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How Much Is a Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit Worth?

When it comes to evaluating the value of any injury case, most people understand that bigger injuries correlate to bigger settlements. When it comes to dog bites and animal attacks, the owners will usually be held liable, barring extraordinary circumstances. Not all animal bite cases will be severe injuries, or equate to large monetary damages. Typically, larger monetary awards occur if an animal attack leaves visible scarring, requires surgery extended medical care, or results in the need for mental health therapy, such as PTSD counseling. What’s a Dog Bite Case Worth? An injury settlement or award will generally reimburse an injury victim for their medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and other consequential damages. However, if a person receives a settlement that includes reimbursement for medical bills, they may be required to pay back a health insurer, or even pay outstanding medical bills (if any). A person can also receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Usually awards for pain and suffering will depend on the severity of the injury and the extent to which the recovery and injury disrupted a person’s regular life. There is no standardization to the valuation of pain and suffering. When to Sue? After being bitten by a dog, you may be very upset, to the point where you may consider suing simply as a matter of principle. But all strong feelings aside, when should you actually take steps to bring legal action? Is it worth your time to sue? Here are a few points to consider:Frequently, a pet owner’s home-owner’s insurance will provide coverage for dog bites. But, if the pet owner responsible for your injuries is uninsured and has no assets, then there may be no way to actually collect a judgment.The decision not to sue for this reason, however, should be carefully evaluated with the help of an attorney. Also, if you decide not to sue, you may wish to re-evaluate that decision down the road. But be forewarned, most injury claims must be brought within one or two years, depending on your state law. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) How Much is My Pet’s Injury Worth? (FindLaw’s Injured) Housemates Could Be Liable for Dog Bites (FindLaw’s Injured) Dog Bite Injuries: Do You Have a Case? (FindLaw’s Injured)
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My Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Most insurance companies only make money when they can take payments on customer policies and don't have to make payments on customer claims. And the less scrupulous insurance companies will find any reason not to pay claims. So it's not all that surprising if your car accident insurance claim was denied. What may be surprising to some, however, is that the denial doesn't mean you're out of options. Here's what you can do if your car insurance company has denied your accident claim. Additional Insurance Claims If you're involved in a multi-car accident and your insurance company denies your claim, you could file a claim with the other driver's insurance company. The law requires every driver to have automobile insurance, and most policies cover damage to another person, their property, or vehicle. If another driver was at fault in your accident, you may be able to recover from his or her insurance company. Make sure to always exchange insurance information after an accident, and you can use police reports and your own evidence to prove who was responsible for the accident. Additional Legal Claims Insurance companies aren't your only source of compensation for vehicle damage or injuries -- you can also file a lawsuit. And you have options when it comes to suing for your injuries. If the accident wasn't serious, you could file a suit in small claims court. Generally, small claims courts only hear cases involving damages of $5,000 or less, although that cap can vary by state. And some small claims courts may request the parties attend mediation rather than litigate the issue. For more severe car accidents, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. You may be able to recover more in damages in civil court, and you may be able to sue more parties as well. If another driver was negligent and caused the accident, you can sue the driver, and possibly their insurance company. Additionally, you could sue your car insurance company as well, if you believe they denied your claim in bad faith. Car accident lawsuits can be complicated, so you'll want someone with knowledge and experience on your side. If you've been injured in a car accident and your insurance company denied your claim, contact a personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) After an Accident: Insurance Claim or Lawsuit? (FindLaw's Injured) When Insurance Isn't Enough: Car Accident Lawsuits (FindLaw's Injured) Coverage for Car Accidents With Uninsured Motorists (FindLaw's Injured)
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Debevoise Launches Women’s Review

