Archive for December, 2010

In Kansas Am I Entitled To A Trial By Jury For a Misdemeanor?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

In Kansas, on misdemeanors court cases you do not automatically have a right to have a jury trial on those issues. You have to request a jury trial. If you request a jury trial then you’re entitled to a six person jury panel to have that trial.  If you don’t request a jury trial, then you’re deemed to have waived your right to a jury trial and then you have a trial to the court.

This is where the judge sits on the bench, so it is also called a bench trial.  The judge would then make the decision as to whether you’re guilty or innocent based on the evidence instead of a jury.  A lot of the times, it is a lot better to have a jury decide, especially in a case where it appears as if the evidence is more against the defendant.  This is because a judge is more likely to say, “Well, I think there is probable cause, or proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty of this crime.  Also, you’ve got one person deciding this, rather than six people.

Call our Southwest Kansas misdemeanor defense attorneys to discuss your case and weigh out your options.

Am I Entitled To A Jury Trial Involving Traffic Court in Liberal or Other Kansas City Courts?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

In Liberal, Kansas and other city courts throughout the state of Kansas, these courts try a lot of misdemeanors and traffic cases.  In city courts in the state of Kansas you are not entitled to a jury trial.  You will have a trial to the bench.  Keep in mind that if you do not like that decision you may appeal it to a district court judge.

Call our Liberal Kansas traffic court attorneys to discuss your traffic court case today.

Why Should I Talk To An Attorney About My Kansas Criminal Charges or Case?

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

It is really important that people understand that what happens today could affect their future in a criminal case.  One of the first things that we ask people whenever they come in is “What is your criminal history.”  It is important because that is going to let us know what kind of possible ramifications they are looking at for sentencing.

For example in an assault and battery case in Kansas, there is usually probation that is attached to it.  There are also court costs that are associated with the case as well as fees and fines. Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, so it’s up to 30 days in jail, but there are also fines associated with it. The fines vary upon the level and degree of the misdemeanor and/or felony. The other thing about these types of charges is that they are all misdemeanors, unless it’s a felony domestic battery.

However, in Kansas, if you get convicted of three person misdemeanors, that can then convert into a felony for sentencing purposes.  So, if you get three misdemeanor battery convictions you may not have a felony conviction on your record. However, if down the road you get charged with an aggravated battery, you could now have a felony on your record. That means that if you get convicted of that aggravated battery, the penalties are way more severe.

It is far more likely that you’ll be looking at going to prison if you get convicted.   It is important to realize that although assault and battery may be smaller crimes, they’re still very serious crimes.  They can have very serious ramifications upon you, if you either take a guilty plea or are found guilty.

Let us look at another example. Let’s say you have been charged with a battery, and have been brought in front of the court for a first appearance.   At that first appearance the judge will say, for example, “You’re charged with a battery Class B misdemeanor. It’s up to 180 days in jail, and up to a thousand dollar fine. How do you choose to plead?”.   At that first appearance, that judge expects you to plead to something, either non-guilty, guilty, or for diversion.  If you decide, “I did it. I’m just going to plead guilty to it”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time that is a bad decision.  The reason for that is, if you hired an attorney or had an attorney appointed to you, the attorney can turn around and 90 percent of the time get better results. This could possibly come through a plea deal and by the attorney explaining to you things about sentencing and criminal history that can affect you in the future.  These are not things that a court is required to inform you about.

It’s very important that if you are arrested or charged, that if you have any questions at all or are hesitant that you go and talk to someone that knows.   Doing your research and looking into it yourself, is fine, but you should really talk to somebody about it.

Speak to our Southwest Kansas criminal lawyers by calling us today.

