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January 24, 2014

10 Reasons to Consult a Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, there are several common concerns including outstanding medical bills, inability to work, and persistent symptoms.  Often, insurance adjusters will call, seek information about an injured person’s condition, and even offer to send a check in exchange for a signature on a release.

Be wary.  It may not be best to speak with an insurance company (even your own) until you speak with a personal injury attorney.  Here are 10 reasons to consider:

1. The objective of an insurance company is to be profitable.  They do not care about you, your injuries, your family, or your bills.  They desire to resolve your claim for the least amount of money possible.

2. Your own insurance company is NOT necessarily on your side either.  They don’t want to pay out more than they have if yours is an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim.

3. Insurance companies may deny, delay, and defend claims.

4. Insurance companies use software that calculates legal claim value in a manner that may not account for all of the significant losses one incurs after an accident.

5. Insurance companies will record your conversations and may use your words against you later.

6. Insurance companies will argue that your medical treatment was excessive and not necessary in an attempt to avoid paying your medical bills.

7. The insurance company will not share information with you that might increase the value of your case.

8. The insurance company will not want you to wait to settle until you have incurred all expenses or have an understanding of what future expenses are probable.

9. Insurance companies may make quick, below value offers to settle to those who have not had prior experience with a claim or an opportunity to evaluate the claim.

10. Insurance companies are not your friends, even if they pretend to be friendly.

In addition to protecting your interests against an insurance company, a personal injury attorney knows how to gather and protect evidence, find and engage expert witnesses, and deal the legal, medical, and insurance systems.

There is often no charge, and there is no obligation to hire, when you consult a personal injury lawyer about potential representation.  Many personal injury attorneys are paid from the proceeds of your claim and fees are contingent upon those proceeds and not the hourly rate typically charged.

If you have unfortunately been in a car accident, consider these reasons to speak with a personal injury attorney.

November 22, 2013

6 Potential Repercussions of a DUI/OVI Conviction

When you get pulled over for a DUI (now called OVI), you likely realize that you could get arrested – you probably even realize that you could go to jail, if convicted.  But, there are other potential repercussions that may surprise you.  The repercussions of a DUI/OVI conviction can be more far reaching than many people initially realize.  The consequences make it worth defending against the charges, even if you think you might be guilty.  There are also many ways that a criminal defense attorney can help lessen some of these consequences short of trying to prove you innocent.

Here are just a few of the potential consequences of a drunk driving conviction:

1. Job Loss – Many employers are reluctant to hire someone who has been convicted of a DUI/OVI.  While a DUI/OVI arrest likely has nothing to do with a person’s ability to be an excellent employee, employers may worry about the impact upon job performance, problems down the road, or even potentially increases to their medical insurance costs.  Jobs which involve any driving are certainly impacted.  Many corporate insurance polices will not cover individuals with a DUI/OVI conviction.  Even if you drive your own car, employers worry about being liable for any driving you do while on company business.

2 Loss of Respect in the Community – Are you ready for your friends, family, and neighbors to find out that you have been convicted of criminal offense?  Are you ready to have your children, spouse, and parents embarrassed by your criminal conviction?  Are you ready to have parents refuse to send their children over to your home because they are worried that you might have a problem with alcohol?

3. Loss of Driver’s License – Are you ready to be dependent on friends, family, and public transportation because you can’t legally drive to places you need to go?  How will you get to work?  How will you run errands?  How will you take your children to school or the doctor’s office?

4. Embarrassment – More and more people are turning to the internet for information.  A simple Google search of your name can reveal the fact of your DUI conviction.  In many circumstances, your mug shot could be the first thing seen by anyone who searches your name.

5. Criminal Record – DUI/OVI convictions can never be expunged or removed from your record in any way.  The fact of your DUI/OVI conviction will be on your criminal record for the rest of your life.  Additionally, certain laws now permit a prior DUI/OVI conviction to be held against you for the nest 20 years.

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction.  If you have been arrested for DUI or OVI, the potential repercussions are too great to sit back and just let it happen.  You should immediately consult with a qualified DUI defense attorney to zealously identify and argue your best defenses.  Even if you think you might have driven impaired, there may be a defense or mitigation which can substantially limit the impact of your arrest.

October 31, 2013

4 Ways Collaborative Divorce Will Save Your Skin if You Let It

Your stress level during (and after divorce) depends on your ability to focus on what’s important in the long run, the attorney you hire, and the process you choose. You get to choose between Collaborative Divorce and litigation (i.e. going to court).

  • Want to make your spouse pay, exact revenge, wrack up high legal fees, lose control, let a judge determine your future, and make yourself ill with stress? Then, hire a shark attorney who promises to tear your spouse apart in court.

