Types of Easement in Texas

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

An easement is defined as the legal right of an individual to use a certain portion of another individual’s property for a particular purpose. Easement laws differ from state to state, but in general there are four major types of easement: utility, private, prescriptive, and easements of necessity. As explained on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., determining the nature of the easement is often the subject of dispute because easement law is poorly-understood by most people.

Utility easements are usually built into a title to provide access to utility companies and the government as needed. Private easements are when the property owner sells a part of the property to another person for a particular purpose, such as a private sewer easement. Prescriptive easements, on the other hand, are the open, persistent and continuous use of the property for a particular purpose for a prescribed period of time. Easements of necessity, as the term implies, are when an individual has no choice but to go on another person’s property, such as to gain access to their own property. This is sometimes called right of access.

Another type of easement which can be quite devastating to a property owner is adverse possession. It is possible for a trespasser to acquire a legal right of ownership over a property if the occupancy is without permission, exclusive, and continuous over a prescribed period of time, usually the same as for prescriptive easement. However, acquiring a prescriptive easement does not confer legal ownership to the user, nor does it require the user to pay property taxes.

In many cases, the property owner has no choice or has given permission for a particular use of the land, but retains control and ownership of the property when it is not being used for the prescribed purpose. Disputes arise when property owners feel that the trespass or easement is illegal, and the situation is frequently complex enough to require the knowledge of a real estate lawyer to sort it out during mediation or in court.

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The Young and Car Accidents

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

News flashes about car accidents are everywhere, and some are pretty horrific. In Texas, an 8-month-old in a stroller was killed when a car crashed into a pickup truck while making a left turn at a little after 9 in the morning.  In California, an impaired driver killed two adults and two children while in Iowa, a collision between a car and a motorcycle resulted in the death of the motorcycle operator and serious injuries to the passenger.

It is no wonder, really, as vehicular accidents account for 22% of deaths in the US, and is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 5 and 34. In Houston, another child died in a hit-and-run, this time while a passenger in a car, when a driver lost control of his vehicle and hit the car and a pickup truck. The hit-and-run driver when found will not only face civil litigation but also the state prosecutor for serious criminal charges.

Despite the serious consequences of car accidents, it seems that people continue to underestimate the potential dangers of being on the road as a driver or as a pedestrian. The costs of car accidents extend further than medical expenses, loss of income, and physical disability; there are often deep and long-term emotional and psychological issues that radiate beyond the victims. In Irvine, 4 high school students died when the vehicle they were in hit a tree and caught fire on Memorial Day, and the event had a deep impact on all their families and friends.

Two more teenagers were involved in a single vehicle crash in Cedar Rapids, this time with a telephone pole, resulting in serious injuries. Depending on the results of the investigation and severity of the injury, the 19-year-old passenger hurt in the crash may have to consult with a Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer to recover damages from the driver’s insurance company.

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Other Construction Site Accidents

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Car Accidents, Construction | 0 comments

It is common knowledge that construction sites are dangerous places for workers because of the nature of the work. It is one of the most prevalent causes of debilitating injuries, on par with car accidents. According to the website of SC lawyer Goings Law Firm, LLC, there are times, though, when these two factors combine and result in a whole new set of dangers for construction workers and motorists alike.

Road construction work zones spring up whenever maintenance or repair work is needed, and this usually entails elaborate precautions such as warning signs and hazard lights. This is because unlike other types of construction work, roads cannot be closed off while the work is ongoing, so vehicles continue to pass. Unfortunately, construction crews sometimes fail to provide adequate warning signs, drivers fail to observe these warning signs, or drivers choose to ignore them, leading to one work zone accident every 14 minutes in the US. A majority of the total work zone accidents occur during the day. Lots of roadway repair projects are done over the summer months, so it is important that people observe extra caution during those months to reduce the risks of harming a road worker.

While a majority of these construction site accidents involve property damage only (69%), a significant number entail injuries (30%), and some fatalities (546 in 2010).  Most of those injured were construction workers. For 2010, for instance, 20,000 out of the 37,476 injured were members of the road crew.

The number of work zone accidents is directly proportional to the number of work zones in an area. A state like Massachusetts, for example, whose road conditions are not top of the trees, road work crews are quite frequent in the major roads of the state. This may mean more work for Massachusetts car accident lawyers, but hopefully just for property damage.

However, for those who are seriously injured or killed in a road construction site accident, it would be a complex issue to prove causation in order to get compensation. It is recommended that in such situations, competent legal representation experienced in personal injury or wrongful death cases is retained to handle it.

