The Debate That Changed My Life

The Debate That Changed My Life

Overcoming Qualified Immunity In Personal Injury Lawsuits Against The Police

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Police officers do a very dangerous job and have to make difficult decisions about taking action, including physical violence, against other human beings all the time. Most of the time, the police are within their rights to act and are protected from lawsuits even if they make a mistake—but not always. If you were injured by police officers acting under the color of their authority, you need to know when they have immunity from lawsuits and when they don’t. This is what you should know. Qualified immunity is designed to protect officers from frivolous lawsuits. if the police didn’t have some protection against lawsuits, officers would probably be afraid to do their jobs for fear of being sued. While most police actions are justified, sometimes the police rely on bad information or simply make a mistake—in which case qualified immunity shields them from lawsuits even if someone gets injured as a result. However, qualified immunity does have its limitations: The police officer had a reasonable belief that he or she was acting within the scope of his or her authority (or actually was within that scope of authority). The police officer is acting on official business (not personal). The police officer doesn’t behave in a grossly negligent manner, which led to the cause of the injury. If all three of these conditions don’t exist, you can overcome the presumption of qualified immunity and proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. There’s an important distinction between ordinary negligence and gross negligence. Negligence is at the heart of all personal injury lawsuits—because negligence is defined as a failure to exercise reasonable care under the situation. The duty to exercise reasonable care is what helps keep people from acting without regard to the safety of others.  However, ordinary negligence doesn’t overcome the qualified immunity that police officers have when acting in an official capacity. Instead, you have to prove that the officer in question showed gross negligence, which is a blatant act and a conscious disregard of the need for reasonable care. In other words, the officer had to act in such a way that any reasonable person would have been able to predict that his or her actions could hurt someone. How do you know if you have a case that meets these terms? Sometimes, the situation is fairly obvious. For example, a Florida police officer used his badge and uniform to apparently personally harass a woman, eventually firing his taser at her and kneeing her in the chest. The fact that he lied to his superiors and claimed that he accidentally discharged the taser into a pillow is a good indicator that he knew his actions weren’t lawful. He also apparently attempted to patch things up with his victim—by making her a cake that said, “Sorry I Tased You.” While the officer is still claiming qualified immunity in his response to the victim’s lawsuit, he’s been placed on leave—a sure indication that his superiors wish to distance themselves from his actions. Other cases may not be so clear, so consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the event in order to discuss the situation in detail. Your attorney can help you determine if your civil rights have been violated and the likelihood of a successful lawsuit given...

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Steps To Avoid An Arrest On Loitering With Intent To Commit A Crime

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Specific actions are usually required to arrest and charge someone with a criminal offense. These actions do not always refer to the actual commission of a crime. Intent to commit an offense may lead to charges. In certain jurisdictions, merely being present and acting suspiciously may be a crime. In the state of New Jersey, for example, loitering to commit prostitution or the intent to purchase drugs are disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offenses. This is not the only state with such laws on the books. Sadly, people sometimes end up arrested due to unknowingly doing the wrong things by mistake in the wrong place. Avoiding suspicious behavior cuts down on the chances of a false arrest. Avoid Danger Zones Police generally charge someone with loitering with intent to commit a crime when the person is in an area known for criminal activity. To remain out of trouble, do not travel through areas known for drug, prostitution, or other vice activity. Avoiding these areas means avoiding walking inadvertently into a sting. Granted, not everyone may be able to avoid the danger zone. People who live or work near such areas may have to drive or walk through them. Whether walking or driving, take the following advice: Don’t Make Suspicious Moves with a Vehicle Driving too slowly, beeping the horn, making sharp and quick lane changes or U-turns may be deemed suspicious behavior. A police car could pull someone over after seeing erratic driving. People who are passing through do just that – they smoothly drive through the neighborhood without doing anything suspicious. Don’t Stop Walking and Never Engage When in a vice area, walk at a normal, brisk pace. Do not stop and talk with anyone on the street. Merely talking to stranger on the street could lead an observing police officer to assume a “buy” is occurring. When strangers try to start a conversation, don’t be confrontational – just keep moving. Always avoid looking and acting like someone who is lingering in the neighborhood for nefarious purposes. Despite taking the right steps, a person may still be questioned or searched by the police. What the police officer finds may lead to an arrest. Never Carry Substantial Cash The police will likely ask you to empty your pockets when being questioned. They are searching for evidence and $200 in cash could contribute to the probable cause for an arrest. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t carry a lot of cash in sketchy neighborhoods. Get the Case Thrown Out A good criminal defense lawyer could get charges dismissed if the evidence is weak. Take solace in the fact an arrest does not mean a conviction or even a trial or plea bargain. Contact a firm like Jividen And Wehnert Llc  for more...

