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Showing posts from May, 2017

Avoiding Home Foreclosure

Teetering on the edge of foreclosure can be an unsettling experience, to say the least, but you have options to avoid it:

Loan modification: Most lending institutions are open to changing the terms of your loan to make it more manageable. Foreclosure doesn't benefit either party.

Repayment plan: If you are behind on mortgage payments, many lenders are willing to offer a repayment plan that enables you to make up missed payments gradually, not in one fell swoop.

Forbearance arrangement: If you financial difficulties are temporary in nature, a lender may agree to this process. The mortgage payer is granted a 3-6 month reprieve from payments. After this period, the payer resumes payments, plus some extra to make up for the skipped payments.

Refinancing: If the current mortgage rate is below what you're paying, your rate can be readjusted through financing to lower your payments.

Short sale: If you owe more money than what your home is currently worth, short selling may be an option. W…

Changing a Child Support Order - What You Need to Know

One of the realities of life is that it throws us curves sometimes. Usually we're able to adapt and move on, but in some cases that's easier said than done... especially if that curve involves a major change such as a job loss or an unexpected medical emergency for one of your children.

If you are falling behind on child support payments or having trouble caring for your child on your current support level because of a change in your life's circumstances, you may need to look into changing your current child support order.

This can be done in a couple of ways. The easiest way is to simply check with the other parent to see if she or he is amenable to changing the support terms. If so, you can typically ask a judge to approve the new terms.

If you and the other parent are unable to come to an agreement on modified support terms, you'll need to request a court hearing. At that hearing each of you will make your case for the amount you feel is fair. To get a modification …

Contesting a Will - When it Makes Sense

There are times when a person passes away and leaves behind a will that may surprise (or even shock) the survivors because of who is chosen to receive the assets.

If you've been left out of a will or feel the terms of a will are unfair, there are certain instances when it may be worth challenging the validity of the will in court, such as when:


Your loved one didn't seem mentally fit shortly before death but signed or made changes to his or her will during that time frameA lawyer didn't assist in drafting or executing the will (this can increase the chances that the will doesn't conform with state laws). The will wasn't signed by your loved one or the signature on the document does not appear to be that of your loved one.Undue influence led to changes in the will. This is sometimes seen when caregivers push for changes that benefit them. There are inconsistencies between beneficiary designations of the will and other aspects of your loved one's estate (life insur…

Skeletons in Your Closet?

It's a scenario we see all too often:

Let's say you're involved in a wreck that wasn't your fault, suffered some pretty serious injuries, and are filing a personal injury claim to receive compensation for those injuries.

Now, let's also say that you were in an accident years ago or have some old, pre-existing injuries or conditions that you feel hurt your claim, so you're thinking about withholding that information from your lawyer.

We've got some absolutely critical advice for you: DON'T DO IT!
The reason why is that you can be sure that the insurance company will be digging into your past to discover any old accidents or injuries, and trust us, their investigators will find out that information and they will use it against you to minimize or deny your claim altogether.

The good news is that if you share that information with your lawyer right from the start, he or she can be completely prepared to deal with those kinds of issues and can build the stro…

Do Everything You Can to Avoid A Rollover

Rollover accidents are among the worst for occupants of a vehicle. Although rollovers account for only 3 percent of all serious crashes, they are responsible for roughly 30 percent of fatalities.

Any vehicle can roll over, but taller, narrower vehicles (e.g., SUVs, pickups, and vans) are more susceptible since they have a higher center of gravity and tend to be more top heavy. In addition, rounding a curve or a sudden turn at the wrong speed- or overcorrecting for a sudden turn- renders these vehicles more vulnerable to weight shifts that, when combined with gravity, can lead to rollovers.

Steering maneuvers aren't the primary cause of single-vehicle rollovers, however. Bumping into a curb at significant speed, striking a pothole, or two wheels countering a soft roadside shoulder can cause a vehicle to "trip." The government estimates that 95 percent of rollovers are due to "trips".

Drivers have a say in minimizing rollover danger. Avoid placing heavy loads on …

When You've Soured on Your New Car

For some people, the excitement of driving a new vehicle quickly dissipates with the emergence of a significant malfunction, defect, or other problem that wasn't part of the deal. To meet the criteria of "lemon," a vehicle must have a substantial defect that presents itself within the warranty limits, or continue to have the defect after a reasonable number of attempts to fix it.

