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Essential Questions in a Personal Injury Deposition | Lorona Mead Law

Depositions are critical in personal injury cases and must be handled adequately. If they aren’t handled well, it could mean not winning a settlement. In order for a deposition to be successful, the right questions must be asked. Here are some important questions lawyers should ask to get high-quality depositions:

  1. Preliminary/Introductory Questions

It’s important to obtain basic identification and background information about the deponent during this stage. Here are some of the questions lawyers may want to ask:

  • What is your name and date of birth?
  • Where do you live
  • Have you ever taken a deposition before?

Asking the deponent if he or she has taken a deposition lets a personal injury lawyer know if he or she understands the process or not. If this person has given depositions in the past, it’s okay to ask more information about the case. Other important questions to ask in this stage include:

  • I want to let you know the ground rules. Is that okay with you?
  • During a deposition, the court reporter records everything you say. That’s why it’s essential to always respond with words instead of gestures. Do you understand?
  • To prevent the court reporter from missing what was said, neither of us should talk over one another. Do you understand?
  • Do you realize that you are under oath and you are sworn to tell the truth?
  • If you don’t understand a question, don’t be afraid to speak up. I can rephrase the question. Do you understand?

 

  1. Questions Relating to the Accident

The purpose of this session is to obtain the deponent’s side of the story relating to the accident. In order to get detailed answers, it’s critical to ask good questions. For example, if there is a car accident lawsuit, the lawyer might inquire about weather conditions, road conditions and if there was a lot of traffic at the time of the accident. If there was a slip and fall accident, the lawyer might want to find out if there were any warning signs.

 

  1. Questions Relating to the Damage Claims

The session concentrates on finding the accurate valuation of the damages caused by the accident. Some of the questions lawyers may ask include:

  • Did you have any medical conditions before the accident?
  • Did the accident prevent you from doing your job and other activities?
  • How much medical is required to treat your injury?

It’s important for all of these questions and answers to be recorded by an experienced court reporter New York trusts to view and reference later.

Veritext Legal SolutionsThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions.

RISING NUMBER OF RIDE SHARE ACCIDENTS

 

The days of hailing a cab in the Big Apple have given way to the rise of drive share services that pick you up and take you away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. In fact, ride share services such as Uber seemed poised to replace taxi cabs as the preferred alternative method of transportation for Americans that need a lift home from a bar or a quick trip to the airport.

Is that a good thing? The answer might be a resounding no, if you pay attention to the startling negative news the burgeoning ride share industry has received over the past year.

According to research performed by the New York Post, the number of auto accidents in the New York City statistical area that involved ride share drivers between 2014 and 2016 more than tripled from  534 to 1,672. Also referred to as black cars, ride share vehicles represent the only class of vehicles that experienced an increase in the number of accidents over the same period.

 

What is Causing Ride Share Accidents?

The increase in ride share vehicle accidents corresponds to the rapid increase in the number of ride share vehicles on the road since the advent of services such as Uber. Yet, how do we explain the five fatalities that involved ride share drivers in New York City during May and June of 2016, when the taxi industry recorded no fatalities during the same period?

 

Lack of Training

Unlike taxi service drivers, ride share drivers receive little, if any training to handle the daily grind of taking passengers to airports and grocery stores. Ride share drivers often work to supplement income generated from full time professions, and the extra work comes at night, when driving conditions typically are more likely to produce accidents.

What are the other reasons why we are seeing a rising number of ride share accidents?

 

Apps versus Monitors

Taxicab drivers have a large monitor that sits on the dashboard that alerts them to the next fare. Ride share drivers rely on cell phone applications that notify them of where to pick up the next passenger. Canadian researchers released a study that showed lowering your head to access information on a cell phone while you drive is more dangerous than getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content level of .10.

Accessing a ride share app to determine where a ride share driver needs to go next increases the potential for an auto accident.

