Archive for January, 2014

Do You Need an Attorney to Defend You Against Your Misdemeanor Charges?

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you may not be thinking about retaining a criminal defense attorney to defend you against the charges. You may feel like you can represent yourself, and that it is no big deal. After all, it’s only a misdemeanor, right? If these thoughts seem familiar, here are some reasons why you may want to reconsider and seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

One reason that it is important to seek legal counsel after you have been charged with a misdemeanor is that a misdemeanor is a crime. People who are convicted of committing crimes are punished, and the punishments for some misdemeanors may be more severe than you think. What’s more, in addition to the fines and/or jail time that you may have to deal with right now, a misdemeanor conviction could have lasting effects on your life, potentially impacting your ability to get a job or find housing, among other things.

Another way that a Kansas criminal defense attorney can help you in regards to your misdemeanor charges is making sure that you understand all of your rights. There are rules that police, investigators, prosecutors, and others involved in your case must follow. If they have made a mistake and have not followed the applicable rules and procedures, your rights may have been violated. Your attorney will not only help you understand your rights as a defendant, they will do their best to ensure that those rights are protected.

People who are charged with misdemeanors are often presented with options like probation or diversion. While probation may seem like a good idea when it is presented to you, it is essential that you fully understand the terms and conditions of what you are agreeing to. Often, probation agreements contain lengthy lists of requirements that take a great deal of time, effort, and money to comply with. Because of this, it is not uncommon for people to violate their probation and end up in a worse position than they would have been in had they chosen a different option. An experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney can help you to decide whether probation is the best option for you, based upon your unique needs. If probation is, in fact, the best option, your attorney can help you to negotiate the terms of your probation so that you will have a good chance of completing all of the requirements successfully.

One more reason why you should seek legal representation in your misdemeanor case is that your criminal defense attorney may be able to help you to get your charges or your conviction off of your record. Expunction of misdemeanor charges and convictions from your record can happen when a specific set of conditions exists. When charges or convictions are expunged, you will be able to have more privacy regarding your record. Your attorney knows which situations qualify for expunction, and if it is available in your case, they can help you to obtain it.

Facing misdemeanor charges on your own is risky, and the present and future effects on your life could be burdensome. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, you can take action to minimize both the short and long term consequences of those charges and any conviction that may result from them. When you retain a seasoned Kansas criminal defense attorney, you give yourself the best chance at obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. To learn more about how an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney could help you, call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.

Four Reasons Why You Need an Attorney After a Tractor Trailer Accident in Kansas

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Many of us share the road with tractor trailers at least a couple of times a day, as we drive to and from work. We share the road with them at many other times, too. At almost any time of the day or night, tractor trailers can be seen on Kansas highways. Although the drivers of the enormous semi-trailers are trained professionals, they are human, and just like all other drivers on the road, they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, when the driver of a tractor trailer makes a mistake and causes an accident, the consequences can be devastating. If you have been in an accident involving a tractor trailer, you know that it was no ordinary car accident. There are differences between accidents involving cars and other cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs, and accidents involving one or more of those smaller vehicles and a tractor trailer. While seeking assistance from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is a good idea after any type of motor vehicle accident, it is especially important for the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers.

One reason that it is essential that you consult with a Kansas personal injury lawyer after your tractor trailer accident is that you may be seriously injured or even faced with the possibility of being disabled in some way for the rest of your life. The sheer size and weight of tractor trailers means that they often cause serious injuries or death, in addition to massive amounts of property damage. Because of the extent of your injuries, and the amount of property damage caused by the accident, you need a settlement that will adequately compensate you. All too often, accident victims sell themselves short by accepting settlement offers that do not cover the continuing medical care, rehabilitative treatments, or other expenses that they did not think about before accepting the offer. Your personal injury attorney can help you to estimate the true value of your claim, and can work to get you a fair settlement.

