Archive for May, 2020

Legal Terminology 101

Written by Law Terminology. Posted in Uncategorized

Navigating the legal process can be a nerve-racking and tricky situation. Those of us who find themselves in legal waters may feel vulnerable and frightened. These feelings are normal, and it can be very confusing. Lawyers and judges have many years of schooling and work experience so the legal process can be second nature to them. For the average Joe caught up in this, they may find themselves out of the loop. When facing the need for legal advice up to 96% of people utilize a search engine in their quest. On the surface, the law seems convoluted at times, but it does not have to be. Follow along with these explanations for some of the most common legal terms. Welcome to legal terminology 101!

Types of Lawyers

Not all lawyers are created the same. People use attorneys for all sorts of legal concerns. Some need lawyers because they are going through a divorce. Others are trying to settle a family member’s will and estate. You might have suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence. There are also people who have run afoul of the law. All of these scenarios involve the need for a lawyer, even though they are wildly different. A good law firm should have many different lawyers who specialize in the different legal aspects. If you’re caught up in a criminal court case, you don’t want a copyright attorney defending you. It is important to know the different functions and descriptions in legal terminology 101.

Family Law

A family law attorney handles all family-related legal proceedings. One of the most prominent functions of a family lawyer is handling divorce proceedings. They act as the estranged couples’ mediator. They will devise a plan of action and divvy up the assets. This is an extremely stressful time for families and a great family lawyer can handle the proceedings with the utmost sensitivity.

Family law attorneys do not just settle divorces. They will also assist in custody and guardianship cases. When a couple divorces, there is often so much more than just dividing assets. If they have young children, custody agreements must be settled as well. The lawyers, working with the parents will help decide what kind of agreement is best. Many different factors play into this. The individual’s financial situation, work schedule, and history all help decide the custody agreement. Other major duties of the job include settling the wills and estates of deceased family members and facilitating adoptions. Many of these situations involve high emotions and stress. It is important that family law attorneys have sensitivity and empathy to help these families deal with the process.

Injury Attorneys

Despite taking all necessary precautions and putting safety first, accidents do still happen. Sometimes they may be simple “acts of God,” where nobody is considered at fault. Most of the time, however, there is someone legally responsible. Someone may have cut safety corners and are negligent for the injuries that have occurred as a result of it. If you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, contacting a personal injury attorney should be a major priority. Many injury sufferers often lament dealing with insurance companies. A competent personal injury lawyer can take on the insurance companies and ensure fair compensation. They will investigate the claim and try to prove that the injury is a result of the other party’s negligence. They will also negotiate on your behalf with the company until a fair settlement is reached.

Sometimes the injury occurs at your place of employment. When that happens, you will be out of work for quite some time. Lost wages and mounting medical bills are sure to follow, placing undue stress on the injured person. Work injury attorneys will help ensure you fair worker’s compensation. They will try to close any legal loopholes that the employer may try to exploit. These attorneys should be knowledgeable about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and regulations. With this information, they can negotiate a settlement for you. Personal and work injury attorneys are vital members of the law community. Understanding their role is important in legal terminology 101.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

When someone pictures a lawyer, they often picture a criminal law attorney in the midst of “the trial of the century.” There have been numerous popular television shows and movies centered around this profession. While these portrayals are mostly unrealistic, a criminal law attorney plays an important role in the legal field. Anyone who is caught in legal hot water will need a criminal law attorney to navigate this legal minefield. Contrary to popular belief, most criminal cases do not wind up in a trial. These lawyers will fight to defend you and ensure fair treatment.

Criminal law attorneys should be knowledgeable in case law and precedence. They can use legal arguments from past cases and apply them to your case. If the district attorney has been overzealous in their charges, your attorney can negotiate the dropping of some of them. With the prospect of possible prison time looming, you will need a quality attorney representing you. They work to make sure that you are granted a 100% fair trial. Nobody wants to go to jail and a great attorney can help prevent that. Knowing all there is to know about criminal defense attorneys can help you tremendously in legal terminology 101.

Guns

There are numerous types of criminal law cases. Every night on the news, we see stories about criminals being taken into custody after breaking the law. The laws broken vary in severity. While all crime is not right, some are much more serious. The severity of the crime is usually reflected in the length of the sentence. Some crimes result in only a brief jail sentence or probation/community service. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have crimes that result in a life sentence or even the death penalty. A defining factor in many of these crimes involve guns. Guns play a major part in many crimes. A robbery charge can be further complicated for a theft defense attorney if a gun was prevalent at the crime. It is important to learn the role of guns in legal terminology 101.

