THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY AN ATTORNEY LICENSED IN CALIFORNIA. The validity of information outside of California has not been verified. THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT MEANT TO CREATE A LEGAL RELATIONSHIP. David Nitka will only acknowledge an attorney-client relationship with those persons who have a signed retainer agreement with David Nitka or his law office.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Be Safe This New Years!

New Years is an opportunity to revel with friends in a successful year gone by and to celebrate the coming good fortune. Not to sound like a cheesy public service announcement but if your New Year's plans involve alcohol Do Not Drink and Drive. There will be stepped up enforcement from police, there will be other drunks out and there is probably wet or icy roads.

Take a Taxi, walk, rent a limo, have a designated driver.

Lawyers know that after New Years there are lots of new cases because of all the hazards of New Year's Eve. Do not be in need of a lawyer. If you do need a lawyer contact one early.

I deal with people who are caught Drunk Driving at best these people receive a DUI. More likely, jail and additional charges. If you are pulled over and you have been drinking what should you do?

Here are your options:

1. Cooperate. Once you are pulled over everything is a gamble. Maybe you can sweet talk the cop. Maybe your BAC is low enough that you are under the limit. Maybe you pass the field sobriety test. Maybe Franco Harris catches an impropable pass and wins the game. Anything could happen.
In reality, if you really only had one beer and you really are sober, you may be getting pulled over for speeding. Cooperate take your speeding ticket and learn your lesson. If you have had anything more than two beers, you are taking a gamble by cooperating. Your breath test is something you have almost no chance to predict. It could be high, it could be low and it will depend on a number of factors.

2. Don't give Blood! No matter what unless you are sober, don't give blood. A blood test is incontrovertible. Whatever it says it what the court will find. Unless you are willing to pay exceptional amounts of money to your lawyer to fight a blood test(which you will probably lose), don't give blood.
A breath test is fungible. A breath test is not perfect. A breath test gives you a chance. Blood does not. If you are drunk and give a breath test, you are still going to lose. If you are on the borderline, a prosecutor may let you wiggle on a breath test. Not on a blood test.
IMPORTANT: failing to cooperate with any of the tests, blood, breath, field sobriety will land you a night in jail regardless of your status.

3. Remain Silent. This is the exact opposite of one. Rather than talking your way out of a ticket. Instead of being helpful, you can say nothing and do nothing. If you are drunk and you know you are drunk, choose this option. You will get taken to jail. You will get charged. YOU MUST CALL A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY! You know the jailhouse phone call... this is when you call your lawyer and have him show up at the station to help you out. It will cost money but its the best chance you have of avoiding a jail sentence. Don't wait. Don't talk to anyone. Just your slurred speech may be evidence against you if you were to say anything more than "(your name) and I want a lawyer. "
Lawyer's like myself are on call 24 hours a day for our clients. You should expect to pay a premium to your lawyer if you call him at night and need his help. It is worth it. If your lawyer is not willing to help you "after-hours" you may want to question what your lawyer is doing for you.

4. Run from the Cops. Don't do this. It is a horrible idea and will guarantee that you piss of the cops, the prosecutor and the judge. Going from a simple DUI to evading arrest is a fast way to a bad day (or more likely a bad 3-5 years).

5. Field Sobriety Tests. Pay attention to these tests. Pay attention to the field conditions. There are specific ways these tests should be given. If the cop does an eye test while his back is to his squad car while the lights are on it may invalidate the test. By having you look at him and the flashing lights, the flashing lights can affect the test. It the cop has you do a test in the cold with no jacket, you may be shaking due to the cold, not the alcohol. Keep track of these issues and make sure to inform your lawyer of these issues immediately.

Finally if you are drunk and not driving be careful. Too often another person may be drunk driving. Crossing streets, walking in a bike lane or any other activity that places you in close proximity to vehicles may be dangerous. Pay close attention to your own safety because the other cars can also be dangerous.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are you Authorized?

There is an interesting disparity between Workers Compensation and Personal Injury when it comes to the "authorized actions of an individual."

