Slip and Fall Compensation 101

At Hastings and Hastings, we have deal with a vast amount of slip and fall cases arising in the Phoenix, Metropolitan area. A slip and fall case falls under the broad genus of personal injury. If property owner was negligent, and as a result, someone is injured, the victim of negligence is entitled to compensatory damages.

Slip and Fall Tort

Defined by the United States Tort Law, a slip and fall tort is a claim or case that deals with a person slipping, tripping, or falling. In order to push forth a slip and fall suit, it must be proved that the property owner was negligent. This is often accompanied by a great deal of difficulty. For instance, if you were to slip on a banana peel in a grocery store, the color of that banana peel is crucial for determining negligence. Was the banana peel bright yellow? Well then, negligence would be difficult to prove. Chances are it was left by a careless customer, and the store owner did not have a reasonable amount of time to react. However, if that banana peel is brown, then you have a viable slip and fall case. The brown banana peel would suggest that the peel had been there for quite some time. Therefore, its existence is due to negligence, and the store owner is vulnerable to a slip and fall suit.

If you’re a Victim of Slip and Fall

The first step is always to call for medical assistance. This general rule of thumb applies to all personal injury cases. Secondly, call an attorney as soon as possible to guide you through the process. If you are amidst company, encourage them to take pictures of the object that caused you medical negligence.

 

A Device that Would Destroy the plot of Goodfellas

There is an invention that protects against trunk entrapment. In fact, the invention is so successful that it is now mandatory to install in all cars for safety purposes. Essentially, it is a glow-in-the-dark release handle designed to allow people to escape from trunks in the event that they are accidently or intentionally entrapped in one. Indeed, Martin Scorsese would have missed out on a large pay check had this device been in use during the time period Goodfellas was set.

Although daunting and horrifying, facts shows that 10 to 20 people die from trunk entrapment each year, according to Janette Fenell, founder and president of Kids and Cars, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the reduction of injury and death caused by children stumbling into the trunks of motor vehicles. The reason designers chose to shade the handle with glow-in-the-dark ink is due to the fact that it is difficult to see in the dark—which is what you should expect if ever encased in a trunk. But it also entices children to pull the lever, because they are endeared by bright, shiny objects. In the unthinkable event that a child is accidently trapped in a trunk, instinct would certainly encourage the child to grab the glow in the dark object directly in their line of sight.

If your car was made before 2002, a company called Kids and Cars (www.kidsandcars.org) sells easy to install emergency release handles in the event that you care is unequipped with one. It works with almost any car model, including outdated vehicles such as the 1980 Mustang. There is no reason one should risk losing their child to the death jaws of a trunk. Installing a release handle is a must.

 

Dog Bite Claims Increase

A dog bite suit or animal bite suit results when a person is injured by an animal or dog. Moreover, it must be shown that the animal was permitted to bite the victim because of the owner’s negligence. If you or anyone you know is injured because an animal owner neglected to provide proper care, then you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, as well as the pain and suffering resulting from the dog bite.

The essential factors for determining the viability of a dog bite suite are as follows: first, the dog needs to be unprovoked, even if the owner is flagrantly negligent, one cannot press a dog bite suit if they provoked the animal; secondly the owner’s level of care must be determined at the instant the bite occurs. Did the owner allow their dog free reign to roam as they please? If so, a dog bite claim might be in the works.

Recent Dog Bite Trends

The Insurance Information Institute reports that since 2014, dog bite claims have increased six percent, leading to a total of 17,359 claims. It’s hard to determine whether dogs are becoming rowdier or owners are growing wanton. Nevertheless, dog bite suits account for a whopping one third of all homeowner insurance liability claims paid out in 2014. The estimate may be much lower than the actual number of dog bite victims, simply due to the fact that a majority of dog bite claims go unreported. Many people are unware that they are entitled to compensation for their suffering—not you though!

FIDO

If you have a feisty dog, you might want to reach out to the Federation of Insured Dog Owners (FIDO), which is a specialized insurance firm that handles dogs only. It cost $75 dollars are year, and offers protection policies ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. It’s something to look into.

LSAT 102

This is part two of a two part series that will help hopeful law school attendees study for their entrance exam.

People who say that standardized tests are not learnable have no idea what there’re talking about. The SAT, the LSAT, and GMAT, are game-able to some extent. In order to succeed you must obliterate the notion that standardized tests are a fixed measurement of intelligence. In reality, they are just extremely difficult tests that are almost impossible to answer entirely correct. Thus, it functions sort of like a race, except it’s based on a bell curve that clumps a majority of test takers into the center. If you can separate yourself from the pack, then Law School Admission will be easy, and you can expect scholarship money.

