Thursday, January 20, 2022

What are Depositions?

    Whether you are dealing with a Work Comp. claim or a Family Law dispute, there are many ways to go about obtaining evidence to further your case. One often-used method is something called a deposition. Today I want to delve deeper into what a deposition is so that you can understand what this means for your claim/case.

    According to the Legal Information Institute, a deposition is “a witness’s sworn out-of-court testimony used to gather information as part of the discovery process.” While the premise of all depositions is relatively similar, I am going to break down the differences when it comes to a Work Comp. deposition vs. a Family Law deposition.

Work Comp.

    A workers’ comp. deposition is one of the first opportunities for the injured worker to make an impression on the insurance company. In a Florida Work Comp. deposition there may be several people present in the room. Generally, this consists of the injured worker, their attorney, the defense attorney, and a court reporter to make an official record of the proceedings. Of course, in today's world the depositions may take place over Zoom so that everyone is in a digital meeting room!

    There are a number of questions that you may be asked during your Work Comp. deposition. Here are just a few examples:

- Medical history (can include general health questions)

- Any prior Work Comp. injuries

- Job title and description of job

- How the injury occurred

- When the injury was reported and to whom

- Treatment, if any, that was received prior to the deposition and what your work status has been determined to be as of that time.

    It is always best to discuss any confusion or concerns with your attorney regarding depositions. Additionally, it is important to give full and accurate information during the course of your deposition.

Family Law

    Much like Workers’ Comp., a deposition in Family Law is a critically important tool in gathering evidence about your dispute.

    While depositions are an important tool, they can also be incredibly expensive, and this is something to keep in mind as your case continues to move forward. In order to conduct a deposition in Florida, the other party must be given notice of the deposition’s time, location, and names of the person/persons to be deposed.

    Some questions that you may be asked are:

- How long you have been married

- If there are any children and their ages

- Your current and past employment history

- Your educational history

- Where you live and the type of residence that you have

- Other background information like birthday and various personal history

    Again, it is best to iron out any issues or concerns that you may have with your attorney. Here too, it is important to be truthful and make sure you fully understand what is going on during the process.

    I hope that you have found this explanation of depositions as well as their meanings in the Family Law and Work Comp. context helpful. Depositions can be a great tool to learn more about a case and should not be something for you to worry about. Should you have any other questions or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact our office so that we can assist you to the best of our ability!

***The thoughts, facts, and explanations contained in this blog are meant to serve as informational only. They in no way constitute legal advice. Should you have any questions about your claim, please fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Sources: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/deposition

https://cjsmithlaw.com/resources-injured-workers/florida-workers-compensation-deposition/

https://www.floridadivorcelawfirm.com/depositions#:~:text=Depositions%20allow%20one%20party's%20attorney,a%20litigant's%20discovery%20tool%20kit.

https://www.myfloridalaw.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-deposition/

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Deciphering Workers’ Comp. Terminology

Becoming injured on the job can be very stressful. Having to file a Workers’ Comp. claim can be confusing, complicated, and leave you searching for answers. Today I have decided to take some time to define terms and phrases that may come up during your case so that you can be better prepared throughout the course of your claim.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): A medical report written by a treating physician that describes the injured worker’s medical condition when it has stabilized.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): Payments to a worker who can still work, but whose ability to compete in the open labor market is reduced on a permanent basis after reaching MMI.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Payments to a worker who can do some work while recovering but who earns less than 80% of their average weekly wage during the 91 days before the injury.

Arising Out of Employment (AOE): caused by a worker’s job and occurring while working. An injury or illness must be AOE to be covered by workers’ compensation.

Independent Medical Evaluator (IME): A physician selected to determine the cause of the medical condition, the permanent impairment of the injury, and/or the permanent limitations, if any, that the worker has sustained.

Primary Treating Physician (PTP): The doctor who is responsible for managing the overall care of the injured worker and who writes medical reports that affect the worker’s benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Once a physician determines that an injured worker is medically eligible and unable to return to his or her previous type of work, the employer or injured worker may choose to select a rehabilitation counselor to help determine whether vocational rehabilitation is feasible, and if appropriate, develop a suitable rehabilitation plan.

