Dog Bites Most Likely to Occur in the Summer

personal injury dog bite

Experts Say Children Are Most at Risk For Dog Bites During Summer

It’s summer and your kids are home from school. More likely than not, though, they’ll be outside playing somewhere. Unfortunately, during the summer months, when more small children are outside, there are typically more dogs outside as well. Statistics show that the summer vacation months are the time of year when dog bites and attacks are more likely. It’s most likely a combination of factors—more kids outside, hotter weather that makes dogs more irritable.

There are measures that you can take, though, to minimize the risk that your child will be a dog bite victim this summer. A four-year study reported in the medical journal Injury Prevention looked at more than 100 dog bites involving more than 40 breeds and came to the following conclusions:

  • The single greatest contributing factor to a potential bite or attack is a dog’s natural territorial response — Almost every breed of dog has some territorial instinct. The study found that children under the age of six were more likely to be bitten when going for a dog’s toy or food. The study found, however, that dogs of many different breeds will become aggressive when an unknown person comes close to them.
  • Fear or anxiety are also precursors to aggression — The study found that dogs were more likely to attack if exposed to sudden noise (including thunderstorms or fireworks) or unpredictable movements. Some dogs also showed more aggression when their owners were not present.
  • Children were less likely to recognize that a dog was in pain — A number of attacks involved canines who had suffered some type of injury or had some type of ailment. The evidence seemed to show that most children did not have the tools to be aware of that.
  • The younger the children, the greater the risk — The study found that children under the age of 10 were about five times more likely to be attacked than any other age group. Within that demographic, boys were more likely to be victims of a dog attack than girls. Researchers say that younger children tend to be louder and move more unpredictably and can often look a lot like the way young dogs play. If you’ve ever watched puppies play, they use their teeth a lot.
  • More often than not, the dog is one that’s known to the family of the victim — It may be a neighbor’s dog, a friend’s pet or a dog that frequents the neighborhood. The familiarity with the dog can give the false impression that the dog doesn’t pose a serious risk.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Children From Dog Bites

The first and most important thing is to communicate to your children that dogs need to be treated cautiously.

  • Teach your children not to run to a dog—the safest thing to do is stay put and ask if you can say hello.
  • They should never pet a dog they don’t know.
  • They should never approach a dog that is eating or chewing on anything
  • Don’t pull tails or ears and don’t wrestle with the dog (even your own dog)
  • If a loose dog approaches them, they should stand as still as possible—if they run, the dog’s instinct will typically lead them to chase and bite
  • Tell them to roll into a ball and keep their hands over their ears until the dog leaves—the more passive they remain, the less likely the dog will be aggressive with them.

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys Today

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Clearing Your Criminal Arrest Record in Texas

expungement

Expunging Misdemeanor and Felony Records

Are you still paying the consequences for a stupid mistake you made a few years back? We’ve all done things without thinking, and it can be a real blessing when we’ve learned the error of our way without hurting someone else or facing criminal charges. A criminal record, of any kind, can make it difficult to find the job you want, to get credit, to live in a nice apartment and even to qualify for assistance with higher education. Fortunately, in Texas, the expungement process is available for many types of records. With expungement, you seek to erase or limit access to certain criminal records. Records that are expunged are no longer accessible by employers and others. In most instances, you can even tell others that you were never arrested or charged (except when you are testifying under oath).

Now that you’re interested, you probably have some questions—

  • How do you expunge a criminal record in Texas?
  • Are there restrictions on the types of records that can be expunged?
  • What types of records may be expunged?
  • How do I know if I qualify for expungement

Here are the situations in Texas where you can have prior criminal records expunged:

  • You were found guilty of a crime at trial, but the conviction was overturned or you were pardoned
  • You were charged, but the prosecutor or the court dismissed the case and the statute of limitations has expired
  • You were not formally charged, but only detained or arrested, and you have completed the statutory waiting period
  • You were arrested and charged and your case went to trial, where you were acquitted

Expungement is available for both misdemeanors and felonies in Texas. For felonies, if you were detained or arrested, but not charged, you must wait at least three years from the date or your arrest to request expungement. For a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, the waiting period is one year. Class C misdemeanors may not be expunged until 180 days (6 months) have passed.

