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DUIs, Personal Injury and Soberly Thinking About the Law

So, You Slip And Fell Or Suffered An Injury At Someone Else’s Pool – Now What?

Posted by on 8:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on So, You Slip And Fell Or Suffered An Injury At Someone Else’s Pool – Now What?

School is almost out, and summertime is just around the corner. What does all of that mean? It means a lot of sunbathing and pool parties. Unfortunately, it also means there is a potential risk of swimming pool injuries – even injuries that aren’t your fault. For example, you could drown because a lifeguard is too busy texting on his or her phone. You could even suffer a serious skin burn due to a dangerous imbalance of pool chemicals. Alternatively, you could slip and fell because the floor was slippery and slick and suffered a lifelong back injury. When something like this happens and you are injured at someone else’s pool, do you have the right to file a lawsuit against the owner of the swimming pool? Is it even worth your time to do so?  Proving the Owner’s Liability in a Slip-and-Fall or Personal Injury Case In order to sue an owner for damages, you must be able to prove four basic elements. These are broken down below. Duty This particular element essentially holds the owner accountable for any injuries that potentially occur on his or her property. For business owners, they have an obligation to ensure that consumers are safe from harm when they step foot onto their property. For residential property owners, which would be the case in this instance, they are obligated to inform invitees and guests of any known potential hazards and to do what they can to protect them from those dangers. Breach This element brings up a lot of questions. Did the owner of the property breach his or her aforementioned duty in keeping the pool safe for guests? Did the pool owner add to many chemicals in the pool or put inadequate chemicals in? Did the pool owner fail to properly place non-slip mats on slippery surfaces to keep falls from occurring? Did the property owner fail to have a gated/locked fence installed around the swimming pool to keep small children out of the pool area? Although more could be added, these questions are just a started to what could be suggestive of a duty breach. Causation If the owner did breach his or her duty, did it cause your pool-related injury? For example, if your slip and fall on a wet floor because of no non-slip mats in place and you broke subsequently broke a hip, then there is the potential that the court will find that the injury was caused by the pool owner. On the other hand, if a “No Diving” was secured to the wall or the fence and you chose to dive into the pool head-first anyway and then sustained a head injury, there is a good chance the court will find that you are actually liable for your own head injury. Damages Last but not least, you need to ask yourself whether the damages related to your injury are worth your time to pursue. In order to be awarded damages, you must prove you are owed money. As a general rule, this includes lost wages, medical bills, etc. If your ego was bruised, you likely aren’t going to be awarded damages. However, if you spent several weeks recovering in the hospital due to your swimming pool injury and had to miss a month of work, chances...

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Small Business Tax Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by on 2:21 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Small Business Tax Mistakes To Avoid

Being a new, small business owner comes along with a lot of responsibilities. While day-to-day operations might be overwhelming, don’t get so overwhelmed that you end up overlooking important factors like tax preparation mistakes in this area can be costly. There are a number of tax issues that can easily be avoided. Taking Too Many Deductions To any small business owner, deductions are a lifesaver that help you reduce your tax liability by claiming many of the operational costs that come along with running a business. Use deductions wisely. Don’t get carried away. As a general rule of thumb, you are only allowed to claim deductions that are considered necessary and ordinary expenses. Claiming a family vacation simply because you sent a few business emails while on the trip does not make the trip a business trip. Which ultimately means you shouldn’t be claiming it. Taking too many deductions will only raise red flags and potentially lead to an audit.   Overlooking Estimated Tax Payments When it comes to estimated tax payments, some small business owners with low income levels assume estimated tax payments don’t pertain to them. The IRS states that any partner, S corporation shareholder, self-employed person or sole proprietor that will owe more than $1,000 in tax payments should be making estimated tax payments each quarter. Failing to do so may result in penalties. Make sure you are working with a tax professional to get an accurate assessment of your potential tax penalty to see if you need to be making these payments. Failing To Keep Good Records Make sure record keeping remains a priority for your business. Particularly when it comes to new businesses, record keeping isn’t always a priority as owners are often swamped with daily operational tasks. However, keeping adequate records can ensure your taxes are accurate, saving you stress and money in the long run. Important records to keep include payroll data, inventory cost sheets, utility payment receipts, operational business receipts and any other financial details. When it becomes time to prepare your taxes, providing the preparer this information will simplify the process. Sort all of these documents by month and type to keep retrieval easier. Small business tax preparation should begin well before it’s time to file your small business taxes. Make sure you are working with a tax preparation professional as early as possible to help you prepare and ensure your information is accurate. Contact an accounting firm, such as Groskreutz, Schmidt, Abraham, Eshleman & Gerretse CPA, for more...

