What is the Average Settlement for a Traumatic Brain Injury in California?

What is the Average Settlement for a Traumatic Brain Injury in California?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by physical force. This type of injury is caused in various ways, and can occur during car accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accidents where the impact is directed to the head. If you experience a traumatic brain injury, you may face effects for the rest of your life.

If someone else’s actions caused the injury, you might have the right to pursue a claim for damages. This article walks you through the details of a TBI settlement in California.

Average Costs of TBI Treatment and Rehabilitation

The cost of treating and recovering from a TBI can vary depending on severity. Some TBI victims have minor injuries and only incur a short stay at the hospital, outpatient care, and monitoring by a physician. More severe injuries can require hospitalization, inpatient care, monitoring by specialists, and other treatments that could last for the rest of their lives. 

The recovery from a TBI typically entails physical, cognitive, speech, or occupational therapy. If the victim is paralyzed or disabled, they require expensive medical equipment, mobility aids, medicines, and home assistive devices. Various studies have been conducted by the CDC, Brain Injury Association of America, and the Family Caregiver Alliance, which indicate the following TBI victim statistics:

  • The first year of rehabilitation could cost nearly $196,000. Without rehabilitation services, the treatment for one year is approximately $18,000.
  • Total lifetime costs for a TBI victim could reach $4 million.
  • Fatal TBIs can cost upwards of $450,000.
  • The average daily cost for inpatient TBI care is $8,000. Residential rehabilitation facility costs average between $850 and $2,500 daily. Outpatient rehabilitation can reach up to $1,000 per session.

These numbers are staggering when trying to calculate the cost of recovering or caring for a TBI. Depending on the cause of the TBI, insurance may not cover all of the recovery and possible lifetime care for the victim. Contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after the injury helps you recover the maximum amount of damages from the person at fault in the accident, slip-and-fall, or other incident resulting in a TBI.

What Is the Average Settlement for a TBI Injury?

While there is no standard value for a brain injury settlement, understanding the extent of the injury helps the courts determine the value. Settlement amounts can range from the thousands to the millions depending on the circumstances of your case. TBI settlements tend to be much higher than other personal injury claims because of the long-term impact of the injuries. 

During your personal injury lawsuit, many factors influence the value of your settlement. The type of accident is one determining factor, there are different settlements for car accidents, slip and falls, and other TBIs caused by someone else’s negligence. 

Car accident TBI cases take the speed, car make/model, and your body position into account to determine how your brain is impacted. Slip-and-falls depend on height, frequency, and the extent of the injury.

In addition to the accident details, your age, gender, and health conditions can decrease or increase your risk for some injuries. If you wait to seek medical treatment, you could experience worsening effects, affecting the outcome of your lawsuit. When you seek care immediately, you may minimize the risk of complications, but you’ll notice how quickly the medical bills stack up. In addition to medical bills, you may also face lost time at work, a decrease in pay, or even the inability to work for the rest of your life. Regardless of the cost, seeking treatment immediately is essential to preventing more serious complications.

As you can see, many factors go into calculating the cost of a TBI. It’s crucial that you have a California personal injury lawyer evaluate your case to help consider the variables and maximize the amount of your settlement.

Finding The Right Attorney

At Hann Law Firm, our purpose is to advocate for you in the face of these challenges. We’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve to heal and move forward with your life. We have a long, proven track record of success in San Jose and throughout California – you can trust us when it’s most important.

Our approach to personal injury cases is simple – it’s focused on YOU.  While other firms try to take on as many cases as possible to maximize their profits, we do things differently. We invest the time, resources, and energy into supporting you from beginning to end. That means taking all the steps necessary to understand your situation, what you need, and how to best accomplish your goals. This client-centered approach results in the best outcomes every time. 

We have experience with a wide variety of cases, including slip-and-fall injuries, catastrophic neck and spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and car accidents. We’ve seen it all. Because of this, we know the ins and outs of these types of cases and can often negotiate a reasonable settlement without ever having to go to court. Contact us today for your free consultation.

How Much Can I Get for Slip and Fall Settlement in California?

How Much Can I Get for Slip and Fall Settlement in California?

Slip and fall injuries are serious matters. What looks like a minor slip and fall incident can lead to injuries that can significantly impact your life in many different ways, physically, mentally, and financially.

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall incident in the state of California, you may be wondering how much you are entitled to in a settlement. The answer to your question depends on several factors, and no two slip and fall cases are exactly alike.

Every slip and fall settlement depends on the individual circumstances, so an exact amount is tricky to pinpoint. But here are some factors that help determine your slip and fall settlement, as well as some average settlement amounts to build a frame of reference from in the state of California.

Slip and Fall Settlements

The amount of compensation you can receive for a slip and fall settlement in California depends on numerous factors. In some cases, settlements can be up to millions of dollars, but for many people, figures in the range of tens of thousands of dollars are more likely.

Because there is no fixed value given to the average slip and fall settlement, every case is different. Your lawyer may be able to provide you with a ballpark figure of how much you could be entitled to, but until the issue is settled, there’s no way to confirm an exact settlement figure.

Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Claim

If your slip and fall accident results in a settlement, numerous factors are considered before it’s decided how much or how little to award you. Every aspect of the settlement is scrutinized, largely because insurance companies want to avoid paying out more than they have to. This is why it’s essential that you enlist the help of a qualified personal injury attorney to advise you with your case.