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Tips For Fighting A DUI Case

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One of the most damning charges that a person can be convicted of is a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. These charges have financial, criminal and social ramifications that can be difficult to come back from without the right information. Aside from the obvious choice of never drinking and driving, your best course of action to take once this mistake has already been made is to hire the help of a credible DUI lawyer. To learn about the downfalls of DUI charges, tips for hiring a lawyer, and more information, read below.  The Negatives Of A DUI Conviction You’ve probably heard about the dangers of drinking and driving, but the negative ramifications don’t end after you decide to take the risk and get charged and convicted. For one, people convicted of these penalties tend to have to pay between $11,000 and $30,000 on penalties and defense once it is all said and done. One of the biggest negative repercussions is the social stigma that comes with drinking and driving. This is a charge that can weigh heavy on your own conscience, in addition to the way that others look at you. It may be difficult to find gainful employment after receiving such a charge, and your relationships may change. Because of this, you need to hire the help of a lawyer who can assist you in fighting the case.  Hire The Best DUI Lawyer You Can Find When you know that you need the help of an attorney, you should reach out to the best DUI lawyer that you can find. To do this, develop a list of the most credible and reputable attorneys in your area who specialize in DUI cases. You can do this by consulting your state bar association or the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Look into their record of trying DUI cases, in addition to their ethical record. Further, get their fee policy in writing so that you know you can afford them.  Potential DUI Defenses Once you hire a DUI lawyer, they will work with you to come up with credible defenses that are relevant to your situation. For instance, they will be able to challenge the legal basis of the initial traffic stop, question the validity of the sobriety tests, and pinpoint illegal actions taken by the officer during the arrest. A good lawyer will help you to assert these points soundly in front of the judge or jury.  Follow these tips to bounce back from a DUI charge. For more advice, talk to a DUI attorney at a law office like Thomas & Associates,...

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Adding Passive Income To Your Estate: Difference In Accredited And Non-Accredited Crowdfunding

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When investors are looking for additional alternative investments to add to their estate, crowdfunding may come to mind. Accredited and non-accredited crowdfunding platforms are two examples of passive income streams that are taking shape in the realm of personal finance. Crowdfunding is quickly growing in popularity for art investors, small technology start-ups, and more. If you are a high net worth investor who is interested in crowdfunding to balance your estate, you need to make sure your money is safeguarded. Knowing the basics of crowdfunding and the difference between accredited and non-accredited platforms is critical. What is Crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a venture by raising money on a platform that consists of investors. Each company or project will start a campaign outlining what he or she hopes to achieve with the funds they receive. It is one of the prime examples of passive income that is steadily growing in popularity among investors. There are two types of crowdfunding: donation based and equity crowdfunding. Donation-based platforms are used to raise smaller amounts of money for projects. In return for their donation, investors receive a small token of appreciation but have no stake in the project. Equity crowdfunding works differently. These platforms are typically designed for serious, high net worth investors who want a financial stake in the project or venture. Investors provide a large amount of money, sometimes in the millions of dollars, in return for a portion of the company’s profits. The companies who gain funding on these platforms are typically startups or new projects that are not yet listed on the stock market. What is Accredited Crowdfunding? Accredited crowdfunding is governed by the Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards, also known as CAPS. The CAPS program is an initiative that was set forth to practice and promote ethical behavior on crowdfunding platforms. An advisory council of leading experts in the industry implements and reviews certain criteria that constitute accreditation. This criterion is reviewed each year to make sure that the expected high standards are met as the industry continues to grow. Accreditation is not granted to just any crowdfunding platform. Platforms gain accreditation through a rigorous application process that is based on an interview and a review of the platform. Meeting the necessary criteria is also a factor of gaining accreditation. Those platforms that do not meet the criteria will receive a report outlining what they will need to do in order to pass the interview. Once the recommended feedback is implemented, the platform may re-apply. How is Accredited Crowdfunding Different from Non-Accredited Crowdfunding? Due to the thorough application process, accredited platforms are constantly monitored with a tight series of checks and balances that ensure a crowdfunding platform performs responsibly. Serious investors often utilize accredited crowdfunding because they can be confident that they will not lose money through fraud or dishonest crowdfunding applicants. Non-accredited crowdfunding platforms do not have the same set of checks in place. There is no official oversight outside of those who are placed in an executive capacity. While most crowdfunding platforms are honest and position a high value on integrity, there is always a chance that some are malicious in intent, which could lead to a serious loss of money and time on part of investors. These two examples of passive income...

