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Why You Might Not Need To Sue After A Car Accident

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why You Might Not Need To Sue After A Car Accident

If a car accident left you severely injured and it was another person’s fault, you can seek compensation from the responsible party for your injuries and damages. There are several different ways to handle an event like this, and the two main options are settling with the insurance company and filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be time-consuming and overwhelming, which is why a car accident attorney might suggest trying to settle before you file the paperwork for a lawsuit. Here are a few things to know about this. Why Settling Can Be A Better Option The first step in handling a car accident claim is trying to settle the claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. If this is possible, you will be able to avoid a lawsuit, which can be beneficial in several ways. First of all, a lawsuit can take a long time. Lawsuits are handled through the court system, and personal injury cases do not settle quickly. Secondly, handling a case through a lawsuit can cost more money, simply because it takes more time. You should also realize that if you sue the other party, you may need to attend court hearings, and you may even have to testify in court. This can be intimidating and overwhelming for many people. Finally, if you can settle your case with the insurance company instead of filing a lawsuit, you are likely to receive your compensation a lot faster. Why Settling Is Not Always An Option While settling your claim might be better than filing a lawsuit, there are several reasons why settling is not always an option. The first and most common reason involves problems with reaching an agreement. When you initially try to settle with the insurance company, the lawyer you hire will create a letter of demand. This letter will state the basics of the case along with a breakdown of all the compensation you are seeking. This may include compensation for medical bills, pain and trauma, and loss of income or future earnings. If the insurance company does not agree with the amount you are asking for, they may fight your claim. If you are unable to reach an agreement you can both accept, settling the case outside of court will probably not be an option. Another reason you may have trouble settling with the insurance company is if the other party did not have insurance or did not have a sufficient amount of insurance. In this case, it may be very hard to get any money out of the person or the insurance company for your injuries and damages. What You Should Do After a car accident occurs, you have a limited amount of time to decide how to proceed. This time frame is called the statute of limitations, and it varies from state to state. If you are not sure what you should do or how to go about handling the problem, your first step should be to talk to a car accident attorney. When you meet with the attorney, you can explain the case and offer the evidence you have. You can also explain the severity of your injuries and damages, and you can ask questions. Once the attorney hears everything you have to say, he or she will be able to...

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5 Things You Should Understand About The Statute Of Limitations

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Things You Should Understand About The Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time after an event occurs that you have the right to pursue legal action against the individual who caused the event. In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 2 years; however, some states such as Kentucky only allow 1 year for you to file a lawsuit, and other states, such as Maine, will allow up to 6 years. However, the statute of limitations is complex and there are several things you should know about it if you were injured and want to file a civil or criminal lawsuit.  The Statute of Limitations Depends on Your Location, the Type of Crime Committed, and Whether You Are Filing a Criminal or Civil Lawsuit The three main factors in determining that statute of limitations for a particular crime or civil event are the location of the event, the type of event, and whether you are filing a criminal or civil lawsuit. In general, more severe crimes, such as assault or medical malpractice with lasting effects, have longer statutes of limitations. Similarly, criminal cases may have a longer statute of limitations than a civil case. However, in some cases, you may still file a civil case after a criminal case has been won, even if that statute of limitations has run out.  Your Statute of Limitations May Be Extended If You Were Underage, Declared Insane, or Incarcerated During the Statute of Limitations There are several reasons why the statute of limitations may be extended by a judge. If you were unable to pursue legal action because you were a minor, you were incapacitated due to insanity, or you were incarcerated, you may be able to pursue legal action later. However, if you are a minor, your guardian may still be held by the standard statute of limitations. For example, if you were injured when you were twelve, your parents may file a lawsuit on your behalf until you are fourteen. However, you may file a lawsuit yourself between the ages of eighteen and twenty.  Your Statute of Limitations May Be Extended If You Could Not Discover Your Injuries Within the Given Time In most cases, the statute of limitations begins once an injury is discovered. For example, if you do not discover you were injured by an event for five years, you may have an additional two years to pursue legal action. This often occurs in medical malpractice cases  The Statute of Limitations May Be Extended If the Defendant Flees or Is Incarcerated  If, for some reason, you are unable to pursue legal action against the defendant, the statute of limitations may be paused. The two most common causes of this is when the defendant leaves the state or when the defendant is incarcerated.  Your Statute of Limitations May Run Out While You Are Negotiating a Settlement  One very important thing that many people do not realize is that the statute of limitations can run out while you are working out a settlement with an insurance company. Even if the individual and/or their insurance has already accepted blame for an accident, they may stall while negotiating a settlement. Once the statute of limitations has run out, they will withdraw from the settlement process and you will be unable to pursue...

