4 mistakes to avoid just after getting injured at your place of work

A workplace injury or disease can wreak significant havoc on your career and personal finances. If you are injured on the job, then you are entitled to workers’ compensation. However, there are actions and inactions that can have an effect on the sum of compensation you receive following your workplace injury. As your compensation lawyer will tell you, avoid the following 4 mistakes just after getting injured at your place of work.

Failing to notify your boss or supervisor

According to state law, you should notify your employer or supervisor of your workplace injury or disease as soon as possible. A timely notice allows your employer enough time to inform the workers’ compensation insurance company about the impending claim. If you don’t notify your employer of your illness or injury immediately, they can use this excuse as a legal defense against your compensation claim.

Not seeking medical treatment

If you suffer injury at work, you should seek out treatment from a reputed hospital as soon as possible. Any delays in seeking treatment can make it quite difficult for you to prove your wounds are work-related. In that regard, do yourself a favour and see a doctor immediately after your workplace injury.

Not adhering to your doctor’s prescriptions

The failure to adhere to the treatment orders may be as detrimental to your claim for compensation as if you had not even sought medical treatment in the beginning. Not adhering to your doctor’s prescriptions is deemed to mean either your wounds are not severe as you purport them to or you exacerbated the extent of injury due to not following practical treatment directions. As a result, your workers’ compensation benefits may be adversely impacted.

Not providing timely responses to genuine requests from the insurance guys

The insurance company responsible for your workers’ compensation is entitled to ask certain details from you concerning the events surrounding the workplace accident. Additionally, the insurance company may also ask that you agree to a medical assessment by a medical practitioner of its own preference to substantiate the conditions for which you’re pursuing compensation. Not providing timely responses to these genuine requests can lead to denial of your benefits or even protracted delays. If you’re not sure whether a specific request from the insurance guys is genuine, speak with your compensation lawyer first before answering any questions. This will help you avoid falling into any traps set out by the insurer which may affect your claim.

 

How to get your witnesses to appear in court to give testimony

Many people are unwilling to appear in court due to fear or a lack of acquaintance with the court system. Also, due to the protracted nature of court cases, potential witnesses fear losing time off their work or businesses if they are to attend the court sessions. Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges and have witnesses to prove your innocence, then the key question revolves on how to get the testimony from these witnesses to help in your criminal case. With the help of a criminal attorney, here are several ways you can go about getting witness testimony.

Ask the potential witness

Not everybody is hesitant about testifying. For instance, a relative may opt to act as a witness in a separation case. A day care worker or teacher may be available to say who picks up the kids or assists with homework in a child custody court case. Neighbors can be willing to freely testify to an offense that they saw in the neighbourhood. With the help of your criminal attorney, you can explain to the witness the importance of their testimony in the case and whether they are ready to testify.

Subpoena the witness

A court has the power to force a possible witness to give evidence by issuing a subpoena. A subpoena is basically a court order that instructs an individual to come in front of the court to give evidence or provide testimony regarding a given case. Therefore, the accused person through their criminal lawyer will petition the court and indicate valid reasons why the subpoena is important in the case. When summoned to court through a subpoena, the witness cannot refuse to obey. If they do so, the court may charge the witness with being in contempt of court.

Pay the witness

You can also offer to pay a fair sum to cover the travelling expenses of the witness as well as sum representing payment for the witness’ loss of time incurred resulting from him or her having to appear in front of the court. The sum of money paid will depend on the distance of the court, the duration of the witness’ attendance in court and what specific losses the witness is bound to suffer. Settling on a suitable amount requires open dialogue as on one hand leaving the witness out of pocket may cause him or her to be less cooperative while on the other hand, a generous amount poses the risk that you are actually attempting to buy the witness’ testimony. Be sure to consult with a lawyer like Russo Lawyers before offering the witness money.

Finding a Lawyer When You Have Low Funds

Often the time that you need legal assistance is the time that you have the least money to get legal assistance! Here are some ways you can access free or low-cost legal services

Legal aid

The first stop for many people is the legal aid system. This provides legal support to defendants regardless of their ability to pay, but this is often limited by how much time and capacity the legal aid system in each state has. They have criteria that govern the cases that they can take to the court, including something called the merit test, which evaluates whether a case has a reasonable chance of success. As a result, they are less likely to provide support if there is a low chance of success in court.

In minor matters, such as claims in small claims court where a lawyer may not be required, legal aid can help you to form your own case and file documents with the court.

