Are Your Circumstances Suitable for a Collaborative Divorce?

You may be suitable for a collaborative divorce if you seek:

  1. A dignified approach to handling your divorce
  2. A fair and non-aggressive resolution of issues based on the best interests of the family, not the individual
  3. Guidance, support and advice on legal issues without the threat of fighting in court.
  4. A chance to work through emotions and avoid misunderstandings to arrive at sound decisions
  5. To avoid the cost and emotional strain of court proceedings
  6. To keep your dispute and terms of your settlement confidential

How do I kick start the process?Contact a collaborative divorce lawyer. You must choose a lawyer trained in collaborative family law for the process to be effective. An experienced lawyer knows about the required documentation that can make process hassle free.

What happens when we reach agreement?

After you reach agreement, your lawyer can prepare divorce papers that the court is likely to approve.

What happens if the process breaks down?

You may explore other options such as mediation to avoid from going to court. However, if you do take your case to court, your collaborative lawyer cannot act on your behalf in court proceedings as they have signed an undertaking not to litigate.

What is the difference between the collaborative divorce process and court litigation?

Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that gives divorcing parties control over the process, including the timetable. On the other hand, the litigation process is controlled by the judge and determined by court dates, and parties must comply with the court’s orders. Divorce Lawyers will facilitate direct negotiations between parties in collaborative divorce, working towards a common goal that is in the best interests of both parties and the family, and parties will be encouraged to consider short- and long-term impacts of their decisions. In litigation, both parties and lawyers are pitted against each other, and parties will bargain based on their own needs and rights. They will not be actively asked to think about the short- and long-term effects of their choices.

As can be seen, collaborative divorce allows the parties, instead of the judge, to make the final decisions. Due to this, however, there is no guaranteed settlement in collaborative divorce. If parties cannot reach a final decision, they will need to proceed with litigation. The process of collaborative divorce is confidential, but if parties enter into litigation, the records of Court proceedings will be publicly available.

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Alimony, Support and Division of Assets Explained in Pennsylvania

Spousal Support

Spousal Support is available to a married spouse, when the couple resides in separate homes and one spouse earns more than the other spouse. There are defenses against spousal support and it is important to have an attorney assist you in your claim for or against spousal support.

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony Pendente Lite is a type of support that is limited in nature and paid to the lesser income earning spouse by the higher income earning spouse in accordance to a statutory formula until the divorce is finalized. This support was enacted to equalize the parties incomes during the divorce proceedings and allow each spouse to afford the divorce process and expenses.

Alimony

In Pennsylvania, there is not a set formula to determine post-divorce alimony. Whether or not to award post-divorce alimony payments lies within the exclusive discretion of the court. The court relies on the following 17 factors to determine whether to award post-divorce alimony.

The 17 Factors of Alimony

  • The relative earnings of both spouses.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of the two spouses.
  • The sources of income of both spouses. This includes medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  • The expected future earnings and inheritances of the two spouses.
  • The degree to which one spouse has contributed to the other spouse’s education, training or increased earning potential.
  • The degree to which a spouse will be financially affected by their position as the custodian of a minor child.
  • The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
  • The relative education of the parties. This also considers the amount of time it would take for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire the education or training necessary to find employment.
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the two spouses.
  • The property each spouse brought to the marriage.
  • The degree a spouse contributed as a homemaker.
  • The relative needs of the two spouses.
  • The marital misconduct of either of the spouses during the marriage.
  • The federal, state and local tax consequences of the alimony.
  • Whether the spouse seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs.
  • Whether the spouse seeking alimony is incapable of supporting themselves through appropriate employment.

[1] Title 7, Pennsylvania Code, §6102.

Division of Assests

In Pennsylvania “marital property” means all property acquired by either party during the marriage and the increase in value of any non-marital property acquired. However, marital property does not include:

Veterans’ benefits exempt from attachment, levy or seizure pursuant to the act of September 2, 1958 (Public Law 85-857, 72 Stat. 1229), as amended, except for those benefits received by a veteran where the veteran has waived a portion of his military retirement pay in order to receive veterans’ compensation.

