Frequently Asked Questions
- What are compensatory damages?
- What are punitive damages?
- What should I do after I have left the scene of the car accident?
- What should you do if you have a work related injury?
- What is commercial real estate?
- How is custody of children determined?
- How does the court determine property division after a divorce?
What are compensatory damages?
Compensatory damages "compensate" the injured person for various kinds of losses or damages. These may also be referred to as “actual damages.” The courts instructions call for “reasonable” compensation.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages exist to punish or make example of the wrongdoer for conduct that is intentional, or when the wrongdoer acts in a reckless manner in disregard for the rights of others. Punitive damages may be awarded only in certain circumstances. The actual payment of punitive damages is rare, and appellate courts frequently cut punitive damage awards down, or simply throw them out. However, the threat of punitive damages can often induce the defense to make an increased settlement.
What should I do after I have left the scene of the car accident?
You should immediately report the incident, however slight, to your insurance company. Your insurance company should be notified before you authorize repairs to your car.
Do not sign anything that says “Release,” or “in full satisfaction of all claims.” This language is sometimes printed on checks even when only partial payment is being made.
Take pictures of the damage to your car, particularly if it was towed and is now in a storage lot. Have someone take pictures of your injuries. This could be important evidence in the future.
Your memory of what happened when may fade by the time you settle your case. It is a good idea to record when the accident occurred and keep a log of dates and incidents pertaining to your accident.
What should you do if you have a work related injury?
- Notify your employer of when, where, and how you injured yourself
- Make sure you get a copy of the papers filled out by the employer, and let them know if there is any mistake
- If your doctor says you are unable to work, make sure your employer knows
- Make sure the doctor knows exactly what is happening to you, don't just say "fine" or "a little better", give the doctor specifics
- If you receive notice that any bill is unpaid, contact your workers' compensation insurance company immediately and find out why the bill is unpaid
- Everyone you talk to (your employer, the insurance company, or the State) will be taking notes on what you say. Keep your own notes of what happens and your conversations.
- Make sure your doctor knows that you want to get back to work as soon as possible. If you have problems after returning to work let your doctor know immediately.
- If your employer or co-workers ask when you will return to work, tell them "as soon as the doctor lets me"
What is commercial real estate?
Broadly defined, commercial real estate refers to any dealing with property in a business context. It could involve leasing out office space, owning an apartment complex, or selling land as part of the sale of a business. It might be industrial or agricultural property. It could even involve residential properties like apartment complexes or rental houses being held for income-producing purposes. It can even involve working with the government. Unless the property is a residence where the homeowner is living, you are probably dealing with commercial real estate.
How is custody of children determined?
The criteria for custody include the following:
- The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between the parents and child
- The disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care and the degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver
- The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment
- The stability of the family unit of the parents
- The mental and physical health of the parents;
- The home, school and community record of the child
- The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preferences of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children
- Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person
- The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such a person’s interactions with the child
- Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child
How does the court determine property division after a divorce?
To determine who gets what marital property, the court will consider:
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health, skills, and abilities of the parties
- Contribution to the education or to the earning power of the other
- Relative ability of the parties to acquire property in the future
- Contribution to the value of the marital property or the separate property
- Amount of separate property owned by each spouse
- Premarital property and post marital property
- Financial conditions of each party
- Tax consequences
- Social Security benefits
- Allowing the custodian and children to continue to live in the home permanently or for a period of time (most often until remarriage of the custodian or until the children turn eighteen)