Personal Injury Thoughts

Some Ideas About Personal Injury

If you are the victim of an injury by the hands of others most commonly car or truck accidents, you probably feel overwhelmed and a bit daunted. It is vital that you have the correct information, and the information here can help you. Read on to learn the steps you must follow to file a successful personal injury lawsuit.

Finding the right personal injury lawyer can be difficult for your accident case. Having said that, it helps to seek out someone with a good amount of experience in personal injury, specifically the type of injury you are dealing with. It takes a great deal of knowledge in the field to win such a case, so the more experience they have, the better.

Asking for a referral for a reputable attorney from a family member, friend, neighbor or colleague is a great way to find a personal injury lawyer. If you can find someone who has gone through a personal injury case, he will be able to help provide you with valuable information including how he found his attorney and how their court case went.

Your state’s Attorney Bar Association is a great place to find a personal injury attorney. This association will share recommendations and give you some details on the accomplishments of the lawyers you are interested in.

Before you select a personal injury lawyer, do have a initial meeting with them and have the lawyer break down specifically what they will do for you. The objective to choosing the wright personal injury lawyer is for you to feel at easy with them, you need to feel that he is the best possible choice to take on your case.

If you find a lawyer who’s ego is larger than the bill they plan to charge you, run the other way. Self absorbed attorneys aren’t acceptable anywhere, and that is especially true in court. You don’t want to anger a judge or jury because your lawyer is arrogant and rude to the court.

If you are involved in a car accident, you need to take as many photos as you can of the scene. If there is any kind of personal injury case brought up, these will help you present your case. If you have a lawyer, it will help them see exactly what happened.

If you are injured in an accident do not assume that your worries will end right away. Many people find that they are in more pain weeks later than they were at first, leaving them unable to work and take care of their families. If you are injured, and it is someone else’s fault, but careful to not settle before you know what the full extent of your injuries will be.

Look for a lawyer willing to work on a contingency basis. This means that your lawyer will not get paid unless you receive a settlement. Not only will this mean your lawyer has a vested interest in getting you a good settlement, it also means you won’t be left with a large legal fee should your case be dismissed.

If you have to miss work as a result of any injury you received, make sure that you let your boss know that this is why you will be absent. Later on you can ask your boss for a statement if you want to sue for any wages you lost as a result of being out.

If you are injured at work, you must find a lawyer who deals with workplace accidents. They know not only how to deal with the insurance, but also how to ensure you still have a job once the case is over. They’re truly going to give you a positive outcome in the end.

With any luck, you are not better able to understand what it takes to win a personal injury lawsuit. The above advice will assist you with finding and hiring a lawyer. You need to start now, so get going! More on this website
———————————-

Pakistani cleric says willing to review blasphemy law

The head of a powerful religious body said on Thursday he is willing to review Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws that critics say are regularly misused and have led to the deaths of hundreds, to decide if they are Islamic.

Pakistan’s religious and political elites almost universally keep clear of debating blasphemy laws in a country where criticism of Islam is a highly sensitive subject. Even rumours of blasphemy have sparked rampaging mobs and deadly riots.

But Muhammad Khan Sherani, chairman of a body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, told Reuters he was willing to reopen the debate and see whether sentences as harsh as the death penalty were fair.

“The government of Pakistan should officially, at the government level, refer the law on committing blasphemy to the Council of Islamic Ideology. There is a lot of difference of opinion among the clergy on this issue,” Sherani said in an interview at his office close to Pakistan’s parliament.

“Then the council can seriously consider things and give its recommendation of whether it needs to stay the same or if it needs to be hardened or if it needs to be softened,” Sherani, dressed in a traditional black robe, said.

Sherani, who has hit the headlines in recent weeks after his council obstructed a bill to deter child marriages, did not disclose his own position.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws mandate the death penalty, although no sentence has been carried out. Critics say the law is abused in poor, rural areas by enemies falsely accusing others to settle personal scores.

Presenting evidence in court can be considered a new infringement, so judges are reluctant to hear cases. Those acquitted have often been lynched.

Salman Taseer, a prominent liberal politician, was killed by his own bodyguard in 2011 after he had championed the cause of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the law.

CHILD MARRIAGE

Sherani, a member of parliament representing Pakistan’s largest Islamist party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, for some embodies Pakistan’s struggle to balance modern, democratic ideals with pleasing conservative religious bodies demanding the imposition of strict Islamic law.