 

Lack of Regulations

Taxicab companies must follow a large number of regulations to operate passenger services. However, ride share companies such as Uber face few municipal, state, and federal regulations. This means when a passenger chooses a ride share company to travel home, he or she is likely to ride in the back seat of a vehicle driven by someone who does not follow the same regulatory guidelines that apply to the taxi industry.

 

Poor Vetting

In cities such as Des Moines, Iowa, you cannot receive a taxicab permit if you have an operating while under the influence (OWI) conviction on your record over the past 10 years. Ride share drivers do not have to undergo the same legal scrutiny. In fact, ride share drivers never get drug or alcohol tested by the company that employs them. While taxi companies perform background checks, most ride share companies hire independent contractors online, without performing background checks. Taxi companies do not hire felons; ride share companies do not perform background checks to vet felons.

 

Driver Fatigue

Ride share drivers have no restrictions on the number of companies and accounts for which they perform driving services. Driver fatigue prompted the United State Congress to limit the number of consecutive hours truckers can log behind the wheel of a rig. No such limitations apply to ride share drivers who can work an eight-hour shift at a day job and work tired well into the night.

 

Vehicle Maintenance

Taxicab companies typically take care of vehicle maintenance issues. However, that is not the case with ride share companies. For example, Uber drivers use their own vehicles to make money and they are responsible for taking care of vehicle maintenance issues.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Denver injury lawyers, Tenge law, for their knowledge in ride share accidents.

Generational Real Estate The Importance of an Attorney | Lorona Mead

The passing of a loved one can be an emotional time in the life of an individual. Coupled with the complexity of managing a loved one’s estate, the period where people should be coping with a loved ones passing, can become unbearably stressful.

Although the topic is tough to breach, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced estate attorney to ensure the transfer of an individual’s assets is accomplished in the most efficient manner. The most complicated aspects of most estates are the real property components, whether a residential home, or net lease commercial real estate properties. To eliminate the tedious process of having your relatives apply for authorization from the state to act on behalf of the estate, a will or trust should be created which details all necessary procedures to dispose or hold the properties. If the property owner left a Will, the Executor is the authorized person.  If the property is in a Trust, the Trustee is the authorized person.  If there is no Will or Trust, someone must step forward and take responsibility to become the authorized person.

If there is no will or trust, the authorized person is the individual who files a petition to open a probate estate by volunteering to act as the administrator of the estate. After this step is completed, the administrator of the estate must file a petition with the court to obtain letters testamentary and open the probate estate. Once the executor, trustee, or authorized individual has received letters testamentary from the court, the assets of the deceased individual can be distributed as directed.

Once the real property is distributed as directed, the IRS or state may enact an inheritance tax or estate tax on the distributed assets. Estate taxes can be substantial on estates that have large commercial real property holdings. The current estate tax exclusion mandated by the IRS is $5.45 million. On property holdings less than this amount there will be no estate taxes against the assets.

However, for estates with large single tenant net lease property or other real estate holdings, the estate tax can be as high as 40% of the value of the real property at the time of inheritance. This causes many beneficiaries to be forced into the sale of the property simply to pay the tax bill. The estate tax bill is mildly offset by the basis of the property being adjusted to the fair market value of the real property upon the owner’s passing. This means that a property which an individual purchased in 1950 for $10,000 and is now worth $10 million, will not incur capital gains tax on the sale of the property. This tax provision can result in substantial savings.

Beneficiaries should contact licensed profiles like Sale Leaseback Broker Virginia upon the disposition of inherited assets. This will ensure that the property is sold at a maximum value while adhering to all legal obligations and minimizing the tax payment.

CALKAIN America's net lease company

Authors at Calkain provide extensive insight into Real Estate.

When are hospitals liable for medical malpractice?

When medical malpractice occurs, the effects can be devastating. Treatments that are meant to heal can end up causing major injuries or even death if done improperly. In the aftermath, it can sometimes be difficult to tell who is responsible. You know that you are entitled to compensation, but you aren’t sure who from.

