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Civil Litigation

civil litigation photoCivil litigation ensues when one party alleges that another party (or parties) has committed a non-criminal wrong against them and looks to the judicial system to resolve the dispute. Examples of events leading to civil litigation include breach of contract, damage to property, commission of a tort, class action disputes and business disputes. This list is not exhaustive, but should be helpful in illustrating the wide array of actions and disputes that could lead to a civil lawsuit. Prescott Law Group attorneys have represented clients, both plaintiffs and defendants, in a number of civil suits and are available to assist you regardless of the type of case. Attorney appointments with the Prescott Law Group can be scheduled by calling
(928) 445-1909.

One of the more common types of civil lawsuits is a suit for personal injuries, discussed immediately below.

Personal Injury Law

personal-injuryPersonal injury law covers a broad spectrum of issues when one has been physically or emotionally injured, and/or personal property has been damaged. In legal circles, personal injury law is also known as “tort” law, the French word for “wrong.” Personal injury or “tort” law is the body of law that allows one to be compensated in the event that someone’s carelessness, recklessness or intentional misconduct injures or damages you or your personal belongings. Automobile accidents are classic examples of the types events covered by tort law. If someone hits the back of your car while you are stopped at a red light, that person commits a tort, and is referred to as the “tortfeasor” (French for “wrongdoer”). In America that person is generally referred to as the “defendant” once a lawsuit is filed, and the person harmed is called a “plaintiff” or “claimant.” State law usually governs personal injury lawsuits, but federal law may apply in certain circumstances. For example, an injury suffered on federal property may be covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act, or liability for injuries suffered in an airplane crash may be governed by international treaties. A claim for personal injury must be accompanied by an injury that can be compensated. In other words, one must prove an injury in order to seek monetary damages. For example, if you were to slip and fall due to someone else’s fault or negligence, you could not recover damages if you were not injured in some way.

The law of personal injury is concerned with determining who may be responsible (who is “liable,” or has “liability”) for causing injury and how much the responsible party should be required to pay for any damages resulting from the injury. Personal injury law can be classified in the following three broad categories, or degrees of fault: negligence, intentional torts and strict liability torts. Each category is comprised of different types of legal wrongs (or “causes of action”), and indicates a different “standard of care” that may apply to a given incident.

In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Prescott Law Group now at (928) 445-1909. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

PERSONAL INJURY AREAS OF PRACTICE:

  • Automobile Accidents
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Lead Paint Exposure
  • Pesticide Exposure
  • Toxic Molds
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • Drug Products Liability
  • Airplane Accidents
  • Dog Bites
  • Drunk Drivers
  • Wrongful Death
  • School Bus Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Large Truck Cases

Criminal Law

criminal lawCriminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. Persons convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both.

A “crime” is any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. Though there are some common law crimes, most crimes in the United States are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to state, as do the penalties assessed for conviction.

Crimes include both felonies (more serious offenses — like murder or rape) and misdemeanors (less serious offenses — like petty theft or jaywalking). Felonies are usually crimes punishable by imprisonment of a year or more, while misdemeanors are crimes punishable by less than a year. However, no act is a crime if it has not been previously established as such either by statute or common law.

All statutes describing criminal behavior can be broken down into their various elements. Most crimes (with the exception of strict-liability crimes) consist of two elements: an act, or “actus reus,” and a mental state, or “mens rea.” Prosecutors have to prove each and every element of the crime to yield a conviction. Furthermore, the prosecutor must persuade the jury or judge “beyond a reasonable doubt” of every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged. In civil cases, the plaintiff needs to show a defendant is liable only by a “preponderance of the evidence,” or more than 50%.

The U.S. Constitution and State Constitutions (including Arizona’s) guarantee certain rights to defendants in criminal cases. However, some of those rights may be inadvertently waived by defendants and, once waived, may be lost forever. It is important for a defendant to consult with an attorney in order to ensure preservation of rights. Similarly, it is crucial to contact an attorney early in the criminal process in order to build the strongest defense possible. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, consult Prescott Law Group at (928) 445-1909 for high-quality representation.