How Much Will It Cost to Expunge My Criminal Record?

As a general rule, it costs more to expunge a felony than a misdemeanor. The expungement of a felony will customarily cost a minimum of $1,000, but may cost upwards of $2,500 or even more. Misdemeanors can usually be expunged for $1,000 or less.

How Quickly Can I Expect the Expungement Process to Be Completed?

When you file a petition to have a criminal record expunged, you’ll first have to appear before the court. That hearing usually comes about a month after your filing. The court may grant the expungement at the hearing, but it can take upwards of six months for the decision to be registered.

If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still be able to limit access to your criminal records by seeking an “order of non-disclosure” with the court. This seals your criminal record from the general public while making it available on a very limited basis to specific governmental agencies.

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Are Temporary Orders Important?

family lawIn short, the answer is a resounding YES. Temporary orders are important.

What are temporary orders?

Temporary orders are court orders in a family law case that are put into place while a case is pending.

When does a person get temporary orders? A person can get temporary orders at almost any time during a case. Most commonly, temporary orders are done at the beginning of a case, especially if there are immediate contested issues.

What do temporary orders do?

What do temporary orders do? Temporary orders exist to decide contested issues during the period of time the case is pending in court. Examples include the following:

  • Who should live in the house during the case?
  • Who should pay which bills/debts during the case?
  • Who has custody of children while the case is pending?
  • How much child support will a parent pay while the case is pending?
  • What type of visitation will a person get during the case?
  • How will children obtain health insurance during the case?

There are many other purposes for temporary orders, but these are the most common.

How long do temporary orders last?

How long do temporary orders last? Temporary orders typically last during the pendency of the case. In a short case, temporary orders might be in effect for three to nine months. In a longer case, temporary orders might be in place for a year or more.

Can temporary orders be changed?

Can temporary orders be changed? Yes, temporary orders can be changed, but it can be difficult to modify them unless something is going wrong or the order itself contemplates a future hearing to modify (this is not very common, though). Temporary orders thus are often put into place early in a case and remain in place until the case is finalized.

So, are temporary orders really important if they are “only temporary” and can be changed? Yes, temporary orders are definitely important. Simply put, the temporary orders create a status quo in the case that can be hard to overcome later. All too often, clients come to us after having already appeared in court for a hearing on temporary orders without an attorney. At that hearing, the other side’s attorney explained the wishes of his or her client and asked for an agreement on a temporary order. The client, not really understanding, signed the agreement. Only later, when that client comes to us seeking a change to the order, does he or she realize it might be very difficult, if not impossible, to modify. The question these clients must answer for the court is this: If you did not like the terms of the order, or did not think they were the best option, then why did you agree to it? Courts very often hold people to their agreements.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys to Discuss More About Temporary Orders

So, what does all this mean to you? If you are ever served with court documents that include a court date, do not take it lightly! The worst thing you can do is ignore it and not attend the hearing. Not being present is likely to result in a default judgment against you, meaning the other side will easily get what they want.Come see us to better understand what is happening and let us help you through the process and make sure you get the best result possible.

Call us at 844-402-2992 or visit our office today!

Discretion & Your Estate Plan

estate planning

What is discretion and why is it important for your estate plan?

Discretion – 1: the quality of being discreet, circumspect, and cautious in one’s speech, 2: the ability to make responsible decisions, 3 a: individual choice or judgment, b: power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain legal bounds.

The concept of discretion is extremely important in the areas of estate planning and probate.You should expect your attorney to both know the rules for keeping a confidences and practice discretion in all aspects of his life. Others are often disappointed when attorneys refuse to share privileged information. But a client’s business is only someone else’s business if the client chooses to share it with them. Your attorney should guard your correspondence, conversations, and confidences with vigilance. This may seem extreme to others, especially in a world where people readily invite others into every aspect of their lives, but professional legal standards demand discretion.

