Explaining Contingent Fees

No win no fee concept

Concept of No win no fee

How about paying a fee for a service only if you are satisfied with it? Sounds good, eh? That is exactly what no win no fee is all about. Also known as conditional fee or contingent fee, this is a fee that you have to pay only if the service that was provided to you resulted in a favorable outcome. These types of fees are usually charged in the case of legal matters, where the client has to pay the attorney’s fees only if the attorney procures a favorable outcome for the client.

Need for conditional fee

Not most people can afford to pursue a case in a court of law. The charges involved are sky-high with the attorney fee being the major contributor to it. With the help of this conditional fee, even those who normally cannot afford attorney fee will be able to pursue cases in a court of law. In this way, the government is able to ensure that no person is denied of their civil rights just because they are poor.

There are definite advantages to the client in such cases as the attorney will work diligently on the case because if he or she loses the case, then there would be no fee. This is an advantage, and also, the client can look forward to the attorney not settling for a lower amount in most cases.

Fee structure

No win no fee attorneys

            No win no fee lawyers

Now that you have become acquainted with the term no win no fee, the next question will obviously be about the fee structure. To make it clear, if the client was to receive a sum of money from the defendant as damages, not every bit of that money will go to the attorney as fees. There is a law that determines the fee of attorney but most lawyers will only charge a lesser fee than the local law allows them. Lawyers are allowed to charge 100% of the damages that are given to their clients. They are not allowed to charge more than that but they can charge the regular hourly charges. However, most lawyers on principle will only charge around 25% to 50% of the total damages.

These are some information regarding conditional fees that a lawyer can charge. The clients that usually take up these cases does so in an attempt to prove a point, raise awareness of an issue, or seek vengeance.

Punitive Damages: A Striking Deterrent For Fraudsters

What Is Punitive Damages

What Punitive Damage Is

Today there exist legal policies that are aimed solely at preventing crimes rather than gunning for the wrong doers after the crime has taken place. Punishments are in place with the intention of deterring others from committing any sort of activities that are deemed illegal or fraudulent. One of the biggest examples for the same is Punitive damages. So you might be wondering what is punitive damages? Well, this post will explain in detail about punitive damages and you can use this knowledge in future legal endeavors.

If you go by the rulebooks, punitive damages are those that are awarded to the plaintiff in a lawsuit with the intention of sending out a message to potential wrong doers. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff can claim damages in the name of Punitive damages from the defendant if the plaintiff can provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant made a malicious move or that his conduct was reckless and caused severe violations of the plaintiff’s rights.

Also known the world over as exemplary damages, punitive damages can be claimed by the plaintiff for any loss that he or she suffers because of the harm done to him or her due to the direct involvement of the defendant. If we look at a civil point of view, then punitive damages serve as an important and landmark judgment. The victim who is compensated might find justification for the harm done to him and it is also in the best interests of the society. Additional damage costs extracted from the defendant in this way will mean that potential violators will think twice before committing a crime.

Exemplary Damages

Punitive Damage And Its Meaning

What makes it different from other compensatory awards is that it is less predictable as compared to others. The main reason is that they do not occur frequently in verdicts. Most of the time, federal and even state judiciaries have a say in the amount paid as the punitive damage. Mostly if the compensatory amount that the defendant pays to the victim or plaintiff is higher, then punitive damages may be shortened or even waived off at times.

Whatever be the case, punitive damages indeed prove to be a highly deterring factor for people who engage in potential fraudulent practices. The amount of compensation that needs to be paid in this regard becomes too heavy and hence people see it better to avoid doing the crime.

The knowledge of what is punitive damages should be spread across the society so that more people are made aware of it and more people will be deterred from malicious acts.

You Could Be Liable For Actions Of Your Animals With Strict Liability Laws

strict liability examples

strict liability laws

Be careful the next time you let your animal roam around freely because with the strict liability laws imposed in many cities and states, it becomes your responsibility for the injuries caused by the dangerous animal, intentionally or unintentionally on others. This law has become one of the strict liability examples and with these laws in place in the City, State and even in the Federal levels, you will be sole responsible for the actions of your animal.

In this article, we find out the definitions given to various categories of animals.

Dangerous Animals

A dangerous animal is the one, which has the potential to cause harm to human beings or other domestic animals. It also does not include animals, which are naturally domesticated by the humans. In view of the dangerous nature of such animals, most states have passed laws, which envisage strict liabilities for the owners.

Exotic Animals

Some of the animals that fall in this category include alligator, parana, crocodile and shark. Most of the states in the Country do not allow you to own any of them. In the states like Minnesota and Missouri, it is illegal to own animals like bobcats, great cats and lynx. Other species of animals that are closely watched include different monkey species like chimpanzees.