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2 Ways That An Attorney Can Help You After Your Dog Has Bitten Someone

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Finding out that your dog has bitten someone can be an extremely frightening experience, especially when you consider the possible consequences. In many cases, your dog biting someone can lead to a lawsuit against you and the chance that your family’s pet will be put down for being dangerous. Listed below are two ways that a dog bite attorney can help you after your dog has bitten someone. Assumption Of Risk One of the most common ways for a dog bite attorney to help you out is by attempting to prove that the person who was bitten voluntarily decided to take the risk that ended with him or her being bitten. One way that this can work is if your dog bit someone while you were out walking your dog and the other person decided to continue approaching the dog despite your warnings to stay away. However, you will want to be cautious in this situation as this defense will not work if you did not provide sufficient warning to the person who was bitten before the bite occurred. This defense can also be used if someone was bitten on your property. For example, if you have a dog on your property and a sign warning people of the presence of a dog on the property, then someone is voluntarily putting themselves at risk of getting bitten if they still choose to trespass or enter your property without your consent. This only really works if you did not invite the person who was bitten onto your property and there were warnings about the presence of the dog.  Provocation Another way that your attorney can help if your dog has bitten someone is by attempting to prove that your dog was provoked. In many cases, you and your dog cannot be held liable if your dog was forced into biting someone because he or she felt threatened. For example, if someone is causing your dog pain by striking the dog or throwing things at him or her, then it was only natural for the dog to defend himself or herself in order to stop the pain or attack.  This can also be used if your dog was startled. In many cases, if a dog is startled, he or she may lash out due to fear. An example of this would be someone purposely or accidentally stepping on the dog’s paw or tail while he or she was sleeping.  Contact an attorney today in order to discuss how he or she can help you protect yourself and your dog after a biting incident. An attorney can help you by attempting to prove that the person who was bitten assumed that risk voluntarily or that the dog was provoked. For more information, contact professionals like Scherline And...

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How To Get A Divorce When A Child Is Involved

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A divorce can be one of the most difficult time periods for you, your spouse and any children that the two of you share together. With this said, children also can pick up on it if two parents are sticking together simply for them, and inadvertently creating a toxic household. If divorce is the best decision to be made, you need to be sure that you are doing it in a way that protects your child and empowers both parents to remain an equal part of the child’s life. These tips below will show you important considerations in order to make that happen. Get a collaborative divorce When you and your spouse realize that the relationship is over, you should work to put your feelings aside and seek a collaborative divorce. This form of divorce, also called civil divorce, lets you dissolve your marriage by opening with an agreement that asserts you will remain ethical, hire the right team to fairly facilitate the divorce process and work hard to settle the matter outside of court. You and your spouse will sign this agreement and then begin working through the dissolution of your property and assets. You will meet in a number of conferences to determine this and a series of other issues, including child custody and visitation rights. By starting your divorce off in this manner, it is a clear affirmation that the two of you are on board to remain good parents for the child, even if you are not staying together. Be mindful of the way you communicate during the divorce process The following decisions are incredibly powerful in keeping your child aware during the divorce process, but also shielding them from potential harm: Be open and honest about the reason you are getting divorced, making sure to keep it age-appropriate and without blaming. Start making changes so that you can remain good role models for your child and to show your child that you are working toward a positive situation, despite the divorce. Hold planned conversations with your child so that emotions can be kept in check and so that there is no blame. Set aside time for strictly allowing your child to vent and share their feelings, without trying to talk them out of those feelings or protect any egos. Following a strategy for co-parenting once the divorce is final Even though divorces are arduous, the real work begins once it is finalized. Use these tips to develop a sound co-parenting strategy: Set rules, boundaries and enforcement that is consistent between both households during visitation times. Remain a healthy example for your child even though your lifestyle is changing. Don’t use your child to vent or share any frustration about your new divorce. Never send messages back and forth through the child during visitation times. Commit to showing up to your children’s important events together, despite the fact that you no longer live together. These tips will be great for any parent going through a divorce. For more information or assistance, contact a divorce lawyer, like one from The Law Offices of Paul F. Moore...

