How Much Does A Personal Injury Attorney Charge?

When you’ve been injured and you aren’t to blame, the last thing you want to deal with is a bloated legal bill for something that wasn’t your fault. Luckily, you probably won’t have to do that. This is one particular situation in which the legal system truly does try to work for everyone, and it makes compensation easier to acquire if you were hurt. But how much will your personal injury attorney charge for the case? Well, it depends.

If you are involved in a criminal case, then you’ll likely need to provide your lawyer with an immediate retainer in order to keep service ongoing. If you don’t have the money, then you’ll have to rely on a public defender or go without.

A personal injury attorney usually doesn’t work on retainer. Instead, they work on contingency. In this scenario, you hire a lawyer who will charge a fee based on a final settlement.

By basing their services on the assumption of victory in court, you’re prevented from wasting your own money up front, and fewer frivolous lawsuits are filed. You can’t waste their time, and they can’t waste yours: it’s win-win.

A personal injury attorney will likely charge you anywhere from 33 to 40 percent of the cost of your case. That fee is paid after a settlement is reached for your case. Most lawyers will take a third, but you can always try to barter to make a better deal. Some attorneys really do just want to help, so it doesn’t hurt to try.

Because the fees are based on contingency, the overall charge is dependent on how big your case is. If you suffered a minor injury, and don’t stand to acquire much compensation, then the dollar amount charged by your lawyer will obviously be lawyer. That said, if you were put in a wheelchair for the rest of your life and you’re suing for millions, the charge will be greatly increased. Keep this in mind when you file your lawsuit, and be sure to ask relevant questions when talking about lawyer fees with your personal injury attorney.

Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

When you are in a car accident, it can seem like your life has become pure chaos. It is important that during this stressful time, you avoid mistakes at all costs. If you have suffered an injury and cannot work or have incurred damages to your vehicle that you cannot afford, you will need to file a lawsuit against the other party involved. If you make a mistake, like admitting fault or downplaying your injuries, it can considerably lessen or completely diminish the reward you are entitled to.


Lying about your accident is one of the worst things you can do. It will diminish any credibility that you had and it will allow your insurance company to dishonor your policy if they choose to. If your insurance company decides not to honor your policy, you may be personally liable for damages caused to the other party.

Medical Attention

After you are involved in a car accident, whether it is a minor or major car accident, you should seek medical attention. Tell your medical professional any pain you are feeling. This is not the time to be a tough guy. Injuries from an accident may seem minor, but can have long term effects that affect your ability to work. Make sure to keep a file of all of your medical records, including billing and diagnosis.

Waiting to Find Help

After a car accident, life can get a little bit crazy. One way to organize everything is to seek help. Whether it is seeing a doctor for your injuries, calling the authorities after an accident, or hiring a lawyer, you should find help sooner, rather than later.

Fail to Call the Authorities

The police can be your best friend after an accident. They will create a report, noting the events that happened before, during, and after the crash. You should try to obtain a copy of this report for your records; as the police report rids the he said, she said argument. In some states, it is illegal not to call the police after an accident; so make sure you call.

Admitting Fault

One of the most important mistakes you want to avoid is admitting fault. If you admit fault, it is possible that your case will be dead where it started.

Settling too Quickly

Even if you are strapped for cash, do not settle too quickly. The first offer of the insurance company might be low, follow your lawyers lead and negotiate for a higher reward.

Stay Away from Social Media

After a car accident, or anytime you are involved in a lawsuit, it is important that you stay away from social media. Status updates about the accident or about your injuries may hurt your chance for the rewards you deserve. These updates can be used against you. Be careful about your posts!

As long as you are able to avoid major mistakes, you should receive compensation for your losses. If you are in need of guidance, contact an experienced car accident attorney. They will help you navigate through your case.

Famous Medical Malpractice Cases


Famous Medical Malpractice Cases

Throughout American history, court cases have shaped the way we view certain issues. There have been criminal cases that are covered nationally, like OJ Simpson, or the Menendez Brothers, and civil cases that were so outstanding they demanded news coverage (Stella Liebeck Vs. McDonald’s). We have uncovered a few medical malpractice cases that will leave your jaw hanging as you say “Are you kidding me?!”.

