The Legal Insider

May 2012

How to Avoid Pool-Related Lawsuits

Pool Safety in Winter Swimming pool accidents are all too common during the summer.  You may be surprised to find out that 1 of every 1,000 people die by accidental drowning. Additionally, slip and fall injuries are the most common amongst pool goers.  Owners and operators of swimming pool facilities (public and private) have a duty to maintain the safety of the pool and surrounding premises. 

Follow these steps to ensure your summer is hassle free:

  • Don’t leave your pool unattended. In many states, there are regulatory laws that also force pool owners to erect a perimeter fence.
  • Update your homeowner's insurance policy to cover lawsuits.
  • Make sure the pool deck or surface surrounding is nonslip.  There are a wide variety of reasonably priced products that can save you or your children from wiping out on that slick tile.
  • Get CPR training. It’s cheap, prudent, and could save a life.
  • Cover the pool when it’s not in use.  Check out the variety of available pool covers. There are even cool “bubbletop” covers that warm the water!
  • Regulate the chemicals carefully. You don’t want to end up with cancer from chlorine.

A pool can provide hours of exercise and entertainment for you, your friends and your family.  Take the time and implement these few extra recommendations; it can save you from countless hours of litigation if something goes wrong.

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Filing Bankruptcy

Unless you’re a Bankruptcy lawyer or financial aficionado, you probably don’t notice when Bankruptcy laws change.  Well, that’s where we come in. 

If you’ve been thinking about filing for bankruptcy, these are vital pieces of information you don’t want to miss.

Provided below are 3 things that may help you decide whether bankruptcy is your best option:

  1. Chapter 7 Eligibility Restrictions—The first step in your pursuit of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the "means" test. It measures your “current monthly income” against the average income of a similarly sized household in your city or state. If you’re earning less then the median income you are allowed to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Check out this Chapter 7 Bankruptcy means test iPhone App that does the work for you!
  2. Counseling Requirements—As a requirement of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you must complete credit counseling with an agency approved by the United States Trustee’s Office.
  3. Bankruptcy Lawyers: A Hot Commodity—Since recent bankruptcy law requirements  have complicated and elevated the workload, Bankruptcy Lawyers have to spend more time with each client’s case. Not only do the lawyers have to vouch for the accuracy of the information you’ve provided, they also have to file and respond to motions. The additional workload means you may have to pay a little more.

The Staggering Rates and Consequences of Theft

According to the U.S. Census, over 1/4th of U.S. citizens are involved in some type of property crime. The average loss as a result of those thefts (of only property) was $2,100.  Those figures don’t include fraud (that’s you Madoff) or identity theft. Yes, you can read that again - the numbers are staggering.

In most cases, your automobile or homeowner’s insurance will cover losses from theft. However, you may be eligible for additional compensation directly from the thief if they are able to pay.  Being accused of a crime like theft or fraud is a messy predicament.

High School kids are most prone to these lapses in judgment. Many people have slipped up at some point and if you got caught, know the justice system does not take these offenses lightly.

Theft is the same thing as larceny: taking another person’s property with the specific intent to permanently deprive them of possession.  In non-legal speak, it means you’re keeping or taking things that aren’t yours.

Theft is a serious offense that can force you to pay fines, serve jail time or community service, and in some cases can even deprive you of a chance to vote. A local lawyer who specializes in Criminal cases can help negotiate the charges.  Don’t allow one lapse in judgment to determine how you will live the rest of your life. Get working on your case today.

Getting Even with Identity Thieves

Let’s be frank - there are a lot of stupid people online.  At times it seems like they outnumber everyone else. 

So you’re probably not surprised to find out that identity theft rates are through the roof.  Identity theft doesn’t only happen to people posting their social security numbers on Facebook.  It also happens to your grandparents via telephone or through the mail.

When your identity is stolen it can feel overwhelming. Having to sort out fraudulent charges, credit downgrades, and in many cases dealing with law enforcement can be stressful and time-consuming.  However, almost every U.S. State allows victims to file a lawsuit for damages.

Identity theft lawsuits are very broad as a result of the complex situation of dealing with numerous people and organizations. Negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, emotional distress, defamation, appropriation of name or likeness, and invasion of privacy are all common theories behind identity theft liability cases.

Employers, financial institutions, and certain government bodies can also be liable for an identity theft. The information must have come from somewhere, right? Additionally, many bank contracts for checking and savings accounts outline the responsibilities in the event of fraudulent charges. These institutions also have a duty to keep your personal information safe.

The complex nature of identity theft cases means you are almost certainly going to need the assistance of a lawyer.   Make sure you pick one who has experience dealing with these types of cases.

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