• How to Deal with a DUI or DWI, From Start to Finish

    It’s a very difficult situation if you find yourself or a loved one arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). While it’s a situation that no one wants to find themselves in, unfortunately, it can happen. While it’s vital to make sure you seek counseling and therapy throughout the entire process to make sure you’re dealing with it properly, it’s also important to take care of the legal aspects, which can be very daunting. To help make an already difficult time easier, Jack J. Schmerling is here to provide advice on how to proceed after a DUI or DWI.

    What To Do After a DUI or DWI

    Police officers can generally use three methods to determine if you’ve had too much to drink. They can observe you and pull you over if your driving is suspicious; they can ask you to perform a sobriety test, such as performing balance or speech tests; or they can also measure your blood-alcohol level. You can refuse taking a chemical test at a DUI or DWI stop, but this generally means implied consent. This states that refusal could lead to suspension of your license for between 3 to 12 months, even if you’re eventually found not guilty. Do note that if the case goes to trial, this could lead jury members to believe you refused because you actually were intoxicated or under the influence.

    Sometimes you’ll have to appear for an arraignment, a court appearance where you’re formally charged and asked to respond by entering a plea. You’ll be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty. Having an attorney at this stage is usually unnecessary; you can always change your plea later. You can usually insist on a jury trial as well, and you should deny convictions so your attorney can challenge their validity later.

    It’s difficult to defend a drunk driving charge, since it involves a keen understanding of scientific and medical concepts. Hiring a lawyer who has a specialty in these cases is paramount to making sure you receive effective legal counsel. If the police don’t have physical evidence, it’s possible an attorney could plea your case to what’s called a “wet reckless”; while it doesn’t sound as bad as a DUI, it tends to carry the same fines and penalties.

    After being released, your options include pleading guilty, asking for a trial before a judge, or trying to plea bargain. Consulting with your lawyer is strongly recommended. You will understand if it’s best to fight the charge or plea bargain, and much of this depends on your recorded blood alcohol level. No matter what route you want to take, getting an attorney is in your best favor to make sure you can navigate the legal field of life after a DUI or DWI.

    How Do I Proceed?

    To help you proceed in the difficult time after you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or DWI, please get in touch with us at Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law. Throughout Glen Burnie, MD, we’re available for legal counsel. For a free evaluation, call us today at (410) 988-4956.

  • Defining Personal Injury and When to Call a Lawyer

    In the case that you find yourself injured or hurt and it’s likely due to someone else, you may find yourself wondering what the proper course of action is. Do you deserve restitution or compensation? Is a lawyer necessary? Or should bygones be bygones? It’s often a difficult field to navigate, and knowing how to proceed can be tricky. Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law understands just that, so today we’ll define what personal injury and provide some guidelines on when to call a lawyer.

    What is Personal Injury?

    Personal injury law exists to cover situations where one’s body, mind, or emotions are hurt. It’s usually because of another party’s negligence or carelessness. This includes wrongful death, and another name for personal injury law is tort law. Some kinds of personal injury cases include car accidents, dog bites, injuries from explosives or chemicals, or injuries to one’s reputation by defamation. Emotional and mental health can also be included: such as the deliberate infliction of emotional distress, or as a byproduct from a physical injury.

    Personal injury usually involves negligence, which happens when the defendant didn’t meet their legal duty of care and the plaintiff was then injured. Strict liability can be applied in certain cases; which means the defendant who harms the plaintiff is responsible, how careful the defendant was notwithstanding. However, this is limited to certain cases, such s consumer product liability claims.

    When Is It Necessary To Call a Lawyer?

    When it comes to filing a claim, it’s in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer. The attorney will represent you and make sure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation entitled. There are a few cases where hiring a lawyer is unnecessary, such as when it’s a non-serious injury, or where liability has been admitted. However, it’s wise to always get a free consultation to have your case evaluated. Your case will be much more successful if there’s documentation and proof. This could be receipts, doctor’s notes, medical bills, and other items that can help document the proof of the sustained injury and incurred expenses.

    A lawyer is also often necessary if you’re suffering emotionally or mentally, as it becomes more difficult to navigate the legal waters then. You should also contact an attorney if you suffer from injuries after some time, but were not immediately or readily noticed. In these cases, it’s wise to have legal counsel to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. The terminology can often be confusing: assumed risk, incurred risk, arbitration, etc. It’s easy to get lost and lose perspective in an emotionally-charged situation like this, which is why it’s wise to call a lawyer as soon as possible.