Purchasing a gun is much more complicated than any other purchase. Before you can purchase a gun, a background check has to be conducted. The laws vary by state, but a background check remains a constant. These can help prevent guns from winding up in the wrong hands. For the store owners, the gun sale process is a process that should be taken seriously. Many gun sales are done illegally. Guns are a lucrative item on the black market. Criminals are known to shave off serial numbers so they cannot be traced. If you are planning to purchase a gun, it is important to follow all gun sale laws. A private sale from a friend may be the easier method but is not advised. It is best to buy from a certified gun salesperson. Consider these anecdotes in legal terminology 101 when making a purchase.

Bail Bonds

In legal terminology 101, you might hear of the term, bail bonds. When someone has been charged with a crime, they will also face the bail process. The bail is set to reflect the nature of the crime. For minor non-violent crimes, the bail will be set at a low amount or forfeited altogether. Serious crimes such as murder, acts of terrorism, and sex crimes, the defendant may be a danger to the public. An exuberantly high amount or none at all will be set to keep the defendant in police custody. If a defendant is unable to pay their bail, they must stay in jail during the legal process. This could throw a monkey wrench into their legal plans, as they plan to sort out their case. They will be out of work and unable to provide for their family at this time. This is where bail bonds come into play.

There are plenty of bail bonds services that you can utilize at this time. The agent, or bondsman, will pay a portion of the amount and make a promise to the court that the defendant will appear on their scheduled date. Should the defendant fail to appear, the bondsman will be required to pay the entire amount. You will have to pay a fee to the agent beforehand. The fee is typically about 10-15% of the actual bail amount. The bail bond service may require you to offer collateral, such as jewelry, so that they can be reimbursed after a court date no-show.

If you are searching in need of a bail bond service, it is important to conduct research. Solicit suggestions from friends and family who have been in similar situations. Make sure that it is a reputable service. Be wary of any scams and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once you have found the right service you must adhere to all parameters of the contract you sign. If you understand this legal terminology 101, you will be able to navigate this tricky situation.

Other Types of Lawyers

Criminal, personal injury, and family lawyers are some of the most common attorneys we utilize today. They are not the only types of lawyers out there working. Some of these lawyers practice in specialized legal areas. You can continue to understand these types of law practices in legal terminology 101. Among these types of lawyers include, bankruptcy law, employment law, and immigration law.

Sometimes a business or person suffers a great financial loss. There are a number of different options that they can take. One option is bankruptcy. There are different types of bankruptcy and a bankruptcy lawyer will help guide the person or business through the process. Chapter 11 bankruptcy involves the reorganization of the loan in order to pay off their creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the total liquidation of the company assets. A bankruptcy lawyer will help you decide the best course of action. They can advise you of your eligibility and even help you avoid bankruptcy altogether if you can.

Legal concerns often arise in the workplace. An employee can have an issue with the company at large. The company itself may have legal problems with employees and outside vendors. In order to navigate these muddy waters, an employment lawyer will come in to play. Employment lawyers are well-versed in employment contracts and agreements. They can help settle any legal issues involving business relationships.

Immigration law is another essential law practice. They will help clients in all aspects of the immigration and citizenship process. They will help facilitate the legalities of the green card process. They will also help defend asylum seekers in immigration court. Immigration lawyers are knowledgeable in the different types of visas and help in the application process.

Shareholders’ Agreement

A shareholders, or stockholders, agreement is a legal document that helps decide the direction of a company and its management. Shareholder agreements. outline the shareholders’ rights and privileges. It is used to make sure that all shareholders are treated fairly. It can dictate the pricing of shares and how they are sold. A lawyer, who specializes in contract law, will help draft these agreements. If the shareholders feel they have been treated unfairly, they can contact a lawyer to settle to fight for their rights against the company. Shareholder agreements and the legal proceedings that involve them are import factors of legal terminology 101.