Another important aspect of discretion is that found in part 3(b) of the definition: the “power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain legal bounds.” We cannot accurately predict the future. When we try to predict the future and attempt to control assets and people from the grave, we are asking for trouble. The best course for blessing our beneficiaries is to leave wise fiduciaries who can make informed decisions in real time. Change is the only constant, and it is impossible to anticipate the status of the economy, higher education, or government, or the personal health, habits, gifts, family relationships, or even survival of loved ones. When naming executors and other fiduciaries, select people and institutions who can be trusted and grant them the discretion needed to maximize the value of your estate plan.

Contact our Attorneys About Your Estate Plan

Call us at 844-402-2992 or visit our office today.

SSA Issues New Regulations for Evaluating Obesity

social security obesity disabilityRecently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued ruling SSR 19-2p on Evaluating Cases Involving Obesity. Social Security will apply the ruling to all new applications, and any claims pending, on or after May 20, 2019.

SSR 19-2p explains and establishes obesity as a stand-alone, medically determinable impairment that can cause disability. The regulation outlines that impairment must be based on “measured height and weight, measured waist size, and BMI measurements over time.” Specifically, a BMI of 30 or higher, or “a waist size greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men” will generally establish an impairment of obesity. However, the ruling emphasizes that an impairment of obesity requires the person’s weight, measured waist size, or BMI to show “a consistent pattern of obesity,” meaning there must a be a longstanding history of obesity documented in the claimant’s medical records.

This important ruling now allows a claimant’s obesity to be a stand-alone impairment, whereas in the past, obesity would factor in only as an enhancement to another impairment, for example arthritis or cardiac injuries. It is important to note that the impairment of obesity must limit a claimant’s ability to do basic work functions. For a finding of disability based on obesity, a claimant’s obesity must prevent them from sustaining gainful activity.

With the ever-changing legal landscape, it is crucial that you have an experienced, qualified, and hard-working attorney on your side when applying for disability benefits. If you are hurt, injured, or unable to work, contact Bailey & Galyen for a free social security disability evaluation.

Legal Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration LawI often am asked what rights undocumented immigrants have in the United States. Many assume they have no rights; however, all persons living in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain protections.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, all people living in the United States, including non-citizens, are entitled to equal protection under the law and cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896). Additionally, all persons physically present in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

So what does this mean for immigrants? It means that, like everyone else, an undocumented immigrant has the right to refuse an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer entry to their home unless the officer has a valid search warrant signed by a judge. Interestingly, ICE officers almost never have a valid search warrant when they approach the home of an undocumented immigrant. They rely on the fact that most undocumented immigrants will not know their rights.

Undocumented individuals who unknowingly allows ICE officers into their home still have the right to remain silent when questioned about their immigration status or country of birth. Why? Because answering such questions would be self-incrimination. It may seem ludicrous that a person does not have to answer questions as to their immigration status, but answering such questions can subject the person to removal (“deportation”) proceedings. Also, many people do not know that ICE has the burden to prove a person lacks lawful immigration status. By remaining silent, an undocumented individual holds ICE to its burden of proof, and ICE must produce evidence showing the person’s unlawful immigration status. As with criminal defendants, an undocumented immigrant is innocent of lacking lawful status until ICE proves otherwise.

This background helps illuminate why Texas’s SB4 “show me your papers” bill has been so controversial. Pending a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, SB4 has not fully gone into effect, but it is a move by the State to impose stricter rules than those mandated by the federal government, and it infringes on the constitutional rights of all persons in Texas.

What happens if ICE meets its burden and proves an individual is in the country unlawfully? Immigrants do not have the right to enter the United States unlawfully, but, once here, they are entitled to equal protection and due process under the law. This means that an individual facing removal is entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge to determine eligibility for relief from removal. The term “relief” refers to certain remedies available under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for immigrants facing removal. Additionally, all persons in removal proceedings have the right to an attorney (but not at government expense), reasonable notice of the charges against them, notice of the place and time of the hearing, the opportunity to examine the evidence and witnesses presented against them, interpretation for non-English-speaking individuals, and clear-and-convincing proof that the government’s charges are valid.