Injury Severity

The severity of your injuries is the first thing analyzed to determine the value of a settlement. More severe injuries could mean a more severe impact on your life physically and financially, so you could be eligible for a larger settlement.

Medical Costs

How much you’ve had to pay out in medical expenses directly related to your slip and fall injury will also play a part in how much your settlement ends up being. If someone else (or another entity or organization) is found partially or fully responsible your injury, they could be held responsible for paying your medical costs.

The settlement will also consider your future medical costs in relation to your injury. Sadly, for some people, slip and fall injuries can lead to a lifetime of medical expenses. Your settlement should reflect this financial need.

The Effect on Your Wages

If you could not work due to your slip and fall injury, this will be considered in reaching your settlement amount. Your wages could be impacted at the time of the injury and for many years, so this needs to be kept in mind when determining a fair settlement amount.

The Impact on Your Life Now and Later

Slip and fall injuries can be severe and painful. The pain can limit your physical ability to work and enjoy your previous quality of life. This factor should also be considered when estimating a settlement amount.

Who Was at Fault

To determine how much, if any, money you are eligible for, attorneys will look at who is at fault for your accident. Proving that the other party is wholly or mostly at fault can be tricky, but your personal injury lawyer will know how to demonstrate this blame.

If you are partly to blame for your injury, it could reduce your settlement. Consult with your personal injury attorney to discuss your options and go over the details of your injury.

After Your Accident

The most important thing to do after any slip and fall accident is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you think you are not injured, you could have sustained an injury that may manifest days or even weeks later.

Your lawyer will use your medical records to support your case, so make sure everything you tell the medical practitioner is documented accurately. Make sure that you follow the doctor’s recommendations and directions as well. Failure to do so could harm your case.

Report the accident to the property owner or manager. You may need to complete a written report of the accident. If you do, request a copy of the report for your records.

Make sure that you gather evidence for your claim. This evidence can be photo documentation, videos, the clothing you were wearing when the accident occurred, and witness statements about the accident.

Be sure to keep all medical bills, document loss of wages, and keep a record of how the accident has impacted your life. 

Let Us Help You Settle Your Personal Injury Case

Hann Law Firm has extensive experience in handling personal injury cases, including slip and fall settlements. We can help you get the fair and just compensation you deserve.

We provide a thoughtful approach to personal injury cases and help you get the compensation you need while you focus on your recovery. We are seasoned California personal injury attorneys who know how to win – Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

What A Business Law Attorney Can Do For You

What A Business Law Attorney Can Do For You

Your business is picking up and you find yourself wondering if an attorney would be helpful to you. As a business owner, you may already feel like you have too many expenses and can’t afford legal help or even that the majority of the issues you face you can simply handle on your own.

There are many aspects of your business that a business attorney can help you with, from incorporating in your state, to drawing up and negotiating contracts with employees, contractors, and suppliers, as well as supporting you in any issues or conflicts that may develop.

Finding a business law attorney you can trust and communicate with can be a challenging task, but it’s well worth the effort. Make sure that you find someone who is compatible with you professionally and matches your values. Today, we will take a look at the many ways in which a business law attorney can help your company thrive.

Responsibilities Of A Business Law Attorney

Whether you are a small business or a big corporation, having legal counsel on your side is essential. While big corporations need an attorney skilled in navigating the corporate world and require extensive services, a business attorney help guide even small-business owners to help prevent mistakes and follow necessary guidelines to ensure they get their business off the ground and don’t run afoul of the law.

Whether you need an attorney for daily consultation or only to get occasional advice, having an attorney in your corner will help make sure the choices you make and the structure of your business follow the guidelines set in place by local, state, and federal laws.

The Beginning Aspects Of Starting Your Business

Beginning your business with a strong foundation is essential. Navigating licensing, and advising, assisting your business in establishing company policies, structure, objectives, and business operation procedures with the support of an experienced business attorney will ensure that you are setting up your business with a sustainable long-term system.

A business lawyer understands the complexities of establishing businesses as a limited liability company LLC), a partnership, a sole proprietorship, or a corporation, of which there are varying types, and can help guide you through the process.

Enforcing, Creating, And Evaluating Contracts

Contracts are essential in business and are the best way to make sure you are protecting your business. A lawyer can expertly write, review, or enforce agreements with other companies, employees, contractors, and consultants to protect all parties involved.

Contracts document and outline expectations of the work to be performed, establish timelines, limit your liability, and protect you from the release of private information. Depending on your business type, your needs will vary, and your attorney can help customize and create contract documents that work best for each situation.

Navigating Tax Laws

The most complicated is often complying with the tax law of running your business. A business lawyer will advise you to prevent issues, find credits and deductions to help save you money and keep you in the clear with the IRS.

Applying deductions and credits will help reduce your tax burden and help you to structure your business to take advantage of them.

Protecting Your Private, Intellectual, And Business Properties

Protecting your business, personal and intellectual properties is essential, and a lawyer will ensure that all needed actions are taken to protect your interests.

Business lawyers can create important nondisclosure agreements that protect client lists, product plans, and other sensitive proprietary information from being shared or used outside your business. 

Another essential responsibility of a business lawyer is to write up a liability waiver that will release you from unfortunate, unforeseen accidents. These agreements will help protect you from losing your property and financial assets in the event of an accident.

Issues And Agreements With Employees

When it comes to employees, unfortunately, you may at some point have a former, current, or possible employee who may sue. Common issues today include accusations of gender or racial discrimination, so consulting with an attorney ahead of time to clarify everything from hiring questions to regulations in the workplace will help prevent problems later.

