A Myth Regarding Personal Injury Protection

I often get told by my clients that they “do not want to make any claims on their own insurance policy” because “it will raise their rates.” Like many things, this is an insurance tactic meant to scare people from claiming what is rightfully theirs. Let me elaborate further.

Under Texas law, every person in the State must carry Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) coverage on their auto insurance policy, unless you expressly sign a rejection or “opt-out” of this coverage. The State minimum requirement is $2,500, although many people carry $5,000 or $10,000 in coverage (or sometimes even more, depending on what their auto insurance carrier offers). Importantly, under the Texas Insurance Code, it is illegal for your insurance company to raise your insurance rates, drop your coverage, affect your credit, etc. for making these claims. Therefore, if you have this coverage, you always want to use it.

PIP coverage is meant to reimburse you for two things: (1) medical bills you have already incurred or (2) lost wages (although it will only cover 80% of your lost wages). Additionally, Texas allows “stacking” of insurance benefits. For example, let’s say you get into an accident and you are taken to the emergency room where you incur a $10,000.00 bill. Let’s also say that you have the standard $2,500 PIP policy through your insurance company. After you are finished treating, we send that same $10,000 bill to both the Defendant’s insurance company and to your own. We get you paid $10,000 from this insurance company plus $2,500 from your own PIP coverage for a total reimbursement of $12,500. That’s right, you get paid $12,500 for a bill that was originally $10,000.

I always tell my clients the same thing: If you pay for this coverage every month in your premium, and if your insurance company cannot raise your rates for using it, then why wouldn’t you use it? It is free money falling out of the sky. However, because it’s free money falling out of the sky, many insurance companies (and their agents) will deliberately try to convince you that you do not need it because “it cost more.” Again, this cannot be further from the truth. The cost of this coverage is literally pennies on the dollar for what you get in return should you need to use it. Further, the best part is that this coverage is no-fault, meaning you are entitled to these benefits whether you caused the accident or if someone else hit you.

For these reasons, it is a no-brainer not only to have this coverage, but also to use it once you need it.

Did You Leave The Scene Of An Accident Even Though You Were Not At Fault?

State law in Ohio requires each person involved in a crash on a public road or parking lot to report the incident to police. The hit-and-run statute also imposes legal duties to remain on the scene, speak with investigators, alert emergency medical personnel when injuries occur, and, when possible, provide first aid to people who got hurt in the wreck.

The rules apply equally to the person who causes the crash and the victims. One of the implications of this is that victims of hit-and-run collisions can get charged with driving off after a wreck. Another is that failing to call in a crash can greatly complicate the insurance claims process, in large part because no official police report will get generated.

Do understand, however, that leaving a note on a parked car can protect an at-fault driver. Likewise, a person who comes back to a damaged car will not face problems for failing to report the incident immediately after it happened. When a hit-and-run involves an unoccupied vehicle, some leeway is allowed.

How a Victim Can Face Blame for a Hit and Run

Picture a four vehicle pile up at an intersection. A truck driver set off the chain reaction by failing to brake in time while approaching a red light. He slams into the back of a car, pushing it into the path of traffic crossing from a side street with a green light. If both the truck driver and the person in the car take off without checking on people in the other cars, without giving statements and insurance information to law enforcement officers, and without calling 911, both can be charged with the offense that Ohio courts call leaving the scene of an accident.

Problems With Hit-Skip Victim-Blaming

Even though the person driving the vehicle was a victim of the truck driver’s negligence or recklessness, the person has to comply with the hit-and-run law in order to avoid possible criminal consequences. The victim might have panicked or just assumed that he or she did not need to stick around because the truck driver was clearly at fault. Police and the court would not be inclined to accept either excuse at face value, so hiring a hit-and-run defense lawyer would be a good idea for the driver.

Beyond the legal concern, remaining on the scene would spare the driver from coming under suspicion of causing any part of the wreck and inflicting any injuries. Simply getting accused of instigating a hit-and-run collision can make filing and collecting on insurance claims impossible. Insurers will work hard to deny claims from a driver they believe to be at fault.