The NYC-based law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLC, or “Debevoise” for short, has taken a bold public-facing step in supporting the ongoing advancement of women in the legal profession. The 650-person firm, which is considered one of the world’s leading transactional and commercial litigation firms, recently launched the Debevoise Women’s Review, a website dedicated to promoting women in the legal and business worlds. The website will include interviews and posts centered on professional development and achievements of women in law and business, and will profile women around the world who are making a difference in their respective fields and communities, while providing support and encouragement to female professionals at all stages of their careers. The initiative’s objectives are very similar to our goals here at Women Criminal Defense Attorneys Blog, while including a broader spectrum of legal specialties and a focus on the business world. The “Letter from the Editors” holds a prominent place on the Debevoise site and states the goals of the site as follows: The Debevoise Women’s Review will spotlight topics of interest to professional women, including the achievements, initiatives and advocacy efforts of women and organizations around the world. We hope to provide a range of diverse perspectives through interviews with leading women in business; thoughtful coverage of conferences and pertinent books and articles; and reflective pieces tying in the personal experiences of Debevoise women, alumni and clients. Our goal is to continue to strengthen our community of Debevoise women while encouraging the legal and business worlds to engage in discussion and collective action around the development, retention and promotion of female professionals. The fact that such a prominent Am Law 100 firm is committing significant and sustained time and resources to supporting the professional advancement of women is a strong statement about both need and value of women in the legal profession. I hope it reflects a tipping point where law firms and the larger legal community realize that creating committees and programs aimed at supporting women aren’t just boxes to check off a diversity checklist but rather important investments in our collective future and a strong business development strategy for firms. This concept of promoting the advancement of women in law and its greater effect on legal business development has even made its way onto primetime television. If you are fan of The Good Wife like I am, you know that one of the show’s main characters, Diane Lockhart, is creating an all-female law firm and has been working to convince her male partners that this makes good business sense for all of them. Television seems to mirror current trends in our society, so although I think it’s highly doubtful that a large, global firm like Debevoise will transition to all-female partnership anytime soon, I think Debevoise’s commitment to the professional advancement of women is certainly ahead of the curve and other firms should take note. The post Debevoise Launches Women’s Review appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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Erlinda Johnson representing New Mexico Secretary of State in emotional sentencing

Earlier this week, New Mexico’s former secretary of state was sentenced before a Judge in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges relating to the use of her election campaign account funds — the money was used to fund her personal gambling habit. An emotional Dianne Duran offered heartfelt apologizes for her actions, but ultimately the Judge felt that the recommendation to sentence her to no jail was too lenient. The interesting part of the deal was that former secretary of state, Dianne Duran, pleaded guilty to the charges based on a plea agreement with the Attorney General’s Office, which allowed her to withdraw the plea if she was sentenced to jail time. Both her attorney, Erlinda Johnson, and the Attorney General’s Office recommended a non jail sentence. Duran pleaded to two felonies and four misdemeanors for stealing campaign donations.   The Judge rejected the recommendations as too lenient and instead sentenced Duran to 30 days in jail followed by 5 years’ probation and approximately $28,000 in fines and restitution. In addition, she must prepare written apologizes to her victims and to six newspapers as well as make 144 public appearances in front of schools and civic groups to caution people about violating the public trust as a politician. The Judge also ordered GPS monitoring for two years to ensure that she doesn’t enter any more casinos. The Judge gave Duran until Wednesday to decide to withdraw her plea and face a trial in the original 65 count charging document. Strangely enough, the Judge also expressed his own desire that she not withdraw her plea. “Ms. Duran you’ve asked this court for the opportunity to rehabilitate yourself,” Judge Ellington said. “That opportunity is standing before you. It starts Friday at 9 a.m. when you walk through the front door of the Santa Fe County Detention Center.” Although I can’t speak to how unique it is in New Mexico to allow a defendant the right to withdraw a plea if the sentence does not comport with the plea agreement, it certainly creates a lot of interesting legal issues. Considering that Duran asserted her guilt to at least some of the charges, could she really obtain a fair and unbiased jury trial after the intense media coverage? Is the language that the Judge used to express his desire that she not withdraw her plea enough to support a motion to recuse him at a trial? Obviously, the Judge picked a length of incarceration that is low enough to make it difficult for Duran to consider rolling the dice at trial. And ultimately even a 30 day jail term for a public official charged with violating the public’s trust is a heck of an outcome for any accused. The post Erlinda Johnson representing New Mexico Secretary of State in emotional sentencing appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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5 Reasons Travel Insurance Policies Are Invalidated