Legal speaking, "Authorized activity" refers to the actions of an employee for which the corporation has specifically given authority. A greeter at Wal-Mart has been authorized by the company to say hello and wear a blue vest. They may even be authorized to help someone find an item in the store. Are they authorized to drive a Wal-Mart truck? probably not.

What happens then when a Wal-Mart greeter having no truck driving experience decides to take an 18-wheeler around the block and causes an accident injuring the Wal-Mart greeter, another Wal-Mart employee and person on the street. Who can recover what?

The Wal-Mart greeter can get Workers' Compensation benefits if it can be shown that the decision to drive the truck was made to benefit the company and somehow there was a benefit to the company. The Wal-Mart greeter caused the accident and may get compensated!

The other Wal-Mart employee is entitled to Workers' Compensation as well. They may have a civil claim against the truck owner if it can be shown the truck owner was negligent in leaving the vehicle unattended or was negligent in lending the truck to the Wal-Mart employee. If Wal-Mart owns the truck though, there is no claim against the truck owner.

The person on the street may be the worst off though. They have no right to Workers' Compensation because there is no employee/employment relationship. So now they have to sue the Wal-Mart greeter and Wal-Mart and the truck owner.

I used a Wal-Mart greeter in this example as someone with clear liability for their actions but likely no ability to pay. Suing the Wal-Mart greeter will get you a judgement but no money in the end.

Suing Wal-Mart and the truck owner is a great idea. On a negligence claim, the case will hinge on the central issue of, authority. Did the Wal-Mart greeter have authority to drive the truck. Wal-Mart will certainly argue that the Greeter's job was to stand at the door and say hello and driving the truck was "outside their authority." Therefore Wal-Mart has no liability on a negligence theory because Wal-Mart was not negligent, the Greeter was beyond their authority.

There are other claims which could be made against Wal-Mart and the truck owner that may succeed. In California it is a negligent act to leave your keys in your car when it is unattended. If this is the case, there is a reasonable claim against Wal-Mart or the truck owner. There is claims like negligent entrustment, did the truck keys someone get in the hands of the Greeter inappropriately. Perhaps the Wal-Mart greeter asked to drive the truck and the keys were given to the greeter negligently.

What's the point here?

- If you are a person injured by a business' vehicle it is important that your lawyer examine all options for recovery against that business. If you only plead basic negligence claims, you may lose your case on a Motion for Summary Judgment before there is an opportunity to get to a jury.
- A business owner should always be aware of what the actual authority of their employees are and to make sure the employees are staying with in the scope of their authority. Tacit acceptance of employees exceeding their authority will lead to serious problems in the future.
- A good lawyer will investigate issues like the authority of an employees business. There are many kinds of authority: actual, implied, imputed, tacit, ratified. Any one of them may yield a positive result in the discussion above. Make sure your lawyer is competent in discussing authority in an employee/employer relationship.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Four Ways to Give Notice of Being Hurt at Work

Everyday I deal with the issue of people who are hurt at work. A very common situation is when an individual is hurt at work, and they tell their employer but no record is made of the incident. Then the employee goes to a doctor and the case is denied by the insurance company because "there was no first report of injury."

Protect your interests. Make sure the injury is properly reported!

One of the leading concepts in Workers' Compensation is that the employer is obligated to present the employee with the applicable claim forms once the employer has knowledge of the injury. This is called Reynolds Notice. Named for the case Reynolds v. WCAB (1974) 12 Cal.3d 726 (Reynolds). In this case, Mr. Reynolds had a heart attack at work in 1968. In 1970 he discovered he may have a right to a workers comp claim. He filed a claim in 1971. The WCAB denied his claim on a statute of limitations ground, saying Mr. Reynolds waited too long to bring his case.
The Supreme Court of California reversed the WCAB decision because the employer, PG&E, failed in their obligations under the Department of Industrial Relations Regulations which state, "In every case where an employer has notice or knowledge of an injury," the employer must inform the employee of their right to benefits or denial thereof as well as the employees right to appeal the decision to the WCAB. PG&E never provided the notice to the employee of his right to benefits. So the Supreme Court reasoned if the employer is going to ignore certain detrimental rules of the State, it can not benefit from other technical rules of the state.
This case created what is called Reynolds Notice. Once an employer knew or should have known of an injury, the employer is obligated to inform the employee of their right to workers' compensation benefits.