Property to the extent to which the property has been mortgaged or otherwise encumbered in good faith for value prior to the date of final separation.

Any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to the marriage or after the date of final separation regardless of when the payment was received.

Property acquired prior to marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.

Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties entered into before, during or after the marriage.
Property acquired by gift, except between spouses, bequest, devise or descent or property acquired in exchange for such property.

Property acquired after final separation until the date of divorce, except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets.

Property which a party has sold, granted, conveyed or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of final separation.

Pennsylvania states that the increase in value of any non-marital property acquired pursuant to subsection shall be measured from the date of marriage or later acquisition date to either the date of final separation or the date as close to the hearing on equitable distribution as possible, whichever date results in a lesser increase.

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How to Come Up With Your Best Legal Move for Copyright Cases

Whether you’re the alleged infringer or the copyright owner, calculating damages for a copyright infringement case is critical in determining your potential legal strategy. To analyse, the first thing to consider is if the pirated work has been registered with the copyright office. Registered works are afforded greater protection and these registration records can be found in a free online database. To access the copyright registration records, you need to go to the Copyright Office website.

Statutory and Actual Damages

Your best legal strategy is not only determined by the best copyright infringement software. Read on to know more about the types of calculated damages that could just help determine what works well for your case.

Statutory damages are often higher than actual damages and they are easier to calculate. So the majority of plaintiffs or content owners usually choose to pursue for statutory damages. For illegal filesharing cases for example, actual damages per pirated song may be around $1; however, statutory damages could go up to $20,000 or more.

Regardless of the actual damages suffered by the content owner, the amount of statutory damages is set by law. Each infringement usually range from $750 to $30,000, but damages for “innocent infringers” can go as low as $200 and up to $150,000 if the court determines that the defendant acted “wilfully”. The courts do not award damages outside this range and they consider the purpose of the infringing use, the value of the infringed work, and the infringer’s intent or state.

Aside from statutory damages, plaintiffs can also ask for attorney’s fees and if awarded, the infringer will owe them the total sum or part of the legal fees plus the fees of their own lawyer. Although attorney’s fees are awarded through the discretion of the court, unregistered copyright is never allowed to ask for attorney’s fees.

Plaintiffs pursue actual damages when their infringed work was not registered prior to the infringement. This type of damage is the calculable profit the infringer has gained from infringing the copyrights or monetary loss that the content owner has suffered.

Proper Analysis

Aside from getting a better understanding of the strength of your copyright infringement case, proper analysis of the potential damages plays an important role in determining a legal strategy. Calculating damages for copyright infringement is just one of the things involved in determining a person’s rights under the copyright law.

Most copyright cases do not go to trial and some defendants even choose to settle as the cost of a court case is already high, and added legal fees could possibly grow larger too. So, if you feel like your work has been infringed, talk to a copyright entity. They can help you identify the individual specifics that you will need to determine to come up with the best legal actions. Also, they use high-quality copyright infringement software to track pirates.

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Significance Of Character & Police Clearance Certificate In Immigration

If you are planning to settle permanently in any foreign country, police clearance certificate is one of the essential documents you will need in order to qualify successfully for the permanent residence visa process. A police clearance certificate is issued to Indian passport holders by the concerned police authorities covering the time period of the applicant’s stay in the particular region. If any applicant has been involved in any kind of illegal activity or was arrested for violating the law anytime, the police clearance certificates notes the entire nature and reasoning of the applicant’s case. In much simple words, a police clearance certificate represents how ethical or unethical your character is in the eyes of law of the counties you have lived after the age of 16 years.