You are planning a holiday trip and looking forward to it. Everything is ready from your bags to your mini toiletries and travel insurance. So now you can just relax, right? Well, not quite. You can relax, but maybe not with a drink, and certainly not with any illegal drugs, and probably not if your plans include any extreme sports. Here is a list, adapted from the Consumer Insurance Guide, with the top five reasons that insurers give for invalidating travel insurance. Traveler Top Five 1. Failure to disclose. Although trip insurance is for a much shorter time period than your regular health insurance, you still must disclose your medical status. Pre-existing medical conditions, including mental, nervous, or emotional disorders, that are not disclosed can invalidate your insurance. 2. Failure to prepare. If you do not take your prescribed medication while traveling, or ignore a doctors' orders to avoid travel, that may invalidate trip insurance. It is also possible that any claims will be denied if you seek treatment resulting from a tropical disease for which there was a vaccine that you did not take. Similarly, claims resulting from sexually transmitted disease or self-inflicted injuries will likely end up denied. 3. Alcohol and Drug Use. Almost every insurance policy has a clause stating that there is no coverage from injuries resulting from use of illegal drugs or excessive drinking. Be particularly wary of these clauses and read the fine print on your trip insurance very carefully. You may not consider the amount of alcohol you consume "excessive" but you can probably bet that an insurer's standards are more strict than your own. As for drugs, even if a substance is legal in the locale you are visiting, it is possible and even likely that an insurer's policy will be used to invalidate a claim. 4. Extreme sports and general adventurousness. While extreme sports fans see their activities as thrilling, an insurer sees almost any adventurousness as risky. That means if you have plans to ride mopeds, jet ski or bungee jump, among other activities, you need to check that insurance will cover these in advance. If you plan to skydive, speak to a specialist, the Consumer Insurance Guide recommends. 5. Reckless or illegal behavior. This is a kind of catch-all category on almost every policy that allows an insurer to deny a claim with some ease. Even if your behavior does not end with you charged with a crime, an insurer can nonetheless invalidate your policy based on behavior it deems reckless. Need a Drink? If you find all those limitations on your insurance confusing and you need a drink now, do not despair. You are not alone. Insurance is very complicated and policies are often deliberately difficult to understand. Talk to a lawyer if you need a hand with your trip insurance or any other policy. Counsel can help ensure that you are covered to the full extent. Related Resources: Find a Lawyer (FindLaw Directory) Air Travel Rules FAQ (FindLaw) Hotel Questions and Answers (FindLaw)
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Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan attorneys for St. Joe Co in SEC settlement

Two women partners of Sullivan and Cromwell, Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan, represented St. Joe Company in a recent accounting settlement with the SEC. St. Joe Co is a Watersound, Florida developer and landowner which the SEC claimed improperly overstated their residential real estate holdings after the financial crisis, and therefore materially overstated their earnings and assets during that period.  The SEC announced that St. Joe consented to pay 2.75 million fine.  The settlement has been widely reported in the news and two examples of the coverage are here and here. Five individuals, including the former CEO and CFO, also settled with the SEC – which involved financial settlements in addition to a bar against appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant for the either two or three-year periods depending on the individual. The SEC probe began after an activist investor, David Einhorn, took an aggressive position that the company had overstated values.  Neither the company nor the individuals entered an admission.   Sharon Nelles was honored this June by NOW in New York as a 2015 Women of Power & Influence Award for excelling in her field and blazing a path for the next generation of female leaders. In 2014 she was honored with the Women in Business Law Award in the financial regulation industry.  Julia Jordan is a member of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, and active in the Women White Collar Defense Association. It is nice to see two successful women partners at the helm of case of this nature – a job well done. The post Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan attorneys for St. Joe Co in SEC settlement appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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How Does Credit Card Insurance on a Rental Car Work?

True story: I once slaughtered a deer with a rented Toyota Yaris in the middle of Florida's Ocala National Forest. The car was effectively totaled -- front caved in, airbags deployed -- it was barely drivable. The friendly sheriff's officer who finally spotted me said the same thing everyone else does when I start this story: "I hope you got the insurance." I had not. Lucky for me, I rented the car with a credit card, and many credit card companies (mine included) offer insurance on card purchases, including rental cars. So what does credit card insurance cover when it comes to rental cars? And how do you make sure you're covered? Your Life, Your Card, Your Insurance Like many of you, I had heard that buying rental car insurance coverage was a scam. But that's only true if you're otherwise covered, like under your car insurance policy. Another place you might be covered is by your credit card agreement. So if you'd rather not pay $15 - $25 per day for rental car insurance, use your credit card to reserve and pay for the rental car. (NOTE: you have to use the card to reserve the car and put the car in your name. Just having the card in your wallet won't suffice.) But be aware that not all cards offer rental car insurance, and those that do will often have varying degrees of coverage. Everywhere You Want to Be Covered Most cards will have what's known as secondary rental insurance, which covers any remaining costs not covered by your own auto insurance policy. But some cards offer primary car rental insurance, which covers damages directly and without you having to deal with your car insurance company. There are some limitations to this coverage: foreign rentals in some countries are excluded, and you have to decline the rental company's insurance to qualify. But if you're covered, the credit card company will cover the loss of the vehicle, often without any deductible or added fees. Having the credit card insurance ended up saving me about $5,000, so you might want to check if your card covers you before declining the rental car company's coverage. Related Resources: Credit Cards That Offer Primary Car Rental Coverage (The Points Guy) Rental Car Crashes: 5 First Steps to Consider (FindLaw's Injured) Need to Know: Car Accidents in Other Countries (FindLaw's Injured) Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Case? (FindLaw's Injured)
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5 Things You Need to Know About Checking Into a Hospital

