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Whiplash

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whiplash is a hidden, sometimes delayed neck injury that occurs frequently in rear-end car crashes.  Whiplash occurs when the head is jostled back and forth suddenly, placing a strain on the neck.  What is dangerous about whiplash as a car accident injury is that it may take several hours or even days before symptoms develop.  By the time the injury becomes apparent, car crash victims suffering from whiplash may have already told an insurance company that they did not experience an injury in the collision.  Insurance companies may use this as an excuse to deny an injury claim. Why could the onset of whiplash symptoms be delayed?  For a few reasons.  The main reason is adrenaline rush.  Adrenaline is a hormone that is released in a stressful situation, triggering what is sometimes called the "fight-or-flight" response.   Adrenaline will reduce the body's ability to feel pain, for the purpose of allowing it to keep fighting or fleeing whatever is causing the stress.  Car crashes may only last seconds, but the effects of adrenaline can last for hours, leaving victims in a state of shock and unable to notice some injuries, especially invisible soft tissue injuries.  Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. Whiplash is the result of car crash physics.  Newton's first law of motion, sometimes called the law of inertia, explains the phenomenon well.  An object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless an outside force acts upon the object.  In a car crash, your car (and by extension, you) is the object and the outside force is the car rear-ending you.  A sudden jolt, even at low speeds, will move your entire body forward quickly.  If you are wearing your seat belt, your body is being restrained.  Your neck, however, is not.  This causes your neck to snap back and forth in a way it is not meant to, causing potential damage to muscles, ligaments, discs, and vertebrae.  The larger the force, the greater potential for injury.  To be clear though, if you were not wearing a seat belt, you might suffer a milder whiplash injury but are likely to suffer overall greater injury when your head and body slam into your steering wheel.  Always wear a seat belt when you are traveling in a vehicle. If you think you have suffered whiplash after a rear-end collision, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.  The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you find a doctor who will examine and treat your whiplash with no out-of-pocket costs.  Our team of car accident professionals can help you pursue an injury claim, even if you prematurely told an insurance company that you were not injured.  Time, however, is of the essence.  The longer you wait to contact an attorney and begin medical treatment for whiplash, the less likely it becomes that the insurance company will accept your claim.  Speak with an auto accident expert today - call 888-517-9888 to receive a free injury consultation![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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USCIS Issues Memorandum – No New DACA Applications Will Be Considered

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In a widely expected, though still shocking, move the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed in a memorandum that it will automatically reject new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and cut the deferment period from two years to one year.  Taking these actions would appear to be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling on DACA and a federal court ruling demanding USCIS restore DACA policy.  It is unclear if Dreamers who would have recently become eligible to apply for DACA for the first time have any options to do so right now. DACA rules have been in flux since the Trump administration first attempted to rescind the policy in 2017.  First, there was the initial fallout of the policy, followed by a lengthy court battle.  USCIS failing to reopen the application process and shortening the deferral period is likely to trigger another court battle, the result of which would be very uncertain.  Even after several courts have ordered DHS and USCIS to administer the DACA program as it was before the 2017 attempt to end the program it is refusing to do so.  The DACA program faces an uncertain future; the survival or death of the program likely rests on the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. See the DACA update from USCIS here. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping immigrants to the United States since 1984.  We continuously monitor for any possible changes to immigration law that could affect the outcomes of our clients' immigration cases.  Should the DACA program be reopened for new applications, we can help eligible Dreamers pursue their application successfully.  For a free immigration consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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USCIS Drastically Increases Immigration, Naturalization Fees Effective October 2

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a new rule increasing fees and eliminating fee waivers for many immigration-related services performed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The new fee structure will take effect October 2.  The increased costs of immigration-related services are across the board, affecting non-immigrants seeking work visas, business seeking to hire foreign workers, asylum seekers, immigrants seeking permanent residency, and green card holders seeking citizenship.  USCIS says the increased fees and reduced fee waivers are necessary to maintain and recover operational costs. There are many notable fee increases. The I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker form is used for nonimmigrant visas, including the H-1B and L-1 visas.  Currently, all visas covered by the I-129 form are $460, but the new rule changes the cost of the application based on the type of visa being sought.  The new fee for filing for an H-1B visa will be $555, an increase of 21 percent and the new fee for the L-1 visa will be $805, a 75 percent increase.  Other work visas covered by the I-129 form will see an average fee increase of about 50 percent, with most increasing to $695.  This includes the E, H-3, O ($705), P, Q, R, and TN visas.  The I-765 Application for Employment Authorization used for Optional Practical Training (OPT) will be $550, a 34 percent increase. Asylum seekers face brand new fees, including a $50 free to apply for asylum in the United States.  Previously, there had not been a cost associated with an asylum application.  Charging an application fee for asylum is incredibly rare around the world; the U.S. will be only the fourth country to have a fee associated with asylum, joining Australia, Fiji, and Iran.  Asylum seekers seeking work authorization will now also face a brand new $490 fee.  Seeking an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) was previously free. The cost of naturalization is also skyrocketing.  The N-400 Application for Naturalization is increasing 81 percent, from $640 to $1,160.  Paper filings will now also cost an additional $10 on top of that fee.  Other naturalization services are seeing some fees increase by up to 383 percent. See the full rule change here (PDF). Between the fee increases and the elimination of most fee waivers, immigration expenses are about to increase on October 2.  If you or your family member is planning on seeking immigration services in the near future, it would be best to be prepared.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping people meet their immigration goals for more than 35 years.  We offer free initial consultations, so call us today at 888-517-9888 to speak with an immigration expert![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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New H-1B, L-1 Visa Guidelines Ease Certain Restrictions

