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Divorce And Family Law

Planning for divorce is a form of insurance.

Most couples in the White Plains, New York area are not considering divorce while they are planning their wedding. But many financial advisors will tell those planning on a marriage together to plan for the possibility of divorce and look to protect their personal assets.

Some are turned off at the concept of divorce planning, but others see such planning as an unfortunate but necessary form of protection. It can be a form of insurance, one hopes it is never necessary, but it can prevent financial catastrophe if the worst comes to bear.

One way to plan for certain contingencies is the prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Both are agreements that separate property if the parties divorce or otherwise separate. As the names imply, a prenuptial is executed before marriage. A postnuptial agreement is executed during the marriage.

There are certainly other reasons for financial considerations prior to taking marital vows. A couple may choose not to commingle income and property received by inheritance or family gift. If one party is a spendthrift or has financial troubles, the other may seek to shield his or her assets from the spouse’s creditors. An illness to one spouse can have a serious effect on the spouse’s finances, and the spouse may plan to protect his or her own assets.

Hiring an experienced attorney is a beneficial step in planning for divorce. In any of these types of planning, state laws will have a great effect on the path chosen. Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements are governed by state law. If the agreement is inconsistent with state law, the agreement can be nullified and unenforceable. If nullified, the assets of the marriage, including premarital assets and assets received by inheritance will be divided by state law. To minimize the risk of this happening, it may be wise to hire an experienced family law attorney.

Medical Malpractice

A rise in birth defects due to Zika leaves parents scrambling

On a Friday night in the ER, an overworked doctor listens to your symptoms; fatigue, skin rash and body aches. “Sounds like you have got the flu,” the doctor comments and quickly scribbles a signature on a prescription pad. You are instructed to go home, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Fast forward nine months and you once again find yourself in the ER, this time you are welcoming your first child. In all of the excitement, you count ten fingers and ten toes and are content to think your baby is perfect. However, the worried look on the doctor’s face suddenly changes everything, “Have you ever heard of microcephaly?” he asks gently.

How could this happen?

The reality is that trip to the emergency room before the pregnancy was not due to a cold. In fact, it was due to the Zika virus. Unfortunately, this situation often results in a typical misdiagnosis by doctors, as the Zika virus presents flu-like symptoms. A recent study released by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found a spike in Zika-related birth defects in the United States. Forty-nine percent of the babies born to a mother who had the Zika virus suffered microcephaly, a condition in which the brain and head are underdeveloped.

The doctors did not catch it

What the report showed is in many cases most of the mothers who had babies with birth defects linked to the Zika virus never got tested for the virus or were not tested at the right time. Mothers were essentially unaware they were carrying the disease. When doctors misdiagnose or fail to diagnose medical conditions the results are life-changing.

Medical malpractice stems from instances where an error in a doctor’s diagnosis leads to improper, delayed or no treatment whatsoever. In the most unfortunate of cases, the outcome of a doctor’s negligence can be deadly.

Personal Injury

Report highlights role of governors in U.S. road safety

In New York and across the U.S., inadequate road safety has led to a rise in car accident injuries and fatalities. In 2016, for instance, 39 states reported an increase in the number of traffic fatalities from 2015. Nationwide, it came out to a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year. More than 37,000 drivers died in 2016.

Because road safety in the U.S. are sorely lacking in comparison with those of other developed countries, the National Governors Association has issued a report detailing the kind of strategies that state governors can take to combat the problem. It emphasizes the unique role that governors can play, for example in their ability to provide leadership for highway safety projects.

They could also work together with their state’s highway safety offices and foster communication among other agencies. This way, they could improve existing safety guidelines and identify any new strategies they could implement to reduce traffic fatalities. The goal with every governor should be to reduce fatalities to zero. The program laid out in the NGA report has the support of the Governors Highway Safety Association, an agency that also assisted in its development. The report comes with policy development tools, which every state can use all or some of according to its present needs.

With so many injuries and deaths on America’s roads, insurance companies do everything they can to find holes in auto accident claims and refuse to settle. This is why anyone injured through another driver’s negligence should consult with a lawyer who can assess the claim, bring together proof with the help of investigators, and handle all negotiations so that appropriate compensation can be received.

Personal Injury

Claims for unsafe building injuries

With so many people going in and out of buildings every day, it’s expected that some will injure themselves on occasion. When injuries arise from the owner’s negligence, they are called unsafe building injuries and can lead to a premises liability claim. Residents of New York will want to know more about unsafe building injuries and what factors are involved in filing a claim.

The most common causes of unsafe building injuries are slippery floors, broken stairs, potholes and cracks in the pavement, and falling objects. They can also be aggravated by factors like poor lighting and inadequate security. Injuries can occur on commercial property or in other people’s homes.

When filing a premises liability claim, two things must be established: what the owner’s and the victim’s duty of care was, and what the victim can be classified as. Owners have a duty to keep their property free from any unreasonable safety risks, while entrants have a duty to use the property in a reasonable way.

Entrants are classified as either invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Owners have a duty of care to all three, though naturally there is less of a duty to the third group. Invitees enter a property for mutual benefit, such as to purchase goods, while licensees enter for their own benefit, such as to use the restroom.

This is just the beginning, though. One may have to negotiate a settlement with the other side and perhaps go so far as to litigate. A property owner or injury victim may benefit from hiring a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. Such lawyers may have an in-house team of investigators who can make a coherent case out of incident reports, security footage, and other data. Lawyers may also handle negotiations, sidestepping any aggressive tactics, and speak on clients’ behalf in court.

Personal Injury

Research looks at post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome

Some people in New York might have been frustrated when seeking a diagnosis for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. This has been a controversial condition because while some patients report symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches and cognitive fogginess months or years after treatment for Lyme disease, doctors have been unable to find indications of anything wrong in tests. As a result, many people believe that the condition does not exist.

A study at John Hopkins University looked at people who said they suffered from chronic Lyme disease along with a healthy control group. Researchers found that extensive testing, including blood marker and neurological exams, showed no difference between the healthy patients and the individuals who complained of symptoms. However, researchers reported that the symptoms appeared to be genuine.

Researchers are proposing that in the absence of a diagnostic exam to identify PTLDS, doctors will have to rely on patient self-reporting. Other symptoms patients described included numbness, headaches and lower back and neck pain. Researchers say that doctors could better identify PTLDS if patients report these types of symptoms. A documented history of a person having Lyme disease could also help prevent a misdiagnosis.

There are a number of conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, that may be difficult for doctors to diagnose. Since there are no definitive tests to detect these diseases, they often must be diagnosed by the process of elimination. One difference between a delayed diagnosis in these cases and an incidence of medical malpractice is whether the doctor was negligent. If a patient does not receive a reasonable standard of care, the doctor might be guilty of medical malpractice. An example of negligence might be if a patient reported MS-like symptoms to a doctor, and the physician simply dismissed the person after running one or two initial tests instead of pursuing a more complex process of diagnosis.