Some of the most famous medical malpractice cases in American history are:

Bodybuilder Gets Pecs

Alexander Baez was a former Mr. Mexico and Mr. Universe contestant. All he ever wanted was to have the best pecs in the world. Unfortunately, his want for pecs would lead him down a dangerous path. Baez found a doctor who would give him pec implants. That doctor was Reinaldo Silverman. Baez reported the day of the surgery and when he woke up, he noticed something was wrong. Well, it turns out that Dr. Silverman was not a doctor at all. Silverman used animal anesthetics to knock out Baez, then used woman’s breast implants instead of men’s pec implants. After the surgery, Silverman fled the country. He was found practicing and teaching medicine in Belize five years later and was arrested for a number of criminal charges.

Screwdriver Used as a Rod for a Spine

One day, Arturo Iturralde went in for back surgery. Arturo needed a rod put in his back and he trusted Dr. Robert Ricketson to get the job done. That was a big mistake for Arturo. During the surgery, Dr. Ricketson misplaced the rods he was going to implant in place to support Arturo’s spine. His quick fix was to remove the handle from a screwdriver and use that instead. A few days later, the screwdriver broke. This lead to more surgeries on Arturo’s back. Arturo recovered $5.6 million as a reward for a medical malpractice claim.

They Took the Wrong Leg

In the late 90s, Willie King suffered an infection in his leg. To prevent the infection from spreading, the doctor’s determined that they should remove his leg. Dr. Ronaldo Sanchez was responsible for performing the surgery. The surgery went well except for one little problem; Dr. Sanchez removed the wrong leg. Dr. Sanchez was ordered to pay $10,000 in fines and received a six -month suspension of his medical license. Willie King, became a millionaire. He was able to recover $900,000 from the hospital and $250,000 from the doctor.

While many surgeries may seem routine, there is always a chance something goes wrong. If you have had surgery and have been further injured or suffered an infection, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced medical malpractice today to learn more about your case.

So What Do I Do With My Settlement Money?

No matter how you got your settlement money managing it properly is important. Here are some tips and tricks on how to make sure that settlement money lasts and that you’re not spending it all in one place!

Understanding Taxes

The first thing that you should figure out is how much of the settlement will be subject to income tax! If you win a settlement from a personal injury trial, there might be an exception. If you won your settlement from a breach of contract, copyright infringement, lost profits back pay or other punitive damages then it will most like be subject to income tax. When you win a large settlement, hire a tax attorney to help you understand what portion of your settlement is taxable and what portion of it might be tax-free.

Find A Good Financial Advisor 

When winning a settlement there are a lot of emotions that are involved – relief, excitement, guilt, and happiness. This emotional rollercoaster can lure people into making bad decisions with their money. Finding a good financial planner who specializes in “wealth management” is a good strategy to help you have a long-term financial plan. They can also help you select where to invest your money and if that splurge purchase is a good idea!

Pay Off Debt But Also Save

When we said don’t spend all your money in one place, we meant it. As excited as it would be to pay off all your debt, having some debt is a good thing especially if you need a mortgage or a car loan in the future. We recommend paying off any high-interest loans, credit cards, and other medical expenses. We recommend saving at least 6 months of living expenses in a high yield savings account to help you stay out of debt in the future. If you have money to spare then definitely consider paying off your mortgage if applicable. Then discuss the remaining assets with an estate planning attorney so you know where your future assets will go in the event that you pass.


Why Does Spousal Support Even Exist In Today’s Day & Age?

Spousal support, in one way or another, has been around since about 1745 BC. Yes, spousal support, or alimony, was first referenced in the Code of Hammurabi. The problem with this is that when the idea of spousal support was first thought up, it made sense. Women did not work and at some points in history, they did not receive an education either. They were to stay at home and take care of the house and the kids. That has since changed. Every day, more and more women become a part of the workforce. In some cases, the woman of the family is even the breadwinner, making more money than the husband. While spousal support was once necessary, it is becoming less and less necessary and the idea of spousal support is becoming less and less possible among younger generations.

What is Spousal Support?