Work Restrictions: A doctor’s description of clear and specific limits on an injured worker’s job tasks, usually designed to protect the worker from further injury.

Specific Injury: An injury that was caused by one event at work. Examples: hurting your back in a fall, getting burned by a chemical that splashes on your skin, getting hurt in a car accident while making deliveries.

I hope today’s post has given you a better understanding of the legal world of Workers’ Comp. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to reach out to our office!

**This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions regarding a Workers’ Compensation case you have, please fill out our contact sheet to schedule a free consultation with Marcie Baker.

Sources: https://www.guideone.com/safety-resources/workers-compensation-glossary-terms

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Parenting Plans: How They Impact Schedules, Vacations, and Holidays

            Minor children create an entire new layer of requirements to understand and follow when it comes to getting a divorce in Florida. Florida law requires that parenting plans are filed with a dissolution of marriage if there are minor children involved.

            Contrary to popular belief, custody law in Florida does not give a preference to mothers or fathers, but instead takes the specific facts and circumstances of each case into account when deciding issues regarding parenting plans.

            There are many types of parenting plan schedules in Florida. For example:

-          Weekly Exchange. This is pretty straightforward. The child/children will be with mom for a week, and then dad for a week. This works best when work schedules are similar for both parents.

-          2-3-2. This is also a weekly schedule but with a different setup. For example, one week dad will have the child/children for 2 days, then mom for 3 days, then back to dad for 2. The following week it will be flipped so that the child/children are with mom for 2 days, dad for three days, and back to mom for two days.

-          Two Weeks. This is similar to the weekly exchange. However, this arrangement allows the child/children more time in each home and works better for busier schedules for both parents and children who may be involved in extracurriculars.

-          **There are others as well, but as I have said before, the specific circumstances of your case will determine just how the time is split while also taking the child’s best interests into account.

            With time-sharing also comes the issue of holidays, vacations, and breaks and how these will affect the child and be split by each parent. The most important thing when it comes to this part of the parenting plan is compromise.

            Here are some tips when it comes to deciding how to split time for holidays, summer break, and any planned vacation time:

-          Be specific. Be clear when holiday visits begin and end. For example, if time is split over Christmas Eve and Christmas day, specify things like, “time with mom starts at 3pm Christmas Eve and ends 9am Christmas Day.”

-          Make a transportation plan. Clarify which parent is dropping off/picking up as well as agreeing on a drop-off/pick-up location. This could be at either parent’s house, a public location in the middle, or an agreed-upon location detailed in the plan.

-          Plan vacation and break time for the whole year. This way there are fixed dates detailed in the plan that are agreed-upon by both parties. It also gives the children more of a schedule and ability to know when and with whom they are spending vacation and holiday time.

-          Work together when possible. For example, if there was a previous family tradition of big birthday parties, try and keep that as similar as possible for your child, especially if you and your spouse have a working relationship.

            Ultimately, the schedule that works best for one family may not be the one that is best for yours. It will take time, patience, understanding, and compromise to reach an agreement that works for your family and takes your child/children’s best interest into account. Florida law requires a parenting plan, but this does not mean you have to lose precious time with your children. The end goal is that everyone finds a beneficial arrangement that makes life easy for all.

***The content, facts, and thoughts of this blog are meant to be informational and in no way constitute legal advice. If you have any questions relating to family law issues or a claim that you may have, please do not hesitate to contact Marcie Baker to schedule your free consultation.

Sources: https://www.floridalegaladvice.com/blog/child-custody/

https://www.custodyxchange.com/topics/holidays/holiday-schedule-plan.php

https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/vacations-and-parenting-plans#:~:text=When%20vacation%20time%20is%20given%20precedence%20over%20the,vacation%20time%20that%20will%20occur%20throughout%20the%20year.


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas from the Law Office of Marcie Baker!

 

This holiday season we are so thankful for our clients, families, professional connections, and friends old and new.

Whether you stayed in Florida or traveled to spend the holidays with family, we wish you a safe return home and a wonderful day filled with many blessings and love.

Whether you celebrate or not, we sincerely hope that all of you enjoy the rest of 2021 and look forward to the blessings, new beginnings, and opportunities that 2022 will bring.

