Power of Attorney Legal Information

A power of attorney is a type of legal document in which you declare that you are assigning another person (a close relative or a trusted friend) the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf while you are temporarily unable. The person to whom you give these rights to is called an “agent”. You, as the designator, are called the “principal.” The agent is a “fiduciary”, which means that he or she must perform any decisions with your best interests in mind and completely in good faith. Good faith simply means that something is being done without the intent to deceive.

If a person were going to be hospitalized for a common surgery, or was going to be physically unable to perform certain financial or legal obligations, an agent can be selected for a Limited Power of Attorney. This person could perform such tasks as banking affairs, paying bills or other tasks as assigned by you. As long as you, as the principal, are capable of making decisions with a sound mind, the agent must follow your directions. Once you are able to perform the required tasks on your own, the power and privileges are revoked. In other instances, there should be a time limit set for these powers, with an indefinite time frame or permanency clause avoided. This document is also null and void if you become permanently incapacitated or were to die.

The second type of authority is a General Power of Attorney. This document gives the agent the ability to perform any tasks that you yourself can do including, but not limited to decisions and follow through of banking transactions, opening safety deposit boxes, completing transactions involving securities, stocks and/or bonds, the buying and selling of personal property, purchasing life insurance, settling claims, entering into legally binding contracts, controlling real estate (which would include, selling, buying and/or managing), filing tax returns and decisions related to government benefits. The person acting as your agent should be a trusted individual. Again, the agent is someone who would act with only your best interests in mind.

A Health Care Power of Attorney designates an agent to make health care decisions for you if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make such decisions. It is important to understand that there is a difference between this document and a Living Will. A Living Will only provides directive in the event that life sustaining decisions are in question. Your agent would be entitled to make decisions including but not limited to surgeries, doctors, hospitals, after care and the amount of life saving efforts performed on your behalf. Again, the agent should be someone you have absolute trust in. With these documents and the power bestowed on the agent, it is imperative that an understanding be in place regarding your wishes before the document is signed. In most states, this person cannot be a health care provider or a hospital/care facility employee, even if they are related.

How to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

A San Juan Capistrano Personal Injury Lawyer’s Advice:

There are many reasons why it is best for you to obtain a lawyer after an accident. Settlements offered by insurance companies representing the person or company that caused an injury are hired to pay you as little as possible while avoiding any legal accountability.

Personal injury lawyers make sure you are paid the full amount you are owed due to the negligence of the other party. Personal injury lawyers also provide you with the experience you need to win your case and the perseverance to make sure you get what you deserve.

What is a Personal Injury Lawyer and Why Do I Need One?

After an accident, the best way to protect yourself against unlawful litigation or continued negligence is to retain a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers practice a special area of civil law, specifically when someone has been injured due to another’s actions. They can determine if your injury warrants damage recovery from the other party and to what amount. It is definitely to your advantage to have a lawyer represent you with a case against an insurance company!

Where Do I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?

There are many places to find a personal injury lawyer. Many advertise on the television, in the phone book, and the Internet. One of the best ways to find a lawyer is to go to someone you already know and trust and then ask for a referral. If you do not know any lawyers, or none you trust, there are a variety of local referral service and membership organizations that can guide you in the right direction.

Do I Have to Hire an Lawyer if I Meet With One Regarding My Case?

No. Even if you meet with a lawyer, you have no obligation to hire her or him. There might be a consultation fee although most are free. Be sure to ask about this before you agree to meet.

What Am I Supposed to Ask The Lawyer Once We Meet?

Some people feel intimidated by lawyers. Keep in mind that this is an interview and you are in charge. The lawyer you decide to retain will be working for and with you. Ask important questions such as their wins and loss records, any disciplinary actions against them, their time in that field, their experience in personal injury cases, how progress will be reported to you, ways of contact and emergency contact information and how they charge.

How Do I Retain a Lawyer I like?

A written retainer agreement is the best way to ensure your lawyer will represent your personal injury claim. Most use short and simple ones but even so, make sure you read every part of the agreement before you sign. If you do not understand something or only have a slight grasp on the meaning, ask for clarification BEFORE you sign.

What If I Retain a Lawyer And Then Do Not Like Their Style?

Again, remember that you are in charge! Just like any other employer/ employee relationship, you have the right to terminate the contract. Please note though, that if you do decide to cancel any working relationship, the lawyer is entitled to compensation for any and all work that has been put into your case, usually outlined in your written retainer agreement.

Before you terminate any agreements based on an unsatisfactory job on your lawyer’s behalf, speak with them and let them know your expectations and the areas you would like to see improvement on. Remember, they are working for you and want you as a client!

The Duties of a Personal Injury Lawyer

Have you been hurt on the job? Have you experienced an injury because of the actions of another? These are simply two of the easiest and simplest examples of when you would need to contact a personal injury lawyer to file a claim for you and begin the legal process towards compensation. If you are looking for a lawyer that deals with personal injury, you want to look at the law school they have graduated from and whether or not they are BAR certified. Further, you will want to examine whether the lawyer belongs to a number of different national or local legal associations.

In addition to looking at the specific qualifications of your lawyer, you want to decide what kind of practice as a whole that you want to take your case. This can be anything ranging from a small personal practice to a massive legal conglomerate. Depending upon your needs and financial resources, different avenues of representation is advised.

A lawyer that works for individual injury issues is the advocate of the client to obtain just compensation for the harms that had been inflicted upon the client. These lawyers work confidentially to obtain just financial recourse from those that have injured you. Simply, they get you money to compensate you for your harm.

Lawyers that specialize in injury have the same minimal requirements that other lawyers have. A lawyer must pass a written bar exam so that they can practice law. These bar exams differ widely by state and a lawyer must have passed the exam for the state in which they practice.

To take a bar exam, a lawyer must have attended some form of law school and received a law degree. Further, lawyers that specialize in personal injury are also required to take a multistate bar exam, a multistate essay exam and a multistate professional responsibility exam. Even after passing all of these exams, lawyers are still required to remain knowledgeable about the most recent changes in legal precedent especially within their field of practice. This is accomplished by taking continuing legal education courses as well as by performing legal research.

A lawyer will chose to operate within a specific area of the law. By creating a focus, lawyers gain additional knowledge and special experience. A lawyer must take a specialty certification program that has been accredited by the American Bar Association in order to be a certified specialist in personal injury law. These certification help set high standards for knowledge, experience and competence, so finding a certified lawyer that specializes in personal injury law is a primary goal.

Another way to access the value and qualifications of your injury lawyer are looking at the professional associations that they belong to. This includes the American Bar Association, a legal association that works to continue legal education and provides accreditation for law schools.

There is also the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Membership in these legal associations is a great indicator of the value of your lawyer.