• What Are Your Rights to Compensation After a Catastrophic Injury?

    Catastrophic injuries are often associated with motor vehicle crashes. Often, personal injury lawyers who handle catastrophic injury cases work with clients who have been involved in big rig crashes and motorcycle accidents, although other incidents such as dog attacks can also inflict catastrophic injuries. Due to the complexity of these cases, it’s essential to get in touch with a lawyer in Tracy or Manteca right away to discuss your right to seek compensation.

    Defining Catastrophic Injuries

    The legal definition of catastrophic injuries is broad. It encompasses every type of severe injury that is expected to result in life-altering and long-term problems. This includes permanent, debilitating, and disfiguring injuries that cause deficits in any major area of an individual’s functioning. For example, some common catastrophic injuries include the amputation of one or more body parts, the loss of vision or hearing, severe burn injuries, partial or total paralysis, and moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). When you meet with your personal injury lawyer, you’ll be asked to sign a waiver to allow him or her access to your medical records.

    Identifying Past Expenses

    After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, your injury lawyer will need to determine the amount of compensation that is reasonable for you to seek. The compensation that may be sought in a lawsuit generally includes past, current, and future damages. Your past expenses will likely include costs for surgeries, hospitalization, diagnostics, physical therapy, and other specialized therapies. You might have needed to purchase durable medical equipment, pay for modifications to your home to allow accessibility, and perhaps hire an in-home health aide. It’s important to keep track of all of these expenses. Give copies of your receipts to your injury lawyer.

    Calculating Future Needs

    Since catastrophic injuries result in long-term, if not permanent deficits, your lawyer may consult with various experts to determine your anticipated future care needs. These might include additional surgeries, treatments for potential complications, long-term rehabilitative services, medications, and similar expenses. Additionally, you may request compensation for your anticipated partial or total unemployment.

  • Addressing the Complex Issues of Estate Planning in a Blended Family

    Every adult can benefit from seeking estate planning guidance, but for blended families, it’s particularly important to consult a will lawyer in Tracy or Livermore. Blended families pose unique challenges to estate planning. A second marriage may mean that children from the first marriage are inadvertently disinherited, for example. The situation can become even more complicated when an adult child of a blended family has multiple remarriages. Since every family’s situation is unique, it’s best to seek personalized advice from an experienced estate attorney.

    Reviewing Beneficiary Designations

    One suggestion your estate planning attorney may make is to review all of your beneficiary designations. Beneficiary designations are significant because not all assets pass through probate. Some, like life insurance policies, are left to the beneficiary as designated on the policy documents; the last will and testament cannot overturn this designation. If you remarry, you may wish to remove your ex-spouse as a life insurance beneficiary and instead designate your current spouse.

    Itemizing Family Heirlooms

    Family heirlooms and other items of sentimental value can become a point of contention in probate disputes. Children from a former marriage may feel excluded when the most recent spouse and youngest children select items they wish to keep. It’s a good idea to have a discussion with each heir about the family keepsakes that matter most to him or her. The youngest child may want the family piano, for instance, while an adult child might prefer to inherit the family history records. Listing these items and designating an heir for each when drafting the will is an effective way to curb future disputes.

    Considering Premarital Agreements

    There are limits as to what premarital agreements can accomplish with regard to estate planning. However, some blended families may have a concern that the long-term care needs of a new spouse may deplete the family inheritance. A premarital agreement prior to a remarriage can specify the obligations of each spouse to pay expenses and maintain insurance coverage for long-term care needs.