Do You Know What The Maritime Jones Act Is?

The Maritime Jones Act is a more conversational name for the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, technically known as P.L. 66-261. It’s a federal United States statute that covers the maintenance and the promotion of American merchant marines. It has a number of purposes, but one of them is regulating all maritime commerce inside United States waters, as well as between various United States ports. Section 27 of the Maritime Jones Act deals with the subject of cabotage, requiring that any goods transported on American waters or in between American ports be carried on ships that fly the United States flag, were constructed in America, are owned by American citizens, and are crewed by either citizens or permanent residents of the United States. The Maritime Jones Act was introduced as legislation by a member of the upper house of Congress, Senator Wesley Jones.

Laws much like the Maritime Jones Act trace their roots to the days of the Founding Fathers, shortly after the Revolution that founded the nation. The First Congress, on the first day of September 1789, enacted Chapter XI. It limited domestic trades to only American ships that met particular requirements.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 has undergone several revisions. At the time of writing, the latest revision was in 2006, and it included re-codification within the larger United States Code. Senator John McCain filed an early 2015 amendment that would have basically annulled the Act, a direct traffic violation.

The Maritime Jones Act should not be confused with another piece of legislation called the Death on the High Seas Act. It’s another maritime law of the United States that doesn’t apply to either coastal waters or navigable waters inland. Many other pieces of legislation, old, new, and updated, cover the water ways of the nation.

What Exactly Is A Third-Party Lawsuit?

You’re probably already familiar with the concept that if someone suffers a personal injury, that they can possibly become a plaintiff and file a lawsuit against the party they believe at fault in order to get compensation. However, do you know what a third-party lawsuit is? It’s a term commonly associated with workers’ compensation claim in a construction accident.

Any employee performing his or her assigned job tasks can not only be injured by co-workers or their employer but also possibly by a third party that actually has little to no link to the business of the employee. Such injury cases bring unique legal concerns with them.

In the majority of cases, an employee injured by an independent third party can file a workers’ compensation claim through the insurance companies of their employer, but also a separate third party negligence claim against the party that inflicted the injury.

In most states, if the employee receives or is awarded anything from their third-party claim, then the employee is legally bound to reimburse their benefits from workers’ compensation. Any remaining amount would be kept by the employee, such as any awards for pain and suffering. Also, punitive damages would also be kept as they are not typically covered by workers’ comp.

Here’s an example: A delivery woman is on her work truck, but she gets struck by the vehicle of a drunk driver. She is injured seriously. She’s entitled to workers’ comp, but she’s also entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the individual drunk driver, as well as his insurance company.

The delivery woman’s workers’ comp insurance only covers her medical benefits and a portion of her wages. However, the third-party personal injury claim winds up awarding her money for medical bills, her out-of-pocket expenses, her full lost wages, and also compensation for her pain and suffering. She reimburses the workers’ comp program the money she got for medical bills and a portion of her income, but she keeps the rest.

Just What Is The Legal Definition Of Personal Injury?

In the narrowest sense, a personal injury is any damage or hurt done to the person of a man or a woman. This would be something like a bruise or a cut, a broken limb, or something along these lines. These circumstances are distinguished from injury to a person’s property or reputation. The phrasing is mainly used in connection with any actions of tort in cases of negligence or in terms of worker’s compensation statutes.

You do need to take note that any personal injury claim, by its very definition, is not something that includes claims of any damage done to property, which would be something like your automobile or home, or their contents. Another thing to note is that a personal injury claim is not a situation involving a fatality or death. By definition, it’s an injury claim, so if you have concerns or actions to take regarding a deceased spouse or family member, then you have a wrongful death claim, not a personal injury claim. A lot of injury lawyers, do, however, help with wrongful death claims in court as well.

Personal injury claims are often the result of negligence on behalf of another person or legal party. There are many sources of potential personal injury claims, but common ones include things like slip and fall claims, medical malpractice, defective product claims, automobile accidents, maritime accidents and pedestrian accidents.

Knowing the term of personal injury in a legal sense does lead to other terms being thrown around. A tortfeasor would a defendant or at-fault party causing injury. An attorney is an individual licensed to practice law that represents the plaintiff, which is you who is filing the suit. A legal party can be either the plaintiff or the defendant. Another term to consider is a third-party lawsuit, where you bring an action against a manufacturer, building owner or another third party who was responsible for your injury.

And whatever you do, don’t try these at home:

What Is The Legal Definition Of Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy involves legal processes that occur in a federal specialized court in order to assist businesses and individuals to repay debts or remove debts under protection from a bankruptcy court. All of the bankruptcy cases will be filed with the federal bankruptcy court. This court will be in an area that your business happens to be located or where you live.

The 2 main categories relating to bankruptcy include “reorganization” and “liquidation”. The liquidation bankruptcy which is also known as Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically used by an individual and in some cases, a business whose expenses have become greater than the individual’s or business income and the debts cannot be paid back. The main reason for liquidation bankruptcy is to do away with specific debt that provides the individual with a clean slate.