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Looking At The Benefits Of Working With An Estate Planning Team

Posted by on 11:05 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Looking At The Benefits Of Working With An Estate Planning Team

If you are like many other people, you may be procrastinating about writing a will or about making plans for your funeral. Planning your estate is an essential aspect of ensuring your loved ones receive your property after you die. If you have other plans in mind for your property, you will need a will saying so or your property could divided and given to people in your family you would not like to have it. Worse still, your property could be sold on auction and you will never know who ended up with it, an especially detrimental action if you have loved ones that deserve it. Learn more about how you can benefit from hiring a team for getting your estate planning done once and for all. The First Member Of Your Team Is An Estate Planning Attorney Most people do not have any idea where to start when writing a will that is legal. For this reason, hiring an attorney for helping you write your will is vital. Many legal issues can come up during the course of writing a will that you may have questions about and your attorney can answer them for you. For example, if you have children and would like to leave them a sum of money for college, you will need to have a trust for each child. A trust will prevent the money being spent on anything but college tuition. Your attorney can ensure a trust is opened properly and designed in such a way your kids can only spend it how you want them to. To learn more, contact a law firm like McFarland & Masters LLC.  The Second Member Of Your Team Is An Expert Tax Consultant After you are gone, the last thing you want for your beneficiaries is a huge tax bill on the money you leave them. By including an experienced tax professional on your estate planning team, you will have the benefit of your money being placed in ways that will keep future taxes low or so there will be no tax at all. For example, the money you put into a trust for your kids in not taxable by the federal government. By working with a financial professional, you can rest easier knowing your kids will not be burdened with heavy tax bills on the money you leave for them. The Third Member Of Your Team Is A Financial Professional When making plans about your estate, you might also consider the importance of your retirement as well. Hiring a financial professional for your estate team will be helpful for knowing which investments are the best for you to put towards your retirement portfolio. If you do not currently have life insurance, a financial professional can help choose the amount most suitable for the assets you have. Also, a financial expert can offer you help with the rules associated with retirement accounts. No one likes to think about death and what will happen to their property and money after they are gone. However, life can be a lot more enjoyable when you know your loved ones are going to be taken care of when you die. If you have not started planning for your will and estate, doing so as soon possible is a good idea....

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Getting Divorced? What You Need To Know About Paying Alimony

Posted by on 11:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting Divorced? What You Need To Know About Paying Alimony

When you are going through divorce proceedings with your spouse, one issue that might concern you is alimony payments. Alimony is essentially a form of spousal support, which requires that a specific amount of money is paid to a spouse after the divorce is finalized. Alimony payments can be required for many different reasons, and once a judge decides that alimony payments are required, these payments will continue until specific life events happen. Here is the essential information you should know about paying alimony. When Alimony Won’t Need To Be A Paid Paying alimony should not be assumed during a divorce, since the court won’t approve alimony in some situations. The first one is when the marriage was very short. Every state has their own standards for the minimum length of a marriage before alimony payments can be approved by the court. If both spouses had similarly paying jobs, it is also possible that alimony will not be required. Who Requests Alimony It’s important to know that alimony will not be automatically suggested by the court during divorce proceedings. If a spouse makes considerably less money than the other, or one spouse was unemployed during the marriage, they can make a request to receive alimony. If your spouse doesn’t want to receive alimony, the court will not award it to them. Expect to see alimony granted if it was a long marriage and your spouse became accustomed to a specific type of lifestyle due to a difference in income. How Long Will Alimony Payments Will Last Alimony payments are not indefinite, since certain life events can trigger the stoppage of payments. The most common situation is if your spouse remarries, since they will now have an additional income source to provide them with financial support. Your spouse getting a better paying job can also stop the need for receiving alimony. A judge also has an option to set a time limit on the maximum length that alimony payments will be made. How Much Will Alimony Will Be A judge will make a decision about how much alimony payments will be, which is typically based on your income for the year before getting divorced. If your income decreases because of a new job, you will still be liable for making those large alimony payments unless you go back to court and request to make smaller payments that are based on the smaller salary. Still have questions about alimony? Speak to a family lawyer and request a...

