Legal Insights

  • You’ve Gotten a Judgment – How Do You Collect?

    When you win a judgment, whether at trial or as a result of the opposing party’s failure to respond to a lawsuit, there is no guarantee that the opposing party will voluntarily pay the judgment or that you will be able to collect. In some cases, the person you got the judgment against—now called the judgment debtor—will have insurance coverage to cover the lawsuit or will have assets available to pay. Other times, the judgment debtor may refuse to pay the judgment or may not have suff...
  • What You Need to Know About No-Fault Insurance

    Several states in the U.S. are what is known as “no-fault” states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. In those states, regardless of who is at fault, your own insurance company pays you for most types of personal injuries and damages that result from an automobile accident, up to the limits of your no-fault insurance policy. Because your own insurance company pays you directly for in...
  • Understanding Spousal Support or Maintenance

    Spousal support or maintenance (which can also be called alimony in some states) is money paid from one spouse to another after a divorce to help support the non-paying spouse. It can be awarded by the court in a divorce action or can be part of a divorce or separation agreement between the spouses. The purpose of these payments is specifically to provide an income for a non-wage-earning spouse or a lower-income spouse to balance economic inequities that may arise as a result of a divorce.&n...
  • What to Do After a Car Accident

    If you’ve been in a car accident, first and foremost, you should obtain medical help for you or anyone else who is injured in the accident. But even if there are no apparent injuries at the scene, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself in case of a future lawsuit. At the scene of the accident First, even if the accident is minor, but especially if there is damage to any of the vehicles involved, or to adjacent property (trees, poles, buildings, etc.), you should cal...
  • Why Small Businesses Need Written Contracts

    Do I really need a written contract? Don’t make the mistake of operating your business without appropriate written contracts. By law, some contracts must be in writing to be enforceable, including, in most cases, contracts for the purchase of real estate. In other words, if you have an agreement with another business and they fail to perform their obligations, you cannot take them to court to recover damages or force the other party to comply if your agreement is not in writing.  E...
  • What is the Difference Between Revocable & Irrevocable Trusts?

    Trusts are tools that can be used as part of your estate planning process to help you minimize taxes and maximize the amount of your estate left to your heirs. There are different kinds of trusts, and it is important to know the differences between them, how and why they are used, and the tax consequences of each.  There are many different types of trusts, but they all fall into two broad categories, revocable and irrevocable trusts. What is a trust? Before deciding which type of tr...
  • How To Know if You Should Declare Bankruptcy

    The decision to declare bankruptcy isn’t one to be taken lightly. It can be a way to get out from under crushing debt so you can move on and get a fresh start financially, but it can also have negative long-term consequences. Not all bankruptcies are the same, and bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone.  Any one or a combination of the following factors could make you a good candidate to file for bankruptcy: - You are underwater on a mortgage and are concerned about foreclosure or los...
  • How Much Can I Expect to Get for My Car Accident Claim?

    If you are injured in a car accident, there are several types of damages that you may be able to recover depending on the circumstances, who is responsible for causing the incident, and other factors. Most claims are resolved before a lawsuit is filed, and those claims that result in lawsuits are often settled out of court before trial. Here is an overview of the types of damages you may receive as a result of a car accident settlement or verdict. Property Damage Receiving payment for v...
  • Preparing For and Recovering on a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

    Your home is likely your largest and most valuable asset, so it makes sense to want to protect it with homeowner’s insurance, but you also want to make sure you are getting the most for your homeowner’s insurance dollars—especially when it comes to making and recovering on a claim. Below are some basics on homeowner’s insurance and recovering on a homeowner’s insurance claim. What Kind of Coverage and How Much? The coverage on your home should be sufficient to allow you to rebu...
  • What Happens When A Beneficiary Can’t Manage Their Social Security Benefits?

    Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits help many senior citizens and persons with disabilities pay their bills and manage their own care. But if the person receiving those benefits (the “beneficiary”) is a minor, becomes incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to manage their own payments, the benefits can be disrupted. The Social Security Administration has strict rules about who can manage Social Security and SSI payments. Even a Durable Power of Attorney executed...
  • Residential Rentals: Who Must Maintain?

