A Bird's Eye View on Home Improvement

Posts by Andrea

Served Too Much to Drink: Who’s Responsible?

Posted by on Mar 14, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Dram Shop Liability | 0 comments

If you get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol, you’re the main person responsible for any damages that happen as a result of that decision. You’re likely to end up doing some jail time if you’re caught as well. However, I’ve recently learned that there is another party that could be partially responsible for DUI-related crashes. Bars are legally liable for what their patrons do once they leave a bar. That’s part of the reason that bartenders and servers must go through training on when to cut people off and not to over serve. These workers can face charges and lose their job if they serve alcohol to someone that is clearly intoxicated. There is a lot of regulation surrounding what bars can and cannot do, so I started to wonder if it’s possible to sue a bar after they’ve served someone too much to drink.

I stumbled upon the site for Evans Moore, LLC while reading about this subject online. At Evans Moore, LLC the attorneys work in what is called dram shop law. That means that they hold establishments responsible if they over serve and then their patrons leave and cause damage to another person. It turns out that the law does find those who over serve to be responsible, at least partially, for a resulting accident. In the state of South Carolina, where Evans Moore is located, there are no laws that specifically relate to dram shop liability. It is still possible, however, to sue on dram shop premises because of a prior case that ruled in the state. The South Carolina Supreme Court heard a case entitled Jameson v. The Pantry, Inc. The Pantry store sold alcohol to a person under twenty-one years old. Just one hour after the sale, the minor was driving with a blood-alcohol content that was much higher than the legal limit. He proceeded to cause an accident that killed some and injured several others. The Supreme Court allowed the injured parties to file a claim against the driver as well as The Pantry store. This ruling set the precedent that allows others to sue establishments in the state today.

This ruling protects accident victims much more than they previously were. If you were to be seriously injured in a wreck, it’s quite possible you would have hundreds of thousands in medical bills to pay. If you want to press charges against a driver, you may end up only being able to collect $25,000. This is because $25,000 is the minimum insurance coverage that a person needs to drive in the state. Minimum liability is astronomically higher for establishments like a bar though. If a business sells alcohol, they are required to have at least one million dollars worth of liability insurance. This liability would cover almost any hospital expenses, were you to find yourself injured due to a drunk driver and a dram shop. These laws vary by state quite a bit, but South Carolina is definitely a good state for these types of cases.

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Awards: The Big Decider When Choosing Divorce Lawyers

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Divorce | 0 comments

You’ve settled on a divorce, you’ve done your research on divorce attorneys, and now you have a decision to make. You’ve asked around for recommendations. You’ve searched online to see what people say about the law firms you’ve narrowed down to. You’ve met with the law firms for your free consultation and further weeded them down. You’ve checked to see which firms have done best by their clients, and you’ve trimmed a little further. And yet, still, you’ve got a few names on the list.

This is a very common situation. It’s easy to end up having to pull up the moment before you start the divorce because you just can’t quite settle on the right name to finally settle on for your lawyer.

It’s also easy in this situation to feel a little deflated or even a little panicked. You have, after all, done everything right, and still you have a tough decision to make, and you really don’t want to make this one wrong.

Thankfully, there’s a final round of cuts you can make to your list: the award circuit. Lawyers like to tout their awards, and the good ones have several. This is an easy way to do a final ordering of the names on your list.

Start by eliminating the lawyers on your list who don’t have any awards. How do you know they don’t have any? Again, lawyers will tell you. They’re proud of their awards and accolades. So if they aren’t advertising them, they don’t have any. Look at the accolades at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC. They get an honored place on the site because they are an important sign that the lawyers are doing a good job according to their clients and their colleagues.

So, anyone not prominently displaying big awards, mark them off the list.

At that point, try to organize your list based off who has the most, and the most prestigious awards.

At this point, you should have narrowed down your list significantly. After all, there aren’t that many awards out there for lawyers, so there probably aren’t that many names on your list with several.

If you still have several names on your list, it’s time for that tough choice, but there’s some good news before you make. At this point, you can either decide based off a gut feeling or through a random process (flip coins, pin the divorce on the law firm, whatever works). The truth is, if you have several names that came highly recommended, had a record of good results, impressed you in an interview, and had won several awards, you’re already choosing between better and best.

In other words, at that point, you’ve already only got good options to choose from. So either pick based off a slight preference or just go with the first name that strikes you. You’re sure to get a good lawyer that can get you the divorce you need. So, pick the name, and get that divorce over with.

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How much does a pothole cost?

Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

The cost may seem rather minuscule, at least on a government level. All it takes is the pay for employees, the equipment, and the gas to run everything. The actual work is fairly quick, as we all know. If you drive by construction workers filling a pothole in the morning, they are gone without any evidence they were ever there by the time you come home in the afternoon.

For that quick service, it may cost somewhere around $150, depending on a whole lot of factors (the contractors, where in the country the hole is, whether it’s in a city, town, or in the country, whether it’s one or many holes, how big the hole…you get the idea). The service can be much cheaper than that depending on if it is fixed by the Department of Transport (as little as $23 per hole) or private contractors (who are closer to that initial $150 number).

