ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: KENNETH TROMBLY

kenneth tromblyKenneth Trombly is a seasoned Washington DC personal injury lawyer and civil trial attorney whose practice is dedicated to catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation in both state and federal courts. Licensed in the District of Columbia and in Maryland, he has handled countless noteworthy cases on behalf of severely injured victims of negligence, including those that have resulted in seven-figure settlements, and well-known cases that have gained local or national attention. For many years, Kenneth has been one of an elite group of Washington DC catastrophic injury attorneys who are members of both The Best Lawyers in America and “Super Lawyers.”

Kenneth obtained his law degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in 1973 where he held positions as a staff member of the Law Review and a student coordinator of the school’s legal services clinic. He earned his undergraduate degree at The George Washington University in 1970.

As a young lawyer, before his legal practice took on its current focus, Kenneth was an active criminal defense attorney who regularly accepted court appointments to represent impoverished defendants. It was during this time he attended the National College of Criminal Defense at the University of Houston Bates College of Law and was the recipient of a U.S. Department of Justice grant for his work with indigent defendants.

In the early 1980s, Kenneth began representing victims of car accidents and other accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. He found the work to be both intellectually and emotionally fulfilling, and within a few years, his law practice switched its focus on representing seriously injured individuals and their families.

If you need assistance from a dedicated and experienced team of Washington DC personal injury attorneys, contact Trombly & Singer today for a free case evaluation.

Trombly & Singer, PLLC
1825 K St. NW,
Washington, D.C., 20006
(202) 775-8888

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: TONY O’DELL

tony o'dellTony O’Dell is an established personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer in West Virginia with 20 years of experience helping his clients work through some of the most difficult times in their lives. As an accomplished trial attorney, Tony prides himself in providing aggressive and diligent representation to his clients while also ensuring he understands their needs. He has handled multi-million dollar cases involving auto and trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and nursing home negligence. Helping protect West Virginia’s communities by holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions makes Tony exceptionally proud of what he does.

Tony received his bachelor’s degree in Business from Marshall University and in 1991, he obtained his law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law. Later that year, he was admitted to practice law in West Virginia’s state and federal courts.

Since earning his law degree, Tony has been awarded numerous prestigious accolades including his induction into the West Virginia Super Lawyers and recognition as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, Tony was named The Best Attorney in the Valley for three years by readers of West Virginia’s largest circulation newspaper, the Charleston Gazette.

Currently, Tony is a member of both the American Association for Justice and the West Virginia Association for Justice, where he holds a seat on the Board of Governors. He is also a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the American Bar Association.

Because of his reputation and experience, other attorneys consistently refer to Tony for cases that are too expensive or complicated for them to handle on their own.

“A referral is the highest compliment and one we don’t take for granted. We have earned that compliment time and time again.”

If you need assistance from a knowledgeable and dedicated West Virginia personal injury lawyer, contact Tiano O’Dell today for a free case evaluation.

Tiano O’Dell, PLLC
118 Capitol Street
Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 720-6700

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: RONALD HAVEN

ronald_havenRonald Haven has practiced law for over 35 years and has a wealth of experience with a wide array of personal injury cases. Haven has a unique understanding of insurance companies as he once represented insurance firms. Having this knowledge base of insurance company policies, tactics and strategies make him the ideal lawyer for personal injury cases.

Haven started a personal injury law firm in 1982 with Kenneth Shepard. Thier goal is to provide the best personal injury legal practice in Sacramento. Shepard & Haven LLP strive to get their clients the compensation that they deserve.

Some of the most common personal injury cases that come through the Shepard & Haven office are car accident claims. Because Ronald Haven has seen these claims from both sides of the table he knows the importance of having knowledgeable legal representation. Insurance adjuster may seem to be on your side, but when it comes to insurance, money is their bottom line. Haven is well versed in every tactic employed by insurance companies to deny or diminish your claim.

Car accident claims can also be tricky because there are so many circumstances and outcomes. Sometime the injuries incurred are not all known at the beginning of the claim. There can be injuries that take years to heal, such as brain damage, or injuries that cause permanent damages, such as paralysis. One of Haven’s clients was a woman who was involved in an auto accident where her car was side swiped and had suffered permanent brain damage. Instead of a lump sum that could cover costs for a while but eventually run out, Haven won his client a lifetime annuity that assured her that she would always be taken care of.