From all of us at the Law Office of Marcie Baker, Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Lessons Learned from Filing for Bankruptcy

            Many people are often embarrassed to admit they have filed for bankruptcy. Others feel like a complete failure, believing that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. While bankruptcy can certainly be an extremely stressful time in your life, I wanted to take the time today to share how it is not the end of the world, and happens to more people than you think – even famous celebrities. The lessons learned from their filings can help you see your bankruptcy filing from a different perspective.

            There are many notable people who have filed for bankruptcy. I’d like to share a few with you, and the lessons that they learned, and how they can be applicable to your situation.

  • Walt Disney

Prior to the creation of Walt Disney World and its many affiliates, Walt Disney’s first animation studio failed and the financial backer went broke. After filing for bankruptcy, Disney would go on to create the global brand we all know and love today.

  •   Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy twice. After having to file her second bankruptcy 12 years after the first, she learned that planning for the bad times when things were good would benefit her, and her label in the long run. It is always smart to have some savings set aside should any emergencies or hard times occur.

  • Milton Hershey

Hershey’s candy bars that we know so well and eat so many of would never have existed if Milton Hershey had given up when the going got tough. He had not one, not two, but four failed candy companies before filing for bankruptcy and using his fresh start to establish the now successful Hershey’s Food Corporation.

  • Henry John Heinz

Henry John Heinz established a successful condiment company that helps add flavor to many of the food items we indulge in. However, when poor harvest conditions occurred and his company was overwhelmed, Heinz had to file for bankruptcy. He used his fresh start by introducing a new, and now beloved condiment, ketchup. What would we put on our fries if he had just thrown the towel in and given up?

  •  Sam Walton

Did you know that Sam Walton is the founder of the largest company in the world? Walmart would have never existed if Walton had given up after his first store, Ben Franklin, went under causing him to file for bankruptcy. Instead, he took this opportunity to build the largest retail chain and go on to become the largest employer in the world. The road was not easy, but through perseverance Walton would create a company that is known globally.

The main takeaway? Don’t give up on yourself. See this time as a fresh start for you, and like the many celebrities above, use it as a chance to rebuild or explore a new venture – you never know what could happen!

At the end of the day, bankruptcy is not as scary as it seems. You may feel anxious, uncertain, and upset, but it is important to remember that you are not alone, and when you work with Marcie Baker she will guide you every step of the way. We will strive to provide the best assistance that we can for your case to make sure an outcome that is favorable for everyone can be achieved.

***This blog is meant to be informational only. None of the facts or stories stated above constitute legal advice and I have attributed the proper sources for the facts stated. Should you have any questions regarding filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please do not hesitate to contact Marcie Baker to schedule your free consultation

Sources: https://www.helloresolve.com/bankruptcy/7-celebrity-bankruptcies-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/

https://www.michiganbankruptcyfirm.com/debt-relief-resources/famous-cases-of-bankruptcy/

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Equitable Distribution vs. Child Support

            I’d like to once again delve into the various aspects of divorce and family law. Getting a divorce does not just result in the separation of you and your spouse, but also means your assets, property, and time spent with children is divided. However, many people confuse equitable distribution and child support, so I wanted to take the time to devote a blog post to explain what each of them are.

            Equitable distribution is the action where a court divides marital assets according to “statutory guidelines that are designed to produce a fair but not necessarily equal division of the property.” There are many reasons that it may not be necessarily equal, and this will be determined by when the property was acquired, the financial means of each party, and what kind of assets are being discussed.

            There are many factors that courts use to determine what assets are equitable and how they should be divided between the spouses. Here are just a few of them:

  • Duration of the marriage 
  • Age, health, and needs of each spouse
  • The amount contributed by each spouse to the marital property in question
  •  The present and future financial needs and liabilities of each spouse
  •  Which spouse has primary custody of any minor children

While a court has the ability to divide the assets between the spouses, this can also be done in a collaborative setting to allow each spouse to compromise and find a solution that is agreeable to both parties. Then, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the issue may proceed to trial, where a Judge will divide the assets in question.

