Have you ever rented an apartment for yourself or one of your kids and wondered if all your rights are being protected and respected when moving into a new apartment? The relationship between a landlord and renter is based on trust and respect. Yet many people feel that their landlord took too long to fix something in their unit or that they have been scammed out of their security deposit at the end of the lease.
Image by Dave Keeshan via Flickr Growing up, our parents always told us to apologize for our wrongs. Perhaps it’s high time we applied that childhood lesson to real life, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because, as a new study shows, it may reduce the likelihood of lawsuits. The study was conducted at the University of Illinois. The conclusion reached by the study flies in the face of conventional legal advice, which dictates that it is unwise to apologize, since doing so is an admission of liability. Instead, it appears that apologizing may in fact reduce the chance that a lawsuit will be filed as a result of the potentially tortious conduct. As explained in this University of Illinois article, apologies help to placate the injured parties, thus reducing the likelihood of litigation: Jennifer Robbennolt says her studies show that apologies can potentially help resolve legal disputes ranging from injury cases to wrongful firings, giving wounded parties a sense of justice and satisfaction that promotes settlements and trims demands for damages. Of course, as we learned as youngsters, the nature of the apology matters. Simply apologizing for the fact that the incident occurred rather than accepting blame is an unsuccessful strategy. Acknowledging wrongdoing is the key to an effective apology. Although lawyers are traditionally reluctant to encourage apologies, in part out of concern that it may later affect the strength of the case, many jurisdictions are now recognizing the value of apologies. In fact, as explained in the article “(s)tatutes that make at least some apologetic statements inadmissible at trial are now on the books in 35 states, most enacted in the last decade.” This is an issue that personal injury attorneys should keep in mind when negotiating on behalf of and advising their clients. Apologies may not advance their client’s interests in all cases, but in some cases, it might just be a good idea.
Anyone whoâ€™s been injured in an accident is understandably eager to settle their personal injury lawsuit. The pressure to settle can be enormous, especially if you are out of a job or working reduced hours because of the injuries, while at the same time facing mounting medical bills and other expenses. But itâ€™s very important to resist the temptation to accept a low-ball settlement offer early in a case. Hereâ€™s why. A popular misconception is that personal injury lawsuits take too long to resolve because parties are dragging their heels and the court system is inefficient. But the fact is it typically takes one to two years for an injured person to reach their maximum medical improvement. Only then will you know the full value of your case. Ideally, you should never settle until you know the full extent of your injuries. Not only that, your attorney needs time to fully develop your case by interviewing and deposing fact witnesses, obtaining expert testimony on your behalf, and gathering all of your medical records and other documents to help prove your case. A well-developed case is much more likely to settle at a fair value compared to a claim that has incomplete information. Insurance companies usually are in no hurry to settle. They offer low settlements and continue to defend cases in an attempt to minimize their financial exposure. The goal is to pressure injured individuals into accepting settlements that donâ€™t fully compensate them for their injuries. The party who caused the accident and who is liable for your injuries may claim to have only so much insurance coverage. However, there may be additional insurance coverage, but it often takes time for your attorney to track it down. There are legal reasons not to rush into a settlement as well. For instance, letâ€™s say you are injured in a motor vehicle accident when a truck driver negligently crashes into you. Letâ€™s assume the truck driver is employed by a company that owns the truck. He is considered an agent of the truck company, which means the truck company is legally responsible for the driverâ€™s actions on the job. The law says that if you settle a case with an agent, you automatically settle with the master as well. Therefore, itâ€™s important to wait to settle with all responsible parties in order to maximize your recovery. There are also tactical reasons to[READ MORE…]
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