When it comes to individual based liquidation bankruptcy a court discharges specific debts owed which will mean these debts fall away. An exchange for this discharge can be made with non-exempt property which can be sold. This money will then be utilized to pay back the creditors.

Reorganization bankruptcy is only used when the individual or business has enough income in order to pay the majority of the debts back over an extended time period. There are various reorganization bankruptcy types, but the one known as Chapter 13 happens to be the most commonly used in regards to consumers and individuals.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves that the business or individual is permitted to keep their property, but monthly payments need to be made over a period of 3 to 5 years in order to pay back the entire debt or a portion of the debt. A reorganization bankruptcy will require the business or individual to file for the repayment plan that will need approval from a bankruptcy court.

When in doubt, hire a bankruptcy attorney that can present you with options on which type of bankruptcy to file.

What Is The Legal Definition Of A Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim is in reference to a person that may be held liable for the death of another. This is something that can lead to civil action, typically filed by those that were relatives of the deceased, and is done because a person that has died cannot file this type of suit. There is a standard for proof that must be met in a United States courtroom which is based upon what is called a preponderance of evidence. It must be shown that there was convincing and clear intent on the part of the other to kill this other person.

Different Types Of Wrongful Death Claims

There are a couple different types of wrongful death claims that can be made such as those that are involved in automobile accidents, abuse, and medical malpractice. In fact, a car manufacturer may actually be sued in a wrongful death case if it is proven that multiple vehicles were defective with the same problems that led to multiple deaths. These are just a few of the many ways that this can be looked at, and what the judge will use in order to prosecute a person or a company.

Difficult Aspects Of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

One of the more difficult aspects of filing this type of lawsuit is exactly what the other person is liable for. There is also the fact that the other person may have actually killed the other as a result of self-defense. Additionally, if a person has committed suicide, and another person is thought to have helped them along, this is another aspect of a wrongful death case. All of the evidence will be decided upon by a judge that can make a decision based upon the evidence presented.

This basic overview of the legal definition of a wrongful death will give you a few ideas on what it actually means. It just depends on the situation, how the person died, and whether or not the other person, or even a business, is found to be responsible.  To help you learn more about the subject, we attached a video from JNY Law Firm which dives into Wrongful Death in a bit more detail.

The Legal Differences Between Prison And Jail

The terms jail and prison are more often than not used interchangeably, where people use jail to mean prison or prison to mean jail. However, there is a distinction between the two and it is important to acquaint yourself of the meaning of both terms, at least from a legal standpoint. Herein, we will explore the differences between jail and prison, just to clarify the explicit meaning of each of these terms.

Jail

One of the main distinguishing characterizations of a jail is the governing body charged running such as facility. Jails are typically run by city or county governments. Therefore, they tend to lock up a few number of people typically on a short-term basis.

Additionally, aside from the operating body, jails are also defined by the offenders they lock up. Typically, jails are used to lock up individuals sentenced to a jail term of less than a year. Such individuals are usually charged for misdemeanors criminal offenses. However, jails are also used to lock up arrested individuals waiting for trial, sentencing, plea agreements, or on transfer to another facility. In this regard, they are known as detention centers.

Prison

In using the bodies that the prisons and the sentence period to differentiate between jails and prison, you should note that prisons are usually run at the state level or at the federal level. Prisons are thus secure facilities run by the state or the federal government by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

They are particularly developed for individuals convicted of committing felony offenses. Therefore, more often than not, they are sentenced to jail terms of more than a year, since their crimes are considered by law as serious crimes.

Prisons are also called penitentiaries. In this regard, one should use the term ‘penitentiary’ as a synonym of prison instead of using jail as a synonym for prison.

The Legal Definition Of Pain And Suffering

If you want to win a lawsuit, you’re going to have to demonstrate “pain and suffering” to the people overseeing your case. It isn’t enough to say that you suffered; you need to meet the legal definition of pain and suffering.

Here are some of the damages that fall under this category according to my friend Michael Sawicki of Sawicki Law Firm:

Shortening Of Life

Most people want to live a long and healthy life. If your life was potentially shortened because of an incident, that easily should meet the legal definition of pain and suffering. Anything that reduces your lifespan should qualify.

Temporary Or Permanent Limits On Your Activity

If you had to miss work because of an injury, you had a temporary limit on your activity levels. This qualifies as pain and suffering. If you lost a finger and are no longer able to type at the same rate you used to, that could qualify as well.

Scarring

Even if your injury didn’t put limits on your activity, it could meet the definition for pain and suffering. Scarring definitely qualifies, even if your job isn’t dependent on your appearance.

Depression And Other Mental Health Issues

Depression falls into the “suffering” portion of pain and suffering. However, if you are going to argue that you have been dealing with depression because of something that happened, you will have to see a mental health professional. Depression and sadness aren’t the same things; you are going to have to show that your overall mental health has decreased. The same is true for anxiety and PTSD.

