Do’s and Don’ts when you’re in an accident: a guideline for accident & injury victims.

 

When people get injured, whether it is life altering or a minor car accident, most just want to focus on getting better and not worry about dealing with insurance, keeping records, etc. It’s important to remember that failure to follow the simple steps outlined below can drastically reduce the money you receive for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  With a little forethought and good record keeping, there is a higher likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries.

 DO

Take photographs of your injuries and the damage to the vehicle in which you were riding.

Make sure your lawyer is aware of all doctors and hospitals providing you with treatment.  Consult with your attorney before, not after, you do something that might affect your case, including changing of doctors.

Keep & forward copies of all bills for medical treatment, car repairs, rental cars, out of pocket expenses, etc. to your attorney.

Your Job: Notify your attorney at once of any changes in employment, raises or reductions in salary, or loss of job. If you are re­quired to miss any work due to your injuries, keep them informed of all work missed and dates that you return to work.  If self-employed, keep a record of all times you are unable or less able to perform your work.

Keep a daily notebook or journal about your injury and recovery in which you note each day how your injury affected you.  You should note the amount of pain you experienced that day and how much activity you were able to engage in, whether or not you missed work, any activities that you couldn’t take part in because of your injuries and any other inconveniences you may experience.  For best effect, the entries should be made each day.  Above all, the entries should be truthful.

 DON’T

 Do NOT discuss your case with insurance adjusters or with any person connected with the other parties in the accident.  Should you be contacted by any such people you should advise them that your attorney advised you not to discuss your case.  If you don’t have an attorney, get one.  Most attorneys will represent you in these kinds of situations on a contingency basis (no money up front). Adjusters will often try to use your statements against you at a later date.

Do not rush your treatment or end it too soon just so you can settle your case and get some money.  Follow your doctor’s instructions and do not disobey his/her instructions.

Do not sign anything dealing with your claim until you have received an attorney’s instruc­tions or approval.

Do not go against your doctor’s orders! Failure to follow the doctor’s orders or to keep scheduled appointments will enable the liability carrier to claim that some of your injuries are your own fault.

 

 


Martin J. Kreshon, Ivy Law Group’s Newest Attorney, Gets Sworn In

On September 16th, most people went on with their normal Friday routine, excited for the weekend to come.  Martin was excited for another reason: he was one step away from being admitted to practice law in Washington State.

As Martin walked into a busy courthouse, he was surprised by his fiancée, who joined in witnessing Martin get sworn in.  It was there, in front of Honorable Judge Beth Andrus, where Martin and six others swore to “support the Constitution of the State of Washington and the Constitution of the United States.”

This isn’t Martin’s first rodeo.  In 2012, Martin was admitted to practice in North Carolina.  There, he practiced in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense.  Now, in a few short days, Martin’s courtroom skills and experience can shine here in The Evergreen State.  We look forward to what he will do.

img_4135 img_4133

 


ESTATE PLANNING: Yuk!

ESTATE PLANNING IS UNCOMFORTABLE

I met with a client today who was updating her estate planning documents. We had prepared them six years ago and she had a few revisions we were able to take care in one meeting.

After we finished, she told me that no one wants to do their estate planning. It is challenging, depressing, and easy and tempting to postpone.  But after going through the probate process with her husband’s premature death, she knew the importance of doing the work.  “I don’t want to make it any harder for my family than it has to be,” she said.

We do things all the time that are uncomfortable but ”good” for us: medical procedures, flossing our teeth, buying insurance, and preparing for earthquakes are just a few examples!

Estate planning is a gift to your family. Want to start your holiday shopping early?  Give us a call!

 

 


Restraining Orders: What’s the difference?

Individuals frequently state that they want a “restraining order” to stop another person from engaging in harassing or abusive conduct.   In Washington, courts can issue different types of restraining orders, depending on the circumstances, to prevent contact.  Contact includes not only personal contact, but also phone calls & text messages, emails, social media, or through a third person.  The attorneys at Ivy Law Group have experience obtaining protection orders for clients as well as defending clients accused of violating an order.  The most common types of orders include:

Restraining Orders

This is a civil (non-criminal case) order, usually filed in family law cases such as dissolution or child custody, but can be issued in other contexts. A restraining order can be quite broad, and may address property issues, domestic violence, or spousal support.

Requirements: May be obtained by a petitioner in a civil case seeking to restrain an action or behavior by an adverse party.

Duration: A temporary order can last up to 14 days.  A restraining order in a final decree can be permanent unless modified by the court.

Consequences of Knowing Violation: The police are required to make an arrest.  This is a Gross Misdemeanor and can carry a sentence up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO):

A civil order issued at the request of a person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence.  RCW 26.50.010(3) defines domestic violence as “physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW

A civil order issued at the request of a person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence.  RCW 26.50.010(3) defines domestic violence as “physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

Requirements: Note the requirement of “family or household member.”  To get a DVPO issued, one must claim physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Minors under 16 must seek the order through a parent/guardian.  However, a Petitioner who is 13 years old or older may petition themselves if the Respondent is 16 or over and the Petitioner claims to have been the victim of violence in a dating relationship.

Duration: A temporary order can last up to 14 days if there is an emergency.  After a hearing, the court can issue an order from one year to permanent.

Consequences of Knowing Violation: The police are required to make an arrest.  In addition to facing possible contempt charges, a knowing violation is a Gross Misdemeanor.  If the violation is an assault that does not amount to assault in the first or second degree, then it is a Class C felony, which can carry a sentence up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

No Contact Orders:

These orders, sometimes called “criminal protective orders,” are part of a criminal action and the court decides when to issue them under the appropriate circumstances.  A no contact order may be issued as a condition of release after an arrest for a domestic violence-related charge.  Sometimes this causes hardship when the accused and alleged victim share housing or children, as permission cannot be given by a party to violate the order.

