all on their own and will hold the negligent or careless person accountable for the injuries that they have caused others.

The California Highway Patrol will investigate the cause of the crash and will let all of the families know the results of their investigation. If it turns out that an individual behaved in a reckless manner (and speeding is certainly considered reckless under the law) that person may be held accountable for the injuries to others. It is too early to tell right now the exact cause of this accident, but it is important for the families to consider if they want to pursue legal action on behalf of themselves or their loved ones.

An experienced Sacramento car accident attorney can tell you your legal options following an accident. Far too many people drive while distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or simply in a careless manner, which puts others at risk on the roadways each and every day. If a person is injured by a speeding driver, he or she may wish to take legal action against the responsible party. There is no reason why someone who was hurt should have to pay out of their own pockets for medical bills, treatment, therapy costs, or any other expenses associated with the accident. The party that caused the accident should be the one that pays since they caused the unnecessary accident in the first place.  That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes in, to help those who have been hurt seek justice.

While I don’t know much about the law or the specifics of personal injury law in California, I do know that if I were hurt in a crash caused by someone else’s actions, I would not sit idly by. I would definitely hire an attorney to help me recoup the money that I was rightfully owed, and I would personally take action to make sure that person did not hurt others in the future.

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Legal Duty of Property Owners to Protect their Visitors from Harm

Jun 09

The US National Safety Council (NSC) Injury Facts records more than 8 million slip and fall accidents every year, making this type of accident one of the top causes of serious injuries in the U.S. and the most frequent type of accident that results in lawsuits (premises liability lawsuit).

Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet or icy surfaces, moss-filled floors, uneven floors or walkways (especially those that are not well illuminated), unstable surfaces, exposed wires, absences of railings or guardrails, uncovered metal or wooden pegs, faulty stairs, unmarked obstacles, and so forth. While this type of accident can happen to anyone, those who are most seriously affected and hurt are people 55 years old and above. Injuries can include a fractured wrist or elbow, knee injury, torn muscle and ligament, back pain and fractured hip.

A slip and fall accident can happen not only in public places, such as hospitals, churches, malls, restaurants and near swimming pools, but also in private residences where one goes to as a visitor (as an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser, who is an unwelcome visitor, of course).

Identifying an injured visitor’s status on the premise or reason why he/she entered into another’s land entails major legal significance as it will determine a property owner’s extent of responsibility for the safety and well-being of his/her visitor, as well as the extent of a visitor’s rights in seeking compensation. And where protection from harm is the issue, invitees are afforded the highest level.

An invitee refers to a person who has received (direct or implied) invitation from the property owner to come onto his/her property to further the owner’s purposes. Persons directly invited to special family gatherings, such as anniversaries, or those entering a shop to transact business with the store owner, are considered invitees.

Invitees are types of guests who naturally assume that the place they enter onto is totally safe; thus, in the event of an accident, which results to an invitee’s injury, the property owner (or anyone directly responsible for the maintenance of the place) can be held totally responsible.

A licensee is another type of guest who has been granted permission to be on the owner’s property; his/her presence there, though, is personal, as it is for his/her own purpose or amusement. Family friends and party guests (and those to whom an open invitation to visit has been extended) fit this visitor description.

Property owners are also obligated by law to ensure the total safety of licensees, unlike in the case of trespassers, towards whom owners do not owe the responsibility of giving warnings about the dangers naturally occurring on the premises (unless the owner becomes aware of a trespasser’s presence).

Property owners or those responsible in the maintenance or upkeep of a place, but who negligently fail to perform their duty, can be held accountable under the premises liability laws, in the event of an injury.

As explained by the law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, there are a number of different ways in which individuals may be put in danger of suffering a serious injury by unsafe premises, resulting in a premises liability claim. Some of the most common reasons people seek legal help for premises liability claims include: dog bites, slip and fall, elevator and escalator injuries, porch collapse, stair collapse, fires, lead paint poisoning, mercury poisoning or swimming pool injuries. As a guest at someone else’s home, or a patron of a business, you have a right to expect that a certain level of safety will be provided for you.

 

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Bankruptcy: Legal Solution to Regaining Financial Freedom

Mar 28

Loss of job and lesser chances of finding a high-paying one are two major effects of unstable economy. Anyone who loses the privilege of earning good income can lose the chance of maintaining his/her life style; it can also affect his/her capability to pay all his/her bills, including credit card billings and other monthly bills. Next to failure in payment of monthly bills is most likely financial worries as this will result to the increasing debts that may soon become hard, if not impossible, to manage.

