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Maryland Auto Accident

How Is Fault Determined in Maryland Auto Accident Cases?

One of the most pressing questions in the aftermath of every Maryland auto accident is who is at fault. Whether or not there was an injury involved, the driver at fault can face a variety of consequences from the other party involved, the insurance company and even the police. Those are just some of the reasons why determining fault is so vital in Maryland auto accidents.

Who Determines Fault in a Maryland Auto Accident?

In general, there are 4 key people involved in determining fault: police officers, insurance claims adjusters, a jury or judge and your attorney. The police officers that arrive at the scene of the accident will develop an opinion about what occurred. If there isn’t much property damage and nobody is injured, the officer will probably not complete a formal report. Instead, the police officer will make a form with basic information on who the drivers were, license numbers and insurance information. If a full formal report has been completed, that will often include the officer’s opinion of who caused the accident and other observations from the scene.

Claims adjusters will also develop a conclusion as to who was at fault for the Maryland auto accident after talking to their own insured driver. Today, many adjusters have additional evidence in the form of photos and videos from the crash scene. Your attorney will also have an informed and important opinion on who is at fault. Experienced auto and personal injury attorneys have evaluated hundreds of accidents, so they can discern with a practiced eye.

Finally, the judge or jury during a formal trial can also ultimately decide who caused the car collision. Judges and jurors have access to a range of evidence, as well as arguments from the lawyers of both parties.

What Matters in Maryland?

In Maryland, there are 3 possible determinations after an accident: you caused the accident, you didn’t cause the accident or you contributed to the accident. What factors are brought into consideration?

  • Police report
  • Statements from involved parties and witnesses
  • Statements from involved police officers
  • Photos and videos from the scene
  • Surveillance or dash cam footage
  • Opinion from a car damage appraisal professional
  • Legal principles
  • The rules of the road 

When You Need an Experienced Maryland Auto Accident Lawyer, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout your personal injury claim in the aftermath of an auto accident, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and ensure you receive what you are entitled to. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Social Media

How Social Media Can Affect Your Case

No matter the circumstance, whether your legal case is of a business or personal matter, it isn’t a good idea to share the details online. It can be tempting to share every step of your journey, both good and bad, with your family, friends and online community. However, social media can be a double-edged sword for anyone with an open legal case. Oversharing could cause you to lose your case.

Social Media isn’t Private

When you’ve tuned into any courtroom drama or police show, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the Miranda rights – “Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.” Unfortunately, for those who wish to share everything on social media, the same principle applies to posts and comments made online. Many mistakenly assume that “private” means posts are made in confidence. In reality, “private” simply means “not public.” Lawyers and court officials can still access the information, and your posts are considered public information that can be admissible as evidence. For example, if you have a pending personal injury lawsuit, but pictures are posted on social media showing you dancing at a party or otherwise participating in a rigorous physical activity, that material can be used against you in court.

It is not advisable to draw attention to any pending cases, in any capacity, online. If you do wish to post anything during the time of your pending case, keep in mind the risks. Remember that law enforcement officials can and will access the content. If it’s something you wouldn’t want to have brought up in court, then it’s best not to mention it on social media – private post or not.

Posts Can Be Used in Multiple Practice Areas

If you’re a small business owner making posts about your business, keep in mind that those posts can be used in multiple practice areas. While your current court case might be a trademark dispute, posts about your financial gains or annual income could be used in bankruptcy court in the future. Photos, text posts and videos can all be used now or years in the future as supplementary evidence.

Similarly, if you have a personal case (i.e. car accident, medical negligence, premises liability, etc.) and boast about how much you’re expected to get from your case, or otherwise mention it to the public, that can backfire as well.

What Can You Do?

While nobody wants to hear this advice, the best thing that you can do while you have an active court case is to stay away from social media entirely. Posting positive news, information about your in-court experience or sending an angry message can all come back to work against you in the future. You should avoid posting or talking about your case until it is closed. Even then, there is no harm in keeping things private.

Before You Head to Court, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout the business entity formation or employee hiring process, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and set you up for long-term business success. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Your Own Business

Starting Your Own Business 101

Starting your own business is a big decision and one that you should never make without consulting a lawyer first. Before you open your doors and order your inventory, here is what you need to know.

What Type of Business Is Right for You?

The structure of your business has serious legal and tax ramifications, so it’s crucial that you take your time and work with an experienced lawyer. If you choose not to establish your own business as a legal entity, you will be a sole proprietor (owner) and legally responsible for your company. That means that, if you fall into debt or face a lawsuit, you are personally accountable for the ramifications.

