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Do Criminal Charges Interfere with Civil Lawsuits?

Suing Someone Who has Been Charged Criminally

If you’re like many people every year, you may find yourself in this situation or something very similar to it. You end up getting in a car crash with a driver who was over the legal limit for blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash. After the crash, the driver ends up getting arrested for drunken driving and faces criminal chargescriminal charges. They may be facing their first drunken-driving charge or they may be facing their fifth, it really makes no difference.

You might be wondering whether you can sue someone if they’ve already gotten thrown in jail for drunken driving. The answer is yes. Lawsuits are civil actions, not criminal actions. The state takes care of the criminal part of the law but somebody being convicted of a crime – or acquitted – has no bearing on whether or not you can bring them to court for damages. It may increase your chances of winning if the person actually is convicted of a crime that was directly related to you coming to harm or suffering damage to your property.

The Effects

While you can sue someone who has been convicted of a crime, it’s important to be realistic about these matters. If a person is convicted of a crime and ends up getting sent to jail, they obviously have no way of earning income. If they don’t already have money, property or some other asset that could be used as a means of paying off a judgment against them, suing them may do you very little good at all. The entire point of filing a lawsuit is to get financial compensation for property or personal damages that you have suffered. If that person has no property and no financial assets, there’s really nothing to sue them for.

This is one of the reasons why personal injury attorneys generally do offer a free consultation. Theselawsuits attorneys usually work on a contingency agreement, which means they have to win your claim in order to get paid. If there’s no way for the person you are suing to actually pay you the money that a jury awards you, that attorney isn’t going to get any money, unless you pay it off yourself. One of the things you have to take into account when you sue someone who is convicted of a crime is whether they actually have the financial means to pay you and, if they don’t, it may not even be worth suing.

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Wrestling Camp Sued Over Alleged Injury

Summer Camp Injuries

According to the Times Free Press, a wrestling camp in Tennessee has been sued over alleged injuries sustained by a participant. According to the story, the camp has been suedKids at camp by the father of a buy who attended the camp. The boy’s father is also an attorney and filed the lawsuit himself.

The lawsuit alleges that the lawyer’s sun sustained injuries to his head and to his brain during a match. According to the lawsuit, the boy was not properly supervised and was dropped on his head during the course of the match. The suit further alleges that the incident resulted in substantial medical expenses.

The defendant’s counsel was getting more information regarding the lawsuit at the time the story was published, but said that he doesn’t believe that the lawsuit has any merit. He further claimed that approximately 75% of the lawsuits filed nationwide are without merit and said that he was in the early stages of investigating the lawsuit.

Activities, Children and Injuries

Lawsuits alleging that children were injured due to inadequate supervision at camps, daycares, schools and other venues are not uncommon. In fact, there are many of these lawsuits filed every year. There are some commonalities between what these lawsuits allege and, in some cases, they do end up winning compensation for the families that file them.

The claim that 75% of them are meritless, even though it cites a specific number, is not backed up with any evidence. There are some individuals, however, who do believe that the majority of personal injury claims filed every year are baseless and this has made it easier for those who want to change the law to make it harder to sue to do so. Several states, including Michigan, Florida and Texas, have passed legislation in recent years that have made it harder to file injury claims based on medical malpractice, for instance.

Determining Negligence

These lawsuits generally allege that some sort of negligence – oftentimes inadequate supervision, led to the injuries suffered by the parties who file the lawsuit and seek compensation for whatever medical and other expenses they had to handle because of the injuries. Establishing negligence is sometimes difficult, though there are cases where it is so clear cut that a jury award or settlement is almost a given. In other cases, the lawsuit may well allege negligence when it did not in fact, play any part in an injury.

Call us at 713-771-5453 for a FREE consultation if you or your loved one have been injured in a similar situation.

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Florida May Toughen Malpractice Requirements

Tough New Malpractice Requirements

Florida Governor Rick Scott will have the last say on a malpractice bill that has passed in the Florida state senate and house. The bill, Senate Bill 1792, would make considerable changes to the way that patients are able to file for malpractice in that state. The changes the bills bring about have riled opponents. Supporters claim that the bill will make Florida more amicable to physicians and increase patient options.

The Changes in Senate Bill 1792

The changes that the bill entails have some patient advocates alarmed. One provision of the bill allows a physician’s defense team to inquire with other healthcare providers for the patient filing the lawsuit. The bill changes the law so that this is not considered to be a breach of the patient’s privacy, something that advocates are very concerned about. The supporters of the bill say that filing a medical malpractice suit makes inquiring about matters that would have formerly been protected by patient/provider privacy appropriate.

