How COVID-19 Has Impacted Personal Injury Legislation in Ireland

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

It is no secret that COVID-19 has greatly affected the world, and the medical industry in general. While every sector of medicine has been changed by the virus, personal injury cases are particularly impacted. With social distancing and quarantine measures, these court cases are being moved online. The courts have been forced to set up the cyber infrastructure to hold remote hearings. The system is definitely not perfect and will need to be perfected, when this is all over the courts will be diversified.

COVID-19 & Personal Injury Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer, which can include purchased insurance products and their coverage. It has changed the role of technology in the courts, it now provides a more efficient and transparent way to handle claims in Ireland. There are many questions about how this will all impact the court cases. The debate will continue through a political and medical lens. There will be undoubtedly increases in the focus on digital trading platforms, there is also an increased call for clarity on government-led plans for modernizing the courts. Technology will improved the litigation landscape, the attitudes will need to evolve with the tech.

Immediate Implications

The virus has already made a significant implications for the court system in Ireland. With practical issues for the management of litigation, the courts will change and go through uncertainty. By implementing social distancing measures, technology has increased the number of remote litigation. However there appears to be an ever-increasing backlog of cases that need to be litigated.

There are also local variations to how this is being handled despite the general consistency of remote court cases. While some courts are conducting all of their hearings virtually, others are only adopting virtual options for interim hearings. There is an absence of specific rule amendments, which has resulted in local practice directions. People are expecting a delay of at least six months for contentious cases. There has also been cancellations of medico-legal appointments, which is due to social distancing measures and priortising health care.

Disadvantages of Remote Court

While personal injury cases may be accelerated, the accuracy will also be impacted. According to the personal injury solicitors McGinley, virtual examination is not always feasible, cancellations and postponements will inevitably impact upon the cycle of many cases. With a backlog of cases, some may be sped up unnecessarily, negatively impacting the results. This also increases the possibility of people trying to get a settlement for an illegitimate incident. Furthermore, with reduced frequency in claims some cases have been extended, often resulting in an increase in their settlement value.

The Future of Courts

The future of courts is uncertain, but we know some things already. First there will be more collaboration when it comes to court timelines. Not all insurers are following this proposal; some are requesting extensions to the limitation in forensic context. The speed of cases is fluctuating a lot, and will likely not stabilize for a while. There has also been careful consideration given on each case before agreeing to virtual examinations. In addition, a case could require a physical examination at a later date.

However, in-person examinations may be preferable where credibility could be an issue or where the injuries do not lend themselves to a remote hearing. Claims will need to be watched carefully for fraud. There will be a potential increase in contrived accidents that were caused with a settlement in mind. More hearings will be conducted remotely even after the pandemic is over, which is arguably the biggest positive of the transition.

When Ireland is done with social distancing measures, the courts will have more options to litigate cases. Some will still be done in person while others can be handled remotely. While it may not be as efficient as it could be now, virtual courts are opening the doors by setting up the cyber infrastructure. It will ultimately lead to more productivity when there is more stability in the courts. However you look at it, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our lives for months, if not years, to come. While only time will tell how this will pan out, we are watching the changes every day.

July 28, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 27, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 20, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

The Push for Pedestrian Safety as Philadelphia’s Urban Population Swells

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Pedestrians are in harm’s way simply because they are challenged with traversing busy streets in Philadelphia and beyond without any form of protection.  Though Philadelphia is a walkable city, it is incredibly busy.  The challenge is determining how to make city streets safer for pedestrians without impeding the flow of traffic and construction projects.

 

Recognize the Problem of Construction

If walking near and around automobiles traveling at 30 miles per hour or faster on cramped urban streets were not challenging enough, Philadelphia pedestrians are also tasked with maneuvering through construction zones.  Walking around construction projects is inherently hazardous simply because items can be dropped directly onto pedestrians, causing significant pain and injury.  Like many other busy metropolises, Philadelphia has more than its fair share of construction. 

Take a walk around the city and you will find plenty of sidewalks are closed.  Add in the fact that some walking routes have been diverted and it proves that much more difficult to traverse the city on foot.  Sadly, the end result of this challenging situation is people walking in close proximity to automobiles.  Making matters worse is the fact that those who rely on wheelchairs and other mobility aids find it nearly impossible to get around the city with the seemingly endless number of sidewalk closures and walking route diversions.

The Push to Qualify Developer Responsibilities

At the moment, developers in Philadelphia merely require a licensed engineer to report covered walking spaces are impractical in order to avoid providing such a sheltered walkway amidst construction.  There is an inherent conflict of interest in play as developers pay the engineers who perform such assessments.  In short, the rules pertaining to developers’ responsibilities to provide safe walking paths for pedestrians must be clarified. 