It’s a much better idea to structure your business with your personal financial and legal protection in mind. Some of the most common structures include:

  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Corporation
  • Limited partnership
  • Non-profit corporation

Laying the Groundwork for Employees

The employees that you hire, especially early in the life of your business, can make or break you. Hiring the right people and providing a great environment for growth is essential. Smart hiring and employment practices will help you to attract and retain the best employees in your field. When starting your own business, you should work with a skilled attorney to develop your employee handbook and employment policies, as well as employment and independent contractor agreements. These policies and procedures are vital to legally protecting your business, as you need to comply with a wide range of federal and state laws, from equal opportunity employment laws to minimum wage requirements.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Whenever you have something that is proprietary about your business, or a product that makes you unique, you need to take steps to protect those elements with copyrights, patents or trademarks. A lawyer can ensure that your branding, taglines and intellectual property are safe and secure from your competitors and opportunists.

Gathering Relevant Documents

To make the most of your time with your lawyer, you should gather up documentation in advance. As a general guideline, you should get together:

  • Your business plan
  • A pro forma balance sheet containing liabilities and assets that will be contributed to or assumed by the new business
  • A proposed list of any officers, directors or investors
  • Tax returns, corporate records or financial statements if you will be merging two businesses together
  • Any documents that have already been created including meeting minutes, notes or agreements
  • Any other documents that your lawyer asks you to bring along 

Before You Create Your Own Business, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout the business entity formation or employee hiring process, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and set you up for long-term business success. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

What is the Invention Disclosure?

Person filling out an invention disclosure formAn invention disclosure is a form that represents the first recording of an invention. These forms should include comprehensive descriptions and be explained in a way that anyone can interpret and understand. This form acts as the documentation of an invention you create, which will be necessary for submitting the patent for the design.

When filling out an invention disclosure form, you want to ensure the following is included.

  • The title of your invention
  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • When and how you thought up the design
  • The date of public exposure
  • A thorough description
  • Any testing results
  • Any research funding sources that were used
  • Potential competitors
  • Signatures of all involved

When to Disclose an Invention?

As soon as your creation is deemed an invention, you should disclose it. Even if the patent application is never completed, the disclosure can help offer protection against other patents for similar or the same design. You also want to ensure that you keep your disclosure form updated, to ensure all of the details are for the best protection.

At Mobley and Brown, LLP, our business attorney in Baltimore, MD, is available to assist with a variety of legal issues. Contact our team today at (410) 261-4952 to schedule a consultation.

What Should HR Managers Know about Whistle Blowers?

Meeting of business professionalsAs a human resources manager, it is important to be familiar with a variety of laws surrounding your workplace and employees. A whistle-blower is an employee who reports another for something they believe to be illegal, dishonest, or wrong. There cannot be any retaliation against that employee, even if what they reveal is harmful to the company.

It is in the best interest of HR managers to comply with all laws and procedures surrounding a whistle-blower. At Mobley and Brown, LLP, our business law attorney in Baltimore, MD, will help you ensure all of your employees are properly protected during such an event.

As an HR representative, it is important to be a leading presence responsible for bringing the people within your company together. You also want to ensure the employees and business are protected from information that can tear them apart. Having internal processes set up to catch potential risks before they blow up is important in protecting the health of your company.

If you need assistance making sense of the whistle-blower laws for your company, contact our business law attorney in Baltimore, MD. Our team will help you understand exactly what to do, as well as how to prevent such an event from disrupting your workplace.

Why Misdemeanors Can Be a Big Deal

Close-up of police car doorIn the United States, a misdemeanor is considered a “lesser” crime and generally encompasses crimes with a sentence of 12 months or less. Each state has different levels of classification for these crimes, with punishment ranging from fines and community service to incarceration depending on the severity. Though most people convicted of misdemeanors do not lose any of their civil rights, misdemeanors can still present themselves as a big deal on your criminal record.

While being charged with a misdemeanor is less severe than being accused of a felony, the punishment for these crimes should not be taken lightly. Jail time, hefty fines, community service, and probation are all things no one wants on his or her record. When applying for jobs, colleges, and loans, you may be legally required to disclose the details of the crime. This could potentially impact your eligibility to be hired, accepted, or approved.

In the state of Maryland, all DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors and an offender could be facing severe consequences for drinking and driving. On top of substantial fees and potential incarceration, you could lose your license and driving privileges for an extended period.

If you are in need of a car accident lawyer in Baltimore, MD, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP. Our experienced team will help you through your case to ensure you are represented fairly and accurately.

What is a Trust?

Family at an estate planning consultationAn estate does not have to encompass only your wealth. Your property, bank accounts, stocks, investments, and other assets can all contribute. A trust is an essential part of your estate plan, as it allows you to transfer control of these assets as well as minimize your estate taxes. There are a variety of ways trusts can be arranged, depending on how and when the assets will be passed on.

