Posts made in April, 2013

A Civil Case of Assault and Battery

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Assault, Battery, Personal Injury | 3 comments

Assault and/or battery are criminal acts that may also be considered civil torts (wrongs) that can be the basis for lawsuit in civil court pursuing compensation. Most personal injury cases are accidental torts wherein the negligence of the defendant caused injury to the plaintiff, but there was no intention of harm. Assault and battery, on the other hand, are intentional torts. The objective was to cause physical harm, or at least to threaten it. A personal injury lawyer with experience handling assault or battery claims may be able to protect your rights and help you in your pursuit of compensation and justice.

A case of assault does not always mean there is also a case for battery, and vice versa, although the two torts often go together as a matter of course. Below is a brief description of how the civil code defines assault and battery.

Assault in a civil tort sense doesn’t have to involve actual physical force from the defendant to the plaintiff. It has only to be proved that the defendant expressed intent to do harm and had the capability of carrying out such intent, leading to the reasonable fear of the plaintiff of imminent physical harm.

Battery, on the other hand, does require some type of forceful physical contact delivered offensively, without the plaintiff’s consent i.e. participation in a contact sport. It doesn’t matter if the contact was accidental as long as the intent of the defendant to do harm was evident.

To illustrate, let’s say that Tom’s large neighbor confronts him on the street and tells Tom before witnesses that if he doesn’t get his dog to stop barking, he will kill Tom. That can be considered assault but not battery. If the neighbor escalates the encounter by grabbing Tom by the collar and shaking him, then can be a case for civil assault and battery. But if the neighbor throws a rock at Tom’s car as it passed by and hits Tom instead, that is a case of battery but not assault, as Tom had little or no apprehension of danger prior to being hit by the rock.

A personal injury lawyer may be able to help a victim secure compensation for damage to property, bodily harm, medical expenses, and loss of income as a direct result of the injuries sustained. However, since assault and battery are also criminal offenses, the case may also be handled in a criminal court.

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Speeding: Almost as Bad as DUI

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Car Accidents, DUI, Speeding | 1 comment

The excitement of the high-speed car chase has been fueling the success of movies like Fast and the Furious, and the Italian Job, and countless other action movies. It calls to the daredevil in a person which craves that adrenaline rush. But in reality, speeding even a bit over the limit can bring about serious injury, even death.

There are about 6 million auto accidents a year in the US alone, and 40% of those are caused by driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). That’s not surprising. What is shocking is that not far behind is speeding, which accounts for 30% of these accidents. When caught DUI, a driver can face jail time and hefty fines, while those caught speeding get a ticket and just pay a fine. If there are no injuries or deaths resulting from speeding, the penalties for speeding are often incredibly light. A ticket can even be forgiven if you take a course in defensive driving in most states.

Fatalities due to speeding and DUI combined in 2011 was in excess of 3,000 in the state of Texas alone. For speeding alone, the death toll was 278, and 6 of them were pedestrians!

There is a reason why speed limits are posted. Speeding above the posted limit is, according to Part 545 of the Texas Transportation Code, “an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The key words here are “willful” and “wanton” which suggests negligence. In Texas, traffic accidents have declined somewhat but it is still higher than the national average mostly due to reckless or negligent conduct of the driver.

If you or someone close to you has been harmed by the reckless speeding of a driver, you can consult with a car accident attorney about filing a personal injury claim for damages. This would be on top of the felony charges that would be levied against the driver.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Bankruptcy | 1 comment

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

click hereChapter 13 bankruptcy is also known reorganization and involves a repayment plan mandated by the bankruptcy court. Creditors are provided with a way to be paid back some or the whole of what a debtor owes over a period of years, usually from 3 to 5 years, based on the debtor’s current and future income. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides debtor protection from foreclosure, wage garnishment, and debt collection activities. The court determines the amount a creditor will be paid based on several factors, but will be at least as much as what the creditor would have received under a Chapter 7 filing.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is indicated when a debtor has a regular source of income with enough disposable income to make a repayment scheme feasible. It is ideal for those who want to avoid losing non-exempt property, catch up on missed mortgage payments, and pay back taxes without incurring more debts in the form of interest charges and penalties.

A debtor who manages to complete the payments mandated by the repayment plan will be discharged of all the remaining amounts due prior to the bankruptcy filing. This can result in significant savings as the court determines what needs to be absolutely paid, which usually means waived or reduced interest and penalty payments at least.

While Chapter 13 does not discharge all debts, including credit card debts for luxury items, taxes, and child support back payments, the repayment plan can make it substantially easier to pay back these debts. Repeated filings for Chapter 13 are allowed at anytime.

When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, it must be remembered that income is tied up throughout the repayment period, typically 3 to 5 years, and that total debts should not exceed $1 million. Unsecured debt should not be more than $250,000. Stock and commodity brokers are not eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy makes a lot of sense if you have debt you cannot manage on your own, so don’t wait until it’s too late.

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Texas Law Firm Facing Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Discrimination, Lawsuits | 1 comment

A female partner at a Dallas-based law firm has filed a gender discrimination suit against the firm.

She alleges that the firm has upheld a policy that prohibited employee pairs of opposite genders from working together or fraternizing outside of the office. Because of the fact that the people in power at the firm are all men, she is making a case that the policy, which has since been repealed, hindered the growth of her career. The woman says the firm has been aware of her issues with these policies for as long as half a year, but claims her protests were met with resentment.

The firm believes that it decisions and actions will all hold up in a court of law and that the plaintiff of the suit has no evidence to back up her claims.

The firm probably put the offending rule in effect to prevent sexual harassment, but has instead created a discrimination problem. If it had treated its employees as responsible adults who are capable of behaving professionally, chances are it would not have to deal with an internal lawsuit.

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Overview of Iowa Workers’ Compensation

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

All workers in Iowa are covered by workers’ compensation insurance because the state requires it by law. This includes agricultural and domestic employees under certain conditions. Coverage is provided on a no-fault basis provided that the injury is work-related or occurred in the work place during regular work hours. Workers’ compensation may be provided through private insurance or employer self-insurance.

In case of injury, the worker is provided with full medical benefits attended by a physician chosen by the employer. There are no limitations placed over the money or time of the required medical treatment.

When disability occurs, workers’ comp may cover total temporary disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD) as well as permanent partial disability (PPD). The payout is based on the predetermined percentage of the worker’s weekly wage up to the maximum payment amount as described in the policy. For PTD, the payments are made for as long as the disability is present. Under PPD, benefits will be paid for up to 500 weeks. Workers’ comp can also provide for physical and vocational rehabilitation as well as payouts for permanent head or face disfigurement. In some cases, hearing loss may also be compensated.

When death ensues as a result of a work-related incident, the insurer may pay out a certain percentage of the employee’s wages to the surviving family as a death benefit. A separate burial allowance may also be provided.

It should be noted that the statements above are a general description workers’ compensation insurance coverage. There may be significant differences from carrier to carrier depending on the fine print of the policies themselves, as well as from state to state. When in doubt, it would be better to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer before making a claim to reduce the chances of having your claim disapproved. Most workers’ comp policies provide for reimbursement for a certain portion of attorney’s fees related to a claim.

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