As you can see, there are plenty of things that meet the legal definition of pain and suffering. If you are worried about the likely outcome of a case, you should talk to a lawyer. They will help to determine whether or not your circumstances fit this definition.

How to Amp Up Your Law Firm’s Profitability

One of the big questions that is on the minds of most businessmen and professionals in the world is how to increase their business. More often than not, this sort of question focuses primarily on increasing profit within the business itself. As an answer to this question, the business may resort to cutting costs in certain parts of the company where they can afford it or they may implement strategic methods of attracting customers and revenue among others. Of course, the smartest approach would generally be to kill two (or more) birds with one stone on the matter.

Sometimes, a matter of improving your business can lie within a universal solution. Technological advancements have been the easiest answer for the past several years in regard to drawing more business for many industries. And for your law firm, the answer is no different. Using practice management software to consolidate your business more effectively may well be the key that you’ve been searching for, both in order to cut down on certain costs as well as drawing in more clients to help your firm thrive in a rapidly-changing business climate.

As a law firm, you are obligated to stay in compliance with legal and ethical standards and it is a high priority for your firm. This sort of accountability also creates an atmosphere of trust around potential clients and even has the capacity to reinforce trust in an existing professional relationship. Managing the funds most efficiently could help overall satisfaction and potentially return clients in the future. Show that they can trust you as a law firm to manage their trust account and they may very well be encouraged to trust you with even more precious matters further down the road.

What is a better way to make clients feel comfortable with entering into an agreement with you? Many laymen might say providing a favorable settlement or court case. A more reasonable expectation might be the ability to maintain their privacy and keep confidentiality. In a world with an ever-expanding global network and individual privacy sometimes feeling like a rare commodity, assuring a client that their information is being handled with the utmost care can work quite heavily in a firm’s favor. Using high-end encryption programs within practice management software like Zola Suite, this demand has become much easier for your law firm to provide to your clients. Packages include 256-bit bank-level encryption for all electronic correspondence, which is a fancy way of being able to tell your clients that their privacy is as secure as most government or bank files. And while it may or may not necessarily be the favorable settlement or court date guarantee they might be seeking, giving your clients a little peace of mind while you work on their case may well afford you some returning business should they need it.

Looking at the Legal Definition of Probate

Probate is a word that can bring up many different mental images, but the general meaning of this word is very different when comparing it to the popular legal definition. Even among the various legal terms available, it’s worth noting that even several similar sounding terms are going to have quite different meanings. Legally speaking, probate refers to any law having to do with a legal will or executing the process of divvying up an estate after the owner’s death. What does this all include?

Probate & Wills
The most important aspect to a probate case is proving not only that a will actually was the true last wishes of whoever made it, but also that the will is legally viable and follows all the specific rules of state and federal law in order to be properly executed. This is part of the reason why having a lawyer look over your will is so important: to make sure it is actually acceptable according to court standards.

In many cases, a video tape or a written form with signature isn’t enough to guarantee that a deceased individual’s belongings are split the way that he/she wants them to be. The only way to make absolutely sure that the list wishes are followed is to make sure an experienced probate lawyer draws up the papers and helps to execute them.

While having some nonlegal documents is generally better than having nothing at all, there’s a reason probate law exists, and that isn’t even going into the fact that there is an entire court system dedicated to focusing specifically on any disagreements that come up with these very specific and important cases. Many people want to avoid probate so their loved ones can inherit their assets in a quick and timely fashion. This reinforces why having a probate attorney help draft up your living will can help your family from more legal responsibility in the future.

What Exactly Is The Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor?

When a person is arrested, and they are charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor, they might be confused as to what the difference actually is. Most people know that being charged with a misdemeanor is not quite as bad as a felony, but understanding that difference is sometimes not easy to discern. These are two classifications of crimes that are committed in most states, both of which are worse than petty offenses. Let’s look at the difference between felonies and misdemeanors so that you understand the difference.

What Are Misdemeanors?

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you can be fined a certain amount of money, and you may do jail time, typically less than 12 months. Your time in jail would be at the county jail, and would certainly not be at a federal correctional institution like a prison. It is unlikely that the issue will go to trial, and you are not afforded a public defender because these issues are easily resolved by the judge. Felonies, on the other hand, carry more weight in regard to how much you can be fined and where you will spend time in jail if that is what the judge recommends.

What Is A Felony?

A felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor. In most states, it is up to a prosecutor to pursue an indictment of some sort, usually before a grand jury. They are punishable, just like misdemeanors, with time behind bars and also monetary penalties. Your time in jail will actually be in a prison if you are convicted of a felony, and you will be given the right to a public defender. Other penalties associated with becoming a felon include an inability to possess firearms, and also being prevented from certain jobs such as teaching or going into the military.

The exact amount of time that you will spend in jail or prison, and the amount of money that you will be fined, differ in every state. The severity of these penalties determined by the judge. Now that you know the difference, if you are ever convicted of either of these, you will have a general idea of what to expect. They are simply representative of the level of the crime that has been committed, each with their own penalties which are determined by each state.