    How Do I Get in Touch?

    At Jack J. Schmerling in Glen Brunie, MD, we’re glad to offer our assistance in the case of personal injury. With years of experience, we can guarantee that we will provide the best help possible so that you receive the compensation you deserve. To get in touch with us, don’t hesitate to call us at (410) 988-4956 today.

  • Your Social Security Disability Rights are Critical: How We Can Help Make Sure You’re Treated Fairly

    Often, it’s in your best interests to find a disability benefits attorney to assist you in the process of applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). While it can sometimes be a straightforward process, each case is unique and it’s important to make sure your disability rights are fully upheld and you’re receiving the compensation and benefits you deserve. To help explain the process, Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law is here to explain just how we can make sure you’re being treated fairly.

    How Do We Assist in the Process?

    When thinking of hiring a disability attorney to help, it’s important to understand what the benefits are. With legal counsel, you’re more likely to have your case approved. It’s wise to call early. If you’re just considering filing, get a free consultation with us just to get an idea on the strength of your case and get some help with the initial application.

    An attorney helping you get disability benefits will assist during the application process and can sometimes move it more quickly through the system. This can be done especially if you have a terminal medical condition or find yourself in an extreme financial duress. An attorney can also request an on-the-record hearing; this means you could possibly be approved without having to go to a hearing

    Your attorney will request medical records necessary to help win the claim, and will have them submitted to the SSA when it’s appropriate. You’ll need to sign a medical privacy release, granting your attorney the access to your medical records. Social Security often mandates the exams needed to win a claim, so your attorney will review your medical records to ascertain if additional testing is required. If needed, your attorney will ask the SSA for a consultative examination with a doctor. They will also decide what doctors are necessary to ask for statements in your favor, figure out how to deal with evidence that could hurt your case, and so forth.

    We also help by reviewing you with questions that you’ll normally have to answer in your hearing, such as if you have health insurance, if you take care of your hygiene, and if you take pain medication and how frequently. We will help you answer these questions honestly, even if it’s difficult or embarrassing, so that we can effectively represent you. Of course, whatever you say is privileged, so your attorney can only share what you authorize them to. They’ll decide if witness testimony is necessary, and determine what the best way to win your case is. There are different theories that can be used, such as proving your condition meets a disability listing. Throughout the entire process, your attorney will keep you closely updated on their progress so you understand what’s happening.

    What’s Next?

    Are you ready to get an attorney to assist with your social security disability benefits? Or do you simply need some more information? We have you covered! At Jack J. Schmerling, you can contact us for a free consultation where we’ll review your case and let you know how to proceed. To get the assistance you deserve in Glen Burnie, MD, give us a call today at (410) 988-4956!

  • You Were in a Car Accident: Here’s What To Do

    If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s often difficult to know exactly what to do after. It’s understandable: there’s so much going on in such a traumatic moment, and proper procedure is often the farthest thing on your mind. However, to ensure that the law is properly carried out, it’s important to follow some steps so the law’s on your side. That’s why Jack J. Schmerling is here to let you know just how to handle a car accident.

    Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

    First, it’s important to never drive away from the accident, no matter how minor it is. Leaving the scene will make the entire process so much more difficult. Try to make the area safer if possible, by keeping your flashers on or turning on a flashlight if it’s at night. Then, call the police, even if there are no serious injuries. A police report may be necessary if you want to file a claim with your insurance company, even if the claim is just for damage. Make sure you don’t tamper with the scene: if possible, leave your vehicle where it was, unless it’s obstructing traffic.

    The next thing you want to do is make sure you exchange information with all the drivers involved. Take their name, phone number, insurance company and policy number, license plate number, and driver license number. Take photographs to document the accident: you want to make sure that your pictures grasp the overall context and provide objective evidence of the scene. Also take down a written description of each car involved. You’ll want to include the model, color, year, make, etc. If there are any visible injuries, photograph those as well. Through this process, make sure you aren’t interfering with the police or emergency services, if applicable. Make sure to get the names and contact information of some of the witnesses, if necessary. This could prove to be valuable down the line.