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Are You Being Threatened By Your Ex With The Loss Of Your Children? It Isn’t That Easy

Posted by on 4:43 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are You Being Threatened By Your Ex With The Loss Of Your Children? It Isn’t That Easy

Is your soon-to-be ex-spouse threatening to take your children away from you so that you’ll never see them again? When parents go through an acrimonious divorce, these sorts of threats aren’t uncommon. However, that isn’t as easily done as some people imagine. Learn more about your rights as a parent and the difficulties of a petition for sole custody. There has to be a reason for sole custody. For a court to award sole custody of the children to only one parent, there has to be a very good reason and that reason has to be centered around the child. In other words, if your spouse is angry at you over an affair, that’s really not going to be a factor unless the affair affected your ability to be a proper parent to your child. The court makes custody decisions based on the best interests of the child–not what’s in the best interests of either of the divorcing couple. What sort of things could influence a judge to award your ex-spouse sole custody of the children? You have a history of drug addiction or alcoholism and the problem is ongoing. You have convictions for domestic abuse, including the abuse of your children. You’ve been convicted of neglecting your children. There’s documentation that proves that you don’t adequately supervise your children when they’re alone in your care, such as hospital reports or social service interventions. You’ve been uninvolved, by your choice, in the child’s life. You’re physically or mentally unable to care for the child. If none of those things apply to your case, your ex-spouse is going to have a very difficult time convincing a judge that you don’t deserve equal time and control over your children. In addition, the court isn’t going to simply accept your ex-spouse’s allegations over the matter. He or she has to have some kind of evidence that a serious problem actually exists, not merely his or her opinions. Ask yourself if there are any documented examples that your spouse can use to show that you have mental health problems, are abusive, or have an addiction issue. Are their police reports? Have social services been involved? Are their doctor records? If there are, discuss the situation with your attorney. If the incident was something out of character for you or well in the past, your attorney may be able to overcome the issue. Sole custody doesn’t equal a loss of visitation. Even if there is a physical, mental, or financial reason that you aren’t able to share custody, that still doesn’t mean that you will be prevented from seeing your children. Sole custody doesn’t mean that your ex-spouse will have complete control of when, how, and if you see your children. If you ex-spouse is awarded sole custody, that gives him or her the right to make some decisions regarding your child’s welfare without asking for your input. For example, your ex may be able to decide to change their schools or dictate their religious upbringing without your advice. However, unless there is a compelling reason to prevent you from having any contact with your children at all, the court will generally award you liberal visitation rights, on a court-ordered schedule. If you have had problems that give the court pause, such as serious...

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Assess Real Estate While Getting A Divorce: Should You Sell Now Or Later?

Posted by on 3:14 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Assess Real Estate While Getting A Divorce: Should You Sell Now Or Later?

Whether they have been married for a couple of years or multiple decades, many couples count their home as their biggest asset. Hundreds of hours of work may have been put into the house, not to mention all the money that has been put into fixing up the house and even performing maintenance on it. Your real estate attorney can help you assess the marital residence and decide the best steps to take to ensure that your best interests are honored. Should you sell now or later? Well, that depends. Here are the top considerations as you make this important decision. Deciding Upon a Distress Sell When you are selling your property in the midst of a divorce battle, keep in mind that realtors often consider this a distress sell. You don’t get the most money for your property during a distress call. If you have one or more mortgages, you may find yourself owing more to the bank than you are able to get for your home. If you really need to get rid of the property right away for personal or financial reasons, then it may be in your best interests, but that may not be the case. Considering The Buyout Sometimes it works best for the couple for one person to buy out the other’s interest in the home. If you are well-off financially, that’s typically the best option as long as the value of the property is agreed upon. By doing a buyout, you are able to either get your money from the property and move on or keep the house that has long been a home to you. A buy-out can be a win-win situation for both parties.   Keeping The House One strategy that many financially savvy divorcing couples may decide on is simply to keep the house for a while. During this time period, one of the spouses usually lives in the home and is responsible for its upkeep. In this case, contact your real estate attorney to be sure that the expectations and responsibilities for each party are clearly outlined and understood. This typically only works when you have somewhat of an amicable divorce. Even if that’s the case, however, you still need to be vigilant about protecting your own interests throughout the process. Finally, keep in mind that the home you lived in with your spouse for years may bring up all kinds of emotions. However, never make a crucial decision when emotions are running high. When you are feeling sentimental, you may sell yourself short. When you’re angry, you may not agree with your spouse when it would be in your best interests to do so. Try to stay objective and consult your real estate attorney before making any major decisions on whether to sell your real estate now or later during the divorce...