Let’s start with the basics, what is spousal support? Spousal support is a payment made by one ex-spouse to the other, in order for the lower or no income ex-spouse to maintain a similar lifestyle to the lifestyle he/she experienced when they were married. When you are getting a divorce, your cases will fall into one of three categories:

  • No spousal support will be paid – Both members of the divorce are capable of supporting themselves financially.
  • Temporary spousal support will be paid – Temporary spousal support will be granted by the judge requiring the higher earning spouse to pay spousal support to the lower-earning spouse until he/she is able to find a job and financially support himself/herself.
  • Permanent spousal support will be paid – This is becoming more and rarer, but permanent spousal support is awarded when one spouse can prove that the marriage derailed their career path and they will be unable to financially support himself/herself. For example, if the wife gave up her career to be a stay at home mother and limited her earning potential, while the husband maximized his earning potential during those years. Another scenario where permanent spousal support is awarded is if one spouse has a disability and is unable to work.

Spousal support has become a national debate. While there is a growing number of younger people fighting on the side of doing away with spousal support, the older generation is holding strong, stating that it is necessary.

Is Spousal Support Necessary?

A growing number of people are beginning to question if spousal support is actually necessary. The best answer that can be provided is, yes and no. While permanent spousal support is becoming increasingly unnecessary as more women and men are furthering their education past high school, allowing them to get a well-paying job in a particular field of study, temporary spousal support may still be necessary in some cases. In the event that the mother or father gives up forwarding their career to become a stay at home parent, they may need some help getting back on their feet. In this case, once they are employed and are earning an income, the spousal support should cut out.

Another debate that is building momentum is the percentage of income that one ex-spouse is required to pay to another. The spousal support payment is supposed to be about 30% of the higher earning spouses income. In some cases, it has been reported that an ex-spouse has to pay over 50%; and that is on top of child support if there are children involved.  

Essentially, determining whether spousal support should be paid from one spouse to another should come down to what is fair. Spousal support was put in place in an effort to help protect an ex-spouse that is incapable of taking care of himself/herself financially. Spousal support should be paid when it is necessary and the payments should stop when it is no longer needed. It is not meant to punish one spouse if there was wrongdoing or just for having a higher income than the other. If you are looking for more information about spousal support, or you are looking to modify your already existing spousal support, please, contact us.  

Family Limited Partnerships Might Not Be Common, But They Can Save Money

You’re probably already wondering what they are. A family limited partnership is essentially a highly legalized way of assigning specific responsibilities to a particular partner, and this kind of partnership is most often used to transfer wealth from one generation to the next. It’s the type of thing that already happens all the time without the help of the legal world, so it isn’t such a shock that we might think to formalize the process.

In a family limited partnership, a “general” partner maintains the responsibility to manage investments. In this case, responsibility equates to liability. If those investments fall through, then the general partner is liable for that loss.

A “limited” partner gives up the right to manage these affairs, and as a result they enjoy limited liability. Because the legal function of the partnership is to limit responsibility to one party most of the time, the joint income and associated deductions will be reported on a personal tax return.

Okay, so now you know what the legal definitions of these family limited partnerships are–but what are they used for? Let’s say you’ve enjoyed a life of bounty, and you’re ready to retire from the world of responsibility. Your assets have grown to the point of bursting, and you no longer want to manage them. You also want your children and grandchildren to have an established portion of those assets either before or after you pass away. That’s where this type of arrangement can become beneficial. You’ll sign away some of these assets–maintaining all of the liability for those assets–but you can still govern how those assets are arranged. They’re yours to invest as you see fit.

These arrangements aren’t just for the super-rich, as there are other reasons you might want to draw up papers. That’s just one example of what you might do with such a partnership, but why would you do it?

The answer to that question is simple: it’s the same reason you would smartly invest time and money into any sort of estate management or probate action. You want to reduce the taxes you pay. By handing your assets to other members of your family, you can avoid some of Uncle Sam’s cut at the same time continuing to oversee the management of the assets and acquiring any interest accrued from them.

