How to Understand Family Law ?
If you do not want to talk to your spouse that is understandable. Some divorce cases can be very acrimonious. If you do not want to experience any any contact with that other person, then you should just hire a divorce attorney.
They could act as a go-between for you and your spouse. This would mean that you can minimise the contact that you have with the spouse that you are divorcing..
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For anyone that is going through a divorce, then you need to try and make sure that you find someone to represent your interests. This is because in divorce cases there can be a lot of tricky legal issues to navigate around.
A family or divorce lawyer is going to give you a lot if you decide to hire them. Here are some things that a family or divorce lawyer can do for you.
Nonprofit hospitals are driven by their desire to help patients. They have dedicated staffs who spend years treating the sick and healing the injured. However, they can also be ruthless with individuals who do not pay for their services as agreed to. Nonprofit hospitals have collections departments and partner agencies who pursue individuals who owe them money relentlessly. Those individuals need to know their rights and the steps debt collectors can and cannot take against them. If those collectors step over a particular line, they may be liable for significant damages.
The Nonprofit Hospital Business Model
Nonprofit hospitals have a business model just like any other company. They have to bring in revenue and use that revenue to pay their expenses. In a massive organization like a nonprofit hospital, only a small percentage of employees are working as volunteers. The rest are salaried employees that need a steady source of income. Some of that income comes from regular donations from the public and government funding from health care organizations.
But a large percentage comes from payments made by individuals for procedures, medical equipment, and hospital stays. Hospitals forgive a large amount of those payments every year and they set up payment plans for many individuals who cannot pay their medical bills. However, even the most charitable nonprofit hospital still uses collections agencies to find and procure payments from individuals with unpaid bills.
There are certain rules that nonprofits have to take care to follow in the collections process. They have to begin any collections process with a written letter within five days of the first collections call. This written letter must notify the individual being targeted of who they owe the debt to and the amount of the owed debt. The written letter transfers the situation of the debtor away from an informal dispute about funds owed to a hospital and into the official world of debt collections regulations.
Then, the hospital or the group collecting for the hospital must adhere to a series of legal guidelines. They must be careful what information they solicit from other individuals about the debtor’s financial situation. They may only contact connections in order to achieve location information. The individuals who are trying to collect debts must restrict the ways that they contact a debtor. They can only call by phone at reasonable hours and at reasonable intervals. Thirty calls in an hour might legally constitute harassment.
Debt collectors must not interact with an individual through means such as postcards. When they do talk to a debtor on the phone, they must take care to speak the truth about why they are calling and what debts they are trying to gain from an individual. They must not lie and talk about legal or police powers that they do not have. Debt collectors cannot threaten to throw an individual in jail or scream curses at them if they do not consent to pay.
Debt collectors also cannot lie about the status of an individual’s debts or their position in the legal system. They cannot make poorly phrased or vague statements about using the legal system against an individual either. There are certain ways in which debt collectors can file legal judgments against individuals. However, the threat of those judgments cannot be a tool used to harass those individuals.
What to Do
If an individual is being harassed by a potential debt collector, they need to become vigilant. These individuals need to record every document that they receive from a debt collector. In some cases, they may request written information about the debt collector, the considered debt, and their case. The initial letter stating the debts that a person owes is critical. This letter makes the entire debt collections process legitimate.
Once an individual receives this letter in a timely manner, the debtor then must be careful to flag inappropriate behavior. They need to keep an eye out for the many potential situations where a debt collector may cross a line. If one of those violations occurs, an individual should immediately contact an attorney. The behavior may continue or grow in intensity if an attorney does not become involved.
In some cases, threatening or otherwise illegitimate activities from a debt collector may expand into a legal proceeding. Legal proceedings and summons must be responded to. Even if an individual thinks that a debt collector is being unscrupulous, he or she must still appear for any summons that is issued against them.
Attorneys will begin a debt collection harassment case in two ways. First, minor cases may only require a cease-and-desist letter to be sent. This letter stipulates the untoward behavior and requests that debt collectors stop that behavior. If the behavior stops, the case would end and the individual would still have to be responsible for the debt being paid. In instances where such a letter does not work or instances where damage has already been done, the attorney will begin to gather evidence and contact witnesses.
Some states allow attorneys and individuals to record phone conversations where they are one of the parties. Attorneys will know if those state laws apply and may set up a recording to provide evidence of a debt collector’s misdeeds. They would present any of this evidence as they sought a settlement from the debt collection agency. The debt collection agency may also be a hospital department that was handed the request to settle. A settlement may be the best option for both parties. Settlements negate the need for costly discovery and depositions. They make it easier for a person both to win damages for the stress caused by an unscrupulous debt collection agency and pay off their debts faster.