According to the legal principle of “Respondent Superior,” employers are responsible for the actions of their employees, so long as those actions are within the normal scope of their employment. In the case of medical malpractice, this means that any negligence on the part of a hospital employee can be found as the responsibility of the hospital. So, when a nurse, attendant, or any other person on the hospital payroll makes a mistake that causes harm to the patient they are supposed to be healing, the hospital as an entity can be held liable.

There is an issue with this though, many doctors are not classified as employees of the hospital. Most of the doctors in America are independent contractors working for the hospital, and respondent superior very specifically does not apply to independent contractors. This is not a rule necessarily, there are certainly some doctors who are employees of the hospital. The distinction is also not always clear, a few good characteristics that can help determine this is as follows:

  • Does the doctor control their hours, or does the hospital?
  • Does the doctor decide their own vacation time?
  • Does the doctor set their own fees, or are they paid through the hospital?

If the doctor can be considered an employee, than the hospital will be responsible for their negligence. However, if they are an independent contractor than they are responsible for themselves, and will be personally liable in the event of medical malpractice.

The best case scenario for the victim will be when the hospital can be found liable. Hospitals will have much more available funds to seek for compensation. As medical malpractice injuries can be very costly to remedy, you may need this in order to fully cover your bills.

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, speak to an attorney with skill and experience in medical malpractice. An attorney will be able to help you determine who will be the appropriate party to name the defendant, and ensure that you build a case that will earn you every single dime of compensation that you deserve.

Andrew R. Lynch P.C. A special thank you to our partners at Andrew R. Lynch P.C. for their extensive insight into Personal Injury.

Insight into Semi trucks and Eighteen Wheeler Accidents | Lorona Mead Law

Semi trucks and eighteen wheelers provide an incredibly crucial service to our economy and our country. These vehicles are not easy to drive, and we place a lot of faith in the truckers who are responsible for operating them safely. It is no secret that when a truck accident occurs, there can be disastrous consequences. With the amount of responsibility in the hands of truckers, and the terrible amount of damage Semi trucks and eighteen wheelers are capable of, there should be no reason for a trucker to be under the influence. If you have been in an accident with a semi truck or eighteen wheeler that was caused by a trucker who was drunk or under the influence of drugs, you may be wondering who can be held accountable for the accident and how you can pursue compensation for the damages. Speak with an experienced attorney such as the Personal Injury Attorney Atlanta GA locals trust immediately.

To protect themselves and avoid these kinds of accidents, most trucking companies require their drivers to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Federal regulations also forbid drivers of trucks from consuming any alcohol for four hours before operating the vehicle. Still, an unfortunate amount of truckers still engage in drugs and alcohol. Stimulants such as methamphetamines and cocaine are especially common to help with long trips and to keep awake. This all means that a truck driver under the influence has committed a crime, which will allow any negligence case against them to be a relatively simple matter.

Most truck drivers are employed by trucking companies, which means that the company may be able to be held responsible for the negligence of their employee. This is due to a legal theory called “respondent superior,” which names employers liable for wrongful acts committed by employees in the scope of their employment. Of course, nothing in the law is that simple and there are many factors that determine if the trucking company can actually be held accountable.

The best thing you can do after an accident with a trucker who was under the influence is to contact an attorney in your area with experience in personal injury law. Your attorney will be able to analyze the factors of your case and apply the specific laws of your state. With their knowledge, they can set out the best path for you, and determine who would be appropriate to name defendant in your case. Truckers who are under the influence behind the wheel endanger everyone on the road. If they harm you, you deserve to be compensated for every dime of damage.

Andrew R. Lynch Attorney at LawA special thank you to our partners at Andrew R. Lynch P.C. for their extensive insight into Employment law and Personal Injury.

 

Can I Recover in A Slip and Fall Case If There Were Warning Signs Posted?

 

Warning and caution signs are such a frequent occurrence in life that it is easy to look right past them, but they play a vital role in keeping the public safe.  That being said, a sign itself does not create a safe condition. Business and property owners are still responsible for creating a safe environment, not just warning of a dangerous one.  Putting up a sign does not absolve business and property owners of all liability in a slip and fall case.