Wild Animals

There are numerous small untamed animals that could do harm to other animals and humans, which include skunks and raccoons. Other animals included in this category are wolves, dingoes, coyotes. In addition, a dog, which crosses, with any other wild dog is also considered wild. Others include weasels, venomous snakes and badgers.

monkey species

file strict liability case

Domestic Animals

Some domestic animals have posed potential threats to other animals and humans. These include Staffordshire Bull terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier. Special care should be taken while you transport these animals with all the safety measures taken if they are transported to a different location.

Points to remember

An important point that you should take note of is that even if the animal you own do not come under the dangerous category, you could be charged under strict liability laws if they cause damage to property or harm to an individual.

So with all the strict liability examples and strict liability laws, it is important that you take care of the potentially dangerous animals with care so that they do not harm others around you.

Personal Injury Lawyer: Qualifications, Salary and Opportunities

personal injury lawyer Los Angeles ca

salary of personal injury lawyer

If you were a Los Angeles resident, you would search for a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles CA in the event of an injury to you or your loved ones. When you meet with an accident or any other kind of injuries due to someone else’s carelessness or fault, you seek the help of a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney is a lawyer who helps his client to get satisfactory compensation on cases in which his client is injured.

Qualifications of a personal injury lawyer

In order to become a personal injury lawyer, one has to undergo a graduate program first. Once you complete your undergraduate program, you may join the two-year degree program in law. You may choose any undergraduate program before pursuing law. However, most degree aspirants opt for political science, English, business, or history before joining the law program.

After your undergraduate degree, join any law school for the graduate program in law. Keep in mind that law program is highly competitive and demands all your hard work and effort for successful completion. In addition to this, it is always advisable to get admission in a top law school of the country. This will ensure that you get the best law education in the country with best infrastructures.

Salary of a personal injury attorney

As per the figures put forward by PayScale, a personal injury lawyer gets an average yearly salary in the range of $51,291 to $96,288. According to another study by Indeed, the average earnings of a personal injury attorney is put at $73,000 per year. However, there is significant increase in these amounts if the attorney practices in a city. For example, the average annual income of a personal injury lawyer is $75,000, while in Houston this figure is $69,000. If you become a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, your salary could be around $76,000 and if you are in New York, your salary could be as high as $75,000. In states like California, this could go up, as the living expenses are more in this State, that is, a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles CA, may get more salary than a lawyer in Florida.

top law school

become a personal injury lawyer

Employment opportunities of accident attorneys

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there would be a growth of 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. They also forecast that these rise in employment opportunities would be predominant in the salaried sector when compared to private practices. This is mainly attributed to the increasing trend that is seen for out of court settlements and other financial restrictions.

In order to find out the personal injury lawyers in your state, you may navigate to the BAR association website or do a simple Google search. For example, for the residents of Los Angeles, you may search for ‘personal injury lawyer Los Angeles CA’, to find out local accident lawyers.

Income Of A Federal Defense Lawyer

Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorney

  Criminal defense lawyers

Lawyers have the distinction of being among the highly paid professionals in the world. It goes without saying that the income of a lawyer depends upon the reputation that he or she builds up in their fields. So, let us look at some of the figures thrown around, and make a calculation of the income of a Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorney. But before going into the income details and annual salaries, it is important to know some basic definitions, and some things about their profession.

Federal defense lawyers

The federal defense lawyers are different from other lawyers, in the sense that they defend clients who cannot afford the fees of a lawyer, in a federal court. They are also commonly referred to as public defenders, as their primary job is to defend the interests of those defendants who cannot afford attorney’s fees in a federal court of law.

As in the case of any other profession, the average salary of a public defender or a federal defense attorney also varies with location and experience. It is also important to note that, not every person who passes a bar exam becomes eligible for the post of a federal defense attorney. In most cases, an attorney is required to have two to three years of experience in practicing law before they become eligible to become a federal defense attorney. It needs to be noted that, to become eligible for representing a client in a federal charges, the attorney is required to have an experience of five years.

Income of federal defense lawyers

Although the annual salaries of federal defense attorneys vary widely from one location to another, it is possible to calculate an average salary without considering various other factors such as experience, benefits, etc.

federal charges

    Lawyers in Los Angeles

Various reports from 2010 suggest that the federal defense attorneys in the country takes home an average salary of $60,000 per year.

Although the pay for a federal defense attorney might look less enticing, the prospect of clients reaching out for an attorney rather than the other way is definitely an advantage for someone who is at the start of his career.

These are some valid points regarding the work of a federal defense attorney. The Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorneys are among the best-paid federal criminal defense attorneys in the country. Join them if you want to gain some invaluable experience in dealing with these cases.