  • Want to move on with your life, feel at peace, protect your children, save big bucks, and keep stress at a minimum. Then, hire a cooperative attorney who is willing to participate in the Collaborative Divorce process.

What the Heck is “Collaborative Divorce” Anyway?

Collaborative Divorce is a newer and extremely popular way to handle family law matters such as divorce.

  • Both you and your spouse hire divorce attorneys, who agree to participate in the Collaborative Divorce procedure.
  • This means that, with the help of your attorneys, you work out a divorce agreement yourselves, instead of asking the court to intervene and make decisions for you.
  • All discussions are based on negotiation and working out a “deal” that works for both spouses – there is no crushing anyone.
  • If you can’t work out an agreement, you do have the option of asking the court for help at that point, but you’ll have to hire a different divorce attorney to do so.
  • Why? Because your attorney and your spouse’s attorney have agreed to do everything they can to help you reach a mutually beneficial agreement. They also have agreed that they will not represent you and your spouse in court.

Here are the 4 Ways Collaborative Divorce is Better than Litigation

  1. Collaborative Divorce allows you to stay in control. During litigation, you give up all control of your future (and your children’s future) to the court.
  2. Collaborative Divorce keeps legal fees and court costs as low as possible. During litigation, fees skyrocket exponentially.
  3. Collaborative Divorce will support your relationship with your spouse and help you to make good decisions together for the future – and in the future. This is especially important if you share children. On the other hand, litigation is adversarial and will further deteriorate any relationship you have.
  4. Collaborative Divorce will go along way to keeping your stress level to a minimum, supporting your good health. Conversely, during litigation your stress level will explode.

Do you think Collaborative Divorce may be a good fit for you? If so, be sure to ask whether the divorce lawyer you’re considering hiring will support your efforts before you hire him/her.

October 24, 2013

The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

If need to hire a Cincinnati criminal lawyer, you probably need to find one soon. But you should be certain to take steps to find a lawyer who is a good fit for you and your individual case. This article will help you understand the basic questions you should ask potential attorneys.

Here are the 3 questions to ask when hiring a Cincinnati criminal defense attorney:

1. Do you focus your practice on criminal defense or do you handle other areas of legal practice as well?

You should seek to hire a Cincinnati attorney who focuses his or her practice on criminal defense. Too many attorneys claim to handle criminal defense while spending the bulk of their time handling other matters such as personal injury cases or domestic relations matters. No attorney can keep up on the constant evolution of multiple areas of practice.

If you are facing criminal charges, your money, freedom, family, and livelihood may all be at stake. You need someone who focuses his practice on criminal defense.

2. How long have your been focusing your practice on criminal defense?

The preferred answer is “10 to 15 years” or more. Why? With so much at stake, it’s not wise to work with a new lawyer who lacks experience practicing criminal law, dealing with the criminal court system, and advising clients.

3. Have you handled cases like mine? If so, what was the outcome?

The attorney you’re interviewing may not be a good fit if that attorney lacks experience in similar cases or focuses his or her practice on another area of criminal law.

For example, if you’re facing drug charges, it’s wise to choose an attorney who has previously – and successfully – handled drug cases. If you’re facing white collar financial charges, you need an attorney experienced in handling white collar cases.

These questions may all seem obvious. However, most people don’t think to ask or aren’t comfortable asking. It’s totally appropriate to ask all the questions you have to when you hire any professional, including a criminal defense attorney. Go ahead and ask. If they don’t want to answer, or you don’t like their answers, they may not be the attorney for you.

October 15, 2013

ALERT: These 5 Warning Signs Indicate You May Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Below are 5 warning signs that you may need to consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in order to protect your interests.

1 You were hurt on the job, but have been told that you are not covered by Workers’ Compensation for any reason (such as your employer has taken the position that you are an “independent contractor”).

2 The doctor to whom you were directed by your employer says you need to get back to work, but you (or your doctor) do not believe feel that you are ready and require more time or treatment to heal.

3 Medical treatment or testing that your doctor has requested has been denied.

4 Your work injury was not caused by your employer or a co-worker. Another individual or company caused your injury.

5 Your employer caused your injury intentionally or by the removal or lack of safety guards or equipment.

Keep in mind that you have earned Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you are receiving denials or another of these 5 warning signs apply to you, you may need help. It may be in your best interests to consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney immediately to determine your options.

Working closely with the attorneys and staff of Laufman & Napolitano, you will have a greater ability to understand your rights and fight to ensure you receive the benefits and protection available to you under the law. With reliable information, you can make good decisions about your claim and health moving forward.

