Can A Lawyer Claim Additional Expenses Once A Case Has Been Closed?

While it’s not something that most of us want to consider, there may come a time when you or a loved one are in dire need of legal representation. Whether you have suffered an accident, face a criminal charge, or are seeking a spousal separation, there are many reasons that you may need an attorney. Possibly the biggest reason that someone in need of an attorney would not seek one out is the same reason that people often avoid going to the hospital: the final bill. When you know that you need help but you know that help could come at a high cost, you need to make sure you do your research in choosing a personal injury attorney. But that doesn’t mean that you should look for the cheapest lawyer out there.

While most attorneys are ethical, there are some that are not. Attorney fees have been on the rise since the 1990s and continue to inflate. No doubt a chunk of the total $100 billion paid in annual US legal fees goes to attorneys who provide incompetent or even unethical service. There have also been reports in the past that some attorneys pad their bills or force collections of fees improperly. When you are seeking an attorney, you need to look for one that has not only a fair fee, but a history of trust and proper representation with previous clients.

How To Handle Unexpected Charges From An Attorney

If you find that you have been billed incorrectly, even well after the services of your lawyer are no longer required, it can feel like a punch in the gut. You had an expectation of what your bill was going to be, but this amount goes well outside of what you had been planning for. Were you charged for services that were never provided? Are there ludacris charges for things that reasonably should have been covered by another fee or not charged at all? How could you prove that an attorney over billed you, and is it even worth the fight? After all, the last thing you want to do is hire another attorney to dispute an unjust bill.

Before you do anything else, call your attorney and request more information about their fees. Nothing on your final bill should come as a surprise. If you had an initial conversation about fees before you hired your attorney – and you definitely should have – then there is no reason to expect your final bill to be higher. An ethical attorney will always keep you up to date if they feel that additional services and fees apply to your case and need to be added to the final amount billed. But that doesn’t mean that there may not be a fee that you aren’t clear about. Speaking to your lawyer opens a line of communication in which you can clarify any issues with your billing.

This is all the more true if you are in an ongoing case. Your attorney probably doesn’t want to lose you as a client, so they may be willing to negotiate certain fees. Even a client whose case has recently closed is important to a good attorney.

Review Your Bill

Like any bill, you should fully review any statements from your lawyer. Your lawyer is here to help you and will answer any questions you have about your case or your bill. If there is a mistake, an honest lawyer will admit to the discrepancy and correct your statement. If your bill ends up being higher than you initially thought, even if you have been made aware of potential additional charges, you may be able to negotiate for lower costs.

When you work with the right attorney, you don’t need to worry about being overcharged for services or having your claim taken less seriously than others. The best law firms will treat your claim like their own, advocating for your best interests every step of the way, and will always ensure that you fully understand all aspects of your legal process and your final billing.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Stephen Babcock quickly became known for his high profile cases and his grit as a trial attorney. While attending law school to become a title attorney, Stephen worked as a real estate agent. He would later change his mind and go on to become a trial attorney, working as an in-house insurance attorney for AllState before finally branching into his own personal injury law firm in Baton Rouge in 2003. Babcock Injury Lawyers continues to be a well known and respected team of attorneys throughout Louisiana.

Dealing in everything from personal injury to debt to business disputes throughout his exemplary legal career, Stephen Babcock has accrued numerous awards and accolades for his work as a personal injury lawyer and litigation attorney. Having tried cases in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana, he would go on to found a coalition of national trial lawyers – all of which have tried more than 35 cases to verdict – called Trial Masters. Stephen has taken on several big cases over the years and won, including a $2 million arbitration case against Hilton Hotels. Even the National Academy of Personal Injury Lawyers ranked him as a top-10 best personal injury attorney in Baton Rouge, a highly coveted honor.

Settled Status | How to Safeguard Your Rights

When the UK leaves the European Union the rights of citizens of both the EU and the UK will change. Especially the residents of the EU who live and work in the UK. As part of the withdrawal preparations, the British government has implemented the EU Settlement Scheme.

This means that all EU citizens and any non-EU family members who want to stay in the UK will need to apply for settled status or pre-settled status under this scheme. Including the people who already have permanent residence documents. Citizens of Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway (countries that have agreements with the EU) will also have to apply under the scheme.

Am I Eligible for Settled Status?

To be eligible to obtain settled status you need to have lived in the UK for a sustained five-year period. Settled status allows you to spend five years continuously outside of the UK without losing the right to live and work in the UK. It allows you to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

You’re entitled to apply for settled status if you move to the UK by the 31st of December 2020. This is the date the UK is set to leave the EU, with or without a deal. If you’re an EU citizen you can apply for pre-settled status without having to live in the UK for five years continuously.