Accidental injury while on the job is another circumstance where you will need the help of an attorney to help resolve issues regarding compensation, medical bills, and lost wages.

Guidance Regarding Bankruptcy

While no one plans to go bankrupt, sometimes it happens due to economic issues or unforeseen circumstances. An experienced business attorney can help you navigate the bankruptcy process so that your business can recover and hopefully thrive.

Filing for bankruptcy can feel overwhelming, determining which path to take, what debt to discharge, or if you need to settle all of your business’s debt. Your attorney will help develop a plan and present it to the court. You will feel more at ease knowing you have an expert watching out for your best interest.

Representation In Court

Hopefully, you never find yourself and your business headed to court. Depending on the type of business, however, there are various reasons why you could end up in court. Environmental issues, local, state, or federal government entities filing complaints or investigations for violating laws are some of the reasons business owners end up defending their organizations in the courtroom.

Navigating the court system alone can be overwhelming as business laws are complex.
While some things you can do on your own, this is one area that you absolutely want to have the counsel and representation of an experienced business law attorney.

Selling Your Business

At some point, you may decide it is time to sell your business, and it is vital to follow all the laws to remove liability and all ties at that time. The best way to ensure this is to consult a business law professional to ensure your bases are covered.

Connecting with a trusted, experienced business law attorney ahead of time and establishing a relationship will ensure that you have the support you need when you need it.

We Provide Counsel Unique To Your Business

Hann Law Firm provides guidance on what type of business is best for you and the expertise you need to get started. We can help sort through the paperwork, anticipate any challenges, and craft a solid plan to help your business thrive. 

The state of California has many laws and regulations regarding establishing and running a business. We know how important your business is to you.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help support you and the success of your business.

Traits you should look for in a criminal defense attorney

There’s nothing like the stress of facing a criminal charge. Seeking a criminal defense attorney is not an easy feat and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Who you choose to represent you can make all the difference with your case.

But, how do you choose an attorney? What qualities do they need? How do you know how to choose the best one? Knowing your rights and how the law works is very important. No matter who you are or what your story is, being informed and educated on state laws and regulations can help if we find ourselves in front of a judge.

Today, we’ll break down exactly what it is that you should look for in a criminal defense attorney so that you are prepared to face your charges with confidence.

#1. Experience and Knowledge

As a general rule, all lawyers know the law. They spent the time and money on education to qualify for the job, and not to mention they had to pass the bar exams. But, much like others in broad fields, lawyers have particular specializations that make them more knowledgeable about some areas of law than others.

Needless to say, your attorney should specialize in criminal law. The right attorney will know the details of your type of case, and therefore be strategic in planning the best defense possible.

Choose a lawyer with several years of experience with criminal cases. While no lawyer can guarantee an outcome, experienced lawyers present you with the best chance of a favorable outcome for your case.

#2. Great Client-Attorney Communication 

Having a lawyer with experience and education is excellent, but it will not help your case if they can’t communicate. Therefore, make sure you hire an attorney with excellent communication skills.

You need to ensure you can clearly understand everything about your case every step of the way. To do this, you need your attorney to explain everything to you clearly. You should know your charges, plea options, possible sentencing, and be made aware of any complications that might occur during the case.

In addition to communicating well, a good lawyer also listens. You want them to respond to your questions and concerns and keep you in the know as much as possible.

#3. Professionalism

Great attorneys keep all of the information related to a case private, and they take care to keep it that way.

Professionalism isn’t just for the courtroom. An attorney you choose should behave professionally from the minute they meet with you. This extends to being punctual, speaking to you in a respectful manner, and maintaining complete confidentiality throughout their interactions with you.

Professionalism is one of the most important traits that any attorney should demonstrate, so if the attorney you are considering doesn’t seem professional to you, it’s time to walk away.

#4. Great Negotiation Skills

There are hundreds of cases tried in courts every day, but most are settled outside of the courtroom if possible. So, it’s possible your lawyer will look to negotiate and settle your case outside of trial if possible. You need to select someone good at negotiating, a good speaker, and good at persuading the court.

In addition to being a negotiator, they should always be determined to obtain the greatest possible outcome for your case. If your lawyer seems too busy or distracted with other cases to prioritize your case, they’re not the right attorney for you.

#5. Thorough at Preparing Your Case

Dealing with a criminal charge is tough. It’s stressful and often frustrating. But hiring a good lawyer can make the experience a little easier, and good lawyers are thorough when preparing for a case.

You want an attorney who takes care to look at all the evidence, checks all the details and looks for ways to strengthen your case based on the prosecution’s strategy as well as your defense options. They should also be honest about all aspects and consider all of the approaches to your representation.

#6. Good Ratings and Reviews

Everyone is online these days, and attorneys are no different. A good online presence is a great outlet for finding information, and it’s even more helpful if you can check ratings and reviews. Even if they don’t have a website, third-party sites list businesses and have ratings and reviews. Ideally, however, your attorney should have a professional website that features their accolades and specialties (as well as their track record).

Don’t be afraid to take a thorough dive into what other people have to say. Often, reviews and word of mouth will highlight some things you didn’t think of beforehand. Even if some of the reviews are bad, it could prompt you to ask questions and learn more.

Many directories provide reviews, including search engines like Google. Google provides client reviews, ratings, and listings for attorneys in a given county. Utilize these options and do your homework before you hire an attorney for your case.