What Are Conditional Fee Or No Win No Fee Agreements

no win no fee

what is no win no fee

How would you feel if you lose a battle in court and end up in a situation where you are forced to pay your attorney and your opponent’s attorney? I bet that it would never be a good feeling! However, with the new conditional fee agreement, you pay your solicitor only if he is wins the case for you. So what exactly is a ‘no win no fee’ agreement? Let us find out the two types of this agreement’s conditions.

Conditional Fee Agreements

This is the most widely accepted and preferred conditional fee agreement. Two main features of this type of agreement are:

  • Success fee – The attorney gets his success fee only if he is successful in court. However, the attorney can charge you double his normal fee if he wins the case for you. This is considered as a compensation for the risk he took.
  • The ‘After Event’ Insurance policy – If you lose the case, it is true that under the ‘no win no fee’ agreement, you do not have to pay your attorney. However, you are accountable for your opponent’s costs. This will include the court fees of your opponent, his solicitor’s fee or any other fees pertaining to the case. It is the responsibility of your solicitor to arrange this fee for you with the help of an ‘after event insurance policy’. This will make sure that you do not have to pay a penny to the opponent even if you lose the case.

Contingency Fees

This is much easier to understand compared to the Conditional Fee Agreement. You can find Contingency fee agreements in employment tribunals where clients usually battle for a reimbursement or compensation. The client agrees to pay a part of this compensation to the solicitor if he wins the lawsuit for him.

contingency fee agreements

     no win no fee agreements

The Access to Justice Act of 1999 has lead to a number of debates and hullabaloos. With the law enacted in 1999, a large number of companies came up with no lawyers. With policy premiums going up, the victims in accident cases ended up with nothing in their pockets even after successful results in courts. In an attempt to make easy money, companies also started to egg on clients to apply for fake and insignificant claims.

Although, the law brought in many controversies along with it, it has become the most preferred agreement for many clients. However, please note that no solicitors may take up your case or agree to the conditional fee agreements if they do not see any hope of winning your case.

A Short Note On Strict Liability Crimes

Strict liability examples

Examples of Strict liability

What is strict liability? In the criminal law system that we presently follow, defendants are usually only punished if they are found guilty, or when there is requisite ‘mens rea.’ That is, the court renders punishment to only those who are found to be morally worthy of blame. An accused is deemed guilty if he is found to have broken the law intentionally. However, there are certain crimes, which do not require a mens rea, and such cases are known as the strict liability cases.

What is a strict liability crime?

A strict liability crime, as mentioned above is a crime that does not call for a mens rea. In other words, these crimes do not require the defendant to have done something that is wrong or that is morally blameworthy. That is, the accused can be held responsible even if he/she does not have a guilty mind that usually makes a crime morally wrong.

Strict liability examples

The strict liability crime can at times be a concept that is a little hard to understand. Given below are a few strict liability examples to help you understand this legal principle in a better way.

  • Statutory rape law: Sexual intercourse with a minor is illegal according to this law. Here the defendant is guilty of a strict liability crime even if he/she believed that his/her partner was of a legally consenting age. Whether or not the offender intended to have sexual intercourse with a minor does not matter for it to be a crime.
  • Traffic offenses are another example of the strict liability crime. Even if you believe that you were driving within the prescribed speed limits, you will still be given a speeding ticket if you had crossed it.
  • An individual who sells alcohols to minors will be convicted of a strict liability crime even if he/she had believed that the minor was old enough to be buying alcohol.

    Strict liability crimes

    Strict liability explained

How strict liability crimes are justified

Criminally punishing someone for making mistakes that were apparently honest and which has some kind of justification may seem very unfair at first thought. However, in the longer run, the benefits to society of enforcing such laws are far greater than the cost of punishing such an offender.

That was some information on strict liability crimes and its examples. For more info on the same, refer legal resources available online.

How To Terminate Your Personal Injury Lawyer

personal injury lawyer, old lawyer

find personal injury lawyer

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you expect him to handle your case as you wish. What if he does not and you feel like you are going down on your case? Well, terminate him! Even though many clients feel reluctant to terminate their attorneys, it is your right and you can terminate him at any point of time. This article will help you to terminate his services and appoint a new attorney as you wish. Follow the steps below to fire your attorney.

  • Check the agreement – The first step is to check the payment agreement. The terms of agreement and termination policy would be clearly stated in this document. Go through them and find out the terms and conditions of termination. Ask your attorney for bill statements and pay them off. This will help you in a smooth dismissal as you have settled the bills with your attorney.
  • Appoint another attorney – If you have any cases pending, it is always advisable to appoint another attorney as soon as possible. This will make sure that your cases are carried on smoothly in the court and the termination of your previous lawyer does not affect the smooth proceedings of your cases.
  • Send a letter in writing – When you terminate the services of the personal injury lawyer, it is always advisable to send a formal letter to him citing the reasons for the termination and mentioning the exact date and time from which he is relieved from services.
  • Inform the court – When you change your attorney, make sure that you inform the court, along with all the others concerned. The court may proceed to discharge your old personal injury lawyer formally; however, this depends on the development of your case.

    personal injury lawyer, old lawyer

    personal injury lawyer fees

  • Obtain documents – Though you have parted with your old attorney, your file is your right. The old file related to your case is very important for your new attorney to carry the case forward. However, usually, you can obtain this from your old lawyer only when you have paid off his fees. Keep the doors open for negotiations if any disputes arise with your lawyer. You can also seek the help of your new attorney for negotiations purposes.