Pre-settled status allows you to live and work in the UK and allow you to reach the five-year residency threshold needed to apply for settled status. If you spend six months a year outside the UK, you will lose your right to remain. This means you won’t be allowed to apply for settled status. However, there are some exceptions, but this is rare.

Who Can Apply?

As mentioned above, the EU settlement scheme is open to applications from the family of EU citizens. But who is allowed to apply:

  • Spouses & civil partners.
  • Durable partners (A partner whom you’ve cohabited for two years).
  • Dependent children below the age of 21.
  • Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
  • Any dependent relatives currently benefitting from freedom of movement and who have a document issued under EEA Regulations when you have applied for this before the 31st of December 2020.
  • Family members who retain rights after a relationship ends, either through death or divorce

You can make an application through the EU Exit: Document ID Check app.

To confirm your settled status or pre-settled status, you will also need to be deemed “suitable” by the British government. The home office must be satisfied that you’re not a threat to public policy, security or health. There isn’t a high threshold for this test, but it’s worth mentioning. That’s why it’s important to declare any criminal convictions during the application process. If you don’t, this can mean your application is rejected.

If you need help applying for either pre-settled or settled status in High Wycombe, contact BP Collins Solicitors. Their team can help to apply and guide you through the process if any complications arise.

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Where do the Best Private Investigators Come From?

With many new private investigation firms popping up from coast to coast, more people than ever before are exploring careers in this growing industry.

It’s a great career choice for many, however, it’s certainly not for everyone. But if you have the proper mindset, good training and a willingness to put in the hours, becoming a private investigator can lead to a long and often lucrative career.

And while it’s certainly possible that with the right training and desire anyone can become a great investigator, there are specific career fields that consistently turn out excellent new recruits for the private investigation industry.

Let’s look at a few…

Law Enforcement

Hands down, this is where the overwhelming majority of professional private investigators come from. And they make the transition to the industry at many different points in their careers.”We only hire ex law enforcement” says Matt Garcia, Lead Investigator for ACES Tampa Private Investigations, “they tend to be more reliable and take the job seriously”.

Many former police officers will transition to private investigation after putting in enough years on the job to earn a pension. They retire but aren’t exactly ready to sit on the front porch watching the world go by.

So they turn to private investigation. And after a long career in law enforcement, it’s a pretty easy transition most of the time.

Some former officers also leave the force to open their own private investigative firms, after years of cultivating contacts in the community.

Whatever the reason, those with a background in law enforcement are the largest group of individuals making the transition into private investigation.

Former Military

There are of course many different disciplines that make up careers in the military, but former soldiers, airmen, seamen, and Marines almost always leave their posts with an incredible amount of instilled discipline and dedication to their chosen fields.

That mindset can certainly lead to a career in private investigation, and those with a background in the military make up a good percentage of investigators in the United States.

So if you served in the United States military and are interested in transitioning to private investigation, chances are pretty good that you have “the right stuff.”

Intelligence Officers

These are generally individuals who have a background in surveillance, which is and always will be a big part of a private investigator’s job.

An intelligence officer’s workday often involves duties like gathering leads, cultivating informants, eavesdropping, and performing other forms of covert activities.

In every case, it’s a perfect fit for the private investigation industry.

Cybercrime Officials

A popular profession of the 21st century, individuals with a background dealing in white collar cybercrimes make pretty damn good private investigators.

These are generally tech-savvy professionals who specialize in investigating online crimes, which are more and more prevalent with each passing year.

These crimes are many, ranging from identity theft to illegal scams and the creation of fake social media profiles, among several others.

If you have the ability to track down individuals and criminal activity online, then a job in the world of private investigation is certainly a good fit for you.

Become a Private Investigator Today

If you have the desire and the background to be a private investigator, a good place to start is by checking in with the appropriate office in your state.

Learn what training and certifications are required for you to make the transition to private investigation and then get started.

The industry isn’t for everyone. But for the right people, it can be a great career choice.

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Private Investigation: Perception Vs. Reality

When it comes to the world of private investigation, individuals not involved in the industry have more than likely gathered their knowledge via popular television programs and Hollywood movies.

But trust us when we say that the daily routine of a professional private investigator is nothing like what the entertainment industry portrays it to be.

Sure, there are rushes of adrenaline from time to time and every day is certainly different than the day before. “Most days are long and uneventful”, says Edward Lewis, lead investigator for ACES Private Investigations of Houston TX.

