Answers to Some of Your Legal Questions
- What should I do if I have been arrested?
- What should I do if I get a call that a loved one has been arrested?
- Why should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
- What types of punishments do I face if convicted of a crime?
- What types of accident cases do you handle?
- What if the police or insurance company are telling me this car accident is my fault, but I know that isn’t true?
- I was injured in a car accident recently and don’t know what I should do to protect myself. I feel overwhelmed. Can you help?
- Who pays for my injuries? What if the accident was someone else’s fault?
- What can I expect throughout the process?
- Do you charge a fee?
- What should I bring to my initial meeting with my attorney?
- What happens if my case does not settle?
- What other types of accident and personal injury cases do you handle?
- What else should I keep in mind?
Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability
- What should I do if I get injured on the job?
- What if my workers compensation claim is denied?
- Can I receive Social Security Disability and workers compensation?
- Is there more than one definition of “disabled?”
- I have been divorced for a while and would like to change some of the provisions in the divorce decree. If my ex and I agree, would the changes be valid?
- What factors does the court consider to divide marital property?
- My ex is behind on child support. What recourse do I have?
- Can I get an increase in my child’s support order because the child is older?
- What is the procedure for adoption?
If you have been arrested, answer all questions about your identification like your name, address, and birth date truthfully. While you have the right to refrain from answering self-incriminating questions, lying is never a good idea. Giving officers a hard time during the arrest process is also not beneficial and will make things tougher on you.
- What are the name, birth date, and Social Security number of the arrested person?
- What has he or she been charged with?
- What law enforcement agency made the arrest?
- Where is the arrested person being held?
- Has bail been set and, if so, what is the amount?
The importance of competent legal representation is so great that the Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to an attorney. A criminal attorney knows the laws and court customs relevant to your case, and can apply this knowledge to protect and maximize your legal interests. No matter what your legal situation, a criminal lawyer will help you more than you could help yourself by going it alone. Most judges will not even consider a plea bargain from a defendant without legal representation.
- Jail, prison, or other detention facility sentence
- Punitive fines
- Restitution or compensation to the victim
- Community service
We handle all types of car accidents. We can help you if you have been in a single vehicle accident or multi-vehicle accident; if you’ve been rear ended, sideswiped or t-boned; or if your vehicle is struck head on by another vehicle or vehicles. We handle accident cases involving commercial vehicles and trucks, big rigs, Mack trucks, and 18-wheelers. We handle cases involving drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. We handle cases involving distracted drivers, texting and driving, and public transit (including commercial bus, transit bus, school bus, train, and trolleys). We can help you if you are involved in an accident while operating a motorcycle, dirt bike, or any type of motorized scooter. We can even help if you were riding a bicycle and were injured by a motor vehicle or another bicycle! Lastly, our firm handles pedestrian cases as well, meaning if you were on foot and struck by a bike or motorized vehicle, you may still be entitled to recover for damages.
We would love to help! The difference between our firm and other personal injury and accident firms is this: WE CARE! Unlike other firms, our attorneys personally respond to your written or telephone inquiry to answer any questions. We want to speak to you about your rights and how we can help you. We are a small firm, and we are small for a reason. We try to keep the attorney-client relationship as personal as possible. We want you to bring your troubles to our legal “family”, and we want to give you the kind of personal experience and service you can only receive from a small firm. We want you to have direct contact with the attorney who is representing you. We want to be there by phone or email or in person to answer all your questions. We want to help you seek medical treatment and ensure that your vehicle is fixed. Help us to help you by contacting us today!
(1) Medical Benefits – coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitative service, with limits up to at least $100,000;
(2) Extraordinary Medical Benefits – reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitative services which exceed $100,000, the coverage limits of which must be from at least $100,000 to $1,100,000.
(3) Income Loss Benefits – includes 80% of actual loss of gross income. $2,500 per month to a maximum benefit of at least $50,000 must be made available;
(4) Accidental Death – the available death benefit paid to the insured’s personal representative must be up to at least $25,000;
(5) Funeral Benefits – $2,500.
Pennsylvania has a modified “no-fault” system. Therefore, any person who suffers injury arising out of the “maintenance or use” of a motor vehicle is entitled to recover first party benefits from the applicable insurance coverage in a certain order of priority. Regardless of who was at fault, the first party benefits typically apply to all injured parties. The priority is as follows:
- For a named insured, the policy on which he is the named insured;
- For an insured, the policy covering the insured;
- For the occupants of an insured motor vehicle, the policy on that motor vehicle;
- For persons not occupying a motor vehicle, i.e., pedestrians, the policy on any motor vehicle involved in the accident. 75 Pa. CS. 1713(a).
With our firm, you can expect answers to your questions. You can expect prompt responses. You can expect personal service. Finally, you can expect us to work hard to represent you and protect your rights. Auto law can complicated and tedious for injured victims. Knowing how the process moves along can ease your worries and allow you to focus on the most important thing – your recovery.
The best part about this process is there is NEVER a fee unless we make a financial recovery for you. That means your consultation is free, so why wait? You don’t have to pay a dime out of your pocket for legal fees for an injury case at our firm. Our fee is contingent, which means it is only collected if we settle or successfully litigate your case.
You should bring everything you have that’s connected to the incident: photographs, paperwork, documents, letters from the insurance companies, police reports, police report numbers, contact information for any person involved, as well as any and all witnesses. You should also bring a copy of your personal auto insurance declarations page. You can typically obtain a copy of this online, or through your insurance agent if you have one. Worst case scenario, make sure you bring the policy number and we can obtain the declarations page for you.
