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Do You Have a Case?

Picture yourself walking into work one morning just like any other start to your day. As you enter the premises of the building you slip and fall in a wet puddle and hit your head on the hard ground, resulting in a brain injury and other physical damage to your body. As you are laying on the cold, hard ground, you notice other slick spots on the floor. You also notice there are no mats or signs to alert employees that there is a hazard.

Although accidents are inevitable and happen every day due to unintentional efforts, it doesn’t dismiss neglect on behalf of someone that becomes injured. For this reason, workers should consider to take the appropriate steps to be compensated for their injuries. To begin, consider the following:

What is Workers’ Compensation

Before you can distinguish whether you have a case, you must be able to clearly define your workplace accident injury. If you were injured while on the job, you may be entitled to compensation benefits. The reason for these benefits would be to assist with hospital and medical bills, the loss of wages while you were in recovery, and any additional needs that you might require after your injury.

Some of the most dangerous jobs unfortunately lack workers’ compensation since employers may wrongly classify their employees as independent contractors. A few to mention would be: farmers, construction workers, drivers, roofers, loggers, steel workers, electrical workers, etc. To seek if your employer is covered, consider conducting your research and doing a quick search here: knowledgeinitiative.org/are-you-covered.

Seek a Medical Professional

No matter what the situation might be, consider the scope of what happened and make sure to take note. Whether you’ve fallen on the job, overextended your body, had been struck or injured by equipment; it is important to report the incident and see a doctor promptly. The sooner you consult a medical professional, the better. Also, make sure that you obtain all medical records that were obtained in this process as evidence to support your case.

Seek a Legal Professional

Now that you’ve done your part and sought out medical attention for your injury, it would be in your best interest to consult a legal professional. While it’s never too early to have an attorney in mind for all your legal matters, now would certainly be a time in which you should get serious about considering assistance.

Despite that the incident was a simple one and the result what your injury, the process for receiving workers’ compensation can be a difficult one. A lawyer will be able to help you distinguish how to determine the cause of your injury and how it can be applied to your best interest. Having adequate legal representation will assist your claim and ensure that you’re getting the most for your case.

Accidents happen to us every day; however, whether they happened due to neglect or unintended efforts can still affect our lives greatly. Don’t hesitate to consult medical and legal help. Also, do your part and know your coverage and lack thereof.

 

Jessica Wilson is the 2015-2016 Law Offices of David Michael Cantor Scholarship winner!

lawyer1The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor 2015-2016 scholarship contest ended on November 30, 2016. The essays subject title was “The necessity and value of the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt in the criminal justice system”. The minimum length requirement was 750 words (about a page and a half, single spaced). There were two individual occurrences which made this year’s contest so remarkable. First, the content of Jessica Wilson’s essay is highly unusual. She focuses on her own mother being tried and convicted for the murder of her father. The second occurrence which made this year’s contest so remarkable was the fact that only seven (7) people bothered to enter the contest in order to vie for the $2,500 scholarship.

The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor has a companion firm (Cantor Crane) that emphasizes only personal injury and civil litigation. A concurrent scholarship contest was run by Cantor Crane during this last year which only required that participants check a box avowing they would not consuming alcohol or drugs and drive; that they would use an Uber if they had consumed alcohol or drugs; and that they would never text and drive. In the Cantor Crane scholarship contest the award amount was $1,000. A whopping 2,997 people entered that scholarship contest, yet only seven (7) entered our contest which paid 2 ½ times more money (but required 750 words of written effort). Both scholarship contests were publicized on the same 30 college websites. As a practicing lawyer for the last 28 years, I am becoming worried that this new generation of lawyers might better be labeled as “Generation A” with the A standing for “Apathy”. Future lawyers, I am calling on you to put in a little more thought and effort than what can be accomplished by merely checking a box or entering 140 characters in Twitter.

Now, moving on to Jessica’s amazing essay. Jessica’s mother and father had been married for 30 years, which included decades of domestic violence. Her father was abusive not only to her mother, but also to Jessica and her brother. On the night of August 13, 2008, Jessica’s father attacked her mother with a knife and her mother grabbed a 22 caliber rifle and fired off six shots. Four of the shots struck Jessica’s father and he eventually died at the hospital.