What Happens to My Case if I Move Out of Texas?

DivorceSince you have lifetime medical benefits for the injuries that have been deemed accepted by the insurance carrier, you can pick up treatment wherever you move. You would need to locate a doctor that is willing to treat you for your workers’ compensation claim. Once you find a doctor, you would simply provide them with the insurance carrier’s information: Adjuster’s name, phone, fax, and claim number, so that they can submit their bills accordingly.

Of course, this is easier said than done, since it’s already hard enough to find doctor’s in Texas that will handle a workers’ compensation claim. It significantly helps if there are no disputes on your claim, which might make out-of-state doctors more apprehensive in becoming your treating physician. It’s also very important to make sure that all the injuries have been documented and accepted prior to moving if at all possible.

If there are disputes pending, or you are in the process of fighting to get your case accepted and for reasons out of your control you must move in order to be closer to your support group, you would be able to attend any hearings by phone. You would not be expected to return to Texas for your hearings. It would definitely be in your best interest to have an attorney be involved to assist you in these matters, especially when your money benefits or medical treatment can easily be disrupted by the insurance carrier during your move. Please call us today so you can understand your rights, and what to expect in this very trying time of your life.

Contact Us

To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

IRS Tax Collection Problems

IRS Tax Collection ProblemsEveryone has heard the old cliché, “There are two things in life we all must do – pay taxes and die.” Not paying taxes can have dire consequences. Just look what happened to the notorious gangster, Al Capone. He was prosecuted for filing false income tax returns and spent the rest of his life in federal prison – not for all of his crimes, but for failure to pay income tax.

Not all underpayment of taxes leads to prison. Sometimes, people just make honest mistakes. Whether underpayment of taxes is intentional or a mistake, the individual is more than likely going to hear from that dreaded federal agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS is the most powerful bill collector in the US. That’s why, when people receive a letter in the mail from the IRS, most, if not all, go into panic mode. Although this is a natural reaction, the IRS is not as bad as people fear. Yes, they do have extraordinary collection powers – but let’s analyze these powers. They can:

1. File federal tax liens against you, which ties up your property if you try to dispose of it either by sale or otherwise. It also makes it difficult to borrow money.

2. Levy and seize your assets, cars, boats, bank accounts, etc. Unlike other creditors, they can even seize and sell your homestead. State homestead exemptions do not apply to the IRS because federal law is superior to state law.

3. Garnish your wages, social security and other sources of income.

Even though the IRS has all of these powers, there are remedies that attorneys, as your tax representative, can utilize to help you resolve your tax problem. When contacted by the IRS, YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE THEM! That only leads to them exercising the powers enumerated above. If you have a federal tax problem, you should contact Bailey & Galyen immediately.

When you owe the IRS and they attempt to collect, there are three things Bailey & Galyen can do to help you resolve the problem:

1. Obviously, you can pay the amount of taxes, interest and penalties they say you owe, and they will go away.

2. Your attorney can negotiate with the IRS to obtain an “installment agreement”. This is an agreement between you and the IRS whereby you agree to pay, and they agree to accept, a certain amount of money per month until the amount owed is paid off or the statute of limitations bars them from further collection. How much you pay per month depends on your financial condition. The advantage of this agreement is that as long as you make your payments on time, they will not do any further collection activity.

3. Alternatively, your attorney can try to negotiate an “offer in compromise”. This is a situation where the amount of taxes you owe are so high, and your income and assets are so low, that you will never be able to pay off the amount of taxes you owe. An offer in compromise is much more difficult to obtain than an installment agreement because it is an agreement to allow you to pay less than you actually owe. Like the installment agreement, if an offer in compromise is accepted by the IRS, no further collection activity will take place.

Both the offer in compromise and the installment agreement require you to remain current on all taxes in the future. If not, then the agreement or offer will be voided, and the IRS will be free to begin collection activity again.