Requirements: An incident reported to the police and pending criminal charges.

Duration:  The full length of the case unless the court decides otherwise or modifies the original order.

Consequences of Knowing Violation: The police are required to make an arrest.  Pre-trial release will be reconsidered and could lead to revocation.  Conviction is a Gross Misdemeanor.  However, if the violation involves an assault, drive-by shooting, or reckless endangerment, then it is a Class C Felony.

 

Anti-Harassment Orders:

A civil order issued to protect a person claiming harassment when the situation does not call for a DVPO, i.e. the parties are not married, have not lived together and have no children in common.

Requirements: Any person who alleges being seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed by conduct that (1) serves no legitimate or lawful purpose and (2) would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Duration: A temporary order can last up to 14 days if there is an emergency.  After a hearing, the court can issue an order for one year to permanent.

Consequences of Knowing Violation: The police have discretion in making an arrest.  A conviction will result in a Gross Misdemeanor, and the accused could face contempt charges as well.

 

If you are seeking any of the above orders or have been charged with violating one, please call us at 206-706-2909.


Stay Safe this Labor Day Weekend

Traffic Fatalities Expected to Rise on Labor Day Weekend

Be careful and safe this Labor Day weekend.  The National Safety Council warned in a recently released report that motor vehicle fatalities had increased in the first six months of 2016 by 9% over the same period last year, and had jumped 18% over a 2 year period, leading the Council to “issue its highest fatality estimate for the Labor Day holiday period since 2008.”  Since January, approximately 19,100 people have been killed and 2.2 million seriously injured, leading to a total estimated cost of $205 billion.  That’s billion with a B.   A stronger economy and lower gas prices are believed to have contributed to the increase as more drivers hit the road for longer trips. Other factors, such as distracted driving (stop texting!) and driving under the influence also lead to accidents.

Staying Safe

The attorneys and staff at Ivy Law Group recommend you do the following to stay safe during Labor Day:

  • Avoid driving beyond 11 PM.
  • Make sure every passenger buckles up.
  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange for a taxi/Uber/Lyft.
  • For long trips, get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.

If you are involved in a car accident or find yourself charged with a DUI on Labor Day or any other time, please give us a call.  And please, stay safe.

safe


Global warming?

flood photo

This is a photo from Wyoming, in a 500 year flood plain.  According to the records it only floods once every 500 years.  The forecast models are all changing rapidly so planning based on past experience is no longer helpful.  Preparedness for unforeseen disaster is a challenge.  Preparing your estate planning is much easier!  Call today for our assistance.

 

 


Demon spawn: another reason for Estate Planning!

Charitable giving is often overlooked by the average Joe and Josephine when preparing their Last Will and Testaments.  However it is wonderful, in my probate practice, to see how even a small amount of giving can have a big impact.  Clients of moderate means have made donations to non-profits that range from helping animals, the blind, arts organizations, libraries, and others.  When you are reviewing your estate documents (every two years!) consider giving one percent outside the family and make an impact on the lives of others.



DON’T BE SCARED, PREPARE!

Waves of panic rippled through the Northwest this summer after a New York Times article (“The Really Big One”), describing an impending gigantic earthquake, went viral. Our message to you: don’t be scared, prepare!

Below are seven tips from earthquakecountry.org on how to prepare for and survive an earthquake as safely and smoothly as possible.

A small amount of preparation can prevent a world of hurt. We believe this to be true about many areas of life, including estate planning. Taking the time to execute a few estate planning documents ensures that you and your family are prepared for worst case scenarios and will reduce your anxiety during challenging times. Contact us for our help!

PREPARE
Before the next big earthquake we recommend these four steps that will make you, your family, or your workplace better prepared to survive and recover quickly:

Step 1:
Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.
Secure your space

Step 2:
Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.
Create a Disaster Plan

Step 3:
Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
Organize Disaster Supplies

Step 4:
Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.
Organize Important Documents

SURVIVE AND RECOVER
During the next big earthquake, and immediately after, is when your level of preparedness will make a difference in how you and others survive and can respond to emergencies:

Step 5:
Drop, Cover, and Hold On when the earth shakes.
Drop, Cover, and Hold

Step 6:
Improve safety after earthquakes by evacuating if necessary, helping the injured, and preventing further injuries or damage.After the immediate threat of the earthquake has passed, your level of preparedness will determine your quality of life in the weeks and months that follow:
Evacuate if Necessary

Step 7:
Restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage, and rebuilding community.
Reconnect and Restore


BRITTANY MAYNARD AND THE IMPORTANCE OF ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning is about making your own choices regarding your healthcare and assets before you’re faced with a situation that renders you powerless. Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, recently made a choice regarding her health the choice to end her own life. After doctors told her in the spring that she had six months to live, Brittany moved to Oregon where the Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows adults with terminal illnesses to end their lives legally. According to People Magazine, Brittany posted a message on Facebook shortly before she died, which reads in part: “Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me but would have taken so much more” During her interview with People a month ago, she said “My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control. I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.” She has received both support and criticism for her choice but ultimately what matters is that she had the power to decide. Estate planning grants similar power by allowing individuals to choose their own destiny and prepare for unexpected events that render them unable to communicate their desires. People who execute estate planning documents prior to such events can ensure that their voices are heard and their wishes honored. They can choose what happens to them if they become incapacitated, who may make decisions regarding their healthcare, where their assets end up when they die, who may act as guardian of their children or pets and a wide range of other choices. Estate planning not only protects the decisions of those who sign the documents, but lessens the burden upon their loved ones when those documents become needed for guidance. It gives individuals power over their fate just as the Death with Dignity Act gave Brittany Maynard power over hers.