Unions

If you have an employment-based issue, such as unfair dismissal or pay disputes (including failure to pay in accordance with the minimum wage), unions can often help to provide legal support from both internal union lawyers and from larger firms on an overflow basis. These services are available in most unions, although the exact process to follow can depend on your local union chapter. 

Pro bono

Many large legal firms have a pro bono department which will take on worthy cases, such as human rights issues or supporting the work of not-for-profits. They will only take on work that aligns with their goals, so it’s always worth calling and asking which priority areas each firm focuses their pro bono efforts on, so you can best direct any queries. 

Payment plans

The final option may be to look at payment plans. This can include “no win-no fee” arrangements, where the lawyer takes a larger percentage of any settlement that you reach, as well as payment plans where you pay back your legal fees on a fixed payment arrangement each pay period. These options can be very useful for personal injury suits and property-based disputes where you expect a large payout. 

Even if you don’t have the money to pay for a top-tier lawyer straight away, there are many options to obtain quality legal advice for your legal issues. Obtaining legal advice can often help to maximise the chances of a successful resolution to your problem. 

3 Questions For The Conveyancing Solicitor

Legal fees payable to a conveyancing solicitor are perhaps the best example of the hidden/indirect costs of home ownership. Below are answers to three important questions that a prospective homeowner should ask a conveyancing solicitor in a bid to cut down on costs.

How About A Flat-Fee Arrangement?

More often than not, conveyancing solicitors quote an hourly rate of payment for their services. However, these professionals fully understand the cost implications of home ownership and as such, they’re often flexible when it comes to the mode of payment.

A flat-fee arrangement means that prospective homeowners and their preferred solicitor(s) settle on a specific amount to be paid at the end of the transaction. Flat-fee arrangements are preferred over hourly billing rates for the fact that there is no possibility of spiraling legal costs. Spiraling costs are common with hourly billing rates because it may take longer to finalize the property transaction than the prospective buyer had anticipated.

Which Conveyancing Searches Will Be Carried Out?

Some conveyancing searches are mandatory while others are optional for prospective homebuyers. For example, the water and drainage conveyancing search is mandatory in a large number of jurisdictions and so is the local authority conveyancing search. Water and drainage conveyancing searches often have these two objectives:

  • The location of water mains within residential property
  • Establishing the distance between the property and public sewer utility lines as well as establishing the location of sewer lines within the residential area.

Local authority conveyancing searches seek to establish the proximity of residential property to public infrastructure (e.g. railway lines and super highways) and how this may affect the construction of a new home. The higher the number of (non-mandatory) searches that a conveyancer has to undertake, the higher the conveyancing fee will be at the end of property transaction.

What’s The Cost Of Falling Through?

Various factors may contribute to a homeowner’s inability to eventually purchase a piece of residential property. For example, the results of a local council conveyancing search may reveal that the property in question is located in a protected area on which the construction of residential settlements is prohibited.

In such a case, the property transaction is said to have “fallen through”. Conveyancing solicitors often charge their clients for services rendered before the stage at which the transaction fell through.

The cost of “falling through” is not necessarily static with some solicitors. Prospective homeowners should find out if they can bargain on this charge just in case things don’t go as planned.

As it is in the current real estate market, the cost of a house in itself is overwhelming for a large number of average citizens. Work with your solicitor to see how you can set a budget or payment options. Click here to read more.

Various Forms of Child Custody Ordered By Family Court

Child custody refers to the overall relationship a parent will have their child in terms of care, living arrangements and decision making. Court ordered child custody is important, as the non-custodial parent will typically be tasked with making child support payments. It is therefore important to hire a family lawyer to guide you through this legal process so that they can try to meet your custody expectations. The following are some of the various forms of child custody ordered by a family court.

Physical child custody

Physical child custody grants one parent exclusivity to living with the child. It would then be up to you to decide the frequency and the duration at which the child interacts with the other parent. It should be noted though that your partner could file for joint physical custody. In this case, the court can order equal time with the child between the two parents. With joint physical custody, the parents would have to come up with a schedule that they can both agree to. This may involve delegating various days of the week to each other, major holidays and the like.

Legal child custody

With legal child custody, you are being granted the ability to make legal decisions for your child. This can be done various ways. If you get sole legal custody, you will have the authority to make these decisions without having to consult with the other parent. On the other hand, with joint legal custody, then you and the other parent have equal rights to make decisions pertaining to the child. It should be noted that having legal custody of the child does not mean you automatically have physical custody of the child too. The child may be living with the other parent but they would have to contact you and get your consent when making any legal decisions. In addition, you may have joint physical custody but only one parent has full legal custody. It is always best to try to have joint legal custody as this can prevent situations such as one parent relocating with the child out of the country without having to get consent from the other parent.

