Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Injury Claims - The Road Map to Getting Back to Normal - Part 2

            In the last blog post, we talked about how obtaining documentation and other information will help make it easier to resolve your injury claim. To build on that, it is important to understand what comes into consideration when considering the settlement value of an injured person’s claim. It is important to understand this in order to make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve.
            At the outset of any injury case, someone has been injured in some way. Like everybody else, this person will receive medical treatment for their injury. The hope is that they can recover, and get back to 100% of their previous health. Sometimes, there is no getting back to 100%, which is a difficult situation to be in. In either scenario, their doctors will tell them when they are no longer expected to improve. This is called reaching “maximum medical improvement”. At this point, it is time to try to evaluate the claim to determine what a fair settlement is for the injured party.
            Each claim is made up of the cost of your medical treatment, and other assorted damages. Medical bills make up the bulk of each injured person’s claim. Typically, if they get back to 100%, this will only include their past and present medical treatment. If they find themselves permanently injured, then future medical expenses are included in the claim. Other expenses that an injured party is entitled to compensation for are past/present/future lost income, mileage incurred going to appointments, and pain and suffering. Of all of these things, pain and suffering is the most difficult to value. Insurance adjusters know this, and if an injured party does not have experienced counsel, they leverage this uncertainty into a lower settlement that may not even compensate the injured party fully for their medical treatment.
That is why at Parnell & McKay we have utilized a time-tested process to accurately account for all of these uncertain expenses. We know how insurance companies evaluate your claim, and we have extensive experience getting our clients the settlements that they deserve. We also have experience trying jury cases, and with that knowledge, we can advise our clients on what a jury of your peers, or Judge, would likely decide, and how that affects the decision you make on settling.
If you find yourself injured, contact Parnell & McKay today. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Personal Injury Claims – The Road Map to Getting Back to Normal

The key to understanding personal injury claims is that claims handling is driven by insurance requirements. The vast majority of injury claims are resolved by settlement.  The parties to the settlement discussions are most commonly the injured party, his/her attorney and an insurance company. It is necessary to know how insurance companies process claims in order to achieve the best possible result. The most important thing to remember is that insurance companies rely heavily on objective information to form a valuation of each claim. This comes in the form of medical and billing records, accident reports, pictures, lost wages documentation, and other related records. The more complete your documentation the better your chance of a satisfactory result. Gathering documentation should be your first priority when you suffer from an unfortunate injury.
Here at Parnell & McKay, we make information gathering a top priority in each injury claim we handle. Our attorneys have the knowledge and know how to be able to track down every piece of important documentation on your claim. We understand what insurance companies are looking for, and we exert pressure on insurance companies based on that knowledge in order to obtain the highest settlement for our clients. We have secured millions of dollars in compensation for our clients using this time tested practice, and look forward to helping future injured parties get back on their feet.
If you were injured, read more about our personal injury practice here. As always in injury cases, consultations are free. Contact us today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Proposition 8 Overturned on Appeal: How the Court Found the Ban on Same-sex Marriage Unconstitutional

            Many people have heard of the most recent decision of the 9th Circuit Court of appeals in Perry v. Brown. This is the case that challenged the California law that bans same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 was passed in a general election where a majority of the voters of California enacted the legislation banning same-sex marriage. Legal challenges were quick, and the 9th Circuit’s opinion was the latest in the same-sex marriage debate.
To understand the decision from a legal perspective, it is important to understand the legal distinction that same-sex couples are not recognized as a “protected class” within the definition of America’s equal protection laws. Certain classifications of persons fall into legal protected classes under our laws. This is typically understood as gender, race, color, and age. The tests applied to these classes are different than that which applies to the people as a whole. Same sex individuals have not been established as a protected class, so laws that infringe on their rights have a test called the “rational basis” test that is applied when they challenge a law that infringes upon their rights as same-sex individuals. There is a strong burden applied that the law being challenged is valid under this test.
            In the Perry case, the attorneys understood this and sought to either prove or disprove that the law was rationally related to a legitimate government interest. The challengers succeeded in arguing that the law was not rationally related to the regulation of marriage. They asserted that the distinction between same sex and opposite sex couples had no basis in law, as both could adopt, have children, and lead monogamous lives together. The appeals court agreed. Judge Reinhardt wrote, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite sex couples.”
To read more of Judge Reinhardt’s opinion, click here. If you find yourself in need of family law services, please contact us. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The New Hampshire Family Division's New Mandatory Disclosure Rules: How to find and understand the new requirements

            In every family case involving divorce, parenting, annulment, civil unions, and more, the Court is now requiring each party to disclose documentation to the other party. The documentation includes tax returns, paystubs, and health insurance information among other general financial documentation. Yet, the important part of these new rules is that they are mandatory. If you do not disclose, then you will face penalties. A party might not be able to offer any document into evidence, or even talk about that evidence at trial if the document was required under the new rule. A party may not even be able to conduct additional discovery (information/document requests), or file any discovery motions seeking information if they did not comply with the rule.
            What does this mean for someone new to the family court? Well, you can find a copy of the rule here. As you read through it, you notice it mostly has to do with assets of each party involved in the case. For a divorce, this is easy to understand. But how about an unwed parent case? Well, the answer to that question lies generally in the area of child support. Courts want to have as much objective information as possible in order to make a more sound and reasoned decision. This helps avoid unjust or over-burdensome support orders that were based on limited information.
            If you need help in complying with the mandatory disclosure rules, we offer unbundled services. In fact, you will find William Parnell and Cathy McKay listed on a number of the Court’s unbundled lawyer list. We also offer comprehensive representation throughout any process involving the Family Courts. To contact Parnell & McKay, click here.