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A Few Things To Look For When Signing A Commercial Lease

Posted by on 1:41 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Few Things To Look For When Signing A Commercial Lease

A commercial lease is quite different from a residential lease. Not only are the terms and stipulations different, you also have to consider the business aspect of taking on the financial responsibility. You need to be on the lookout for certain items that can end up costing you more than you had anticipated paying. Here are a few things you may need to iron out with the landlord before going any further. Length of the Lease Commercial leases are generally for longer terms than residential leases. When starting a new business, the idea of committing to a lease of five years can be scary. An experienced real estate attorney may be able to offer an alternative to a long lease that will be acceptable to both you and the property owner, such as having you pay a bit more per square foot, or a clause that states you will not make any permanent changes to the building. However, if you are moving or expanding an established business, you may want to sign an even longer lease to give your business some stability. If this is the case, and you can prove you have the ability to warrant a longer lease, the property owner may be willing to pay for some of the work needed to make the property fit your needs. This can include building the interior of the place to suit your business. In either case, when you sign a commercial lease, you want it to contain a clause stating that you have the right to a new lease at the end of the current one, and that the lease will remain in effect even if the building is sold. Favorable Clauses Favorable clauses are those that will benefit you. They often include one for subletting the building if you need to move or close your business. This can be very important and save you a lot of money on an early termination of the lease. Favorable clauses also include how and where you can place signs for your business. If there is a pole sign out front already, be sure you are allowed to add a sign to it. Make sure you understand any limitations on the size of all signs too. Having a non-compete clause can be very important if you are in a strip mall location. This means that no business that is similar to yours may rent other stores in the mall. For example, if you are a shoe store, no other shoe stores may rent in the mall. However, this does not mean that a store that sells many things, including shoes, cannot be there. As with any legal document, it is always a good idea to have a lawyer look it over before you sign it. A real estate attorney can look for hidden expenses you may not consider. He or she may also help you to understand your rights and your obligations to the lease. A good business person has advisors; use them wisely. For a real estate attorney in your area, contact a law firm such as Brandt Law...

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Tips For Divorce Mediation

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Regardless of whether or not you are planning to get legal assistance with your divorce, going through divorce mediation is usually a good idea. It helps you and your spouse figure out important decisions and make compromises because you have a neutral third party listening to both you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse’s concerns. However, divorce mediation is not the easiest process and is by no means guaranteed to have a positive outcome. Here are some tips for making sure that your mediation goes well. 1. Get Both Parties Signed On The first thing that you are going to want to do is get both parties totally signed on to divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is not going to work unless both you and your soon-too-be-ex spouse are willing to do it. If you are signed on to the idea of divorce mediation and your partner is not, then you are going to need to help him or her get on board. Make a list of pros and cons of going to divorce mediation, be as flexible as possible with your schedule so that he or she doesn’t have an excuse about not having the time to go when you can go, and agree to let him or her speak first for as long as he or she wants to during the first session. 2. Have All Of Your Lists Ready to Go Make lists of all of your assets before you go in, including all of the electronics in your house that are jointly owned, joint bank accounts or other financial assets that you both have stakes in, all of the real estate you both own, all of your income statements and those of your partner’s, and any shared debt. This will help you go into the mediation feeling prepared. Make a copy of any forms so that your soon-to-be-ex spouse’s team can have the exact same information. This will help decrease tension and show that you are ready to negotiate. 3. Breathe Go to yoga before the first mediation session and before every session hereafter. Sit in your car and listen to a meditation CD for fifteen minutes. Do something to get your emotions under control. You are going to be doing yourself a disservice if you are not willing to listen and only want to argue.  4. Figure Out What You Need to Survive Finally, before you go, make a list of musts that you need to have. This is the minimal level that you know that you cannot go beneath. Having a baseline for monthly expenses, equipment, and housing will allow you to feel secure making compromises as long as they don’t go beneath this level. For more information, click on this link or do an online search for divorce...