Generally speaking, when a defect occurs that is not caused by the owner after purchase- unlike, say, someone driving their car into a lake - and it impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, then it's considered "substantial".

If your car meets the terms of substantial defect, the dealer and/or manufacturer get a "reasonable" number of cracks at repairing it. Up to four repair attempts is commonly considered reasonable, but serious safety defects may qualify after just one attempt. A car may also be deemed a lemon if it has exceeded "x" number of days in…

Shoulder Injuries and Car Accidents

Shoulder injuries often occur as a result of car accidents, partly due to the actual structure of the shoulder itself but also because of other important factors. Here's why:

A shoulder is an extremely complex part of the body, with a lot of moving parts working in concert. One key component of the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint (shoulder socket) in which the ball at the end of the arm's humerus bone (upper arm) rests within a small depression of the scapula (shoulder blade); however, the ball is larger than the socket. This allows the joint to swivel in many directions, providing great range of motion. But this benefits comes at a price.

That price is instability of the shoulder joint. What stability the shoulder does have originates from the soft tissues-muscles, tendons, and ligaments- that wrap around it, not from bone, meaning the shoulder is more susceptible to injury.

Soft-tissue damage, fractures (i.E., collarbone, shoulder blade, humerus), nerve impairment, shoul…

Supervised Visitations

In post-divorce situations, there is sometimes tension between two premises: 1) It is generally best for ex-spouses' children to maintain ongoing relationships with both parents; 2) welfare of the children must not be compromised.

If the custodial parent believes that their children will be harmed in some ways with unsupervised visits with their ex-spouse, emotionally or physically, he/she may file a petition with the court requesting supervised visits. Solid reasons and evidence must accompany such a request. Generally, dislike and bitterness toward an ex-spouse are not going to cut it. A hearing will be scheduled during which both parties can state their case and defend themselves.

Reasons a court may order supervised visits include the noncustodial parent having problems with drug or alcohol abuse; a history of physical and/or emotional abuse; the noncustodial parent and child have been separated for a long time and or have never spent time together; or the noncustodial parent …

Legal Terms of the Month...Deposition and Pro Se

A deposition is the oral testimony of a party or witness in a civil or a criminal proceeding that is taken before trial and it takes place most often at an attorney's office. An attorney asks the questions and the deponent, the person being asked questions, responds to those questions. These questions and answers are recorded by a court reporter/ and or videographer and become testimony.

Deposition testimony is generally taken under oath so the court reporter and deponent sign affidavits that state the testimony is accurate. The testimony is then transcribed into a written transcript and used as a discovery tool by attorneys to prepare for trial

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To act "pro se" in a legal claim means that you are representing yourself without the help of an attorney. For those people who do file cases on their own behalf, it is important to understand that the court still expects pro se filer to follow all the rules and procedures that an attorney would follow.

If you …

A Case of Stolen Identity

Identity theft is a personal violation with potentially severe consequences for the victim. Immediate action can make a difficult situation more bearable:

Contact the "big 3" credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and the TransUnion. Get a copy of your credit report from each agency; review them thoroughly for accuracy and suspicious activity. Ask the agencies to a fraud alert and to attach it to your report.

Call the police. Fill out a crime report at your local police department. Document who you talk to, phone numbers, dates, and time. Obtain copies of the police report; creditors will likely want to review it.

Close out accounts that have been fraudulently accessed... or might soon be. Contact all creditors, banks, credit card companies, and other service providers with whom there has been fraudulent activity. Request that creditors report closed accounts as "closed at consumer's request."

Stop payment on checks. If you've had checks stolen, contact one of t…

Coconut Oil May Just Help You

Coconut oil, also known as copra oil, is an edible oil that derives from the kernel or meat of coconuts.  With a wide range of uses - largely due to its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties - coconut oil has become very popular in recent years. In addition to being a super food, users swear by it for everything from health and wellness to utilizing it as a diverse beauty product.

Ironically, the rise in popularity of coconut oil may have been impeded by our own country's own health initiatives. Back in the 1970s, in an effort to address a growing epidemic of obesity and heart disease, Americans were advised to switch our diets from red meats, full-fat dairy and eggs with new, 'healthier ' diets containing low-fat foods. With its 90 percent fat content, coconut oil was not making its way into many Americans homes or lifestyles!