Brian Wescott, another client, saw Ron’s compassion first hand when he came to Ron in pain after his car was totaled. Brian was stressed out because the other driver’s insurance company did not want to accept responsibility. Ron took this case on with confidence and lifted the weight from Brian’s shoulders, which he was extremely grateful for. Ron won the case for Brian and the Wescott’s could not be happier they chose Shepard & Haven.

What sets Ron Haven apart from most accident lawyers is he truly cares about his clients. He makes sure his clients receive the settlement they deserve and follows up after the case is closed to make sure his clients are well taken care of.

If you have been injured or in an accident, Shepard & Haven can guide you through the process of your claim so that you get the recovery you deserve. Shepard & Haven have an excellent success rate and have handled cases of all shapes and sizes.

Attorney Spotlight: Brooks Cutter

Personal Injury Attorney Brooks CutterBrooks Cutter is a personal injury and civil justice attorney who specializes in defending consumers against larger-than-life corporate entities including insurance providers, drug and medical device manufacturers, and health care institutions. He has been practicing law for more than a quarter century, and over the course of his lengthy career he has made a name for himself in both his hometown state of California and across the United States by taking on the type of cases that most of us shudder over when we see them on the evening news. With hundreds of millions of dollars in monumental verdicts and settlements under his belt, Mr. Cutter has earned a consistent reputation of being one of the most skilled and knowledgeable consumer class action litigation and personal injury attorneys in the United States.

One of Mr. Cutter’s most notable milestone verdicts resulted from a tragic case in which he represented a fourteen-year-old girl who had been taken to UC Davis Medical Center after waking up to crippling back pain and numbness in her legs. Doctors at the emergency medical center ordered an MRI scan, which they read as normal. She was treated for Guillaun Barre, then released a week later after regaining the ability to walk. Five years later, she awoke with the exact same debilitating symptoms that she had experienced when she was fourteen. She was taken to a different medical center this time, where another MRI scan was performed. The doctors at this facility did not read the scan as normal. They discovered an arteriovenous malformation on her thoracic spine that had hemorrhaged internally and permanently damaged her spinal cord. She was rushed into an emergency surgical procedure, but the damage to her spine was too severe to be repaired.

She now found herself as a T4 paraplegic who would forever be confined to a wheelchair due to the negligent oversight of the doctors who conducted her first MRI scan when she was just fourteen. After careful examination of the case, attorney Brooks Cutter determined that the malformation of her spine was in fact present during the first MRI scan when she was fourteen, but had been overlooked by the UC Davis Radiology Department because they had not adhered to their standard operational protocol for conducting a study of this nature. Mr. Cutter took the young woman’s case against UC Davis to trial, and the jury eventually returned a verdict in her favor for a total sum of $7,624,318. This was not only a win for the now paralyzed young woman which would allow her to pay her mounting medical bills and cover her future economic loss, but it was the single largest medical malpractice verdict in Sacramento County history.

Although Mr. Cutter is among the elite fraternity of the nation’s best and most highly regarded personal injury attorneys, he has never lost the common touch the way many professionals who have reached his level of success and notoriety often do. He is a volunteer at Trial Lawyers Care, director of Sacramento’s Wind Youth Services, a fierce triathlon competitor, devoted family man and father of three, and above all, a genuinely kind and altruistic person who truly knows the meaning behind the phrase “pay it forward”. What more can be said about a man that could have comfortably retired many times over since the beginning of his career in 1985, but chose to continue practicing law for the love of defending those who lack the knowledge and resources to defend themselves? It was that very passion for defending the otherwise defenseless, vulnerable, or unfortunate people of the United States that has served as the catalyst for Mr. Brooks’s enormous success in the field of law. Brooks Cutter is a prime example of the type of attorney young law school students should look up to, model themselves after, and follow suit, no pun intended.

Brooks Cutter Law Firm
401 Watt Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95864
(916) 448-9800

Arizona Bicycle Laws

As a whole, states are cracking down on bicycle law enforcement and the nation’s rate of cyclist fatalities has declined as a result. In 2010 there were more than a hundred less bicycle fatalities than in 2001. Unfortunately, the state of Arizona remains one of the most dangerous for cyclists. In 2010 the state saw 19 bicycle fatalities and more than 1,500 bicycle injuries.