    Next, file an accident report. Often, officers won’t respond to an accident if there haven’t been any injuries. You still want to file a report, which you can find at police stations and oftentimes on the Department of Motor Vehicles, as it’ll speed up the process. Make sure you notify your insurance company quickly, as you’ll find that policies often want immediate reporting. Know what your insurance covers so you know how to best proceed; check your policy for specifics. Seek medical attention, even if no injuries are immediately obvious. Finally, keep a file with all the related documents together throughout the entire process.

    Protecting Your Rights

    Most importantly, you need to consult an attorney so your rights are protected. You need solid legal advice regarding compensation, determining fault, and a wide array of issues in such a stressful time. If so, don’t hesitate to contact Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law in Glen Burnie by calling (410) 988-4956 today!

  • Was It Your Fault or Theirs? Auto Accident Layers are Essential in Getting the Answer

    In the unfortunate incident that you’re involved in an auto accident, there will undoubtedly be many issues on your mind. Determining who was at fault is just one of them. You’ve probably seen ads on TV telling you to call an injury lawyer if you’ve been injured, but they don’t get into more detail than that. While there are a few cases where clarity of liability is obviously clear, such as when the other party was obviously at fault and admits it, most of the times that’s not how it works. Liability can be shared, or you may simply have no idea how to evaluate your claim. These are just some of the many issues that could plague you, which is why Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law is here to help you.

    Why Auto Accident Lawyers are Vital

    Fault is perhaps the biggest issue when you make any auto accident claim, and is a pivotal statement before you get anywhere in the entire procedure. Many different factors play a role in determining who’s liable for damages or injuries from the accident, and the decision of who has to pay mostly rests on the motor vehicle statutes. The law can thus be a tricky place to navigate when it comes to determining fault.

    Fault for causing an accident either is determined by law or defined by the common law, which recognizes four levels of fault: negligence, recklessness or wanton conduct, intentional misconduct, and strict liability, regardless of fault. Someone could be negligent through failure to, for example, actively doing something such as running a red light. Recklessness is defined as willfully disregarding other’s safety. Strict liability might be imposed in accidents involving especially dangerous activities such as transporting explosive chemicals. Those who have caused an accident under common law have committed a tort, a private wrong against someone else, and are referred to as tortfeasors. In the case of intentional/reckless misconduct, determining fault is usually simple. However, when general negligence comes into play, which is common among many accidents, determining fault can be increasingly difficult, which is why a lawyer is essential in getting to the truth.

    Motor vehicle statutory violations also regulate how drivers operate their cars, and are often codified versions of common law. Violating these statutes tends to create the idea of negligence as a matter of law. For example, not wearing a helmet as a motorcyclist is an act of negligence and will likely affect liability. Fault can then be determined by citing the violated statue. The concept of proximate cause can also be applied, among other important factors. Throughout the entire procedure, an attorney is vital to make sure your auto accident claims are successful.

    What’s the Next Step?

    Need an auto accidents lawyer in Glen Burnie? Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law can help you. Our outstanding professional service will leave you satisfied through the often stressful process of dealing with insurance companies, so for a free consultation, give us a call today at (410) 988-4956!

  • Injuries at Work and When to Contact a Lawyer

    In the unfortunate incident that you’ve sustained a work injury, you may be unsure when and if it’s necessary to contact an attorney to have a consultation over worker’s compensation. After all, if it’s a relatively minor injury and your initial doctor’s visit was covered, there’s no need to take it any farther, right? Not exactly. To make the process easier, Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law, is here to help you.

    When Should You Get in Touch With a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer?

    As soon as you sustain a work injury, you need to get in touch with an attorney to avoid any ramifications. The law states that you have 120 days to report a work injury, starting from the date of injury or when you knew of the disease or illness. After 21 days, you won’t be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits until you do give notice, as long as it’s within the given 120 days. If you don’t do so, you cannot collect any benefits.

    Various other deadlines apply to certain paperwork, and failure to respect these deadlines could minimize the amount of benefits you’re entitled to, which is why getting in touch with an attorney as soon as possible is recommended. Beyond that, there are some other specific moments when it’s strongly advised to get a worker’s compensation lawyer.