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What Changes Are Coming to Ohio’s Laws Regarding Traffic Cameras?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Changes Are Coming to Ohio’s Laws Regarding Traffic Cameras?

As city governments continue to try to combat more problems with the same (or fewer) resources, many have moved to the installation of traffic cameras and other automated devices to attempt to catch motorists who are speeding, running red lights, or otherwise violating traffic laws. These cameras are often touted as a way to free up police patrols and ensure that officers are able to quickly respond to the most severe crimes, rather than spending their time catching speeders or citing aggressive drivers.  However, state governments tend to view these traffic cameras as an intrusion on their ability to govern the state’s roadways, and many legislatures (including Ohio’s) have passed laws restricting the situations in which traffic cameras can be used. A recent federal court decision has struck down some of these state restrictions on traffic camera use, potentially changing the types of citations that could be issued or the penalties you could face if caught on camera. Read on to learn more about Ohio’s laws governing the use of traffic cameras, as well as what this recent federal court decision could mean if you find yourself facing a summons for a traffic infraction or ordinance violation. How do Ohio’s laws restrict the use of traffic cameras? Ohio’s legislature attempted to severely restrict the situations in which a traffic camera could be used to provide evidence of an infraction violation by passing a law requiring a police officer to be present at each camera’s location while it was in operation. This essentially rendered the camera backup evidence, as the police officer would still need to testify that he or she was present at the scene and witnessed the traffic violation in person, and eliminated many of the benefits a city could realize by using traffic cameras in place of live officers.  Cities who violated this law by prosecuting traffic offenders even when an officer wasn’t present at the camera were subject to a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their share of state funds, which made it cost-prohibitive to operate traffic cameras unless cities were certain they could generate more in traffic revenue than they’d receive from the state that year.   What could the recent Sixth Circuit opinion mean for traffic laws?  The Sixth Circuit federal district court recently struck down many of Ohio’s laws governing traffic cameras as unconstitutionally restrictive on cities’ abilities to enforce traffic laws. Because caselaw from the Ohio Supreme Court had already established cities’ abilities to generate revenue by enforcing traffic laws and issuing citations, the state legislature’s restriction on the use of a device to achieve those goals was an overreach of its powers. As a result, Ohio cities are no longer subject to the budget restrictions on traffic camera operation. However, there are still some undecided legal questions pending in the Ohio Supreme Court, so further changes could be coming down the pike.  If you’re issued a citation that originated with a traffic camera, there are a few things you can do to avoid the financial hit of an infraction judgment. First, you may want to investigate the specifications of the camera that took the picture; an old camera or one that hasn’t been calibrated recently may not generate photos that are consistent enough to be used as solid evidence that you were violating traffic laws....

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3 Things to Know about Maine’s Dog Bite Laws

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Things to Know about Maine’s Dog Bite Laws