But to say that private investigators experience nonstop action and glamorous daily lives is pretty far from the actual truth.

That’s not to say it’s not a rewarding professional because it very much is. But if you think your private investigator is going to be engaging in nonstop car chases and staring down the barrel of a gun several times a day, well that’s just not going to happen.

Much like in the military, private investigators spend a good deal of their day in “hurry up and wait” mode. Especially when it involves surveillance, there’s an awful lot of time spent sitting in a car or sipping coffee in a cafe just waiting for something to happen.

That’s part of the job and an extremely important one at that. There may be a lot of time waiting around, but the client is expecting results. The last thing you want is to miss something because you’re not ready to gather the needed evidence when the opportunity presents itself.

Investigators need to remain alert at all times, even when it’s anything but the easiest thing in the world to do. There are a lot of cups of coffee consumed and an even greater amount of time sitting and staring at a door or window, or gathering evidence in a way that could be considered boring by a lot of people.

But if you want results, you have to be willing to pay the price to get them. And any reputable private investigator certainly will be willing and able to do just that, or he’s not going to be on the job for very long.

So whether it’s sitting in the office, following someone on foot or sitting in a car outside a home or office building, and waiting for the subject to appear, the life of a private investigator certainly isn’t the nonstop action you see on television and in the movies.

But if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Seasoned private investigators are used to doing this kind of work and they expect to be spending a good deal of time waiting around to gather needed evidence on behalf of their clients. From stalking to surveillance, PIs are usually busy taking photos or video on a day to day basis.

Can it be tedious at times? Without a doubt. But that doesn’t make it any less worthy of doing.

So the next time you have the need to hire a private investigator, just take a moment to realize what exactly it is they’ll be doing on your behalf.

It’s not an easy job by any means. But as they say – if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

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Preventing Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

Every year, there are tens of thousands of reported cases of workplace sexual harassment in the United States. Outside of those numbers, many experts believe a majority of harassment incidents go unreported. Clearly, sexual harassment is a major issue for U.S. businesses and their employees. That is why it is so important for businesses to have well-crafted, clear sexual harassment policies and reporting procedures, as well as processes for addressing allegations of inappropriate and unlawful behavior. In this article, we will review how employers can take steps to protect their employees and meet their responsibilities under the law.

How to address reports of sexual harassment

If you do receive an allegation of sexual harassment, start by treating it with the utmost gravity and severity. The allegation does not have to be formal for you to launch an investigation: workplace gossip or a single off-hand conversation with a human resources (HR) employee is grounds to start looking into the matter.

As part of your sexual harassment policy, you should have put together a general roadmap for investigating, and dealing with, allegations of harassment. If you have an HR team, they should have a detailed plan and process for talking to all the parties involved as part of their investigation. If you do not, you should:

  • Talk with the employee making the allegation to get the full scope of what happened and what witnesses were present. Take detailed notes. During this conversation, you should refer back to your company’s policies and how the employee is protected from retaliatory action.
  • Next, speak with the employee accused of inappropriate behavior. Tell them that you are conducting an investigation into the incident, and that your work will be fair and transparent.
  • Interview any witnesses to the incident to get their perspective on what happened. As with before, be sure to take detailed notes. The more witnesses you have, the better understanding you will have about what transpired.
  • Take all your notes and findings and talk with a trusted employment attorney in Los Angeles. They can review the details and give you the go-ahead to move forward with action.
  • Depending on the results of the investigation, decide what to do. Be consistent with your sexual harassment policies, taking into account the recommendations of the employment law attorney.

Addressing allegations and incidents of sexual harassment can be difficult and complex. There is no general prescriptive approach for what to do in every scenario. Instead, managers will need to make tough, informed decisions. In general, make sure you:

  • Conduct all sexual harassment allegations in the exact same manner, based on the same policies.
  • Thoroughly document the investigation, your conversations, and your decision-making process.
  • Consult with an attorney and human resources specialists if you need guidance.

Preventing sexual harassment

All employees have the right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. For both the safety of their employees and their own legal liability, it is important for businesses to take proactive steps to prevent and deal with harassment allegations.

Every workplace should have a clear, published sexual harassment policy. This document outlines what sexual harassment consists of, what the the discplinary measures are for those who engage in harassment, and what the reporting process is. Typically included in an employee handbook or onboarding materials, your company’s sexual harassment policy should also include language regarding your obligations, including investigating any and all allegations of impropriety and protecting those who report harassment from any form of retaliation.

Everyone at your business—from your part-time and temporary employees to your managers—should be put through a mandatory training where you go over these policies and reinforce the reporting mechanism for sexual harassment allegations. Above all else, it is critical to have a clear, open way for employees to report incidents of sexual harassment, without fear of retaliation or their claim being ignored.