Because of its naturally occurring, non-hydrogenated fats, coconut oil has quickly been dubbed a "miracle oil" for its heal…

The Heroin Scourge

Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to alleviate pain. Some can be legally prescribed by medical doctors; others are illegal, such as heroin. Since the year 2000, the number of heroin users in the United States has nearly tripled, to over 1 million. Deaths attributed to heroin have increased five-fold.

All social and economic statuses are affected by this highly addictive and deadly drug, and it has springboarded from once-narrow belt across the Northeast to Midwest to infiltrate every area of the country. In its wake lies shattered families, child abuse and neglect, the heartbreak of infants born into addiction, and the spread of affiliated diseases (e.g., hepatitis and HIV).

In the late 1990s, many pharmaceutical companies promoted a wider use of opioids, such as OxyContin, claiming the risk of addiction was extremely low- which wasn't true. Doctors overprescribed opioids on a grand scale for well over a decade. Many patients became hooked.

In recent years, the U.S.…

Chronic Lyme Disease and Social Security Disability

The bite of a tiny deer tick is the source of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can make life miserable.

The effects of Lyme disease vary greatly from individual to individual and may progressively worsen the longer the condition goes untreated. Diagnosing Lyme disease is tricky since the disease's symptoms and the emergence of a "bull's-eye" rash; to memory loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and panic attacks; to severe symptoms affecting the neurological system, heart, eyes, joints, and bladder... among many others.

Lyme disease has the potential to be a major disruption in a person's life if left untreated, or if treatment is delayed. If Lyme disease interferes with your ability to work, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). Lyme disease dos not have a specific disability listing in SSD's "blue book" of impairments; someone with advanced Lyme disease is far less likely to obtain automatic approval. However, advan…

DUI cases - The police report is key

If you are arrested for DUI, you will likely want to see the police version of events. You may have to wait a bit, however, as the police report won't be available in most states until your arraignment. And upon review, you may not believe it's referring to you.

The police report is a crucial document that possesses the crux of the case against you- namely the account of the incident and all the evidence piled high or low- and can determine if fighting the charge is worthwhile.

It will typically contain a checklist for the field sobriety test which consists of three standard tests- a printout of the pas test (a handheld device used to measure blood-alcohol concentration), a print out of the breath machine result, a lab report showing the blood or urine test results- and a written version of events from the police officer(s) at the scene.

This written narrative is sometimes a bone of contention. Some police officers fail to treat each DUI as a separate event. They may "cut…

Why Was I Rejected for My Social Security Disability?

If you have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, be forewarned that roughly 65 percent of applicants are denied initially. Here are some key reasons why:

The limit for monthly work income for a disabled person is currently $1,090 ($1,820 if you are blind). If you exceed this limit, you're not eligible. Your impairment must cause severe limitation to your ability to work and be expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) must be able to contact you regarding your application over the matters. Make sure you are accessible If you fail to release your medical records, or the SSA asks you to undergo a "consultative examination" conducted by an SSA doctor - e.g., you don't have a regular physician or your medical records may be incomplete - and you refuse, your application will be dismissed.Failing to carry out prescribed therapies ordered by your doctor can cost you, although there are a few legiti…

Serious Skin Conditions and SSDI

If you are suffering from a debilitating skin condition that is preventing you from working, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA evaluates skin disorders that may result from hereditary, congenital, or acquired pathological processes. The kinds of impairments covered by these listings include:


Ichthyosis: genetic skin disorders that produce extremely dry, scaly, flaky, or thickened skin that may painfully crack, bleed, and deteriorate.Bullous diseases: autoimmune diseases that cause painfully large blisters or lesions to form on the skin.Chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes.Severe dermatitis: any type of disorder that causes severe flaking, itching, swelling, or redness of the skin, including psoriasis, dyshidrosis, atopic dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis,  and allergic contact dermatitis.Hidradenitis suppurativa: a chronic skin condition that features painful pea sized to marble-sized lumps under t…

Document Your Injuries after an Accident! It May Just Save Your Case!

If you have been involved in a car accident, your immediate focus should be on your physical health. Right away, you should begin the process of documenting your injury if you are considering filing a personal injury claim. Here are some tips:

First, visit a doctor as soon as you can. Delaying a doctor's visit after you've been in an accident can give the insurance company all of the ammunition it needs to deny or minimize your claim (the assumption is that you must not be that hurt if you could put off seeing a doctor).

