The Debate That Changed My Life

The Debate That Changed My Life

Did Your High School Kid Sign A Release Form? These Four Things May Invalidate The Release

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Sports organizers or schools don’t like to be sued when participants or sportspersons get injured on their watch. This is why they often hand out release forms for participants to sign. The release forms absolve the organizers from injury liabilities should the participants get injured. However, this is only possible if the release form is valid. For example, if your child signed a release form, you may be able to invalidate it by proving these four things: The Child Wasn’t Capable Of Contracting A release form is a contract, and just like any other contract, some people don’t have the capacity to sign it. For example, a minor, intoxicated, or mentally incapacitated person should not sign a contract because they lack the capacity to understand the terms of the contract. Therefore, this is one of the grounds you can use to challenge a release form signed by a 14-year-old. This is why most schools require the parents, and not the child, to sign release forms before kids can participate in sports. The Child Was Coerced Into Signing the Form A contract is only valid if all parties enter into it willingly. Therefore, you may be able to invalidate a release if you can prove that the kid signed it under duress. A school can coerce a student into signing a release in various ways. For example, it may threaten the student with a bad grade in a subject if they don’t sign. The Child Mistook the Release for Another Form The law protects those who enter into contracts unknowingly or mistakenly. Therefore, you can also render the release invalid if you can prove that the child mistook the release form for another thing. This may be the case, for example, if a petition for increased participation in sports activities was going around the school at the same time that the child signed the release. The child can argue that they thought they were signing the petition and not the release. The School Obtained the Child’s Signature Fraudulently Fraud, if proven, automatically invalidates any contract. This is especially true if the fraud caused the signatory (in this case the child) to sign the form or is the cause of their injury. For example, a school is guilty of fraud if it promises to restrict your child’s participation to a certain number of games, and then goes ahead to force the child to participate in more games. You can invalidate the release and sue the school if the child gets injured due to overstraining. Whatever approach you decide to take, you will have to back it up; the court won’t just take your word for it. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best way to strengthen your...

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3 Consideration When Taking A Lawsuit Settlement Loan

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Waiting for a car accident case to settle can take time and can make life hard if you need money. If you are in this situation and are finding it hard to live, you may want to look into a lawsuit settlement loan. These loans are offered to people in your situation, but there are several things you should consider before you agree to take the loan. Will you have to repay it if you lose the case? In most cases, lawsuit loan lenders will evaluate cases before approving loans, and this is because most of them do not require the borrowers to repay the loans if the cases lose. Before you take a loan like this, find out if that is the case with the lender you are working with. If it is the case, make sure you are 100% confident that you will win your case before you borrow the money. Otherwise, you will end up owing this money to the lender when your case closes. How much will the loan cost? A second important thing to find out before taking the loan is the costs of the loan. The lenders that issue these loans offer charge high interest rates on them, but the rates can vary drastically. Find out what the rates are first, and then ask them about the fees that accompany the loans. By evaluating these things, you will discover if this is a cost-effective way to borrow money to get by during this time. It can be, depending on the lender, but it can also be an expensive way to borrow money. Do you have any other options? Finally, you may want to think about whether you really need this money or not. Could you get by without borrowing money? Is there a different way to earn or obtain money while you are waiting for the case to settle? Taking a lawsuit settlement loan is a good idea if you have no other options, but you may discover that there are other ways to get the money you need. If so, these other options might be more cost-effective for you. In addition, you should always discuss this decision with the car accident lawyer that is handling your case to find out his or her opinion. Lawyers are knowledgeable with these loans and can offer advice and tips to you. To learn more, contact a car accident lawyer, like Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC,...

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Tips For Avoiding Legal Issues When Buying Or Building A Home

