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What You Need to Know About Consultation Fees in North Carolina
The expense involved in hiring an attorney is one of the biggest stressors for clients. It is not uncommon for clients to call several law firms to ask about the attorney’s initial consultation fee before making an appointment. While there is no universal rule regarding consultation fees, below are some factors to consider the next time you need to make an appointment with an attorney. Free Consultations: Attorneys will often offer free consultations in areas of practice where it is common place to be hired on a contingency fee basis (i.e. the attorney is not compensated unless you win your case). For that reason, do not expect to pay for an initial consultation in personal injury, workers’ compensation or social security disability cases. Criminal defense and bankruptcy attorneys typically offer free consultations as well even though they are not usually hired on a contingency fee basis. Option for Credit Towards Retainer: Even if a consultation fee is charged, the attorney may credit the consultation fee to the retainer once the client retains the attorney’s services. Make sure to ask the attorney if he or she is willing to credit the fee but do not be surprised if the answer is […]
What Factors a Judge Might Consider in Determining Child Custody
While it is preferable for parents to reach an agreement on child custody, sometimes it is necessary to have a child custody trial because the parties are at an impasse or one parent believes the other parent should not have custody for good reasons. (i.e., such as one parent has harmed the child in the past or puts the child at risk or there has been domestic violence in the home) When a custody trial is necessary, the judge will award custody based on what the judge believes is in the “best interest” of the child. Some of the factors judges may consider in child custody proceedings that relate to the “best interests of a child” include: the needs of the child and each parents’ respective ability to meet those needs; the child’s relationship and bond with each parent; the child’s relationship and bond with any siblings or other children or relatives in each parents’ respective households; the parents’ ability to co-parent and work together on child related issues; the work schedules of each parent and their availability to care for the child and spend time with the child; how well the child performs under the care of each parent, […]
All About Business Insurance: Professional Liability Insurance
If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, business insurance is an essential cog in protecting your company. We have a soft spot for entrepreneurs and have written helpful guides catered towards people venturing into self-employment for the first time. Now we’ve partnered with Embroker for a 4 part series on different types of business insurance and why it’s a necessity to protect your business. Part two deals with professional liability insurance, what it is and whether you need it. Check back over the next weeks for more information on what can be a confusing part of running a business and in case you missed Part I on workers’ compensation insurance, check it out. Professional Liability Insurance: The Basics If you’re just starting out in a new career or building a company for the first time, you probably have a General Liability (GL) insurance policy or Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). You may have also heard about a distinct kind of coverage called Professional Liability (PL) insurance, which is often considered a must-have for both individual professionals and businesses. What is Professional Liability insurance? Professional Liability insurance goes by different names in various professional circles, including Professional Indemnity, […]
What You Should Know About the Upcoming Changes in Estate Planning Law
North Carolina law governing power of attorneys (POAs) is changing in a big way. North Carolina has adopted a revised version of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The changes go into effect beginning January 1, 2018 and will completely overhaul this area of estate planning. Below are some highlights of the changes: The Act repeals (most of) Chapter 32A and enacts Chapter 32C. Chapter 32A of the NC General Statutes currently governs POAs. However, once the new law goes into effect, Chapter 32C will mostly govern POAs. Article 3 and Article 4 of Chapter 32 will continue to govern Health Care POAs as well as consent to health care for minors. The Act applies to all POAs (with some exceptions). The Act will apply to all POAs created before, on or after January 1, 2018 unless the POA provides a clear indication of contrary intent or the application of the new law would substantially impair the rights of a party. Additionally, if a POA was created prior to January 1, 2018, N.C.G.S. 32A-2 still governs the authority of the powers conferred in the POA. All POAs are durable unless stated otherwise. The new Act defines a durable […]
All About Business Insurance: Workers’ Compensation
