Archive for May, 2011
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
With the arrival of May and warm and sunny weather (well, miserable rainy weather) its bicycle season. In addition to kids riding their bikes around town, New Hampshire is home to many bicycle enthusiasts and with record high gas prices, bicycle commuters. Although, some towns have actual bicycle travel lanes in some roads, most do not. As bicycle riders are required to ride in the roadway, and not sidewalks, accidents with car and trucks unfortunately happen.
If you or a loved one is involved in a bicycle accident, you may be wondering if you need an attorney. Collisions on a bicycle can be very serious, resulting in severe injuries. If your bicycle accident involved a motor vehicle, your injuries could be life-altering or permanent. Determining the need for a personal injury attorney following a bicycle accident depends on the specific circumstances of the accident. If you have been injured and your bike has been damaged, you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, property damage and pain and suffering.
Some questions that you might consider include:
• Was there negligence or inattention on behalf of another person?
• Was I following the rules of the road?
• Did I take chances that I should not have?
• Was the road or sidewalk in poor condition?
• Did the weather contribute to the accident?
• Does the driver of the car/truck have enough insurance coverage?
• What do I do to protect my rights and get the compensation I deserve?
Assigning blame can be difficult, but if the driver of the car or truck is at fault, you have legal rights and will be entitled to full and fair compensation for your injuries.
The personal injury team at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey have experience in all types of accident cases, including bicycle accidents, and can help you in the event that you need to file a New Hampshire personal injury claim, and they can inform you of all your other legal options. You can contact us by calling our toll free number 800-240-1988 or filling out the information form on our contact form.
Saturday, May 21st, 2011
The New Hampshire Department of Labor (“DOL”) has regulations which protect hourly workers and require that employers pay you in a timely way. The regulations require your employer to pay all wages due within 8 days, including Sundays, after the expiration of the workweek on regular paydays designated in advance. Employers may pay workers less frequently, but have to meet specific DOL requirements. In this day and age, many people have been discharged by work. If that happens, under New Hampshire law, your employer must pay all wages owed within 72 hours either by physically giving payment to the employee or by mailing the payment to the employee, at the employee’s choice.
If you quit work, the employer must pay you in full no later than the next regular payday, or within 72 hours if you are not allowed to work after you tell your employer that you quit. Every employer shall pay without condition and within the required time frames all wages or parts thereof that are due. The employer must pay wages based upon recorded hours and in accordance with written or verbal agreements between you and your employer.
Wage and hour laws and regulations can be complicated but exist to protect employees. If your employer makes a mistake or willfully withholds wages based upon commissions or hourly work, you may have the right to bring a wage claim before the Department of Labor. The process is relatively quick, but an experienced employer lawyer can maximize your chances of recovering wages or commissions that are owed to you. If the DOL finds that wages have willfully been withheld, and the employer had the ability to pay those wages/commissions, you may be able to recover double damages. The lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey regularly practice before the New Hampshire Department of Labor and are available to help you recover the wages/commissions that you deserve. Call our office at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our contact form online.
Friday, May 20th, 2011
It is common knowledge that a driver or passenger of a vehicle that is rear-ended can sustain injuries, such as whiplash, neck pain, or back pain. However the damage to the vehicle may be slight especially depending on what types of vehicles were involved in the crash. Any low impact crash can yield serious injuries without substantial damage to the car. However, the insurance companies do not want you to know that and unless you have been in a low impact crash yourself, you too may think that if the car wasn’t badly damaged, how could its passengers and driver? Simple. You wouldn’t want to put your hand or your head in between two cars in a low impact crash. Would you? The cars may not sustain much damage but your hand or head certainly would.
CNN has done a report on such low impact claims. Their article reports that insurance companies have a strategy to deny, delay and defend. Their objective is to make it so expensive to recover from an accident that lawyers will refuse to take low impact cases.
It is noteworthy that in the age of “Tort Reform,” none of the money saving strategies of the insurance companies have impacted premiums. It would be reasonable to think that if the insurance companies are not paying out on claims then their insureds would not have to pay as much in premiums, but that is not the case. The insurance companies want you to believe that they pass the savings along to you, while they pocket the extra money.
Interestingly enough, you have probably seen a bunch of new auto insurance ads on cable. These ads promote one of two things, either: a) you will get the cheapest deal – and they fail to mention that you get what you pay for and b) their company will take care of you. They even have testimonials from people about how their company helped them. The average person will fail to notice that most of these testimonials are about car repairs, car rentals, and property damage claims. If you have been injured in an accident, and need to make a bodily injury claim and don’t have a good attorney on your side, GOOD LUCK! If you have been injured in any kind of automobile accident, contact Douglas, Leonard & Garvey for a free initial consultation. We will fight for your rights. Call 1-800-240-2988 or fill out on online contact form.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
According to the Surgeon General of the United States, going through divorce, especially with children of any age, is one of the most stressful things an adult can experience. Approximately one-half of all marriages now end in divorce, and about 30 to 40 percent of those undergoing divorce report a significant increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sometimes, however, divorce is necessary for a variety of reasons. If you are seeking a divorce, or one is thrust upon you, trying to keep a cool head and avoiding common mistakes can payoff in the long run for you, your children and whomever you may have a relationship with in the future. Some common mistakes include: (1) Taking action that affects your rights before getting legal advice; (2) Making financial and legal decisions while under pressure or upset about the family break-up; (3) Getting advice on your divorce from family and friends; and (4) Using the court process to punish your spouse.