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Filing for Disability Benefits

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Disability | 0 comments

According to the website of the Hankey Law Office, the typical American who files for disability benefit has about a 30% chance of succeeding on the first try. This is true for Indiana and for Illinois, although because of the differences in how individual states process these types of claims, the chances vary slightly from state to state. Because of this rather daunting statistic, claimants may need to do a little more to increase their chances of success. It’s tough to successfully apply for benefits, but they are worth all the effort.

The low rate of success is mostly due to the difficulty of determining legitimate from fraudulent claims. Disability encompasses a wide range of conditions, and some of these can be convincingly faked. It is sad but true that there are many who put in a disability benefits claim not because they are unable to work but want to exploit the system. This puts more hindrances in the way for those with genuine disabilities.

The actual success rate for initial claims in Indiana and Illinois is the same: 29%. For those who file an appeal for reconsideration, the success rate falls even lower. In Chicago, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities was established to improve these numbers and provide greater access to residents to disability benefits; nevertheless, a Social Security lawyer can help to even the odds a bit more.

The same could be said with an Indiana disability lawyer, who would know the system and precisely how the process works to avoid the usual pitfalls that afflict inexperienced applicants. As the Social Security Administration closely monitors the work of accredited lawyers, applicants can be assured that they will be genuinely assisted in getting what is due to them in a timely manner and at reasonable costs.

It is a sad fact that those who are most in need of these benefits are often the ones who get denied. With competent legal representation, they have a better chance of succeeding in a claim, and in all probability get other benefits they had no idea they were entitled to.

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Unwitting Participation in a Ponzi Scheme

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

Scams are all over the place, but even before online scams became the richest prize for con artists, there were schemes that were so successful that they became a global phenomena without benefit of the Internet. One of the most famous of these was the Ponzi scheme, named after businessman Charles Ponzi who in 1920 conceived of the brilliant notion of using sleight of hand to make a bundle by juggling other people’s money.

Considering that it is nearly a century old, one would suppose that people would know better than to participate in a Ponzi scheme, but in fact because it is such a simple concept that can take many forms perpetuated by what appears to be legitimate businesses, it is still a matter of concern in securities regulation. The most recent case was filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2014 against a fund manager based in Chicago, who had allegedly used the money from new investors to pay redemptions by existing client and using the excess for personal expenses.

The problem is that mere participation in a Ponzi scheme can land an investor in hot water. Financial institutions that have likewise been duped by a clever operator are especially at risk of criminal litigation as well as claims of breach of fiduciary duty and the like from investors. In the case of the fund manager, any financial institution that invested may also be named in any claim by plaintiffs as a participant in the scheme.

While Ponzi schemes are considered white collar or non-violent crimes, they nevertheless have long-term consequences for those charged with participation. It would infinitely be preferable to get out of it with nothing more than money lost.

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Warnings of Medical Dangers Come Too Late for Some

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Medical Dangers | 0 comments

Hospitals in Boston have been cautioned against the use of robotic surgical systems by physicians who have not been adequately trained or for procedures that the system is not approved for. Aggressive marketing of expensive robotic surgical systems have fueled a competition among many hospitals in Massachusetts to include them in their offerings to patients.

The rising number of patients complaining of injuries post-operation prompted the state’s warnings to the medical community. However, for some patients such as the case of a woman whose bowels were damaged during a hysterectomy, the warning has come too late, and their only recourse was to get compensation with the help of a Massachusetts robotic surgery error lawyer.

Recalls of medical products or devices are seldom voluntary; it is mostly when the damage has been done that the pharmaceutical or medical device company is forced to make a recall, and even then there is no clear-cut admission of fault. Even when settlements are being made or a court awards damages to a plaintiff, the concerned company does not admit to any wrongdoing.

This is the case with the Stryker hip implant defects that affected thousands of patients who were implanted with the device before findings that it failed prematurely, requiring a replacement, and caused serious injury to boot because of its defective design. Stryker Corporation had reportedly agreed to settle cases for an undisclosed amount, although it estimates that it may cost the company as much as $1.3 Billion.

The main function of recalls is to spread the word among those who may not be aware of the medical dangers of these products. If you have already suffered serious injury but was not aware that a medical product or device had caused it, this may be the time to check for recalls or warnings from regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the state equivalent. If you believe you may be owed compensation, consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area before the applicable statute of limitations runs out.

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