However, sometimes that work can also cost significantly more, particularly when tarring the road to fill cracks. For that service, Department of Transport would charge over $300 a mile, and contractors would charge double that. Better a hole than a crack, it seems.

That, however, is not the end of the discussion, since it is possible a pothole could cost a whole lot more. Consider the person whose tire is destroyed by a pothole. For that person, the pothole cost perhaps $100, perhaps more if any other damage occurred.

Then, consider the people involved in an accident due to a pothole. If the accident is serious, and it can be proved the pothole caused it, the local government may be liable. It is possible to sue your town if you’ve been in an accident due to a pothole. You can contact a lawyer about the pothole, give your story, and put your case forward.

In theory, then, a pothole could cost a town thousands, perhaps significantly more than that, all depending on how serious the accident is.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these cases are rarely successful. Accidents are complicated, and it’s hard for a pothole to be the sole cause. Still, it is a risk the government takes when it takes its time filling in the holes in the road.

This risk can be aggravated by any number of issues as well, from budget cuts that leave holes longer than usual to whether that might lead to more cracks and holes that can be dealt with quickly.

As always, the best course of action is simply to be careful, to assume there is a hole around every corner, and to assume further that any damage will be yours to cover. Otherwise, you might be out more than $150, and you may have a hard time getting that money back unless your lawyer is particularly good.

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Licensed Professional Public Appraisers

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in Insurance Appraisers | 0 comments

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, a public insurance adjuster is a person who, for direct, indirect, or any other compensation acts on behalf of an insured, another Public Insurance Adjuster; or a person who advertises, solicits business, investigates, settles, or adjusts or advises or assists an insured with the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property, or holds himself or herself out to the public in negotiating for, or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property.

Making an appraisal is giving an opinion of value by a licensed professional appraiser. It involves many issues, including study of appropriate market areas; gathering and analysis of information relevant to a property; and the knowledge, experience, and expert judgment of an appraiser. Any type of property may require an appraisal too including single-family homes, condominiums, apartment buildings, office buildings, industrial sites, shopping centers, and farms. Performing a real property appraisal is done for various reasons, such as when real property needs to be sold, taxed, mortgaged, developed or insured.

An appraiser is required to provide objective and unbiased opinions on the value of real property, especially when it is damaged due to a natural disaster. He or she estimates the value of insured items, evaluates insurance claims, and decides whether an insurance company should pay a claim, and if so, how much.

The K2 consulting & Services, LLC, believe that in order to get an accurate estimate and inventory of personal or commercial property, owners need to be represented by licensed public appraisers. Much of the value of an appraisal will come from the knowledge and assessment of the appraiser, so it is essential to work with an appraiser who has an eye for detail, knows the insurance process, and is looking out for your best interests.

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The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Longshoreman injury attorneys of Williams Kherkher explain how “most maritime accidents can be traced back to some form of negligence on the part of an employer or a vessel’s owner and, when an accident is caused by the negligence or recklessness of either party, accident victims can use the Jones Act to help hold whomever was responsible financially accountable for their pain and suffering.”

The Jones Act gives seamen them the right to sue their employer for personal injury or negligence damages. This federal maritime law, originally called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was designed to protect seamen who get injured on the job.

To determine who are qualified for the benefits offered under the Jones Act, some terminologies are assigned their appropriate definitions:

  • Seaman. This refers to any person who spends a significant amount of his/her time on a vessel or on a specific fleet of vessel (“in navigation”) as a member of the crew member or as captain.
  • A vessel in navigation. This is any type of boat that is afloat, in operation, capable of moving and on navigable waters (this definition excludes vessels in a dry-dock or those out of the water and up on blocks; floating casino barges; oil drilling platforms; and newly built vessels that are still undergoing sea trials). “Navigable waters” refer to rivers or lakes used for interstate or foreign commerce (may oceans and landlocked lakes, but only if these extend to another state or are connected to a river that flows into another state).
  • Significant Amount of Time. In order to qualify as a seaman, a person has to spend at least 30% of his/her employment time on a vessel. Thus, anyone who works 70% of the time in the office and 30% on a vessel can be considered a seaman.

According to ship worker injury lawyers of Williams Kherkher, “The Jones Act covers employees who work on ships, rigs, crewed recreational boats, floating cranes, tankers, barges, and just about any other kind of vessel that is capable of moving on the water. Though it will not cover every person on a seafaring vessel, this legislation will cover any person that meets the legally defined requirements for being a ‘seaman.’”

In order to provide protection for other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act, another federal law had to be passed – the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), which was enacted in 1927. The LHWCA, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel; it also provides for payment of survivor benefits to dependents if the work injury causes, or contributes to, an employee’s death. These benefits are typically paid by the self-insured employer or by a private insurance company on the employer’s behalf. The term “injury” includes occupational diseases, hearing loss and illnesses arising out of employment.”
It was designed to cover employees, including longshore workers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, ship-repairers, harbor construction workers, other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act, and non-maritime employees who perform their work and get injured on navigable water.

The LHWCA, however, considers the following ineligible to receive benefits:

  • Those who get injured because they were intoxicated while working; and
  • Those who get injured due to their own willful intention to harm themselves or others.
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