The Legal Insider

February 2012

Worst 5 Ways to Break Up

The Valentine's Day effect can yield some pretty unfortunate and awkward situations.  Ending any relationship is tough whether you’ve been together for days or years. 

The spike in divorce filings in February around Valentine’s Day is remarkable.  Many of us know how to proceed: talk to your spouse, find a lawyer, and begin disentangling your lives.  There just doesn’t seem like any “good” way to breakup, however.

That still doesn't mean you should breakup poorly.  The list below details some of the absolute worst methods of saying “we’re done here.”

Facebook—Changing your relationship status to “It’s Complicated” or “Single” is a rough method of notification.  No, writing a status update or wall post won’t fly either.  Using Facebook to break up can create the most awkward type of encounter when you see them in person. Hearing “it’s over” second hand isn’t ideal for anyone.

Text Message—It works for high school and junior high kids, why not me?  Because you’re not a pubescent child!  Speaking with your mate (or soon to be ex) in person allows you to feel out the situation so you know if it’s going to be a particularly messy or smooth ending.

In Public—If you think there will be less of a scene and your significant other won’t cry or raise a ruckus in public, you’re probably wrong. Not only do you look insensitive but you can also get caught waiting for the check in palpably awkward silence.

Asking Someone Else—You really can hire someone to do it for you but it seems pretty spineless.  We’ve all seen the Sex and the City episode where the doorman breaks up with Miranda. Don’t be “that person.” If you can’t do it face to face, then your spouse may not really take it seriously.

On a Show—We love those crazy TV and radio shows as much as anyone else.  That voyeuristic impulse is why programs like The Bachelor are so popular.  However, making such a spectacle of the breakup can come back to haunt you.

There isn’t any one easy method of breaking up or saying you want a divorce.  While some of the approaches above seem to handle the situation, they also have the likelihood to make things so much worse.  If you are afraid of a violent outburst, a TRO (temporary restraining order) may be something you want to ask your lawyer about. Divorce lawyers can help you sort out the fine details of severing ties as well as advise you on how best to prepare for the breakup and your fresh new beginning.


Cashing in on a Class Action Lawsuit

If you have a television, then you’ve seen the countless class action lawsuit commercials for mesothelioma, unsafe drugs like Accutane and Prempro, and defective products

But what does it all mean? How do you figure out if you qualify? Is it really worth your time?

Defective products cause injury to a person due to faulty labeling, a design defect, or poor manufacturing.  These lawsuits involve “product liability” which is concerned with the well-being of the consumer. Design, manufacturer, and marketing defects that fail to warn you of side affects or harm may entitle you to compensation.

Toxic exposure class action injuries can include exposure to asbestos, environmental pollutants, lead, mold, and welding rods.  These lawsuits normally require you to come into contact with a toxic substance in your home or workplace and document its effects through medical visits.  Your recovery can increase substantially if you can prove your boss or landlord knew of the danger and knowingly failed to deal with it.

As with any case, you generally have to prove that the defective product unreasonably hurt or damaged you while you were using it correctly.  Personal injury lawyers can help you make your case and even negotiate your settlement. 

The time and money involved in taking on an injury case can be a serious undertaking. Class action lawsuits often have one law firm representing all of the people injured and take a percentage of the settlement.   In most cases, it’s better to have a lawyer who is familiar with these types of personal injury lawsuits and who can be your voice to make sure you get the full amount of money you deserve.


What Exactly Is Foreclosure?

Automobile and home loans are commonplace these days.  Very few of us can afford to pay cash for our home so taking on a loan or mortgage is the only real option.

Creditors normally force you to provide a security interest in case you suddenly decide not to pay.  In most cases that security interest comes in holding the title or deed to the property.  That means if you do not pay, the creditor can foreclose and take the property.

Foreclosure procedure varies from state to state, but can begin as soon as 10 days after nonpayment by the borrower, although most have a 3 month delinquency period.  Creditors must provide a Notice of Foreclosure at least one month before the property can be resold.

Creditors must also advertise the property for sale anywhere from 1 week to 1 month before foreclosing on the property.  The strict guidelines surrounding this resale process include disclosing: the borrower’s name, original loan amount and current balance, description of the property, creditor’s attorney, as well as the time and place of the auction.

In many cases you can prevent creditors from instituting collection procedure by filing for bankruptcy.  Filing for bankruptcy is a big decision on which a lawyer can advise you.  If it’s an appropriate remedy for your particular situation you will also have to decide which “type” of bankruptcy you will file.  Speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer for more information.


Auto Accident 101: Leaving the Scene

Fleeing from the scene of an accident is a crime in every state of the U.S.  The obvious purpose of a law like this is to compel the parties involved to provide any vital assistance to injured parties.  The law also aims to simplify the process of getting everyone back on the road. 

If you’re involved in an accident where there is property damage but no personal injuries, and a party flees the scene, that's considered a misdemeanor in most states.  There can also be a large fine instituted, upwards of $1,000.  In some cases, it can even earn up to a year in jail. 

More serious fines and repercussions are involved in cases where the fleeing party leaves the auto accident and someone is injured.  Utah, Kentucky, and Montana charge hit and run drivers with a felony. In most cases it doesn’t mean a larger fine or more prison time but a felony on your record can ruin your chance for many jobs and loans.

Hiring a lawyer is your best bet with any hit and run case.  If you’re the victim, a Personal Injury Lawyer can assist with tracking down the other driver and helping you get the money to repair the damages and/or pay for lost wages and medical bills.  Being charged with a hit and run (or fleeing the scene of an accident) is a serious crime, so you will want a reputable Criminal Defense Lawyer to handle it. Don’t risk allowing one mistake to ruin your life.

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