When Jessica’s mother was put on trial, Jessica and her brother both fully supported their mother. The mother was ultimately convicted in 2010 of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to a 10 year prison term. Jessica now attends Northern Kentucky University and will be completing law school in May of 2017. She is an amazing young woman who will no doubt have a phenomenal legal career. We are including a copy of her scholarship essay and a link to an article published on December 19, 2010 by the Commonwealth Journal. The title of the article is “My Mother is Innocent” and was written by Jeff Neal.

Congratulations Jessica!

 

Winning Essay:

“The Necessity and value of the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt in the criminal justice system”

Every individual is innocent until proven guilty and must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Although these two phrases are the epitome of our criminal justice system, they are often disregarded and misunderstood.  These standards were put in place to ensure fairness and justice, but these ideas seldom coincide in today’s justice system.  The significance of this became apparent when my Mother was wrongfully convicted in 2010.  She was tried and convicted in the shooting death of my father; her husband of 30 years.  The system left me and my entire family desperate for answers.

My mother was an upstanding citizen in our rural Southern Kentucky town.  Her and my father owned and operated a large dairy farm, which was well known in the area.  Working side by side seven days a week caused severe tension between my parents which led to my father abusing my mother, verbally and physically.  I was not alone in my knowledge of these incidents, as my mother had filed numerous emergency protection orders and divorce proceedings with the court.  In August of 2008 the abuse escalated, leaving my mother fighting for her life.  Unfortunately this resulted in my father’s death.  This tragedy tossed my family into our local spotlight and people in the community no longer looked at my mother or our family in the same light.

Despite being offered a 10 year probation plea deal, my mother insisted on proceeding to trial.  Our family had never been in any serious trouble and was unfamiliar with how the judicial system actually worked.  We discussed options with our attorney and were educated on the mechanics of a trial.  My mother thought that the odds were in her favor because of the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.  As our attorney stated, “it has to be a unanimous vote of the 12 jurors, which think that you intentionally or maliciously killed your husband beyond a reasonable doubt.” He emphasized that the jurors are to decide this based on the evidence and testimony given and that they should have no more than a reasonable doubt in their mind when they vote.  My entire family thought that it would be impossible for all 12 jurors to think that my mother had committed a crime.

My mother’s trial began three weeks before Christmas, in our brand new Courthouse.   After a strenuous voir dire of members of our small community, who all seemed a little too eager to be selected, the trial began.  The trial consisted of testimony regarding the 30 years of abuse my mother had endured, testimony regarding the night of the shooting, evidence showing where the spent shell casings from the gun had landed (which showed that my mother was backed into a corner of our kitchen at the time she pulled the trigger), expert witnesses who testified to my mother’s previous counseling at a local abuse shelter, and to her diagnosis of PTSD from the abuse.  All of this seemed to show that this was a clear case of self-defense.  The prosecution portrayed my mother as the aggressor, claiming that she killed my father to receive benefits from the farm, (which we later rebutted with testimony from the attorney who did the probate of my father’s estate), testimony from my father’s friends, and accusations that my mother was in a lesbian relationship.  Despite the overwhelming evidence that supported my mother’s actions, she was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

I was absolutely disgusted when the jury’s decision was revealed.  My brother and I immediately began working on the appeal process.  During this time, we took many actions to understand the verdict.  One of the most enlightening moments occurred when we decided to speak with the jurors.  Although some of them refused to discuss the case with us, many agreed to.  They each apologetically stated various observations such as “my mother’s attorney didn’t seem to think she was innocent; that my mother should have just left that night; that she didn’t seem remorseful, and that after deliberating for over 11 hours, they were ready to go home to their families.  It took every fiber in my being not to slap each of these individuals across the face.  I didn’t and still don’t understand how you can consciously send someone away for 10 years based on these types of perceptions.  I was also informed that there was one juror who was somewhat of a bully, and coaxed the others into the verdict.

As we continued in our efforts to repair what had been done, I kept thinking about how the jury had come to their conclusion.  It was obvious from speaking with them that they had not made their choice based upon what justice requires but instead on the social and environmental strains that were placed upon them.  When you are selected as a trier of fact, you should take that responsibility seriously.  You should assume the person is innocent based upon the law and the evidence presented, not because the person’s demeanor didn’t align with your expectation of how a person should look or act.  This is a perfect example of why the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt are both so important yet frequently dismissed.