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This week, the Trump administration has relaxed certain restrictions to its temporary suspension of foreign worker visa holders from entering the U.S.  The new guidelines allow for many work visa holders and their families who were previously barred from entering the United States to now do so.  The suspension of foreign work visas was initially announced in a proclamation on June 22 and was quickly challenged in court.  The easing of restrictions in the newest guidance is not likely to end the litigation. See the update announcement here. The June proclamation did not affect any work visa holders who were in the country at the time.    Non-exempt workers who were outside of the country at the effective date of the proclamation, June 24, are still not permitted to enter the country until the expiration of the guidance, currently set for December 31, 2020.  It is unknown if the administration plans to extend this expiration date. The new August 12 proclamation expands the classification of people considered exempt from the ban.  Most healthcare workers, healthcare researchers, workers who would benefit the U.S. economy, and workers who are returning to a job they previously held are now permitted to enter the country on a work visa.  The biggest change in the updated proclamation is that workers returning to a position can now do so. Immigration law continues to be in flux and will likely be for the at least the next several months.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth works with foreign nationals seeking work visas and U.S. companies seeking to bolster their workforce.  Whether it's an H-1B visa, L-1 visa, or any other type of work visa, our immigration attorneys can help.  We offer free consultations at 888-517-9888.  Speak with an immigration expert today![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Common Questions in Workers’ Comp Cases – Part 3 – Depositions

Topics: Workers' Compensation

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What is a deposition? A deposition is a pretrial legal process where attorneys ask witnesses questions under oath in the presence of a court reporter. In the context of a workers' compensation claim, legal counsel for the insurance company or the employer will ask relevant questions of the injured worker. How long does a deposition take? The length of a workers' compensation deposition will depend on the extent of your injuries and medical treatment. Most work injury depositions will last about one to two hours, but could last longer. Who will be present in the deposition? At a minimum, the people attending the deposition will include a court reporter, attorney for the insurance company or employer, the injured worker, the injured workers' attorney if the injured worker has retained the services of a workers' compensation law firm, and occasionally an employer representative. Potential witnesses and attorneys representing other affected party's interests may also be present, but a judge is present only if the Board orders the deposition to be completed before a judge, which is rare. How should I prepare for a deposition? Prior to any deposition, you should meet with your attorney.  Your attorney will provide advice and guidance to some of the questions that could be asked in your deposition.  In general, you should be familiar with the facts of your claim, including the circumstances that led to your injury and the medical treatment you have received so far.  You should not review any documents to prepare for your deposition unless you are advised by your attorney to do so. What questions might be asked? Attorneys are given wide latitude by law to ask deposition questions. They may include any matter that is relevant to your case we well, as well as matters which may reasonably lead the attorney to relevant information. Generally speaking, the attorney will typically ask questions about your employment background, your medical and accident or injury history, about the injuries involved in the current claim, medical treatment received, time lost from work, the level of your pain and discomfort, and your limitations, if any, in activities due to your injuries. Your attorney may object to questions the attorney deems improper in order to preserve your rights at trial, but generally speaking you may answer the question after your attorney raises the objection as long as your attorney has not instructed you against answering the question. How should I answer those questions? Truthfully, to the best of your ability, and in as few words as possible. Even if answering a question truthfully seems like it would hurt your case, you are required by law to testify in a truthful manner. Providing false information during a deposition could lead to a criminal prosecution for perjury and insurance fraud, both felonies. Do not feel that you have to explain or justify your truthful answer; often a simple "yes' or "no" will suffice. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so. Try to avoid answering any questions by guessing. Your attorney will provide further guidance during your deposition preparation. Am I reimbursed for travel expenses? Yes.  If the insurance company or employer requests a deposition, they are responsible for paying your travel expenses, including transportation costs, meals, and lodging.  They are also responsible for any wages lost as the result of your attendance. What if I don't have an attorney? Opposing attorneys are asking you questions with the specific goal of reducing your workers' compensation benefits.  They may ask questions designed to confuse you or ask leading questions designed to elicit information damaging to your case. Hiring a workers' compensation law firm is the best way to ensure your legal rights are being protected in a deposition.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps injured workers obtain the benefits they are entitled to.  For a free consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Common Car Accident Scams and How to Fight Them

