The Legal Insider

March 2011

How to Settle Your Legal Dispute for Cheaper

I have a sick attraction to certain reality television shows most folks consider "trashy." Of course, the new season of Toddlers in Tiaras is in full swing. However, the courtroom sass of Judge Judy, real talk from Judge Joe Brown, and startling fits of laughter from People's Court Judge Marilyn Milian are the real bread and butter of daytime and late evening television.

What you may not know is that these shows often hold the key to resolving your legal disputes for less, no humiliation necessary.

The parties on courtroom shows enter into what we in the legal biz call ADR. You may know it as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or more specifically, arbitration. Arbitration is typically less expensive then litigation because the ruling is made much more quickly. Litigation can be drawn out over years with pleadings, waiting for responses, filing motion, scheduling court dates, etc.

If both parties are interested in resolving the problem efficiently so they can finally move on with their lives, arbitration may be the ideal option.

A skilled arbitration lawyer can advise if your case would be a good fit for arbitration and help you prepare and argue your case. While I can't guarantee any of the excitement or sass from your arbitrator that we see on television, the process will l


Securing Your Idea with a Patent

Each of us hopes for one of those Oprah "Aha moments". A stroke of genius that makes you a billionaire like you dreamed of as a kid. Someone had to invent the game of Monopoly and that cushioned toilet seat cover your grandparents love so much!

So what do you do when you have that amazing idea and want to turn it into cash-money? You get a patent.

Unfortunately, time is not on your side; patenting an idea can take as long as five years! During that time you will likely encounter similar claims that conflict with your design, plus countless confusing procedures.

That's why an attorney's help is often crucial. Look for someone who specializes in Intellectual Property or Patent Law to guide you through the process.

Generally, obtaining a patent will involve the following steps:

  1. Filing an "original application" packet with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and paying the fees.
  2. Responding to Office Action One which is an examination by an expert in the field of your invention. They will likely ask you questions about your invention and request amendments (changes) to your application.
  3. Responding to the Office Action Two means working with the next level officer that will ultimately issue or deny your patent.

Consult with a patent lawyer today if you'd like to secure your design. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and maintain your application for you so that no detail goes unnoticed.


The Dangers of "Cheap" Insurance

If you drive a car, then you're legally obligated to have insurance. Of course, the downside is it can be pretty expensive, so often people opt for as little insurance coverage as possible. Cheap insurance commercials are everywhere and any discount seems like a sublime gift; but you may be running the risk of being an underinsured motorist.

If you get into an accident, cheap insurance will only pay out up to your coverage limits. Underinsured drivers run the risk of having to pay out of pocket for any additional damages from the accident including the other party's legal fees. This could seriously affect your personal assets if you are sued for damages.

By making sure your policy covers all of the damages sustained during a single auto accident, you will be able to tell if you're underinsured.

Underinsured motorists run many of the same legal and financial risks as those who don't have insurance at all. If you are underinsured and have gotten into an injury accident, you should consult with a lawyer today. Lawyers are familiar with the legal and financial risks of underinsured drivers, including all criminal and civil repercussions.


Dude, Where's Your Car?

For every famous quotation by someone like Plato or Benjamin Franklin thanking whatever god(s) there are for the glorious gift of beer, there's also an ambulance full of people who know the horror stories of mixing alcohol and driving. We've all been in that "judgment call" situation.

If you've been cited for Drunk Driving / DUI / DWI then you probably know about the substantial fines and jail time. But you may not be aware of the other ways this serious driving offense could affect your life:

  • DUI or DWI convictions that result in a felony because of a previous conviction or serious injury of another party can keep you from finding work or even getting a loan for school, a car, or home.
  • When you get a DUI or DWI, your license will be suspended. That means you can't drive to work, the store, or anywhere else. Oh, and if you get caught driving without a license they could throw you in jail, charge you with a misdemeanor, and even…
  • Confiscate your automobile. This was mind-blowing for me, too. Most people only end up dealing with this after repeat convictions, but either way you'll be paying through the face.

LegalMatch lawyers can help you with for your case. In some instances, they may be able to secure you a plea bargain for a substantially reduced sentence. Be sure to have a qualified lawyer by your side.

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