Hann Law Will Fight For Your Future

When you face criminal charges, it’s hard not to focus on what you have to lose. But you have control over your defense – and we’ll do everything in our power to protect your rights. Whether you face a DUI, assault charge, or something else entirely, we put our decades of combined courtroom experience to work for you. We have successfully defended many clients in San Jose and central California over the years. We can defend you, too.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consultation and put us to work for you!

7 Things You Should Look For in a Business Law Attorney

7 Things You Should Look For in a Business Law Attorney

Starting and owning a business is challenging. There are many challenges along the way. One of those challenges is often hiring the right business lawyer for your company. An attorney may seem to have the proper knowledge on the surface, but the problem may be that they don’t have the specific knowledge they need to help you with your particular business. 

Law is what we do, and we know finding proper representation is hard. An attorney that’s right for one business may not be suitable for the next. There are so many specializations when it comes to business that it’s impossible to find one lawyer that knows it all. You want to find one who specializes in what you do. 

Today, we’ll take a look at the seven traits to look for when you are searching for a business lawyer. 

#1. Your Business Law Attorney Needs the Right Experience 

Take a look at what types of businesses the attorney has dealt with. Maybe you are a small business, and they usually deal with larger ones. That alone may indicate that they are not the right attorney for your business. 

Take a look at the type of cases they deal with, also. If they don’t have knowledge and experience in the things you need a business lawyer for, you may want to look elsewhere. 

#2. Your Business Law Attorney Needs the Right Expertise

There are many topics to discuss with a business lawyer and many things to ask about. Some of these things include securities law, income tax, finance, real estate, and much more. You will need someone with sophisticated knowledge of your specific business practices, making sure the attorney knows what you need them to. 

You may need more than one attorney. Your attorney is likely to bring in other lawyers to handle areas they lack expertise. This frequently happens, as lawyers have different types of specializations. 

Take the time to assess each attorney, and ensure that either they or their colleagues have the knowledge required to represent you. 

#3. Your Business Law Attorney Needs to Have Business Experience

For a lawyer to advise specific industries, they need to have the knowledge and experiences in the practices, jargon, and norms in the appropriate sector. It’s much like a podiatrist performing open-heart surgery: It doesn’t make sense. 

Therefore, make sure the lawyer you choose knows your industry well. If you specialize in technology and they specialize in entertainment, they are likely not a good fit. 

#4. Your Business Law Attorney Must Have a Good Business Sense

Some attorneys know legal and technical areas, but they lack hands-on experience, making them poor choices for advising business practices. 

You need an attorney with experience in business, good business sense, and experience as a legal advisor. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about an attorney’s experience on both of these sides. You might find he is confident in one area but doesn’t quite fit the bill on the other. 

#5. Your Business Law Attorney Needs to Have the Right Personality — For You

There are many types of personalities and approaches to the business world, which is true in all business areas. You need an attorney who matches yours. If you are a Type A personality, and the attorney is a relaxed Type B, you might not mesh well. But, if you find an attorney who has the same attitudes you do about business, it could be a good fit. 

Don’t be afraid to be picky. The right attorney is out there, so make sure you give yourself the chance to choose the right one for you. 

#6. Your Business Law Attorney Has to Close a Deal

Some attorneys can negotiate well but cannot close the deal. You might be that negotiator and need someone who can close for you. Not all attorneys are good at negotiating or closing, so it’s best to do your research. 

Find out as much as you can about the attorney you look into. Ideally, they should be able to tell you what their strengths and weaknesses are upfront. 

#7. Your Business Law Attorney Needs Helpful Connections

Successful transactions result from a great deal of hard work, and many depend on having connections to others or resources that you can access. If you’re an entrepreneur, you will need a lawyer with connections with the type of people you want to have connections with. Then, the attorney can introduce you to people who will help you. 

Much of the world is made of networking and those who help each other. Find the right attorney who can help you advance and meet the right people. Over time, you can build your network of people in your field and maybe help someone else along the way. 

Need an Experienced Attorney? Let Us Help!

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time. But the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we see each client as a human being who deserves to be represented fairly. We know your case is important to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your business – matter to us. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business.

The Criminal Court Process In California

The Criminal Court Process In California

The State of California’s laws, regulations, and criminal court processes are complex and often, confusing. You need the best criminal defense attorney in California that you can find to make sure you and your rights are protected. Whether it is a felony case, a DUI, drug charges, domestic violence, or any other crime, it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side.

There are many stages to go through when dealing with criminal cases and knowing the court process and what to expect ahead of time will help you prepare.

This article outlines the different parts of the criminal court process and why it is crucial to have the best criminal defense lawyer possible on your side. We understand what you are going through and we know how to navigate the system.

Investigation Of An Alleged Crime

If the police didn’t witness the alleged crime, there would be an investigation before an arrest is made. The goal of an investigation is to determine if a crime happened and who committed it. Depending on the situation, this can take days, weeks, months, or even years. The police will collect evidence and interview witnesses to gather information about a possible crime.

The police may search you or your property as a result of the investigation. Even at this stage, having a criminal defense attorney is beneficial. 

A criminal lawyer will help you:

  • To know your rights and protect you during the interrogation or search.
  • Give you advice on which questions to answer and how to answer them
  • Tell you how to conduct yourself  
  • Tell you your rights during the investigation
  • Attorneys will also be able to work with prosecutors or police to prevent the filing of criminal charges and your arrest when possible

 It is best to always have a lawyer present during any interactions or investigations with the police.