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It may seem like something out of a network TV drama, but car insurance scams are very real: con artists will in fact crash another vehicle into yours, solely for the purpose of faking an injury and collecting insurance money.  These instances of fraud are known as "staged accidents".  A staged accident has the potential to leave you injured, with a damaged vehicle, and with more expensive insurance premiums.  Knowing what some of the most common car crash scams are, and how to avoid them, can help protect you and your family. The Swoop and Squat Also called a forced rear-ending scam, the swoop and squat is an attempt to crash the front of your vehicle into the back of the scammers' vehicle.  The scammer will be driving next to you before swerving in to your lane and slamming on the brakes.  If you're unable to stop in time, you will smash into the back of the scammer's vehicle.  The dangers of such a scam are obvious; the scammer is willfully causing a car crash, putting everyone involved at risk of serious injury.  The scam often works because in most circumstances, rear-end collisions are the fault of the trailing vehicle.  The scammer may claim an injury even if the resulting collision was minor.  You can avoid this scam by scanning ahead for traffic and leaving plenty of room for vehicles, allowing yourself to come to a quick stop.  Installing a dash cam could also provide evidence of the scammers' intent. The Drive Down Also called a staged accident, the drive down occurs when a driver who has the right of way waves you ahead.  When you take advantage of the seemingly nice offer to merge, proceed into traffic, or claim that parking spot, the scammer slams into your vehicle on purpose.  When the police arrive, the scammer will deny having waved at you to go ahead, leaving you at fault for the collision.  And again, even if the collision is minor, the scammer may attempt to file an injury insurance claim against you.  This scam can be foiled by always following right of way, even if someone offers a "friendly" wave.  In certain drive down scenarios, a dash cam may also catch the scammer imploring you to go ahead, which can be provided as evidence. The Sideswipe Another type of staged accident, the sideswipe occurs when a scammer purposefully slams into your vehicle if you accidentally stray into another lane.  This will typically happen at an intersection with two turn lanes, especially if you're turning from the inner lane.  Many drivers will inadvertently swing their vehicle too wide when turning from the inner-left turn lane into the left-most driving lane.  Scammers take advantage of this, and will strike your vehicle on purpose, placing you at fault for the collision.  This will again lead to a likely insurance claim against you.  Avoid this scam by being extra vigilant when using dual turn lanes.  A dash cam will probably not help you in this case, as the scammer will only hit your vehicle if you are indeed positioned improperly. The Bad Actors This scam typically occurs after a collision has already happened.  Also called "shady helpers", bad actors will approach you after the crash in an attempt to provide you with information that may "help", such as an auto body repair shop, doctor, or even an attorney.  These people and businesses may be frauds attempting to cash in on your legitimate insurance claim, or even to process a fraudulent insurance claim without you knowing.  Avoid this scam by only providing your contact and insurance information to parties relevant to the crash, such as other involved drivers. Contact a Legitimate Attorney If you believe you are not at fault for your collision, contact an experienced car accident law firm.  A personal injury attorney can evaluate your situation and tell you if you have any legal options to fight the insurance scammers and clear your driving record.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth provides free consultations to anyone involved in a car accident.  Call us today at 888-517-9888![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Updated Public Charge Rule Put on Hold by Federal Judge

Topics: Covid-19, Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The battle over the Trump administration's public charge rule has taken yet another turn, with a federal judge in New York reissuing a hold on the policy.  The new public charge policy is currently in litigation, but the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the updated policy to be adopted and implemented in January.  The Trump administration began to apply the new public charge policy in February.  But in the new ruling, plaintiffs argued, and the judge agreed, that the novel coronavirus health emergency has rendered the January Supreme Court decision obsolete.  Immigrants refusing to enroll in Medicaid because of fears that doing so will label them as public charges post a public health risk. In the original case, the federal judge issued an injunction, preventing the new public charge rule from taking effect while under litigation.  The Supreme Court ruling in January lifted that injunction.  The same judge reimposed the injunction, citing the effects of the pandemic. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an alert indicating that seeking public assistance and treatment for Covid-19 would be exempted from public charge rules, allowing immigrants to enroll in Medicaid for the sole purpose of treating diseases arising from the coronavirus.  Immigrants would be expected to disenroll after treatment.  The judge found this to be a burden, also noting that food stamps were not exempted for immigrants who lost jobs due to the outbreak. In a separate ruling, the same judge placed an injunction on a U.S. State Department rule revision that required immigrants to have health insurance, determining that immigrants could meet the requirements by purchasing insurance plans that provide no comprehensive coverage.  USCIS has indicated that it will comply with both court rulings.  The Trump administration is expected to appeal the rulings. See the full news story here. U.S. immigration law has been changing at a rapid pace.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth evaluates any and all changes, and potential changes, to the law.  Staying up to date on immigration news helps us to better serve our clients.  For a free immigration consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]