This is one common situation to thousands of Americans. For like a chronic disease that develops and worsens overtime, so too do debts, becoming too overwhelming and impossible to settle.

After only two to three months of failure to make payments, especially car loans and mortgages, banks and credit card companies would already consider a person’s loan or account as bad debt. This would most likely be referred to a collection agency, which will do anything, even resort to harassing tactics to make a debtor pay.

Crushing debts have caused many individuals so much worry and stress, besides having ruined many families and professional relationships. Debts, however, are not unsolvable problems, for the law offers legal means that will enable individuals with overwhelming debts to address their debts and regain control of their financial situation. One such legal alternative is bankruptcy, a legal declaration of one’s inability to settle personal or business loans. One immediate beneficial effect of filing for bankruptcy is that once it is filed in court, all attempts by agencies to collect debt payments will be stopped (a protection “automatic stay”). Creditors will also lose any right to have a debtor’s salary garnished or his/her bank account levied.

There are different Chapters of Bankruptcies that a person may apply for, depending on his/her financial standing, work or assets and properties. These are

  • Chapter 7, also known as liquidation bankruptcy. Through this chapter, a person is enabled to pay his/her non-dischargeable debts through the liquidation of some of his/her non-exempt assets. With regard to business firms, these will need to cease operations, as a court-appointed trustee will need to sell or liquidate their entire assets. Residual proceeds, after having paid all creditors, will be returned to individual debtors or business owners;
  • Chapter 11, or business reorganization. The business owner usually acts as a trustee (if the court does not appoint one). He/She also becomes a debtor-in-possession since the law allows continuous operation of his/her business;
  • Chapter 12, which is designed for farmers and fishermen with a regular annual income and who own the whole or more than half of the farming/fishing business; and,
  • Chapter 13, which allows a debtor to make a three-year or five-year proposal through which to pay his/her debts.

Very helpful information to those with overwhelming debts is shared by the Amerio Law Firm. According to this firm, “When you are facing overwhelming debts and dealing with non-stop creditor calls, filing bankruptcy may be your best option.

The benefits of bankruptcy are clear:

  • Completely discharge your unsecured debts through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or
  • Work out an effective repayment plan over the course of 3 to 5 years
  • Stop harassing creditor calls
  • Stop wage garnishments, bank levies, property liens, and foreclosures
  • Get your financial freedom
  • Re-build your credit

Bankruptcy can certainly be the financial solution to your current situation. However, if you do not qualify for a bankruptcy, or may be struggling with the idea of filing bankruptcy, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to provide you alternative solutions, including debt negotiation or tax services.

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Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Dec 22

More than 15,000 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. offer care and shelter to at least 1.5 million elders, mentally incapacitated young adults, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and victims of accidents requiring therapy and rehabilitation. Though sending a loved one to a nursing home, where his/her needs is believed will be provided, is a common practice, many Americans are beset by worries due to widespread news of abuses committed to nursing home residents.

The most common reported abuses committed against elders include emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse, the most wicked of all types of abuses. Mistreating elders and other residents sexually can be done through many different ways. It can be through fondling, showing of pornographic materials, forced nudity, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and, worst of all, forced penetrative acts.

Many nursing homes reason out that they do not have enough number of nurse aides, staff and/or registered nurses, thus their employees are often overworked, tired and fatigued from all the needs and requests of residents which seem to be endless.

Sexual abuse is usually never immediately obvious, but being really observant of sudden changes in a resident’s behavior may just manifest the fact that something is wrong. Sexually abused residents typically:

  • Begin to display low self-esteem;
  • Avoid having eye contact with other residents;
  • Stop speaking openly, to hide the abuses they are suffering from;
  • Start feeling hopeless, disturbed, or afraid;
  • Become depressed and withdrawn; and,
  • Begin to show abrupt mood swings

While injuries or any kind of harm sustained by residents in a nursing home facility may be considered a personal injury and, thus, deserving compensation, the act of abuse itself is considered a criminal act, deserving harsh punishments.

In the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, it is said that “Allegations of sexual abuse are serious and will need to be duly investigated by the appropriate authorities. That being said, you need to take immediate action to protect your loved one if you suspect he or she has experienced unwanted or otherwise non-consensual sexual contact.”

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