    For example, if you file a claim after an injury, the attorney will help make sure that all involved are following proper protocol, including you, the insurance company, the doctor, and your employer. Another moment when it’s important to contact a lawyer is if your employer or your insurance company deny your claim. Your employer has 21 days to accept your claim. They can also choose to approve payment for the bills but deny payment for lost wages, accept your claim for 90 days if they’re unsure your injuries sustained were related to work (and can stop benefits anytime during the 90 days), or deny the claim if there isn’t enough evidence to support your claim.

    Contact a worker’s compensation lawyer immediately if your employer tries to stop or modify your benefits. For example, they could try to reduce or even eliminate your benefits by trying to issue medical examinations claiming you’re fit to return to work even if you are still unable to, so an attorney will protect your rights. Also make sure to get in touch with a lawyer if your employer tries to control your medical treatment by saying that you can only visit a specific doctor; it’s important to make sure you receive quality medical care throughout the entire process.

    Getting in Touch With a Compensation Lawyer

    Don’t hesitate to contact us Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law! Proudly serving the Greater Baltimore Metro Area, we can help you if you’ve suffered a work injury and need a lawyer to protect your rights to the fullest. Give us a call for a free consultation at (410) 988-4956!

  • Worker’s Compensation in the Workplace and Why You Need an Experienced Attorney if Something Happens

    While it’s the last thing anyone hopes will happen, sometimes accidents happen in the workplace. If you suffer an injury, it can be difficult to know exactly how to deal with the situation at hand. As an employee, your employer is legally mandated to have a worker’s compensation policy taken out, so in the event of an accident, proper procedure must be followed. Understandably, your employer will likely want to make sure that you’re taken care of to avoid further issues, but navigating the legal field of worker’s compensation can be especially tricky. This is why it’s important to have an attorney who’s worked in the field by your side to make sure you receive all that you’re supposed to get. Not sure how the whole procedure works or why you should have an experienced attorney? Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law will let you know all the details!

    The Importance of Having an Experienced Attorney for Worker’s Compensation

    The Proper Evidence is Collected. Not only do you need an experienced attorney, it’s also important to make sure you get one early in the process. If you wait for weeks or months to pursue the claim, evidence vital to your case could easily be lost. Paperwork related to your claim can vanish, and it will become increasingly difficult to fight for your rights and proper compensation.

    Your Medical Treatment Won’t be Controlled. There’s a good chance that your employer will try to control your treatment and have you visit a practitioner on their timeline. This could result in you having to pay to receive treatment, or simply not receiving proper care at all. An experienced attorney will help you to realize what medical care you’re entitled to all without affecting or compromising your claim.

    Your Claim Won’t be Prematurely Closed. It’s important to realize that upon signing settlement claims, it becomes extremely difficult to reopen your worker’s compensation claims. An attorney is well-versed in the field, and will let you know whether or not what you’re being offered is fair, or if there’s more that you deserve and are entitled to. Since the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and your employer prefer to pay as little as possible when it comes to settling your claim, having someone with experience will ensure you receive your full amount of compensation.

    Unique Situations Can be Resolved. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation that’s not so simple. For example, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, they could be reduced once you receive worker’s compensation benefits. An attorney will work with you through the entire process to minimize the amount that will be reduced. Other situations could be if you have a worker’s compensation hearing or if your ability to work has been affected in the long run.

    Getting the Restitution You Deserve

    To make sure that your rights are fully upheld, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law. We’ll make sure you’re fully compensated and assist you through the entire claims process, so call for a free consultation in Glenn Burnie today at (410) 988-4956!

  • Why It’s Important to Understand Worker’s Compensation and How It Works

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    There’s a good chance that your worker’s compensation policy is the policy you think the least about, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Because your employer has the legal responsibility to make sure that you, as their employee, are safe in their workplace, worker’s compensation works in your favor to make sure you are compensated and receive the appropriate medical care, rehabilitation, and any lost wages because of the injury. While nobody wants this to happen, accidents can happen, which is why you need to be up to speed on the basics of worker’s compensation and how it functions. Not sure where to begin? Jack J. Schmerling is here to bring you in on the know so you can be better prepared if the situation ever arises.