This first thing you need to do during this time of great stress and anxiety is to learn what the sometimes frustrating process is that you are about travel. Before you do anything abrupt, consult with an attorney to find out how the process works, and what expenses you can expect to occur over the next year to 18 months. What you do or don’t do prior to filing for divorce can affect the entire process and beyond. Avoid getting advice from family and friends. They are not in your shoes and every family situation is different. Avoid, avoid, avoid the temptation to sign anything and give it all away to get it over with. You are going to live with that decision for the rest of your life and made under severe stress and anxiety, it is almost always the wrong decision. Try to avoid the temptation to use the court system to vent anger, hurt or get back at your soon to be ex-spouse. The system is not set up to provide healing. It is set up to do what is best for the children and divide marital money, property and debt – nothing more. The best advice for what you are facing is to consult a good attorney, and then decide whether you need a lawyer to help fight for what is best for you and children, or settle the case early so everyone can move on and rebuild.
At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, we provide sound and cost effective representation in divorce and family law matters. We are available for an initial consultation which you can set up over the phone or by filing out our contact form on our webpage.
Saturday, May 7th, 2011
When you are injured in a car, boat, motorcycle or other accident, the first thing that usually happens is you are taken to an emergency room and if not unconscious or gravely hurt, the hospital will check you in and take your insurance information. If someone else is at fault, it is important to identify for the hospital staff who else is responsible, and that you have medical payments insurance or “med pay” with your own car insurance company. This is important so that the bills can be sent to your car insurance carrier before your medical insurance company processes and pays the bills.
Why? When your attorney settles your case against the person at fault for the accident, under New Hampshire law, you have to pay back your medical insurance carrier the money that it paid the ambulance hospital, doctors, and physical therapy staff that treated you for your injury. This is called a medical lien. However, “med pay” will pay those bills up to your “med pay” policy limit if you submit the bills to your own car insurance company first. And the real benefit is that under New Hampshire law, when you settle your case, you can still claim as damages those bills paid by “med pay” and you do not have to pay “med pay” back. This can make a real difference in the amount of money you can put in your pocket when you settle your case.
If you do not remember to tell the hospital, make sure to tell your lawyer right away that you have “med pay,” and who your car insurance company is so they can make sure the bills get processed correctly and you can get the most money possible out of your settlement. Bring in the policy for your lawyer to review your “med pay” limits. At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey we know the ins and outs of personal injury law and will ask you the important questions up front and make sure all of the details are handled for you to get you all the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation about any personal injury you have suffered at no fault of your own, call the attorneys at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey or fill out our contact form.
Thursday, May 5th, 2011
If you have suffered a work-related injury, you may be entitled to permanent impairment compensation under New Hampshire statutory law, and you may pursue your permanent impairment award years after the injury occurred.<p>>
Most rights that New Hampshire workers’ compensation law confers on injured employees have expiration dates. This is true of most rights under the law. If you do not act to preserve your right within a specified time period, you lose the right.<p>
The permanent impairment award is the rare exception. Three (3) events must transpire for an injured employee to qualify for a permanent impairment award. First, the injured employee must reach maximum medical improvement with respect to his work-related injury. Second, the work injury must have caused the injured employee to suffer a permanent loss of use of the function of a body part. Third, a doctor must evaluate the percentage loss of use according to the methods prescribed by a publication of the American Medical Association called the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fifth Edition. Notably, New Hampshire Department of Labor regulations require that the carrier pay the doctor’s bill for evaluating the extent of impairment, if the employee has reached maximum medical improvement and has not previously undergone any medical evaluation for permanency.<p>
The amount of the permanent impairment award is determined by this mathematical formula: (Percentage loss of use as determined by the doctor) X (a certain number of weeks of disability benefits, which number depends on the affected body part) X (the injured employee’s compensation rate at the time of injury, which rate is equivalent to 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage).<p>
The Department of Labor must approve any permanent impairment award. If the workers’ compensation carrier disputes the extent of the award owing, or disputes whether any award is owing at all, the employee may request a hearing before the Department of Labor to resolve the dispute. The carrier will be represented by an attorney through this process, so the employee should be represented as well.<p>
Unsurprisingly, carriers do not bend over backwards to inform injured employees of their potential rights to permanent impairment compensation. But, unlike most other rights under the law, there is no expiration date on the right to this compensation. If you have suffered a work injury that may have had some permanent impact on you, and you have not received a permanent impairment award, you should consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney such as Benjamin King, Esquire, at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. to discuss pursuing the compensation to which you may be entitled. Call the office or fill our on-online contact form.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Medical payments coverage (also known as Med Pay) is insurance coverage on your OWN insurance policy that pays for reasonable and necessary medical expenses resulting from an auto accident. If you are in an auto accident, even if the accident is entirely your fault, med-pay coverage still applies. The amount of coverage can vary from $1,000 to $10,000 typically. The cost for this coverage is inexpensive and well worth it. Make sure you ask your insurance agent or insurance company about the amount of med pay coverage on your policy.