Your attorney is someone who is employed by you and you have every right to terminate him from serving and representing you in the court. Keep in mind the above points, if you wish to terminate your personal injury lawyer.

To Eliminate Or Not To Eliminate Punitive Damages

What is punitive damages

Civil lawsuits and punitive damages

What is punitive damages? A very often asked question, these are monetary damages awarded to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same wrong in the future. Besides the actual damages, these damages are generally awarded to benefit the society as a whole. These exemplary damages are generally awarded in a civil lawsuit and have been awarded since the 1970’s.

What kind of conduct leads to punitive damages?

Punitive damages are considered as an instrument to convey a message to the defendant and the society to deter such similar wrongs in the future. However, punitive damages become a major controversy in civil and product liability cases. The wrongdoing for which the defendant is awarded punitive damages varies, as there is no definitive definition for these damages. The accused may be ordered to pay punitive damages if he causes the injury intentionally and knowingly with malicious intent. These damages are usually awarded when the conduct can be regarded as fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, malicious or violent in nature. Generally, these non-compensatory damages are awarded only after awarding the compensatory damages.

Why are punitive damages unique in civil law?

While considering criminal law and civil law, there are quite a few differences to distinguish the two. The reason why punitive damages become controversial in civil law is that they are similar to the damages that are granted in a criminal case even though they are awarded in civil law. The awards that are granted in civil lawsuits are generally compensatory in nature. However, punitive damages being non-compensatory in nature are what make them similar to the damages that are awarded in a criminal case. For this reason, punitive damages are often termed as ‘quasi-criminal.’

Non-Compensatory Damages

Punitive damages explained

Eliminate the punitive damages or not?

When it comes to punitive damages, there are both supporters as well as critics to this legal principle. While the supporters are of the opinion that when it is not possible to calculate the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff tangibly, then punitive damages serve as a sufficient compensation. On the other hand, critics believe that these punishments are criminal in nature and that it cannot be considered reasonable in today’s modern society. They are of the opinion that it is not fair to enforce it on defendants, as they do not have protection under criminal court proceedings.

For more info on what is punitive damages and the laws regarding the same, refer online legal resources. Alternatively, you can go down to your local library and check out their law section.

No Win No Fee Might Not Reward Just Like That

No Win No Fee

No win no fee attorneys

Be it a product or a service, we need pay only if we get what we want. That is indeed a just principle as regards the value of every hard-earned penny that we spend. However, the bitter fact is that such a principle of ‘just economics’ might not reward always as we expect. Surgeries are indeed risky, and there is no ‘money back guarantee’ associated with them. Nevertheless, if we could pay the hospital and the surgeon well, we can at the least expect that they would put in their best efforts to save our lives. Thus similar is the case with employment law advice as well.

The risk of losing and the exorbitant amounts of fees charged by solicitors are indeed genuine reasons for many of us to choose the no win no fee route. However, as experiences suggest, there are a quite few reasons why we should not opt for such a safe-play. And in this post, let’s take a look at some of those reasons.

The Pitfalls in a Safe-playing Route

  • The sort of agreements in question shall in most cases include a clause which gives the solicitor the main say on whether a settlement offered is acceptable or not. In order to mitigate the risk, it would not be surprising even if the solicitor accepts much lower sum than what the client wants. Moreover, chances are high that the employer might even drive a wedge between you and your solicitor.

    Contractual Claims

          no win no fee method

  • In situations where the employee does not face the risk of paying the employer’s legal costs, it is possible that the case will be pushed longer than normal in the hope of getting a better settlement. The core of the issue is that the lawyer would be paid anyway, and as the case nears the tribunal the lesser would the client receive. Similarly, as the case reaches the tribunal over a long period of time, all damages ordered would be likely be consumed up as legal fees.
  • Most employment cases are worth less than 9000 dollars; in some instances it could be even less! That said it could be assumed that most cases are related to contractual claims and loss of earnings. Therefore, the best methodology is to get the most competent advice available even if you have to pay for it.

Hope this post gives you a fair idea on how to tackle an employment case to your advantage. For any further assistance on no win no fee lawyers, feel free to get in touch with our experts.