Suspect Is Arrested And Charged After Investigation

Finding evidence during an investigation that may implicate you being guilty is cause for the police to arrest you. During the arrest, the police will search you, and in this instance, it is called a search incident — this is one of the few instances a search warrant is not required.

However, there needs to be probable cause for the police to arrest you. In some instances, one may be arrested on the spot, such as in the circumstance where an officer witnessed an altercation or drug purchase and then stopped the participants. An investigation could also lead to your arrest. In this case, the police may show up at your home, business, or somewhere else with an arrest warrant.

A prosecutor will decide whether to press charges after your arrest. If there is enough evidence and you charged with a crime, you may be:

  • Held for an arraignment 
  • Released on bail
  • Be released if there are no charges filed

Once this is determined and a filing of charges occurs, an arraignment will follow. 

Arraignment

After charging the suspect with a crime, the arraignment will be the first court appearance after being arrested and having charges filed. At this time:

  • The court will read the charges against you
  • The court will read you your rights 
  • The court will appoint a lawyer if you can’t afford one

You will also be able to enter a plea to the charge at this time. If you don’t have a criminal defense lawyer, requesting a continuance at this time may be a good idea, as you will most likely want to consult with a lawyer before entering your plea. It is imperative to understand the consequences of the plea options available to you.

Plea Options are either:

  • A Guilty Plea

Admitting you committed the crime.

  • Not Guilty

Not guilty indicates to the court that you didn’t commit the crime.

  • No Contest

   Acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convict you,  but you don’t admit to the crime

No contest is treated the same as pleading guilty — you will be found guilty, and the court will sentence you. Again, make sure you talk with a criminal defense attorney to understand each plea’s pros and cons and get advice on the best route for you to take based on your circumstances.

Bail Hearings In California

A judge may grant bail; however, bail is contingent on the promise by the suspect to appear at all scheduled court proceedings. The court will address it at your arraignment, or a separate bail hearing. Bail depends on the circumstances of your charge, and a judge has the following options:

 

  • Deny you bail, and you will remain in jail throughout the remainder of your case
  • Set bail for a specific amount that will reflect the crime and the individual’s circumstances
  • Release you without bail, which is known as on your “own recognizance”

You have to remain in jail until you pay the bail amount set by the judge. The judge sets bail based upon your history, the severity of the charge, and whether or not you are a flight risk or not. You must remain in jail for the duration of the trial if the judge sets no bail.

Pretrial Process

During the pretrial process, your criminal defense attorney and prosecutor trade evidence during what is known as the discovery process. Both sides file motions that address any legal issue that can affect the case and how or if it proceeds to trial.

The admissibility of evidence is one of the most critical issues addressed during this discovery period. Suppose the police violated your Fourth amendments rights. In that case, your defense attorney might challenge the legality of any searches or surveillance done on you or your property.

If a judge finds that evidence obtained during an illegal search or surveillance by police,  in the case against you, it is unusable, and this will weaken the prosecution’s case. Your charges could be changed, reduced, or dismissed altogether. Criminal cases are often resolved during the pretrial phase and do not proceed to court.

After the pretrial process, the next step is getting ready for a trial if the case is going to proceed.

Trials In The Criminal Court System

There are two types of trials in California — a bench trial or a trial by jury. Everyone has the right to trial by jury. In a jury trial, each side will present their arguments, evidence, and witness testimony to a jury and the judge. In a bench trial, you waive your right to trial by jury and choose to have the judge decide guilt or innocence.  It is best to consult with your criminal defense attorney before making this decision.

If you go to trial, you must be proven guilty by the prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt. Failure to do so will result in the jury or judge returning with a not guilty verdict. Being found not guilty means you go free. However, if you are found guilty, then the sentencing is the next phase.

A typical California jury trial proceeds this way:

  • Selection of jury members
  • Opening statements made by prosecution and defense attorney
  • Presentation of evidence
  • Closing arguments
  • The jury deliberates
  • The court receives the verdict
  • Followed by sentencing if necessary

Sentencing

When a jury returns a guilty verdict, the judge will set a date for the sentencing hearing. During the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor and defense lawyer will present evidence and make recommendations to the judge regarding what they think is the appropriate sentence based upon your charge and circumstances. The judge will then decide on sentencing.

Filing An Appeal

You have the right to file an appeal of the verdict when found guilty; however, there must be grounds for the appeal. Usually, grounds for an appeal include evidence of flaws in the case or court process such as:

  • The evidence provided wasn’t enough to be supportive of the verdict
  • Evidence that was obtained illegally was used in court
  • During the process of the case, some mistakes were made that affected the outcome
  • Jury misconduct
  • Prosecutor misconduct
  • The court makes an error
  • The transcript or record of the trial is lost or destroyed
  • New evidence is available

Having the best criminal defense attorney on your side during the appeals process can significantly affect the outcome.

Why Having The Best Criminal Lawyer On Your Side Is Important

When you face criminal charges, it’s hard not to focus on what you have to lose. But you have control over your defense – and we’ll do everything in our power to protect your rights. Whether you face a DUI, assault charge, or something else entirely, we put our decades of combined courtroom experience to work for you. We have successfully defended many clients in San Jose and central California over the years. We can defend you, too.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consultation and put us to work for you!

