Legal Insights

  • Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy

    Your automobile insurance policy is a contract between you, as the vehicle owner, and your insurance company. It not only covers damage to your car in case of an accident, but it also protects you and your passengers, as well as others who may be injured, when such injuries occur. Each state has its own laws that cover automobile insurance, but the basic concepts are the same in every state. Deductible Every automobile insurance policy has a deductible, which is the amount you pay out of ...
  • Father’s Rights in Child Custody Disputes

    Most fathers feel like they’re fighting an up-hill battle when it comes to gaining custody or visitation of their children. Courts, laws, and society have traditionally held the view that a child’s mother is presumed to be the most suitable parent for custody. However, with society’s changing view on gender roles and child-rearing, it is now more widely accepted in court, laws, and society that a father should play an essential role in child-rearing. Now, courts making child visitat...
  • What to do When You’re Sued for Debt

    If you owe money to a creditor and you either don’t pay or get behind in payments, you may end up getting sued. In most cases, creditors would rather work out a viable payment plan than pursue legal action. Typically, creditors do not sue debtors who are making a good faith effort to repay a debt; however, you may be sued by a creditor if you miss multiple payments and fail to communicate with the creditor about the nonpayment. Below is an outline of the process and some tips for defendi...
  • Defending Against a Traffic Ticket

    At some point, most people will receive a traffic ticket of some sort. Sometimes it’s easier to just pay a ticket than fight it, but in certain instances—such as innocence—it makes sense to fight it. Below are some tips on what you should do if you get a traffic ticket. Defending Against the Ticket Although most traffic tickets are minor and don’t result in jail time, traffic violations can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license and/or higher car insurance rates. The f...
  • Injured at Work: Suing Outside of Workers’ Compensation

    Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance designed to provide benefits to workers injured in the workplace, in exchange for employees giving up their right to sue their employers in civil court for negligence. When you are injured in the workplace, workers’ compensation pay-outs are typically the only form of compensation you are entitled to; however, there are certain situations where there may be additional remedies available. For example, if your employer does not carry workers’...
  • Legal Issues When Hiring a Non-Clinical, Licensed Home Healthcare Worker

    Many elderly and handicapped people have physical limitations that render them unable to perform daily tasks without the assistance of a home healthcare worker. Typically, home healthcare workers can help older and handicapped people perform these tasks, including bathing, dressing, and toileting, as well as cleaning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and transfers to and from a bed and/or wheelchair.  There are many options for hiring home healthcare workers, including going through ...
  • Should My Employer Pay Me for After-Hours Calls and Emails?

    The answer to whether your employer needs to pay you for answering emails or telephone calls after regular work hours depends on how you are classified as an employee. There are two classifications of employees – “exempt” and “non-exempt” employees.  Exempt or Non-Exempt Employee? Exempt employees are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime laws, while non-exempt employees are subject to those laws. Exempt employees are usually executive, administrative, or professional e...
  • How to Avoid Probate

    Probate is the process that the court uses to bring an individual’s legal and financial affairs to a close after his or her death. The process can be expensive and time-consuming, even if the person has a will. But there are steps that can be taken to ensure that some or all of the person’s property do not go through the probate process. (To learn more about the probate process in general, see our post, “What Is Probate?”). In many states, property below a certain value can be exempt...
  • Attorney Content Marketing: What Types of Content Should You Create?

    What does it take to find success in content marketing as a lawyer? What kind of content should you create and promote in order to turn strangers into readers, readers into leads, and leads into clients? After developing a website, optimizing the website, and creating an effective bio, the next major step in developing business online is content marketing. Below is a basic overview of the tactics and media you can use to fill your website with content and get your online business developmen...
  • What to Do Before, During, and After an IRS Tax Audit

    A tax audit can be a nerve-wracking event, but the more prepared you are, the better the outcome is likely to be. (To learn about the basics of IRS tax audits, see our post, What You Need to Know about IRS Tax Audits.) Below are some steps to take before, during, and after an IRS audit to obtain a favorable result. Before the Audit You will learn you are being audited when you receive an IRS audit notice in the mail. The audit notice will include a date by which you must schedule an audi...
  • Social Host Liability Laws

    Social host liability is a legal concept that holds a person who hosts a party or gathering responsible for injuries that occur as a result of providing alcohol to guests. If a host supplies alcohol to minors or excessive alcohol to anyone, and that guest is involved in or causes an accident, social host liability laws allow the person who suffered injury to recover damages and can result in the host facing criminal charges.  What are social host liability laws? As stated, social host ...
  • What is Probate?