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There are an almost countless number of steps that you must do as you work your way through the process of buying a house. In particular, there are some important steps that must be taken to protect yourself against some of the legal liabilities that can accompany this investment. Have The Financial History Of Potential Properties Researched Prior to committing to a particular property, you should have the financial history of it thoroughly researched by your attorney. It is possible for a piece of property to have a lien against it from a previous owner. These liens will enable the creditor to foreclose on the property and use the proceeds of selling it to settle the debt. Unfortunately, a lien is attached to the property and not the owner, which means you may be responsible for paying this debt to avoid losing your property. By having your attorney research the history of the property, you can make sure that it is free of competing claims before you decide to purchase it. Always Use A Contractor That Offers A Warranty On Their Construction Work For some individuals, it may be preferable to have the house custom built to suit their needs. However, those that are having a home built for the first time may not be aware of the fact that contractors often offer warranties for these projects. These warranties will usually cover some of the more common structural or quality problems that can be discovered. While these warranties can be extremely valuable, they can be dense legal documents, which you may have a difficult time understanding. In order to make sure that you fully understand the protection offered by the warranty, you should have your attorney thoroughly review the warranty before you sign the construction contract. Be Aware Of The Steps For Challenging Zoning Laws Depending on your goals for the property, you may need to petition the local zoning commission for a waiver. This is particularly common for those that are wanting to build particularly large homes or engage in agricultural activities on their property. While most communities have procedures in place for filing for these waivers, the exact process can vary greatly, and it may be exceedingly complicated. Due to the fact that mistakes during this application can result in delays or rejections, you may want to allow your attorney to handle this task. While it will require you to pay their fee for this work, the hassle and stress that it can save will be worthwhile. To learn more, contact a lawyer such as Steve Butcher...

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Ways to Pay for a Criminal Defense Attorney

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If you’ve found yourself in trouble on the wrong side of the law, one of the first things that anyone would advise you to do is to hire an attorney. While a good defense attorney can be your best friend when it comes to getting out of criminal trouble and assisting you with winning your case, it will come at a fairly large financial cost. If you need to hire a criminal defense attorney quickly, here are just a few ideas as to how you can pay for their services. Seek Out a Court-Appointed Lawyer When you’re arrested or being charged with a crime, you’ll be read your Miranda Rights. Part of the rights that are explained to you is that you will be offered an attorney at no charge. This can be beneficial if you happen to fall in the income bracket set forth by your county and state. A court-appointed lawyer will help you fight your case to the best of his ability and use community and state resources to represent you and get you a reduced sentence or an acquittal—depending on the charges and recommendations from the judge and prosecuting attorney.   Bartering Services In some cases, a lawyer may accept barter in place of their services. This often occurs if you already have an established relationship with the lawyer or their offices. For example, if you work in automotive, you could trade services by having the lawyer represent you and you could do some automotive work in exchange. This is one way to save money on lawyer services, if you’re financially unable to pay upfront. Ask for a Set Rate Some lawyers may offer their services at a set rate. This offers a more inexpensive way to save money over the course of your entire case. Because some cases are more complex and require an extensive discovery process, lawyer fees can add up. Waiving any contingency fee or upfront fee for services as well as costs related to every inquiry involving the case can help save you money. Find Affordable Financing Some lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services. While this may be worth it to have an attorney that will represent you in a complex case, it can drain your bank account. Inquire about in-house financing to help curb your overall legal costs. Another option would be to visit your local bank or credit union to obtain a personal loan to help cover legal costs and fees. You may have to have a small down payment or some form of collateral to help secure the loan—especially if you have problem credit. Finding ways to pay for legal help can be challenging. Using multiple outlets, including borrowing from family and friends is the best way to get your lawyer paid and get a head start on your legal case....

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Can Your Employer Fire You For Online Comments?

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More people are using social media sites to voice their displeasure about their employers. In some instances, employers have seen those messages and taken action against the employees. Whether or not that is legal is debatable and depends largely on the nature of the comments made. If you are worried that your online comments could result in termination, here is what you need to know.   What Type of Comments Could Lead to Termination? In many states, employers have the right to terminate their relationship with employees for comments that could impact the workplace. There are no set guidelines that employers can rely on to determine which comments should warrant termination, so employers are left to using their judgment to assess each situation.   Online comments that are considered to be inflammatory and that could be harmful to the business are usually considered a reason to terminate a relationship with an employee. For instance, racist or sexist comments have resulted in job terminations in the past.   Sharing confidential information about other employees, customers, or your employer could also land you in hot water. For instance, if you post a negative comment about a customer with a credit card receipt that shows his or her name, you could potentially face termination.   What About Venting About Your Employer? If you complain about your employer online, you are not alone. Many people do. However, what you say could put your job in jeopardy.   Comments about the working conditions at your place of employment are considered to be protected speech. In other words, your employer cannot take action. For instance, if you complain about the lack of heat during the winter time, it is considered protected speech.   Negative comments about co-workers and your supervisor do not necessarily fall under protected speech though. When you make negative comments about your co-workers and supervisor and they are shared, they could feel you are creating a hostile work environment. Since they are just as entitled as you are to work in a hostile-free work environment, your employer might take steps to terminate you.   What If You Believe You Were Unfairly Terminated? Employers do not always get it right. If you believe that your employer unfairly terminated you for comments made online, you can take action.   One of the first steps you can take is to file a complaint with your state’s Department of Labor. The agency can investigate the circumstances of your termination and determine if the employer was justified in its actions.   In addition to taking this step, you need to talk to a civil rights attorney. He or she can help determine if your rights were violated and take action, such as a lawsuit, to help recover fair...