            Child support is defined under Florida Child Support law. Child support is, “a court-ordered obligation of the financial support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child.” Florida state statutes and Florida Child Support Guidelines help determine what amount spouses pay towards child support.  The amount varies based on the parties’ income and the number of children. You can see those guidelines here.  With certain limitations, Judges cannot make huge adjustments to statutorily required child support payments.

            Child support is meant to cover many aspects of a child’s life to ensure that they are still being provided an adequate standard of living. For example, here are some items that child support payments may be used for:

  •     Medical costs
  • Educational expenses
  •  Food and clothing
  • Hobbies, activities, and entertainment

Each situation will be different, and the guidelines will be adjusted in each case. Even if it has been determined that the children will spend equal amounts of time with each parent, child support will still have to be calculated, though there are unique circumstances where this may not be the case.

            I hope that this post offers helpful information and helps clear up any confusion you may have about the many aspects of divorce. Marcie would love to meet with you to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have. Schedule your free consultation today!

***This blog pose is for informational purposes only. In no way does it constitute legal advice pertaining to family law and divorces. Should you need to discuss your case with an attorney, please fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation with Marcie Baker.

Sources: https://www.floridalegaladvice.com/blog/child-support/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/equitable%20distribution#:~:text=equitable%20distribution.%20noun.%20%3A%20the%20distribution%20of%20marital,but%20not%20necessarily%20equal%20division%20of%20the%20property.

https://www.findlaw.com/family/divorce/equitable-distribution.html


Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation

        

         As our world revolutionizes and the workplace continues to change, especially in the last two years, the area of Workers’ Compensation must also change and recognize protections for employers as well as employees. While the idea of having a system such as this in place makes sense, did you know that the idea of a workers’ comp. system has been around for thousands of years?

            Before the concept ever made it to America, its development began in Ancient Sumer (now present-day Iraq). In early work comp. law, it was established that there was certain compensation for specific body parts. For example, losing a finger such as a thumb was equivalent to losing half the value of a finger.

            Ancient civilizations such as the Greek and Chinese would then develop this idea and proceed to create compensation schedules and again, specific body parts determined what the injured worker was entitled to, and how much.

Surprisingly, modern day workers’ compensation law developed in Prussia in the 1800’s. In the height of the socialist movement, protection for workers was one of the top priorities of this time. This led to the establishment of Workers’ insurance to provide a safety net for those who had been temporarily or permanently injured while on the job. More benefits were given to those workers who continued to work on a modified basis, or those who had the best chance of recovery and returning fully to the workplace.

            Many countries, including the United States, would take this model from Prussia and develop it into a framework that worked for each country and employment system. However, progress in the United States was slow. It was not until the publishing of the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which detailed the horrifying conditions of working in a Chicago slaughterhouse, that workers’ compensation in the United States began to change.

            Wisconsin was the first state to pass a workers’ compensation law in 1911. It would take almost 40 years for every state in the United States to pass work comp. laws, with the final being Mississippi in 1948.  Florida developed its first workers’ compensation law in 1935.  There have been many changes in Florida’s work. comp. laws over the years, with the last major revisions being made in 2003. 

            Since then, and as the United States has continued to develop and revolutionize, workers’ comp. has adapted and grown to accommodate the ever-changing workplace and needs of employees and employers. The creation of Social Security Disability Insurance and the Americans with Disabilities Act has also helped guide regulations and laws addressing workplace safety and accommodations.

            Today, workers’ compensation serves as a safety net to protect employees from risking their health for their jobs as well as protecting employers from the high cost of tort litigation for on-the-job injuries. Far from the days of merely compensating an employee based on the limb they lost, workers’ comp. now covers medical needs, missed wages, as well as many other work-related issues.

            If you have suffered a work-related injury and would like to speak with an attorney about your claim, please fill out our contact form below, we would love to schedule a free consultation for you!

**This blog serves informational purposes only and material within the post does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions or a workers’ comp. claim, please fill out our contact form below to schedule a free consultation with Marcie Baker.

Sources: https://www.insureon.com/blog/history-of-workers-comp

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1888620/


What are Depositions?

     Whether you are dealing with a Work Comp. claim or a Family Law dispute, there are many ways to go about obtaining evidence to further ...