Half of bicycle accidents in Arizona occur because either the bicyclist or the motorist failed to yield. Half of all bicycle accidents occur when a car is turning right, mostly to be attributed to “right on red” allowances. Half of the accidents involved a bicycle traveling against traffic. A third of bicycle accidents occur when a bicycle is on the sidewalk. Although riding on the sidewalk is legal as long as the cyclist is not surpassing the speed of foot travel, it is not the safest way to travel. When a bicyclist is riding on the sidewalk they allow themselves less room to maneuver. Also, suddenly entering the road from the sidewalk can catch motorists off guard.

Arizona’s Department of Transportation has taken notice of the dangers that the state’s roads pose to bicyclists, and has created a plan to ensure cyclist safety. ADOT’s bicycle safety action plan was introduced in late 2010 and strives to reduce bicycle fatalities by 12% by the year 2018. The plan will install 4-ft wide shoulders on all highway projects, new “wrong way” signs on bike lanes, include more information about bicyclists on the driver’s written exam, mandate taillights at night and urge police to enforce the “3 ft” following clearance law.

A bicycle is defined as a device that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride. In Arizona, as in any other state, a bicycle is legally treated as a vehicle. Cyclists have the same rights on the road as motorists, and must obey by the same traffic laws as other vehicles. This includes stopping for stop signs and red lights, adhering to certain speed limits and the flow of traffic, using lights at night and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway. In addition, any traffic violation committed on a bicycle can affect the cyclist’s driving record.

Bicyclists are required to use hand and arm signals from the left side of the bicycle. For a left turn, the cyclist’s hand and arm must be extended horizontally. When turning right, the hand and arm must be extended upward. To stop or decrease speed, cyclists are expected to lift their hand up and extend their arm downward. Cyclists are advised to use a blinking taillight when riding at night, and never to ride on the sidewalk or against traffic. Although Arizona does not have any helmet law in place, cyclists are always encouraged to wear a helmet. Helmet usage decreases the risk of serious head injury by 80 percent.

 

 

Louisiana Distracted Driving Laws

With cell phone technology at its’ peak and more immediate distractions in our vehicles than ever, drivers engage in secondary tasks during more than half of their time driving. This has been a causal factor in more than one million national car crashes annually, and cell-phone related distractions are currently a factor in 18%-25% of car accident fatalities in the U.S. every year. In 2011, in Louisiana alone, figures for auto accidents in Louisiana show that cell phone use while driving contributed to 2,226 crashes which resulted in five fatalities.

With distracted driving rapidly becoming a fatal epidemic, the state of Louisiana has toughened its’ cell phone legislation. Although state laws are getting more rigid, strides are also being cut short.

The Louisiana House voted to ban handheld cell phone use while driving, however a Senate panel decided in 2012 that the plan was not supported by sufficient evidence that handled electronic devices cause accidents. The current cell phone laws are as follows:

  1.  Handheld ban for drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license unless a hands-free device is attached, regardless of age.
  2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers. This is a primary law, meaning that a driver does not need to commit any other violation in order to be cited for this offense.
  3. Ban on all cell phone (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers. This is a primary law for drivers under 18 years old.
  4. Ban on texting for all drivers. This is a primary law that includes fines up to $175 for a first offense, then $500 for secondary and subsequent offenses.
  5. Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans.

 

How Child Custody is Determined

Child custody is court-determined legal guardianship of a child under the age of 18. Child custody laws are created and enforced by individual states and are based on what is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, both parents continue to share legal child custody but one parent gains physical custody.

Because child custody is not determined by the federal government, the laws in each state have varying factors and hiring an experienced family lawyer can help clarify the situation.  States like Pennsylvania used to follow an unofficial code called the “Tender Years Doctrine” which was based on the idea that a mother’s instinct made her the better candidate; therefore she would receive sole custody unless the father petitioned otherwise. States are no longer permitted to assume that the mother is a better fit, and are required to consider many other factors. Some states consider the child’s preference to be highly significant while other states fail to recognize their wishes at all. For example, in states like California and Florida courts will consider the child’s opinion if they are at least 12 years old. In New Mexico the child must be 14 years old in order for their wishes to be taken into consideration, and in Arizona the courts always want to hear what the child prefers.  Still, according to Tampa family attorney Scott P. Davis, the mother is awarded custody in between 70 and 90 percent of divorce cases where custody is in questions.