Having to deal with the legal process can be an overwhelming endeavor. Whether you’re going through a divorce, suffered an accident, or have been arrested, you will want someone to help guide you through this nerve-racking process. A quality lawyer will do just that. It can be a frightening situation, but with the right attorney, you can safely navigate these hiccups in life. There are several words and phrases in legal terminology 101 that you hopefully now have a better understanding of. The legal process can be a tricky one, but with the right research and the right team fighting for you, you’ll be ok.

Can I File For Workers Compensation As A Work From Home Employee?

Written by Law Terminology. Posted in Uncategorized

More people are working from home right now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused thousands of companies to shift as many employees as possible to work from home environments. One potentially positive side effect of the pandemic is that many have discovered that their jobs are much more feasibly shifted to working from home than they might have thought and that many of their traditional office skills can be applied to the home office. This makes their potential career prospects more diverse, and in fact, lots of people that lost their jobs due to the pandemic are now looking for working from home prospects. In a lot of ways, the future may very well involve working from home as much as possible, as it’s a sustainable work format that is available regardless of the nation’s quarantine status. Many experts have projected that the country will go in and out of lockdown states until a vaccine is released, which means that more and more people will shift to this unique work environment. But just as employees are shifting, so are important, practical aspects of the work environments that they once were in. This includes workers compensation and specifically workers compensation eligibility requirements.

Right now, it’s estimated that about 96% of people use a search engine to seek out legal advice; and a lot of employees who now work from home are probably doing that, particularly because they’re confused about what workers compensation even means right now. Just because more people are working from home doesn’t mean that they’re sitting at their desks working completely from a computer. Nor does it mean that they can’t be injured on the job, even if they are working on computers. Workers compensation eligibility requirements may very well see a shift in the future as the idea of what work injuries at home really are, and what working at all in a post-pandemic word looks like. But right now, less has changed than you might think. Workers’ rights still need to be observed and protected, and you shouldn’t assume that because you work from home you don’t have a right to workers compensation.

Can I File For Workers Compensation If I Work From Home?

Firstly, let’s look at the most basic and obvious question: can you file for workers compensation if you work from home? Barring a few very specific circumstances, every state except for Texas requires that employers have workers compensation coverage available for employees. If you’re working for a company that doesn’t offer workers compensation coverage in the first place, that’s another issue entirely, and one that you may very well want to take up with the help of workers comp lawyers.

With that being said, generally speaking, remote employees are just as able to file for workers compensation in theory as employees that don’t work from home. Before the pandemic, a lot of companies had both remote employees and traditional employees. These employees had to have the same level of ability to apply for workers compensation. When it came this aspect of workers compensation eligibility requirements, the issue was not getting hurt while at a specific location, but getting hurt while on the job, regardless of where it was happening. All of this being said, it can be more difficult for remote employees to receive workers compensation simply because their cases are often not as cut and dry. If an employee is at a company warehouse and slips and falls on a wet floor, or is injured while transporting company goods, then it’s fairly clear to lawyers that they will probably meet workers compensation eligibility requirements. While remote employees are simply just as capable of being hurt on the job, it can be more difficult to determine whether nor not that is what actually happened, and whether or not the context of the injury was work-related.

Although some remote employees are more closely surveyed by their employers than others, generally speaking, it is impossible to see what a remote employee is doing at all times. Therefore, a remote employee could potentially be injured while off the job, and then file for workers comp without actually meeting workers compensation eligibility requirements. Now, there are circumstances under which injuries and their timing may be more easily tracked. If a remote employee is making a delivery for their employer and gets into a car accident, then that is more obviously an injury that occurred on the job. If an employee is hurt on the job and immediately goes to receive medical treatment, then this is more clearly occurring on the job. Injuries that occur on the job more gradually may be more difficult to track. If an employee receives a gradually-occurring back injury, they may very well need to consult with a doctor to prove that this occurred on the job and that they fall under workers compensation eligibility requirements. The burden of proving that an injury arose because of or on the job is on the employee, but conversely, courts have found that the employers’ lack of comparative oversight regarding a remote employee’s location is irrelevant. It’s simply a trickier situation, at times, to prove.

Why Do Work From Home Employees Apply For Workers Compensation?

What types of injuries and conditions to prompt work from home employees to apply for workers compensation? When looking up whether or not a situation falls under workers compensation eligibility requirements, many employees become quite confused. If you think that you may have a case and you’re a work from home employee, it may be worth it to start consulting with a work injury attorney early. An injury lawyer can advise you as to whether or not your case is worth moving forward with; you don’t have to necessarily wait to get in touch with them until you’ve been denied workers compensation.