Have you been bitten by a dog in Maine? If so, you may have a personal injury case. You should contact a personal injury lawyer to talk about your case and discover what options are available to you. Your attorney will review the details of your case and compare them with Maine’s dog bite legislation to give you an idea of whether you have a case and how much compensation you might receive. Before you contact a personal injury lawyer, it is helpful to be familiar with the main facets of Maine’s dog bite laws. Here are the top three things you need to know. 1. Strict Liability Rules Dog Bite Statutes in Maine. According to, Maine is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites.This means that the fault of the owner of the dog does not need to be established before someone files a personal injury case against them. In some states without this law, the owner of the dog must be proven to have been negligent before a case can be filed. Negligence could mean the owner was not in control of the dog at the time of the bite or that the owner did not properly secure the dog on their property. These things need not be proven in Maine. All a person needs to initiate a case is a dog bite, regardless of the circumstances. The only exception is if the person who was bitten was on the dog owner’s property at the time of the bite. That is the only circumstance in which the fault of the owner must be proven. Whether the bitten person was on or off the dog owner’s property, winning the case requires presenting some different types of evidence. 2. Provoking the Dog on the Owner’s Property Means Losing the Case. If the bite took place on the dog owner’s property, you may still have a case against them. However, you must prove that you did not cause the bite. If the owner of the dog can prove that you provoked the dog in some way, you will be found at fault, and you will not be able to win any damages in the case. Another way you will be considered the one at fault in the bite is if you were trespassing on the owner’s property when you got bitten. Trespassing is easier to prove on the part of the dog’s owner than proving you provoked the dog. If you were trespassing and got bitten, you will not win your case. 3. Your Damages May Not Be Reduced If You Were Only Partly at Fault. Some states reduce the amount of damages you will receive if you are partly at fault for the bite. They will establish the percentage you were at fault and the percentage the owner was at fault and reduce your damages by the amount you were to blame. This is not the case in Maine. Unless you fall into that special category of provoking the dog on the owner’s premises, you will get the full amount of damages in a dog bite lawsuit, even if you were completely at fault. This is thanks to Maine’s strict liability rules. As long as you were not on the owner’s property when you got...

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How To Avoid Getting Locked Up Over An Emoji

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Avoid Getting Locked Up Over An Emoji

Emojis are tiny graphical characters frequently used in text and social media posts to add meaning to messages or make a statement on their own. While generally harmless, these increasingly ubiquitous symbols have begun landing users in legal hot water. Namely, people have been charged with crimes over their use, and courts are struggling to determine if the icons can be admitted as evidence in some cases. Here’s more information about this issue, and what you can do to avoid being convicted of a crime because of an emoji. Lost in Translation It may seem odd that law enforcement agencies would have a problem with what appear to be harmless pictographs. However, these icons can be used to convey sinister intentions or harass others. For instance, two South Carolina men were arrested for sending an emoji-based message to a man on Facebook indicating they planned to beat the person up. The trouble is that emojis suffer from the same problem as other types of communication on the internet; their meaning can be lost in translation. Part of this is because, although emojis are typically used to replace the visual and auditory cues associated with face-to-face communication, the meaning of an emoji isn’t always clear. A kiss-blowing emoji could be seen as a symbol of affection or an offensive gesture, for example, depending on the context. So something that may seem harmlessly sarcastic in your mind may come across as threatening when posted online or in a text message. A 12-year-old Virginia student was arrested and charged with making threats against her school, for example, after posting a message containing gun, knife, and bomb emojis in conjunction with what appeared to be a menacing language. It could have been the student was simply expressing anger over being bullied by other students. However, the spate of mass shootings that have occurred in schools over the years have educational administrators and law enforcement officials on high alert, and the message may have come across more ominous than intended. This type of ambiguity combined with societal forces and lack of precedent often requires law enforcement and court officials to interpret what connotations an emoji icon adds to an accompanying message. Unfortunately, even if you didn’t mean to convey a message in the way it was received, the legal system’s translation of your emoji language can lead to arrest, criminal charges, and conviction. Defending Against Charges The most effective defense against criminal charges levied against you will depend on the circumstances of the case and the charges themselves. If you’re charged with harassing another person, for instance, the intent behind your communication with the individual will come into play. You can defend against the charge by showing you didn’t intend to threaten, annoy, torment or embarrass the individual when you sent the message to him or her. For this to be effective, it may be necessary to define the meaning of the emojis you used for the court (providing evidence to back up your interpretation) and establish the context in which you used them. In other cases, it may be necessary to dispute the prosecutor’s interpretation of the entire message, especially if the message appears threatening or harassing. For instance, a 17-year-old New York teen posted a message on Facebook that intimated he intended...

