Can I Sue My Attacker If They’re In Prison?

Imagine this situation: You were attacked on the street, but you defend yourself to the best of your ability. You manage to subdue your assailant. You flag down a witness to call the police. When they arrive, they arrest the perpetrator and send him off to jail — but they also notice that your arm is broken in two places. An ambulance arrives. You get patched up. Weeks go by before the bills finally come in the mail. You can’t possibly pay! What’s your next move?

First, when a person injures you either voluntarily or through negligence, we call that niche of law “personal injury.” In these situations, you have the right to collect “damages” by filing a lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers even work via contingency, which means you don’t pay a dime until they win your case. Sounds good? Of course it does!

But what if the person you’re trying to sue has already been arrested and is in prison?

That’s where things get slightly more complicated. You have two basic options, neither of which will likely sound wonderful. First, you can ask your lawyer if restitution is possible. Restitution is a form of repayment when victims of a crime suffer financial loss and is actually mandatory for many federal crimes. 

Because you were assaulted and suffered an expensive injury, you are almost certainly entitled to restitution. The problem, though, is that most people who commit crimes like these are already living in poverty and won’t be able to pay you back. This is especially true when the criminal is serving time in prison.

A lawyer for jgcg said, “We provide criminal defense services. Sometimes clients are slammed with restitution. Guilty or not, most of them are unable to pay these additional costs — especially after they retain legal aid. Restitution is an impractical option for victims of violent crime, but sometimes it’s the only option.”

Whether or not you receive restitution, you can still sue in civil court for additional costs you incur. Of course, the problems with this option are the same as with restitution: if the criminal cannot pay, you won’t receive a dime. 

If the perpetrator still has assets tied up through marriage, you might be able to sue successfully. You should keep in mind, though, that recouping damages might pass along the financial difficulties you suffered to the family of the defendant. Legally, you have that option. Morally, it’s up to you. 

There’s another side to this story, though. If you’re an inmate with a legal reason to sue someone who is outside of jail, you still have that right! This is especially true if the person works at the jail housing you, or the institution is guilty of cruel or unusual punishment. These lawsuits are more common than you might think, but it shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Over 2.3 million people are sitting in jail in the United States.

Are Undocumented Immigrants Committing More Crime?

Many questions that we receive involve whether or not undocumented immigration causes increased crime rates in bigger cities like Los Angeles, Miami, or Dallas. The short answer is “no, not really…but yes, technically.” What exactly does that mean? Well, first you need to understand that simply being an undocumented immigrant is usually a crime. Overstayed your visa? Hopped the fence? Well, those are technically crimes. So when you hear how many undocumented individuals are criminals, that’s where those statistics are coming from.

Another reason why undocumented individuals are convicted of crime is the status quo. Those who flee to the country generally don’t do so because their pockets are leaking with American dollar bills. Plenty of people are stopped by police officers. If those officers don’t find a valid ID, chances are you’re getting arrested no matter who you are. It’s a lot more likely if they can’t find out who you are. On top of that, once arrested they can’t afford an attorney who can actually help.

An anonymous lawyer for the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman said, “We always recommend immigrating to the United States the old fashioned way, but the truth is harder for most people to comprehend. It’s just not an option for everyone. Moving is a huge financial drain for most of us, and they’re not coming from places where wealth is the norm. Heck, even your average American would have more trouble just emigrating to Canada than they might expect. It’s tough.”

And some people just think immigrants are immune from the law in the United States. They aren’t. When they commit a crime, they’re treated with far more scrutiny than anyone else. But if you were the victim of a crime committed by an undocumented individual, you have the legal right to call the police to report the crime or sue in civil court if there were damages. 

What would surprise some people in this country is that the rates of “actual” crime among undocumented immigrants are usually lower than those of the native population. One Texas study published in the PNAS used data compiled from arrest data compared crime rates in various groups, including undocumented individuals, legal immigrants, and native-born citizens living in Texas. 