There are numerous things that courts look into when determining who receives custody and whether one person will get sole custody, the two parents will split joint custody, or if the custody will go to a third party. Every state looks at all history of drug use and abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, child abandonment and child neglect. Some states will even mandate a drug test for parents with a history of drug use. Other significant factors are the mental and physical condition of each of the parents, as well as the family dynamics and relationships that each parent has fostered with the child and with each other.

Joint custody will be ordered only if the conditions are appropriate. A court will consider the relationship that each parent has with the other and with the child, level of agreement of parenting styles, the geographic distance between the parents, and each parent’s ability to adequately provide for the child. Third-party custodial rights will be granted if the child will be in danger or subject to harm in the care of a parent, and granting custody to a third-party custodian will serve the best interests of the child.

Video Game Addiction and Divorce

Phoenix Divorce LawyerIf you have ever insisted on playing just “one more life” in SuperMario Bros, or have put off responsibilities to finish a game of Words With Friends, you have likely gotten a taste of the intense video game addiction that can become all-consuming and irreversibly damaging to families.

As video games have become increasingly complex and realistic,video game addicts are surfacing at a growing rate. WebMD is calling compulsive gaming a modern-day psychological disorder. It is is not only an addiction that has the ability to take over and ruin the lives of the gamers, it is killing off marriages at a rapidly accelerating pace.

“Addiction has long been a commonly cited reason for divorce,” says Scottsdale divorce lawyer Scott David Stewart.  “However, it typically has been substance abuse and gambling.  However, recently we have seen more and more cases involving video game addiction leading to divorce.”

Addiction is defined with the following criteria: The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going, and if the person does not get more of the substance or behavior he becomes irritable and miserable. Compulsive gaming meets these criteria, and can be accompanied with severe withdrawal symptoms. Kimberly Young, PsyD and clinical director of the Center for On-Line Addiction says that she has seen intense gaming withdrawals. “They become angry, violent, or depressed.” Video game addicts typically display symptoms of depression, feelings of being left out, PTSD, memories of a bad situation, anxiety, ADD, obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Studies have shown that between 10% and 15% of video game players have the potential to become gaming addicts.

A 2011 study conducted by Divorce Online found that 15% of women who cite “unreasonable behavior” as the root cause of their divorce have pointed to video games as the chief culprit. The increase is astronomical – in the previous year (2010) only five percent of those women polled cited video gaming as the primary unreasonable behavior that led to their desire to divorce.

World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Halo top the list when it comes to divorce-causing games. The most addictive are massively multiplayer online games with roleplaying components, because they give the gamers an entirely new reality to be a part of. These types of games allow players to take on a different, more impressive personality. Gamers can essentially transform into a superhuman being, and the lure can be overpowering.

“Playing `World of Warcraft’ makes me feel godlike,” Van Cleave, former video game addict, wrote in a book he authored titled Unplugged: My Journey Into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction. “I have ultimate control and can do what I want with few real repercussions. The real world makes me feel impotent … a computer malfunction, a sobbing child, a suddenly dead cell phone battery – the littlest hitch in daily living feels profoundly disempowering.”

Video game companies spend millions of dollars to produce their top games, and pay experts to make their games addicting. In some games, behavior is controlled with simple stimulus and reward methods. Other games will have new visually appealing images appear every six seconds to keep gamer attention and urge them to continue on. Repetition creates habits, and motivation to continue on to the next level.

When most people picture compulsive video gamers, they see a teenage boy eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew. In reality, only about 18% of gamers fit the stereotype of being boys under 17 years old. Many gamers are adults, and most are male. Research carried out by the Stanford University of Medicine found that the reward centers of men’s brains were more activated than those in women’s brains, making males much more easily addicted to video games.

Compulsive gaming can be just as debilitating to marriages as other behavioral addictions like Internet porn and online gambling. In fact, there has already been a name coined for wives whose spouses favored their video games to their marriage – “gamer widows.”

There are solutions for gaming addiction, that may help save marriages. Spouses are encouraged to work out a gaming agreement, in which real life events can take priority over games, and gaming agendas can depend on true circumstances. Couples are urged to brainstorm things that they can do together – many times, gamers don’t realize that they are alienating their spouse, while other times they use their games as a tool to keep themselves remote. If the gamer can address that part of the problem, and wants to fix it, they can do things like go hiking, cooking and playing interactive games with their spouse. As with any addiction, the addict has to be willing to admit their habit and have a desire to alter and improve it.

