Pages Navigation Menu

Not So Neighborly Legal Issues

Veterans, In Financial Trouble With Injuries?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Veterans, In Financial Trouble With Injuries?

Transitioning to a civilian life can be difficult, especially if you have injuries and other conditions from your time in military service. Some issues are severe enough to make disability an obvious answer, but even the small aches and pains or mental unrest can add up over time. Don’t grin and bear it; get the help you need from a multitude of support services. If you don’t take it, the money and resources will just sit there unused–and not just waiting for a person in greater need. What Compensation Is Available? Without going into specific injury details, the two major compensation and financial systems available for veterans are Veterans Affairs (VA) disability and social security disability. VA disability is more a compensation system than a social safety net, as it’s payment for what you lost due to military service. If you injured your leg, suffered from a condition due to a disease or chemical exposure, or have a mental condition cause by something that happened during service, you are given a percentage of compensation that is settled upon by the VA claims rating offices. Social security is a social safety net that is designed to get people off the system and back to a productive life. Although there are provisions for permanent disabilities, the system is still intended to be a temporary assistance while the claimant recovers, finds ways to cope with the condition, or finds another system more suited to their condition. Which System Is Better? The great thing is that you don’t have to choose! You can file as many VA claims and appeals as you want, but it’s better to get it right the first time so that you can get paid sooner. Although you will be paid retroactively if a denial is overturned, life and all its costs continue to build as you wait. Some claims go through quickly without issues, or have to sit through long wait times. Denials can happen to any claim or appeal, or you could be approved on the first attempt. Aside from having a lawyer on your side, there’s no easy way to tell. There are systemic veteran assistance issues across the entire VA, as well as claim system delays that are specific to certain regions and offices. The good news is that while you work on one system, you can put a claim into another system. Both systems have a bit of wait time and paperwork complexity, so while the information is fresh and available, you may as well get a lawyer to handle both sets of claims or appeals. Social security is income-limited, so your VA disability earnings can cause problems with social security unless a lawyer coordinates the transition properly. Contact a social security disability lawyer and explain your veteran status. Get the help you need for both VA disability and social security disability to make sure you have multiple backup plans for...

read more

Strengthening Your Social Security Disability Claim To Get The Benefits You Deserve

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Strengthening Your Social Security Disability Claim To Get The Benefits You Deserve

When you are disabled and are no longer able to work, it’s time to apply for Social Security disability benefits. While the process can be difficult, you can make your application stronger when you focus on providing accurate documentation and proof of your disability. Responding to all questions from Social Security is essential, and having your treatment team on board with your application will strengthen your application. If you are hurt, but you aren’t going to any providers to try to recover from your illness or injury, you won’t have anyone to back up your claim that you are disabled and unable to keep working. If you are struggling to get through an application, a Social Security disability lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve. Respond to All Requests Immediately Many initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are rejected due to a technicality. If your application is missing information and you receive a letter requesting further documentation, it’s important that you respond to this request right away. If you aren’t sure what the Social Security disability office is looking for, call the number provided for further clarification. Work with Your Treatment Providers Talk with each person that you see for treatment regarding your disability, and let them know that you are applying for Social Security disability benefits. Ask your provider about your limitations and if they are going to be able to provide proof that you are no longer able to work. If you have a complex disability, having a treatment team is essential. For example, if you have arthritis that is prohibiting you from standing or sitting for long periods of time, proof can come from several providers. If you see an orthopedist who has recommended physical therapy, both the orthopedist and the physical therapist will be able to provide information about your diagnosis, treatments tried, and prognosis. While it may be difficult to seek treatment when you are injured, this is the only way you are going to have proof of your pain and suffering. Listen to your treatment team and follow through with all treatments that are recommended in an effort to help you heal. When you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, remember that an initial denial does not mean you’ll never receive benefits. There is an appeals process. When you work with an attorney, they can guide you through the appeals process and help you get the benefits you need in order to...

read more

Three Real-Life Ways To Avoid Drinking And Driving

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Real-Life Ways To Avoid Drinking And Driving