Individuals subject to debt collections by nonprofits should not panic. They need to take a series of reasonable, concrete steps in order to eventually escape their debt collectors. These steps will ensure that they will be protected in the collections process. If not, they need the help of an attorney who will end the harassment of debt collections once and for all.
Volunteers can be an incredibly important part of the workforce. They’re often able and willing to do jobs that no one else is willing to do, usually for groups that would otherwise be unable to accomplish their goals. Sometimes, volunteers make bad decisions, though, and those decisions can cause a great deal of harm. If you have a volunteer who causes an accident and is charged with a DUI, you might wonder who has to deal with the legal fallout. The answer to the question is quite complex as it depends on one of several different mitigating factors.
Looking at Volunteers
To begin with, we’ll need to take a look at the specific nature of your relationship with your volunteer. In most cases, the liability will fall on the business or nonprofit if the volunteer who causes an accident is acting in the role of an employee – that is, if the volunteer is under the supervision of the nonprofit or should have been trained and supervised by the organization. You can’t just let anyone volunteer to help out your organization, even if you desperately need a bit of help and almost any warm body will do. This is where a number of nonprofits fail and find themselves running afoul of lawsuits.
The good news, though, is that you aren’t liable for every volunteer who throws on a t-shirt with your organization’s logo. If the volunteer is simply trying to help out, isn’t being supervised in any capacity, and didn’t receive any type of training or direction from your business, there’s a much better chance that this individual’s actions won’t be found to operate under the auspices of your organization. This certainly isn’t an easy situation to parse, and simply arguing that a volunteer doesn’t have a close relationship with your organization probably won’t be a good way to avoid a lawsuit.
Instead of looking at this issue through the lens of a volunteer-organization relationship, you’ll want to look at the volunteer as if he or she was an employee to understand what the worst-case scenario might be. When you look at things through this lens, you’ll understand that the most important questions will concern why the volunteer was driving and whether the organization for which he or she volunteered had any control or any ability to stop him or her from doing so.
Scope of Action
Once you get past the relationship with the business or nonprofit, you start to look at how much control is being exercised over the actions of the volunteer. The good news is that the law is very clear on this matter: a business of any sort typically only has liability for its employees or volunteers when that person is acting within the scope of his or her role or under the direction of a business. When a volunteer chooses to go off and do something outside the scope of his or her role or chooses to do something that’s specifically against the rules, the volunteer typically holds a great deal of liability.
In most cases, this does apply even if the volunteer was using company equipment. Even if the vehicle in which the DUI occurred is a company vehicle, it only matters whether the employee was driving under the direction of the company. If the volunteer was only supposed to be taking tickets, for example, and later chose to drive drunk, he or she will bear all of the responsibility on his or her own.
The DUI is the factor that makes it most likely that the volunteer will be held liable. It’s almost a certainty that the actions that led to the DUI were outside the scope of the volunteer’s duty and that any actions taken afterward will generally be the volunteer’s fault. This goes a step farther than many might think, as volunteers are typically held to even higher standards of liability when operating a motor vehicle. It is assumed that a volunteer has enough training that he or she can operate a vehicle with his or her own best judgment.
On the other hand, there is still a possibility that the organization can be found liable. If a supervisor should have known that the volunteer was drinking or was in no shape to drive and still insisted that he or she does so, at least partial liability will once again fall on the organization. Whenever the organizers tell a volunteer to do something, it’s assumed that the organization provided training or direction – taking at least a degree of culpability out of the hands of the person performing the action.
Protections for Volunteers
Finally, it’s best to look at protections for those in volunteer positions. In many cases, state laws do provide at least a minimal shield for liability when it comes to volunteer action. This is done to help encourage more people to help their communities and can generally be found under the umbrella of a state’s Good Samaritan Laws. While volunteers do get a certain amount of leeway and protection, it’s the illegal act performed – the driving under the influence – that is the most likely to remove that protection.
The good news for any business is that the act of drinking on the job will help to shift most of the focus from the organization to the volunteer. Remember, illegal actions are not protected under most laws and thus DUI helps to put a fair degree of culpability on the driver of the vehicle. As long as the business was not aware or should not have been aware of the fact that a drunk volunteer was driving, the business is very unlikely to be found liable. This does not, however, mean that a suit will not be brought against the organization or that the organization’s reputation won’t be damaged.
If a volunteer causes an accident and is charged with a DUI, there’s a very good chance that the driver of the vehicle will be found liable. If the driver was operating under the supervision or direction of the organization for which he or she was volunteering, that organization may be found totally or partially liable. No matter what the case, being involved in a suit like this can be incredibly damaging for a business or nonprofit. If you find yourself dealing with issues of liability that are this complex, your best choice will always be to contact an attorney and to prepare for complications going forward.