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Dealing With Tax Debts In Bankruptcy

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing With Tax Debts In Bankruptcy

Discharging your debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a major step towards managing difficult debts. However, there are some debts that can prove harder to manage than others. Along with student loans, tax debts are among the few types of debt that can’t be discharged under bankruptcy proceedings except under specific circumstances. In 2009, a spokesperson with the Internal Revenue Service revealed that approximately 8.2 million U.S. Taxpayers owed more than $83 billion in back taxes, including penalties and interest. If you owe back taxes and are looking for relief, you’ll want to learn the ins and outs of dealing your tax debts in bankruptcy described below. Tax Debts You Can Discharge Personal income tax debts, along with any penalties or interest accrued by said debts, are dischargeable under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. However, there are a number of conditions that must be met before you’re able to proceed. For starters, you must have filed a tax return for the debt in question at least 2 years prior to your bankruptcy filing. Most courts won’t allow you to discharge a tax debt for which a late return was filed. In addition, the tax debt in question must survive 3 time-based requirements: The 3-Year Rule – According to this rule, your tax debt must be at least 3 years old before filing for bankruptcy. For example, if your tax debt was initially due on April 15, 2013, then you must wait until after April 15, 2016 before the debt becomes eligible for bankruptcy.  The 2-Year Rule – This rule requires your income tax return for the debt in question to have been filed at least 2 years prior to your bankruptcy petition. The 240-Day Rule – According to this rule, the tax debt in question must have been assessed by the IRS at least 240 days prior to your bankruptcy petition. Keep in mind that audits, corrections and amendments could change the assessment date, especially if you’re currently in dispute with the IRS over your tax returns.   The above requirements may be suspended temporarily if you obtain a taxpayer assistance order or if you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy. Federal Tax Liens and Other Non-Dischargeable Debts Although the Bankruptcy Code and IRS guidelines allow for some tax debts to be discharged in bankruptcy, there are other taxes that could prove difficult or even impossible to wipe out. These include trust fund and withholding taxes, employment taxes on earned compensation, customs duties and excise taxes. If you owe penalties on any of the mentioned tax debts, you won’t be able to discharge those in bankruptcy, either. Federal tax liens placed on property can also prove problematic in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Even if you manage to wipe out other tax debt via bankruptcy, it won’t wipe tax liens recorded prior to the bankruptcy filing. This means that the tax lien has to be paid off in full before you can sell your property. Settling Debts Directly With the IRS If you have tax debts that don’t qualify for discharge under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to make what’s known as an “offer in compromise” to the IRS. This route allows you to settle your tax debts for less than the full amount owed through periodic or...

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What Types Of Compensation Can You Seek In A Personal Injury Case?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Types Of Compensation Can You Seek In A Personal Injury Case?

On television when someone becomes injured, you may hear them shout something to the effect of “I’m going to sue you for 1 million dollars.” But in real life, filing a personal injury case is a bit more complicated than just naming the amount you want and hoping the judge sides with you. There are certain types of compensation you can seek in a personal injury case, and all compensation you request must fall into one of these categories. Here’s a look at those categories. Medical Compensation This compensation makes up the bulk of most personal injury claims. Money claimed in this category is meant to cover all of the medical costs related to your injury, including doctors’ fees, the cost of your medication, and the cost of transportation to and from any appointments. It is very important to keep complete, accurate records of the medical treatment you receive and the amount you pay for it, since without this evidence, certain treatments and procedures may not be included in your claim. Loss of Wages Were you unable to work during a certain period of time because of your injuries? Maybe your injuries will keep you from working — or keep you from working at as high-earning a position — in the future. You can request compensation for your lost wages as a part of your personal injury claim. If you are claiming future lost wages, your lawyer will have to work with you to determine what is a fair amount to request. Pain and Suffering Compensation for pain and suffering is intended to make up for the physical discomfort you experienced as a result of your injury. Since you cannot “verify” pain and suffering like you can medical costs or lost wages, it is harder to receive compensation in this category than in others.The amount you can seek will depend on the severity of your injuries, how long it takes you to heal, and how severely the injuries impact your daily life. Your lawyer will work with you to determine a fair amount to ask for based on his or her prior experience with similar cases. Emotional Distress Money requested in this category is meant to compensate you for the mental and emotional trauma your injury has caused. It can be tough to prove that you have suffered emotional distress due to your injury. A statement from a psychologist helps tremendously, so if you are struggling emotionally, do not put off seeking professional help. Statements from friends and family members who have witnessed your emotional struggles as you recover can also be helpful. Punitive Damages Punitive damages are monies requested in order to further punish the plaintiff for their wrongdoings when the total of the other compensatory damages is not thought to be punishment enough. Typically, punitive damages are only sought when your personal injury was caused by rather deplorable behavior on the part of the plaintiff. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver, these additional damages may be sought as a means of teaching the plaintiff a lesson — not to drive drunk. On the other hand, if you were injured by someone who was simply careless in running a red light or rear ending you at a stop sign, you’re unlikely to be able...