How To Fight And Beat Your California DUI Charges

If you’re facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, you probably know that it is a serious situation, and you could be facing substantial penalties if the case does not end in your favor. The fallout of losing your case goes beyond having your license suspended. You face multiple fines, re-education programs, higher insurance rates, and possible jail time. With all the consequences you could face, it’s something you want to avoid having on your record.

Even if you’re facing a DUI charge, there’s no need to feel hopeless. There are various strategies to help you with your DUI defense. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you fight against a conviction and all the penalties it entails. But, with the right strategies in place, your defense can work in your favor. Here are the top defense strategies for a California DUI case.

Erratic Driving Does Not Equal DUI

Your driving pattern is one of the first things a prosecutor will focus on during a California DUI case. Routinely, the arresting officer will testify that you were driving in a way that is “consistent with” a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This could include allegations of speeding or weaving in your lane.

There are various ways your DUI lawyer can rebut this evidence. During cross-examination, they will have the officer testify about the ways you were driving correctly and safely. Additionally, the attorney will have the officer testify that:

  • Sober people commit most traffic violations, and
  • A driving pattern is not a reliable predictor of driving under the influence.

This defense helps provide a story that jurors can connect with, and people drive erratically for several reasons that have nothing to do with drunk driving. For example, they might be eating, changing the radio station, or being distracted by passengers.

Breathalyzer Accuracy

A DUI breath test doesn’t directly measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. Instead, it detects the amount of alcohol on your breath. It then converts that amount to come up with an estimation of the amount of alcohol in your blood. Other errors occur with a breathalyzer that negates its accuracy:

  • Malfunctioning instrument
  • Improper handling
  • If you have medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other dietary-triggered conditions
  • Radiofrequency interference or other environmental factors

These factors can result in an inaccurate blood alcohol content (BAC). Therefore, having an understanding of these issues is the basis of a successful DUI defense strategy.

15 Minute Observation Period

The arresting officer is required to observe you for a full 15 minutes before performing a breathalyzer. They should observe you without allowing you to eat, drink, or smoke to ensure that nothing interferes with an assumed accurate breathalyzer test. However, the question of whether or not the observation took place is a common defense strategy.

Many officers don’t observe you without distraction. Most times, they’re doing paperwork, talking on their radio, or setting up the breath test machine. Causing doubt about whether the officer failed to observe you properly brings doubt about the breath results and possibly even the entire DUI investigation.

Similar Symptoms Of DUI Are Not An Indicator 

Another way your DUI lawyer can fight your charges is by challenging the use of physical symptoms of intoxication to prove you were under the influence. Your physical appearance is one of the leading indicators the prosecution will use to prove that you were under the influence. The arresting officer may testify that you:

  • Had red, watering eyes
  • Spoke in slurred speech
  • Had a flushed face
  • Had the odor of alcohol on your breath or in your vehicle
  • Were walking with an unsteady gait

However, these can be explained away as there are many reasons for having these symptoms other than drinking. For example, you may have allergies, had a cold, eye irritation, or just been tired.

Improper Field Sobriety Test

When an officer detects possible signs of intoxication, they might request a field sobriety test. These tests are meant to measure your concentration, ability to follow instructions, and check your balance. For example, you may be asked to recite the alphabet, count, follow a flashlight with your eyes, or various other seemingly simple tasks.

Field sobriety tests are used with the intention of using the results as evidence against you. However, this doesn’t take into account other factors that cause the failure of the test. For example, injury, wearing boots or heels, and fatigue can all cause poor performance. In addition, if English isn’t your first language, there may be difficulty understanding the instructions and can also impact the ability to perform the test correctly. Because there is potential for inaccurate test results, California law allows drivers to refuse field sobriety tests.

Find An Experienced DUI Attorney

When you face criminal charges, it’s hard not to focus on what you have to lose. But you have control over your defense – and we’ll do everything in our power to protect your rights. Whether you face a DUI, assault charge, or something else entirely, we put our decades of combined courtroom experience to work for you. We have successfully defended many clients in San Jose and central California over the years. We can defend you, too.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consultation and put us to work for you!

How Is the Pandemic Affecting Family Law?

COVID-19 impacted our lives in an unprecedented way. As a result, our health, society, economy, and family lives have become uncertain, and many people are left worrying about the future. This is especially true if you’re going through a divorce or are struggling to understand how this affects your custody arrangements.

Many courts closed or limited their services due to stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. This brought about questions and concerns about the safety and welfare of children and existing or pending custody agreements. A few questions that arose as a result are:

  • Do shelter-in-place orders change the schedule of custody exchanges?
  • If school is no longer in session, who has the child(ren)?
  • If my ex works in a hospital, should the children stay with me?
  • What happens if my ex has family members in the high-risk category?
  • What happens if my ex is placed in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or if they have COVID-19?

So, how has the pandemic affected family law in the era of COVID-19? Let’s take a look at how it’s changed and where it will go in the future.

Child Support

If you’re paying child support, you must continue paying, even during the pandemic. COVID-19 has caused fear and uncertainty due to business losses and economic downturns. However, if you’re struggling to pay child support because you lost your job or your wages decreased due to fewer hours worked, you must file a modification of child support.

If a modification is not filed and approved by the court, it causes issues for both parents. The paying parent who lost income is still responsible for paying the current child support amounts, and the recipient also experiences a loss and change in circumstances. In addition, when the paying parent does not pay the full support, there may be future legal issues for non-payment. If you’re struggling to make payments or you aren’t receiving them, it’s critical to contact an experienced family lawyer for help.