Another great benefit of med pay is that it also covers for the medical bills of passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident, regardless of fault. If you have passengers in your vehicle at the time of an accident, then you and your passengers all have med-pay coverage up to your limits. So, for example, if you have $10,000.00 in med-pay coverage, you and every one of your passengers have this limit available to them for an accident. Med-pay coverage is also not vehicle-specific, which means that the med-pay coverage “follows you” to provide coverage in any accident involving an automobile. You should always attempt to maximize the use of med-pay coverage that may be available for injuries that result from a car accident.
Med-pay coverage is an example of a benefit that may be available that many people do not know about. At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, we have experienced accident attorneys who understand the details of insurance policies. If you have recently been injured in a car accident, please give us a call or use our contact form to have us help you with your claim.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
You know that you are about to be fired. You suspect the firing is motivated by your supervisor’s hostility toward you as a woman. You have seen company documents that you believe prove that your company is involved in widespread gender discrimination. Should you copy the documents and take them to prove your claims, if you decide to bring a lawsuit against your employer?
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently decided a case with facts similar to these. The Court adopted a 7-part balancing test to determine whether an employee is privileged to take or to use documents belonging to the employer in order to prove her claim. According to the New Jersey court, the factors that courts should consider and evaluate include: 1.) how the employee came into possession of, or obtained access to, the documents; 2.) what the employee did with the documents; 3.) the nature and content of the particular document in order to weigh the strength of the employer’s interest in keeping the document confidential; 4.) whether there is a clearly identified company policy on privacy or confidentiality that the employee’s disclosure has violated; 5.) the circumstances relating to the disclosure of the document, balancing its relevance against considerations about whether its use or disclosure was unduly disruptive to the employer’s ordinary business; 6.) the strength of the employee’s reason for copying the document rather than, for example, simply describing it or identifying its existence to counsel so that it might be requested in discovery; and 7.) consideration of the broad remedial purposes the Legislature has advanced through laws against discrimination, as well as consideration of the effect, if any, that either protecting the document by precluding its use or permitting it to be used will have on the balance of legitimate rights of both employers and employees.
If you find yourself in this situation, facing an adverse employment action and wondering if you should copy and take company documents to prove that the company is discriminating against you, you should confer with an experienced employment lawyer before doing anything. The employment lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. stand ready to assist you. Give us a call or fill in our contact form online.
Sunday, May 1st, 2011
If you suffer a compensable work-related injury, the workers’ compensation carrier must pay the medical bills for all treatment that is reasonable and related to the injury. There is no time limit on this obligation. For so long as the treatment is deemed to be reasonable and related to the injury, the carrier must pay the bills.
Carriers will often try to evade this obligation, however, by arbitrarily denying medical bills. If the injured employee does nothing in response to this, the carrier will get away with not paying the bill. Don’t let the carrier get away with this!
If you are an injured employee, and your workers’ compensation carrier denies a bill for treatment that your medical providers believe is reasonable and related to your work injury, you should appeal the denial to the New Hampshire Department of Labor within 18 months of the date the carrier denies the bill.
You should enlist the aid of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you find yourself having to appeal the denial of a medical bill. The attorney will not charge you anything to represent you on a medical bill issue before the Department of Labor. How does the attorney get paid? If the attorney prevails for you, and obtains a Department of Labor Order requiring the carrier to pay the disputed bills, the carrier must pay your attorney’s fees. The carrier must also pay the injured employee’s attorney’s fees if the carrier denies a bill, forcing an employee to request a Department of Labor hearing, and then reverses its position and accepts the bill fewer than seven (7) business days before the hearing date. This new provision in the law, which became effective January 1, 2011, is designed to discourage workers’ compensation carriers from “playing games” with an injured employee’s medical bills.
Some carriers try to avoid their obligation to pay medical bills by ignoring them. Instead of issuing denial letters, they simply do nothing. Carriers break the law when they ignore medical bills. New Hampshire law requires carriers to either accept or deny medical bills within 30 days of receiving them. Specifically, within 30 days of receiving a medical bill the carrier must either a.) pay the bill; or b.) deny the payment, with notice to the health care provider, the injured employee, and the Department of Labor. A denial letter must state a valid reason for the denial and must advise the injured employee of the right to petition for a hearing.
If your carrier ignores your medical bills, failing to pay them or properly deny them within 30 days, you or your attorney should notify the Department of Labor so that the Department may take appropriate enforcement action. Call Douglas, Leonard & Garvey or fill out our contact form if you are having problems getting your medical bills paid.