FAQ : Wills and Probate

Q: What is Probate?

A: Probate is a court supervised legal procedure to determine whether a Will is valid or invalid. The Probate Courts cover every aspect of a person’s life. Obtaining a marriage or firearm license, issues involving mental health and substance abuse, obtaining certificates of residence for alcohol sales licenses and college applications, and guardianship of minors and incapacitated adults are all under the jurisdiction of the Probate Courts.

Q: What is a Will and do I need one?

A: A Will is a document by which a person makes a disposition of his/her property. A Will only comes into effect upon a person’s death. Many of us spend all our lives working to save, invest, and create wealth. We have homes, cars, and other assets to make our life and our family lives comfortable. Yet many of us do not create a plan for the disposition of our assets upon our death. Without a Will the fruits of your labor may not go to the loved ones you care about; instead your assets may go to the State or to other unintended people?

Q: What is “Year Support”?

A: The Probate Court can set aside property and assets for the family’s support and maintenance for one year from the date of the decedent’s death. The family is entitled to an allowance from the decedent’s estate. This can help a family with needed funds before distribution is made to creditors or other persons. Only the surviving spouse or minor children or both of the decedent can file for Year’s Support.

Q: What is a Trust?

A: A Trust is a right to hold, manage or otherwise administer property by one party for the benefit of another. There are many types of trusts such as a Spendthrift Trusts, Revocable Living Trusts, and Pour-Over Trusts.

Q: When is the appointment of a guardian and conservator necessary?

A: If a person lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning his/her health or safety or concerning the management of his/her property and assets, then there may be a need to have the Probate Court appoint a guardian and/or conservator for this individual. The guardian makes decisions relating to medical treatment, types of care, or place of residence. The conservator makes decisions relating to the management of assets, property, and funds.

Q: What is a Health Care Directive (Power of Attorney for Health Care)?

A: A document created to give the person you select (an agent) authority to make important medical and health decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapable of making any decisions about your medical procedures, treatment, or care.

FAQ : Catastrophic Personal Injury

Q: Why do I need to consult with an attorney?

A: All insurance companies representing the person(s) at fault for your injuries will have at their disposal a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys working to limit your damages and just compensation. The insurance company’s goal is to pay you the least possible to settle your claim. They are trained professionals who have years of experience and training in denying and minimizing injured parties claims. You need the assistance and guidance of an experienced and professional attorney to protect your interests and help ensure that you, the injured party, receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Q: When should an attorney be hired?

A: As a person who might have a potential claim, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured. It is important to know now that after being seriously injured in an accident, or at the hands of a medical professional, you are immediately placed at a legal disadvantage. While you are in the process of dealing with your injuries, the party at fault has notified his or her insurance company and put them on notice. The insurance company’s adjuster being experienced begins to immediately investigate and process your potential claim.

It is important that you do not talk to anyone hired by the insurance company prior to consulting an attorney. This will ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Q: Is the hiring of an attorney for a catastrophic personal injury claim expensive?

A: Although we are not sure about other law firms retainer arrangements, CD Squared, LLC fee arrangement includes no charge for personal consultation, we do not charge retainer fees, in fact, we will advance all costs to pursue your catastrophic personal injury claim.

Q: What damages am I entitled to recover?

A: When asked this question we respond by informing the client that there are several factors or types of damages which one can recover in a personal injury claim. At CD Squared, LLC we are responsible for reviewing each factor, consider your specific claim, and obtain the appropriate just and fair compensation from the insurance company.

The basic types of damages are as follows:
• Loss of income;
• Loss of future earning capacity;
• Recovery of medical expenses you incurred for treatment of your injuries and the possibility of future medical expenses;
• Pain and suffering; and
• Past and future loss of enjoyment.

There may be other damages you are entitled to as a result of your injuries. At CD Squared, LLC we would provide the client a detailed review of their individual damages upon consultation.

Q: When do I need to make a claim for personal injuries?

A: It depends on the type of accident you have been involved in, the time you have for filing a claim will vary (Statute of Limitations).

Contact a qualified attorney that handles catastrophic personal injury claims to discuss or you can contact CD Squared, LLC to determine what type of action should be taken to preserve your legal rights.

Q: What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

A: If the person dies of the injuries that would have been the subject of the lawsuit, then the representative or heirs may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit; depending on the state, they may include the personal injury lawsuit, too. If the person who was injured dies of other causes, then the representative or heirs usually can file the personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the person's estate. If the statute of limitations has run on the personal injury lawsuit, and the death resulted from those injuries, the legal claim may not be valid anymore. Each state treats the situation according to its own laws; competent legal advice can help you sort out your state's approach.

FAQ : Wrongful Death

Q: Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

A: The immediate family of someone who was killed due to negligence usually files a wrongful death lawsuit. Immediate family members usually include spouses, children, and parents. Some states also allow grandparents, extended family, and legal dependents to file wrongful death lawsuits.

Q: Can a minor file a wrongful death lawsuit?

A: If a minor under the age of 18 is filing the wrongful death lawsuit, the court might appoint a 'guardian ad litem,' or a guardian appointed by a court to conduct a particular suit on behalf of the minor.

Q: Who can not be sued in a wrongful death lawsuit?

A: Immediate family members can not sue each other in wrongful death claims.

Q. What are some common types of wrongful death lawsuits?

A: Wrongful death lawsuits are often related to car accidents, dangerous property conditions, defective products, medical malpractice, negligent security, and prescription drugs. This is only a partial list.

Q: What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?