Bailey & Galyen can help you avoid the concerns you have in dealing with the IRS. We have been dealing with IRS tax issues for over 48 years. We know how it works and how to obtain the maximum benefits for our clients. Please contact us, and we will be happy to assist you.

Fisher-Price Announces Recall of 4.7 Million Infant Sleepers

Mattel building

Fisher-Price Recall – Product Tied to More than 30 Infant Deaths

In April, 2019, retail giant Fisher-Price announced that it is recalling all models of its infant sleeper marketed under the product name “Rock’n Play.” Company officials say that the product, first introduced in 2009, has been linked to more than 30 infant fatalities and more than 700 injuries to children under the age of six months. The company warned consumers to immediately discontinue use of the product and said customers could contact the company for a “refund or voucher.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization of nearly 70,000 doctors, has called for the removal of the product from store shelves nationwide.

An earlier warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended that parents cease use of the Rock’n Play when the child reaches the age of three months or has shown the ability to roll over. The Rock’n Play is similar to a hammock in construction, with a cloth sleeping surface suspended from a metal frame. The sleeper is also designed so that the infant’s head is elevated above the rest of its body. It also vibrates and plays music, replicating the experience the child had in the womb. Industry analysts say it developed a cult following among sleep-deprived parents and earned glowing reviews from many, as it successfully put infants to sleep without the need to be held. Many parents saw the product, which sold for less than $100, to be a highly affordable alternative to many products on the market, which could sell for upwards of $1,300.

Industry watchdogs say the product design is contrary to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that infants sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface in a bare crib, play yard or bassinet. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10 infants have died in the last four years—all had rolled onto their back or side while unrestrained in the sleeper. All of those infants were at least three months old. Of the 32 infants who have died, though, some were younger than three months, but all had the ability to roll over.

Though Fisher-Price has agreed to recall the product, the company issued a statement that it “stands by the safety of the Rock’n Play,“contending that it” meets all applicable safety standards.” The company asserts that the product contains warnings, advising parents not to use it once a child has developed the ability to roll over or has reached the age of three months. Fisher-Price contends that the infant deaths are a result of parents not following product warnings.

Product Liability Law – Fisher-Price Recall

Under product liability law, any entity with the chain of distribution may be found liable for certain defects. A party may have responsibility for dangerous or defective design, manufacture or marketing of a product. Negligent marketing of a product includes the failure to provide reasonable notice or warning of any safety risks that the defendant knew or should have known were present.

Within a couple weeks of the notice of recall, a number of lawsuits were filed, with many seeking to establish a class action for parents of infants who suffered injury because of the Rock’n Play.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys About The Fisher-Price Recall

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What Does No Refusal Weekend Mean in Texas?

policesirens

No Refusal Weekend in Texas

Understanding Implied Consent and the Texas “No Refusal” Program

In Texas, often at holidays or times when police know that there will a greater volume of traffic on the roads or more likelihood of people drinking and driving, counties within the state will institute what’s known as a “no refusal” program. You may or may not have heard of such an operation and may wonder what it is. The “No Refusal” program relates to the implied consent laws in Texas, which deal with your rights and obligations related to blood alcohol testing after an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

No Refusal Weekend – What Is Implied Consent?

In Texas, as in all other states, the law of “implied consent” applies whenever a motorist gets behind the wheel. Under the principle of implied consent, when you decide to operate a motor vehicle in the Lone Star State, you “imply” that you will agree to submit to a blood test if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI or DWI. If a law enforcement officer asks you to take a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test and you refuse, you will automatically have your driving privileges suspended for 180 days. Some courts, though, have held that implied consent violates a suspect’s 4th Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure.

How Does the “No Refusal” Program Change the Consequences of a DUI/DWI Traffic Stop?

Under Texas law, when a motorist refuses to submit to a blood alcohol test, law enforcement officers must have a valid search warrant to compel the suspect to provide a blood sample. In most instances, that requires that the police officer appear in court and provide the judge with probable cause to issue the search warrant. Blood must be drawn by a medical professional. Furthermore, the number of people who are available to provide such services is limited during late-night hours, the time when most DUI/DWI arrests are made. As a practical matter, in the time it would take to obtain the search warrant, the suspect would most likely sober up and fail the test.