Companies have to be familiar with the basics of employment law if they hope to stay in business. They need to have sophisticated procedures and insurance systems in place to provide for injured workers. These workers often receive those associated benefits. However, a nonprofit is a fundamentally different workplace. Many of its employees are volunteers who do not go through the same onboarding procedures and do not receive the same benefits as traditional employees. A legal waiver may also stand in the way of an injured worker receiving just compensation in some instances. Knowing about legal rights and the role of these waivers is essential for workers receiving the aforementioned compensation after their injuries.
Nonprofits and Dangerous Work
Nonprofits often engage in possibly injurious work. Many different jobs in the nonprofit sector involve manual labor. Nonprofits often build houses and clear out landscapes for individuals and companies. Their work involves lifting heavy objects and power tools. In many instances, the people doing work for nonprofits are not highly experienced professionals. They perform the work required at nonprofits because they believe in the missions of these organizations. These individuals know that more remunerative work could be found elsewhere.
Nonprofits thrive off of volunteer labor. While a large percentage of nonprofits have paid staff, their income is not high enough to hire everyone who works for them. This income stream may come from small-scale stores or donations that are inconsistent in their application. Professionals often will not do the work associated with these tasks without being paid for it. Nonprofits do not have the luxury to be picky and must take the work from individuals who often do not perform it on a daily basis. As a result, the chance for injury can sometimes be much greater than in the case of an individual working for a company.
Nonprofits and Legal Waivers
The conventional view of nonprofits as small and amateur affairs is incomplete. Some nonprofits are massive and have thousands of employees and workers from all over the world. Nonprofits who are in particularly dangerous fields have a significant amount of experience with labor injury related issues. As a result, they may have faced dozens or hundreds lawsuits and formulated organizational policies related to those problems.
One common form of employment lawsuit response is a legal waiver. A legal waiver is a document that stipulates that an individual knows and accepts the risks of working a nonprofit job before that job begins. It may list responsibilities and possible injuries that may arise. These agreements are written in legalese and are intended to curb the risk of a potential lawsuit from an individual hurt on the job. They provide a legal record that an individual knew the risks of working at a nonprofit and decided to work for it anyway. These legal waivers in some instances are able to crush any attempts at legal action from individuals. They have become almost standard in larger nonprofit organizations.
Possible Legal Waiver Loopholes
Legal waivers are not completely airtight and they do not make future lawsuits impossible. In fact, a legal waiver can be made null and void by minor textual errors. A legal waiver also does not absolve a nonprofit of irresponsible behavior or give a nonprofit free reign to have unhealthy conditions. Legal waivers often show obligations for both sides of a nonprofit work relationship. If the nonprofit does not meet their end of the contract, the victim of the accident can render the contract null and void and sue for damages.
There are a number of other situations where legal waivers can fall apart. Some legal waivers are much too expansive. They may contain text which points to possible discriminatory intent. Legal waivers may preclude other rights granted to individuals by law. If those textual points lead to a waiver being tossed aside or incomplete, the result would be a potential lawsuit. Lawyers would meet and decide whether or not a settlement would be warranted. Cases that were not settled would eventually go to trial in a process that may result in significant monetary compensation for the injured party.
What to Do
If an individual who works for a nonprofit is the victim of a workplace accident, the first step is for them to make sure they are healthy and well. They must receive medical treatment and undergo any emergency procedures. Once those are completed, the individual should review their options and look at any legal documents that they signed. An attorney can help an individual meticulously pick apart the documents that an individual signed. The attorney would look for any loopholes that may lead to a legal waiver being thrown out.
Then, the attorney would visit the individuals involved and the site. They would go over the incident in question and scrutinize the behavior of those in charge of the nonprofit. Witnesses would be procured and analyzed for the smallest breaches of protocol. After this initial investigation, the attorney would most likely file a lawsuit. He or she would attempt to bring in the nonprofit managers for a settlement. Settlements would most likely be advantageous for the individual involved.
The nonprofit does not want to have to worry about a considerable amount of time and legal effort. Many nonprofits are not large enough to adequately go through the process of discovery. They do not want to hand over all of the necessary documentation involved in such a process. If the two sides cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to trial and the attorney will attempt to argue that the nonprofit was liable for an individual’s injuries. A successful lawsuit could result in millions of dollars in damages.
Nonprofits should not live in constant fear of a lawsuit. They need to focus on the mission of their organization and their utilization of labor to help achieve that mission. At the same time, individuals who work for these companies must be aware of their rights. Knowing the limitations of legal waivers may result in a person gaining thousands of dollars that they would not have otherwise been entitled to.
An insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and the party purchasing the policy. The extent of the coverage is governed by the language of the document. Medical insurance is no different. A nonprofit’s medical insurance covers individuals that are named in the policy. The amount of benefits payable is all spelled out in great detail. The answer to this question requires an examination of the nonprofit’s medical insurance policy. A volunteer would be well advised to ask this question before performing any work. It is a question that the nonprofit will probably not address before a volunteer starts to work. Hopefully, it is one the organization thought about when purchasing medical insurance. There are numerous considerations that go into answering this question and each one needs to be addressed. There is much more to the question that a simple yes or no.
VOLUNTEER VS. EMPLOYEE
The simple answer is that an employee is paid and a volunteer works for free. That is not always the legal answer. Some states may require someone who is a full-time or mostly full-time volunteer to be treated like an employee. That means they have to be covered under the workers’ compensation laws. This would not apply to the occasional volunteer who shows up to help a couple of times a year. Some states would not allow a volunteer to be treated as eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This is important because workers’ compensation will pay for medical bills due to an injury on the job. A volunteer who is covered under workers’ compensation would not need to file a claim under the nonprofit’s medical insurance policy.
WAIVER OF CLAIM
Most nonprofits require volunteers to sign a waiver of liability. The purpose of the waiver is to protect the nonprofit from any liability. This includes payment of medical bills for injuries suffered by the volunteer while working for the nonprofit. It also includes damages for lost wages and permanent disability as a result of the injury. This could easily occur if a volunteer slips and falls on a wet floor in the nonprofit’s kitchen and they break a leg. Not only do they have substantial medical bills, but they also have lost wages when they cannot work at their paying job. When the leg does not heal properly, they now have a permanent disability. The waiver sounds like a great idea. The problem is that courts are reluctant to enforce them, especially in a circumstance when it is the nonprofit’s fault that the floor was wet and not cleaned up. A waiver, therefore, might not prevent a volunteer from seeking payment for damages. In addition, most medical insurance policies do not address the issue of liability. If a person is covered, then payment is made no matter how the injury occurred.
PLACE OF INJURY
A volunteer’s medical expenses must relate to an injury at a location under the control of the nonprofit. This probably means inside a physical location such as a building. It could apply outside the building if the volunteer is unloading a truck or van owned and operated by the nonprofit. It could also include a private vehicle of an employee or volunteer if the nonprofit authorized the use of the vehicle for its business. This would be the situation where a volunteer agreed to pick up food for a nonprofit’s food pantry and they used their personal vehicle. Any volunteer taking food out of the vehicle would probably have a claim against the nonprofit for any injury.
NATURE OF INJURY
The injuries that the volunteer will seek to be paid by the nonprofit’s medical insurance policy are almost always the result of an accident. In addition to the previously mentioned slip and fall, a volunteer can injure their back picking up heavy boxes. They can trip over an object left in a walkway. There are numerous ways a volunteer can be hurt in an accident. Instead of a medical insurance policy, a nonprofit needs an accident policy that pays medical bills, temporary disability, and permanent disability benefits.
INTERACTION OF POLICIES
A volunteer who has their own medical insurance policy is probably going to find that it will pay for any treatment even if it is the result of an accident. The nonprofit’s policy will only pay whatever is not covered. The two policies together should pay all the bills, leaving the volunteer with no medical expenses. This assumes, of course, that the nonprofit has a policy that covers volunteers. The volunteer’s policy may seek reimbursement from the nonprofit’s policy, but that is between the two insurance companies and not the concern of the volunteer.
This question raised many issues that are important not only to the volunteer but to the nonprofit. A volunteer is doing a wonderful service by working for free for a nonprofit. Most nonprofits could not exist without volunteers. The cost of the work done by volunteers would be beyond the financial ability of the nonprofit.
The important consideration is for the volunteer and nonprofit to understand the risks each one is taking. For example, a nonprofit should probably get every volunteer to sign a waiver even if it is not enforceable in some circumstances. A volunteer reading the waiver will get an understanding of the risks they are taking. The waiver should also include the volunteer stating whether or not they have health insurance. A nonprofit should think long and hard about letting someone without health insurance help out. It would certainly look bad for a volunteer to get hurt and have large medical bills they cannot pay due to an accident at the nonprofit’s place of business.
The solution for the nonprofit is an accident policy. If they do not have one, they are running the risk of their assets being exposed to a lawsuit. For the volunteer, they are taking a risk working for a nonprofit without some type of insurance, whether it is medical or accident. Each side needs to consider the risks. A volunteer who just helps out once a year at the annual fundraiser will probably never think about all these considerations and risks. It is probably the obligation of the nonprofit to bring it to the attention of the volunteer when they present the waiver form.
Volunteers offer their time because they believe in the purpose and focus of a nonprofit. It would be unfortunate to have unpaid medical bills undermine the good deeds of the nonprofit. Both volunteers and nonprofits need to work together to solve this question and come up with an acceptable answer for both parties.