Necessity and validity of the police clearance certificate in the immigration process

It is necessary for a prospective immigration who is 16 years older and currently residing in India to have his criminal check done. If the candidate is an Indian citizen age 16 or older and currently residing in India, whose passport was issued MORE THAN six months prior to their immigrant visa interview date, should obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from both the nearest Indian Passport Office and the District Police in the area in which they reside. However, if their passport was issued LESS THAN six months prior to their interview date, they only need a Police Clearance Certificate from the nearest Indian Passport Office.

Factors that impact police clearance check

The following factors will have an impact on your police clearance check:

  • You have a substantial criminal record: By this, it means that past records will be assessed. A sentence(s) of 12 months or more in prison will impact your police check.Also, a suspended sentence is considered as a prison sentence.
  • You have been convicted of escaping: In case you have been found guilty of escaping from immigration detention (during or while detention or had escaped and were taken into detention later), it may bring an adverse impact on your PCC.
  • You are/were associated to a criminal group: In case you have been a member of organization or group that has bad records and the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects your involvement in the group/organization criminal activities, it may impact your police check.
  • You are/were involved in any crime or offensive acts: If the Minister for Immigration reasonably believes your involvement in criminal acts like human trafficking, smuggling, genocide, sexual offense, torture of slavery, a crime against humanity, a crime of serious international concern, it becomes difficult for you to obtain a PCC.
  • Your past records prove you of an immoral character: If your past and presents records show that you are not of a good character and the government of the country thinks that you can be a threat to the country, you will be denied of a police clearance.

Procedure to apply for a police clearance certificate (India):

If you are 16 years or above, you can apply for a PCC at the places listed below, as per the associated conditions:

  • If you are residing in India and your Indian passport was issued within past 6 months
  • Apply at the Passport Office
  • If you are residing in India and your passport was issued more than 6 months prior to visa application
  • Have to apply at the Passport Office and the District Police Office near your place of residence
  • If you are an Indian passport holder and is staying outside India
  • Local Embassy or Consulate confirming you have no criminal record (a statement from Embassy or Consulate is acceptable)
  • If you are an Indian passport holder and currently resident in India, but has lived in another country (except for the U. S.).

You need to apply at the passport office, d District Police Office serving your place of residence (if the passport was issued more than 6 months prior to visa application) and the country of previous residence (if available).

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Why Should We Hire Family Law Practice

Family law can be defined as a practice that is closely concerned with the legal issues that have to do with family relationships like child custody, divorce and adoption. The lawyers who practice in this area usually deal with divorce, child support and so on. There are those that choose to specialize in emancipation, paternity, and adoption or any matters that relate to divorce. Formal requirements have to be reasonable and that is usually determined by the state. This includes things like legal capacity, age and same sex marriages. The state is also responsible for setting out the procedures and the rules that govern divorce as well as other matters related to family law.

Important terms to family lawyers

Emancipation: this is a process of the court whereby a person or a minor is allowed to be self-supporting. This means that he assumes the responsibilities of an adult for his welfare and won’t be under the parents.

Marital property: this is the kind of property that was acquired by a spouse while they were married and that needs to be divided when they divorce.

Alimony: this is the allowance that is given to a spouse for support when they are legally divorced or separated or when they are awaiting either of the two.

Paternity: the descent or origin from father. Establishing paternity means that you are confirming who the biological father of the child is.

Prenuptial agreement: this is an agreement that is usually made between two parties before they get married. Here, future rights to property are given in case death or divorce occurs.

Why hire a family lawyer?

Many of the family lawyers offer their services during divorce proceedings and other matters that may be related to divorce. Family law is a broad practice however, and it includes areas like reproductive rights and foster care. Some of the reasons as to why you may need a family lawyer include:

Divorce: every partner hires a lawmaker who is responsible for the creation of a settlement plan so as not to go top trail. They are usually people who can be able to divide any marital property, proposing child custody scenarios, and also calculating spousal support.

Child support/ child custody: the court orders and agreements on settlement involve support and custody and can be included in divorce cases that are larger. These can be revisited if any conditions change like the financial standing of a parent.