    Probate is the process that occurs after a person’s death, when the deceased person’s debts are resolved and their remaining assets are distributed. The probate process differs depending on whether the deceased had a will or not, as explained further below. Will If the deceased had a will, the probate process includes validating the will, taking an inventory of the deceased person’s assets, appraising the value of the assets, satisfying all taxes and debts, and distributing the rema...
  • Mediation in Child Custody Disputes

    When parents make the decision to separate or divorce, custody issues are usually the most difficult to resolve. In most cases, both parents want to be an integral part of their children’s lives, so reaching a custody agreement can be difficult. Child custody cases can be long, drawn out, and adversarial, especially in the midst of a divorce. However, mediated custody agreements are increasingly popular with separating couples, and can offer a less stressful, time consuming, and expens...
  • What You Need to Know About IRS Tax Audits

    A tax audit can be random or it can be based on underreporting of income, failure to file a return, or under-paying taxes owed. This article will provide basic information on the types of IRS audits, the timing of audits, and the reasons for conducting an audit. Types of IRS Audits There are several different types of IRS tax audits, and any audit can result in interest, fines, and penalties being assessed after the audit, so each audit type must be taken seriously. A correspondence audi...
  • What Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

    Insurance policies are convoluted and difficult to understand, so it’s important to know what is and is not covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, and when you might need to purchase additional coverage. What Is Included in a Typical Homeowner’s Insurance Policy? There are several different parts of a homeowner’s insurance policy. First, the policy covers the home or dwelling itself, and damages that may occur to the interior or exterior of the home. For example, if...
  • Sick Animal Liability: Pet “Lemon” Laws

    Getting a new pet should be a joyous occasion. Pets are often a significant investment of time, resources, and emotions. Pet owners bond with their pets, and they typically become a part of the family. Unfortunately, people sometimes purchase pets who are later found to be diseased or defective. Many states have developed pet purchase protection laws, also known as “puppy lemon laws,” to protect pet purchasers and prevent breeders and sellers from profiting off the sale of pets in ba...
  • Obtaining Refugee or Asylum Status in the United States

    Asylum and refugee status are legal protections available to people who have left their home country out of fear for their safety. Typically, refugee and asylum status are granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social or political group. The primary difference between refugee and asylum status is where you apply for the protection. People outside of the U.S. apply for refuge...
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements

    What is a non-disclosure agreement? In its simplest form, a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) is an agreement that creates a legal obligation of privacy or confidentiality among the parties to the agreement to protect confidential or proprietary information shared between the parties. It is generally used when parties are entering into, or considering entering into, a business agreement and trade secrets or other highly sensitive or confidential information (i.e. financial information) wi...
  • Child Custody Types

    When a child is born out of wedlock or the child’s parents are divorced or separated, custody arrangements – whether entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court – determine who will live with, care for, and make decisions for the child. Each state has different rules for how custody is determined, but the same general principle applies in most states--custody is determined based upon what the court finds to be in the best interest of the child. There are two main types of custody ar...
  • Partnership Agreement Fundamentals

    If your business is organized as a partnership, a written partnership agreement is a necessity. The purpose of a partnership agreement is an attempt to address areas where confusion or conflict might arise, and to determine in advance – and in writing – how those issues will be resolved, and who will be responsible for resolving them. Ideally, the partnership agreement should be prepared at the beginning of the partnership. Nevertheless, existing partners who do not already have an agree...