The study found that citizens of the United States were about twice as likely to be arrested for a violent crime, even more likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses, and a whopping four times more likely to be arrested for property crimes. What do these statistics actually mean? Well, when you remove the “they’re all criminals” element, undocumented immigrants and fair immigrants aren’t actually committing any crimes. Undocumented immigrants are considered criminals just for being here. 

Other studies have found similar data to satisfy similar conclusions. The perception that immigrants commit more criminal activity will likely persist due to news outlets like Fox News or popular public figures like Donald Trump, who twist the truth or tell outright lies. But perception is only reality for the people who are forced to suffer for it. 

How Is Condominium Defined By Law?

We all know that where you live has everything to do with the law. You might be blasted by unusual tax codes in New York or Florida, but be much more familiar with those in Kansas or Arkansas. But what type of dwelling you live in can mean different laws you have to follow as well. For example, the Florida Condominium Act says that board members cannot be compensated for the related services they provide (in most cases). 

But what does that even mean? What’s the difference between an apartment and condominium and why are they governed by different laws in different states? 

Oxford Languages defines a condominium as “a building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses.” Anyone who has ever lived inside a normal apartment building might be feeling confused. 

It’s all about ownership! You rent an apartment. But when you live in a condo, you own your apartment — which is no longer defined as an apartment. Simple, right? 

That’s also why the laws are so different. We tend to treat lease agreements much differently than purchase agreements. The biggest thing most condo owners need to know is that their landlord will pay the property taxes (just like your landlord in an apartment). The other differences between a condo and apartment are superficial. Generally, you might find similar or the same amenities at both.

From there, the other differences are probably intuitive. Because you own the condo in which you reside, you are also responsible for all maintenance fees. One of the biggest reasons that someone might choose to buy a condo instead of rent an apartment is that condominiums gain or lose equity the same way houses do. Real estate means investment. Sometimes that means more profit down the road, i.e. you can sell your condo for more than it was worth at the time of purchase. 

You can view our website partner for more information or to find legal help in NYC.

Who typically owns a condo? Prices for a unit inside a condominium are usually marginally lower than those paid for a home. Still, those looking to make a first home purchase might choose a condo for that reason. They can always sell for profit and buy a more expensive home later. Although the unit’s maintenance is a responsibility belonging to the owner, the actual property will be maintained by the landlord. That means no mowing the lawn or trimming the hedges. 

One of the biggest draws to home ownership is relative privacy. You won’t find any of that in a condo. But maybe you like the sense of community. There will be condominium rules shared by all. You’re more likely to be close to businesses when living in a condo — so you might be able to get away with no car. That’s another benefit, right? 

You won’t need renter’s insurance, but you will need condo insurance. This will legally cover the owner against the costs of certain types of damage (such as flooding or fire) and help pay for the relevant repairs. 

Who Can Be Held Liable If I Get Injured At An Amusement Park?

The very nature of an amusement park, the rides, and the activities mean that there is an inherent risk of injury. Just like any property or business owner, the owner of an amusement park may be held liable under certain circumstances. This means that if you do get injured at an amusement park, you may have a personal injury claim against the owners, according to Lenzo & Reis, New Jersey Employment Attorneys.

1. Maintenance And Upkeep

The owner is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the amusement park and to ensure that the equipment and other facilities are in good repair and fully operational. If the injury was due to neglect of maintaining the grounds, equipment or other facilities on the property, the owner may be held liable for any expenses.

2. Safety

There are certain safety standards and measures that must be put in place at an amusement park in order to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the grounds as well as while using the facilities and equipment. If these safety standards have not been met or the required measures have not been put in place, the owner may once again be held liable for an injury that has occurred as a result.

3. Additional Responsibility Of Rides

An amusement park owner has the additional responsibility to ensure that the rides on the premises are in good repair and safe. This includes ensuring that safety instructions are provided and that employees are sufficiently trained to operate the ride. Restraints and other safety measures that apply to a specific ride must also be well maintained and in good operation. If it is found that any of these provisions have not been met the amusement park can be held liable for a personal injury claim that resulted.

4. Regular Property Owner Liability

It is not just the rides and other facilities that pose a risk of injury at an amusement park and regular injuries that could occur on any property are also likely. For example, slip and fall injuries are quite common. It is, however, necessary to prove that the owner, management or employees may be responsible for the injury in some way. This is normally due to their direct action, indirect action or total inaction.

For example, if a drink is spilled and an employee neglects to clean it up as soon as possible, the amusement park may be held liable for a slip and fall injury that has occurred as a result. Contrary to popular belief, these type of injuries are much more common than those that occur due to use of the rides and other riskier activities available.

It can be difficult and complicated to prove liability in the case of an injury at an amusement park as there are so many different factors that need to be taken into account. It is highly recommended to hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims that are related to amusement parks to help assess your case. An expert attorney has the knowledge and skill to investigate your case to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

What Is The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Litigation?

We have heard the aforementioned question from our clients many times before. Currently, the United States legal system has to divisions: criminal and civil. Litigation is a term that simply refers to bringing someone to court in order to resolve a dispute.

The first major difference between a civil court case and a criminal court case is who is the plaintiff (the wronged party). In a civil case, the wronged party (whether it be an individual or a business) is the plaintiff.  In a criminal case, the plaintiff is the State (where the alleged misconduct took place) which is usually represented by a lawyer (sometimes referred to as prosecutor or district attorney).

The second major difference between a civil court case and a criminal court case is the level of standard of proof. In civil cases, plaintiffs need to convince the judge or jury of something called “preponderance of evidence” which is a fancy way of saying they need to show that their evidence is more convincing than the evidence of the defendant. It does not mean that the plaintiff has more evidence, just that the plaintiff has more accurate evidence. According to Cornell University Law School, that “preponderance of evidence” means that at least “50 percent of the evidence points to something.”  However, this is very different than criminal cases where the State needs to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed a crime. The jury must also come to a unanimous decision.

Confusing? Here’s an example: OJ Simpson was found NOT GUILTY during his criminal case because the prosecutor could not convince a jury that he committed a crime without any reasonable doubt. However, Nicole Brown Simpon’s family sued OJ for wrongful death and accused him of being liable for her death. Because the family only had to show “preponderance of evidence” OJ was found GUILTY in his civil case.

Which brings us to the third major difference between a civil case and a criminal case: punishments. In a civil case, the defendant, if found guilty, is usually ordered to pay some sort of compensation to the plaintiff. In a criminal case, the defendant, if found guilty, could serve jail time, probation, or pay a fine.

What To Do After Your Identity Is Stolen

Do you suspect that your identity has been stolen? Well, you need to take steps to prevent the theft because it might cost you a lot of money or prison time if not handled correctly. Here’s what you need to do if you find that your identity has been stolen.

Notify The Bank And Creditors: If your bank account or credit card has been affected, you need to close them immediately. Contact the bank or credit card company and notify them immediately.

Place A Fraud Alert On Your Credit Card Report: You should contact the credit reporting agencies and request for a fraud alert which will be placed on your credit files. It lasts 90 days after which you can extend after filing a police report on the matter or the FTC complaint form.

Assess Your Credit Reports: Once the fraud alert is issued, you will be removed from preapproved credit cards or insurance policies. Check your credit card reports thoroughly to identify any signs of fraud. For instance, are there new accounts that you didn’t open? Are there payments that you can’t account for? Is there any personal information that seems strange to you? Report anything that seems unfamiliar to allow the proper agencies to track the crime.

Credit Freeze: You should consider locking down all your credit card information. That way, the reporting agencies will not release your information to any creditors. If you can prove that you’re a victim, a credit freeze will be free.

Contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission): Federal investigators look through the larger and sophisticated cases. However, they always check through the minor cases to discover any patterns that might break identity theft crime rings. If you’re a victim of identity theft, fill out the form available on the FTC website. You can provide the form to your credit companies for further investigation.

