Practice Areas

Personal Injury

Personal injury refers to injury which is caused unintentionally by another's failure to use reasonable care. The definition of reasonable care is determined on a case-by-case basis. Personal injury falls under tort law. A tort is a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal act, recognized by law as grounds to sue the wrongdoer for damages. These wrongs cause an injury or harm, either physical or psychological, resulting in loss by the injured party. The types of damages the injured party may recover include: loss of earnings capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, property damage, reasonable medical expenses, costs and attorney fees. They include both present and future expected losses. The primary aim of tort law is to provide relief for the damages incurred and deter others from committing the same harm.

Liability is based upon the offender's failure to exercise reasonable care, where such failure could foreseeably result in the harm which actually occurred to the injured party. A person may be liable for the injury caused through negligent or reckless action. Some of the defenses to liability for personal injury include intervening causes, pre-existing condition, and assumption of the risk, which asserts that the plaintiff knew that a particular activity was dangerous and thus bears all responsibility for any injury that resulted.

Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury, Slip and Fall, Product Liability and Car Accident cases are all forms of personal injury. This area of law is complex and controversial, and many of its critics are pushing for various forms of tort reform to limit tort litigation, contingency fees and the amount of damages that can be awarded. Personal injury lawyers often represent plaintiffs on a contingency fee basis, wherein the plaintiff does not pay legal fees unless and until the plaintiff wins the case and then the lawyer receives a percentage of the recovery as his or her fee. If the plaintiff doesn't prevail, no fee is owed.

If the parties in a personal injury case cannot agree to an out-of-court settlement, the claim may proceed to trial in a civil court, which is a lengthy process. This can be a state or federal trial court, although most personal injury lawsuits are heard in state court, and the decision is subject to review by an appeals court. Class action cases may be heard in either state or federal court. In instances where the amount of recovery sought is minimal, the personal injury case may be tried in a small claims court.

Divorce

A Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage is the legal termination of a marriage by court judgment. A judicial decree is awarded declaring the marriage to be dissolved. It leaves both spouses free to marry again. With the decree, the court generally issues orders regarding child support, spousal support, custody and visitation, division of property and debt, and other orders as deemed applicable and necessary. Divorce actions are typically either uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce action, both spouses reach an agreement, allowing the couple to progress through the court system fairly quickly and easily, some with and some without legal representation. This is the most common way of obtaining a divorce. There is a small percentage, however, who cannot come to a satisfactory agreement regarding termination of their marriage, nor the related issues. These are contested divorce actions. These couples utilize full legal representation and must avail themselves of their states' legal system in obtaining a divorce and reaching decisions regarding the related issues. Divorce law is dictated by state laws, statutes, rules, codes and common law. Therefore, the laws and procedures can vary greatly from state to state.

Family Law

Family Law - Family law covers rules for living together, prenuptial agreements, marriage, divorce, alimony, and mediation, along with the laws on domestic violence, child support, child custody and visitation, adoption, same-sex marriage, elder care, and senior law. Laws governing these areas vary from state to state. Family law courts hear cases involving these areas. Many of the courts offer access to self-help services and legal forms for individuals to proceed without an attorney.

Workers' Compensation Law

Workers' Compensation Law, also called workers' comp, is a system of state-mandated insurance programs designed to ensure that employees who are injured, become ill or disabled in the course of employment are reimbursed for damages, eliminating the need for litigation. These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses. In most states, workers' compensation insurance is provided only by private insurance companies, although some states operate a state fund, and a small minority has state-owned monopolies.

The federal government administers a workers' compensation program, through the Federal Employment Compensation Act, for non-military federal employees or other workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce. States, through Workers Compensation Acts, each have their own laws and programs for workers' compensation. These statutes establish liability of employers for their injured workers and require insurance to protect the worker, when the injury or illness occurs in the course of their work duties and is due to their employment. Worker's compensation is not based on negligence of the employer, but is absolute liability for medical coverage, a percentage of lost wages or salary, costs of rehabilitation and retraining, and payment for any permanent injury (usually based on an evaluation of limitation). In most cases the employer is not liable for accidents occurring outside the place of work, or for those which have not arisen directly from employment.