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Summer Vacation During A Divorce: Tips For Parents

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Summer is here and in many households, it’s time to go on vacation. For divorcing parents thinking about going away with a child, travel can get tricky. Divorces are emotionally charged, legally sticky situations that can complicate vacation plans. If you’re in the midst of a divorce and wish to take your child on vacation, it’s important to proceed carefully. The following tips will help. Stay Organized Getting packed for a vacation while in the midst of a divorce can be a logistical challenge. Depending on where you are in the divorce proceedings, your child’s possessions may be divided between two households. As a parent, it’s easy to forget what possessions are in what household, which can make packing and planning difficult. Start packing early. You may be able to work with your divorcing spouse to ensure that your child has what he or she needs. However, if this kind of coordination and negotiation isn’t possible, you may need to purchase a variety of supplies before leaving. Work With Your Child Going on vacation to the same vacation spots of previous years can be painful for some children, while other children may find it distressing to go somewhere new. To help ensure a smooth and stress-free trip, work with your child to find out what he or she would prefer. Explore the options together and choose a place that is mutually appealing. Handle Logistics Carefully Children may go on vacation—even an international vacation—with their parents during divorce proceedings. However, it’s important to work carefully with your lawyer. Your family law professional can tell you when it’s important to seek permission from your divorcing spouse. Note that international trips may require special written permission from your divorcing spouse. Your lawyer can tell you when and how to seek this permission. Be up front as you make plans, giving specific dates and destinations for your travel. Also note that your divorcing spouse must be present in order to obtain your child’s passport, if your child doesn’t have a passport already. If this is uncomfortable for you or your child, traveling domestically may be a better choice. Going away on a vacation during your divorce can be a good experience for you and your child, however, it must be done properly to avoid damaging your case during the divorce. For more information about going on summer vacation this year, talk to your lawyer. He or she can give you tips and advice that will help you avoid...

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Denied Veterans Affairs Disability? Get A Professional On Your Side

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After filing a disability claim to the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability system, many veterans receive either a denial letter or a request for more information that can be confusing. Although such claims are expected from injured veterans after leaving the military, it takes a strong set of documented evidence and proper claims-filing experience to be successful–a difficult task for a career that often starts directly after high school or college, and often in a career having nothing to do with legal procedures or VA administration. If you’re confused about the denial, don’t quit! A bit of insight can help you understand what went wrong and how to proceed with a bit of help from an injury lawyer.  Why Would Valid VA Claims Be Denied? Being absolutely certain of your problem and its cause can be frustrating because it makes little sense that an organization dedicated to veterans–and often staffed by veterans–would turn down a legitimate sufferer. Unfortunately, since there’s no shortage of veterans who submit fake claims in hopes of slipping under the surveillance of the VA for lifetime compensation, the VA has to remain vigilant–which sometimes catches legitimate veterans in the crossfire.  This means that you, despite how obvious your condition seems, must have documentation that shows how the condition is related to the military and whether you’re still suffering or not. The second part can be the easiest, but proving a connection becomes harder with time. If you don’t have military-based documentation from military sources, it’s hard to differentiate your claim from a veteran who was injured at their veteran job, but wants to try for VA benefits illegally. Some of the best evidence is in the form of a medical record or service record entry that has dates clearly matching your military career. If you didn’t report the problem, the next best thing is to report as soon as you get out of the military. It’s understandable that not all service members have the convenience of a major base as their last home command, and not all veterans are given the in-development out-processing training to get the military evidence they need. The VA can deny your claim if you’re missing any of that information, or if you wait too late (an indefinite timeframe, to be sure) to file your claim. This is where an injury lawyer comes in. A Lawyer Delivers Deeper Research If you don’t have the proper paperwork, the VA can’t find it for you. Officials may direct you to the right place to begin your search, but many programs such as the presumptive claim system (discussed further in this PDF from the VA) go unspoken and often take a lot of time and resources from the veteran that could be spent adjusting to civilian life. An injury lawyer has more experience with injury systems and claims, and can help you amass the evidence you need to prove your condition. If you’re missing evidence that links your condition to the military, a lawyer can examine your service record and research any similar claims involving your service areas. Veterans with similar stories can be an easier way to make your claim look more legitimate, and there may be actual evidence hidden in administrative language that you could have misunderstood. For medical evidence, a lawyer can connect you to a...