Merely placing cones along a protected walkway does not inherently make it that much safer.  A potential solution is to involve more Streets Department inspectors in the analysis of such construction projects and walkways to guarantee pedestrians have a truly safe path for walking.  Others insist it should prove more financially punitive for a developer or contractor to close a sidewalk. 

The Information Edge

In the winter of 2019, the Philadelphia Streets Department spearheaded a web-based interactive map providing pedestrians with updates pertaining to sidewalk and street closures.  The map pinpoints the precise locations of permits granted for the closure of sidewalks and streets.  Furthermore, advocacy groups are encouraging Philadelphia pedestrians to report the illegal closures of sidewalks, construction zones and bike lanes.  However, as is sometimes said, knowing is merely half the battle.  The avoidance of the seemingly countless hazards in the way of pedestrians is the other half.

Additional Solutions

Though spreading the word about sidewalk and street closures certainly helps ameliorate the pedestrian safety problem, it will also help to be proactive with actual action.  As an example, pedestrians must refrain from falling into the temptation of crossing in the middle of the street as opposed to using a crosswalk.  Furthermore, pedestrians should use pedestrian walkways approved for their use. 

When in doubt, use a crosswalk or an alternate path rather than attempting to maneuver through a closed sidewalk.  Above all, budget in an extra 5-10 minutes just in case you run into a closure while walking to your destination.  This way, if you have to take an alternate route, you will still arrive at your destination on time.

July 16, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 13, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 6, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Do You Need a Work Permit at 16 in the US?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

If you are under 18 and intend to look for work in the US, it’s important for both you and your employer to understand the child labor laws.

You probably have many questions:

Who needs a work permit?

Can you work without a work permit if you’re 16 years of age?

If you do need a permit, how do you get one?

How’s it different from a green card?

While there is no federal law dictating the need for work permits, most states impose their own regulations regarding the need for work permits for people of certain ages. 

This is where it gets complicated. Regulations vary greatly from state to state, so it is important to check the local rules before making any decisions.

The Child Labor Laws are strict and prevent employers from hiring cheap, underage labor. You must follow the laws to the letter to avoid getting into problems with the authorities.

Are work permits different from employment certificates?

Work permits are also known as employment certificates, proof-of-age certificates, or employment authorization documents (EADs), depending on the state in which you apply.

These documents are temporary and allow an eligible person under the age of 18 (a minor) to work in the US. They essentially protect employers from being prosecuted for hiring under-age labor as they are considered proof-of-age documents.

If you have the underlying right to work in the US (through citizenship, holding green card status, a U Visa if you are the victim of a crime or a VAWA petition) then you can apply for a work permit. You cannot be issued a work permit without this underlying right.

If, for instance, your employment green card application is denied, a work permit obtained on the basis of your pending application is invalidated. This means that you will not then be able to work legally in the US.

Where do you need a work permit at 16 in the US?

Whether you need a work permit as a 16-year-old depends on your location in the US. As mentioned, all states dictate their own rules regarding this.

It gets complicated because some states require no certificates to work at 16, others require an employment certificate and others require both an employment certificate and an age certificate.

So, for instance, you need a work permit (employment certificate) in Nevada only if you are under 14 years of age (not if you are16). 

In Connecticut, the age at which you require a work permit is 16, in Alaska, it’s 17and in New York, it’s 18 years or under.

In Oklahoma, it is mandated that you must have an employment certificate AND an age certification to start a job if you are under 16.

In New Mexico, you need an employment certificate if you are under 16 and an age certificate will be issued on request (though it is not required).

In some states like Tennessee and South Dakota, neither certificate is needed to work as a minor.

Most states have minimum employment age requirements. For instance, minors under the age of 12 in California cannot receive a work permit except in the entertainment industry or in a few other exceptional circumstances. 

Do you see how this is entirely location-dependent and therefore rather difficult to generalize about?

This is the best place to check work permit requirements if you are wondering whether you need a work permit at 16 in your state. This page lists the age requirements for each state along with the type of certification you require to work and whether it is mandated by the state or issued upon request.

How do you get a work permit?

Again, there is no simple one answer to this question. It depends on the state in which you reside and want to work.

In most states, work permits are issued by either the labor department or local public schools.

Fortunately, the process is fairly straightforward in most cases, providing that you are eligible for a work permit. Note, however, that you may need to have already made contact with a potential employer and received an offer to start work if you can secure a work permit.

The application process and required forms are often accessible online to make things easier.

