Contracts & Litigation
Trusted Guidance You Can Rely On
Litigation is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be paid by the wrongdoer or an order to do or refrain from doing (called an injunction) something may be issued. Litigation includes, but is not limited to personal injury matters, workers’ compensation claims, contract disputes, contesting a will or distribution of an estate, disputing with an abutting landowner about the property line, and even business matters such as employee disputes. If you have concerns or feel you have been injured or wronged by another, contact the experienced attorneys at Smith-Weiss Shepard & Kanakis, P.C. to discuss your case.
The phrase “personal injury” refers to an injury that could have resulted from an accident in your car, motorcycle, at work (known as workers compensation), on a construction site or even a slip and fall while shopping. An injury from something like this can change your life. Thankfully, the legal system allows an injured person to seek compensation for accidents that were not their fault.
Worker’s compensation or “workman’s compensation” is insurance mandated by the state and paid by an employer for the benefit of employees. To be covered, the injury must have been during the course of employment with the employer, and properly reported as such. Generally speaking, should an employee be injured while at work, this insurance covers medical expenses and a portion of the employees wage until they are able to return to work.
Contracts are legally binding documents that contain different clauses which will dictate each parties responsibilities in order to conform to the agreement. In order to be binding, contracts must satisfy certain requirements depending on the kind of transaction. Construction contracts, for example, are highly litigated as there are often provisions that may be interpreted differently by either party.
When someone dies without a will, state law will dictate to whom his or her property will go, depending on surviving family members. However, when someone makes a will, he or she decides the disposition of their property at the time of their passing. Sometimes, family members or loved ones disagree with how the property was distributed. They may believe they should have gotten more, or that the testator did not intend to distribute their property in the way it was distributed. This is a will contest.
Boundary and Title Disputes
Boundary disputes occur when two abutting parties believe a portion of the adjoining land to be theirs. This can create causes of action known as a petition to quiet title. Another claim regarding property rights is adverse possession. Adverse possession is a principle where ownership of a parcel can change without payment and against the will of the owner if certain requirements are satisfied.
Laws in all states requires both landlord and tenants to abide by certain responsibilities in ensuring the landlord-tenant relationship is fair. Landlord representation involves both defending, as well as drafting adequate leases to protect against a tenant’s breach of those lease terms. Litigation of these matters involves strict compliance with the procedural laws of that state in order to be successful in a breached lease, or eviction action.
Criminal law covers a wide range of laws and areas that could require legal representation. The difference between civil and criminal law is that criminal law involves the state charging an individual with a broken law, and can result in incarceration and/or a fine. Crimes are broken into classes which differ from state to state. Habitual offender laws can affect sentencing when a crime is repeatedly broken. Finally, while not considered criminal, abuse and neglect matters involved the state alleging harm to the child, which if not rectified can lead to termination of parental rights.
Businesses can be formed and organized in several different ways, depending on the number of officers or managers, and the assets of the company. For example general partnerships require at least two members, while limited liability companies require specific documents regarding formation, as well as a registered agent. Business law also incorporates the sale and merger of businesses which involves detailed negotiations as to the specific terms of the transaction. Employer/employee considerations are also a factor in business law and involves protecting a business’ reputation while also protecting an employee’s right to inform the authorities of a company’s wrongful activities, also known as Whistleblowers.