Scoring

As I mentioned, the LSAT is scored on a bell curve. 68 percent of test takers will score between 140-160, the equivalent of 800-1200 on the SATS. A score in this bracket may get you into school, but you will pay immense debt and be forced to slug it out with scholarship students who scored above 160 and will most likely outperform you. But as soon as you score above 160, everything looks much brighter. You can expect access into most regional schools, with the possibility of scholarship money. If you can break out into the 170 range, the 97th percentile than you can expect access to schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia, and full rides to other reputable universities.

Preparation

In order to prepare, many people consult test taking companies. These companies are a good resource, but they are expensive and usually only geared toward bringing students into the fat part of the bell curve. Becoming an outlier requires natural talent or hard work. The LSAT has released over 70 previous tests. These are the best resource for increasing your score.

LSAT 101

This is part one of a two part series that will help hopeful law school attendees study for their entrance exam.

Every year thousands of college hopefuls sit for the Law School Admission Test LSAT to find out what they’re made of. The test is required for entry by all real law schools. It is a multiple choice test scored on a bell curve that test your reading, critical thinking, and analytical skills. The test is comprised of three different section types: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.

Analytical Reasoning

This section of the test is affectionately referred to by law school hopefuls as the “logic game section.” It will no doubt be the most foreign for most test takers, but it is also the easiest to improve on and accounts for the least number of points. A logic game is essentially a puzzle that the test taker must solve. For instance, Suzie must sit two seats to the right of Jeff, and Andy must sit immediately left of Jeff. Can you arrange the students in their proper order?

Logical Reasoning

The largest section of the test, accounting for 50% of the questions on the entire test, the logical reasoning sections essentially requires the evaluation of arguments. Test makers will present you with a short argument (3-5 sentences on average) and present you with a task. It may ask you to strengthen the argument, weaken it, or determine what must be true based on the facts. This section has been shown to be highly correlated with law school success. It is also somewhat learnable.

Reading Comprehensive

If there’s a section where you either have it or you don’t, then this is the one. The LSAT reading comprehension section is the single hardest test of reading ability known to date. It will present readers with a four 500 word passages and then ask them to answer 5-8 questions on each passage. The time limit is what makes the section difficult.

 

Prospective Law Grads, Tips for Choosing Major

The best advice you can ever receive on this topic is as follows: Don’t go pre-law! You are better off majoring in art history or communications than taking on a pre-law major. Statistically, pre-law students score lower on the LSAT than almost any major. Moreover, if you decide you don’t want to practice law, then you are basically SOL. So just don’t do it.

Study What You Like

First and foremost, it’s important to study something you’re interested in. There are a plethora of studies showing a positive correlation between student satisfaction of study and GPA. If you like what you’re doing, you will most likely climb to the top of the class. But, there are some majors that are better suited for law school admission purposes, and perhaps future career options after Law School.

Consider the Sciences

Those majors are in the sciences. Although lawyers typically gravitate towards the humanities, a degree in science will no doubt set you aside from the application pool. What’s more, a science degree naturally gets a GPA boost by the admissions committee. Lastly, in order to practice patent law you have to have a certain amount of credits in the hard sciences. Patent law is a very lucrative field of law. So if you love physics or chemistry, and think that law might be right for you, then you should consider majoring in the subject or something similar. It may behoove you to minor in a subject that builds your verbal skills like philosophy or English, but it is by no means necessary.

Hidden Gem

A sleeper pick for law school hopefuls is studying classics (Greek and Latin). Statically, students with this major score the highest on the LSAT. Other notable mentions in the top ten are: English, Chemistry, Math, Engineering, and Philosophy— off the top of my head. Studying Greek and Latin will force you to pay extreme attention to detail while building your verbal skills immensely. Ambitious law school hopefuls might consider a double major in a hard science and the classics.

Turn Signal Violations

For the sake of safety, and the well-being of your fellow citizens, we encourage anyone operating a motorized vehicle to use their turn signal any time they intend to change a lane or make a turn. In fact, one of our own was victimized by a careless driver who failed to utilize the turn signal function on their car.

“I can’t stand when people don’t use a turn signal but it’s something I think has been getting worse…I was also in my first accident because someone didn’t use a signal, changed lanes, and hit my back passenger door which is a surprisingly big pain to get replaced,” Katie Hastings said.

Failing to comply with turn signal regulations will result in a $96 dollar ticket, and multiple infractions taking place during the same incident can be stacked. In order to avoid this ticket, and promote the safety of your fellow citizens, you must comply with Arizona state law which reads as follows:

1) “A person shall not turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position on the roadway as required in section 28-751, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left on a roadway unless and until the movement can be made with reasonable safety. A person shall not so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided by this article in the event any other traffic may be affected by the movement;”

2) “A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning;”

3) “A person shall not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided by this article to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give the signal.”

Sometimes, a turn signal can seem like a trifle, but the failure to use one can result in a serious accident, as demonstrated by the testimony above from one of our own. Take great pains to use the turn signal as needed and you will evade a ticket and promote safety.