If you had a slip and fall accident under conditions in which a warning sign was posted, filing a claim might be more difficult than normal, but it’s not impossible. Your attorney and the insurance company would likely ask one or more of the following questions:

  • Did an employee/business owner/property owner create the hazardous situation? For example: While mopping aisle 12 in a busy grocery store, the employee accidentally knocks over the mop bucket, creating a pool of water on the floor.
  • Did an employee/ business owner/ property owner see the hazardous situation and neglect to remedy it? For example: The employee noticed that they knocked over the mop bucket, but moves on to the next aisle without cleaning up or placing warning signs around the puddle.
  • Did the situation persist for an unreasonable amount of time before it was attended to? For example: Aside from the culpable employee, many other store employees saw the pool of water on the floor of aisle 12, but two hours passed before anyone attended to cleaning it up.
  • Were the warning signs inadequately or improperly posted? For example: A cashier heard about the pool of water in aisle of 12, so he set out a “CAUTION: WET FLOOR” sign near the store’s exit, which does not adequately warn the customers actually in aisle 12 of the hazardous condition.

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then a recovery may still be possible. As with any slip and fall, you’ll want to be sure to follow the proper procedure to make a claim:

  1. Take photos of the hazardous condition, any warning signs, injuries, clothing, etc.
  2. Report the incident to the property authority
  3. Take a note of any witnesses
  4. Seek medical attention for your injuries
  5. Hire an attorney such as the Brain Injury Lawyer Phoenix, AZ locals trust.

Kamper Estrada LawIf you’ve been injured in a slip and fall and are not sure about your options, contact Kamper Estrada, LLP. Our experienced personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and over 40 years of experience.

How Ignoring a Vehicle Recall Can Lead to a Serious Accident | Lorona Mead

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 50 million vehicle safety recalls in the U.S. in 2015. Two years later, things still have not improved. Vehicle safety recalls are a growing problem and can lead to serious accidents. It’s extremely important to take all vehicle recalls seriously and get your car fixed as soon as possible.

Ignored Recalls Is Another Problem

It may be even more disturbing that 25 percent of recalled automobiles never repaired per the recall recommendations. Approximately 12 million of those cars with a safety recall in 2015 still drove on the road, despite the dangers.

Recall: What Should You Do?

As long as your car is properly registered, you will get a notification in the mail about a recall. In this notice, you will be instructed on how to get your vehicle properly inspected and repaired.

Typically, a safety recall is caused by a defective part or flawed design. Manufacturers will almost always do the repairs for free because they are at fault. You just have to find the time to take your car in for the necessary repairs. It might be an inconvenience, but it’s much better than getting into a car accident.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

If you have been injured because of a vehicle’s defective part, you may want to consult with an attorney, like a personal injury or car accident lawyer Harrisonburg VA trusts, as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. A skilled personal injury lawyer can examine the factors in your case and determine if you have a good shot at winning or not.

Safety recalls on vehicles is quite common. If manufacturers realize that certain vehicles have defective parts, they will want to recall those vehicles right away to reduce the chance of accidents.

Even if they seem fairly minor, you should take all recalls seriously. It could potentially save your life. Also, try to regularly check the manufacturer’s website for a list of recalls to be extra safe.

If you were injured in an accident involving a defective part, do not wait to hire a lawyer. He or she may improve your chances of getting a fair settlement. Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by speaking to one.

Martin Wren LawThanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and car accident cases.

Determining Liability in an Auto vs. Truck Accident

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of large trucks traveling on U.S. roads. Large trucks transport all types of goods from food to hazardous materials. If you or a member of your family has injuries from an accident with a large truck, you will need to establish who is liable for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. Here are some things that will help you determine if you have a viable case:

Accident Statistics

A 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 111,000 people sustained injuries in accidents with large trucks.

  • There also were 438,000 trucks involved in traffic accidents.
  • About 74 percent of the injured people were occupants of other types of vehicles, such as automobiles.
  • Seventeen percent were occupants of large trucks.