“Don’t drink and drive!” These words have probably been drilled into your brain from the time you were a youngster who wasn’t even allowed to imbibe. But while most all adults know that drinking and driving is a bad idea, DUIs still happen because people do not make the smartest decisions when they’ve had a few alcoholic beverages. If you really want to avoid drinking and driving, you need to do more than memorize the mantra, “don’t drink and drive.” Follow these real-life tips to keep yourself from making this mistake. Install numerous cab apps on your phone. When it’s 2 am, you’ve had a few too many drinks, and all you want is your bed, you might accidentally assume the easiest way to get home is just to tough it out and drive. Looking up a number for a local cab company might be too much effort. By installing numerous cab apps (and ride-sharing apps like Uber) on your phone, you make calling a cab the easier option when it comes time to go home. This makes you more likely to actually take this option over driving. Tell your friends to keep you in check. Do you plan on having one drink with dinner, only to end up drinking three or four? Maybe you plan to meet your friends for “a beer,” which turns into five. Since you didn’t plan on having more than one drink, you didn’t make plans to get home safely without driving.  There’s a good way around situations like this. When you head out for the evening and your plan is to not drink, fill your friends in on this plan. Ask them to help you stick to it, too. If they see you considering ordering that second drink, they should remind you of your plans and order you a water or soda instead.  Don’t drive to your destination, either. If you drive to the bar or house party where you’ll be drinking, then it’s so tempting to drive home, too, so your car ends up back at your house. But what if you were to leave your car at home in the first place? Ride public transportation to your destination or take a cab to the bar. This way, when it’s time to go home, you won’t have the option of mistakenly climbing into your car. With the tips above, you should be less likely to make the mistake of driving while intoxicated. But mistakes do happen, so also make sure you have the number of a good DUI attorney in your phone. Hopefully, you never have to call it — but even if you have to call for a friend, at least you’ll be prepared. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website...

read more

Dacas And Dreamers Be Warned: An Uncertain Future Lies Ahead

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dacas And Dreamers Be Warned: An Uncertain Future Lies Ahead

There’s a new set of warnings to a certain class of immigrants in the United States. Those undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. while children and who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was signed into law by executive action under President Obama are being told that they face an uncertain future in the U.S. under the Trump administration. If this applies to you or someone you love, this is what you should know. DACAs and DREAMers Warned to Stay Inside U.S. Many of these young immigrants, who don’t recall a life outside of the U.S., refer to themselves as “DREAMers” after the title of the failed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. Under the Obama administration, they’ve been able to pursue educations and move about the country legally with work permits and driver’s licenses through the use of renewable two-year permits to stay in the U.S. Based on the incoming presidential administration’s anti-immigration stance, those DREAMers who qualified for the DACA program are being warned not to be outside the U.S. when President-elect Trump takes office. If they are, they may find themselves unable to get back to their families inside the U.S. That curtails the plans of many who may have intended to travel outside of the U.S. to visit relatives or for educational purposes through their schools.  Young Immigrants Also Warned Not to Turn Over Information Other experts are also warning young immigrants not to hand over new information to the government during the uncertain future. The University of Berkely, for example, has warned young would-be students who haven’t yet gotten a DACA permit that would enable them to get documentation and a Social Security number not to apply for the program. It fears that would just be providing the government with the information it needs to scoop them up and deport them.  Additionally, the more than 750,000 young immigrants who already have provided their personal information to the existing DACA program in order to get the right to legally work and attend school in this country may want to consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible. The President-elect has promised to repeal the program and could do so as soon as his first day in office. If that happens, it’s uncertain what immediate repercussions those in the DACA program might face. While those in the program probably aren’t the “criminal aliens” the President-elect has vowed to deport, they are in the U.S. illegally and they may need to find another way to apply for legal status. If you are a member of the DACA program, consider contacting an immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Contact a firm like the New Jersey Immigration Lawyers, Tesoroni & Leroy to find out if this warning applies to you or someone you...

read more

Do These Four Things When Facing False Allegations Of Rape

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do These Four Things When Facing False Allegations Of Rape