    The Importance of Understanding Worker’s Compensation
    First and foremost, it’s the law: many states require that you have worker’s compensation. This also applies even if you have just one employee; to comply with the law, worker’s compensation must be carried. However, carrying worker’s compensation shouldn’t be seen as a burden: it’s what provides your coverage if you’re eligible. In the case of an injury, you will be referred to an approved healthcare, who will fill out all necessary paperwork in order to file the claim. Once you receive compensation, you can have prescriptions filled at an approved pharmacy. It’s important that the medical report is sent to all relevant parties, such as the employer, insurer, etc. The case will be investigated and documented, and if you are eligible for benefits, you’ll receive payments.

    When it comes to premiums, the National Council on Compensation Insurance, as well as the state’s Compensation Insurance Rating Board determine what your premiums will be. Your payroll and other costs will be taken into consideration, as well as other factors such as your company’s claims history.

    Throughout the entire procedure, it is vital that you, as an employee, have a full understanding of your benefits and what your employer’s responsibilities are, so that you receive the maximum benefits and compensation you deserve. For example, if you suffer an injury, your claim is filed with the insurance company, which will cover your medical/disability benefits. Barring a few limited categories, if your employer doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance, they’re subject to fines, criminal prosecution, and civil liability. Fully understanding the duties required and benefits you can receive is vital in protecting you to the full extent of the law.

    Making Sure You’re Properly Compensated

    Do you feel you haven’t received proper compensation from your employer? Unsure how to proceed with worker’s compensation? Jack J. Schmerling, Attorney at Law has been defending the Greater Baltimore Metro Area, offering full and transparent assistance for all your worker’s compensation rights. For a free consultation in Glen Burnie, call us today at (410) 988-4956

  • How Long Will My Disability Benefits Last?

    Once your lawyer in Baltimore helps you secure your disability benefits , you should continue to receive them for as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. There are a few things that can cause your benefits to be terminated. First, know that while on disability, you’re responsible for promptly reporting whether your medical condition improves or whether you return to work. If your health improves to the point at which the Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer considers you to be disabled, then your benefits will be terminated. The SSA will periodically review your case to assess whether you are still disabled.

    It’s possible to return to work without automatically forfeiting your disability benefits. The SSA refers to this as a “work incentive.” It’s designed to encourage benefit recipients to test their ability to work, while still having the safety net of benefits. If you are able to return to a level of work that gives you substantial earnings, then you’ll no longer receive benefits. How the SSA defines “substantial earnings” is subject to change over time—you can consult your lawyer about the current regulations.

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  • Involved in a Wreck? Don’t Ignore These Delayed Symptoms

    Most car accident injuries are immediately apparent, such as lacerations and broken bones. Others may not result in symptoms until hours, days, or even weeks after the wreck. Your injury attorney in Baltimore needs to know about these late-appearing injuries so that he or she can provide effective legal advocacy services, and secure maximum compensation on your behalf.

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    Back Pain

    Low back pain is particularly common among survivors of rear-end and side-impact car accidents. It might not develop right away, and it can become worse without treatment. It’s possible for the pain to be caused by damaged vertebrae, ligaments, or nerves, so talk to a doctor about your symptoms promptly.

    Abdominal Pain

    Pain or swelling of the abdominal area should receive emergency medical attention. This could indicate severe internal bleeding that may become life-threatening. Other accompanying symptoms may include extensive bruising on the area, dizziness, and fainting.

    Neck Pain and Stiffness

    Neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion, and headaches can indicate whiplash—a common late-appearing injury of rear-end car accident survivors. Without early treatment, it’s possible for whiplash to cause chronic symptoms. Other accompanying symptoms of whiplash may include blurry vision, tinnitus, dizziness, and muscle spasms, along with pain, numbness, and tingling that extends down the arms. Treating whiplash may involve multiple sessions with a chiropractor and/or a physical therapist. Your attorney can help you secure compensation for these medical expenses.

    Headaches and Impaired Cognition

    Never ignore any signs of possible head trauma or neurological impairment after a car wreck, such as headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and impaired reasoning. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can develop even if your head wasn’t struck by something. The force of the impact can cause your brain to move back and forth within your skull, causing severe tissue damage. Other signs of brain trauma can include convulsions, nausea, vomiting, confusion, depression, irritability, and loss of balance. Some patients go on to suffer from long-term or permanent changes in personality and functional abilities.