Speaking with a lawyer who does hit-and-run defense can help in a situation like this. The attorney will be able to organize and present evidence to support the victim’s right to make claims. The lawyer could also use evidence to explain why leaving the scene of the accident would be understandable and forgivable.

Who’s Liable for Injuries Sustained in Public Transportation Accidents?

Public transportation is a wonderful asset for thousands of Americans all across the country. Buses, trains, subways, limousines, metros, taxi cabs, and more are just a few examples of the variety we have to choose from when it comes to public transport. As customers and clients, we generally trust that these choices are safe and reliable; but sometimes unexpected accidents happen.

If someone is injured while using public transportation, who is at-fault for their damages? There can be several outcomes when determining who is liable for accidents such as these. Continue reading to understand all the possible parties that might be liable, under law, for injuries sustained to public transient customers.

Public Transportation Traffic Accidents

When it comes to public transportation, buses are one of the most popular. Tickets are inexpensive, and some buses are complementary to individuals in the community. School buses are also widely used for public school transportation. With the rising popularity of public buses, more and more are on the roads every day. As a result, the number of bus accidents continue to increase each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 300 bus accidents happen every year, all of which resulting in fatalities.

Bus crashes, and other public transport cases, are complicated to litigate. Determining the at-fault party is a bus crash can be tricky because it may be more than one, or none at all. It requires the professional litigation skills and trial experience of a licensed car accident attorney to effectively pursue a bus accident injury lawsuit or claim. If you or someone you loved has recently been injured in a public transportation accident, like buses or taxis, contact a local personal injury lawyer to learn your rights.

Possible At-Fault Parties:

  • The Driver
  • Management Company
  • Other Negligent Vehicles
  • Government Entities (If Public)
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • City Traffic Management (If Defective Light or Sign)

Common Causes:

  • Drunk Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
  • Defective Stop Light or Traffic Sign
  • Hazardous Weather Conditions
  • Reckless or Careless Driving
  • Poor Equipment Maintenance
  • Treacherous Roads
  • Defective Equipment
  • Obstruction of Views
  • Other Negligent Vehicles on the Road

Traffic accidents, public or not, can happen very suddenly, and usually result in serious injuries and damages to innocent bystanders and drivers. If a person is injured using public transportation as a result of another carelessness or negligence, they are entitled to legal compensation for their pain, suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and more. 

Suing Your Lawyer – What Do You Need To Know?

There are a lot of good lawyers out there, but sometimes you may end up with a bad one. What do you do? If your lawyer hasn’t properly represented you, you should try to work it out first. For instance, you may want to hire another lawyer to help your case. You can also report ethics violations to the bar association.

If you are still not happy with these alternatives, you may consider a legal malpractice claim. However, a legal malpractice claim can be hard to prove. There are three types of legal malpractice claims.

The first type is Negligence. Negligence occurs when your lawyer represents you with poor standard and care. Here are some examples of negligence.

– Poor preparation for trial

– Fail to follow court orders

– Missing important deadlines in your case

The second type is Breach of contract. It happens when your lawyer violates agreements with you.

The third type is Breach of fiduciary duty. It happens when your attorney has a conflict of interest that harms your case. Here are some examples of Breach of fiduciary duty.

– Your attorney represents another client to your disadvantage.

– Your lawyer lies to you about important case information

– Your lawyer makes sexual advances toward you.

Suing your lawyer is not going to be easy. You must prove:

– Your lawyer incompetently represents you.

– Your lawyer made a significant mistake in your case.

