How Are Personal Injury Settlements Divided in a Divorce?

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Divided in a Divorce?

When someone else causes another person harm or injury, the at-fault party can be held financially liable for damages. The victim could receive a personal injury settlement that includes reimbursement for their economic damages. The personal injury settlement could also include compensation for non-economic damages.

If a party is single, the settlement amount is that person’s property. However, what happens to a personal injury settlement in California or Nevada during a divorce?

California and Nevada Are Community Property States

Most states divide property in a divorce according to an equitable division between spouses. “Equitable” does not always mean equal. For example, a judge could decide that equitable is a 70/30 split or a 60/40 split.

However, California and Nevada are community property states. In a community property state, the spouses divide all marital assets equally during a divorce. Marital assets typically include all income and property acquired during the marriage.

Separate property refers to assets owned before the marriage. Additionally, inheritance and gifts received during the marriage are considered separate property. The spouse would need to commingle or convert the property to marital assets to be included as community property. 

When a spouse receives a personal injury settlement, it could be considered separate or marital property. It depends on several factors.

California’s Divorce Laws Related to Personal Injury Settlements 

In California, a personal injury settlement is separate property. California Family Code §781 states the settlement is not subject to property division. On the other hand, California Family Code §780 and California Family Code §2603 discuss personal injury settlements as community property. 

The laws seem to contradict each other. However, when you analyze the statutes, you find that personal injury settlements are separate property if:

  • The injury occurred after the parents were legally separated or divorced
  • A spouse causes injury to the other spouse
  • The spouses were not living together when the injury occurred
  • The injury occurred before the marriage

A non-injured spouse could claim a portion of the personal injury settlement. They could receive reimbursement for medical bills and other expenses they paid. 

A judge determines how to divide the settlement proceeds when personal injury settlements are community property. The judge considers each spouse’s economic condition and needs when determining how to split the proceeds. However, the maximum amount a non-injured spouse can receive is 50% of the personal injury settlement. 

In some cases, an ex-spouse could receive a portion of an ex’s personal injury settlement. However, the accident or injury would have had to occur before the parties were divorced, and the judge must determine the proceeds are community property.

Nevada’s Divorce Laws Related to Personal Injury Settlements 

Nevada also has laws that address personal injury settlements. Nevada Revised Statute §123.130 states personal injury settlements received before marriage are separate property. The settlement proceeds remain separate property unless converted to community property. 

A personal injury settlement received during the marriage could be community property. If only one spouse receives the settlement during the marriage, it is considered separate property. 

However, Nevada Revised Statute §123.121 refers to situations when the spouses file a joint action. The division of the settlement proceeds depends on how the money is classified in the settlement agreement.

For example, pain and suffering damages are paid to the person who sustained the injuries. Damages for loss of consortium are paid to the non-injured spouse. Settlement proceeds reimbursing the parties for medical bills and expenses are considered community property. 

Nevada law does not explicitly mention lost wages. However, a judge would likely consider a personal injury settlement for lost wages community property because income during a marriage is community property. 

Seek Legal Advice To Protect Your Rights and Best Interests 

The laws governing personal injury settlements during a divorce can be confusing and complicated. In addition, other factors could impact the outcome in your case. 

The best way to protect your right to a personal injury settlement during a divorce is to seek legal advice. Consulting a personal injury lawyer can help you keep a settlement award that should be your money. 

How to Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney in Austin, TX

How to Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney in Austin, TX

There are a glut of attorneys in the U.S. In fact, lawyers are the 25th most common profession in the country. There are over 108,000 active attorneys in Texas alone. 

With this many lawyers around, it can be hard to know how to find the right one for your case. This article discusses how to find the right personal injury lawyer in Austin. Read on for key tips that can help you in your search for legal representation

1. Searching the Internet 

Searching the internet for an Austin personal injury lawyer

The internet is the most common method for finding a lawyer. Over 90% of consumers use a search engine when looking for legal services. Google, of course, is the most popular search engine.

You can begin your search for a lawyer on Google. You can search for keyword terms like “personal injury lawyer near me” or “Austin personal injury lawyer.” This search will provide you with a list of lawyers and law firms in your area.