 

Tactius

At Hasting and Hasting, we are proud to have been called to one of the world’s most ancient professions. The vocation of lawyering dates back as far as history itself, and some of the most notable players in antiquity were lawyers. Looking back is always interesting because it shows that things were then as they are now. Like many great authors today, Tactius started out as a lawyer before becoming the greatest historian ever to recount the life of Rome.

Like most great thinkers from the Roman Empire, Tactius was born into the equestrian class (aristocratic class) in northern Italy. Tactius was sent to Rome to study Rhetoric. He showed promise, and thus, was invited to study law under the great master Quintilian, the professor who taught Cicero, arguably Rome’s greatest lawyer. Tactius’ vocation as a lawyer is ironic, because the name means “silent” in ancient Latin.  Eventually, he served the populus romana as a senator during the reign of Vespasian and Nerva. The height of his fame as an orator came from his heart wrenching eulogy, delivered at the funeral of Lucius Rufus, a great Roman solider.

After gaining the hearts of the people of Rome, and consequently, widespread fame, Tactius was commissioned to write De Origine et situ Germanorum. The expository work described the northern territory’s (what we know as Germany and Austria), the geography, culture, and military strength. Its purpose was no doubt to invigorate the roman people with the lust to conquer Germania.

But Tactius gained immortality away from the courtroom and the senate house. After a long career in politics he retired to his estate and began drafting the Annals and the Histories. These works describe in detail, the reign of Augustus to the reign of Nerva. Basically, Trajan is the Machiavelli of his time. He provides an objective account of history with piercing insight into the power politics of Rome. Also, his Histories is one of the first texts secular texts to mention Christianity, as he describes Nero’s prosecution of the early Christians.

Legal Films on Netflix

After a long day of toil, relaxing on the couch, pouring a glass of wine, and tuning into Netflix with the object of your affection can be a very satisfying feeling. Sometimes Netflix gets a bad rap for peddling sub-par films with little to no entertainment value— O contraire! Netflix still rolls out some of the finest films of the 20th and 21st century, including American Beauty, Good Will Hunting, and classic courtroom dramas like The Rainmaker, The Accused, and Donnie Brasco.

The Rainmaker

This is a classic movie based off a John Grisham novel, starring Mat Damon as Rudy Baylor, a young lawyer struggling to break out as an attorney. Rudy becomes tangled up in a nasty medical malpractice claim against insurance giant, Great Benefit. Rudy surprisingly wins the case, but the scumbag insurance provider Great Benefit flees the country, declares bankruptcy, and evades paying punitive damages to Baylor’s client. Rudy is upset with how the case unfolded, but he finds a silver lining in the fact that Great Benefit is now out of business. He vows to teach law and encourage all his future students to uphold a solid foundation of ethics.

Traffic

This movie actually was nominated for an Oscar. It takes a Joycean approach to film, as it weaves together multiple perspectives into a coherent, logical, narrative whole. The film deals with how a recently implemented policy affects a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Some of the characters woven into the narrative include a Mexican policeman, a drug user, two DEA agents, and a judge.

The Accused

This movie boast Silence of the Lambs star Jody Foster as its heroine. She plays a victim of sexual assault, and the movie actually won her an Oscar for best actress. Her assailant was let go with a slap on the wrist for his first offence, which allowed him to assault Jody’s character a second time. It is a very earnest yet disturbing look at America’s criminal prosecution system.

 

Medical Malpractice 101

For those interested in medical malpractice, the movie The Verdict on Netflix is a decent place to start. It deals with a washed up, borderline alcoholic lawyer, that is handed the case of a lifetime on a silver platter. Two of the most prominent doctors in town have been neglecting their medical duties, killing patients and buying off their families with money from the church. But Frank Galvin, the washed up lawyer refuses to settle, and takes the doctors and the diocese for every penny there’re worth. O justice thou art served graciously by Netflix.

Medical Malpractice is a very serious form of negligence. It results when there is an act of omission by a health care professional in which their treatment fails to comply with a standard measure of practice in the medical community, causing death or injury to victim. Van Norman Law has extensive experience dealing with medical malpractice cases, and has had immense success helping victims procure the compensation they deserve.

Qualifications for Pressing a Medical Malpractice Claim

In order to press a medical malpractice suit, a plaintiff must satisfy five elements. First, there must be a duty owed to the patient; the hospital and its medical professionals must assume a duty to provide adequate care to the patient for their services; this duty must be breached and it must cause an injury. It also must be shown that the medical professionals deviated from the accepted standard of care. For instance, in the Verdict the doctors failed to assure that the patient had not ate prior to the surgery. But patient had, and they failed to act according to duty, as a result she died chocking on her own vomit. The victim’s family members were awarded 2 million dollars.