Under the “No Refusal” program, police officers may submit an electronic request for a search warrant from the scene of the traffic stop. The court may then transmit the electronic warrant to the officer’s dashboard computer or cell phone. Once the electronic warrant has been received, the law enforcement officer is legally authorized to use force to obtain a blood sample.

It’s fairly common for counties or municipalities to set up “No Refusal” weekends or put such programs in place during holidays. During such times, police departments will typically have more judges available to issue warrants, and more nurses available to take blood samples.

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Family Of Military Members Are Eligible For A Special Immigration Benefit

American Flag with U.S. Citizenship Immigration paper

Military Parole in Place – Immigration Attorneys

Do you have an immediate family member who has served in the U.S. military? If so, you may be eligible for Military Parole in Place, or Military PIP for short, a special immigration benefit for family members of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

What is Military Parole in Place and Who is Eligible?

With Military PIP, the undocumented parents, children, and spouses of those who have been in the military, whether active duty or retired, can ask the government for permission to remain in the United States for renewable one-year periods. Family members also may apply for a work permit based on PIP, and in some cases, can apply for a green card without leaving the United States to obtain an immigrant visa.

Military PIP is discretionary, meaning that it is not a “right,” but a privilege granted to individual applicants on a case-by-case basis. It was designed to give military service members peace of mind that allows them to perform their military duties without fear that an undocumented family member will be detained or deported in their absence.

In the years since its creation, Military PIP has evolved to apply to parents, children, and spouses of military members, whether deployed, active duty, or retired, as long as those no longer serving were honorably discharged. Immediate family members of the Selected Reserve or Ready Reserve also are eligible to apply for Military PIP.

Application Process for Military Parole in Place

Applying for the benefit is fairly straightforward, and there is no filing fee to be paid to the government. Applicants must provide proof of the familial relationship on which the Military PIP application is based, as well as proof of the family member’s military service. Other evidence to be included depends on the individual applicant’s situation, but it can strengthen an application to include information showing the applicant is a person of good moral character. Proof of home ownership, payment of taxes, membership in a church or other community organization, and letters of affidavit from friends, neighbors, employers, and family are all good evidence to include in any PIP request.

Contact Bailey & Galyen’s Military Parole in Place Immigration Attorneys

If you think you qualify for Military PIP, please schedule a consultation with us to explore the possibilities. Many people are eligible for this life-changing benefit and do not even know about it!

Mediation

Family LawAs I am sitting here today in Mediation it got me to thinking about what a large role it plays in the domestic or family law litigation. About 30 years ago the legislature passed a law encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution methods in family law cases. One of those methods is Mediation. Most divorces are referred to mediation and the overwhelming majority of them are settled in mediation. Lots of people have heard of Arbitration such as a forced arbitration clause in a credit card dispute or with Ezekiel Elliot’s ongoing dispute with the NFL.

Arbitration is when the parties present their case to an arbitrator who decides the evidence and renders a decision much the same as a judge. However, Mediation is different because the mediator DOES NOT render a decision. Instead the mediator simply assists the parties find areas of agreement or “common ground.” If the parties are able reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties reached agreement. If the parties do not reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties did not reach agreement. The mediator cannot be subpoenaed to testify.

One of the great things about mediation is that it is confidential. Rather than airing your laundry for the whole world to see in a courtroom you meet privately with your attorney and a mediator and resolve your dispute. Another great thing is you can resolve your case much quicker. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram last week there are over 60,000 divorce or child cases filed each year in Tarrant County. What ends up happening is they sit on a court’s docket often times for a year as there simply are not enough hours in the day to hear them all.

Perhaps my favorite thing about mediation is that it allows the parties to craft their own solution. A judge is pretty limited in what they can do. They must strictly follow the guidelines in the Family Code. The parties are not bound as tightly. They can decide what is most important to them. They can decide how to craft their solution. I try and most attorneys and judges I know try very hard to do a good job. But no matter how hard we try we will never know your life and your situation as well as you do. I liken mediation versus litigation as the difference between having someone give you a blue Toyota Camry (litigation) or giving you $20,000 and telling you to pick out the car that works best for your needs (mediation). Unless you happen to want a blue Toyota Camry the second option will work better for you.