If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, business insurance is an essential cog in protecting your company. We have a soft spot for entrepreneurs and have written helpful guides catered towards people venturing into self-employment for the first time. Now we’ve partnered with Embroker for a 4 part series on different types of business insurance and why it’s a necessity to protect your business. Part one deals with workers’ compensation insurance, what it is and whether you need it. Check back over the next weeks for more information on what can be a confusing part of running a business. Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Introduction Imagine one of your employees accidentally takes a tumble down the stairs at work and he breaks his leg. Or another employee accidentally throws out her back lifting some heavy office equipment. Workers’ Compensation insurance (also known as “Workers’ Comp”) protects your business from incidents arising out of and in the course of employment without adding extra financial burden to your business. Every business that employs people has to deal with the issue of Workers’ Compensation. This study found that 35 percent of employers are more concerned about workplace safety than any […]
Your Agreement to Arbitrate May Not Be Enforceable
The medical profession and their insurance companies, prefer the process of arbitration to resolve disputes rather than the normal litigation process. Arbitration is an alternative to regular litigation as it is often cheaper and is usually confidential. It has become a common practice to slip an agreement to arbitrate into the paperwork a patient signs before consulting with a doctor or before a surgical procedure. When an agreement to arbitrate is signed in a situation like this, is it enforceable? Maybe not. In a recent North Carolina Supreme Court decision, King v. Bryant, the Supreme Court ruled the agreement to arbitrate was unenforceable. In King v. Bryant, the court ruled that a fiduciary relationship was created between Mr. King and his doctor. A fiduciary relationship is one in which confidence is entrusted to one party, giving that party superiority and influence over the other person. When a fiduciary relationship is created, the fiduciary must act in good faith and in the interest of the person he or she has created the relationship with. Another example of a fiduciary relationship is the attorney-client relationship. The attorney must act in good faith and in the client’s interests. Because a fiduciary relationship was […]
5 Questions to Ask Before Declaring Bankruptcy
If your financial situation has gotten out of hand and you’re thinking of declaring bankruptcy here are 5 common questions to ask. Bankruptcy can be a long arduous and expensive process so becoming informed might save you some time and money on the front end. 1. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? If you file bankruptcy, it will either be done under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to be a true discharge of debts but any assets you own are more at risk of being sold to pay your debtors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to provide more protections to your assets but you will have to enter into a repayment plan with the court. There are pros and cons to both options so you should speak with your attorney about how filing either will affect you in the short and long term. 2. Do I qualify for bankruptcy? To file under Chapter 7, you must qualify using a “means” test. Basically, the court will look at your monthly income to determine if it is more or less than the median income for your household size in your state. If it is less, you will qualify. […]
North Carolina Raises the Age to be Tried as an Adult
Recently, North Carolina passed the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act which raises the age a person may be tried as an adult in North Carolina. Before the bill was passed, and since 1919, it has been mandatory in North Carolina to try juveniles ages 16 and 17 as adults. The bill is the result of bipartisan efforts to raise the age juveniles can be tried in adult court. The effort began after the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ) released its Juvenile Reinvestment Report, concluding juvenile rehabilitation in juvenile court would reduce crime and save North Carolinians money in the long-run. Beginning December 1, 2019, all 16 and 17 year olds charged with a crime, with some exceptions, will be prosecuted in juvenile court. If a 16 or 17 year old is charged with a motor vehicle offense, he or she will be tried in adult court. Additionally, if the juvenile is charged with a Class A-G felony, the charges will be transferred to adult superior court upon the notice of an indictment or a finding of probable cause by the court. Once a juvenile has been convicted of any offense in adult court, even a […]
What is a Permanent Civil No Contact Order
In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted N.C.G.S. Chapter 50D into law. Chapter 50D allows victims of sexual assault to obtain a permanent civil no contact order against their assailant which lasts for the life of the assailant. There are some limitations. To begin with, the statute only applies to respondents who have been convicted of a criminal offense in North Carolina which requires he or she register as a sex offender. Additionally, the crime must have occurred in North Carolina. Lastly, the plaintiff seeking the permanent civil no contact order must have been the victim of the sexual assault crime for which the respondent was found guilty. Although, if the victim is a minor or an incompetent adult, an adult who resides in North Carolina by initiate the action on behalf of the victim. Like a Chapter 50B action, it is free to file a complaint under Chapter 50D. Also similar to a 50B, a person who knowingly violates an order is guilty of a class A1 misdemeanor. Lastly, the statute offers the additional protection of allowing officers to arrest the respondent without a warrant if the officer believe there is probable cause he or she has violated […]