Signs that It’s Time to Swap Lawyers

By on 8-18-2016 in Uncategorized

When you’ve already entered into the legal process with a lawyer, it can feel like an incredible challenge just to consider swapping lawyers, but sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Lawyers, like all professionals and all people, can be unreliable, inefficient, overworked, or simply disinterested. If you aren’t in the legal profession, you can’t blame yourself if you choose an unsatisfactory lawyer. Many lawyers present a glossy, professional front to hide their inadequacies in the legal sphere.

If you think you might have made a mistake during the hiring process, check your lawyer’s behavior against these potential signs.

  1. Your lawyer isn’t returning your phone calls

Your lawyer is probably busy, so maybe you can’t get them on the phone at a moment’s notice, but they really should be returning your calls within a day or two. If they can’t get back to you by then, your lawyer is either seriously overworked or seriously disinterested in you and your case.

  1. Your lawyer is forgetting your case details

Is there a pause when you walk into the office where your lawyer tries to remember your name? Hopefully, it isn’t that bad, but your lawyer may show signs of not having the case completely in hand. They may forget details of your case or forget about pieces of evidence you’ve provided. They may mix up details with other cases. None of this is good for you, and it suggests your lawyer hasn’t given enough attention to your individual situation.

  1. Your lawyer is missing deadlines

You may hear about these deadlines through your lawyer or, if it gets really bad, from a court. Lawsuits, like everything in life, follow a schedule and have deadlines. If your lawyer is missing them or continually asking for extensions so he or she doesn’t miss them, they have some clear organizational problems. Such problems don’t bode well for your case prospects.

  1. Your lawyer is acting flustered by your questions

If you are seeing any of these signs, you should go and ask your lawyer to explain him or herself. Hopefully, your lawyer has a good answer, but there are pretty decent odds that they won’t. They may, in fact, be flustered or else clearly bluffing and putting you off. Don’t allow them to fall back on legal terms or complicated sounding excuses. If they are trying to talk circles around you, try to listen to what they are actually saying underneath the terminology. Are they just saying they’re busy?

These are just a few possible signs your lawyer isn’t committed to your case and you should consider getting a new one. If you don’t see behavior that matches this list, in general, just watch out for any unprofessional behavior. Try to demystify the profession. If your lawyer’s behavior would be unprofessional in any business context, it’s probably unprofessional in law as well.

Don’t listen to his or her excuses. Hire an attorney that can get the job done properly.

The Serious Side of Food Poisoning

By on 8-18-2016 in Uncategorized

We’ve all had a case or two of food poisoning. It’s never fun, and many have unpleasant stories of nights spent over the toilet or shivering under the covers.

These stories have a certain essence of amusement after the fact. They are, after all, the stories of the minor battles of life in which dignity is lost but recovery is always assured.

It is that latter point that should be addressed. Yes, food poisoning is usually minor and only requires a short period of unpleasantness before it can become an amusing story, but that is not always the case.

There are plenty of cases in which food poisoning had more serious effects. The most serious risk of food poisoning is dehydration, which can be deadly if serious enough. For those who cannot keep liquids down, it’s important to go to a doctor. An IV may be necessary. There are also potential risks, however.

These risks rise for certain people in the population. Older adults likely have slightly weaker immune systems, and so may risk more serious complications. The same is true for infants and for people with chronic diseases. A final risk is for pregnant women. Food poisoning reactions can be more severe when pregnant, and the unborn child can also be at risk depending on the type of food poisoning.

With so many potential issues, it’s worth reminding everyone how best to avoid food poisoning in the first place. At home, wash your hands carefully and make sure to wash all utensils and food surfaces. Don’t eat raw food and make sure all food is thoroughly cooked. Don’t place uncooked food near already prepared food. Refrigerate foods shortly after finishing your meal. And, especially, always throw out food if there’s any doubt.

When eating out, there’s less that can be done, other than washing hands and sending back food there is any doubt about. However, if you do contact food poisoning, and you are certain of the location where it occurred, be sure to inform the restaurant promptly. If the food poisoning is severe, or if it has happened more than once at that location, it may be worthwhile to notify the FDA.

Finally, if the food poisoning came from prepackaged food, notify the company responsible, and constant a product liability lawyer to make sure steps are taken.

Being proactive in preventing further food poisoning is not just a good deed or a waste of time, as seen from the evidence above, it can save lives.

Food poisoning may most often lead to a day of discomfort with a story at the end, but that is not always the case. It is important not to assume the next bout will be the same as the last, or that others will get over their experience as quickly as you do. We all owe each other this level of vigilance. It is especially important for those, such as the elderly or the unborn, who may not be able to protect themselves adequately.

Despite What Stock Brokers Say, Diversify Your Portfolio

By on 8-18-2016 in Uncategorized

The effects of the retirement crisis in the United States are being felt by more than just those approaching retirement age. Because older citizens are holding on to their jobs for as long as they can to ensure that they’ll have enough money to live comfortably once they retire, younger Americans are not able to move up into those positions and maintain lower ones, and this cycle continues down the line so that it is more difficult now for young adults to find suitable employment after college. One of the biggest reasons older Americans are not financially prepared for retirement is poor diversification.