Paternity: sometimes a mother can file such a case as they try to secure some child support payments from the father. Also, a father can file a paternity case so as to be able to have a kind of relationship with a child. DNA testing is used for the determination.

Adoption: foster care and adoption is both complex. The process can differ and usually factors like where a child is from and state laws can affect the process. A family lawyer can be able to handle all these. A foster parent can sometimes adopt a foster child. The entire foster process sometimes doesn’t require any kind of legal representation.

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Divorce 101 for Filipinos

Here’s a situation: A and B, both Filipinos, went to the United States to get married. After several years, marital troubles started to occur between the couple and after efforts at reconciliation failed, the two started to part ways. They figured that since they were married in abroad, they decided to get a divorce in the US.

Upon return to the Philippines, after obtaining a decree of divorce, A and B mutually divided their properties between them and went their separate ways. Now, here’s where it gets tricky: Apparently, A incurred debts after their ‘divorce’. And now creditors are after not just A’s properties but also that B’s, which left the latter distraught. Is this even possible? Yes.

First things first: Divorce is NOT applicable to Filipinos. Even if the couple successfully obtains a decree of divorce, the same is VOID in the Philippines. In effect, in the eyes of the law, the couple is still legally bound as husband and wife.

Art. 15, otherwise known as the Nationality Principle, of the New Civil Code provides:

Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.

Given this, the creditors may go after the property of B as the same forms part of the community property of with A. After all, they are still a married couple.

However, Divorce obtained outside the country, may, in certain instances, be recognized in the Philippines. How?

Article 26 of the Family Code, reads:

All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

What makes this provision applicable to Filipinos are the presence of the following elements:

  1. That the there is a valid marriage between a Filipino and a foreigner.
  2. That the alien spouse obtains the divorce abroad and such decree capacitates him/her to remarry.

What if the Filipino later on became a naturalized foreign citizen, is this now applicable to him? It depends. In Republic vs. Orbecido III, the Supreme Court ruled that: “The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.”

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DUI Breathalyzer Accuracy

Anyone that has been stopped and arrested for a DUI charge is likely to find the entire process to be very difficult and stressful. Plus, with the reported increase in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or illegal substance, the authorities are making every effort to prosecute all offenders. In order to prove a person is driving under the influence, the law enforcement official that made the stop has a choice of asking the driver to take a roadside sobriety test or use a breathalyzer. A first course of action may be the sobriety test which involves simple tests like walking in a straight line, lifting one foot off the ground, touch the tip of your nose, etc.

But, these tests aren’t entirely reliable and the most common option used is the breathalyzer. A field breathalyzer is quick to use and basically involves breathing air into a device that is analyzed to determine whether of not the driver has consumed too much alcohol to be on the road.

While the breath analysis is the favored method to test the concentration of blood alcohol in a roadside stop, they are nowhere near as reliable or accurate as blood tests. But, for the case of DUI investigations, it is seen as an acceptable option, provided it is administered in the correct fashion.

The breathalyzer tests aren’t complicated and a useful piece of portable kit to analyze a sample, but the result generated by this device may not be as reliable as the authorities would like you to believe. In fact, it has been reported that neither the spectroscopic BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test nor the breathalyzer test is 100% trustworthy. This mostly relates to alcohol not affecting everyone the same, with many people able to consume quite a lot and still not be drunk.

Even though the test can give a positive indication that the BAC reading is high, this doesn’t actually confirm the driver was under the influence of alcohol while in control of their vehicle.

Scientific studies have taken place in relation to the accuracy of the breath alcohol tests, and their conclusion was that they are inherently unreliable. These studies have indicated that the breath readings can be up to 15% outside of the true blood alcohol levels.

So, in the event of being stopped for a DUI charge, you don’t really want the result from a breathalyzer to be the defining factor that determines the sentence issued. The best course of action is to get in touch with a skilled and reputable DUI attorney who is able to use their knowledge of the law to help fight this offense.