A Google search should be the beginning — not the end — of your search. You can’t automatically assume that law firms that appear on the first page of Google are the best firms to handle your injury case. They may just have the biggest marketing budgets or the most search-engine-friendly websites. 

Therefore, you should always conduct further research on the attorneys you find on Google or other search engines.

2. Legal Directories

Legal directories provide an excellent way to do more in-depth research on a particular personal injury lawyer. Directories provide useful information about an attorney, including their contact information, years of experience, practice areas, awards, and disciplinary history, among other things. Many directories also provide a rating for the attorney based on peer reviews and/or information in their profile. 

We’ll go over the most popular legal directories below.

Avvo

Avvo is perhaps the most well-known legal directory and attorney rating service. Avvo creates a profile for every licensed lawyer it can identify — which includes 97% of attorneys in the U.S.

The platform rates lawyers on a scale of 1.0 – 10.0 based on the information lawyers include in their profiles and information from state bar organizations. Ideally, you’d want to hire someone who has an Avvo Rating of 10, such as Joshua Fogelman, a personal injury lawyer in Austin.

Avvo also has a spot for “customer reviews,” where former clients can rate their experience with a lawyer out of five stars. Avvo allows you to get a comprehensive look at the quality of an attorney’s legal services.

Justia

Justia has a large directory of lawyer profiles. Like Avvo, the platform uses a 1.0 – 10.0 rating system for attorneys. However, a lawyer’s rating is based solely on peer reviews from other attorneys who have worked with the lawyer. Justia provides specific 1.0 – 5.0 ratings for an attorney’s legal knowledge, legal analysis, communication skills, and ethics/professionalism.

Justia provides you with a glimpse of what the legal community thinks about a lawyer.

Findlaw

Findlaw has one of the largest online lawyer directories on the internet. FindLaw does not have its own rating system. Rather, an attorney’s Findlaw rating is based on the average of all the attorney’s client reviews on their profile. Clients can rate a lawyer from one to five stars. 

Findlaw offers a good opportunity to find out what former clients have to say about their experience with a lawyer.

3. Online Reviews

As noted above, many online legal directories provide a terrific source of client reviews. However, Google is the gold standard for attorney reviews — and will be the place you’ll likely find the most client reviews and ratings for a lawyer or law firm. 

You can typically find an attorney’s Google reviews on their Google Business Profile listing. This listing should come up with you search the attorney or firm name on Google. You can also type the name or the term “personal injury lawyer” into Google Maps to see the results with reviews.

Online reviews - personal injury lawyer in Austin

Take time to read the reviews of a lawyer you’re considering hiring. Read the good reviews and the bad reviews. Take note of how the attorney responds to negative reviews. Are they professional and empathetic, or are they petty and aggressive? This information can give you insight into what the lawyer would be like to work with. 

4. Texas State Bar 

State Bar of Texas

The State Bar of Texas website can be a valuable asset in your search for an attorney. The bar operates an attorney referral service for individuals looking for legal services. This service will refer you to a lawyer in your geographic area that best matches your legal needs. 

The Bar also has a directory of all active and inactive attorneys in Texas. This directory will tell you the lawyer’s contact info, date of licensure, and disciplinary history, among other things. 

5. Prepare for Your Consultation With an Injury Lawyer

Prepare for Your Consultation With an Injury Lawyer

Identifying a lawyer is only the first step in finding the best legal professional for your case. Your initial consultation will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. So, be sure to make the most of it.

Prepare a list of questions for your injury attorney to help you determine if they’ll be a good fit for your case. At a minimum, you should ask about:

  • Their years of experience
  • Their history of handlings cases like yours
  • Whether they exclusively practice personal injury law
  • Whether they have trial experience
  • Whether they’ll hire experts to help with your case
  • Their fee structure
  • Their estimation of the value of your claim

Preparing a list of questions can help you stay on task during your consultation. It can also help you remember all the things you want to discuss in the meeting. 