Custody Issues

In addition to child support issues, concerns about custody agreements have arisen due to the pandemic. Some of these issues are:

  • Parents living in different states and not wanting the child(ren) to travel
  • Parents unable to pick child(ren) up from school or other agreed-upon locations
  • One parent not following social distance and quarantine guidelines
  • Difficulty making child care arrangements while child(ren) are home while the parents work
  • A parent testing positive for COVID-19 and not wanting their child exposed

These types of problems are still widespread in the United States, despite vaccination rates increasing. Your best option is always to work with a skilled family law attorney to get answers to your questions and come up with a resolution that is best for your child(ren).

Stimulus Funds

The federal government provided stimulus relief packages that included checks to many adults to compensate for some income loss due to COVID-19. A child credit was also allocated in this package. One of the most common questions regarding the stimulus package is which parent is entitled to get the credit for the child — some divorced parents alternate claiming the child as a dependent on their tax returns. The stimulus check is based on federal tax returns. This creates a debate about who receives the child tax credit.

If you’re recently divorced and a new tax filing has not yet been completed, you may have concerns that one parent receives more than their share of the stimulus check. Suppose you’re concerned about the distribution of stimulus payments and the child tax credits. In that case, a family law attorney can help you navigate this issue and reach an amenable agreement with your ex.

Emergency Custody Orders

You may have concerns that sending your child(ren) to your ex’s home could pose a risk to your child(ren)’s health. If this happens, you can ask your ex to agree to a temporary change of custody. When you do so, propose alternatives such as:

  • A temporary pause of in-person visits and scheduling make-up visits at a later date.
  • Scheduling regular phone calls or virtual visitation using FaceTime or Zoom
  • Keep in touch by sending letters, cards, text messages, or emails

If you feel your child(ren)’s health truly is at risk, you may need to ask a judge to intervene. It may be possible to get an emergency temporary child custody order from the court. However, custody disputes in the time of COVID-19 are uncharted territory.

There’s no guide on how to handle these issues in the courts. Some family law courts have stated that families should continue following custody schedules, and the schedule won’t be modified except in extreme cases.

If you and your ex can’t agree on a modified visitation schedule or you feel your child(ren)’s health is at risk, you should contact a local family law attorney for advice.

Speak With A Family Law Attorney

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. So when you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time. But the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we view each client as a human being who deserves justice. We know your case is essential to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your case – matter to us. Contact us today for your free consultation.

How Spousal Support Is Determined In California

If you’re in California and going through a divorce, you’re likely wondering what the outcome will be as it pertains to alimony payments, also called spousal support. Typically, the higher wage earner pays a regular amount to their ex-spouse, who makes less, but there are multiple aspects at play in the determination process. Many factors go into determining if alimony is valid, how it’s calculated, and what it means for you as the payor or recipient.

This article will cover elements of alimony determination and discuss the possibility of modification down the road.

Length Of The Marriage

In the state of California, alimony reflects the complex reality of the divorcing couple as well as how long they were married. Spousal support often lasts for half the length of the marriage in the case that the marriage lasted less than ten years.

For longer marriages, there is generally no time limit on the support order. Instead, the higher-income earner needs to show the lower-income earner no longer needs the support. This is done either through an amicable agreement between both parties, or as it often does, through litigation if an agreement can not be reached.

There are some related terms that you need to know regarding alimony arrangements and how payments are made.

Pendente Lite 

This is temporary spousal support. Pendente lite is Latin for “during litigation.” This means there is a temporary arrangement before the divorce is finalized and a long-term support arrangement is established. This is intended to help both parties maintain the same lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage and is calculated on a specific set of guidelines.

Long-Term Support

Long-term or permanent spousal support is an order agreed to by both parties or ordered by the court as part of the final divorce resolution. Long-term support is generally ordered for marriages that lasted longer than ten years. It entitles the lower-wage earner to a specified amount of years of alimony payments, or—in some cases—even lifetime payments.

Temporary Support Calculation

While there are determining factors to calculate temporary support, there is a specialized software program that family law attorneys and judges use to calculate the amount. This software automatically generates an estimated support figure based on:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • Health Insurance deductions
  • Any other taxable earnings

While an attorney can typically give you an accurate estimate, they cannot make a guarantee as to what the final amount will be. Keep this in mind when consulting your attorney regarding spousal support terms and amounts.

Long-Term Support Calculation 

Calculating long-term support is a bit more of an involved process. There is no calculator to give an amount, and certain factors must be considered to come to an agreeable amount. If you and your spouse can’t agree on an amount and length of time for the support, a hearing is held, and a judge decides the support and length of time.

The factors considered while calculating long-term support are:

  • Supported spouse’s ability to obtain a job that would negate the need for support. This ability is based on the job market, time and expense required to acquire education or training to develop new skills, and the possible need for retraining or education to be more marketable or become employed
  • The extent of the supported spouse’s inability to be employed because of long periods of unemployment during the marriage for domestic and childcare duties
  • How much and if the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s education, training, career, or licenses
  • The paying spouse’s ability to pay considers their earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living
  • The financial needs of both spouses’ based on the marital standard of living
  • Both spouse’s debts and assets – this includes separate property
  • The length of the marriage
  • The supported spouse’s ability to work outside the home without interfering with the care of dependent children
  • The age and health of both spouses

There may be other considerations a judge considers, but these are the primary considerations used when determining the amount and length of time for long-term support.