In Kansas Domestic Battery is a Class B Misdemeanor First Offense and Class A Second and A Felony For Subsequent Offenses

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Domestic battery is a Class B person misdemeanor for a first offense and if found guilty a person may serve up to 180 days in jail.  In addition, a person found guilty of domestic violence in Kanas is usually also required to attend anger management classes. Kansas is interesting as far as the domestic battery law goes, in that if you get a second domestic battery, it is considered a Class A person misdemeanor. The penalty for that type of crime is up to a year in jail.  The person will again likely have to enroll in anger management classes. On a third offense of a domestic battery, it may be prosecuted as a felony.

Southwest Truck Accident Attorney Discusses Kansas Accident Insurance Coverage

Monday, December 6th, 2010

As far as personal injury and truck accidents, premises liability, the insurance that those businesses have will be high enough to make sure that that actual business is not going to have to go bankrupt.   This is because the business knows that they need to cover themselves.  They know they are in need of a million dollar, or two or three million-dollar policy on their business in case something happens.   Therefore those type of cases can actually make it possible for a potential plaintiff’s to get more money.  The case may not necessarily be worth more, but they could be able to get more because the money is there through the insurance companies.

This is the same with trucking type accidents. Trucking companies have a lot higher insurance than individuals because they’re carrying loads of materials.  Even if you’re talking about hauling a load of grain down the road, if something happens with that truck and all that grain is on the ground, you’re talking about a lot of money.  Therefore these trucking companies realize this and they have really high policy limits.

So if someone is involved in a truck accident, the trucking company is going to have insurance that is probably more likely above and beyond the amount of damages that somebody will actually suffer.  In that regard, you’ll have a better likelihood of being made whole, even if you don’t have very good insurance yourself.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call for a free consultation with a Southwest Kansas accident attorney.

Things to Consider When You Are Injured in A Kansas Car Accident.

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

An important thing to note when dealing with insurance companies is that the insurance company may send you a letter in the mail.   At this point you do not really know where you stand as far as medical bills, repairs to your car or anything. You may receive this letter with an offer for a specific sum of money as long as you sign on the dotted line.

To a person who has just been hit by another car it seems like a lot of money and appears that it will go a long way.  However, with medical bills, car damage, and other expenses it may not be enough.  Many people make a mistake by failing to consider  what is going to happen a year from now. What is going to happen when the injury I thought I had ends up being a more severe injury?  What is going to happen when you are in rehabilitation and not working and do not have any income coming in?

If someone takes that settlement offer, they are really stuck.  They are stuck with whatever amount you agreed to at the time.  These type of settlement offers are something that people need to be really hesitant about. They really need to look at that amount of money and think about how many medical bills are going to be outstanding.

They need to weigh medical bills outstanding versus if they have health insurance or not.   They also need to consider If that amount is going to be able to help pay for their lost wages and if they’re going to have more lost wages in the future.  People really need to be hesitant when they get correspondence from the insurance company with a settlement offer.  Not all settlement offers are bad.  Some of them are okay.  Some settlement offers can get you where you need to be.

Keep in mind, the insurance companies are not in business to lose money.   They are out to make as much money as they can.  In order for them to do that, they often try to settle for the least amount of money that is going to come out of their pocket.  People really need to be aware of that that is the way they operate.  They need to be on the look out for that.

Call our law firm to speak with a Southwest Kansas auto accident attorney about your claim.

Is There a Difference In Filing a Personal Injury Claim or a Car Accident Injury Claim In Kansas?

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

In essence, they’re all built on similar premises, which is a negligence type action.  Basically everybody has a duty of care.  Whether you’re driving a truck or you own a store or you’re driving a motorcycle down the street, everybody has the duty of care.  In regards to vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents, every motorist has the duty to operate that vehicle or that motorcycle in a safe manner.  If you fail to exercise that duty that’s where negligence comes in.  Because somebody has failed to do their duty to operate that vehicle in a safe manner a cause of action exists.  In simpler terms, a person who’s been injured has the right to get recovery for the harm that was done to them.

Call (620) 624-8158 to speak with one of our Southwest Kansas personal injury attorneys if you would like a free consultation to discuss your claim.