A DUI charge is a serious offense that has the potential to lead to a variety of legal consequences, which can include a period of prison time, attending alcohol or drug awareness classes, taking part in community service, having to pay a high fine, or the loss of your driver’s license. There are situations where the sentence given is more severe, such as having a minor on-board at the time or not being a first offense.

In the approach to defend the DUI charge that involves a breath analysis, any qualified criminal defense lawyer will be aware that there could be several operational and theoretical issues. There are a variety of factors that can lead to the results of blood-alcohol analysis being regarded as unreliable, and attempt to show that this type of data isn’t enough to prosecute. By using a lawyer it is possible to get the get outcome with a case either closed or a sentence kept to a minimum.

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The Do’s and Don’t of Workplace Injury Claims

When an employee is injured while on the clock, they have the option of accepting workers’ compensation benefits through their job. These benefits are meant to help cover the cost of the damages and losses incurred as a result of the accident. This may include lost wages, hospital bills, medical expenses, prolonged therapy, and more. If you were recently injured at work, it is in your best interest to learn what you can about workplace accidents and injury claims so that you may make the right decisions regarding your physical and financial recovery.

If you have not been injured at work, it is still wise to learn these tips so that you are prepared if it ever happens to you or someone you love. Continue reading to learn what you should and should not do in the case that you are injured at work and considering workers’ compensation.

Here’s What You Should Not Do:

Do not hide your injury or fail to report it.

Do not decline medical attention. This can be harmful to you both physically and in terms of filing a claim.

Do not let the company’s case manager into your hospital examination room while you are with the doctor if you do not want them in there.

Do not let the workers’ compensation insurance carrier take too long to approve or deny your injury claim. There are state laws that mandate when they must respond. It is usually within 30 days after the claim is officially filed.

Do not believe your employer if they tell you there is a “minimum period” of employment that you must retain in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You are entitled to benefits immediately, no matter your length of employment.

Do not miss or reschedule any appointments that are made by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Missing too many appointments can revoke your right to certain benefits.

When you return to work, do not let your employer place you into a line of duty that violates your work restrictions.

Here’s What You SHOULD Do:

Report your injury immediately, whether you think you need medical care or not.

Demand that a written accident report is made on the spot and be sure to get a copy for yourself.

Immediately seek or accept medical attention.

Retain all paperwork and documentation of your accident, injuries, and medical care. Keep track of all the written restrictions and instructions given to you by your doctor.

If your employer makes any retaliations or threats in regards to your claim, contact the Department of Labor immediately and report the harassment.

If you are unsatisfied with your medical treatment or diagnosis, ask for a second opinion.

If you are denied certain benefits due to a “pre-existing condition”, be sure to protest with the help of a licensed personal injury lawyer.

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Which Country Is Better for a Permanent Residency Visa – Australia Vs Canada

Both Australia and Canada are beautiful countries; both have high living standards and quality education to offer. Both have common elements including British heritage among other things. Both these countries are popular among the immigrants who are thinking to migrate. People often approach us looking for Visa Immigration Services but most of them are always confused between Australia and Canada. So, here are some comparisons made out.

Australia the smallest continent in the world but is the largest island with warm weather, typical climates are temperate, subtropical or Mediterranean. Canada has mostly the continental type of climate it’s very cold here, during winters. The northern part of Canada mostly covered with snow for around 6 months. When comes to unemployment, Canada has the higher unemployment rate which is 7.1% whereas Australia has an unemployment rate of 6.0% also immigration to Canada is easier and less stringent. The cost of living including housing, rent, groceries are a little high in Australia than in Canada. Healthcare system is slightly better in Australia. People of Canada are friendlier towards the immigrants than in Australia. It would be bad and judgemental if it’s said Australia is a racist country which is not anymore, even though few cases of racism are found but then those don’t make the headlines. Canada is ethnically diverse and multicultural nation which is a product of large scale immigration from many parts of the world.

For permanent residency, both countries follow a point based system, the processing is around 3-4 months in Australia where as in Canada it’s around 5-6 months.