In recent years his 54-year old council has ruled DNA cannot be used as primary evidence in rape cases, and supported a law that requires woman alleging rape to get four male witnesses to testify in court before a case is heard.

His members’ decision this month to block a bill to impose harsher penalties for marrying off girls as young as eight or nine has angered human rights activists.

Senators have since debated whether the council, in its current form, is right for the modern democratic Pakistan that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said his country must represent.

Sherani, head of the council since 2010, defended its recommendations, saying it was his job, as mandated by the constitution, to ensure the laws of the land were in line with Islam. The council’s advice is not binding.

“The state should only be concerned up until a point with the question of marriage,” he said. “After reaching the age of maturity (puberty) the child has the right to reject a union.”

Three percent of girls in Pakistan are married before they turn 15 and 21 percent before age 18, according to UNICEF.

Sherani said there were many un-Islamic laws on the statute book that he was advising the government to overturn, including presidential pardons for a murderer.

Many of Pakistan’s problems, including violence against religious minorities, were the result of the government failing to be sufficiently Islamic and instead pandering to the West, he said.

“Pakistan’s present government is a defender of the interests of the West,” Sherani said. “Don’t equate what the government thinks to what Islam is.”

Why ‘Caylee’s Law’ Is A Bad Idea

Within minutes of the Casey Anthony verdict, much of America devolved into the mass media equivalent of a mob bearing torches and pitchforks. Twitter lit up with calls for vigilante justice, and proposals that we revoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy (or at least that we revoke it for Casey Anthony). Nancy Grace nearly spit fire, proclaiming, “The devil is dancing tonight.” Conservative syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro wants to change the jury system entirely.

Even as DNA testing continues to exonerate wrongly convicted people, including people who were nearly executed, it’s this rare case — in which a jury recognized that there was no physical evidence linking Anthony to her daughter’s murder — that has America questioning its justice system.

High-profile trials are anomalies. They’re about as far from the day-to-day goings on in police precincts, courtrooms, and prisons as your typical TV crime drama (the other place Americans get most of their (bad) information about the criminal justice system). Despite what much of the public seems to have taken away from these sorts of trials in recent years, the average person wrongly accused of a crime isn’t a wealthy college lacrosse player with top-notch legal representation. Prosecutors who wrongly charge people aren’t usually stripped of their law license or criminally sanctioned. (In fact, they’re rarely sanctioned at all.) Black men accused of murder aren’t typically represented by “dream teams” of the country’s best defense attorneys. And, believe it or not, if there’s a problem in the criminal justice system when it comes to children, it’s that parents and caretakers are too often overcharged in accidental deaths or as a result of bogus allegations, not that they regularly get away with murder.

Even more regrettable is that every time a Casey Anthony-type trial captures the public’s attention, someone gets the idea that we need a new law in response to the completely unrepresentative case, a law that presumably would have prevented that particularly travesty from happening. The problem, of course, is that the new law — usually poorly written and passed in a fit of hysteria — is too late to apply to the case it was designed for. But it does then apply to everyone else.

Laws named after crime victims and dead people are usually a bad idea. They play more to emotion than reason. But they’re disturbingly predictable, especially when they come after the death of a child. So it’s really no surprise that activist Michelle Crowder is now pushing “Caylee’s Law,” a proposed federal bill that would charge parents with a felony if they fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, or if they fail to report the death of a child within an hour. What’s surprising is just how quickly the Change.org petition for Caylee’s Law has gone viral. As of this writing it has more than 700,000 signatures, and is now the most successful campaign in the site’s history. For reasons of constitutionality and practicality, it seems unlikely that Caylee’s Law will ever be realized at the federal level. But according to the AP, at least sixteen state legislatures are now considering some version of the law. That’s troubling.

This is a bad way to make public policy. In an interview with CNN, Crowder concedes that she didn’t consult with a single law enforcement official before coming up with her 24-hour and 1-hour limits. This raises some questions. How did she come up with those cutoffs? Did she consult with any grief counselors to see if there may be innocuous reasons why an innocent person who just witnessed a child’s death might not immediately report it, such as shock, passing out, or some other sort of mental breakdown? Did she consult with a forensic pathologist to see if it’s even possible to pin down the time of death with the sort of precision you’d need to make Caylee’s Law enforceable? Have any of the lawmakers who have proposed or are planning to propose this law actually consulted with anyone with some knowledge of these issues?