Determining Liability in a Truck Accident

The following list contains parties who could be held liable for trucking accidents:

• The truck driver
• The trucking company that owns the truck and trailer
• The company or person that leased the truck and trailer
• The manufacturer of the truck
• The manufacturer of the tires on the truck
• The manufacturer of any defective parts
• Any company responsible for loading truck

Causes of Truck and Auto Accidents

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that 44 percent of truck drivers take over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions before or while driving. Possible side effects of these drugs are drowsiness and dizziness. Another cause of accidents is the driver drinking alcohol while driving on public roads. The FMCSA also reports that the most common causes of trucking accidents are truck driver errors:

• Driving too fast on roads
• Improper loading of cargo
• Fatigue from working excessive hours
• Unfamiliar with roads and area
• Distractions such as talking on smartphone without a hands-free device
• Using devices to text, surf the internet, and watch videos
• Inexperience handling the truck
• Improper attachment of trailer to the truck
• Depowering the front brakes to reduce operating costs

Evidence in Truck and Auto Accidents

It is important to gather evidence supporting your case against a trucking company. Many trucking companies install electronic event data recorders in their trucks. This equipment keeps track of all operations of the truck. Here is some of the information the equipment records:

• Speed of the truck
• Patterns of truck speed
• Length of truck operating time
• Frequency of break usage

Government agencies require a certified truck inspection after all accidents. This inspection will reveal the condition of the truck and trailer.

Damages in Truck and Auto Accidents

You will need compensation for any expenses incurred by the accident. These expenses are known as damages. Here are some damages you can receive compensation for during your lawsuit:

• Medical expenses such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and physical therapy
• Wages lost due to the accident
• Mental and physical pain
• Property loss
• Loss of companionship such as loss of affection from spouse
• Special damages that include monetary loss due to the accident

You should contact a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer soon after the trucking accident happens. You have rights to protect concerning injuries and property damage. Here are some reasons to contact a lawyer following an accident:

• There is a limited time to sue the responsible party
• Their familiarity with state rules and regulations
• You have the legal right to recover damages
• Their knowledge of complex laws governing lawsuits
• They can pursue all responsible parties to maximize your recovery
• They can help you understand settlement option

A personal injury lawyer can be your advocate throughout the lawsuit process. They can help you fight your way back to physical, mental, and financial health.

Hickey & Turim SCThanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim SC for their insight into accident and personal injury cases.

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI/DWI

It’s a frightening moment: you’re driving home from dinner and drinks when suddenly you see flashing lights and hear a siren behind you. Even under the best of circumstances, an encounter with law enforcement can be nerve-wracking. What should you do when you’re pulled over after having a few drinks? Here are a few things you should know as articulated by a DUI and DWI lawyer Waco TX trusts:

1. You Don’t Have to Answer (Most) Questions

As with any encounter with law enforcement, you have the right under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remain silent and refuse to answer potentially incriminating questions. This means that you don’t have to tell a police officer how many drinks you’ve had or where you’re coming from. However, in many states, you are required to comply with lawful orders or requests from law enforcement officers. Often, this requires you to comply with a request to identify yourself with your driver’s license and provide the officer with registration and liability insurance information upon request. Similarly, if an officer requests that you step out of your vehicle, you are required to comply.

2. You Don’t Have to Perform Any “Tests” or Give a Sample Voluntarily

If you’ve been stopped after drinking, you may be asked by the officer to perform some tests. Commonly, the officer will add that he just wants to make sure that you’re okay to drive home. Whether or not that’s actually true, these tests are also the next step of a standard DUI/DWI investigation, and a video of your performance is almost always a central piece of evidence in a DUI/DWI prosecution. It’s important to know that you are not required to perform these tests. Given that some people have trouble performing the tests when completely sober, you should decline to perform them if asked.

The same principle applies to a request for a breath or blood sample. If you’re worried about what the result might be, it is usually best to refuse. The officer can get a warrant to draw a blood sample, but officers don’t always follow through with the paperwork and hassle it takes to get the warrant. Even if they do apply for a warrant, the warrant—and thus the test result—may be subject to exclusion in your case if the officer doesn’t do the process correctly.