Few crimes that will make the society loathe you as much as sexual crimes. Even false allegations are enough to ruin your reputation. That’s why you need to be on toes with your defense from the moment you are falsely accused of rape. If you are ever faced with a false charge of sexual assault, take these four steps to prepare for your defense: Stay Away From Your Accuser Resist the temptation to argue, negotiate or harass your accuser. The more you contact them, the more their accusations will have weight. Besides, there is also the possibility that you may get angry with them and do something that may derail your defense later. Besides, if they can accuse you of rape, how can you be sure that they won’t make further allegations regarding your subsequent meetings? If it’s impractical to stay away from them, for example, if you work at the same company, make it a point to have a third party present every time you must be in your accuser’s presence. The third party can bear you witness when the accuser later makes further accusations against you. Preserve the Evidence Few things can arouse suspicion of guilt like the destruction of evidence. Therefore, do your best to ensure every little piece of evidence is intact for examination of the authorities. This means you should keep all pieces of clothing you were wearing that day (including undergarments). In addition, you shouldn’t delete any communications (such as emails and text messages) or social media messages. Get Character Witnesses Character witnesses are people who can testify that, as far as they know, you aren’t likely to engage in rape. These should be people who know you well enough and have known you for a long time. They can be your boss, workmates, or religious leader. If the issue proceeds to trial, expect the opposing attorney to grill your character witnesses to try to poke holes in their testimony. Therefore, choose people who know you well enough to know that you could not have committed the crime. Get an Expert Witness Lastly, you will need expert witnesses to dissect your accuser’s allegations, examine the technical evidence and explain to the court (in everyday language) your side of the story. You may need more than one type of expert witness. For example, you may need a psychologist to explain why you don’t fit the profile of a rapist. You may also need a medical doctor to explain the results of medical tests (if any were taken) to the court. Since courts have zero-tolerance for sexual crimes, don’t be surprised if it seems that the plaintiff’s words carry more weight than your denial. You have your work cut out for you in terms of defending yourself; the above four measures are just the beginning. Consult a criminal defense attorney to help you defend...

read more

Are You Being Falsely Accused Of Fraud At Work?

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are You Being Falsely Accused Of Fraud At Work?

Fraud is a serious felony that can be difficult to defend against, and it can be destructive to a reputation. If you are being falsely accused of fraud at work by a co-worker or a superior, you are in a tough legal situation. Thankfully, you can defend yourself against these false claims. Potential Penalties If Found Guilty You might think that your innocence will protect you from being successfully prosecuted. Sadly, this is not always the case. If you are found guilty of fraud at work (such as of falsifying financial documents) you could end up facing multiple types of penalties, including: Prison time of up to 10 years Harsh fines that can top $10,000 Compensation payments to any victims of your falsely alleged fraud Probation that lasts up to 12 months The latter penalty is obviously the one you want to get if at all possible. It is typical for people who have not committed serious crimes in the past. However, probation comes with its own problems, such as reporting to a probation officer and taking random drug tests. It is also embarrassing if you did not commit fraud and can destroy your professional reputation. Can You Defend Yourself Based On Defamation Of Character? Is it possible to defend yourself against claims of fraud by filing a defamation of character case? Defamation of character, for those who don’t know, is the use of slander (spoken word) or libel (written word) to destroy a person’s reputation. In a fraud case, it can be used as a defense against false claims, as long as you can prove a few important points, such as: The statements made about you were false and not just an opinion The information was unprivileged (i.e., was made in bad faith) Your reputation was harmed by the false statement  Immoral, illegal, or unethical conduct was used when making the statement Defamation of character can be hard to prove in many cases. For example, the first guideline requires that the person states as a categorical fact that you are committing fraud, not just sharing an opinion that you might have done so. The second point is perhaps the most important here: if the person who falsely accused you of fraud not only believed it was true, but was reporting it in good faith (i.e. not lying intending to destroy your reputation), defamation of character cannot be argued. Other Types Of Defenses When defending yourself against false allegations of fraud, the best defenses are to prove that there simply isn’t enough evidence for fraud or that statements you made were done in good faith, i.e., not with the intent to perform fraud. For example, if you simply made a mistake on your financial documents, rather than committed deliberate fraud, you need to prove it. Other defenses include entrapment, e.g., you were coerced to make false statements on the financial statements by your boss. However, the best defense is to simply tell the truth and use a good felony lawyer to prove that you are doing so. If you are telling the truth and can gather evidence proving it, you should have a very strong...

read more

Bankruptcy Options For Keeping A Car That You Still Owe On

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bankruptcy Options For Keeping A Car That You Still Owe On