You will want to communicate with your doctor openly and inform them of any pains, bruises, or bumps that have occurred as a result of your accident.

Discuss your daily activities with your doctor. If you experience pain and discomfort while completing your normal daily activities, let your doctor know and get documentation.

It is critically important to keep all follow up appointments after your initial visit. If your doctor recommends physical therapy to recove…

Play It Safe with a Post-Accident Medical Checkup

It's not just major, violent auto collisions that lead to injuries to drivers and passengers. Seemingly minor fender-benders can cause significant injury, too.

Injuries sustained from an auto crash might not be noticed initially - sometimes for hours, days, even weeks - for a variety of reasons. A car crash induces a rush of adrenaline and endorphins, chemicals that raise a person's energy level and frequently block pain. Once the "high" dissipates, pain may kick in.

Soft-tissue injuries cause harm to tendons, muscles, and ligaments and are precipitated by sudden, jarring stops, and when bodies get tossed around inside the car. Whiplash injuries are common. Soft-tissue injury symptoms- pain, swelling, and reduced mobility - might not present themselves immediately, and injuries are not visible on X-rays.

Concussions occur when the brain strikes the inside of the skull with great force. Some concussion symptoms are obvious from the outset. Others may be subtle and/or …

Injuries and School Liability

According to a North Carolina Department of Insurance study, over 3.5 million child injuries occur on school grounds or during school-related activities each year in the United States. Sometimes an accident is just that - an accident. Other times an injury may be caused by an intentional act, or the negligence of the school or one of its employees.

Bullying is an example of an intentional act. In some instances the school may be held responsible if it knew the bullying may tak place but did not respond appropriately to prevent it. Teacher abuse of a student may leave a school district vulnerable to liability for failing to conduct thorough background checks, offer proper training, or implement acceptable oversight.

Schools are obligated to provide shelter, food, transportation, and a safe environment for its students. Generally speaking, if a school fails to follow accepted standards of care in providing these services, and it causes harm to a child, then the school is negligent.

Negl…

Steer Clear of Payday Loans

A payday loan is a short-term loan that is due to be paid back by the borrower's next payday, generally two weeks. The interest rates (or fees) or payday loans can reach staggering levels - 400 percent or higher. Typically, a person will wind up paying $10 for every $100 borrowed.

Payday loans are made by some banks, loan stores, check cashers, and pawn shops. Payday-loan arrangements can also be made through various toll-free number and internet sites. The business through which a loan is arranged often requires your savings and checking account information, and that transactions be made by direct deposit- the money you lend and the money you automatically pay. Others accept postdated checks; if the check bounces, your fees continue to pile up.

The lure of a payday loan is that no questions are asked and no credit checks are required. When a personal loan at a bank is difficult to qualify for, a payday loan seems like a harmless option- until the borrower falls behind on payments…

Caution Urged with NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly utilized over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers that many people may want to take a second look at, depending on their circumstances. Mounting evidence suggest that these pharmaceuticals increase a person's risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Food and Drug Administration thinks the evidence is noteworthy, as they recently ordered drug manufacturers to toughen the warning labels on these medications. Aspirin was not included on the new warning labels, since it has been found to lower cardiovascular risks in some patients.

Taking an occasional  NSAID here and there should not be a problem for someone who has a hearlthy heart if they follow the correct dosages. However, chronic users or those who already have issues elevate their risk of heart attack or stroke anywhere from 10-50 percent, depending on the drug and the dosage being used.


Researchers believe that NSAIDs alter the lining of blood vessels, opening the …

Ulcerative Colitis and SSDI Benefits

Ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic disease of the colon that affects as many as 700,000 Americans, can be a painful and debilitating condition- one that may make you eligible for SOcial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits.

With US, a person's colon becomes inflamed and develops small sores, also known as ulcers, that produce pus or mucous. Essentially what happens is that the body's immune system malfunctions and attacks the colon by sending white blood cells there to fight off what it thinks are foreign invaders but are, in fact, just ordinary things like food, bacteria and other materials.

Symptoms of UC can include:


Loose bowel movements and greater urgency with bowel movementsBloody diarrheaAbdominal pain and crampingWeight lossAnemiaRectal BleedingAnal fistula ( an infected tunnel between the skin and the anus) In order to qualify for SSDI as a result of UC, you must meet all of the qualifications for inflammatory bowel disease. Diagnosing UC is relatively easy a…