Typically, you will need to follow a simple process like this:

  1. Obtain a work permit application either from your local high school, the labor department or online.
  2. A pre-application form may be required in some states, to be completed by your prospective employer.
  3. You may also be required to pass a physical examination or obtain a physician’s certificate in some states.
  4. Complete your personal information on the application form and, if applicable, get your prospective employer to fill out the part of the form that applies to them.
  5. Your parent or guardian may also need to sign the application form.
  6. Return the completed work permit application to the address indicated on the form, where the work permit will be processed and typed. 
  7. Applications are usually processed relatively quickly – within a week or so.
  8. Tale a copy of your work permit to your prospective employer.

If you’re not sure about the requirements and would like legal assistance with attaining a work permit, most immigration attorneys, such as the ones from Noble Vrapi, will walk you through the process and be able to help you secure a permit if you are eligible.

June 30, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

How to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Have you suffered life-changing injuries as a result of a car accident, medical malpractice, a slip and fall accident or any other type of accident that was no fault of yours?

If so, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party or parties.

However, this is rarely a straightforward process. No two cases are the same and they can become complex.

You will generally need to prove negligence or reckless behaviour in order to win a case. This may involve testimony from expert witnesses, CCTV footage, witness statements, access to medical records, etc.

On top of this, the insurance companies of the at-fault party often use strategies to minimize or delay payments or to avoid liability altogether.

That’s why most people who file a personal injury claim do so with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.  If you need further support, please contact the lawyers at Vogel LLP

Can you file a personal injury claim?

Whether you can make a personal injury claim in Canada depends largely on the following factors:

  • Can you prove that you or a family member were injured?
  • Can you prove that the injury is related to the negligent or reckless actions of another person or people?
  • Can you demonstrate physical losses (e.g. physical pain, medical costs, lost wages)?
  • Can you demonstrate emotional pain and suffering?
  • Can you demonstrate expected future losses?

In most cases, a family member can make a personal injury claim on behalf of a loved one. This is often necessary when the victim is incapacitated due to their injuries, such as someone who suffers a serious traumatic brain injury in a car accident.

The family of a person who died as a result of an accident caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party can also file a personal injury claim.

Bear in mind that there is a statute of limitations for personal injury cases set by each province in Canada. For instance, in Ontario, it is two years from the date of the injury. 

It is, therefore, important to start legal proceedings as soon as possible. Failure to file within the set time period means that the court will not be able to hear your case.

Does your insurance policy cover you? 

Your insurance policy may provide some cover for your losses but how adequate this cover is depends on the extent of your injuries.

Canada has a “no-fault” insurance system when it comes to car accidents – the most common reason for personal injury claims.

This means that the question of fault for a collision is temporarily set aside while damages and injuries are addressed.

On the face of it, this may seem beneficial as the insurance company pays the damage claims of all insured drivers, including the costs of repairing your vehicle and the costs of your injury such as ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation and caregiver costs. This means that there is no waiting for court decisions on fault and damages.

If the accident is later found to be the fault of the other party, your insurance company then waives the deductible.

However, while your insurance policy covers you to some extent, if you’re seriously injured in an accident, it might not be enough. 

The no-fault system limits the amounts recoverable from both your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. There’s also a sizeable deductible on court awards for pain and suffering.

This is when you’ll really require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.

The bottom line, then, is if your injury is a minor one (and it is unclear whose fault the accident was) your insurance policy may provide acceptable cover. 

With more serious injuries where you are confident that another party was at fault, it is advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer

For serious personal injury cases, the stakes can be very high. 

You may think that yours is an obvious case that the insurance company will settle for a fair amount.

In reality, this probably won’t happen unless you are prepared to fight for it.

It is therefore advisable in most instances to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in the process of claiming losses for personal injury victims, liaising with insurance companies and, if necessary, directing the litigation process against the at-fault party.

In the majority of personal injury cases, the insurance company of the at-fault party prefers to reach an out-of-court settlement. This reduces legal costs, may lead to a lower settlement figure and avoids potential reputational damage from a public trial.

While some aspects of your losses are relatively easy to demonstrate (medical costs or lost wages), your lawyer will be able to guide you on the more complex aspects, such as the value of emotional pain and suffering and future losses, if applicable.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know approximately the total compensation figure that you should be entitled to and will guard your best interests when negotiating with the insurance company. 

However, insurance companies protect their own interests. They employ trained “adjusters” who are sophisticated and look to reduce payouts to an absolute minimum.

If the proposed settlement is too low, your lawyer may advise you to initiate litigation.

Filing a lawsuit

If you fail to reach a settlement with the at-fault party, your lawyer can file a civil lawsuit in the local branch of your state’s civil court. 

Your lawyer will have to prove in the courts that someone else’s negligence or reckless actions are responsible for your losses, in order for you to be entitled to compensation.

This may become a technical, time-consuming, and adversarial process but an experienced personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the strategies required to win such cases.