According to a press release on PR Newswire from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, only 9% of Americans are focused on having a diversified portfolio, and 22% of Americans are not familiar at all with common retirement investments that could help them create a diverse portfolio, like certificates of deposits, mutual funds, and fixed annuities, all generally considered low-risk investments appropriate for a retirement fund. Further, about 20% of Americans think that simply contributing regularly to a 401(k) will ensure they receive regular payments during retirement, but 401(k)s are still subject to market forces, even if to a lesser degree than the stock market. The IALC recommends putting money into fixed indexed annuities because it is the only way to guarantee payments throughout retirement, even during a major market crash. These annuities always guarantee a minimum interest amount, but may gain more if the market is doing well, and they will always guarantee that none of the principal is lost.

Of course, this press release was put out by a group composed of life insurance companies that are the ones that benefit from handing out these annuities, so there is bound to be inherent bias even if the IALC claims they exist solely to put out educational materials for consumers, industry professionals, and the media. These annuities are very attractive since the financial crisis of 2008 that destroyed the finances of so many Americans is still a fresh wound, but the goal is diversification. For younger Americans, a more aggressive or slightly riskier plan of investment in the stock market may be a better idea, since over the course of decades the market is likely to experience overall growth. Even here you can diversify further, and if brokers or financial advisors talk you out of diversifying and you lose money because of it, they can be sued by stock broker misconduct lawyers for neglect.

Even with this protection in place, neglect can be difficult to prove in such a volatile market, so being as knowledgeable as possible about all of your options can only help to make sure you’re making the right decisions. It is never too early or too late to better your financial position through diversification, whether that is with a safe option like a fixed annuity offered by a life insurance company, or something a little more risky.

What We Can Learn from the Johnson & Johnson Case

By on 8-18-2016 in Uncategorized

Those who buy products should always be able to have a free conversation with the companies from whom they buy. If we know about the product, we can make informed decisions. Johnson & Johnson is one of those companies who should be having better conversations with their consumers. They recently lost yet another lawsuit because their talcum-based products have a link to ovarian cancer. It should be common practice that a company change their goods and/or at least release a warning, especially if they face lawsuits over and over again.

According to an article on Fortune.com, the massive company will be forced to pay fines of $417 million after a woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that she claimed was caused by the corporate giant’s baby powder. Clearly, the Los Angeles Superior Court believed Eva Echeverria’s story and decided in her favor. To date, this has been one of the largest lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for improperly labeling their products and not warning consumers. Echeverria was represented by Mark Robinson, who said he as “grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court.” The $417 million would be divided into two parts: $70 million would be compensatory, and $347 million would be punitive. This total number of damages set back Johnson & Johnson, who had already lost over $300 million in the 4,800 other claims made for similar issues. Despite these verdicts, Johnson & Johnson continue to defend their products, believing that their company scientists were truthful and unbiased when testing the safety of their products. However, after a lifetime of using their products, Echeverria firmly believes her cancer can be linked to Johnson & Johnson. Her attorney argues that the company is consciously vindictive, as they actively encourage women to use their products despite the link to ovarian cancer specifically. Johnson & Johnson have lost many verdicts, but this has been the largest, their previous $110 million fine falling second. 

Missouri residents have faced a potential block to filing against the pharmaceutical company due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited where personal injury lawsuits could be filed. This case stated that courts could not take on cases if the injuries were caused by companies that did not reside in their state of municipal power. The St. Louis judge that originally had the case declared a mistrial but did allow plaintiffs the argument that the company was based in Missouri partly, due to a bottler the company used in the state.

Johnson & Johnson needs to be held accountable and be forced to recognize that their products are causing harm among a targeted community since so much of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer base is comprised of women who are directly threatened by the product. This recognition should lead to action to reveal the risks of the product and hopefully lawsuits as big as this one will make more consumers aware of the dangers. This danger is particularly heinous considering how Johnson & Johnson advertises themselves. They should be held accountable within the full power of the law.

DUI Charges and Defenses

By on 8-18-2016 in Uncategorized

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous products to consume if you are planning on driving. It may limit your physical and mental abilities, which will in turn compromise your driving. For this reason, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, also known as DUI or DWI, is illegal.

The penalties, at least in some parts, will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and your previous record. For example, a first offense can translate of up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines, while a third offense up to 7 years and $10,000.

But what about the circumstances of your arrest? This means that there are factors that need to be considered to truly determine how severe the offense has been. Below are some of the most common factors to consider:

  • Your blood alcohol content – The legal limit is at 0.08%, and the farther you are from the limit, the worse your offense will be
  • Whether you have a child passenger or not – If you have an underage passenger, you are unnecessarily putting him at risk, so your case may be elevated into a worse one
  • Whether there has been an injury or property damage – If your reckless behavior has resulted into the injury of another person or the damage of another’s property, your offense may be considered worse, especially if the other party is innocent

But the website of Truslow & Truslow mentions that, even if you are innocent, the justice system and law enforcement agencies may aggressively pursue harsh sentences in order to discourage others from engaging in drunk driving. So, trying to defend the charges may be a viable option. Below are just some of the possible defenses:

  • Legality of stop – If you have been pulled over with no probable cause, anything in that pull over, including evidence, may be considered invalid
  • Legitimacy of officer’s observation – You can question the officer’s conclusion that you are drunk, especially on instances where you are showing signs of intoxication even if you are not, like when you are just sleepy or fatigued
  • Validity of tests – Tests can only be made if the arrest is valid and if the officers have given you enough information regarding them. Aside from validity, you can also question the tests’ results, maybe because of improper methods or defective tools