Filing for bankruptcy can be stressful and slightly scary, especially if you depend on your car but still owe money on it. In chapter 7 bankruptcy you have a few options when it comes to your car, and some of them even allow you to keep the car. The following guide can help you better understand these options so you can make an educated choice. Option #1: Surrender the car This is the option that doesn’t work for many people. If you depend upon the car to get to work or run necessary errands, this may not seem like an option at all. On the other hand, if you have more than one car, it makes sense to surrender the car that you owe the most on. This can greatly lower your post-bankruptcy financial responsibilities, making it much easier to recover afterward. It may seem difficult at first to adjust to life with only one car, but it can be done and the savings may be well worth the hassle. Option #2: Reaffirm the car loan Reaffirmed debt simply means that you excluded the car loan from the bankruptcy proceedings. You will need to sign a contract with the lender agreeing to continue with the car payments as previously agreed upon. It’s easiest to successfully reaffirm debt if your payments on the specific debt are up to date. If this is the option you prefer, continue to pay your car loan throughout the entire proceedings. Keep in mind, the reaffirmation must be approved by the court. The court will likely require that you demonstrate that the car is necessary and that the payments can comfortably fit into your post-bankruptcy budget. If you have exceptionally high payments or access to another paid off car, they may not approve the reaffirmation and you will lose the car. Option #3: Redemption of the car Redeeming your car simply means that you pay off the remaining value of the car. This is the current value, not the value of the car at the time of purchase. The creditor must agree to the value or the court will be responsible for determining the correct market value for the car. Even if you and the lender agree on a sum, the court must still approve it. Much like reaffirmation, you must also prove that you need the vehicle and that paying the lump sum to the lender won’t put any further stress on you after the bankruptcy. The trustee must also approve that the funds are used to pay off the car via redemption and are not to be used for paying other creditors. For more help, contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area such as those found at Hoffman, Hamer & Associates,...

read more

Decide Not To Pay Your Child Support Because You Think It’s Unfair? This Is What To Expect (And It Isn’t Good News)

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Decide Not To Pay Your Child Support Because You Think It’s Unfair? This Is What To Expect (And It Isn’t Good News)

Child support payments can be a thorny issue long after a divorce, especially if you feel like your ex is milking the support payments for his or her own benefit or in order to avoid getting a job. Sometimes the demands for increased support seem to be capricious or unnecessary. So what happens, then, if you decide not to pay? Here’s what you should know. If you’re employed, you may be subject to automatic garnishment. In some states, child support orders are automatically sent to employers with instructions to garnish your wages. Your employer has to comply with these instructions in order to avoid fines and contempt of court charges—which means that there is no point trying to negotiate with your employer over the issue. If wage garnishment isn’t possible, other forms of recovery are. If you’re self-employed or some other issue is preventing the automatic withholding of your support, your ex-spouse can turn to the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 for help. This act authorizes the district attorney (DA) to get involved with the collection process. In some jurisdictions, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) will take charge of the situation. In most cases, the first contact that you will receive from either the DA, DHHS, or CSEA will be a letter requiring you to meet with someone and set up an acceptable payment schedule. If you still refuse to cooperate, there are various ways you can be forced to pay. While most of the initial letters sent out about non-payment of child support warn recipients that they could be subject to jail time if they refuse to cooperate and attend the meeting, the state recognizes that’s counter-productive to the ultimate goal (since you can’t earn the money to pay the support while you’re in jail). Instead, the state will probably fine you for the initial refusal. For example, in Maine, you can be fined $1,000 for failure to attend the meeting with DHHS. You can also be fined $1,000 if you attend the meeting but are uncooperative or lie about your income. In Ohio, you could be fined, sentenced to 30-90 days in jail for contempt of court, or ordered to complete community service in lieu or jail time—unless you’re willing to turn over the support money that you owe. If that doesn’t work, the court may take more serious actions. If you still refuse to pay, the court has a number of things that it can do to either collect the child support owed or make your life as difficult as possible until you agree to pay: The court can go after almost any form of income that you have, except for public assistance like welfare benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Any money that you have in any financial institutions, including stocks, bonds, IRAs, savings accounts, and retirement funds, can be seized. Your federal tax returns may be seized. If you are due any workers’ compensation benefits, your lump-sum payments could be seized to pay past-due support. Any lottery winnings can be seized to pay the support obligation. You can have a lien placed on your home, and any personal property that the courts in your state don’t exempt can be seized and sold to...