Note that it generally costs nothing to speak to a personal injury lawyer to discuss the general details of your case and to receive advice on your legal options. 

If you agree to file a civil lawsuit, the attorney may only take a fee if you are successful in your claim. Most work on a contingency basis.

June 30, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

If you file a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico, there’s a good chance that it will be for a car accident, medical malpractice, dog bite or a slip and fall type of accident.

These are four of the most common types of personal injury cases around the country – but not the only ones.

Bear in mind that personal injury cases are not only concerned with physical injury – they also include damage to one’s reputation.

Here we take a broad overview of the main types of personal injury cases, looking at the numbers and what you can expect from each type of case.  If you have any further questions, please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Legal Solutions of New Mexico.  

Main personal injury cases in New Mexico

Any type of accident that occurred through the fault of others and caused you losses can lead to a personal injury case if you are able to prove negligence or the reckless actions of the at-fault party or parties.

Car accidents

Car accidents affect more than two million Americans every year and, according to the University of New Mexico, a total of 13, 597 accidents involving injury occurred in New Mexico alone in 2018.

It’s not surprising, then, that car accidents are the number one reason for filing a personal injury case in the state.

Drivers, pedestrians, passengers, cyclists, motorcycle drivers, etc. can all file claims.

New Mexico is an at-fault state (you can claim directly from the at-fault party or parties) and, depending on the seriousness of the injury, compensation claims against the at-fault parties can be sizable. 

Often, the insurance company will settle out of court to avoid excessive legal costs but, without strong legal representation, these claims are often “underpaid”.

Even if it is clear that their client is the at-fault party, insurance companies often attempt low-balling tactics because of the potentially high claims that result from serious car accidents.

Slip and fall cases

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal medically treated injuries in the U.S., with over eight million emergency room visits each year attributed to slips, trips, and falls. 

If you slip and fall on another person’s property and sustain an injury, you may be able to file a claim (premises liability).

Property owners (and sometimes those who rent the property) have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free of hazards. 

Therefore, if you are injured as a result of negligence, you may be able to hold the property owner liable, depending on the circumstances.

These types of cases are very common, as are workplace slips and falls. Almost a quarter of a million workplace accidents per year are attributed to slips and falls, often causing injuries that prevent employees from working and earning wages.

In New Mexico, employers are protected against personal injury claims by workers even when they are negligent. Instead, in most cases, as an employee, you will need to file a claim for losses under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Dog bites

Personal injury cases involving dog bites are extremely common too in the U.S.

While these injuries are rarely fatal, around 800,000 people per year are treated for dog bite injuries and 27,000 people required reconstructive surgery from their injuries in 2018.

Medical bills, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering can be high in dog bite cases and, if so, a good lawyer will help you file a claim against the dog’s owner to cover your losses

However, New Mexico law recognizes the “one bite” rule, meaning that the dog must have one prior incident for aggressively biting someone before the owner can be held liable.

Medical malpractice cases

Another of the most common types of personal injury cases is medical malpractice. This occurs when the level of care that patients receive is below appropriate medical standards and injuries result from it.

It can be something as relatively minor as bed sores to much more serious conditions that result in permanent disability or even death.

Medical malpractice is far more common than most people think. In fact, it is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with around a quarter of a million people dying each year from it.

If a doctor or nurse at a hospital or other medical facility is negligent and you suffer injuries as a result, the facility may be held liable. It might include misdiagnosis, improper treatment, surgical errors, medication mistakes, pharmacy errors, or something else.

These cases are often complex and require expert testimony from professional witnesses but many insurance companies prefer to settle out of court to avoid negative publicity and excessive legal costs.

Products liability

Product liability is another common personal injury case type. This is where dangerous or defective products lead to injury.

Often, this occurs at home, in the workplace, or in public places like parks or on the roads. The product designer, manufacturer or marketers may be held liable for the injury caused if they are found to be at fault.

A few examples of products that are commonly the subject of personal injury cases include drugs, food, consumer products, children’s’ products, vehicle parts, and medical devices.

Defamation cases

As mentioned, physical injury is not necessary to file a personal injury case. Emotional pain and suffering and the damage to your reputation from somebody defaming you by libel or slander can also lead to a lawsuit.

In these cases, you need to prove that an untrue statement was made and the defamation that resulted from this caused financial loss. It can be challenging to prove, especially without a lawyer who specializes in this type of personal injury case.

As you’ve seen, personal injury cases are very diverse. Filing a case can help you receive the compensation you deserve for losses such as medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

For the best chances of success, hire an attorney who specializes in your specific type of case. 

Your injury doesn’t necessarily result in legal liability for the alleged at-fault party, and the outcome of your case will depend on the skills of your lawyer to prove liability.

June 30, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 29, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized