September 18, 2019
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September 13, 2019
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September 5, 2019
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August 7, 2019
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August 6, 2019
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July 10, 2019
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June 5, 2019
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May 30, 2019
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May 21, 2019
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April 16, 2019
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March 26, 2019
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March 11, 2019
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February 20, 2019
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February 5, 2019
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December 27, 2018
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December 18, 2018
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November 20, 2018
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November 14, 2018
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October 26, 2018
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October 9, 2018
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August 23, 2018
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August 3, 2018
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April 10, 2018
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March 15, 2017
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January 27, 2017
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August 31, 2016
The scenario is this: Someone wasn’t paying attention, they ran a red light and your bad luck put you in the intersection right in their path. Your family was in the car with you. You find yourself injured and at the hospital. You’re worried, hurt, maybe medicated – yet there are lots of people asking lots of questions that need answers. The hospital wants billing information, the police want a statement and insurance adjusters want details. There are lots of forms. It’s normal to be stressed about all this but then, even while lying in the hospital, everyone eventually has the same questions – “How am I going to pay for all of this? What if I miss work? Will the hospital wait to get paid until other driver’s insurance company pays me?” (The real world answer is no, they will likely send you to collection possibly damaging your credit). “How’s the car going to get fixed? Do I get a rental while it’s in the shop?” These are the “typical” questions people have and unless you are in the insurance industry, you probably can’t answer them. So your next question is… “Do I need a lawyer?”
In most injury cases the answer is “Yes” especially if you have serious injuries which require expensive treatment and missed time from work. Sometimes people are hesitant to hire a lawyer if they’ve sustained only minor injuries. Still, setting up a consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney isn’t a bad idea. For one, initial consultations are usually free and it’s probably worth your time just to get answers to the “typical” questions discussed in the previous paragraph. But sometimes injuries turn out to be more serious than you or the emergency room doctor originally thought. They initially seemed “treatable” but ended up being resistant to therapy and eventually required surgery. Sometimes healing doesn’t happen at the expected rate and you aren’t back to work as fast as you anticipated, or maybe you are back but less productive than your pre-accident self. In any of those circumstances, if you accepted a quick settlement from the other driver’s insurance company before consulting an attorney, you are likely out of luck. Most personal injury attorneys will advise you to wait until you and your doctor know the full extent of your injuries and let your treatment run its fullest possible course before considering a settlement offer.
In the timeline of a typical claim, during the period while you are being treated two contentious issues usually arise – “How much am I going to get paid for my property damage?” and “Who is going to pay for my ongoing medical care?” If you have to fight with the insurance company about either of those issues then you would probably benefit from having a lawyer. Remember that the insurance adjuster on the other end of the phone is a trained professional, sometimes with multiple industry certifications, who has likely handled hundreds, if not thousands of claims. This is your first one. Your goal is get what is yours and be done with the headaches as quickly as you can. The adjuster is not there to help you do that. The adjuster’s goal is to resolve the claim for as little money as possible. That adjuster is acting in the best interest of his or her employer whose only concern is the bottom line. They won’t go to bat for you and they won’t give you advice about how to maximize or expedite your claim. Only your lawyer can do that for you.
The problems described so far seem pretty obvious but one of the most difficult issues is one that people never see coming. “How do I handle the various claims for payment, damage and injuries under the different insurance policies?” The solution can be found in the answers to 2 questions: “Who pays for what?” and “Who needs to get paid back?” It’s called coordination of benefits and it can get complicated. Consider the policies that might play a role in your accident claim:
- The liability coverage in the other driver’s auto policy
- The Personal Injury Protection coverage in your auto policy
- The uninsured/underinsured motorist protection provisions of your auto policy
- Your health insurance policy
- Short term disability policies such as AFLAC
- Your employer’s worker’s compensation policy
It’s not unusual to see 3 or 4 of these policies come into play in a typical accident claim. They each may have different claim deadlines and their own sets of paperwork. If one pays out, and later decides that another should have paid instead, they may come after YOU for reimbursement, not the guy that hit you or the hospital that they paid for your care. Any attorney you interview should be asked whether they will handle the coordination of benefits as part of their representation. You should have a clear understanding as to whether or not it is a service covered by the fee you pay to the firm.
Speaking of fees, everyone knows that lawyers are expensive. In most personal injury cases fees should be less of a concern because they are usually handled on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm is paid a percentage of your settlement or verdict so the firm’s financial reward for representing you is tied to their performance. The better they do for you, the better it is for them. A reputable law firm will provide you with a written explanation of how their fees work at the beginning of their representation. It will explain the percentage the firm gets and how case expenses are handled. It should also say that they will not agree to any settlement without your consent.
