Orange County Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone in your family has been injured in an auto accident, you may have asked yourself, “Do I need a lawyer?” Mashney Law Offices attorneys stand ready to represent you.

It is a common and often costly mistake to assume that because you have insurance coverage you will not need or benefit from legal advice from a lawyer experienced in personal injury.

Insurance companies know that few auto accident victims are familiar with auto accident law, proper auto accident injury care, or the details of their own insurance coverage.

The majority of insurance companies have a list of doctors with whom they work. These defense doctors have an interest in maintaining a lucrative working relationship with the insurance company, an interest that may not align with an accident victims best interests, care, and legal rights.

In such situations, some defense doctors may minimize the severity of an auto accident victims injuries. Insurance companies may attempt to disallow some types of treatment in favor of less expensive and less effective treatments in order to reduce their costs. Even in accidents cases involving serious or catastrophic injury, an insurance company almost always disputes the cause of the injury and the necessity and extent of medical care continuing into the future.

Injured auto accident victims who attempt to negotiate without the benefit of legal advice from a licensed and experienced personal injury lawyer, after they have provided the insurance company with a recorded statement and been seen by an insurance company approved doctor, often discover that insurance companies are more interested in receiving premiums and in minimizing the costs necessarily associated with claims than with paying the claims of injured auto accident victims.

The injured victim of an auto accident may be wise to think carefully before attempting to negotiate with an insurance company on his/her own. The expert advice of the lawyers of Mashney Law Offices, experienced in auto accident and personal injury law, can be of great benefit to an auto accident victim.

In California as in most other states, if you are involved in an auto accident, fault and liability must be determined before an insurance company will make a settlement payment. Fault and liability refer to responsibility. The individual who caused the accident through carelessness or negligence is at fault and is liable for any property damage and personal injuries that result from an auto accident. Liability may be shared in situations in which more than one person is at fault. Each individuals settlement is likely to be based on his or her share of fault.

Auto insurance companies have deep pockets and teams of experienced and tricky claims adjusters and defense lawyers whose job it is to see that you get as little compensation as possible, a minimum payment, for your auto accident claim.

If you do not agree with an insurance company determination, Mashney Law Offices attorneys can file a lawsuit to recover additional damages, either for monetary damages, such as lost wages, or non-monetary losses, such as emotional distress, pain, anguish, loss of consortium, etc. Mashney Law Offices auto accident and personal injury attorneys have the knowledge, skill, ability, experience, expertise, and resources to represent you in your dealings with insurance companies.

Mashney Law Offices will work hard to see that you get the best settlement ethically and legally possible to compensate you for the damages, suffering, and losses you have incurred. For more information regarding auto accidents please visit

The Impact of the Proposed Legal Aid Changes

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has been laying out proposals for changes in legal aid that will limit the types of cases where legal aid is available, therefore savings significant costs. Currently over 2 billion a year is spent on legal aid in the UK, an amount that is more than ten times that of France. Areas where legal aid will no longer be available will include claims against hospitals, doctors and schools, immigration, benefit and employment disputes and family law cases. Also in the proposals is that fees for legal aid solicitors will be cut by 10%. It is being seen by supporters as removing legal aid where it is being wasted but keeping it where it is really seen as necessary, while critics say that it will mean the poorest members of society will in some cases be unable to get justice.

So, what will be the impact of these changes should they go ahead?

One area of law that has significantly increased over the last decade is no-win no-fee suits. Currently the costs, and therefore solicitors fees, are recovered from the losing side. This is something that will no longer be possible.

In most cases legal aid will no longer be available in cases against public institutions such as doctors, hospitals and schools. Cases that will be affected will include those seeking legal action after medical mistakes. With regard to schools it is likely to limit the number of accident claims and appeals against school entrance. Some would argue that not being able to take legal action for genuine accidents is a good thing while other say it means that institutions will no longer be held responsible for a lack of care.

Family Law is seen as an area that will be impacted most by these proposed changes. Half of the total money saved will happen in the area of family law alone. Legal aid will still be available in cases that involve domestic violence, forced marriage and child abduction, but in a relatively straight forward case it will not be the case.

In general it is expected that the number of so called minor legal disputes will be less commonplace. This is something supporters see as a major plus points, on top of the obvious fact that it will save public money. The changes may put to an end (to an extent anyway) the increasing culture of looking for blame to profit from unfortunate situations, such as minor accidents. Some see certain cases as people taking advantage of legal aid where they would not pursue the case if they had to pay for it themselves, even if they could afford to. This will therefore reduce unnecessary legal action.

There are, of course, potential problems. Some are worried that the less well off will suffer unfairly, that there will be situations where people will not get justice where someone better off, and able to afford legal advice themselves, will be able to carry a case forward. It could also lead to irresponsibility with businesses, organisations and individuals held less responsible for their actions.

Andrew Marshall (c)

How does Legal Separation differ from Divorce

Legal separation is where a married couple legally separate without getting divorced. During this legal process decisions regarding children (such as custody, visitation rights and maintenance payments) and financial issues (such as debt, mortgages and assets) are decided upon. It is really an official separation, going further than simply living apart but not as far as getting a divorce. After a legal separation a couple are still legally married but live separate lives. They are formally living apart and the courts may be used if there are any disputes.

In some ways a legal separation is like a divorce, with the most obvious reason being that the couple are not living together. If a couple have children similar arrangements need to be made as they would were they divorcing, either through agreement or through the courts. Where each spouse lives and who pays for it needs to be established as does who has access to shared funds or assets.

So, why do couples choose legal separation instead of just getting divorced? Some opt for this because they dont like the idea of getting divorced, possibly for religious reasons or they dont want the stigma of being divorced. Often couples use legal separation as a trial to see if they would like to stay together or divorce. It gives them time and space to make a decision. They may find that living apart makes them realise they miss each other and want things to return to the way they were, or they may want to be separated permanently. Sometimes legal separation leads to divorce, sometimes it leads to reconciliation and sometimes they remain separated without getting divorced.

Although some couples remain separated for good without divorcing, this is fairly rare. If they are not going to remain together as a couple most will prefer to cut their ties with each other. Another important consideration is that while still married, they are unable to marry anyone else.

So, is legal separation necessary or can couples simply live separately without the legal process? Well, they can if they wish, but it is not always that simple. Whether that is preferable depends on an individual couples situation and preferences. Legal separation can be more complex in some ways due to the legal processes that must be gone through. But, on the other hand, it can also simplify things as they will both know where they stand on certain issues.

Beatrice Sareen (c)