What Are The Statutory Minimum Car Accident Insurance Policy Requirements In Kansas?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

You’ll find that 95 percent of Americans on our roads today that have insurance, they have the statutory minimums, which is 25,000/50,000, or $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident.  If you were involved in even a halfway serious accident, that is not going to come anywhere near the amount of damages necessary to make you whole.   It is not very much more money to go and talk to your insurance agent and increase the limits to 100/250 thousand dollars.  Even an umbrella policy, which is a million dollar policy, which can also extend to your home, is only going to cost you probably another 20 dollars a month to get that extra coverage.  In the end, if you are a person that is at fault in an accident, and someone gets paralyzed, then you’re talking about a minimum of $300,000 worth of damages.   If it’s your fault, you could be on the hook for that money.  On the flip side, if your insurance only covers twenty-five thousand and they get a judgment for three hundred, you’re on the hook for $275,000.  This means if you have any assets at all, those assets are going to be taken away from you through that action.  If you can afford to, increase your insurance.   At the very least go talk to an insurance agent and find out how much it would cost to increase it.  If you are in an accident you need to really protect yourself.

You can also have underinsured coverage, which would then extend to cover damages done to you.  If the other person who hit you is at fault and they only have $25,000, that underinsured of your own insurance can then get you more money.   Along with that goes uninsured motorist coverage, which all policies have.   So if that person who hit you doesn’t have insurance, your insurance then can help pay for that money to get you where you want to be.  You really need to talk to your insurance agent and see about upping your insurance in order to protect yourself.

Contact our Liberal Kansas car accident attorneys to discuss your claim if you have been injured in a car accident.

What is a Personal Injury Case?

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Personal injury cases include a broader range of concepts and ideas.  This is because personal injury would include slip and fall cases, which could expand into medical malpractice type cases.  Here again there’s still a duty owed that is breached, so there’s still things of a negligent nature.  Torts make up the bulk of the personal injury type cases as a whole.  Torts, such as batteries or any of the regular torts that could come about involve a breach of a duty.   There is only the one year statute of limitations on these, so it kind of as if personal injury really encompasses all of those type of things. They’re all very similar but there are just different facets to them.

Call us today if you would like to speak with one of our Liberal Kansas personal injury attorneys about your case.

Things To Consider When Hiring An Attorney in Kansas For A Car Accident

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Many of people are really hesitant to file a lawsuit. Many people will say, “We’re not the kind of people to sue”. Things often times change later down the line. Many times people will hear that they only have two years to file this lawsuit. It has now been a year and a half, and they have all these medical bills piling up. Sometimes their vehicle is still at the tow shop, or they own money to the tow company. Many people have already attempted to contact the insurance company and they’re frustrated because they don’t seem to making any headway.

That is not to say that the insurance companies won’t work with people. Handling it themselves could potentially save them money because they don’t have to let an attorney get a share of the insurance proceeds. However, it can also be harmful to them, because they would then settle for less than their case is actually worth. In essence, even though they’ve been paying an attorney money, they’re still coming out behind. They are settling for less than it’s worth.

Almost everybody comes in with a similar kind of fact scenario. They’re worried about their medical bills and they’re worried about work. Because they maybe can’t work now, they don’t have any income coming in they are struggling. Many times it is a situation where someone is living paycheck to paycheck and when they can’t get that paycheck, their whole life ceases. They can’t pay their bills, they are behind on everything, and are scared about what’s going to happen next.

There are situations where people are served for collection of a debt that is owed through a bill that’s associated with this accident. They don’t have the money to pay for it, don’t know what is going to happen in court when they go and don’t know where to turn. They just don’t know, and they can come to us. They can come in, ask us questions and we can explain to them the following: “These papers you were served are for the collection of the medical bills that was due. What is going to happen is the first hearing is that they are going to obtain all your personal information including your bank accounts and employment records and they may try to start a garnishment your wages or seize some money out of your accounts to pay for the bills”.