You may also want to look into what historically has affected work from home employees in terms of injuries. Not all work from home employees simply work out of an office at home. As previously mentioned, some remote employees may have tasks involving delivering products; if they were to get into a car accident during that time, that would be an injury that occurred on the job. Some work from home employees may also perform physical tasks at home, as their clients may come to them or they may make products at home. Any kind of injury that occurs during this physical labor could fall under workers compensation eligibility requirements as well.

With that being said, many injuries that occur when an employee is working from home are far from straightforward. It’s quite possible that a work from home employee would be more likely to be challenged by their employer when seeking workers compensation, which is why it’s important to consult with a workplace injury attorney ahead of time. One particular case in which an employee was challenged by their employer was Verizon Pennsylvania v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Alston), 900 A.2d 440 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006). In this particular case, the work from employee did work out of a typical home office and fell down the stairs to her home office after getting a drink and injured her neck. Specifically, she was returning to her office to answer a ringing phone. While the employer argued that she had left her duties and was injured during that time, and therefore not on the job, the court found that she had only briefly left her duties and was therefore still on the job when injured, just as a typical office employee would be if they got up to get a drink. More than once in fact, Pennsylvania courts have found that these brief deviations from work do not affect an employee’s workers compensation eligibility, as attending to these comforts furthers the employee’s ability to work. In fact, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania deemed during the Verizon case that the employee was injured at a secondary work premise, which meant that she still fell under the workers compensation eligibility requirements.

How Have Companies Responded?

It’s not that companies necessarily don’t want to give workers compensation benefits. However, many are more reluctant to do so for work from home employees simply because there is the perception that work from home employees are more easily able to make claims for injuries that didn’t occur on the job. This is an unfair perception, but one that has led to restrictions that apply to work from home employees in many different companies. Most companies now have strict telecommuting policies and procedures that employees must adhere to.

These policies can include a stricter account for work hours. Not only must the employee actually account for a certain amount of worked hours; they must also only work within a set time frame. This makes it easier to determine whether or not an employee was actually hurt while on the job. Employers also often demand that employees set aside a dedicated work area, and may even require that employees adhere to a certain type of office, designed to reduce the risk of injury (including injuries that occur due to long-term injuries). Even lunch hours are often fixed for work from home employees, and employers often check up on work from home employees more frequently than they would check on traditional in-office employees. While it’s understandable that employers would want to protect themselves from false claims, this can also set a confusing precedent for work from home employees. Some may even be nervous about filing for workers compensation, as they won’t be sure what counts as an on the job injury and what doesn’t. This is why it’s important to talk to a work injury compensation lawyer, and ensure that you are handling your own claim correctly.

How Do I File For Workers Compensation?

In theory, not a lot of will change when filing for workers compensation as a remote employee; but the reality may differ. Contact your accident lawyer first, as they can help you file in a way that will maximize the chances of your claim actually being accepted. Workers compensation laws do vary somewhat from state to state, but you should be in touch with your employer to let them know about the injury immediately. It’s particularly important for work from home employees to have a dedicated record tracking their injury or injuries, and what they’ve done to have it treated. Therefore, you should also see a doctor regarding your injuries, and compile all relevant information regarding them. For that matter, if you are hurt and receive emergency medical assistance, tell them that you were hurt on the job. If your doctor finds that you are suffering from a work-related injury or illness, tell your employer no more than thirty days after you see them.

Most states require that the claim is filed no more than two years after the injury occurred in total. If you encounter difficulties with your claim but believe that you were unjustly denied workers compensation, you can still pursue compensation with the help of a dedicated legal team. With that being said, even if you are granted workers compensation, your employer may still appeal the matter, as occurred with the aforementioned Verizon case.

It’s not unusual for work from home employees to feel as if they’re a bit different from traditional employees, simply because working from home in today’s context is still relatively new. The American work culture usually defines on the job as being at a place, versus performing an activity; but legally speaking, that is incorrect. It is important for work from home employees to understand that they can also meet workers compensation eligibility requirements, regardless of where their injuries occurred.

As previously mentioned, you can still fight the denial of your claim and for that matter an appeal that your employer may take up. However, you’ll need the legal services of an attorney on your side. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself as a work from home employee is start early and talk to a lawyer as soon as you’re hurt.