Jamie Downs is the Coastal Regional Medical Examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and co-editor of a forthcoming book on forensic ethics about Caylee’s Law. Downs also formerly served on the board of directors for the National Association of Medical Examiners. Contrary to what you may have learned from watching CSI, Downs says, there’s no way for a medical examiner to determine time of death in the sort of narrow window that would be necessary to enforce Caylee’s Law. “I understand that people are outraged, and I understand why they’d want a law like this, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t see how you would enforce it,” Downs says. “You just can’t say for certain that a person died an hour and five minutes ago as opposed to 45 minutes ago.”

If medical science can’t pinpoint the time of the child’s death to the minute, how else are authorities going to determine it? They can’t ask the parent. A guilty person isn’t going to give you an honest answer, and even an innocent parent may lie if they fear the truth could land them in prison. It also seems safe to assume that a parent’s first instinct upon witnessing the death of a child isn’t to look up at the clock to take note of an official time of death.

Certainly it’s easy to distinguish a body that’s been dead for less than hour from one that has been dead for six or seven. Presumably, Crowder and the lawmakers supporting this bill put the cutoff at one hour to prevent someone who intentionally or accidentally kills a child from having time to cover up what happened. But if that’s the justification, it’s all the more important that a forensic pathologist be able to nail down the time of death to the minute. And that just isn’t possible.

There are myriad other problems with the one-hour requirement. What if a child dies while sleeping? When would you start the clock on the parent’s one-hour window to report? From the time the parent discovers the child is dead, or from the time the child actually dies? If it’s the former, can you really believe what a parent tells you if he knows a felony charge hinges on his answer? What if a parent or babysitter missed the deadline because she fell asleep at the time the child was playing outside and suffered a fatal accident? You could argue this is evidence of bad parenting or inattentive babysitting, but under those circumstances, do you really want to charge a grieving parent or heartbroken babysitter with a felony?

The portion of the bill that requires a parent to report a missing child within 24 hours is just as fraught with problems. When does that clock start? From the time the child actually gets abducted, gets lost, or is somehow killed, or at the time the parents noticed the child was missing? How do you pinpoint the time that they “noticed”? When teenager Rosie Larsen is abducted and murdered in the new AMC drama The Killing, it takes two days for her parents to notice she’s missing. They thought she was spending the night at a friend’s house, and she and her friends often rotated sleeping over at one another’s homes on the weekends. The Killing is fiction, but this isn’t an implausible scenario. Again, are we really so angry about the Casey Anthony verdict that we’re prepared to charge grieving parents with a felony because it takes them longer than some arbitrary deadline to notice their child is missing?

The law and the attention it attracts could also cause problems of overcompliance. How many parents will notify the authorities with false reports within an hour or two, out of fear of becoming suspects? How many such calls and wasted police resources on false alarms will it take before police grow jaded and begin taking note of missing child reports, but don’t bother investigating them until much later? How many legitimate abductions will then go uninvestigated during the critical first few hours because they were lost in the pile of false reports inspired by Caylee’s Law?

It isn’t difficult to come up with other scenarios where innocent people may get ensnared in Caylee’s Law.

Here’s another: You’re camping with your family when your son goes missing. One of your other children says she last saw him swimming in a lake. You spend several hours frantically looking for him before discovering that, tragically, he has drowned. You call the police. Under Caylee’s Law, is this a “missing child” case, or a “dead child” case? Do you get charged with a felony for not notifying authorities within an hour of your son’s drowning, or are you afforded the 24-hour window from the time you noticed he went missing? Is this really the sort of thing we want parents to be considering while they’re trying to find their child? What if your kid gets lost hiking on a camping trip where there’s no cell phone reception? It could take a few hours to notice your kid is missing, another few to look for him before you begin to panic. In some cases, it may be best to keep looking than to abandon the area to notify authorities.

The counter to these hypotheticals is that a prosecutor wouldn’t charge grieving parents under those circumstances. But why give them the option? Sure, it may be difficult to conceive of a prosecutor charging good parents who bear zero blame in a child’s death, but it’s not hard to envision a prosecutor using the notification requirements to punish parents or guardians who make subjectively poor decisions that aren’t otherwise crimes. Why were you letting your kid swim in the lake unsupervised in the first place? Maybe the babysitter bears no blame for the SIDS death of the infant she was watching, but it took her two hours to notice the baby had died in his sleep because she was napping off a hangover, or making out with her boyfriend downstairs. If you find it doubtful that a prosecutor could be so vindictive, look at Mississippi and Alabama, where women who have had miscarriages are being charged with murder.