Permanent Residency in Canada

To become a permanent resident, a foreign national must make an application to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizens of Canada). There are various ways in which one can the fastest being The Express entry system. The express entry is considered the fastest in Canada it has 2 stages first, apply for PR invitation and get selected from a pool of candidates based on total point score (based on age, language, work experience, studies etc.). Secondly, on receiving an invitation, the visa application form has to be to the immigration office. Then it is processed by the IRCC within 6 months from the receipt of application. The PR in Canada sub categorised as federal PR and PNP (Provincial nominee program), the former is applicable all over the country. PR expires after every 5 years and has to be renewed after 5 years. The benefits being a permanent resident holds same rights as Canadian citizens, they also may obtain other social as well as Canadian pension plan benefits.

Permanent Residency in Australia

The processing time is around 3-4 months for key permanent residency visas. There are the skilled independent visas and the skilled nominated visas. To apply for PR one needs to follow the point based immigration system firstly there has to be an online submission of an application that is EOI (Expression of interest) in Skill select online system which is an online form which asks a series of questions about your skills depending upon the visa subclass you select. The score is calculated based on education, skills, experience etc. And if you are selected you will get the ITA for the visa.

Also, there’s another factor that affects your visa which is the rules and regulations, considering the immigration rules and policies of both the countries Canada has easier and flexible immigration rules.

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How Car Accident Victims Can Improve Their Cases Before Their First Legal Consultation

Initial Impact

One oft-repeated phrase is, “it’s better read about than experienced for yourself.” Few maxims can better encapsulate what it’s like to be a victim of a car collision.

Like any paradigm shift in someone’s life, it’s often dramatic and sudden. The screeching of wheels, the scream of the unexpected, or the shot of unfamiliar adrenaline.

All such tragic events mark the beginning of a typical personal injury case. For simplicity’s sake, we will discuss a common car accident. This piece explores how a victim of circumstance can take control of their situation, and turn their misfortune into an opportunity to better their case and their chances of reasonable compensation.

Self-Assessment

After the initial shock and twisted metal, victims at the scene may be dazed and confused. Regardless of where you are on the road, examine yourself and passengers for injuries. If there are no visible injuries, do the obvious thing and move your vehicle to a safe location if you are blocking the road.

If anyone is injured, get medical help as soon as possible. Truth be told, calling 911 has the added benefit of documenting the incident for later insurance evaluation purposes. This is because the documentation generated from the call tends to indicate a propensity of a person being truly injured. While it may come across as callused, car accident cases – and other cases involving personal injury – are all about documentation.

Insurance claims representatives will even go so far as to reduce the value of a claim on not going to the emergency room, even if there are later objective findings indicating that an injury occurred. Injuries, such as cervical strain and sprain, tend to appear more than one to two days later after the “shot of adrenaline” wears off. However, it’s the documentation early on that is important.

Interaction With Law Enforcement

If police were summoned by a party contacting 911, documentation will again be generated. It is common that police, in addition to checking for injuries, may cite the at-fault driver for either a crime or a traffic infraction.

Keep in mind that a criminal case is the government (or, in Virginia, the “Commonwealth”) versus the defendant. A criminal case is about seeking justice. On the other hand, a personal injury case is about “being made whole again.” Until a magic wand is invented, that means the “bad guy” paying some form of compensation.

Before law enforcement makes a general “first look” at liability, they will gather evidence – including statements from other drivers and witnesses, as well as obtaining contact information. This information is crucial for a Virginia auto injury or car accident attorney to later help prepare a case.

Keep in mind that the initial police investigation is entirely separate from the civil process, which may, in turn, rely on documentation generated as a result of the crash investigation. Even should an officer believe that a person is at-fault in a collision, the other driver’s insurance company may come to an independent conclusion.

One final point is that calling for help may be legally required in some circumstances. In Virginia, assume that it is required if there is someone that is injured or visible property damage to the vehicles.

Document The Facts For Later

Feel free to be your own detective if you have not yet met with a personal injury lawyer.