Another way to save money is by way of the annual gift tax exclusion. When your wealth transitions to the partners, the value of any shares you hold may be eligible as a tax deduction because the limited partners have no control over how the assets are invested. It’s this kind of flexibility that can result in mutually beneficial arrangements for your family. You can take what would normally be a number of different investment accounts for any potential heirs, and combine them into only one. This makes management of investments infinitely easier and less expensive than it would be otherwise.

You might be thinking that there’s a catch, but that really isn’t the case. The only thing that should worry you are the state laws where you live, which can change how the process is governed. Members of such an arrangement should all be well versed in the responsibilities they will hold once the partnership is established, not to mention the responsibilities that they will give up. What are your rights when you sign into such an agreement, and how much might they change as time goes on? These are questions to discuss with a trusted lawyer, who will be able to formulate a sensible financial and legal strategy for your family and its future.

If you think that a family limited partnership is something that your family might be interested in considering, then you must draft a limited partnership agreement in writing. Once the agreement is made, the transition of wealth will be formally conducted.

What Are The Guidelines For A Malpractice Suit Against Your Attorney?

You do your homework in order to hire the right lawyer for your case, but something goes wrong. What happened? If your attorney has made mistakes that have cost you in some way, can you sue him or her? Malpractice lawsuits against lawyers are indeed on the table, and there are different reasons why people end up suing attorneys. Let’s look at the reasoning behind a malpractice lawsuit and some of the different types.

Many people after losing a case are going to instantly feel like suing a lawyer for malpractice, but losing isn’t indicative of malpractice. It really matters that incompetence is proven, and your lawyer must have either failed to do something or not have done whatever it is properly. As you can imagine, the lines here can seem blurred regarding liability based on opinion, but what matters is what the law has to say. Naturally, the best way to see if your lawyer should be held accountable is to reach out to a legal expert for guidance.

Financial loss has to be proven, but as you can imagine, a paid lawyer not taking proper action certainly means you lost money. What types of malpractice cases exist anyway? One type of case is about negligence, and two other types involve breach of duty and breach of contract. Aside from suing your attorney, you can also take other actions, and you might want to know what those are, too.

For one reason or another, you feel that your attorney is responsible for the outcome of your case. Perhaps your case hasn’t even been resolved just yet. Look into your options for a malpractice lawsuit, and see what choices you have when it comes to other actions you can take, too. You are paying good money for an attorney, and you expect a reasonable case outcome as well.

New $5 Million Settlement For Worker Who Contracted Popcorn Lung

When we go into work each day, most of us have the expectation that the company under which we’re employed has taken basic steps in order to keep us as safe as possible. We don’t expect to experience extreme pain or debilitation from just another day on the job. Unfortunately, companies exist to turn a profit, and sometimes this expectation is a fallacy. That was the case of a Humphrey Farrington & MCClain PC client who won a $5 million settlement when he was exposed to diacetyl, a butter flavoring chemical that was once commonly used.

George Giles was a mechanic for a Ventura Foods located in St. Joseph from 1997 to 2003, and showed signs of respiratory issues as early as 1999. Even though he suffered a number of chronic and progressive injuries by the time he parted ways with the company in 2003, the damage was already done. He was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans (or popcorn lung) in 2011.

When popcorn lung progressives far enough, it results in permanent lung damage due to scarring from regular inflammation of airways. Respiratory problems are caused after the damaged lung tissues lead to narrow airways that restrict breathing. Symptoms of popcorn lung vary greatly, and can present as subtle and mild, or painfully overwhelming and severe. The condition can be especially dangerous and difficult to diagnose in subjects who already have other respiratory conditions like asthma. Common symptoms include a dry cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, exhaustion, rapid breathing, or skin, mouth, nose and eye irritation.

Other causes of popcorn lung include fumes from chemicals like ammonia and chlorine, air particles and dust from industrial locations, welding fumes, and gases like nitrous oxide. The condition may develop after the subject experiences a respiratory infection, has a transplant, takes certain kinds of drugs like penicillamine, or already has underlying immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

It took Giles another two years to file a lawsuit, which he did in 2013. His attorneys claimed that the food industry that used the chemical diacetyl to flavor butter already knew about the popcorn lung link, and could have acted to prevent workers from being exposed. It was especially negligent because employees were not provided any warning about the potential side effects of some of the chemicals with which they would be working.

