Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C.
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Quad Cities Legal Blog

Your will should change as your life changes

A will is often the cornerstone of an estate plan. If you have written a will, you have a right to be proud of yourself. Not many in Iowa take the time to provide for their families in this way. A will can include more than just who gets which of your assets. You can use your will to name the executor of your estate, designate a guardian of your children and leave any special instructions for your loved ones.

Once you have signed your will and determined the safest and most accessible place to keep it, you may think you can check that task off your to-do list and never have to think of it again. However, as your life goes on, things may change. What was relevant to your life and estate at one age may be obsolete at another. This is why you must think of your will as a fluid document that requires periodic review and maintenance.

When does workers' comp cover employee travel?

As an employer or business owner, you have concerns for the safety and well-being of your employees. Beyond what the law requires you to provide to ensure their protection from hazards on the job, you may also take a personal interest in their good health and state of mind. If an employee is injured on the job, you likely feel genuine concern for his or her recovery.

However, in addition to demonstrating concern, it is important to know how far your responsibility goes when an employee claims a workplace injury. For example, it is not uncommon for an employer who is involved in a traffic accident to seek workers' compensation benefits when he or she feels the accident was work-related.

You can take steps today to plan for medical care in the future

Iowa readers know it is impossible to predict the future, but it is possible to take steps to protect the long-term interests of yourself and your loved ones. Estate planning is a way that you can manage your estate and have a final say over what will happen to your hard-earned assets, but it can also be a way for you to plan for certain types of medical care you may need.

There are various types of estate planning documents that will provide you with security and peace of mind regarding emergency medical care, end of life care and more. Through carefully and thoughtfully drafted advance directives and other documents, you can make decisions for yourself and save your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions for you.

2 ways to defend against negligence claims

After some sort of accident, it can take some time to determine who bears the responsibility for it. Law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and attorneys often conduct investigations into an accident to determine what happened, how it happened and who was at fault for it. Sometimes, it doesn't take long or much effort to determine which party's negligence led to the accident.

Few cases are that cut and dry, however. In most instances, both parties bear some liability for what happened. This means that it may be possible to defend against a lawsuit filed by the party who appears to be the victim.

Missed diagnoses comprise most of malpractice claims

As a doctor, you certainly hope you will never make a critical mistake that will endanger the life of one of your patients. Depending on the specialty you practice, you may be more vulnerable to malpractice claims than others in your profession. When a mistake occurs, you may expect to do a careful review of the procedure to find out exactly where in the process the breakdown happened so that you can prevent such an error again.

However, recent analysis of malpractice lawsuits from the past four years shows that the breakdowns often happen very early in the process. In fact, diagnostic errors make up the highest percentage of medical malpractice claims.

Breaking your commercial lease can bring trouble

Breaking a commercial lease may be an intimidating prospect. Whether you are a long-term tenant or your lease is relatively new, you know that breaching any contract puts you at risk of legal and financial consequences. As a business owner, the cost of such things may be more than you want to pay.

Nevertheless, you may be facing a situation where breaking your lease is unavoidable. Perhaps your business is no longer lucrative, and the time has come for you to close your doors. More positively, your business may be thriving, and you have found commercial space that is more suitable to your expanding needs. Your priority now is finding a way to get out of your lease without facing substantial consequences.

Protecting your business from crippling litigation

Since you founded your new business, many concerns may keep you awake at night, and some of them are out of your control. For example, depending on your business, a natural disaster or turn of bad weather may have a negative impact on your services. The economy may drive your sales down. Certainly, a change in the laws regarding your industry could affect the way you do business.

You may also consider a lawsuit something over which you have no control. While there may be no way to eliminate the possibility that someone will file a frivolous suit against your company, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances that you will open the door for those claims.

Is your employee telling the truth about an injury?

When one of your workers is injured on the job, it can be an overwhelming experience. Naturally, your first thought is for the well-being of your employee, and you do everything you can to ensure the worker gets appropriate medical attention. However, your mind may automatically go to the welfare of your business.

Chances are you take every precaution to prevent injuries on the job. An injured worker can be costly to your company's finances and reputation, so you make sure you provide the proper safety equipment and adequate training for your staff. Therefore, it may be especially frustrating when an employee claims to be injured but is faking an injury to gain workers' compensation.

As a truck driver, you've got to know when to slow down

When you drive an 18-wheeler for a living, you can quickly get too comfortable behind the wheel. You may have even exceeded the posted speed limit a time or two. Maybe you took a curve a bit too fast and were instantly reminded just how crucial it is to pay attention to the road conditions and make the necessary adjustments when needed. After all, your truck can't just stop on a dime, not to mention the fact that it's enormous and heavy.

You more than likely don't set out to drive too fast for the road conditions, but the monotony of your job can take over and cause you to relax a bit too much. You know better than to drive faster than the truck can safely handle. Even so, that hasn't stopped the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from publishing some tips regarding driving too fast for road conditions.

What's so wrong about probate?

You can't take it with you. You've probably heard that old saying, and you may have very definite ideas about what should happen to your belongings when you are no longer here. Whether you have already verbally distributed your assets or have designated them more formally through a written will, your estate will likely go through the probate process before any of your heirs can take possession of your gifts to them.

So, what is probate? If you've heard the word before, it may have been in an unfavorable light. Perhaps people have even told you to avoid probate if you can. However, probate plays an important role in the distribution of your assets, and while there are ways to avoid it, in most cases, the typical estate spends about nine months to a year going through the probate process.

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Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C.
1900 East 54th Street
Davenport, IA 52807

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