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The Importance of Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case

Witnesses are an important part of a personal injury case. In general, witnesses are called to help clarify contested issues in a case. In this way, witnesses can build help build the strength of your case. In fact, as wrongful death lawyer Phoenix AZ residents can rely on can attest, one witness’ testimony could make or break an entire case. There are two major categories of witnesses, read on to find out who they are and why they can be so crucial to your case. 1.  Lay Witnesses A lay witness is a person who provides testimony in case, but who is not considered an expert. Lay witnesses provide statements based on their perceptions and personal knowledge only, not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge. Lay witnesses don’t provide their opinions, just the facts of what they have perceived in relation to the case. The most common lay witnesses in a personal injury case are: ·   Witness To the accident: this can include a wide range of people, including, people who saw the accident occur, people involved in the accident, the police, medics who responded to the scene, ER doctors, etc. ·   Before/After Witnesses: often including friends, family, and colleagues; these witnesses have had a personal relationship with the victim both before the accident occurred and after. These people can provide testimony on how the accident and subsequent injury has affected the victim physically and mentally. This sort of witness is especially crucial when asking for damages to compensate for pain and suffering. 2. Expert Witnesses In contrast to a lay witness, an expert witness is qualified as an expert in a field by way of skill, experience, training, or education. Expert witnesses usually do not have any direct relation to the accident or victim, rather they are outside resources used to provide informed opinions on contested issues in the case. The Federal Rules of Evidence allow an expert witness if: ·   The expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue ·   The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data ·   The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods and the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case. For example, if the defense is claiming that being rear-ended cannot...
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Workplace Violence and Worker’s Compensation Claims

We all hope that we never have to experience a violent situation, especially not at our workplace. Sadly, it does happen that an employee gets sexually harassed or assaulted by a coworker, a boss or a client. Work should be a place of respect and professionalism at all times. Employers owe a duty of reasonable care to their employees to prevent violence in the workplace and must take care to minimize the risk of such acts. If an incident happened and you wish to pursue a negligence claim, you must prove that your employer knew or should have predicted that there was a threat and they failed to eliminate it. OSHA and Workplace Violence Prevention The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) requires employers to provide a hazard free workplace safe from conditions that are likely to lead to a severe injury or death. This is interpreted as a duty to prevent threats or acts of violence in the workplace as well. There is no federal law regarding workplace violence prevention. The agency that enforces federal health and safety laws, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), may issue fines when incidents of violence happen that an employer failed to protect their employees from. The OSH Act does not afford employees an opportunity to sue their employers for any injuries caused by workplace violence. Usually an employee must go through worker’s compensation for work-related complaints, people typically can’t sue their employers for negligence or other civil actions. Pursuing a Worker’s Compensation Claim Awards from worker’s compensation benefit are generally less than what a plaintiff may be awarded in a civil case. Wage loss and permanent disability pay outs are capped by federal law in worker’s compensation cases and worker’s compensation often does not cover emotional damages such as “pain and suffering” that may affect a victim of workplace violence. In  some civil lawsuits, the majority of an award is for emotional damages. State laws vary regarding exceptions allowing an employee to sue an employer for injuries caused by workplace violence. In some states, the situation is subject to worker’s compensation when the incident happens on-duty or when completing a work-related assignment. The option to pursue a civil suit against the third party that caused the violence is always open, but it isn’t always a practical option. Coworkers and other third parties may not have the income to pay...
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Who can file a wrongful death claim after a car accident that involved a fatality?

As a car accident law firm, we understand the heartfelt emotions our clients are experiencing after a losing a loved in a collision. If you are a family member of someone who has died in a car accident, we offer our condolences and ask that you call our firm to speak with a lawyer about your potential options. Who can file a wrongful death claim after a car accident that involved a fatality? In most U.S. states, a wrongful death happens when a person dies because of wrongdoing, negligence, or intentional action of another party or entity. When a wrongful death occurs, another person may pursue legal action. Usually this involves a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In essence this is intended to seek monetary compensation against the party or entity who was responsible for the death. In general you will need to have legal representation from a car accident lawyer who handles wrongful death claims. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit or Claim Every state has their own laws and rules pertaining to wrongful death claims and lawsuits. The following is a general overview of these laws. To understand what may apply in your own state, please call a car accident lawyer. ●      Immediate family members are able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit ●      Usually if the deceased was married, the surviving spouse will take legal action ●      If the deceased was an adult, and had children over the age of 18, they might also be able to file a claim ●      If the deceased was a minor, usually a parent will file a claim ●      Depending on the state, a partner in a domestic partnership or civil union can file on behalf of their deceased partner ●      If the deceased was an adult and had no spouse, children, or immediate family members, distant relatives might be able to file the claim or lawsuit. It is possible for a dispute between family members to arise over who files the claim. Typically a court will only allow one person to do so; furthermore, if two or more claims/lawsuits are filed, the court will likely consolidate them into one. A car accident lawyer can help you to understand whether or not you are able to file a claim and explain the process in further detail during a consultation. When a Will or Trust Exists If the...
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Some Dangerous Conditions in Nursing Homes

Medicaid is the lifeblood of many long-term care facilities, and it has changed a lot since the early 2000s.  Already low reimbursement rates have declined as much as 43 percent in some cases.  Protocol has changed as well.  Medicaid once reimbursed nursing homes for each staff-resident contact, so the facility made money with each visit, but the program now mostly pays a flat fee per patient.  As a result, the nursing home basically loses money every time a staff member checks on a resident. Profit-conscious nursing home administrators are very aware of these changes.  To cope with declining rates, many facilities take on as many patients as possible, so that volume can make up for a per-patient revenue shortfall.  Many facilities have cut staff-resident interactions to the bone. Cutting costs like this creates a situation ripe with abuse in certain nursing homes, particularly in the two areas below. Pressure Ulcers Bedridden nursing home residents are at great risk for bedsores.  If caught early enough, pressure ulcers often go away by themselves; if left untreated for too long, pressure ulcers can cause a life-threatening blood flow interruption.  Early detection is key to preventing it. To avoid bedsores, a patient must turn in bed at least once every two hours.  Many nursing home residents can’t do that on their own.  Some are too physically weak to move under their own power, others are heavily sedated by medication and drugs, and some suffer from dementia or other issues. A high patient population in such cases often mean that patient care techs and other lower-level employees perform rounds only on nights and weekends.  Such workers may not recognize developing pressure ulcers or understand how deadly they could become. If a resident develops a bedsore in this environment, the nursing home is responsible for it and the subsequent health issues. Resident on Resident Abuse Many nursing home residents wander about.  That can be a problem in crowded facilities, where residents with almost no privacy are very protective of what they consider theirs.  Similarly, crowded common areas mean that there are more disputes over a preferred spot on the sofa or a favorite dining room table. These disputes can become violent, and since many residents are frail, very little force can cause serious injury.  The nursing home in this situation created the dangerous condition by accepting too many patients for them to handle and made...
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