Modifications Of Spousal Support

There are specific circumstances where you can file to modify your spousal support agreement. In California, the following are qualifying events that can be cited to petition to modify spousal support:

  • Payor loses job
  • Payee obtains a comparable job making close to the same amount as the payor
  • Either party gets remarried
  • The payee receives an inheritance

There is no set-in-stone rule determining how long spousal support lasts, but many factors play a part in calculating the amount, length of time, and modifications.

Consult A Lawyer For Help

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals.

This kind of care takes more time, but the results of our personalized approach speak for themselves. While other firms see a case number and a bottom line, we see each client as a human being who deserves justice. We know your case is important to you, and we’ll take it just as personally. You – and your case – matter to us. Contact us today for your free consultation.

6 Tips for Preparing for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Have you been injured in a car crash, bitten by your neighbor’s dog, or went through medical malpractice? If so, your friends and family are probably telling you it is time to seek out a personal injury attorney for your injuries and any loss of income that came with this accident. Like most people, you may not be able to afford all these added financial burden, and may be considering your options.

However, going through a personal injury lawsuit is often confusing and complicated because it presents several hoops you may have to jump through. To give yourself a fighting chance at winning your injury case, you’ll need to prepare yourself for what is to come. 

At Hann Law Firm, we know how difficult it can be to plan for a personal injury lawsuit when you are already facing the pain of your injuries and the difficulties that it causes in your everyday life. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite tips to prepare for your personal injury case.

Tip #1: Speak to a Lawyer Immediately

In the state of California, you will have 2 years from the time you are injured to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if your injury was not discovered immediately (as is often the case with car accidents), you will have a year from the date that the injury was found. 

It is in your best interest that you get in touch with an attorney immediately after being injured to sit down, discuss your case with you, and go over the entire process. 

Your attorney will give you a full breakdown of what is to come, what paperwork will need to fill out  and submit, and what you will do if offered a settlement from the defendant. 

Tip #2: Head to Your Doctor for Evaluation and Treatment

It is always recommended that you go to your doctor to treat your injuries as soon as possible. Your doctors will be able to make notes of all injuries that you sustained from your accident in their reports. Your medical records will get used as evidence in your lawsuit, as they will show a timeline of your injuries. 

Dependent on your injuries, your doctor may put you on a long-term treatment plan. This treatment plan may consist of follow-up appointments, and procedures (if applicable). You should follow this treatment plan to the T, as it is one of the few things that will help protect your injury claim. Failing to follow the program may give the defendant a way to lessen the value of your injury claim. 

Tip #3: Collect All Evidence 

Whether you were in medical malpractice or a car accident, you should gather all necessary information to prove negligence, including: 

  • Photos of the scene
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Witness information (names, phone numbers, addresses)
  • Medical records
  • The defendant’s information (name, phone number, address)
  • Contact information of insurance companies
  • Receipts of any and all money spent due to injuries

By compiling all of this evidence, your attorney will be able to fill out the proper paperwork that is needed to file your lawsuit. All paperwork must get filled out and filed within two years of the incident in the State of California.. 

Tip #4: Do Not Talk About Your Injuries or Case on Social Media

If you are going through a personal injury lawsuit, you should not talk about it on any of your social media accounts. 

Many courts have ruled time and time again that there is no privacy when it comes to social media and lawsuits.. The defendant’s attorneys will have the option to petition the court and ask them for access to your social media accounts during the case, so anything and everything you say about your case or the incident on social media can (and attemptedly will) be used as evidence against you in court. Even if the judge doesn’t give the defense entry to your social media accounts, you may be required to provide copies of your videos, posts, and photos that are relevant to this lawsuit. 

Your attorney will advise you that it is best to not post about your case on social media. It is also wise not to post photos of you doing activities that conflict with the injuries (or severity of)you sustained from the accident, even if you are fully healed at the time. 

Tip #5: Know When to Take a Settlement

Going through trial can take several months and may be an arduous process, but your attorney will always have your best interest in mind. While your attorney may receive settlement offers that are less than ideal, there will be times when a settlement offer  may be acceptable. Listen to your attorney’s advice and weigh your options carefully.

Before you even begin this process, you should sit down and talk to your attorney about how much money is a reasonable settlement offer. Your attorney will break this down for you, and explain the payout for: 

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Compensation for Pain and Suffering
  • Punitive Damages (if applicable)

There will be some cases where a settlement may be a better option than going to trial, saving time, legal fees, and prolonged stress.

Tip #6:  Stay in Touch with Your Attorney

It doesn’t matter if you are going through a child custody battle or a personal injury lawsuit. You should always keep open communication between you and your attorney. During your case, your communication should be transparent and consistent with your legal counsel. 

Having open communication with your attorney will allow for any changes in your condition, status, or ability to be documented quickly and considered for your case. For instance, if your injuries have gotten worse in the last few weeks and now you cannot work, this will need to be added into your case documentation as quickly as possible. 

Your attorney is on your side. They will answer all concerns and questions promptly. This communication will give you confidence and peace of mind knowing that they are doing everything they can to protect you.

Get In Touch With A California Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident in California and would like to learn more about your legal rights, Hann Law Firm is here to help. 

We provide a thoughtful approach to personal injury cases and help you get the compensation you need while you focus on your recovery. We are seasoned California personal injury attorneys who know how to win – Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the justice you deserve.