A: A criminal case can only be brought by the government. The prosecutor makes a case against the person accused of a crime, seeking prison time or another punishment. The prosecutor must meet a higher standard of proof than in a civil case. A civil case can be filed by anyone whose private rights or civil rights have allegedly been violated by another party. When a private party files a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the party is seeking monetary damages, compensation for the loss suffered. A civil trial for wrongful death, therefore, is very different from a criminal trial for murder or manslaughter.

Q: What if an unborn child dies?

A: In many states, the baby must be born alive for its death to be the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this is not always the case. In some states, the fetus must have been viable (able to live outside the mother's womb) even though it was not born; in other states, viability is not an issue. Because the law varies so much from state to state, it is wise to consult an attorney who knows the laws in your area.

Q: Are all state laws the same regarding wrongful death?

A: No, because states make their own wrongful death laws, they differ quite a bit. Sometimes, you may have a choice of the state in which you file a lawsuit. This is an important decision. The length of time each state gives a plaintiff to file a wrongful death lawsuit may be different, along with the type of monetary damages the state will allow the plaintiff to recover.

Q: Are punitive damages recoverable in wrongful death actions?

A: Punitive damages are an extra monetary penalty against the party found legally responsible in a civil lawsuit. They are usually awarded because the defendant's behavior was reckless or malicious. Some, but not all, jurisdictions allow plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Your attorney can tell you more.

Q: Can a plaintiff bring a wrongful death action if the deceased never had a job?

A: Even if a loved one never had a job, he or she might have contributed to the family in other ways. The plaintiff may be compensated for services the deceased person had been providing and would have continued to provide. This includes housekeeping, childrearing and similar activities. In some states, the plaintiff also may recover for the loss of companionship in addition to medical and funeral expenses. If the loved one was in school to prepare for a profession, this could also be taken into consideration.

Q: Can a plaintiff sue for the pain and suffering of the decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit?

A: While a wrongful death award compensates the survivor, a pain and suffering award normally compensates the person who experienced the pain and suffering. Some states allow pain and suffering to be included in a wrongful death lawsuit; others do not. The pain and suffering must have been due to the injuries that eventually caused death, and the person who died must have been conscious enough to actually experience the pain and suffering.

Q: Can I bring a wrongful death action based on the death of a child or an elderly person?

A: Yes. The calculation of damages, however, may be different than if a parent who supported a family had passed away. It is likely focus on the non-monetary contributions or the services that the deceased provided to the family.

FAQ : Commercial Trucking Accidents

Q: What are some of the most common tractor trailer accidents?

A: The most common types of tractor trailer accidents are:

• Head on collisions
• Rear end collisions
• Broadside collisions
• Center lane crossover
• Lane change collisions
• Jack-knifed trucks
• Loss of control of vehicle
• Hit and Run

Q: What are the common causes of truck accidents?

A: Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:

• Lack of training
• Overloaded trucks
• Oversized trucks
• Brake failure/defect
• Poor driving conditions
• Driver inexperience
• Fatigue
• Speeding
• Running off the road
• Failure to yield the right of way
• Aggressive driving behavior
• Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
• Dangerous or reckless driving
• Mechanical failure

Q: Is there a difference between a tractor trailer accident and a car accident?

A: Trucking accidents are different from auto accidents in many ways. One of the most serious differences is the extent of damages and injuries that are caused when a truck and an automobile collide. In many cases, 18 wheelers and tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. As a result, a trucking collision can have much more deadly consequences than an average car accident. The driver or passengers of an automobile are usually injured more seriously than the driver of the truck.

Q: Are there additional laws that apply to truckers to keep the roads safer?

A: There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal and state regulations require truckers to have adequate rest to prevent driver fatigue on the highway. There are also other specific rules for trucks including proper loading of the materials in the truck and safety rules pertaining to traveling speeds and the passing of other vehicles.

Q: Are there any federal regulations governing truck drivers?

A: Trucking companies are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations concerning equipment and hours of service. Truck drivers are also required to maintain a driver’s log; however the time frame is limited. Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature of materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.

Q: What are the “hours of service” rules?

A: Under federal “hours of service” regulations, which took effect January 2004, interstate commercial drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours or drive after 14 hours on duty until they have had a 10-hour break. In addition, according to federal regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot drive after accruing 60 work hours during a 7-day period or 70 work hours during an 8-day period.

Q: How do I recover compensation for damages in a tractor trailer case?

A: In order to get compensation, a lawyer at CD Squared, LLC will need to prove that the truck driver failed to use due care in the operation of the truck. Typically, in cases where serious injury has resulted, a plaintiff will have claims for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Q: How soon do I need to bring a case in a tractor trailer collision?

A: You need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. In truck collisions, federal regulations require that certain essential evidence only be maintained for a limited amount of time. For instance, the truck driver's log may be destroyed after six months if an attorney does not obtain a court order or take other immediate action to keep the log available to investigators.

Q: Who will pay my medical bills in a tractor trailer accident?

A: The truck company may not pay your medical bills immediately. However, your own insurance will often contain medical payment provisions to pay for bills ranging from funeral costs to x-rays. It is usually not your best interest to sign a medical release/authorization or to give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting an attorney.

Q: What damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim involving a tractor-trailer truck?

A: Each state has a different law regarding personal injury damages. A seriously injured plaintiff may be entitled to recover:

• Past and future medical expenses;
• Past and future loss of income or earning capacity;
• Past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress; and/or
• Punitive damages.

If a person dies in a truck accident, the survivors may recover monetary damages for their economic losses and emotional distress damages for loss of society, love and comfort.