When hiring an attorney make certain they are familiar with and make mediation a regular part of their practice. I can promise you, you will be happier with the result.

Contact Us

To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

I’ve Fallen, but I CAN Get Up: Why You Should Immediately Report All Work Injuries

warehouse workerSo you think you may have hurt yourself at work…well, you know you did. You might have the following thoughts: “It’s not that bad. Work through it and see if it gets worse. The weekend is here, so I’ll rest and see how I feel on Monday. I’m seeing my doctor next week, so I’ll just check on it then.” Stop! Report your work injury, no matter how minor you think it is, even if just “for the record.” If you get better on your own, great! I have seen many instances, though, where an injury starts out as minor but never gets better. A problem occurs when you report your work injuries later.

Report Your Work Injuries Immediately!

Your date of injury is very important, since you only have 30 days to report a work-related injury. Failure to report work injuries immediately, and seeking treatment on your own, makes the situation more suspect and gives the insurance carrier more reason to dispute your workers’ comp claim. It is more difficult for an attorney to assist you when an insurance company raises the defense that you failed to give notice of your injury within 30 days. In cases like that, the judge may not believe the injured worker, especially where the employer has multiple witnesses and the worker has none. Granted, we have won a lot of such cases, but don’t make the situation any harder than it needs to be. Focus on getting treatment for your injury and getting back to work. You might be trying to do right by the company and work through your injury on your own, only to find you’re unable to, and that the delay results in denial of your claim.

Don’t Fight Work Injuries Alone

If you have any doubts or concerns, reach out to the Workers’ Compensation department at Bailey & Galyen. We can answer your questions anonymously and give you information on the workers’ comp claim process. Never downplay your injury as ‘no big deal.’ At a minimum, make a record of the incident, even if no injury results from it.

DISCOURAGING DISENGAGEMENT IV: Domestic Partners, Disasters, Distance, and Doing It Yourself

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Estate Planning Attorneys – Discouraging Disengagement

In previous articles, I shared insights from James Brill’s excellent article, “Discouraging Disengagement.” Estate planning is fluid because time and circumstances alter plans. In the first article, I examined how Death, Disability, and Decline greatly impact our estate plan. In the second, I looked at Disaffection, Disappearance, and Domestication as events triggering changes to your estate plan. In part III, I discussed Death Taxes, Designations, and Distrust.

Today, in Part IV, I look at four topics that may impact your plan: Domestic Partners, Disasters, Distance, and Doing it Yourself. As I approach “Old Lawyer” status, I become more and more convinced that couples should either be married or not married. While I will not discuss the moral, ethical, religious, or psychological aspects of marriage, the legal challenges of domestic “arrangements” are numerous. Suffice to say, when the intention to be married, or the intention not to be married, is undocumented, it creates a mess, not only with respect to the expectations and understandings of the couple, but also in terms of financial and government entities being able to address estate matters.

Disasters and Distance can both ruin a plan. A photocopy of your original documents is not the same as the originals. Fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes can all destroy your estate plan. (See references in ancient texts to treasures and their vulnerability to rust, dust, and thieves.)

Additionally, if you have left specific bequests and thought you were being equitable, the destruction of certain assets will likely render your disposition of assets inequitable. Wise counsel will steer you away from such a vulnerable plan. Distance can hinder a fiduciary from serving in that capacity. The son that was such a sound choice as agent for your power of attorney when he lived down the street is a less wise choice now that he lives and works in New Zealand.

Contact Bailey & Galyen’s Estate Planning Attorneys

Lastly, DON’T DO IT YOURSELF! Doing it yourself may be the best way to ruin your estate plan and burden your loved ones with added complexity after you’re gone. Contact our committed estate planning attorneys via email or call us direct at 844-402-2992 to schedule your free consultation.

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