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Disability Consultative Exams: A Different Kind Of Exam

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If you’ve been unable to work at your job because of a medical condition, you may have already filed for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has very strict guidelines for qualifying for benefits, particularly when it comes to proving how your medical condition prevents you from doing your job. If you have been asked by the SSA to undergo a special type of medical examination, called the consultative medical exam (CME), it is in your best interest to have a good understanding of why you are being asked to have the exam and what it could mean for your claim. Read on to learn more about the CME. Why am I being asked to undergo this exam? The SSA needs to know that you have been receiving medical treatment for the condition that you claim is preventing you from working at your job. If your medical records are incomplete, show gaps in treatment, or show that it’s been some time since you received any medical treatment, that sends up a red flag to the SSA about the validity of your claim. While you can be denied outright for any of these reasons, sometimes the SSA presents you with an opportunity to prove that your medical condition is bad enough to have benefits. For example, if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes it impossible to do your job, you must be able to show that you have been to the doctor concerning your condition on a regular and recent basis, are following the doctor’s treatment recommendations, and are taking all prescribed medications and treatments. If you fail to show this, you may be asked to undergo a CME. What can I expect at this CME? You should know that this exam is very different from other doctor’s visits, but does share some similarities. It’s important to understand that while you won’t be charged for the exam, the doctor that performs the exam does so under contract with the SSA. You should not expect to receive any treatment as a result of this exam, so you should continue to rely on your usual medical doctor for any needs concerning your medical condition. Just like other exams, however, you will have your vitals (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight, etc.) taken prior to the exam. The CME doctor will focus in on the medical condition that you claim is affecting your ability to do your job by viewing the body part or condition, manipulating body parts (if necessary) to gauge mobility and discomfort and questioning you about your illness. Sometimes, additional diagnostic tests will be ordered, such as an x-ray, blood work, etc. You will receive the results of the exam within about 10 days, but expect delays. If your initial claim is denied, you may need the services of a Social Security attorney to get you through the appeals process. Click here to read more about working with a Social Security...

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Getting Divorced? Know About These Tax Issues You’ll Need To Address

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The messy part of divorce is dealing with changes in your financial situation. In addition to dividing assets, there will be changes to your taxes as well. Know about these tax issues you will need to address during a divorce. Your Tax Filing Status You may be going through a divorce, but there are still benefits to filing taxes as a married couple. If you are married to your spouse on the last day of the calendar year, you are still allowed to file a joint tax return for that calendar year. This can help you both receive deductions and credits that you may not otherwise be able to receive, which results in getting a larger refund that will be split between the two of you. You both may need this income, since you are going to be living independently soon. For the next tax year, you’ll have to file as an individual, as long as the divorce was finalized at some point in that year. Your Alimony Payments Any alimony payments that need to be made are not automatically classified as tax deductible. When they are classified as tax deductible, the person that receives the alimony payment could end up getting a bigger tax refund because of it, while the person paying the alimony payments will be able to lower their taxable income and pay less money in taxes. Of course, there are some things you’ll have to do to make sure that payments are tax deductible. For instance, the payments must be in the form of a check or cash. The payments must also be listed in a divorce decree, and the payments will need to end if the recipient passes away. This means that if you are paying support money that is not required by a divorce decree, then those payments are not tax deductible. If you are providing support by making a payment towards a bill or other expenses, then those payments are not tax deductible either. A family lawyer at a law firm such as Cragun Law Firm can help ensure that all of the criteria are met for alimony payments to be considered a tax deduction. Your Legal Fees Know that some of the expenses from your divorce lawyer can be written off on your taxes. Any time that your lawyer is advising you on how to handle your taxes, those hours can be considered a write off. Make sure that your lawyer itemizes their time based on time that can be written off and the hours that...

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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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