(Credit: Legal Information Institute: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/criminal_law)

Driving Under the Influence

dui picDUI is a particular type of criminal law (see above), but deserves its own special mention. Nearly 30,000 arrests for suspicion of driving under the influence were made in Arizona in 2012, making DUI one of the most likely charges an Arizona resident will face. In addition, Arizona is widely recognized as having the strictest DUI laws and the most severe punishments for violation of those laws in the United States. If you have been charged with DUI, you need to secure legal counsel quickly for your best chance to avoid the most serious penalties. The attorneys at Prescott Law Group have defended hundreds of DUI cases, including several favorable jury verdicts.

(Arrest Statistics Source: Arizona Republic)

CRIMINAL LAW AREAS OF PRACTICE:

  • DUI
  • Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Charges
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Shoplifting
  • Guns/Weapons
  • Fraud
  • Homicide
  • White Collar Crime
  • Aggravated Assault
  • All Felonies
  • All Misdemeanors

Estate Planning Law

A person’s estate plan is a document or (more likely) a set of cohesive documents in which a person makes end-of-life decisions. When people envision an estate plan, they often confine their thinking to the transfer of assets upon death. This is certainly an important part of a person’s overall estate plan. Financially speaking, an estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries (including federal and state tax planning) as well as preserving flexibility for the individual prior to death.

Though financial considerations exist, there is much more to an estate plan than asset distribution. For example, financial powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and living wills are each important documents that allow for advanced decision-making or appointment of another person to make decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated and unable to do so. In addition, an estate plan can select a person or persons to serve as guardian(s) of your minor children in the event of your demise. Although unpleasant, these are certainly important considerations.

The professionals at Prescott Law Group are experienced and proficient in this area of law. Our attorneys will walk you through the process step by step, clearly explaining your options along the way. Unfortunately, there is very little estate planning that can be accomplished post-death, so call Prescott Law Group today at (928) 445-1909 to create or update estate plans. You will gain great peace of mind in knowing that, in the event of unlikely tragedy, your affairs are in order.

ESTATE PLANNING LAW AREAS OF PRACTICE:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Spendthrift Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Credit Shelter Trusts
  • Community Property Agreements
  • Beneficiary Deeds
  • Probate Administration/Litigation
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills

Family Law

Family law generally concerns domestic relations and close-to-home matters such as marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoptions, paternity, guardianships, domestic abuse, surrogacy, child custody, child abduction, the dissolution of marriage and associated issues. According to U.S. Census data the make-up of the American family has been changing. For instance, the 2000 Census revealed that less than a quarter of American families are married couples with minor children compared with 45% of such households in 1960.

 

The most common type of family law proceeding is an action for dissolution of marriage (divorce).  A large percentage of marriages end in separation or divorce. When a couple decides to terminate their marriage, one of the parties will petition the court for a divorce. Besides seeking a legal termination of the relationship, the couple will also ask the court to divide the marital assets, grant child custody to one or both parents, and impose child and spousal support obligations, if applicable.

The termination of marriage is often one of the most emotionally difficult and trying times a person faces in his or her lifetime.  It is important that you and your attorney each maintain focus during this time in order to obtain resolution in the quickest, most civil and most favorable way possible.  While cognizant of the professionalism and calm necessary to resolve a difficult divorce case, the attorneys at Prescott Law Group understand the emotion of such a case and will treat you with compassion and empathy every step of the way.  Prescott Law Group staff and attorneys are standing by to assist you with your divorce or other family law matter.

FAMILY LAW AREAS OF PRACTICE:

  • Premarital Agreements
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Civil unions
  • Adoptions
  • Paternity
  • Guardianship
  • Domestic abuse
  • Surrogacy
  • Child custody
  • Child abduction
  • Visitation