Trusts will usually avoid probate, which means the designated beneficiaries would gain access to them quicker than if they are transferred through a will. This will avoid court fees, save time, and potentially reduce estate tax once all of the assets are passed on.

By use of a trust, you will be able to control your wealth along with who will receive it and when. You can also set up a revocable trust to ensure your assets are accessible to you throughout your lifetime and the remainder goes to your children, spouse, or another beneficiary. A trust will also allow you to protect your family legacy from those who may not be as financially adept.

If you are interested in setting up a trust as part of your estate plan, contact our estate lawyer in Baltimore, MD. Our skillful team at Mobley and Brown, LLP has more than 40 years of combined experience in assisting those with their estate planning needs.

Keeping an Eye Out for Fraud After An Accident

When you get into a car accident, your life flashes before your eyes. All of the things you thought were important before the crash seem accident lawyer in Baltimore MDminuscule and not a priority anymore, and your perspective on the things that do matter in life changes. However, if you find yourself the victim of a car accident and another party is involved, you cannot always think that your priorities will match theirs in this case. Many times, those who are involved in a car accident can also become victims of fraud at the same time. Here are some red flags to keep an eye out for when involved in a car accident so you can protect yourself from fraud:

  • The other person involved claims that a police report does not need to be filed. Regardless of how much damage or injury happens in the event of an accident, a police report should always be documented and submitted to prevent fraud from occurring.
  • If there was no physical damage done to the other vehicle or no injuries were reported at the scene of the accident, there should not be claims for such down the road. Unfortunately, some people seek compensation for injuries that were either pre-existing to the accident or did not exist at all as a result of a crash, which is considered fraud.
  • If the other person in the accident was injured and as receiving an extended amount of chiropractic care or physical therapy for longer than necessary, this also may be a red flag for fraud. Chiropractic visits individually are not always the most detailed in documentation as to why the patient is receiving the care, which can cause issues with the insurance company down the road.

Are you finding yourself in need of a reputable accident lawyer in Baltimore, MD, that can help you find the compensation you deserve? Give the offices of Mobley and Brown, LLP a call today at (410) 261-4952.

What You Need to Know About Estate Planning – Part 2

In our previous blog post, we discussed the laws that surround estate planning in the state of Maryland. There are specific rules thatestate planning attorney in Baltimore MD apply for inheritance and estates in every state, but the legality surrounding those things in Maryland can be tricky. Here are some other things you need to know about estate planning in Maryland:

  • In the will, certain inheritors will have to pay an inheritance tax of 10%. People who do not have to pay this tax are (but not limited to):
    • Husbands or wives of the deceased
    • Children of the deceased, which includes stepchildren, legally adopted children, grandchildren, and biological children.
    • Parents of the deceased
    • Brothers and sisters of the deceased
  • Additionally, there are laws surrounding who can serve as the executor of an estate in Maryland. They are:
    • You must be at least 18 years old
    • You must be of “sound mind,” which if there is a discrepancy will be determined by the courts
    • You must not have a criminal record of a “serious crime,” which means you cannot serve as executor if you have been convicted of forgery, perjury, theft, extortion, embezzlement, or fraud.

If you are looking for an experienced estate planning attorney in Baltimore, MD, turn to our exceptional legal team at Mobley and Brown, LLP. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you secure your future at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

What You Need to Know About Estate Planning

While it can be an uncomfortable conversation to have with the ones you love, talking about what will happen after you have passed estate lawyer in Baltimore MDaway is critical to protecting them financially and legally. From deciding what type of estate you would like to set up to determining who is going to be the Power of Attorney, setting aside time to discuss how you would like your belongings handled after you are gone has to happen. In the state of Maryland, there are specific laws and regulations surrounding how an estate, will, and other things are handled after someone has died. Here are just a few things we think you should know about estate planning in the state of Maryland:

  • The will, which is acknowledged as “The Last Will and Testament” in the state of Maryland, outlines where and who will be receiving property in the event of a death, assign guardianship over any children belonging to the deceased under the legal age of 18, and name the person who is the executor of the estate.
  • The executor of the estate is referred to as the personal representative in Maryland.
  • The personal representative is has a legal obligation to do the following with the estate after the descendant has passed:
    • Assume possession over the property in the estate and appraise it on the date of the descendant’s death
    • Take control over all financial assets and bills of the estate
    • File and pay taxes on behalf of the deceased for that year

If you are looking for an estate lawyer in Baltimore, MD, that has experience and compassion, our talented team of lawyers can help at Mobley and Brown, LLP. Schedule a consultation with us today at (410) 261-4952.