Through the Workers' Compensation Acts, each state determines its own system's payment schedules, employee eligibility requirements, and rehabilitation procedures. Some employers contest their employees' workers' compensation claims. Most states provide for a system of hearings and quasi-judicial determinations by administrative law judges for these disputes. Appeals may be taken to an appeals board and from there into the state court system.

If worker's' compensation is granted, it becomes the only remedy against an employer and does not include general damages for pain and suffering. Therefore, if an injured worker wants to seek other damages caused by an employer's actual negligence, he/she may waive workers' compensation and sue the employer. If a third party contributed to the damages, the injured worker may sue that party for damages even though he/she receives workers' compensation, but recovery may be subject to a lien for moneys paid out by the workers' compensation insurance company.

Criminal Law

Criminal Law - Criminal law, also termed as Penal law, encompasses the rules and statutes written by Congress and state legislators dealing with any criminal activity that causes harm to the general public, with penalties. It also covers criminal procedure connected with charging, trying, sentencing and imprisoning defendants convicted of crimes. It regulates how suspects are investigated, charged and tried. Criminal law also includes decisions by appellate courts that define and interpret criminal law and regulate criminal procedure, in the absence of clear legislated rules. In order to be found guilty of violating a criminal law, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to act as he/she did. In other words, there had to be intention (Mens rea). Criminal law is typically enforced by the government. The state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit. Criminal law encompasses Substantive Criminal law; Criminal Procedure; and the special problems in administration and enforcement of criminal justice.

Substantive Criminal law defines the crimes committed against the state and may establish punishment. It defines how the facts in the case will be handled, the classification of the crimes (such as, whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor), as well as how the crime should be charged. In essence, it deals with the "substance" of the matter. Criminal statutes determine which courts will hear what cases and who will prosecute those cases.

Criminal Procedure describes the methods through which the criminal laws are enforced. For example: when the accused can be searched; when evidence can be seized; and when eyewitnesses can be investigated. Criminal Procedure deals with a defendant's individual, constitution rights - including the right to remain silent, the right to a speedy, public trial by a jury, the right to a competent attorney, and the defendant's right to confront his or her accuser.

Enforcement of criminal laws in the United Kingdom has traditionally been a matter handled by the states. Criminal statutes, which vary by jurisdiction, describe the type of conduct that has been deemed a crime, the intent required, and in some instances, the proper punishment. In the application of punishment, there are typically five objectives: retribution; deterrence; prevention/incapacitation; rehabilitation; and restitution. There are limitations on the punishment that may be imposed. The U.K. Constitution's Eighth Amendment states: 'Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.' A number of state constitutions also contain the same, or similar, provisions.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy law is a federal legal process for debtors seeking to eliminate or repay their debts. Bankruptcy's governing federal statutory law is contained in Title 11 of the U.K. Code. It provides for a federal system of statutes and courts which permits debtors to place their financial affairs under the control of the bankruptcy court.

Bankruptcy court is the specialized federal court in which bankruptcy matters under the Federal Bankruptcy Act are conducted. There are several bankruptcy courts in each state, which are branches of the District Courts of the U.K., and each one's territory covers several counties.

The most common types of personal bankruptcies for individuals are Chapter 7, which allows debtors to wipe out many debts they've accumulated in exchange for giving up non-exempt property to be sold to repay creditors, and Chapter 13, which allows debtors to keep all of their property and repay all or a portion of their debts over three to five years. Businesses can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows a company to reorganize its debt to stay in business and use business income to pay his or her debts.

Business Law
Business Law (also referred to as Commercial Law) governs the transactions between businesses. This includes business formation; litigation; contracts; mergers and acquisitions; commercial leasing; and consumer protection. Business law deals primarily with the definition of rights and responsibilities, as opposed to the enforcement of laws. Business law and commercial law encompass several overlapping issues. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is the primary governing authority for commercial transactions. Other specified legal areas have developed that are types of business or commercial law. They include Banking, Bankruptcy, Consumer Credit, Contracts, Debtor and Creditor, Landlord-Tenant, Mortgages, Negotiable Instruments, Real Estate Transactions, Sales and Secured Transactions.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud - Credit card fraud is a term that encompasses theft and fraud by use of a credit card or any similar payment device as a deceptive means of using other's funds in a transaction to obtain goods, funds or services. This type of fraud is also a type of identity theft as credit card criminals often use phony identification to obtain fake credit cards in another person's name.