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How Tailgating Influences Your Car Accident Claim

Posted by on 11:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Tailgating Influences Your Car Accident Claim

Tailgating is a common reason for a car accident. If someone is following you closely from behind, and you have to suddenly slam on your brakes, the motorist behind you may not be able to stop in time, leading to an accident. You will need to quickly consult with a car accident lawyer who will gather evidence so that you can demonstrate that the other motorist was at fault of the accident and that you deserve compensation. Discovering If A Motorist Is Negligent Tailgating is considered a form of negligent driving. Therefore, if it is demonstrated that the other motorist was engaged in negligent driving, he or she will be held responsible for the accident. One thing that may be uncovered through the discovery process is that the other motorist was distracted, drowsy or under-the-influence during the accident. These factors can be used to further demonstrate that the other motorist was at fault for the accident. Also, if the other motorist appeared to be angry and aggressive, this can indicate that the motorist was experiencing road rage. Obtaining Police Evidence Newer laser radars used to gauge the speed of motorists also have the capacity to gauge the distance between you and the motorist tailgating you. This feature provides the police with evidence that can be used to demonstrate that the other motorist was responsible for the accident. Demonstrating Your Own Duty Of Care Explaining that you took preventative measures to avoid the accident can also help further establish the other motorist’s fault. For example if you tried to change lanes, but the other motorist moved into a different lane, or if you tried to establish more distance between yourself and the tailgater, this could be used as evidence that there was nothing you could have done to avoid the accident. Tailgating often leads to accidents when you attempt to stop or turn. For this reason, you must always clearly signal your intentions. For example, if you intend to make a left or right turn, you should use your turn signal. If you intend to come to a complete stop, you should slow down slowly before stopping completely. It is always better to avoid the accident in the first place, even if you wouldn’t be in fault. However, if you can’t avoid the accident, be sure to consult with a car accident attorney so you can pursue a settlement from the other motorist’s car insurance company like Jacobs & Barney...

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2 Things To Know About Age Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Cases

Posted by on 7:56 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Things To Know About Age Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Cases

Being fired from a job can be devastating, especially if you are over the age of 40. Once you reach this age, it can become harder to find a new job, because many employers look for younger people to hire. If you believe your boss fired you strictly because of your age, you may be able to seek compensation by filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. Here are two things to know about this. Why employers fire people for age When employees are at their jobs for a long time, their employers may give them pay raises on a regular basis. Because of this, having the same employees for a long time can be costly for businesses. To reduce their expenses, some companies may try to find younger workers to replace the older ones. This can help them save money in payroll costs, but that is not the only reason older workers get fired. The other common reason employers fire older workers is due to their productivity. Younger people might be able to work harder and complete more duties in the same amount of time. Not only would employers save money on payroll by doing this, but they might also be able to make more money from the work younger employees offer. You will need to have proof The hardest part of a wrongful termination case is proving that your employer fired you because of your age. To win, you must have proof that your boss fired you for a reason that is not legal. If you were not performing your job well, your boss may have fired you for this reason. This is a valid reason for being fired, and you cannot sue if your boss fired you for this reason. On the other hand, if your boss simply wants to replace you for a younger worker and you have some type of evidence to prove this, you might have a case. The best thing you can do before you file a lawsuit is thoroughly discuss your case with a civil rights attorney. An attorney in this field is experienced with knowing what type of evidence is needed to win. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was designed to protect people against this issue. A civil rights attorney knows and understands the rules relating to this act and can help you determine what to do if you believe you were fired because of your...

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