3. Know Your Rights, But Be Polite

As important as it is to know your rights, you should also exercise them intelligently and with respect. Know that your interaction with law enforcement is being recorded from start to finish. Even if the officers don’t get video of you doing the tests or get a sample to test, people who act belligerent or disrespectful aren’t likely to get any favors from officers, prosecutors, or jurors. Additionally, emotional volatility and poor decision-making are classic signs of intoxication that can be used against you. Refuse to aid law enforcement’s investigation, but do so calmly and respectfully.

Sutton Milam & Fanning, PLLCThanks to our friends and contributors from Sutton, Milam & Fanning for their insight into DUIs and criminal defense practice.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MINI-OPENING STATEMENTS FOR THE TRIAL LAWYER

Mini-opening statements are a relatively new phenomenon that is catching on in most states. A mini-opening statement is simply a 3 to 5 minute opening statement that takes place before the jury is questioned on the case.  Each counsel presents an overview of the case from his or her client’s perspective and previews the issues jurors will have to decide.  They are non-argumentative and are not a substitute for opening statements. It sets forth the basic positions of the parties and allows to jurors to understand what issues may spark a bias or concern for a particular juror.  It follows that basic premise that a juror should know the subject matter of the litigation before exploring personal biases. 
Should the juror know that “texting and driving” is going to be a big issue in the case? Or that there will be a significant amount of medical photos that some may find particularly gruesome? Or that the case involves a gang member who grew up in poverty and is now accused of a crime for which he is claiming an alibi, but the alibi witness is also a gang member?  Do you think that jurors may have some biases if a personal injury lawyer Newport Beach CA turns to is allowed to give a brief mini-opening statement concerning the fundamental outline facts of the case?  Indeed, in these difficult cases, jurors will be able to give much better information concerning their biases if they are given some facts upon which to reflect on those biases. Hey, I love football, but I hate the Dallas Cowboys.  I could be “fair and impartial” to the NFL, but if the specifics of the case involved an advantage that the Dallas Cowboys may achieve with a trial win, I may have to reveal some of my biases and dislike for the Dallas Cowboys and let the lawyer decide whether I am right for the case.
In certain states it can be difficult to get a judge to allow mini opening statements, even though they save time and money and will result in a better equipped jury panel to decide any case—criminal or civil. Judges are usually slow to change. It is up to the lawyers to argue effectively for the use of mini-opening statements. Below are particular arguments that have been helpful and successful in the past.
Courts should allow mini-opening statements for two reasons.  First, mini-openings make the voir dire process more efficient, complete, and meaningful.  These mini opening statements bring issues and relevant factors into focus for prospective jurors and the parties, and elicit better informed and candid responses during questioning.  This helps parties and the court quickly uncover concerns, biases, and prejudices from the venire, and allows parties to make more effective and intelligent use of their peremptory strikes.  Second, mini-openings have a time-saving and attention-grabbing advantage over a written and read “joint statement of the case.”  Based on several pilot programs in California, mini-openings generate interest in the case so that prospective jurors will be less inclined to claim marginal hardships and waste time.  One study also reported that mini-openings elicit greater interest from prospective jurors in fulfilling jury service.
These are not novel findings.  The courts are essentially allowing the jurors to preview the back jacket of the book to determine if the book is of interest to them or if, for some reason, they have moral or philosophical objections to the book’s subject matter.  Mini-openings are neither argumentative nor a substitute for opening statements.  They instead permit counsel to outline their case to the venire, raise questions and concerns, and facilitate a more productive and comprehensive questioning process by providing context and interest to jurors.
Diligent counsel needs to push hard for mini opening statements as they are the best way to discover true bias of any prospective juror. The goal is to begin a case with a fair set of jurors. This tool helps facilitate that goal better than any other.

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Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bruno | Nalu for their insight into the importance of mini-opening statements.