The other provision of the bill creates stricter requirements for experts who testify in malpractice claims. The new legislation would require that experts be practitioners of the exact type of medicine involved in the lawsuit, according to Clinical Advisor. This means that it could be much harder for patients and their attorneys to get experts to testify on their behalf.

The bill is similar to other efforts that have been taken up by other state legislatures. The idea behind the bill is that malpractice claims drive up the cost of healthcare and make states unattractive places for doctors to practice. In Texas, where a similar set of changes has been put into effect, has shown that the effects – attracting more doctors, lowering the cost of healthcare, etc. – have not manifested in the wake of that state’s legislation.

What This Means For Attorneys

Malpractice claims oftentimes hinge on expert testimony. Changes to the law brought about by this bill may make it very hard for attorneys to find experts who qualify to testify in their cases, making it harder for plaintiffs to pursue their claims. The bill is backed by the Florida Medical Association. Support for the bill was largely along party lines, with Republicans backing the bill and Democratic representatives opposing it. Some Republicans, however, did express concern over the bill, particularly with those parts that allow the defense counsel to access formerly private medical information to support their defense of their clients.

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Contingency Agreements Need to Be Taken Seriously

Understanding Contingency Agreements

Many of the attorney advertisements you’ll see will make a significant effort to let you know that the attorney works on a contingency basis. This is the common arrangement for attorneys who work in the personal injury field. The very basic elements of this type of agreement are easily understood. The attorney takes a percentage of any winnings that they make on your case and, if you don’t win, you don’t have to pay them anything.

If you’re not careful about it, this can make it seem all too easy to seek out the compensation that you need for an injury that was done to you. Consider the following before you engage the services of any attorney, whether they are offering you a contingency agreement or not.

Check the Rates for Additional Services

Just about every attorney out there will charge you an hourly rate for their services. You will want to get an estimate as to how long they believe it will take them to prepare your case. You will also want to know how much they intend to take in courtroom fees, in fees related to administrative tasks and so forth. One of the things you want to avoid is thinking that, because an attorney works on contingency, their prices aren’t going to be high. Attorneys are very specialized and very educated individuals who charge appropriately for their time. Just make sure you understand what all the charges and fees are before you sign on.

Adding in Fees

Some attorneys will go ahead and recommend that you add their fees into the amount you are seeking in your jury award. Remember that the jury will determine how much money you receive, if any, and they may choose not to put this amount into the award. In such a case, you’ll end up paying it out of your award.

Simply because you have found a good attorney who is willing to work with you on a contingency agreement doesn’t mean that you are getting their services for free. You will have to pay for them, so it’s a good idea to shop around a little bit and see which attorney can offer you good services for the most competitive rates, as you would for any other service provider.

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Is It Worth The Effort To Sue?

If you are certain you are entitled to damages because somebody’s negligence brought you to harm, you may find yourself very disappointed if none of the attorneys you talk to are willing to take your case. It’s important that you understand that filing a lawsuit isn’t always going to do you any good, even if you are entitled to compensation from the individual you want to sue by any rational measure.

In order to collect on a judgment, you have to be suing somebody with the financial capability to pay that judgment. Here are some situations where you may find an attorney telling you what you don’t want to hear and some information to help you understand why.

The Person Is Broke

In some cases, a person may not have any substantial amount of money in the bank or any assets that can be used to pay off the judgment, but they will have a decent job. In such cases, the court may order that their wages are garnished to pay the judgment that they owe you.

If the person happens to have a very low income job, however, there is a chance that they will be exempt from wage garnishment. Combine this with the fact that such an individual is unlikely to have any money in the bank, is most likely a renter and not a homeowner and probably doesn’t have any assets to speak of and you have a situation where, even if you do win, the person simply has no way to pay you. Because most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless you actually get a jury award, they’re not likely to take a case against somebody in this sort of a financial situation.

Counterintuitive Elements

You will need to talk to an attorney about such a matter, however, because some parts of this are rather counterintuitive. For example, if you’re suing someone and it turns out that they recently declared bankruptcy, which may lead you to believe that they can’t possibly pay you back. What that actually means, however, is that they can’t use another bankruptcy to get out of the money that they owe you for the judgment. They’ll have to wait until they are eligible to file bankruptcy to do so again and, in all likelihood, you should be able to collect your judgment from them by that time.

Remember that, when an attorney tells you that it might not be worth your while to file a lawsuit, it may simply be because the person you want to sue doesn’t have a way to pay you, and not because you don’t have a valid case.

That is why it is important to talk to a lwayer before making any decisions or coming to any conclusions. Competent lawyers have the expperience behind them to make this type of recommendation.

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