Your lawyer’s incompetent can be very difficult to prove. You should review your chances of success before proceeding.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to innovations of the mind, such as inventions, scholarly and creative works, patterns and marks, names and likenesses used in trade and business. All IP is protected by the various laws in existence locally, regionally nationally, and internationally. Laws exist for patents, trademarks, copyright, service marks, trade secrets and more.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an absolute right granted for an invention, which is a product or a method that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or proposes a new specialized solution to a problem. To obtain a patent, methodological information about the invention must be revealed to the public in a patent application. The process for obtaining a patent is complex. If you are interested in obtaining a patent, you should first visit this website: The US Patent and Trademark Office. Once you have begun to understand this process and the associated laws you can apply for a patent. However, keep in mind this is a complex process and using an attorney specializing in patents would be the best avenue to use.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal term used to illustrate the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Creations covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, films, computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, technical drawings, and more. Copyright is not a complex IP to apply for and most people can easily complete a form and submit their work. Be sure to visit the Copyright Office online to learn everything you need to apply for a copyright, including fees, what to submit, etc: US Copyright Office.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign which distinguishes between goods or services of one company from those of other companies. Trademarks are safeguarded by intellectual property rights. Trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by completing an application for registration via the trademark office and paying the required fees. The website is the same as for patents.

What is a Service Mark?

A service mark is a mark that distinguishes between services. Businesses use service marks to connect their services and differentiate them from other services in the same field. Service marks consist of letters, words, symbols, and other devices that help notify consumers about the origin or source of a particular service. Registration can be completed at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What is a Trade Secret?

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) classifies a trade secret as: information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that produces independent economic value. These secrets are either tangible or impending, and generally are not known or easily discovered by other persons who might receive monetary value from its revelation or use; and is the focus of efforts that are logical under the conditions to preserve its secrecy. There are two basic situations in which acquiring the use of a trade secret is illegal. If a trade secret is acquired through illegal means or if through a breach of confidence then there is a legal standing for suit. Trade secrets may be obtained by lawful means such as private discovery, reverse engineering, and unintentional disclosure. The trade secret holder’s failure to take reasonable protective measures can allow this to occur. The misappropriation of trade secrets is considered a form of unfair competition. Reverse engineering is oftentimes restricted as found in computer programs.

What is Industrial Design?

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that shields the visual design of objects that are not purely functional. An industrial design consists of the creation of a model, pattern or composition of a pattern or color, or permutation of a pattern and color in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional prototype used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft.

What is Trade Dress?

Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the illustration of a product or its packaging or the design of a building that signifies the origination of the product to consumers.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a partial and that changes the purpose, such as to comment upon, disparage, or lampoon a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.

Commentary and Criticism

If you are commenting upon or criticizing a copyrighted work a book review or any valid review, fair use principles allow you to replicate some of the work to accomplish your purposes.

These are the most common forms of intellectual property. If you decide that something you have created falls under one of the categories stated in this article, then you should look into registering the work or product. Be certain that what you are registering is not the same as what someone else has already registered.

Choosing the Best Legal Service Provider

The legal service firm.Most of the giant law firms and the in house legal departments of huge enterprises have always been enjoying the benefits from legal service providers in India. However when it comes to hiring legal services, law firms in India are often confused about choosing the best law services provider who can meet their service requirements and expectations.

There are several fields you will need help from a professional services provider who has handled India patent issues previously like the problems in patent drafting India or issues with India corporate law. Apart from this the legal service provider chosen by you should also help in different legal services like trademark registration India, patent drafting India, design registration in India, company incorporation and several other legal services of India to name a few. Additionally the providers should also be equipped with the right staff that should include an Indian attorney, Indian lawyers and agents for other services.

Apart from this information, it is recommended that you ask the service providers several questions about their business in order to choose the best ones. Some of the questions you can ask are, ‘how long has your law firm been doing legal business in India, also ask them if they are a member of any local state or the national association, or find out about the legal professional they have worked with in the past and if the profession needs specific licensing or registration The most important information the client mist know is what kind of services the firm provides and the type pf lawyers they have staffed in the legal service firm.

What Does a Notary Public Do and Why?