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What Do You Need To Do After You Have Had An Accident?

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When you are in a car accident, it can be tricky to know what to do and when to do it. You know that you need to talk to the other driver and talk to the police, but there is still more to do.  Call Your Insurance Agent After you call emergency services, your next call should be to your insurance agent. You might not think that this is the right time, but really, you want to get your insurance company working on your side as soon as possible, and the way to do that is to call your insurance agent right after the accident. There are going to be bills that are going to start to rack up right after the accident, starting with any towing fees and ending with medical fees. Alerting your insurance agent to the situation will let them open a case and alert a claims adjuster to come out and evaluate the damage.  Document Everything You should also start to document everything you can as soon as you can. That includes taking pictures of the damage to your car and to any property and pictures of the other person’s car. Get their name and information, and get the name and information from anyone who happened to witness the accident as well. See if you can get them to write down what happened right then. You will get the best recollection right after the accident. In the following days, the witness’s memories will start to add and subtract things. They won’t do that on purpose, it just happens naturally. Getting the witness’s statements at the time of the accident, if possible, will also give your attorney ammunition if you have to go to court.  Documenting everything also includes getting the full names and numbers of all the people you talk to. Make notes about what the phone call was about. If you have their email information, you can send an email to the person recapping the conversation that you just had. Not only does this clarify your understanding, it also creates a record. A way to make that record even better is to make sure that you have turned on the delivery and read notifications on the email. That way you will know that the recipient got them. If you have to go to court to sue the other driver or the insurance company, your lawyer can use the emails that you sent and the notifications to prove that you had the conversations and that they were received.  Doing these things can help you when it comes to filing your car accident claim and getting the money that you are owed for all your injuries and property...

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Filing A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit When A Foreign Body Is Left Inside Of You In New York

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If you live in the state of New York, and a foreign body was left inside of you during a surgery, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit against the medical team that left the foreign object inside of you. Here are a few things that you need to know about filing this type of lawsuit in the state of New York.   What Constitutes A Foreign Object The first thing you need to understand is what constitutes a foreign object. A foreign object is something that a doctor leaves behind inside of your body that they did not intend to leave behind.  There are a variety of surgical items that can get left inside of patients. Generally, it seems that sponges, towels and gauze are the most common types of objects left inside of patients; however, foreign objects can also include large medical equipment and tools, such as forceps.  However, not all items that are left inside of your body are considered foreign object. If an item was placed inside of you and was supposed to be left there because it served a medical purpose, even if it did not fulfill its purpose, does not count as a foreign object. For example, a catheter would not count as a foreign object.  It is vital that you figure out what was left behind in your body so it can be determined if it indeed was a foreign object that served no medical purpose.  When You Can File A Case In New York, the statute of limitations in medical malpractice suits generally starts running down as soon as the malpractice mistake occurs. For example, if you were given the wrong medication and it results in complications, you have two and half years from the date of when that mistake occurred to bring a medical malpractice suit against the medical professional who gave you the wrong medication. However, the statute of limitations for foreign objects is not the same as it is for other medical malpractice lawsuits. Often times, people do not know that a foreign body was left inside of them till years after the fact when they experience medical complications from the foreign object. Due to the fact that foreign objects are often found a significant time after the fact, you have one year after discovering the object to file a malpractice claim.  If you found a foreign object inside of your body that was left behind by a medical professional, you need to speak with a New York lawyer right away. You have one year to file a malpractice suit; every second...

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