A consultation to discuss possible involvement in a workers’ compensation claim with Laufman & Napolitano is free of charge and without obligation. This means you can determine whether to hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney without cost. While specific advice will not be provided to you during any consultation, you will have opportunity to discuss your options and circumstances with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney and plan your path forward.

July 15, 2013

What is the ADAAA and How Can an Employment Law Attorney Help?

If you or a loved one has been discriminated against because of a disability, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to protection under the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”). Fortunately, since 2008, it has become easier to prove you are entitled to protection thanks to the ADAAA.

What is the ADAAA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (”ADAAA”) makes it easier for an individual to prove that he (or she) is indeed protected by the ADA.

The ADAAA:

  • Allows a broad definition of both physical and mental disability.
  • Favors a finding of disability.
  • Makes it easier for an individual to prove that he or she is disabled, under the definition of the ADA.
  • Increases the burden on employers to make accommodations for a disabled employee.

How Do I Prove My Employment Discrimination Case?

There are two main elements that you must show to win a discrimination case under the ADA.

  • First, you must show that you suffer some kind of physical and/or mental disability that affects your job.  Although the ADAAA made it much easier to prove disability, not every impairment is necessarily a disability.
  • Second, you must show that your employer did not make attempt to make reasonable accommodations in your job to allow you to perform, in spite of your disability.  Not all accommodation requests need be honored, only a reasonable attempt to accommodate need be made.

How to Find an Employment Law Attorney

If you are qualified for a job and you can perform that job with reasonable accommodation for a disability, an employer must make an effort to provide that reasonable accommodation. By law, you cannot be singled out, harassed, or fired because of a disability.

If your employer acts inappropriately, you may have a discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Fortunately, the ADAAA (amendments to the ADA) has expanded protection for disabled workers.

If you think you may have an ADA or ADAAA case, our employment law attorney, Greg Napolitano, would be happy to evaluate your case at no charge. You are invited to call Greg at 513.621.4556 or email Greg here.

June 13, 2013

On Workers Compensation? You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney

Although the Workers Compensation system was designed to avoid issues of fault and quickly allow an injured worker to return to her former position of employment, the system may not be the only remedy available in all injury situations.

If you’ve suffered a work injury as the result of the negligence of someone other than your employer, or in the event your employer has forced you to work in violation of the restrictions your doctor has placed upon you and you have been further injured, you may benefit by consulting with a personal injury attorney. Consultations are free and without obligation, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to inquire whether you may have a legitimate claim against a third party for additional compensation.

Some Examples of When to Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney for a Workplace Injury:

You are being forced to work in violation of your medical restrictions.

For example, your doctor has released you to a sedentary, or “sit-down” job, but your employer requires you to work your more physically demanding job, nevertheless, resulting in further injury.

You were injured by someone other than your employer or co-worker.

For example, a vendor delivering supplies ran you over with a forklift or hand truck.

You were injured by a chemical or some other toxic substance.

For example, you inhaled a dangerous chemical or were burned by a toxic substance while working.

You were injured by a defective product.

For example, the safety guard on a saw cracked and broke off.   As a result, your hand was badly cut.

You were injured by your employer’s Willful or egregious conduct.

For example, your employer removed a safety guard on the machine you operate and you are injured because of the lack of guarding.

March 25, 2013

Why white-collar criminal defense demands more from your attorney

All criminal defendants rely heavily on their attorneys for counsel, court representation, and potential plea-negotiations. Each of these traditional attorney functions present unique challenges. Given that all criminal attorneys perform these basic functions, it might be easy to gloss over the distinction between traditional criminal defense attorneys and white-collar criminal defense attorneys. However, the reality is that most criminal defense attorneys are simply not equipped to handle the complex issues implicated in white-collar cases, and the stakes criminal defendants face are simply too high to make the mistake of retaining the wrong attorney.

What are the stakes?

U.S. District Judge David Hittner recently sentenced Stanford accounting chief Gilbert Lopez and global controller Mark Kuhrt to 20 years of jail time each. The sentencing comes down in the wake of years of controversy surrounding the financial scandals that rocked the economy worldwide, amidst widespread concern amongst victims that white-collar criminals are treated with impunity they do not deserve. In short, the atmosphere does not bode well for the criminal defendant facing a jury of his or her peers, and it falls to the white-collar criminal defendant’s attorney to carry out an effective defense strategy.