Review your policies with an attorney

If it has been several years since your business’ sexual harassment policies were updated—or if you are just now creating them for the first time—you should have an experienced employment law attorney review them before you publish and share them with your employees. These policies are not one-size-fits-all: there may be special considerations based on your industry, the size of your business, and the states in which you do work. An attorney can help you navigate these waters and craft a sexual harassment policy that is in the best interests of both your company and your employees.

To learn more about the prevalence of harassment in U.S. workplaces and how employers are addressing harassment allegations, be sure to take a look at this infographic from the law firm of Blair & Ramirez LLP in Los Angeles, California.

Infographic-Preventing Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

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A Checklist for Workers’ Compensation Accident Victims

It is crucial that a worker that has been injured on the job take appropriate steps following an accident. By following certain steps, the injured worker can ensure that his or her rates are adequately and fully protected. Additionally, the injured worker increases his or her chances of obtaining the best possible settlement for the accident case. Here is a checklist of things an injured employee should consider doing following a Workers’ Compensation accident.

The first and perhaps most important thing to do after a Workers’ Compensation accident is to report the accident.

  • As quickly as humanly possible, the injured worker should report the specifics of exactly how the accident occurred to his or her supervisor. Make sure to provide as much detail and description on how the accident occurred to your supervisor. That way, there’s a full and comprehensive record of what occurred. Next, you want to make sure that your employer fills out what is called a First Report of Injury.
  • This, the employer is legally required to fill out. After the employer fills it out, he or she must submit this First Report of Injury to the employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance company. There are strict deadlines governing how quickly this First Report of Injury must be provided to the insurance company. Initially reporting the accident to the employer can help ensure that the subsequent First Report of Injury be as detailed and comprehensive as possible. The next item on the checklist applies to those that experienced personal injuries from their workplace accident. If injuries were sustained, regardless of their severity, medical treatment should be obtained. Workers’ Compensation accidents can cause very, very mild injuries to very catastrophic injuries, including even death. Whatever injuries were suffered, you want to make sure that you obtain prompt and appropriate medical attention to fully address your injuries stemming from the accident. Additionally, by obtaining medical treatment, medical records will be generated, which will document the full extent and nature and quality of the injuries you sustained in your work accident. Keep in mind, you can go to any medical provider you wish to following your work injury. You do not have to go to any particular medical provider.

The next item on the checklist is something you should not do.

  • What you should never do following a Workers’ Compensation accident is to sign any paperwork an insurance company sends to you. They may send you various forms, which can be confusing to one who has never seen such forms. Make sure not to sign or complete any of this paperwork because, by doing so, you may be unwittingly jeopardizing your rights to full compensation.

Next on the checklist is something you must do, which is to attend an independent medical exam, also known as an IME.

  • The IME is a medical appointment that is arranged by and paid for by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance company. If you are out of work due to a work injury and an insurance company is paying you weekly compensation benefits, the insurance company, by law, is allowed to have you seen by a doctor of their choosing. This IME physician is paid handsomely from the insurance company to write a report. This report will be largely based on the doctor’s review of your medical records, as well as an in-person examination that he or she conducts of you. Therefore, by law, you must attend the independent medical exam if one is scheduled for you.

Next, always consider the possibility of a third-party case.

  • By law, you cannot sue your employer for a work injury. You cannot sue for negligence against your employer stemming from a workplace accident. However, if your workplace injury was caused by a third party, then a third-party lawsuit may be possible. This is oftentimes seen in the context of a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident. Frequently in those instances, it is a third-party such as an individual or a company that negligently contributed to a workplace accident. If that is the case, you may have an underlying Workers’ Compensation accident claim to pursue, as well as a potential third-party negligence claim to pursue against the applicable individual or company responsible for causing your accident.

The final item on the checklist for injured workers to do is to contact a Workers’ Compensation injury attorney.

  • A Workers’ Compensation attorney that is experienced will understand how to effectively navigate your case through the legal and court process. Workers’ Compensation Law can be quite complex. Therefore, having qualified representation and advocacy on your side can help to best promote your rights and entitlements under Workers’ Compensation Law.

Christopher Earley is a Workers’ Compensation attorney in Boston who handles Workers’ Compensation accidents as well as all types of personal injury accident cases. For over 15 years, the Law Office of Christopher Earley has been dedicated to representing the injured. If you or someone you know needs the assistance of an injury attorney, contact the Law Office of Christopher Earley today at 617-338-7400.

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