You should walk away from your consultation with a pretty good idea of the attorney’s personality and whether they are they right lawyer for your case. You should feel free to have multiple initial consultations to make sure you get the right legal representation. After all, it can take a few tries to find the best personal injury lawyer in Austin, TX.

Can I File a Valsartan Lawsuit?

Can I File a Valsartan Lawsuit?

Many people who have taken the blood pressure medication Valsartan may wonder if they can file a Valsartan lawsuit. If you have taken Valsartan and been diagnosed with cancer, you may have a legal claim for damages. The best way to know whether you should file a Valsartan lawsuit is to seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer.

What Are Valsartan Lawsuits?

Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Valsartan lawsuits are claims filed by consumers who took the blood pressure medication and subsequently developed cancer. The lawsuits seek damages, including, but not limited to, compensation for:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Physical injuries
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Wrongful death

The lawsuits allege that from 2012 to 2018, many batches of Valsartan were contaminated with NDMA. NDMA or N-nitrosodimethylamine is classified as a probable human carcinogen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of Valsartan tablets on July 13, 2018, because they could contain NDMA. 

It was believed the dangerous impurity was introduced to the finished products during the manufacturing process. The FDA continues to investigate Valsartan and other drugs that may be contaminated with NDMA. 

Because of the large number of Valsartan lawsuits filed against various drug manufacturers, the courts consolidated these cases into a multi-district litigation or mass torts action based in New Jersey. It is not a class-action lawsuit. Instead, each person files an individual lawsuit against the drug manufacturer and other parties responsible for their injuries and damages. 

What Types of Cancer or Diseases Are Associated with Contaminated Valsartan?

Numerous studies and sources link NDMA to cancer in humans, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A Danish study from 2018 revealed that exposure to NDMA can cause cancer of the colon, liver, pancreas, stomach, and rectum. 

Valsartan contaminated with NDMA is related to several diseases. NDMA has been shown to cause the following conditions in animals:

  • Liver cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

People who receive too much NDMA may also exhibit several symptoms. Signs of overexposure to NDMA could include headaches, fever, dizziness, vomiting, jaundice, and impairment of the lungs, kidneys, or liver. Valsartan containing NDMA can cause severe side effects, cancer, and other conditions. Seeing a doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms or signs of a disease is essential to protect your health.

What Are the Legal Grounds for a Valsartan Lawsuit?

The legal grounds for a Valsartan lawsuit depend on the specific circumstances of your case. However, most lawsuits are based on allegations of a manufacturing defect or improper labeling of medication. 

Manufacturing defects occur when a product becomes unsafe because of negligence and mistakes during the manufacturing process. The product as designed is safe to use. However, the product becomes dangerous to use because of errors during the manufacturing process. 

Valsartan is safe to use when it is compounded (manufactured) correctly. However, numerous batches of Valsartan were contaminated with NDMA during the manufacturing process. As a result, the tablets in those batches contain cancer-causing agents. 

Furthermore, the labels on the contaminated batches of Valsartan do not contain warnings that the medication could contain carcinogens. Had the labels included a warning that there was a risk the medication could contain NDMA or other carcinogens, patients would have likely chosen not to take the medication. 

Both legal causes of action are straightforward claims to prove in court. Under product liability laws, manufacturers are strictly liable for failing to include adequate warnings and manufacturing defects. 

Strict liability means you do not need to prove that the manufacturer intended to cause anyone harm. Instead, you only need to prove that the manufacturer’s conduct resulted in harm and damages. 

How Do I Choose a Valsartan Lawyer to Handle My Case?

Search for an attorney who has experience handling Valsartan cases. Attorneys who represent clients in mass tort cases against large pharmaceutical companies have the resources and skills necessary to handle a Valsartan lawsuit.

Also, should avoid personal injury lawyers who ask for payment upfront. Most reputable personal injury lawyers accept mass tort cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is based on a percentage of the money the attorney recovers for your case. You do not owe any attorneys’ fees unless the attorney recovers money for your claim.

Attorneys with experience going up against big pharma understand what is necessary to pursue Valsartan claims. They also know what it takes to win these types of personal injury cases.