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Important Witnesses That May Be Needed in Personal Injury Cases

Important Witnesses That May Be Needed in Personal Injury Cases

Most people who seek a personal injury claim do not know the aspects that are going to be associated with their case. There are a variety of things that need to be performed and gathered to be able to help a victim’s case in proving negligence in a wrongful death or personal injury.

The success of a claim can depend on these following elements:

  • Proof: that the victim has shown how they sustained their injuries from the specific accident
  • Damages: that the victim endured as a result of their injuries
  • Evidence: that the victim has gathered for their case
  • Liability: who was to blame for the accident?
  • Witnesses: Was there anyone present during the time of the accident that can backup the plaintiffs claim? This is a crucial element because it can serve as a means of supporting the victims claim with their testimonies.

What Types of Witnesses Exists in A Personal Injury Claim?

In a personal injury claim, there are two types of witnesses that are used. The most obvious one is the person who was there at the time the accident took place. These witnesses are usually known as “incident witnesses” because they saw the incident first-hand. A testimony from these witnesses needs to be gathered in a timely manner because as the days pass, a person can forget the chain of events that led to the accident and they would lose credibility as a witness. The victim should make sure that all information about the witness is obtained. Witnesses who are family members or friends are known as “lay witnesses”. These witnesses can be crucial for a victim’s personal injury case.

Another witness that is used to build a solid case is known an “expert witness”. Who is an expert witness? These witnesses are imperative, especially when a case goes to trial because they are the only ones capable of explaining hard concepts to the jurors who wouldn’t otherwise understand on their own. The pro to having an expert witness is that there are certain issues that can be presented to the jury that could not be present if there were no expert witness. They are experts in the certain topic that is being brought forth to the jury. For example, if a person suffers a medical malpractice, the victim’s attorney would most likely higher an expert witness(medical expert) who focuses on the medical malpractice that was performed. Their testimonies would be valid because that is their expertise and area of study.

Miami Lawyers At Percy Martinez Law Firm

Despite which personal injury claim a victim is pursuing, having witnesses is always beneficial for a plaintiff’s case. A Miami Personal Injury Lawyer from Percy Martinez Law Firm knows exactly which witnesses would be beneficial for their client’s case. They examine each one thoroughly to see who would an asset to the case. The lawyers also hire the appropriate expert witness for the injury that was endured. Their number is (305) 529-0001 and are available 24/7.

 

Steps to Take If You’ve Been Convicted of a DUI

After a Happy Hour that turned into a couple of hours, you grabbed your keys, said goodbye to your co-workers, and walked to your car. Feeling “buzzed” you decided to take the route home you know well. Halfway home you saw flashing lights behind you and were pulled over by a cop. He said you didn’t make a full stop at the stop sign; you have no recollection.

He asked you if you have been drinking, you tell the truth, “a few,” and he asked you to get out of the car. You passed the Field Sobriety Test but failed the Breathalyzer. You are now facing a DUI conviction.

No one plans on getting a DUI, but it can even happen to the people who just “have a few” after work with some friends. Without a doubt, drinking and driving is a serious offense that can lead to accidents and put lives at risk; it can also be life-changing for those who are convicted.

It’s important to remember that a DUI conviction varies and depends on the circumstances and the state in which you live. Here are some general steps to take if you’ve been convicted of a DUI:

Legal Advice

Whether it’s your first DUI or a subsequent offense, seeking legal advice is always a good idea. Unless you have a strong legal background and thoroughly understand your state’s laws concerning DUIs, find an attorney you like and can trust. If you’re on the fence about hiring one, most attorneys offer a free consultation.

If you do decide to hire an attorney, he or she will help you understand all the details of your case and explain all possible consequences. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, but it depends if you go to court and how you plea.

Go to Court

If you have a court hearing, don’t skip out. Some people, facing a conviction, miss their court date and face more trouble later on. It’s not worth the extra legal issues. Whether you’re pleading guilty or not, go to court.