The value of these two principles cannot be measured until you have fully felt the wrath of them or the lack thereof.  This experience changed my perspective about the justice system drastically.  It touched my soul in such a way, which inspired me to pursue a career in law. I am currently in my third year of law school, where I have participated with the Innocence Project and other advocacy groups.  Since my family’s experience, I have seen many other cases where similar results ensued because of a similar disregard for the criminal defendant. I now more than ever believe that the presumption of innocence and the reasonable doubt standard are the most important factors in the criminal justice system and should not be taken for granted.

I understand that there is no way to completely ensure that these standards are followed in the upmost regard, but stories like mine should remind triers of fact and others involved in the criminal justice system that these standards are not just a part of the “courtroom script.”  These standards are essential in seeking the truth and integrity of the cases at hand.  The significance of the presumption of innocence and the reasonable doubt standard is vast.  They should be carefully reflected upon in all aspects of the criminal justice system and given the weight that they deserve.

 

Here’s an article about the story in the Common Wealth Journal:

My Mother is Innocent‘ by Jeff Neal

 

 

Father Winter Warning

As the seasons begin to change again, we experience a decrease in temperature and an increase in safety hazards. Although winter can be a great time to experience the holidays and snowy weather, it can be a playground of accidents.

This winter be sure to keep your guard up when facing the risks associated with winter weather. Take into consideration these preparation tips to avoid any chance of injury:

Cold Morning Start

As you being your typical morning routine, prepping your car might not be the first thing on your mind. Although many of us are going for that first cup of coffee, it might be a wise time to check out the weather conditions for your daily commute to work.

If you’re in a climate that is prone to frost, ice, or snow; take steps the night before by laying down salt in your driveway. This can help keep you from a slick situation before your day gets started. Another way to combat the freezing temperature is to start your car ahead of time. If your car is in the garage, make sure the garage door is open to let out the exhaust fumes. Having your driveway and car prepared can put you a big step ahead of the game.

Black Ice

Although black ice is something that is out of your control, it would be wise to keep an eye out. Black ice can affect drivers as well as those who might have to commute by foot. Ensure that you’re taking notice of the sidewalk. A simple slip and fall could result in serious harm and a possible brain injury.

Motorists can be sure that when they experience black ice from behind the wheel to avoid slamming on their breaks. This will make matters worse. Instead try to steer the vehicle in a way to where you can somewhat glide back to your path on the road. Many trucks and oversized vehicles will take extra precaution by applying chains to their wheels to avoid any slippery situations resulting in a vehicle accident.

Emergency Contacts

Another great way to cope with the effects of winter is to keep an emergency contact readily available. These contacts are useful for situations such as school closings due to winter weather. Your emergency contact should have the ability to ensure that your children get home safely.

Another benefit of an emergency contact to provide assistance in need of any vehicle issues or accidents. Winter weather poses a threat to all commuters and having someone to aid will be required at some point in time.

Although there are many hacks and tips that can assist you with the harsh conditions of winter, these options are sure to provide you with some useful insight to take the next step to safety. Be sure that you’re taking the necessary precaution this winter to avoid any chance of an accident.

6 Reasons You Should Map Out Your Trip Before Traveling this Fall

The fall season means the holidays are just around the corner and the weather is getting crisper by the day. The holidays can often mean that more vehicles will be on the roads at once. Heavier traffic and frustrated drivers can lead to danger on the roads. Along with the increase in holiday traffic, those warm summer days have likely come to an end. The rainier season approaches, and in some areas this can even mean snow and ice.

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It Is a Bad Idea to Talk to Insurance Adjusters after a Motor Vehicle Accident

When you have been in an auto accident that is someone else’s fault, it is a bad idea to talk to the other side’s insurance adjuster. Doing so can cause real problems for your claim outcome. Insurance adjusters know how to get information from plaintiffs filing auto accident claims that can lead to a low payout and they will try to get this information from you. It is always best to gain representation by an experienced vehicle collision lawyer for your person injury case. That attorney can handle all communications and will not jeopardize your case’s outcome, in the process.

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