Notary Public is important to the legal system as many court documents must be notarized. A notary public is a person authorized by the Secretary of State to serve the public in non-contentious matters and has statutory powers to witness documents, administer oaths, and perform other wide-ranging administrative functions of a national and international nature. The main functions of a notary include:

· Attesting documents and certifying their due execution for use
· Preparing and certifying powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents
· Administering oaths
· Witnessing signatures to affidavits, statutory declarations, powers of attorney, contracts, and other documents
· Verifying documents
· Certifying copy documents
· Exemplifying official documents
· Notes and protests bills of exchange

A document is “notarized” with a special embossed notary seal to affirm that the signers are indeed who they say they are. Notaries Public affix their official seal or stamp, to documents immediately under, adjacent or as near as possible to their signatures.

The eligibility criteria for becoming a notary are determined by state law. Each state has its own requirements. Generally the person must be at least 18 years of age and either living or be employed in the state. There are no specific legal training requirements. Most states also require applicants to take and pass a proctored exam before practicing as a notary public. Some states ask that individuals secure a bond prior to applying for a position as a notary public. Once commissioned as a notary public, the commission is valid for a fixed term and must be renewed on expiry of the term. Most states prescribe the fees that a notary public can charge. A notary public must keep a record in a well-bound book of each of his or her attestations.

Notaries are expected to be familiar with the codes and ordinances applicable to notarizing documents and performing notary duties. A notary may be sued if his/her actions were negligent. Upon notification by a court of law that a notary has been convicted of false certification, the Secretary of State will revoke the notary’s commission. Errors and Omissions Insurance (commonly called E & O) is a form of liability insurance that protects the notary public from claims or suits that are the result of the notary’s negligent acts, errors or omissions.

Learn About Your Civil Rights

When you need help, a civil rights attorney in Philadelphia will take care of your litigation needs. These rights are all about you and your legal rights whether your dispute involves education, housing, employment or lending. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion or even a disability, your Philadelphia attorney will go to battle on your behalf.

Did you know there is a difference between civil liberties and civil rights? The Bill of Rights and the Constitution guarantee the right to certain freedoms which are broad-based kinds of rights and these are civil liberties. For instance, you’re right to vote, to marry, your right to privacy and freedom of speech to name a few. Civil rights are about the individual being treated as an equal among others.

Civil rights originate from laws that are regulated at the federal level of government either through decisions of the federal court or federal legislation. Civil rights also originate from states that pass their own laws involving civil rights. These are for the most part very similar to the federal level laws and even counties and cities can develop ordinances and laws related to these rights.

Philadelphia lawyers have a great deal of cases which involve people who have been discriminated due to their sexual orientation. This means that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have been treated unfairly simply because of their sexual preference. There is currently a bill that many people are showing support for that, if passed into legislation, will make it illegal for people to publicly or privately discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.

The right to be treated equally had a huge history with the African-American community seeing fair treatment in all aspects of society. Today the Philadelphia attorney is an outreach coordinator of Equality Advocates in basic fairness. If you feel you are suffering a violation of your civil rights, do not hesitate to contact your attorney and take advantage of their experience in protecting you and your rights in what are usually complicated and sensitive issues. It is not necessary to suffer in silence. Every individual has rights and these rights should be upheld.

Canada & Australia Immigration – Tips to Get Your PR Visa Faster

It is very obvious that when you want to settle in vibrant countries like Canada or Australia, you are keen to have your visa processed at a faster pace. In case of the temporary visas, you can do nothing but depend upon the employer to complete his job related formalities. But, when it comes to processing of permanent residency visas, the ball is always in your court. Permanent resident visas of these countries are issued considering the points applicant can score under respective immigration system. These points are often affected by time, age, work experience, education, spouse skills etc., and these factors eventually effect the success of the visa application. To ensure that your process is smooth and at a faster pace, here are three most important tips to be followed.

Tip No. 1: Apply at the right time-
It may seem astonishing to read but time is certainly a crucial factor in PR visa application. Under the time factor, application can be affected in the following manners:

  • Age: At the time of your application, if you are young you are more successful. This is because these countries have a high demand for professionals who are young (preferably 18yrs-25 yrs). Hence, to settle in Canada or Australia by getting yourself a higher preference and also great career prospects, apply when you are in your most demanded age range.
  • Peak Months: According to research, the best time to apply for Australia immigration is in the months of February and July. These two months are considered peak time for submitting Australia immigration. It is said that often applications during these peak months are associated with higher success results.
  • Intake Periods: Several provinces or States migration programs of each country have specific intake periods of PNP/State nomination applications. Keeping the nomination applications ready before these intake periods often results in quicker intake, improving chances for a quick visa.