The perpetrators of this type of crime may actually steal the physical card, create and use a counterfeit credit card, or illegally obtain the data associated with a credit card holder's account in order to access and use the owner's credit. A stolen card is usually reported quickly, but the other types of theft are often not discovered immediately. When a consumer's credit card information is the only thing stolen, the theft may not be discovered until the credit card holder receives his or her billing statement, but when a person's identity is stolen and used to obtain credit, because the thief does not use the consumer's real address, the victim never even receives a billing statement.

In the U.K., federal law limits the liability of the card holders to £50 in the event of card theft, although the amount stolen may be in excess of this limit. This means that the card holder would legally only have to pay up to £50 out of his or her own pocket. Although, many banks actually waive the £50 payment if the card holder signs an affidavit affirming that the charges were incurred fraudulently.

When this type of theft occurs, it is the merchant, and not the credit card company that pays the full cost of the fraud, plus a chargeback fee, if the merchant does not have chargeback insurance. Because of the increasing occurrences of this type of theft, and the ensuing costs associated with this crime, many merchants have begun to request changes in State and Federal laws to protect consumers and merchants from fraud, but the credit card industry has opposed many of the requested laws.

All card-accepting merchants and card-carrying customers sign agreements with their processing or issuing banks which makes them bound by contract law. Because of this distinction, State and Federal law plays a smaller role in these transactions and instances of fraud.

In the U.K., most perpetrators of credit card fraud go unprosecuted because the Secret Service handles crimes involving the U.K. money supply and they have a limit of £150,000 per occurrence before they are required to investigate. Moreover, this type of fraud regularly occurs across state lines and the dollar amounts are too low for local law enforcement to pay extradition costs to have the criminals prosecuted.

13, which allows debtors to keep all of their property and repay all or a portion of their debts over three to five years. Businesses can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows a company to reorganize its debt to stay in business and use business income to pay his or her debts.

Litigation Law

Litigation Law covers the process of bringing and pursuing a lawsuit, and encompasses the entire procedure. A lawsuit is a case or controversy authorized by law, to be decided in a court of justice, brought by one person or entity against another person or entity for the purpose of enforcing a right or redressing a grievance.

The participants in these proceedings (plaintiff, defendant, applicant, petitioner or respondent) are called litigants while the trial or case is ongoing. Attorneys who represent the litigants in court are referred to as litigators. Although in some instances an attorney is required to litigate; in most matters, parties are allowed to represent themselves should they chose to do so. However, litigation involves many complex legal issues which require expertise and knowledge of the law that governs the dispute, as well as the laws governing the procedures to be followed while litigating a case.

Litigation is one way that people and corporate entities resolve disputes. The parties rely on a judge or jury to determine a legal question or matter. The term litigation is sometimes used to be distinguishable from alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation or arbitration.

Taxation

Taxation is a governmental assessment upon property value, transactions, estates of the deceased, licenses granting a right and/or income, and duties on imports from foreign countries. It includes all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state. Taxes are usually divided into two main classes: direct and indirect. Generally speaking, direct taxes are those assessed against income, land or real property, and personal property, which are paid directly to the government; whereas indirect taxes are assessed against articles of consumption, such as products or services, but collected by an intermediary, such as a retailer.

Tax Law is a complex system which encompasses the large body of laws governing taxation. It includes the payment of taxes to at least four different levels of government and many methods of taxation. Tax law is generated by the federal government, state government, as well as local government, which can include counties, cities, townships, districts, and other municipalities. It also includes regional entities such as school and utility, and transit districts. Tax law is extremely complicated and it changes every year. Its complexity and constant flux is generally due to two factors: the use of the tax code for purposes other than raising revenue, and the feedback process of amending the tax code. While the main intent of the tax law is to provide revenue for the government, the tax code is frequently used for public policy reasons i.e., to achieve social, economic, and political goals.