The particularities of white-collar defense work

While traditional criminal defense attorneys can build a practice that caters to the vast majority of criminal cases, white-collar criminal defense work is distinct and unique area of law. White-collar criminal defense attorneys are faced with unique complaints and allegations relating to insider trading, securities fraud, and complex financial violations. These legal issues relate to a distinct set of federal and state statutes and case law, each of which requires an expertise not typically found amongst all-purpose criminal attorneys. What white-collar crimes usually have in common, and also renders them distinct from the various unrelated crimes that most criminal attorneys handle is the presence of deceit, and the absence of violence. Furthermore, white-collar crimes often involve actions carried out under the authority and direction of a criminal defendant. Such factual circumstances implicate laws of agency and corporate responsibility that run-of-the-mill criminal attorneys simply do not interact with on a daily basis. While every attorney learns the basics of each area of law when they go to law school, only an attorney that practices a particular area of law on a regular basis can truly provide effective representation. When it comes to criminal cases, there is simply too much at stake to place a criminal defendant’s fate in the hands of an attorney with no experience in the relevant field.

Retain an experienced white-collar criminal defense attorney

White-collar criminal defendants may face a more hostile environment today than they have in years, both in the courtroom and in the public eye. It pays to contact and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the issues implicated in white-collar criminal cases. The reason is simple: when your liberty is at stake, you cannot afford to lose.

January 14, 2013

Unemployment Eligibility

In Ohio, most employers must make contributions for unemployment insurance for its employees. This is called “covered employment.” A worker in Ohio may receive unemployment benefits provided the following qualifying requirements are met:

The worker is not employed at the time of filing.

The worker had a minimum of 20 weeks of covered employment during the “base period,” or “alternate base period.”

The worker earned a minimum average weekly wage during the relevant base period, $220 currently, though the amount changes yearly.

In addition to the foregoing, the worker must not be out of work because the employer had “just cause,” to end the employment or, in the case of a worker who quits their employment, the worker is required to have just cause for the decision to do so.

If a worker is let go as a part of a layoff or a plant closing, or a position was abolished, because of a lack of work, the worker will generally qualify.

A worker generally may not collect benefits if they were fired for careless work, neglecting the job’s obligations and responsibilities or violated company rules and policies the worker knew or should have known about. Such a termination must, however, be consistent with that of a ordinary employer under similar circumstances.

If a worker has just cause to terminate their employment, they may also be eligible. Examples could include:

- A worker required to work under conditions that violate legal health or safety standards

- A worker subjected to harassment or humiliation

- A worker whose position is fundamentally altered such that it is not possible for the worker to complete their duties or work without substantial hardship

- A worker whose employer has not fulfilled the conditions of an employment a agreement or complying with wage and hour laws

- A worker who is locked out in a labor dispute may be eligible

To maintain eligibility, a worker must be available for work relating to her trade or occupation. The worker must also be available for suitable work for any shift of any trade or work consistent with her training and experience.

A worker must make a a good faith effort to find work and keep a written record of your weekly search efforts in the area where she worked or where work is normally performed.

***

This blog is written and published by Laufman & Napolitano, LLC

December 3, 2012

Hiring a Lawyer can Soften the Blow of a DUI/OVI

A driving under the influence charge, also called a DUI or OVI, is a serious criminal offense that is far more than an inconvenience. Even first-time offenders face a mandatory three days in jail or a residential driver’s intervention program. They must content with loss of their driver’s license for a mandatory minimum of six months up to a possible three years. There are also substantial financial costs including fines, court costs, probation costs, driver’s license reinstatement fees, and a hefty increase in auto liability premiums.

A driver with a prior OVI offense faces substantially greater jail time or residential alcohol treatment, heavier fines and loss of driving privileges for five years and more. Ohio law requires that an ignition interlock device be installed on a convicted driver’s vehicles in any case involving either a high-level breath test or multiple offenses. This means the driver must blow into the device before the car will start. These devices are costly, embarrassing, and intrusive.

What Your DUI Attorney Can Do

Your DUI lawyer can advise you on what defenses are available and what your options may be. For example, the following issues may be present in your case:

Whether the stop of your car was legally valid

Your performance on field sobriety tests

The validity of the officer’s opinion of your impairment

The credibility and validity of the breath test

Along with improper vehicle stops, how the officer conducts or interprets any field sobriety tests is often incorrect or does not follow protocol. Also, if the officer did not actually see you driving, there are issues of identification and the timing of any drinking in relation to the movement of the vehicle.

Further, a breath test machine must be calibrated correctly. If you have a particular medical condition, it may affect the breath test results as well. There are also multiple issues presently being litigated in regard to the Intoxilyzer 8000, the newest breath testing device being utilized in the state of Ohio.

Many times issues arise that can result in dismissal or mitigation of the offense. In many instances, hiring a skilled and knowledgeable DUI/OVI attorney can result in a favorable resolution of these serious charges.

***

This blog is written and published by Laufman & Napolitano, LLC

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