Consider Alternate Punishments

If you have clearly violated your state’s drunk driving laws and have been convicted of a DUI, your best option is to face the consequences. An attorney will help you determine whether or not you truly violated the law. As a first time offender, you are likely to be given a hefty fine, a suspension of your license, and maybe even jail time.

Depending on the details of your conviction, your judge may offer, recommend, or enforce alternativepunishments for your DUI conviction. In some cases, he or she may offer these as a substitute or “credit” towards jail time or fines.

Be Cooperative

We’ve all seen the courtroom dramas where the defendant acts out and is charged with “contempt of court.” It makes for good tv, but it will never be in your favor if you fail to cooperate. Believe it or not, a bad attitude won’t help you out when you’re facing a DUI conviction.

The best step to take, once you’ve been convicted of a DUI, is to never put yourself in the situation to get a subsequent DUI.

 

 

Dangerous Truck Driving Contributors

Whether you’re driving to work, taking the kids to school, or running a few errands; chances are you’re commuting on a busy highway to reach your destination. Motorists put themselves behind the wheel each day and must watch out for any potential risks. As motorists, we strive to put safe driving habits into practice to ensure that we’re doing our part. Keeping the volume at a safe level, avoiding texting and driving, and following the speed limits are great practices; however how much can be done when you experience and accident with an 18-wheeler truck.

Big rigs carrying thousands of pounds of freight increases the chances of a dangerous accident. When considering the significant weight, load being carried by these vehicles that can exceed 80,000 pounds versus the weight of a standard car, you can easily understand why an accident can be far more fatal than that of one with two standard sized cars.

When dealing with big rigs, there is always a reason as to why there was an accident. Look at a few options as to what those factors might be:

Speed

Although we strive to watch our speed as a safety precaution, it’s important to realize that these commercial freight trucks are often rushing against the clock. The transportation industry has become a dangerous one as drivers are pressured to have freight transported, docked, and unloaded in a timely manner. Although this is important, the stress of ensuring that they’re transporting the equipment by the deadline can deadly.

To accommodate for their time, truck drivers may pick up the speed to reach their destination by the deadline. Although unforeseen traffic is an obstacle, they’re instructed to meet their goals and deadlines. One late shipment can throw off the entire delivery date. Speed is a major contribution in highway trucking accidents.

Reckless Driving

Another significant factor in trucking accidents is reckless driving. Due to the high stress and demanding pressure, truck drivers are forced to make quick decisions in order to get the cargo to its destination. In striving to meet their goals of a delivery being on time, they may not make the best decision, putting others at risk.

Reckless acts while operating a truck, full of cargo, can be a recipe for disaster. If you’re on the road and experiencing reckless behavior by any driver, especially ones pulling thousands of pounds of cargo, be sure to call in to report the driver. This could save your life and the lives of others.

Fatigue

Another strain on drivers is their fatigue. Due to the high demand of the business, many drivers are forced to be away from their homes for extended periods of time and with long hauls comes reduced time from behind the wheel.

When the pressure is on and the amount of sleep is low, there is significant increase of risk factors that fall into place. As the driver spends more time behind the wheel they become a high-level risk to themselves and other drivers. This can be in the form of drowsiness and careless decision making.

Equipment

When operating big rigs, there is a required level of maintenance that should take place. The transportation industry is required by law to meet regulations by ensuring that equipment is performing and maintenance is kept.

Whether is an air leak in the tires, brakes, lights, or engine; these vehicles are required to have the issue fixed and a major way to ensure safety is routine maintenance. Faulty equipment can be a deadly mix on a major highway.

There are many contributors to highways accidents; however, when sharing the road with big rigs, these are major factors that can be prevented. If you notice any of these major contributors, have someone in your vehicle call it in, or remember the company name to have it reported. Doing your part can save lives and prevent a major trucking accident.

 

 

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

 

 

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