Health Law

Health law is the law governs health care for individuals and for the public. This can include insurance coverage, direct health care, ethical issues related to health care, drug supply and the providers of health care. Health law can include laws that govern issues relating to public health as well as medical health for people who are ill. Health law is enforced at the federal, state and local government levels. Only certain lawyers who are trained specifically in health law can work within the health law sphere of law.

Health Lawyers

A lawyer that practices health law must obtain additional knowledge through education to become certified to specialize in health law. Often lawyers wanting to work as a health lawyer need to return to university to undertake a masters degree to be fully qualified to give advise and represent clients in the area of health law. A health lawyer can work with individual clients or for hospitals, doctors, pharmacies or insurance companies.

Popular Areas of Health Law

Medical Law

Medical law relates specifically to rights and responsibilities of medical professionals and their patients. Medical law covers areas such as confidentiality between patients and medical practitioners, ethics and negligence. If there is harm done to a patient from a medical professional then the case becomes an issue of medical malpractice.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is an area of health law relating to medical treatment. It is the negligence or malpractice of a medical professional that led to injury or death of a patient. This can include when a doctor makes a mistake with their diagnosis or the treatment drugs that they prescribe. Medical malpractice cases that go to court are usually civil cases. Although, occasionally the medical professional is charged with a criminal crime of malpractice and the case is held as a criminal case in court.

Public Health Law

Public health law pertains to issues that affect the well being of the general public. Public health law aims to improve the well being and level of health within the population. The issues that can affect public health are typically disease and disease prevention. One way that many diseases have been controlled or eradicated from the general population is through mandatory vaccinations that are required by law of all children.

An In-Depth Review of Intellectual Property Law

An In-Depth Review of Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law covers matters pertaining to the legal rights that individuals have to their inventions, artistic works, and designs. This law typically protects the exclusive control and use of intangible assets with the objective of giving individuals the incentive to develop creative works that are beneficial to the society. In doing so, such individuals can also fully profit from their labor without the fear of fraud.

shaking hands over property negotiation

The US constitution grants Congress the power to grant inventors and authors exclusive rights to their conceptions. The Intellectual Property Law is administered by the US Copyright Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Patents give designers and creators exclusive rights to use their creations in the marketplace. This way, they can also profit if they choose to transfer the right to an individual or an organization.

Generally, trademarks protect slogans, names, and symbols used by designers and creators to distinguish their products. Rights have the potential to last for ages, and can also be obtained using a mark. Although it is not mandatory, owners are advised to register their trademarks since it guarantees additional protection against exploitation.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property from Infringement

If your business is synonymous with a particular trademark, you should protect your intellectual property since it goes a long way in determining the success of your establishment. The complex nature of today’s corporate world has led to a rise of copyright infringement incidents. This is basically the unapproved use of intellectual property. The easiest way of deterring infringement is by providing notices. This increases the visibility of your rights, thus putting you in a better position to sue anyone who infringes on your rights.

You can deter would-be infringers by marking your products with the number that the Patent and Trademark Office will assign to you. If you are yet to be assigned a patent number, you can include a “patent pending” label on your product. This will deter others from copying your design before you are assigned a patent. Notice of copyrights and trademarks can be given by using appropriate symbols such as ™, and © on the product. Thereafter, you are required to register the copyright or trademark so that it can be added to official government records. You can sue those who go ahead to infringe on your trademark.

Personal Injury Cases

A person who has suffered personal injury can hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the party who caused them injury. Personal injury can include accidents where the person was injured or malpractice where a mistake occurred during a medical procedure. Personal injury cases are part of civil law cases. This is where the party who has filed the complaint in court is seeking financial compensation for damages. This is different to a criminal case where the nature of the crime is criminal and criminal charges are being pressed.

suffering from a personal injury

Steps In A Personal Injury Case

There are many steps in a personal injury case and many depending on the circumstances many ways the case can go. Some cases go to trial whilst others are resolved out of court.

Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

A person seeking compensation for a personal injury case needs to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent them. A personal injury lawyer is a qualified lawyer with experience specifically in civil litigation and personal injury cases. Usually a lawyer dealing with personal injury law is more experienced in tort law than other lawyers. This refers to law that falls under civil wrongdoings, economic damage to a person, or defamation cases where a person’s property or reputation is damaged.

Filing A Complaint

In order to make a claim for personal injury compensation, an official complaint needs to first be filed by the person claiming injury. Once a lawyer has been hired, the official complaint can be lodged. This is the official lodging of a lawsuit against the party accused of causing damages.

Informal Settlement

The common option in a personal injury case is for the case to be settled through an informal settlement agreement. This is where the two parties involved in the dispute come to an agreement through negotiation. This negotiation normally involves the lawyers for each party and insurance companies. If negotiation works then the aggrieved party will receive an agreed upon amount of money as compensation.

Going To Court

If an informal settlement agreement cannot be negotiated out of court then the case goes to trial with a judge and jury to gain an official judgement. This option is costly and will take a long time for the case to reach the courts. Personal injury court cases occur when the two parties cannot come to a fair amount of compensation to settle for or when the defending party does not agree to provide compensation. The aggrieved party will then go to court to ask the judge to award compensation to them for the personal injury. Let me know your thoughts!

Law’s Function as a Symbol in America

The United States of America is an extraordinarily unique country, one created by and for the people, rather than any one individual. Ours is a government of institutions and laws, binding each American together, and holding us all accountable to one another. Above all else, the rule of law symbolizes the United States and her citizens, as well as its commitment to upholding the international order.

Few other nations benefit from the liberties and freedom enjoyed each day by Americans, and few things are held in such high reverence in the U.S. as our judiciary system. It’s then worth asking how, exactly, law has come to symbolize our nation and its people.

There is no finer example nor greater power of American law than the United States Constitution. This document, penned by our founders and relied upon throughout our history as a legal compass, has built the very foundation of our country. Americans rightly view the Constitution and principles instilled within it as the bedrock of our nation, though seldom do we appreciate the lengths to which it goes to protect us.

Everywhere one looks in America, there is law; our courthouses and statehouses dot our maps, and Americans are regularly exposed to law in their media and everyday experiences. Whether it’s being tried by a jury of your peers, or merely being bombarded with advertisements for legal services on your way to work, we all find ourselves immersed in a world of law.
From our nation’s inception, our government officials have derived their authority not from a divine mandate, but rather the will of the people. This principle, enumerated in Article I of the constitution as it establishes the House of Representatives, has driven the United States to become the international role model of the rule of law. Time and time again, other nations have formulated their constitutions, governments, and guiding national principles with the assistant of the United States.

Our constitution serving as an example for others is perhaps best seen in the nation of Japan, which, after world war II, formulated a constitution based not only on its own national principles, but those of the American Constitution. Time and time again, our courts, legal documents, and rich judicial history has served as an example around the globe.

Countless times throughout American history, the people of the United States have fallen back on the symbol and power of their judicial system to rescue them from tyranny. Two presidents have been impeached, and countless instances of discrimination have been struck down, all through the vital institutions of the judiciary.

Law has become more than a guiding principle of life; these days, the law in the United States serves as a cultural icon, an ever-present reminder that our government is one of, by, and for the people.

How have you seen law function as a symbol in the United States? How would our nation be different without our judicial system? Leave a comment below!

Do Drug Tests Invade the Right to Privacy?

I would like to note that for this article, I am referring to drug testing for employment purposes. For example, when a person applies for a job, and they have to pass a drug test in order to get the job. My overall opinion about this topic is, no, I do not feel that drug tests invade the right to privacy.

First of all, you are choosing to apply to this job. You are asking to be a part of someone else’s place of business. They are not inviting you, and if they did, you still have a choice of whether you want to take the test or not. If an employer and/or owner does not want his or employees to be drug free, then that is his or her choice.