This isn’t the first diacetyl-related victory for the prestigious law firm. They won a $30.4 verdict in 2010 and three more in 2004 and 2005 that led to a grand total of a whopping $50 million. Although these monies were distributed to workers who were exposed to the dangerous chemicals, the law firm alleges that money can’t reimburse the hardships which some of these people are now forced to cope with now on a daily basis.

Sadly, lawsuits like the aforementioned are common–and necessary–in the continuing fight to protect workers from companies and corporations that would put profits over the health and wellbeing of their workers.

Is An Estate Plan Necessary For You?

For those who are young, broke, or single, the idea of estate planning seems nonsensical. The average person in this position is going to be looking at making ends meet rather than planning for their future estate. Of course, this is why it is essential to speak to a financial advisor and make sure you are going down the right path.

For those who are in this boat, you want to think about your future as soon as possible.

This read is going to help answer the question about whether or not you should be setting up an estate plan in the future.

Simple Planning Is Key

Estate planning is not for the rich or old of society.

This is a misinterpretation of the regulations and the wrong way to approach estate planning. Instead, it is a tool used to make sure your future generations or family members are not left in stringent court battles, or things don’t unfold as you may have wanted them to.

This happens all the time, and even if you have minimal assets, it is always best to account for their future too.

Accidents can happen and being young doesn’t mean death isn’t a possibility. Of course, no one wishes to think about this, but estate planning is a must in such a situation.

What’s Required Right Now?

The standard will is great and a nice part of estate planning but you may want to think about current aspects of your life first.

What does this mean?

The idea is to have a three-step plan in place as soon as possible. This is going to include the following items.

1) Health Care Proxy
2) Power of Attorney
3) Living Will

Start with the health care proxy. This is a solution to make sure the right person is making all the decisions for your health.

If you were to get into a horrible car accident and can’t make medical decisions, it should be clear who is the next in command.

After doing this, you are recommended to have a proper power of attorney. This is going to include information about your financial matters and who is the next in command for making those decisions. It doesn’t matter how many assets you have; it is best to have someone’s name down.

The final step is a living will, where you look to set up a document stating what medical treatment you’re okay with and which ones you are not. This makes it easier for the decision to go the way you want it to.

I’m Completely Broke – How Do I Afford An Attorney?

While the law says everyone has a right to an attorney, the unfortunate truth is that being poor makes that difficult. The best attorneys charge massive amounts of money, while the public defenders tend to be overworked and underpaid. That doesn’t give one much confidence in getting proper representation.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to overcome that. None of them will get you the top lawyer in the state, but you might get a bit more help than you would otherwise.

Low-Income Aid Organizations

There are a number of organizations that offer help to those who don’t make much money. These can be a great help since they can often pay for a large part of the expense. Sometimes they can even cover the entire cost!

However, many of these organizations expect people to be near or below the poverty line to qualify. It’s unfortunate when that happens, but keep in mind that however broke you are, there are enough people worse off that an entire organization must exist to help them.

Check With Law Schools

Much like dental and medical schools, you can often get aid from senior year students. Many of these students are licensed to practice law, as long as they have a fully licensed and accredited mentor standing watch.

Of course, as with all students, this is a hit or miss situation. First, you have to be lucky enough to check in when they’re testing students “in the field”, so to speak. Then you have to hope you get a knowledgeable student instead of one who’s close to failing.

Check With The County

At the end of the day, the public defender program is there for everyone to use. The funding is often lacking, which means public defenders tend to have too many clients and not enough time to properly help them all. Yet if you simply can’t afford a lawyer, then it’s an option you should look in to.

Whatever you do, do not represent yourself in court. Representation is more than simply standing in front of a judge and arguing for yourself. There’s a huge amount of paperwork that must be filed, as well a number of laws that must be followed. The likelihood of making a mistake that sends you spiraling further downward is high.

If you’re thinking of defending yourself, then you should go the public defender route. Otherwise, try pricing some attorneys on your own. You might be surprised at the cost.