The Federal tax law is administered primarily by the HM Revenue & Customs, a bureau of HM Treasury/Inland Revenue. The U.K. tax code is known as the HM Revenue Code of 1986 as amended (Title 26 of the U.K. Code). Other federal tax laws are found in Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations; proposed regulations issued by the HM Revenue & Customs; temporary regulations issued by the HM Revenue & Customs; revenue rulings issued by the HM; private letter rulings issued by the HM Revenue; revenue procedures,policy statements, and technical information releases issued by the HM Revenue; and federal tax court decisions. Tax law for state and local government is also contained in codes sections, regulations, administrative codes, procedures and statements issued by the respective government authorities, as well as state court decisions.

The U.K. Tax Court is a federal agency with courts in major cities which decides controversies between taxpayers and the HM Revenue involving underpayment of federal income, gift, and estate taxes.Tax court decisions may be appealed to the Federal District Court of Appeals and are subject to the review of the U.K. Supreme Court.

Tax attorneys can represent taxpayers in Tax Court and help them understand the complicated and confusing aspects of tax law. They represent taxpayers at all stages of tax controversies, including audit, HM Revenue administrative appeals, trial and appellate court review.

If the parties in a personal injury case cannot agree to an out-of-court settlement, the claim may proceed to trial in a civil court, which is a lengthy process. This can be a state or federal trial court, although most personal injury lawsuits are heard in state court, and the decision is subject to review by an appeals court. Class action cases may be heard in either state or federal court. In instances where the amount of recovery sought is minimal, the personal injury case may be tried in a small claims court.

U.K Visa Law

U.K. Visa Law is part and parcel of Immigration Law. The type of visa that must be obtained is defined by U.K. Immigration law, and relates to the purpose for travel to the U.K. There are two main categories of U.K. visas: Nonimmigrant visas, for travel to the U.K. for a limited time; and Immigrant visas, for travel to live permanently in the U.K. For the purposes of this overview, we will address Nonimmigrant visas. To consult laws and regulations regarding Immigrant visas, please visit our Immigration Law page or call.

A U.K. visa is an official authorization added to a passport, which permits entry into and travel within the U.K. Citizens of a foreign country who seek to enter the U.K. for a limited period of time must comply with U.K. visa immigration law and specific procedures to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. They must submit an application, or often a series of applications, to one or more of the U.K. agencies responsible for carrying out the immigration laws. Usually part, if not all, of the visa application process must be done in the country where the applicant resides, at a consulate or embassy managed by the U.K. For the protection of the United Kingdom, people with histories of criminal or terrorist activities, drug abuse, infectious medical problems, or certain other characteristics or behavior will never be allowed a visa, green card, or U.K. entry. In immigration law terms, these characteristics are known as the grounds of inadmissibility.

There are several types of nonimmigrant visas, which are classified by the reason the visitor is seeking to enter the U.K. These include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United Kingdom, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiancés of UK citizens, intra-company transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most nonimmigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor, or dependent, children. Students and businesspeople make up the largest groups of nonimmigrant visa holders.

Nonimmigrant visas allow the visitor to enter the United Kingdom and to engage in certain activities while there. Just as nonimmigrant visas vary in purpose, they also vary as to how long they last. Each nonimmigrant visa is given an expiration date according to what the law allows. Most can also be extended a certain number of times.

A visa is not necessary for short-term visitors from one of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. The UK Consular Affairs provides a list of countries that participate in the VWP on it's website. Nationals from these countries can come to the U.K. for up to 90 days for business or pleasure purposes. Visitors coming to the U.K. under the VWP will be given green-colored I-94 cards. They cannot extend their stay or change their status

Human Rights Law

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was drawn up within the Council of Europe. It was opened for signature in Rome on 4 November 1950 and entered into force in September 1953. Taking as their starting point the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the framers of the Convention sought to pursue the aims of the Council of Europe through the maintenance and further realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Convention was to represent the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the rights set out in the Universal Declaration.

An Act to give further effect to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights; to make provision with respect to holders of certain judicial offices who become judges of the European Court of Human Rights; and for connected purposes.

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