Police Report: Also, you need to alert the police in your city about your identity theft case. It’s important to get a police report of the case. Together with the FTC for, you can pursue the case with the financial institutions and make a valid claim. In the police report, you should list down all the accounts with fraud and provide as much evidence as possible. You can also present the police with the FTC form for further investigation.

Finally, you should change all the passwords to your financial accounts but don’t use obvious passwords that can be easily cracked.

Do Not Throw Out Your Defective Product

If you’ve been injured by a defective or faulty product, the first reaction is to get rid of the thing that hurt you! However, in order to file a successful personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor, you will need to keep the faulty product as evidence. During the discovery process of your trial, your faulty product will be examined to prove there was something indeed wrong with it and there was an error when it was being manufactured. If you discard this evidence, proving your case will be very difficult.

One of the most common issues that we see here at Legome Law is people being injured by defective products but are unable to get the compensation that they deserve because they misplaced or threw out the product that damaged them. While we can bring forth your case, it is much more difficult to prove and you might not get the highest settlement possible from the manufacturer and insurance companies. There is also a statute of limitations on when you can file a lawsuit, so time is always of the essence when handling these types of cases.

There are many types of products that can be defective including but not limited to electronic cigarettes, medical devices, vehicle recalls and defects, dangerous baby products, and kids products (lead exposure), pharmaceuticals, toxic chemical exposure (asbestos) and other products that were simply not manufactured right. If you believe that you’ve been injured by a defective product please don’t hesitate to contact our product liability attorneys.

 

 

Wrongful Death & Survival Action Lawsuits

When your loved one is a victim of an accident and is severely injured, it can be a very a difficult time in your life. Taking care of your injured loved one while they recover can be a financial burden not only of them but also on you. Together, you decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit is what’s best to help recover lost wages, medical expenses and the pain and suffering your injured loved one is going through. But then, something tragic happens – your loved one dies in the middle of his pending lawsuit. What do you do? What are your legal rights? There are currently two options available: filing a wrongful death claim as well as filing a survival action.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you are family or a loved one of someone who was killed due to someone else’s negligence (whether immediate or a few weeks after the fact), you have the right to file a wrongful death claim for damages. Damages include pain and suffering while your loved one was injured, current and future income they may have been lost during your loved one’s injury, funeral expenses and outstanding medical bills associated with your loved one’s injuries.

Survival Action

A survival action is slightly different. You are seeking damages on behalf of your now-deceased loved one. In layman’s terms, you are continuing the personal injury case. Usually, the person who files for a survival action is the executor of your loved one’s estate. The estate files a survival action to seek damages relating to the pain and suffering of the victim, medical bills and lost earnings, similar to what your loved one could have recovered in a personal injury lawsuit if they would have survived.  Any compensation awards to the estate is then dispersed directly to the estate and then distributed according to the victim’s last will and testament.

If your loved one died at the hands of someone’s recklessness, give us a call for a free consultation to discuss your case. You might be entitled to file a wrongful death claim and/or a survival action.

 

 

Is Domestic Violence A Personal Injury?

Domestic violence is an epidemic not only affecting couples in the United States but around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe domestic abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their life. For men, the odds are slightly better at 1 in 7. A report from the World Health Organization also told us that a man or woman that is exposed to domestic violence as a child is 3-4 times more likely to abuse their partner. The most alarming statistic comes from a survey from Domestic Violence Statistics that stated: “a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the U.S.” If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should alert authorities then try to have a restraining order granted. Once you are away from the situation and safe, you can proceed by inquiring about a divorce and check out if a civil suit is applicable in your scenario.

Is a Divorce Necessary?

A divorce is likely necessary to enforce any kind of damage award in a civil suit. This is because in the court of law, a married couple’s assets are considered joint-property. Technically, the court cannot make a jury decide a verdict that “takes” money from one spouse and “gives it to the other.

You do not have to finalize a divorce before filing a civil lawsuit. If you file for a civil lawsuit during the divorce process, the damages you are owed will be factored into the reward of the divorce. In an ordinary divorce, the assets will most likely be split 50/50. For example, if a couple is determined to be with 500,000, they would split the money $250,000 – $250,000 even. If the wife is suing for domestic violence and is awarded $75,000, the new split would be $325,000 to the wife and $175,000 to the husband.