read more

Knowledge Isn’t Always Power: Avoiding Insider Trading

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Knowledge Isn’t Always Power: Avoiding Insider Trading

If you work for or have family or friends who work for a company that is publicly traded, you might think that getting information from them about how the company is doing could help you make better investment decisions. However, as simple as that seems, it would in most cases be illegal, considered to be insider trading (so called because you’re trading shares based on insider information that isn’t available to everyone). There is a really fine line between insider trading and luckily-timed guesses, and if you’re tempted to take action, you need to speak with a lawyer first to see if what you’re planning is something you’re allowed to do by law. Unfair Advantage The problem with insider trading is that it puts you and anyone else who has the information at a distinct advantage, allowing you to make more profits than anyone else. Despite it being cool to say everything is rigged now or that the establishment controls the market, the markets and governments of the countries that have them do try to make everything as equitable as possible. SEC Monitoring There are times when share owners may deem it best to sell or buy certain shares, and the practice would not be insider trading, but these circumstances are special. They are also monitored carefully by the Securities and Exchange Commission because the company would have to notify the SEC in writing of its plans. The actions of the shareholders must also be based on information that is available to the public. Family and Friends As tempting as it might be, someone who has knowledge of an upcoming big dip or boost in a company’s share prices can’t share that information even with a spouse. Any blatant trading of information for the purposes of affecting how many shares someone has can be seen as insider trading. Lucky Guesses This doesn’t mean that you can’t discuss your business with anyone. If you get fired, someone in your family finds out and decides on their own to sell stock in the company, and then the company’s stock tanks, that’s not really insider trading because your firing and the other person’s conclusions weren’t used on purpose to make a profit. It was more of a lucky, if shrewd, guess. Self-Trading It’s also possible to do insider trading with yourself. If you know a company is having issues and you decide on your own to buy or sell stock in that company, then in some circumstances, that could be insider trading if you had information that the stock would be affected by whatever was going on. Rather than assuming everything will be OK and then getting into trouble, talk to a lawyer who has dealt with securities fraud and insider trading. You want to be on stable legal ground before you make a move. For more information, contact Carter West Law or a similar...

read more

Why Hiring A Fertility Lawyer Is Ideal When A Sperm Donor Is Used

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Hiring A Fertility Lawyer Is Ideal When A Sperm Donor Is Used

Are you and your husband considering a sperm donor because he is unable to sire children? Although opting for a sperm donor is a great way for you to get pregnant, it can lead to numerous legal issues if not done the right way. It is wise to hire a fertility lawyer before moving forward with the process, especially if the donor is a friend. Take a look at the information in this article to get a general idea of how a fertility lawyer can assist you and your spouse. 1. Protect the Future Rights of Your Child You must keep in mind that it is possible that your child will find out that he or she was born from a sperm donor. If the donated sperm is coming from a fertility clinic, the name of the donor will likely be withheld. However, a lawyer can draft up an agreement that gives your child rights to know who the donor is if it is desired in the future. For instance, your child might need the information for medical reasons if he or she develops a serious health condition. The agreement can also come in handy if he or she ever becomes depressed due to not knowing his or her biological father. 2. Make Sure the Donor is Unable to Claim Parental Rights If one of your friends will be the sperm donor, it is important to have a parental rights agreement in place. You don’t want to end up having the child and then find out that the donor wants a paternity test and custody rights. A lawyer will draft up an agreement that forbids the donor from fighting for custody of the child. The agreement can also be used for mandating that the donor keeps the entire situation confidential. Basically, the donor will simply donate the sperm and must move on with his life. 3. Determine What Happens with Custody in a Divorce Being that your spouse will not be the biological father of the child, the situation can become complicated if a divorce occurs. It is wise to have a legal document in place that grants both of you custody rights if the marriage doesn’t work out. Allowing your spouse to adopt the child upon birth is an even better idea, as he will automatically have full parental rights. Speak to a fertility lawyer so he or she can make sure all aspects of the situation are handled in a legal manner. Visit websites like for more...

read more