Steps to Take After Filing for Bankruptcy

The decision to file for bankruptcy was not one that you took lightly, and the process was probably drawn-out and agonizing.

The decision to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy was not one that you took lightly, and the process was probably drawn-out and agonizing. Now that you have already chosen to file, it’s time to rid yourself of any feelings of nervousness, guilt or shame that you may be going through. There are steps that you can take to rebuild your life and get it back on the right track.

First and foremost, you need to train yourself to adopt a simpler, less indulgent lifestyle. Use this opportunity as a fresh start to a more responsible and improved life. Learning to control your spending and starting a savings program will allow you to budget your money so that you can spend it on things that you truly want, need and deserve rather than frivolous items. You should write down everything you purchase, separate your spending into categories like “groceries,” “gas,” “bills,” and “clothing shopping” and analyze your list at the end of every month to determine where you need to cut back, if necessary. Even if you have never stuck to a budgeting plan in the past, now is when it’s crucial so that you can repay existing bills and restore your finances and credit.

Once you have created and stuck with a budget plan, you can begin the process of rebuilding your credit. Although it may sound like risky behavior because of your history of irresponsible spending, you will need to obtain a credit card, preferably a secured one. Many individuals who have gone through bankruptcy are afraid of applying for new credit cards because they don’t want to risk multiple rejections, or have to pay enormously high interest rates and fees. The attractive feature of a secured credit card is that you deposit a set amount of money into a bank account, and that money becomes your credit limit. If you make small charges and begin repaying debts, some secured cards will reward responsible users by raising the limit without additional deposits, and some will even convert the card to a traditional credit card.

Credit rating formulas generally weigh current spending behavior more heavily than past financial conduct, so if you can start building a solid financial responsibility track record your credit rating may increase drastically. If you find yourself racking up debt again after obtaining a credit card, you should cancel the card immediately and begin repaying debts.

Time and improved behavior can heal the wounds that led to your bankruptcy, and can put you back on the right track. As long as you alter your spending, you can get to a healthier place emotionally and financially.  The Dallas bankruptcy attorneys at the Fears & Nachawati Law Offices have extensive successful success handling a wide range of different bankruptcy cases.  Contact for an initial legal consultation.

Tips on How to Deal with Auto Insurance Companies

All drivers in the U.S. are required to have valid insurance, and we can see why. Auto insurance provides us with security and protection against other drivers, as well as a way to help pay for damages in any wreck that we cause. However, dealing with the companies can be a headache. Below are some tips on how to choose an auto insurance company, and ways to deal with them.

  1. Believe it or not, fake auto insurance companies are not hard to come by. These fake companies advertise rock bottom insurance prices and trick their consumers into believing that they have real auto insurance. It is not until the driver is pulled over or gets into an accident that they discover that their coverage is invalid. Red flags that consumers should be aware of are referral fees and the transfer of money through money orders. Driving without valid auto insurance, even unwittingly, is illegal.
  2. Check your credit report. Drivers with poor ratings are considered to be higher risk. Because auto insurance companies use credit reports to determine how much they will charge in premiums, it is important that any errors that may cause your credit report to appear higher than it is are dealt with.
  3. Ask questions when insurance companies recommend mechanics and body shops. Insurance companies strike deals with repair shops, and generally choose them by price and availability.
  4. Be careful what you say to auto insurance adjusters and claims managers. When a driver is in an accident there are two insurance companies that they will need to deal with – their own and that of the other driver. When dealing with your own insurance company you should be relatively cooperative, but it is advised not to give a recorded statement. Recorded statements can only be used against drivers. Insurance adjusters can be aggressive, and drivers should understand that they are by no means obligated to speak with the other driver’s insurance companies. Insurance adjusters can ask tricky questions to invoke guilt, even when you were not the one responsible for the accident.
  5. Ask auto insurance companies about available discounts, such as student, clean driving record reductions. Insist on full disclosure and explanation about every aspect of your policy.

If you or someone you love have suffered an injury in an auto accident and are having to deal with insurance companies, contact the experienced and professional Dallas auto accident attorneys at the Franklin Law Firm, LLP for a free legal consultation today.