Second, an employer or owner has, in my opinion, a right to know this information. Drugs can not only have an adverse effect on a person’s individual performance, but on the company as a whole. If someone has a drug addiction or comes to the job high on whatever he or she is taking, then that may deplete his or ability to produce the necessary work needed. Furthermore, an employer does not know if that person is bringing those drugs to his or her place of business. That can shut a business down. There are a lot of factors that play into why drug testing is necessary.

image of an over the counter drug test

Third, taking drugs is a choice. I feel bad for anyone who is addicted or needs drugs to deal with their personal issues. I mean that wholeheartedly. At the end of the day, however, you can’t do something that is against the law or against a business’s personal polices, and expect to be rewarded for it.

I hope that I did not come across to harsh, but these are my honest feelings. What do you all think? Please let us know in the comment section below.

Sex on Television: Should it Be Monitored?

A lot of television programs have been pushing the envelope when it comes to sex on television. I have personally noticed a lot of explicit content on some of the programs that I watch, and I have found it to be a bit unsettling.

I have heard that certain producers and creators are intentionally trying to push the envelope when it comes to the sexual content on their programs. I suppose it is to exercise their freedom of speech. I support people trying to use their rights to the fullest. That being said, I don’t really understand the point in trying to display so many sexual scenes on prime-time television, and I personally feel that a lot of the sex on television should be monitored.

I don’t understand what racy sex scenes has to do with freedom of speech, and why it shouldn’t be monitored. What speech are these programs trying to get across, that involve people having sex? People having sex isn’t speech, it’s a fact. It’s also a personal matter that a lot of viewers do not want to see. In my opinion, speech is what you are trying to get out, a message that you want to be heard. I guess the message on television that television creators and producers want the world to get in regards to sex, is that they feel that it should not be monitored. But my question is, why? Why do you want your viewers to look at something so provocative? What does it do; what does it teach. I personally like things to be rational. I cannot find the rationality behind having all of these explicit sex scenes. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it is just to spark controversy.

And whether these creators think that children shouldn’t watch their programs or not, they do. There are a lot of amazing shows that I find 14+ age appropriate, but they add these unnecessary sex scenes that make them inappropriate. Why is society so adamant about promoting sex when that is the last thing that a lot of people need to be focused on? We are a sex-influenced generation and, to me, it is detrimental in the development of proper relationships. Having explicit sex scenes on every decent television show is completely unnecessary, and I think that those scenes should be monitored.

I feel that a lot of people will disagree with me. I welcome all opinions in the comment section. If you agree, tell us way. If you don’t, please share your thoughts. I encourage you all to leave your opinions in the comment section below. You can also view this great article for more.

The Basic Elements of Hearsay

Most people are familiar with the concept of hearsay, and many intuitively understand that it can’t be fully trusted. When sharing a juicy bit of gossip, a person might qualify his statements by saying that it’s hearsay, meaning he only heard the information from someone else. As such, he can’t verify that the information is true. Courts also recognize the unreliability of hearsay, which is why they generally preclude it from evidence. Of course, in court, hearsay is a highly technical concept, as evidenced by the fact that the Federal Rules of Evidence devote seven rules to just this one topic, or that there are entire books discussing those rules. For present purposes, we’ll have to content ourselves with a brief consideration of hearsay’s basic elements.

1. A statement

The first element of hearsay is a statement. A statement is any assertion. The assertion can be made orally, in writing, or even through conduct. For example, if you ask your friend a question, and he nods his head in response, that would count as an assertion. This means that your friend nodding his head in answer to your question is a statement under the Federal Rules of Evidence, and might even be hearsay if the other elements are satisfied!

2. Not made while testifying at the current judicial proceeding

The second element is often summarized by saying that hearsay requires an out-of-court statement. This means that the person who made the statement did so not as a witness at trial or in a hearing, but just as part of his or her everyday life. So, to take the example above, where you and your friend were when he nodded his head makes a difference. If you were at the mall when you asked your question and he responded, then his statement would satisfy this element of hearsay. On the other hand, if you were questioning your friend as a witness at trial, then his response would not satisfy this element, unless it happened in a previous trial.

3. Offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted

This element can be tricky, but it’s key to many disputes about out-of-court statements. Such statements are only hearsay if they are offered “to prove the truth of the matter asserted,” as Federal Rule of Evidence 801 puts it. For example, suppose your friend got in a wreck with a green car. After the wreck, he said, “That green car swerved into my lane!” The “matter asserted” by that statement is that the green car swerved into your friend’s lane. If you tried to offer that statement as evidence that the green car swerved into his lane, you would be offering your friend’s out-of-court statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted, meaning it would be hearsay.

picture describing what hearsay is

But suppose that your friend died from injuries sustained in the car accident. In a lawsuit against the other driver, his family might offer the statement to recover damages for your friend’s pain and suffering by showing that your friend was conscious following the wreck. In that case, the statement isn’t being offered to prove that the green car swerved into your friend’s lane, but to show that he was conscious. Because the statement didn’t assert that your friend was conscious, it wouldn’t be hearsay under those circumstances.

The rules relating to hearsay are many and complex. This brief discussion of the legal concept barely scratches the surface of how the Federal Rules of Evidence deal with it. But at least now you have some idea of how the concept that makes you ignore gossip applies in court. If you’re interested in reading more of the rules on hearsay, you can find them in the Federal Rules of Evidence sections 801 through 807.

How to Become a Judge

Judges perform some of the most important roles in the legal process. They preside over trials and court hearings, uphold the rights of individuals in legal proceedings, and supervise the legal process. A judge ensures that a trial is conducted according to established procedures, including which evidence is permissible in court and how testimony is given. For criminal trials that are not held in front of a jury, a judge decides whether a defendant is innocent or guilty; similarly, for civil cases, judges determine which party is liable and the amount of fair compensation. In this article, we’ll cover how you can become a judge.

Steps to Becoming a Judge

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Step 2: Earn a Juris Doctorate Degree
Step 3: Pass a Bar Exam
Step 4: Gain Experience as an Attorney
Step 5: Obtaining a Judgeship
Step 6: Complete (and Continue) Training

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to becoming a judge starts in college. An aspiring judge doesn’t necessarily need to pick a specific major for attaining their bachelor’s degree. However, many of those looking ahead for a career in the legal field will focus on degrees that are more applicable to being accepted to law school. These majors commonly include business, criminal justice, history, political science, philosophy, and so forth.

Step 2: Earn a Juris Doctorate Degree

After attaining a bachelor’s degree, aspiring judges must follow the career path of an attorney. Therefore, they will attend an American Bar Association-accredited law school, where there’ll be awarded a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree. This process generally takes 3 years.

Step 3: Pass a Bar Exam

Once an individual has earned a JD degree, prospective attorneys must apply for admission to the bar in their state/ jurisdiction where they wish to practice law. This requires passing the bar exam, which is a series of tasks that ensures an attorney can perform the most basic of tasks required by an attorney.

Step 4: Gain Experience as an Attorney

Because judges typically “police” the behavior of the trial and attorneys, most judges work as lawyers before acquiring their judgeship. This gives them first-hand and relevant experience to resolve common disputes in court, as well as conducting legal research, drafting court documents, and so forth.

Step 5: Obtain a Judgeship

To become a judge, a lawyer must be appointed or elected by a judicial nominating commission or high-ranking politicians (i.e. senators, governors). An attorney applies for a judgeship by submitting their name for consideration. If the person has a strong history of legal practice and support from politicians/judges, they may be appointed. As a career, many judges have fixed and renewable terms of office; however, some—especially on the federal level—can be appointed to life-long terms.

Step 6: Complete (and Continue) Training

Once a judge has been elected/appointed, they may be required to complete training programs to ensure that they are educated on the newest developments of the law. As a trainee, judges participate in court trials, complete online exercises, and review legal publications to ensure that they are up to the demands of the job. Judges are required to continually complete education courses throughout their careers to stay abreast of the legal changes.