Types of Civil Claims

The victim of domestic violence has three types of claims that they can file against the abuser: assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In theory, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress do not have to involve physical contact. Battery, on the other hand, is only involved when there is physical contact involved.

If the abuse is physical, the reward will be determined by the severity of the abuse. Even if there are less severe damages, such as bruises, or no physical harm at all, the victim of domestic abuse can still sue for emotional pain and suffering. Many of the domestic abuse cases that have been recorded are not only for one instance of domestic abuse, they are usually built up with numerous occurrences over months or sometimes even years. The damages being sued for do not have to be for just a single reported case, if the victim had been abused by the same abuser more than once over a period of time, there can be a cumulative effect on damages.

When creating a case for emotional pain and suffering, an expert witness may be necessary. An expert witness could be a psychiatrist, psychologist,or any other mental health physician. The expert witness will give a testimony on the victim’s behalf that solidifies the claim of the abusee stating that the mental health issue the victim incurred is a direct result of the abuse suffered. The most common mental health issue that is associated with domestic abuse is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can affect victims for a lifetime and it is required that a medical professional supplies the court with proof of the disorder and testifies on the victim’s behalf.

Domestic violence between partners is a growing epidemic throughout this country and the rest of the world. Many think that domestic abuse can only affect women, but it can also affect men. It is important to continue increasing the awareness of this crime that is committed not only by ordinary people but by athletes and celebrities as well.

What To Do With Your Estate After You Win A Lawsuit

All right, great: you just won a big lawsuit or snagged a decent settlement, and you’re content to be swimming in a sea of cash for the rest of your life. But with great money comes great responsibility, and you’ll need help determining how to organize your affairs, both in life and in death. If you received enough cash, then it’s important to know that you could be looking at a sizable estate tax from your good friend Uncle Sam. Either way, you’ll want to speak with an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to determine the best next steps for you and your family.

Here are just a few things to think about, including actions you can take right now in order to prepare yourself for what happens when you receive an influx of wealth.

Estate planning after winning a lawsuit can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be any worse than it already is. First and most importantly, discuss with your lawyer the gross worth of your assets. If you hold real estate, then have the total worth of those properties on hand. If you don’t know, then have the properties appraised as soon as possible. This will help your trusted advisors calculate the base tax on your estate. The benefit in doing this as soon as possible is that there are ways of avoiding some of the tax burden. The benefit is nicely complemented by the fact that it’ll relieve your beneficiaries of some financial burden and the added pressures of trying to negotiate your estate’s affairs on their own.

If you’ve got the money to do so, then eliminate your debt immediately. Hire a financial advisor to help you determine the best course in distributing your assets through investment. Now that you’ve got a bit of wealth, you’ll want to accumulate more. A lot of people who receive settlement cash or lottery winnings have a difficult time adjusting to the new wealth, and don’t control their spending. Be careful, and take some time adjusting to the new numbers in your bank account.

Don’t forget that any donations you make to charity organizations can be deducted from your taxes. If you’re a supporter of a cause, then feel free to give some of the new cash away.

If you have children of your own, or would like to support the children of other friends or loved ones, then consider opening trusts in the names of potential beneficiaries. Investing in someone else’s future can be rewarding, and knowing that your kids won’t be in debt if they decide to get into higher education is a fulfilling exchange.

Your estate planning lawyer will also help you draw up a will, or amend one that you already have. You’ll know exactly where your assets will end up when you pass away, and exactly how the transition will take place. This knowledge will relieve a burden you never knew existed.

After you’re done putting the finishing touches on concrete plans for your future, it’s time to have fun. Start traveling to the places you’ve always wanted to see, and doing the things you’ve always want to do. Take some time off of work–but don’t quit until normal retirement age, because you’ll live longer. Spend some time with family. You know yourself, and you should do what’s best for you.