Tip No. 2: Boost your CRS Score-
You may be aware of the fact that Canada & Australia have an immigration system that operates through a points based structure. Candidate’s eligibility as well as success for an international permanent residency status majorly depends on how well he can score under the points based system. If you believe that your score is hindering the success of your application, here are some ways by which you can improve your points.

    • Improve qualification: To improve your score, the best and easiest thing you can do is improve your qualification. If you a graduate, a higher degree will eventually increase your score and preferences for selection. Likewise, any certification or diploma that boosts your nominated occupations will also be a good step towards a score improvement.
    • Enhance work experience: Highest work experience candidates get good points under Canada and Australia’s points based system. If you have a chance to improve your work experience before your application or while your application is in process, go ahead, work hard and update. This may eventually increase your score and chances for a quicker visa.
    • Re-attempt IELTS: To become an international permanent resident, applicants must prove their proficiency level in the English language. For this IELTS is mandatory. As an applicant, if your IELTS score is what is delaying the process or getting you less score, re-attempt your IELTS. The best suggestion for improved results is to go for an expert help in preparation for IELTS.
    • Include Partner Skills: If your spouse or common law partner is accompanying your immigration, it is best to include his/her skills in the application, provided that she/he is eligible. This is because PR visa applicants are allotted with additional points for partner skills and this eventually increases points.

Try State/Province Nomination: If you meet the eligibility requirements of a respective State or Province, applying for a State Nomination increase will increase your points and also boost your chance for quick visa success.

Tip No. 3: Get Expert Assistance-
Despite all your efforts, if you are still unable to fetch those great points to buck-up your process, then you may missing something that only an expert eye can catch. Get in touch with your city’s best immigration experts and get counseled about the aspects that will help you in your application. Since immigration experts are up-to date and have hands on experience in processing thousands of visa cases, they will help you analyze the loopholes of your case (if any) and show you ways towards a quicker success.

Does the Age You Get Married Impact Divorce Rates?

There are many factors in a marriage that can cause or contribute to a divorce. The truth is, the causes for divorces in the United States, like relationships, are very complicated. Even though the divorce rate in America has dropped, in large part due to the Millennial Generation, there are numerous reasons why married couples do not make it until death do they part – one of which is the age they got married.

All Marriages Require Hard Work

Unfortunately marriages do not last based solely on personal chemistry or physical attraction. When you choose to get married, you are vowing to love your partner for better or worse. No one gets married expecting to divorce. However, studies have shown that variables such as age, income, employment status, and education have significant impacts on U.S. marriages.

How Age, Income, and Education Affect Divorce

According to The Institute for Family Studies the ideal age to get married is in your late twenties, but why? When you decide to get married at an older age, your odds of divorce decline because at this stage in your life you usually have a higher education, a more stable job and are more established financially. With a higher level of education, your potential to earn more money is greater. Couples who experience more tension in their marriage from things such as a lack of money and maturity, frequently find themselves turning what were just thoughts of divorce into a reality.

The Divorce Rate Is Dropping Thanks to Millennials

Younger Americans are waiting much longer to get married. The national median marriage age as of 2011 for a woman’s first marriage was 27 years old, and for men was 29 years old; the highest median marriage age in decades for men and the highest ever for women. In 2005 the national median marriage age for a woman’s first marriage was 25 and for men was 27.

Many young folks have decided not to get married at all and choose instead other arrangements. It is much more common now, and many consider it more convenient, to move in with his or her partner without having to worry about the social pressures from society to get married first. With the average divorce happening about 12 years in to the marriage, we will have to wait and see if this recent generation of newlyweds will continue to keep their vows.