Ask for the other driver’s name, address, telephone number, and insurance information. If there are other witnesses to the collision, ask for the same. Take pictures with your cell phone of the accident scene and the driver’s license, if provided.

It is perfectly normal and expected for you to provide your insurance information to the other driver, even if they were at-fault. We highly recommend to clients not to make statements to the other driver’s insurance company. They’re frequently very motivated to assign blame to someone other than their own insured.

Don’t be limited in pictures of property damage of the vehicles. If it’s safe and prudent to do so, take copious amounts of pictures of you and your passenger’s injuries. This includes bruising that may later develop.

By being your own detective, the insurance company for the other driver may not be so quick to turn a blind eye to the blame of their insured. Documenting (if safe and not obstructive) while still at the scene to show the location of the impact, road conditions, and the condition of the vehicles may be critical bits of evidence later that a personal injury attorney can later utilize.

A good law firm will use this evidence to help develop your case into the best it can be under the facts. If you don’t have any of this evidence don’t worry. In most cases a client doesn’t provide this information during initial intake. That said, the more information provided the better.

Seek Medical Treatment

In line with the need to call 911, if necessary, is the simple fact that you need to seek medical treatment if you are hurt in the collision or later develop conditions that didn’t exist the day of the accident.

It is critical that you go to every appointment scheduled with a health provider and do everything that they tell you to do. Top in the playbook of every insurance company is to highlight any and all delays or gaps in treatment and try to use that information to diminish the value of your claim.

This is even true if you don’t have health insurance at the time of the collision. It is highly important that if you don’t have health insurance that you waste no time in getting it. In addition to being legally required at the time of this writing, health insurance may cover tens of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in treatments.

Even if you have the most amazing case, not having health insurance means that the proceeds of any later settlement or trial goes to pay the providers when it could have gone to your pain and suffering that you had to endure as a result of the injuries.

As a slight caveat, under some circumstances the insurance company for the other driver may reduce any settlement offer by the amount paid by insurance. However, this depends on the state and an entirely different analysis. You’ll need to consult with a car accident lawyer in your state to determine if this applies.

Avoid Waiting Until The Last Minute To Seek Necessary Medical Treatment Or Blowing Off Your Appointments If They Are Recommended By A Treating Healthcare Professional

Whether it’s the day after the accident and you were discharged from the Emergency Room or it’s month three of physical therapy or chiropractic care, you need to keep your appointments. We cannot stress this enough.

Car insurance companies for the other driver will even go so far as to unjustly say that you’re faking your injuries. They may resort to this accusation if you stop going to your appointments or blow off treatment all-together before it has run it’s course. Frequently, soft tissue injuries can “flare up” if maintenance treatments do not continue until their natural conclusion.

Once upon a time, it was a socially-acceptable attribute for people to be “tough” and “suck it up” despite pain. That doesn’t appear to be a common thread in today’s negotiations with insurance companies, especially when it comes to auto-injury cases. If you feel a certain way, pursue treatment. We recommend to clients to keep a daily pain and inconvenience journal, so we can see how they are progressing in their treatment.

Lawsuit Time: “Let’s Get It On!”

While this article was limited to what a victim of car accident can do to improve their case prior to their first legal consultation, I would be remiss if I did not include one final bit of information: choose an attorney that isn’t afraid of going to trial. If you don’t get the settlement offer that you are looking for (and is reasonable given prior settlements or verdicts), a knowledgeable Virginia car accident attorney would have no qualms about filing a lawsuit and making a request for appropriate damages to the judge or jury.

If, after negotiation with the insurance company and discussion with my client, we don’t get a settlement offer that is reasonable, then it may be time to file a lawsuit.

Occasionally, it may be advisable to cut the claims representatives out all together and file the lawsuit against the person that hurt you.

If the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t place the right value on your case, a jury of your peers may see that you internalized your pain, choosing not to be a burden on your family and friends, and assess damages a more reasonable way.

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