This question is complicated, but essentially you would file a civil lawsuit against the party believed to be at fault. We will assist you in each step of the complex litigation process. However, it is significantly more beneficial for the injured party if the case can be settled outside of litigation. Many law firms brag and boast about their litigation experience. While our firm will strongly advocate for your rights if a lawsuit should become necessary, we will always try to obtain the most beneficial result for you. Each case varies, so if you have questions regarding your accident case, please call our law firm for a free consultation.
- Slips and Falls/Premises Liability – We handle accidents involving slipping, tripping, sliding, and/or falling due to dangerous conditions, sidewalks, roads, walkways, hallways or floors, whether at a place of business or at someone’s home.
- Dog Bites – We zealously represent all victims of dog bites or attacks resulting in injuries. Frequently, the dog’s owner is liable for his pet.
- Other injury cases – If you were injured and you believe that your injuries occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence or irresponsibility, call our law firm today. Even if your particular circumstances are not listed above, our firm has likely handled something similar in its 20+ years of experience litigating personal injury claims.
- DO NOT immediately assume the blame for your car accident. If you, a friend, or a family member is injured in an automobile accident, please contact Thomas A. Will & Associates before you begin to discuss your car accident claim with an insurance company.
- DO NOT hesitate to shop around! Any number of attorneys in Pennsylvania are ABLE to handle your accident case or personal injury claim. However, not all attorneys will give you the personal attention you deserve. Seek out an attorney who possesses both the experience and the personal service that you should expect. Thomas A. Will & Associates is a small firm dedicated to representing the rights of innocent parties who are injured in an accident. Call for a free consultation today.
- Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still recover money for damages! Each case is unique and deserves to be treated as such. Call Thomas A. Will & Associates to discuss your case – remember, there is no fee unless we successfully litigate or settle your case!
- We practice in Pittsburgh, PA and ALL SURROUNDING COUNTIES including: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Butler County, Blair County, Bedford County, Beaver County, Bradford County, Clearfield County, Centre County, Cameron County, Cambria County, Crawford County, Dauphin County, Erie County, Fayette County, Forest County, Greene County, Huntingdon County, Indiana County, Jefferson County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Westmoreland County, Warren County, and Venango County.
Workers compensation and Social Security Disability
You must notify your employer of the injury. You should also tell your employer if you need medical attention. You may also have to notify Pennsylvania’s industrial commission. An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you understand the process and your rights in Pennsylvania and file your claim.
If your employer and its insurance company deny coverage on the claim, you may file a claim with Pennsylvania’s agency. There is a time limitation—all workers compensation statutes restrict the amount of time you or your dependent has to file a workers compensation claim, usually between one to three years from the date of injury, depending on the state. If your claim is for a job-related disease, the time limitation period begins when you learn you have the disease.
Yes, and that is why it is possible to receive both Social Security Disability and workers compensation. And, workers compensation could determine you are not disabled and Social Security could determine that you are. Further, insurance companies could define disability in other ways. Attorneys knowledgeable in this complex area of personal injury law, such as Pennsylvania can work with you to explain the differences in easy-to-understand language and help you file all appropriate claims to receive the compensation you deserve.
I have been divorced for a while and would like to change some of the provisions in the divorce decree. If my ex and I agree, would the changes be valid?
After your divorce, you might find it necessary or desirable to modify one or more of the stipulations in your divorce decree, property settlement, or custody and support arrangements. You must follow proper procedure if you want that modification or set of modifications to be valid. An experienced family law attorney can work with you to ensure your desired changes are valid.
Pennsylvania courts consider the following criteria in property division:
- Length of the marriage
- Either person’s prior marriage(s)
- Each person’s age, health, station, income, vocational skills, employability, estates, liabilities, and needs
- Contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse
- Opportunity to acquire future income and assets
- Sources of income, including medical, retirement, insurance, and other benefits
- Services rendered as a parent, wage earner, or homemaker
- Value of each person’s property
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Tax consequences of the distribution
- Custodial parent designation
You can go to the court clerk’s office in the court that ordered child support and request the clerk issue a garnishment against the supporting parent’s wages. To do this, you need to know your ex’s place of employment, address and Social Security number. If your ex is at least one month behind, the court sends a garnishment to the employer and the support will be taken out of his or her paycheck. You could also go after your ex’s property, but this is a longer process and might not be as satisfying, since cars and homes are often leased and mortgaged. Another option is to file a petition for contempt and get an order to show cause why the payments are not being made. This puts your ex back in court. A skilled family law attorney can review the options with you and guide you to the best solution for your needs.
It depends on state law. Some states look only at the income of the parents and the expenses of age are figured into the calculation. Other states also look to the child’s needs as well as the parental income.
In Pennsylvania, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. An experienced attorney familiar with the state’s adoption procedures can help ease the adoption process.
Whether a child is placed in a new home privately or an adoption agency, a petition for adoption must be filed. The child is placed in the custody of the new parents for a period of six months to one year before the adoption becomes final. This allows home study — the monitoring of the child’s welfare in the new home through a court’s authorized agency visits to the home. At the end of the period, a court hearing reviews the parents’ qualifications and if satisfactory, grants a permanent decree of adoption. In this manner, the child gains all the rights of a natural child of the adoptive parents and a new birth certificate is issued, showing the adoptive parents as the child’s legal parents.