These programs may be state-administered by legal organizations like the American Bar Association, National Center for State Courts, and the National Judicial College; for federal judges, the Federal Judicial Center provides training for federal judges (and other federal court personnel).

If you want some more tips on how you can get started on becoming a judge, here is a great video I found for you to view.

Proving Negligence

picture of negligence

Negligence is the failure to take the proper care that a reasonable person would take. The law of negligence is important because it provides a civil remedy for behavior that doesn’t rise to the level of criminal. It creates an incentive to behave carefully and ensures that those who fail to take reasonable care suffer repercussions. Additionally, negligence claims can provide damages for those who are the victim’s of negligence. Many times these damages are necessary to pay off bills that a victim incurred as a result of another’s negligence.

A common example of negligence would be a driver that fails to reduce his speed in icy conditions. While the speed limit may be 45 mph on a regular day, a reasonable person would slow down because they recognize that driving 45 mph may endanger other drivers on the road. The driver that fails to slow down risks colliding with other vehicles on the road.

Elements of Negligence

There are four elements that must be proven in order to prevail on a claim of negligence. First, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. There are many different ways that a duty may arise, but the broad rule is that an actor has a duty to exercise reasonable care whenever their conduct creates a risk of physical harm to another. In the traffic example above, the driver owes a duty of care to other drivers on the road.

Once a plaintiff establishes that the defendant owed them a duty of care, they must prove that the defendant breached that duty of care. This is simply providing evidence that defendant failed to use reasonable care on a particular occasion. For example, the driver breached his duty of care to other drivers by failing to reduce his speed in icy conditions.

Next, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions were the cause of his injuries. This step includes proving that the injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s breach and that a reasonable person would have anticipated it was a potential consequence. Continuing with the example from before, if the driver was driving slower than the collision would not have occurred. Furthermore, it is foreseeable to a reasonable driver that a car accident was a potential consequence.

Finally, a plaintiff must request specific damages that are logically connected to the harm that they suffered. Damages are calculated in varying ways depending on the jurisdiction. That being said, damages from negligence claims can range from hundreds to millions of dollars.

Billable Hours

Most people understand that a client will be expected to pay a hefty fee for an attorney’s advice. However, most people don’t understand exactly how that fee is calculated. Since legal advice is becoming increasingly expensive, it is important for clients to understand how they are being billed. This helps to protect the client from overpaying as well as the attorney from committing an ethical violation.

What is a Billable Hour?

Attorneys bill clients depending on the number of hours that they work on a client’s case. On average, attorneys bill approximately 1800 hours per year. However, many firms encourage attorneys to bill more by providing financial incentives for exceeding the 1800-hour bench march. This is commonly referred to as the “golden handcuffs.” This means that an attorney who bills feels pressure to work more hours in order to make more money.

image of billable hours

Most attorneys divide their time into increments of 6 minutes and then round up as necessary. For example, A calls a witness for C’s case but no one answers the telephone. A then leaves a voicemail for the witness. In total, this task only took A 5 minutes. However, A will still bill C for 6 minutes. While this is common, there are many different billing practices that vary depending on the law firm and attorney.

Controversy

Billable hours are controversial for several reasons. First, billable hours must be tracked methodically. This means that attorneys frequently spend as much time calculating and logging billable hours as they spend working on a client’s case. Second, billable hours encourage law firms to overwork their attorneys, even though the attorney will not receive the total amount that they bill. Generally, firms divide up the billable returns among the partners and associates. Third, the billable system encourages fraud among attorneys. Many attorneys over bill clients and put themselves in risk of criminal and civil sanctions as a result of the system.

Contractual Billable Hours

Whenever someone hires a private attorney, there is generally a contract that governs the payment. This contract will specifically spell out the increments that the attorney bills, how the attorney keeps track of billables, what work a client can expect to have billed and the payment schedule. Contracts like this are important so that both the client and the attorney understand the procedure in advance of any payments. Furthermore either party can refer to the legally binding contract to resolve future disputes.