Sole child custody

As the name suggests, sole child custody grants one parent complete responsibility over the child in question. This means that the child is expected to live exclusively with the custodial parent. Sole custody also gives one parent control over all legal matters that pertain to the raising of that child. This includes choosing their school, medical decisions and more. If you believe that the other parent is not a good influence in the raising of the child, then it would be best to seek sole custody.

For more information about establishing a custody situation for your child after a divorce, work with a family lawyer.

Importance of a financial power of attorney

Probably you’ve heard about the term ‘financial power of attorney’ but you’re not sure why you should have one or how you might benefit from signing this legal document. Consider this question: who will take care of your financial interests if you become incapacitated and are unable to handle your own financial affairs? Without the financial power of attorney in place, the court will appoint an individual to manage your financial affairs. This article explains several reasons why property owners should have the financial power of attorney in place with the help of an estate planning lawyer.

Get to choose your agent

If you sign a durable financial power of attorney and later you become incapacitated to the extent that you cannot make decisions, the representative named can assume your responsibility and make key financial decisions on your behalf. In contrast, without this legal document, you don’t have any input on who will be chosen by the court to manage your affairs.

Avoid the legal fees and delays of conservatorship or guardianship

For the affordable upfront cost of signing a comprehensive financial power of attorney document prepared by your estate planning lawyer, you can save thousands of dollars by steering clear of legal action. This is because your family member or friend would have to file a court petition seeking conservatorship or guardianship. This requires that they hire an attorney or law firm, doctors, and possibly others to give evidence regarding your incapacity. Apart from the costs involved, there’s also delays in having your transactions addressed as you await the court directive on who to act as your agent.

Discuss with your family members beforehand

Drafting a financial power of attorney requires you to think about whom you trust to manage your financial interests. This means you will take time to converse with those persons regarding your wishes and hopes. If your preferred agent doesn’t fancy taking the burden of managing your financial interests, you will have time to think about others to take up the role.

Avoids questions as to your intent

You have probably read or heard issues related to prolonged litigation concerning the intent of an incapacitated person. A comprehensive financial power of attorney document can stop the need for your loved ones disagreeing over your desires if you become incapacitated. In other words, the legal document spells out your wishes once you become incapacitated.

Drafting and signing a financial power of attorney eases the burden on family members who would otherwise have to file a petition seeking the court’s power to perform basic tasks, such as wiring a check or remitting your mortgage payments. Knowing all these things have been handled by your estate planning attorney beforehand gives you peace of mind.

Why It’s Never Wise to Go Without a Lawyer When Charged With a Crime

When a person has been charged with a crime, they may think they can talk their way out of the charges or handle the case in court on their own. They may have some knowledge of the law, especially if this isn’t their first time in court, or may assume for whatever reason that they don’t need the services of an attorney. This can be very shortsighted and very damaging to your case; note a few reasons why it’s never wise to go without a lawyer when charged with any crime.

Evidence 

Lawyers know how to argue against evidence and even get it suppressed. You may think you can tell the prosecutor that they can’t bring in certain evidence against you, but unless you know the proper grounds for having evidence dismissed and are experienced in arguing against that evidence, it may very well be allowed in court.

Filing and Paperwork

Courts are sticklers for paperwork; you need to have certain papers filed with the courts by a certain day or you may actually wind up losing your case. That paperwork also needs to be worded and formatted correctly or it could simply be discarded. Attorneys know all the rules about paperwork, filing deadlines, formatting, and the like and can ensure this is all handled properly.

Pleading

“Guilty” and “not guilty” are not always the only two pleas you can enter into court. There are other pleas you might enter that would work in your favor and which can help you to avoid severe criminal penalties, sometimes even before your trial begins. Attorneys understand pleading options and can also typically negotiate better with a prosecutor to get charges reduced if you agree to certain pleas and conditions; this can help you avoid jail time, having certain charges on your permanent record, and the like.

Emotional Detachment

Don’t downplay how your emotions might cloud your judgment when charged with a crime and having to face a court. You might get angry and frustrated when you suspect things are not going your way or you don’t understand certain parts of the process, and this might not look good to a jury. You might also become far more nervous in court than you assume and, again, you might overlook certain details, not be able to make your points clearly, or otherwise respond in ways that are not in your favor. An attorney is emotional detached so he or she can give you practical advice on your case and manage their presentation better.