The personal injury attorneys at Ferrante, Dill & Hisle have years of experience. In the past Partner Nick Ferrante has worked for many of the major insurance companies and represented well known national retailers and trucking companies defending these types of claims. But now we work exclusively on the side of people who are injured – helping them to get compensated for the losses they have incurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you or someone you care about has been hurt please call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Ferrante, Dill & Hisle as soon as possible to set up your free initial consultation. You can reach us by phone at (410) 535-6100, or via email at email@example.com. To learn more about our firm visit us on the web at www.ferrantedill.com
August 2, 2016
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July 22, 2016
Ask them, and almost every parent will tell you that raising a child (or multiple children) can be an expensive endeavor. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the national average cost to raise a toddler is upwards of $16,000 annually. It’s no wonder when you consider all the things a parent might pay for in a child’s lifetime: food, clothing, housing, education, medical needs, sports and other activities, weddings…the list goes on, and on. Keeping up with such expenses in a two-parent household can be overwhelming, let alone if you are in a single parent household. And biological parents in Maryland have a legal obligation to support their children based on their financial ability to do so. Since the early 90’s, Maryland has had laws and guidelines in effect to calculate child support based on each parent’s gross income. Learning how child support works and how it’s awarded is an important step you should take if you are either in need of or find yourself in the position of having to pay child support.
When do the Courts become involved?
Child support is rarely an issue that the courts become involved in during a marriage or other committed relationship. However, they will get involved if parents divorce or stop living together with their children as a family. The courts will help decide how much the custodial parent should receive from the non-custodial parent on a monthly basis. The custodial parent is the one who primarily resides with the child; the non-custodial parent does not, though he or she may have certain visitation rights, which are determined in the custody agreement. Like custody, child support can be decided either by an agreement between the parents or by fighting it out in front of a judge. However even with an agreement a judge could order a different amount if it’s determined that the amount agreed upon is not in the child’s best interest.
How is the amount of child support determined?
All states have their own child support guidelines that are based on a goal of ensuring that children have the benefit of the same amount of financial resources that they would have if the family were still intact. First is either agreeing upon or having a court determine whether one parent has primary custody or if there will be a shared custody arrangement. The guidelines then take into consideration the total number of children in the household, the amount of time the child(ren) spend with each parent, daycare expenses, extraordinary medical expenses (such as when a child has a medical condition that generates more than the ordinary amount of expense), and the cost of health insurance for the child(ren) only. Provided the parents’ income falls within the guidelines, and based on the formula developed by the Maryland legislature, these values are plugged into a child support calculator which then determines how much each parent must contribute towards the support of the child resulting in an amount to be paid by one parent to the other.
A Child Support Order is then issued which outlines the court-ordered terms of the child support agreement. The order will outline a payment schedule for the non-custodial parent- including the amount and date each payment is to be made to the custodial parent. Child support is usually lower if the non-custodial parent retains custody of the child for at least 35% of the time. Child Support Orders are an enforceable Order of the Court; as such, any parent who is not paid child support according to the agreement can use the legal tools available to enforce the order (wage garnishments, wage assignments, contempt of court decrees, and property seizure). Child Support Orders are generally enforceable until the child turns 18, dies, or is emancipated (becomes independent of his or her parents’). However, Maryland law does require that child support continues even after the child turns 18 if that child is still enrolled in high school.
It is an often-stated myth that parents who receive child support have to provide an accounting to either the court or the paying parent of how the child support funds are used. This is not the case. Since the custodial parents are known to be incurring expenses for the day-to-day care of the children, such as ensuring there is a roof over their head, electric, food, clothing, etc. (as discussed in the first paragraph), the guidelines have already taken into consideration these expenses incurred by the custodial parent and the paying parent is deemed to be contributing to these expenses in addition to the support the non-custodial parent provides to the children while they are having their access with them as well.
As with any aspect of a situation that involves the custody or support of minor children, you should be sure that you have skilled and knowledgeable representation at your side. One of Ferrante and Dill’s founding partners, Jennifer Dill, has been recognized as one of the most distinguished Family Law attorneys in Southern Maryland. She has been selected by Super Lawyer’s Magazine as not only a “Super Lawyer” but one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Maryland. Call her today to set up a consultation! (410) 535-6100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.