    Renting a home eliminates some of the headaches or home ownership, like property taxes, but it comes with its own challenges. For example, as a renter, you may be restricted in the changes that you can make to the home or apartment, including restrictions on changing paint colors or affixing things to the wall. And when something goes wrong or needs to be repaired or replaced, it can be confusing to figure out who is responsible for fixing it. Whose responsibility is it? The landlord is g...
  • Protect Your Small Business with Buy-Sell Agreements and Life Insurance

    Small business partners are often so focused on running their day to day operations and acquiring new business that they forget to plan for the future. But having a succession plan is the key to a healthy long-term future for any small business, and is invaluable in the event that one of the partners wants to leave the business, becomes incapacitated, or dies.  Two elements of a succession plan that can help protect the future of the business and the remaining partners are buy-sell agre...
  • Elements of a Negligence Case

    Many cases involving injuries are premised on a negligence theory, where the basis for holding another party responsible for an injury is that the party acted carelessly, resulting in the injury. In that regard, negligence is often defined as a failure to act with reasonable care under the circumstances. A person who is injured because of the negligence of another party may be able to sue for damages to compensate him or her for the injury. In such cases, the injured party filing suit is kno...
  • What are the Advantages of Mediation over Litigation?

    Mediation has become more and more common as a tool in divorce cases, but it is becoming more popular in other areas as well, including business or partnership disputes. What is Mediation? Mediation is known as a form of alternative dispute resolution, meaning it is a way for the parties to resolve their differences outside of the courtroom. In mediation, the parties agree on one or more mediators-typically retired judges, attorneys, or other experts-to help them resolve their dispute. T...
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Who is Responsible?

    When someone is injured as a result of a slip and fall accident-whether it happens on private property, such as a neighbor's home, or public property, such as a public park-the property owner may be legally responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. Was the property owner negligent? Usually, slip and fall cases are determined based on a theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory which, broadly speaking, says that people are required to act with care. People who act carel...
  • Making A Citizen's Arrest

    Under certain circumstances and situations, private individuals have the power to make an arrest without a warrant. These types of arrests are known as "citizen's arrests" and occur when private citizens either detain criminals themselves or direct police officers to detain a criminal. Though legal, citizens are largely discouraged from making these types of arrests and to leave law enforcement to the professionals; therefore, laws in almost all states afford less protection to private citi...
  • Does Your Small Business Have a Succession Plan?

    You’ve worked hard to establish and build your small business. But what happens to your business if something happens to you? Who will take over if you become incapacitated or die? Don’t make the all-too-common mistake small business owners make by failing to plan for the succession of your business. Why You Need a Succession Plan If you want your business to continue on after you, you need to plan for the continuation of the business with a succession plan. Planning can help ensure t...
  • Driving Under the Influence: Chemical Tests and Officer Observations

    Every state has laws against driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And while each state’s rules can vary in the amount of alcohol or other controlled substance in your system that qualifies as impaired and the penalties imposed, there are some basics that apply universally across all state borders.    Every state in the U.S. has what are known as “implied consent” laws. This means that by driving a vehicle, you automatically consent to a chemical test if the...
  • 7 Employee Handbook Mistakes to Avoid

    Employee Handbooks can be useful tools for employers and employees alike (see our article, Do You Need an Employee Handbook?), but if not prepared properly, an employee handbook sometimes do more harm than good, since poorly drafted handbooks can create additional, unintended obligations on the part of the employer that the employer doesn’t know it needs to satisfy.  Not Customizing  Your employee handbook should reflect your company’s unique culture, circumstances, and work...
  • The Basics of Reverse Mortgage

    In recent years there has been an influx of online and television commercials advertising reverse mortgages. These advertisements are generally geared towards senior citizens. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner who is at least 62 years old to use the equity in their home to obtain a loan that does not have to be repaid until the homeowner moves, sells their home, or dies. Reverse mortgages may be a good option for seniors when selling the home may not be profitable or there is a need for ...