Many times, if there is an accident involving two cars or other small vehicles, there are only two drivers involved. With tractor trailer accidents, things can get a little more complicated because the driver of the truck often does not own it, or if they do, they own it as part of a business entity. This means that the company which owns the truck is a party to the accident. There can be even more parties involved in some semi-trailer accidents, if the accident was caused by defective service or maintenance, or defective parts or manufacture. Even though more parties makes for a more complicated and lengthy discussion of liability, it could work to your advantage as far as being able to recover from more than one party. An experienced personal injury attorney can work effectively with the various parties involved in a tractor trailer accident case, and can help you to obtain the best possible results.

The activities of semi-trailer drivers are regulated by both state and federal laws. Most people do not know much about the laws that apply to truck drivers. This is another way that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you after an accident with a tractor trailer. Your attorney not only knows the laws, they can also help you understand how they are relevant to your case.

A fourth reason that any victims of an accident involving a tractor trailers needs to be represented by a personal injury attorney is that if the case is not able to be settled, it will proceed to litigation. Preparing a case involving multiple parties and a variety of types of evidence can be a daunting task. Tractor trailer accident cases involve physical evidence, just like all motor vehicle accident cases, but they also involve business records like safety training records and driver log books. Your attorney has a great deal of experience in presenting many types of evidence to the court, and in representing accident victims just like you.

If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident, it is important that you speak to a Kansas personal injury attorney right away. To learn more about how we can help you, please call the Wichita office of Cummings & Cummings, L.L.C. today at (316) 264-1548.

What to do if Your Insurer Refuses to Play Fair

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

You may be experiencing a great deal of pain and suffering as a result of an automobile accident, premises liability accident, or other type of accident that left you injured. Your medical bills are beginning to pile up, and more are on the way because your injuries require rehabilitation and follow up care. To make matters worse, it seems as though your many telephone calls, emails, and letters to your insurance company are being ignored. You may even have been informed that your insurer has denied your claim for damages. If this is happening to you, you are likely to feel frustrated and angry, and you probably wonder whether there is anything else that you can do. Fortunately, this does not have to be the end of the road for your claim.

Insurance companies are required by law to act in good faith, and to carry out their business in a fair manner. When you purchase insurance, you enter into a contract with your insurance company. That contract requires both you and the insurance company to act in good faith, and to deal fairly with each other. Some examples of how an insurance company might act in bad faith include improperly investigating claims, failing to review claims within a reasonable time, consistently “losing” claim-related documentation, and denying claims for no justifiable reason.

The best way to fight back against a difficult insurer is to retain an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney as soon in the claims process as you can. Many times, an insurance company which has been dragging its feet in responding to an insured’s claim will return a prompt response once the insured retains an attorney and the insurance company receives a letter from that attorney. The same goes for settlement offers. Insurance companies are looking to increase their profits by settling each claim for as little as they possibly can. Offering a settlement which is smaller than the actual value of a claim is one way that they can save money, if the insured is unaware of the true value of their claim and accepts the low offer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to determine what your claim is actually worth, so that you do not accept a settlement offer which is not adequate to compensate you for your injuries and damages.

If your claim has already been denied, it is important that you ask your insurance company for a written explanation of the reasons why your claim was denied. If you believe that your claim was unreasonably denied, consult with an attorney to discuss your options. It is important to note that in Kansas, since bad faith insurance claims do not have their own common law cause of action, any claim of this nature would be a breach of contract claim. Spencer v. Aetna Life & Casualty, 227 Kan. 914 (1980). The Kansas Insurance Commissioner does have the authority to redress violations of the Unfair Claims Settlement Processes Act, (KSA 40-2404-9), so it is important that you report your insurance company to the Commissioner if you believe that they have violated one or more of the provisions of the Act.

The best way to ensure that your personal injury claim is settled fairly and in an expedient manner is to seek assistance from a skilled Kansas personal injury attorney. Insurance companies do not always play fair, and having a skilled professional on your side serves to level the playing field. To learn more about how a Kansas personal injury attorney can help you to obtain the settlement that you deserve, please call Cummings & Cummings, L.C.C. today at (316) 264-1548.