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3 Options For Getting Rid Of Tax Debt You Owe

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Options For Getting Rid Of Tax Debt You Owe

Bankruptcy is an option you can consider using if you have debts you cannot repay, and this could help you obtain a fresh start in life. The downside to this form of debt relief is that it may not help you eliminate all debts you owe. One example of a debt that bankruptcy does not usually help with is tax debt. If you owe a large tax debt and feel like you will never be able to repay it, talk to a bankruptcy attorney. He or she might be able to give you a couple options for eliminating, or at least reducing, the debt. Chapter 7 Versus Chapter 13 When you file for bankruptcy, there are usually two options to choose from. The first is Chapter 13, which is used to help you gain a better financial state by allowing you to repay debts you owe. With Chapter 13, you will not be able to get rid of the tax debts you owe, but you will be able to get on a repayment plan to repay them. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the other type of bankruptcy, but you can only use this if you earn less income than the median income in your state. With this option, there is a chance you might be able to get your tax debt discharged. Tax debt is considered a priority debt, which is why it cannot always be discharged. For you to have the ability to get your tax debt discharged through Chapter 7, the following conditions must apply: You must be current on filing your returns The tax debts must be from at least three years ago You were not involved in any type of fraud with the returns The IRS must have reviewed the debts at least 240 days ago If you meet these conditions, there is a chance you could get your tax debts wiped away with bankruptcy. The downside to this is that if the IRS had placed a lien on your assets, the discharge of the debt will not clear away the lien. This means that you might still owe the money to the IRS even if it was discharged through your bankruptcy. Use An Offer In Compromise If you do not qualify to have your tax debt discharged, or if you can afford to repay some of the debt, you might want to look into using an Offer In Compromise (OIC). This is an option allowed by the IRS for people with major tax debts. It allows a person to settle the tax debt for an amount that is less than what the person owes. To use this method, you must qualify, and the main way to qualify is proving that you will not be able to repay the full tax debt within a reasonable amount of time. To determine if you can repay the debt, the IRS will need to know the equity amount you have in the assets you own as well as the amount of income you earn and expect to earn over the next few years. If you earn too much money and own a lot of assets, the IRS may deny your offer. If the IRS approves your offer, you will have the ability to set up a monthly repayment plan....

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Three CLE Focuses That Can Help You Become A Better Lawyer

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three CLE Focuses That Can Help You Become A Better Lawyer