When checking into a hospital, legal concerns are often the last things on your mind. But as it turns out, there are quite a few legal questions you should be aware of if you’re checking into a hospital. Here’s what you need to know: Obamacare: Obviously, you’d like to know whether your hospital visit is covered by insurance. the recent Supreme Court decision upheld Obamacare’s subsidies for low-income Americans, so if you don’t already have health insurance through your employer or otherwise, you can purchase coverage at a state or federal health insurance exchange. Patient Rights: All patients have certain legal rights when it comes to their health care, most importantly, informed consent. Informed consent requires physicians and medical providers to inform patients of all the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives regarding their medical treatment, and to obtain written consent before treating a patient. Living Will and or Durable Power of Attorney: A living will sets out your preferences for medical care in case of emergency or if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney designates someone else to make those (and other) decisions for you. Both may be essential in determining your medical treatment should you be unable to make your own health care choices. HIPAA: The acronym that sounds like a large animal, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has two main functions: (1) prohibiting employed Americans from being discriminated against in connection to their health insurance coverage, and (2) prohibiting doctors and medical professionals from disclosing patient records without consent. HIPAA protects the confidentiality of your medical records. Medical Malpractice: The last thing you want to think about heading into the hospital is something going wrong while you’re there. Unfortunately, medical malpractice does happen, and you should be aware of your rights and legal recourse should you receive negligent medical treatment. If you’ve been injured, either leading to a hospital stay or during your time there, you may want to consult with an experienced injury attorney about your claim. Related Resources: Have a medical malpractice claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) What is Informed Consent? (FindLaw’s Injured) Do You Have The Right to Refuse Medical Treatment? (FindLaw’s Injured) Who Has Access to Your Medical Records After You Die? (FindLaw’s Injured)
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Contractor Injured at Your House: Are You Liable?

Homeowners having work done to their homes may be concerned about not just the quality of the work, but also about the potential legal liability for injuries sustained by contractors performing the work. By virtue of owning the property, homeowners may generally be held responsible for injuries caused by negligence in failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. What is considered negligence in a given situation depends in part upon the status of the injured person, but also the cause of the injury and the circumstances surrounding an accident. A homeowner's eventual liability may also depend on whether an injury will be covered by insurance. What do homeowners need to know about the possibility of a home-improvement or construction contractor being injured? Duty of Care Owed to Contractors Although contractors are on a person's property in a professional capacity, homeowners still owe them a duty to reasonably maintain the property. For the purposes of homeowner liability, injured parties are grouped into three categories, each of which are owed varying levels of care: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Contractors are generally considered to be invitees, which include visitors on a property for business purposes (such as workers or customers in a store). Homeowners owe the highest degree of care to this group of visitors, including a duty to repair known dangers and inspect for undiscovered hazards in areas an invitee may have access. When a homeowner fails to live up to this duty, and a contractor is injured because of a condition that the homeowner would reasonably have been expected to discover and correct, the homeowner may be liable for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. What About Insurance? In some instances, a homeowner's insurance policy may protect against personal injury liability. Although individual policies vary, some homeowner's policies provide coverage for accidents and injury claims, including those by contractors. A contractor's injury may also be covered by the contractor's own insurance. If the contractor is working as an employee of a larger company or contractor, he or she may be covered by worker's compensation. Contractors may also have other forms of insurance coverage that may provide coverage for injuries sustained by the contractors themselves, or a contractor's employees and subcontractors. If you are concerned about potential liability for a contractor injured on your property, you may wish to contact a personal injury defense attorney. You can also learn more about liability for injuries or accidents at FindLaw's section on Homeowner Liability and Safety. Related Resources: Browse Personal Injury -- Defense Lawyers by Location (FindLaw) Who's Liable for Your Holiday Party Injury? (FindLaw's Injured) If Your Tree Falls Onto Neighbor's Property, Are You Liable? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Want to Sue a Home Contractor? 3 Things to Consider (FindLaw's Injured)
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