While Caylee’s Law could quite conceivably ensnare innocent grieving parents, it seems unlikely that it will prevent a single child’s death. Consider: Is a father who is depraved enough to kill his own son really going to be dissuaded by a law that says he must notify the authorities of his son’s death within an hour of having killed him? He’s already committing murder. The law isn’t likely to affect a parent who kills a child in a fit of anger or rage, either. By definition, crimes of passion are perpetrated in the heat of the moment, with little consideration of consequences.

The law will have at least one effect that Crowder and her supporters intend. Crowder’s petition letter expresses her hope that once the law is passed, “no more innocent children will have to go without justice.” And she’s right. Caylee’s Law provides another way for prosecutors to convict a suspected parent or guardian of something, even if they don’t have the evidence to prove the actual murder. Florida state Rep. Scott Plakon, sponsor of the bill in his state, told the AP, “God forbid we ever run into a mother like Casey Anthony again. If we do, that mother will be a felon.” I suspect this is why so many people have signed Crowder’s petition. This is about vengeance. They’re angry at this verdict.

That anger is understandable. But anger is a bad reason to make public policy. New laws, especially laws with serious criminal sanctions, demand careful consideration: Will the law actually address the problem it is intended to address? Is it enforceable? What are some possible unintended consequences of this law? Could it be abused by police and prosecutors?

Laws named after the victims of brutal crimes make it difficult to ask these questions, especially for politicians, who aren’t exactly known for taking bold stands against an angry public. When you put Caylee Anthony’s name on a bill, you imply that anyone who opposes the bill — even for good reasons — is indifferent to the death of its namesake, or at least isn’t as concerned about it as you think they ought to be. That’s not a formula for an honest discussion of the bill’s merits.

In a country of 308 million people, bad things are going to happen. We already have laws against murder, child abuse, and child neglect. When you pass laws that make it easier to imprison people in cases where the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove the crime everyone knows they’re actually prosecuting, you undermine the integrity of the justice system. The “flaw” that led to the Casey Anthony verdict is pretty straightforward: The state failed to prove its case. And the government must prove its case, even when all of America is 100 percent certain of the defendant’s guilt, because we want to be sure the state will always also have to prove its case when we aren’t so certain.

Of course, there’s another reason we go through the formality of a trial before throwing someone in prison, even in “slam-dunk” cases like this one. Sometimes, even when Nancy Grace herself is completely sure that the bastards are guilty, we later discover that she was wrong.

Access to justice in peril in BC by lack of Legal Aid funding

Lawyers in British Columbia who deal with legal aid cases recently halted their services as a way to pressure the government to increase funding for the system. Members of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC said that “government funding for legal aid has remained the same for 23 years despite inflation and population growth.” This deeply impacts people who are not able to afford a lawyer, as they are denied any legal assistance and their access to justice is jeopardized.

About 40 percent of the people who face criminal charges end up representing themselves because they don’t meet the required conditions to acquire legal aid approval. A staggering number of people in family courts and small claims courts are left without any lawyers.

The government provides $56 million a year for legal aid and the association is urging the government to expand the amount that is directed to legal aid from a tax on the fees of the lawyers. British Columbia lawyers argue that the revenue from the tax was always meant to go exclusively to legal aid. Back in the 1990s, the legal aid budget was sufficient to get everyone a lawyer, however that is no longer the case.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton refuted the assertion that the tax was meant to be used exclusively for legal aid, saying, “There is a general misunderstanding that provincial sales tax collected on legal services is being misdirected to general revenue,” and that while the government back then did recognize that the revenue from tax would compensate the costs of legal aid, the tax was never really meant to fund legal aid exclusively. She added that the legal aid budget has been upped to about $74.5 million this year.

However, that still doesn’t match the budget of a decade ago when it stood at around $90 million. New Democrat Attorney General critic Leonard Krog criticized the Liberal government for seeking to cut expenditures to the detriment of the British Columbians with low incomes. He argued that getting legal aid when a person has low income has become virtually impossible.

Everyone deserves to have a lawyer at their side when the need arises, and the lawyers at Lambert and Williams support the call for improved access to lawyers via legal aid and join the call for adequate legal aid funding.