After you pass the bar and begin practicing law, you still have many years of continuing legal education (CLE) ahead of you if you hope to continue practicing, as CLE training is often required by most states for lawyers to keep their license. There are many topics available to you, and you can use these to help specialize your practice even further by focusing on particular areas of study. There are some classes that will definitely benefit you no matter what kind of law you intend to practice; these are three you should definitely consider.  Diversity Training Part of diversity training is learning how to work with and defend clients who come from a different background than you. Diversity can mean anything from differing ages to differing skin colors, and these all affect how officers of the law and of the court view a particular case, including yourself. By extending your diversity training, you should be able to represent clients more effectively who have differing racial and socioeconomic backgrounds  better understand laws that protect diversity in your particular state and city. Since different states have different requirements and types of CLE classes, you can tailor your law school knowledge to more closely represent the diverse needs in the area in which you practice avoid malpractice suits against you for unintentional discrimination against clients or employees in your firm become even more familiar with diversity laws that are helpful in many different cases, from patent claims to personal injury, including deeper analysis of laws like the Ahe Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Prevention Of Malpractice Nothing can bankrupt a firm or end your career as a lawyer sooner than being sued for malpractice. Your CLE training should help you to become aware of common mistakes that lead to malpractice suits, including the following:  Clerical errors: Missing deadlines for important files seems like a small mistake, but it can be grounds for a lawsuit when those errors end up harming a client. For example failure to file evidence on time can lead to the evidence being waived due to a statute of limitations.  Stress: Stress management should be a top priority for an attorney, because high levels of stress can lead to poorer legal work. Managing work loads and delegating within a firm is one of the best ways to avoid mistakes that could lead to malpractice.  Substantive errors or failure to know or apply the law: This area encompasses a broad scope of possible mistakes, from failing to to run a conflict check to presenting incomplete or erroneous evidence. It is also is one the leading causes for malpractice cases, comprising 11.3% of all malpractice suits. CLE is beneficial in and of itself because it helps to reduce the chances of this type of mistake from occurring. Handling Attorney-Client Disputes You might not always like or agree with your clients, and so taking a course on remaining professional when you and your client do not see eye to eye can be helpful. It can also help you to remain objective on behalf of your client, especially if you do not personally agree with their cases (which can be more common in criminal trials or personal injury claims). Part of avoiding disputes is making...

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Three Key Elements That Can Help You Win An Emotional Distress Claim

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Key Elements That Can Help You Win An Emotional Distress Claim

Personal injury cases do not only extend to cases where there are physical injuries. Sometimes the injured party is emotionally injured due to someone else’s negligence or harmful actions. An emotional distress case can be filed in conjunction with a physical injury case or on its own. However, these cases can be harder to prove and win. Having the right information to show to a judge or jury can make or break your case. Here are three key elements that can help you win an emotional distress claim. Intentional Emotional Distress In many states, if you are only filing an emotional distress claim, you must prove the individual caused you intentional emotional harm. This rule does not apply if you are filing an emotional distress claim in conjunction with physical injuries you sustained. A prime example of intentional emotional distress is road rage. When the other party cuts you off or hits your vehicle and gets out of their vehicle and approaches you in a confrontational manner, they are purposely creating a hostile situation that can make you fearful. Drunk driving is also a cause of intentional emotional distress. Everyone knows that driving drunk can result in a car accident. Proving this type of negligence is necessary to win these types of cases. As such, you will want to document any and all intentional acts. Talk to witnesses and get statements from them. Or make a police reporting, documenting your exact feelings at the moment the accident occurred. All of this can be used to prove the other driver intentionally acted negligently, leading to emotional distress on your behalf. Documenting your Emotional Distress When you have any sort of injury, it is important that you document it. This is no different when filing an emotional versus physical case. Documenting events and providing a timeline can show the courts that you are dealing with an emotionally stressful situation. There are a number of symptoms that may appear with emotional distress including loss of appetite, anxiety, nightmares, depression, inability to sleep, inability to enjoy life, irritability, mood swings and even physical pain. Documenting exactly what you are feeling and what symptoms you have can show when the symptoms started, how they have progressed and what exactly it is you are dealing with and experiencing. Obtaining Medical Documentation Unlike physical injury claims, you don’t have x-rays or photos of disfigurement to show a judge or jury when suffering from emotional distress. However, this doesn’t mean that there is not any medical documentation that you can use to help prove your emotional injuries. A doctor or therapist can write reports detailing what it is you tell them and what treatment they are recommending to you. Often times, having a report helps show a judge or jury that your symptoms were troubling enough that you brought them up with a professional. Also, having a professional quantify your symptoms and possibly diagnose you can help show a judge or jury that a medical professional believes you are truly experiencing emotional distress, even if there isn’t an x-ray or MRI that can prove it. This type of report can be invaluable in swaying a jury who may be on the fence about the injuries you suffered, the extent of them and whether you are being honest...

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