Regardless of Reynolds Notice, it is important that the employee also take appropriate action to make sure their rights are protected. Here are Four easy things you can do:

1. DWC-1 Forms- This simple form called a DWC-1, (available here) is the form all employers should have an employee fill out as soon as their is an injury at work. If the employer does not have you fill out a DWC-1 after an accident. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, Fill out a DWC-1 and provide a copy to your employer and get the employer to sign it. Even if it is blank.

2. Wake-up in an Ambulance - Nothing is a more clear indication of a work injury then being transported from your work to a hospital. It makes clear that there was an injury and there is a record from the ambulance company. Many of my clients as a result of head trauma wake up in an ambulance or at a hospital. The employer denies the claim because no DWC-1 is filed. Judges are always astonished by this tactic because the ambulance record proves that a DWC-1 could not be filed.

3. Get thee to an M.D. - The sooner you see a doctor or hospital after an injury the better. Whether a company clinic or a county hospital. Going to the Doctor shows a need for medical treatment. The longer you wait though, the less sympathetic a judge will be. If you have been injured at work, ignore your evening plans, go to a hospital and get a record of your injury.

4. E-mail HR - Modern offices run on emails. The easiest way to establish Reynolds Notice in a modern office is to send an email to your supervisor or HR. It is time stamped and date stamped. Save a copy for yourself. Similarly you can send a text message and save a copy for yourself. Any time and date stamped communication to a supervisor is golden under the Reynolds case.

A good lawyer can do a lot to help your workers' compensation claim but sometimes a case is won or lost before you set foot in a lawyer's office. Help yourself and your attorney by setting a strong foundation for your case. If you have questions about Reynolds notice do not hesitate to ask.

Friday, December 11, 2009

RAINY ROADS BE SAFE - and how to survive an accident.

Its a rare rainy day in Southern California. Be careful on your drive. Stopping is more difficult. People are in a rush to get home on a Friday afternoon and the early sunset means you will have bad visibility on your commute.

Ask any of my injured clients if they would prefer to be healthy or have money from an accident. Almost all of them would prefer to be healthy.

Drive Safe, be safe, and hope to never need the services of a personal injury attorney.

Sometimes accidents are unavoidable like when another driver hits your car.

think about your response.

Did you say call the police?
Did you say check on the other driver?
Did you say call your insurance company?

All Wrong.

If you are in an accident the first thing you should do is... nothing!

Stay in your car with your seat belt on, because there may another collision.

Few people realize that many accidents are actually several different collisions. In a typical three car rear-ender accident, there are two collisions to the front car. Car 1 is hit by Car 2. Car 3 unable to stop hits Car 2 which hits Car 1, again. If the driver of Car 1 had taken off their seat belt and stepped out of their car, they would be stepping into harms way of the second collision.

In the event of an accident. Stay in your car, stay in your seat. Keep your seat belt on. Wait until your car stops moving and the cars around you stop. Then wait another minute. You don't know whether the traffic behind and around you has stopped.

Once it is safe to exit your vehicle is the time to make sure you are ok. Make sure your passengers are ok. Make sure there is no fire. Worry about yourself, your passengers and your property first.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are You Using Protection?

Legal malpractice insurance is the topic today. On January 1 2010 the rules will change.
Beginning January 1, lawyers will be required to disclose to their clients that they do NOT carry legal malpractice insurance. This is due to the adoption of rule 3-410 by the state bar of California.
As a prospective client of an attorney you should make certain your attorney has malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is there to help YOU! not the attorney.
Legal Malpractice Insurance is in place so that if an attorney causes your court case to be lost you may be compensated for the lost court case. If you feel your current attorney caused malpractice, you should consult with an attorney that handles malpractice claims.
If your attorney does not carry insurance, and there is a malpractice, you will only be able to collect against the attorney as an individual. There will not be an insurance company to provide financial support to pay your claim. If you expect an attorney to pay your claim individually, realize attorneys are normal people with mortgages and car payments. They are just as unable to pay a large court judgement as anyone else.
Remember it is your job as the client to inquire about your attorneys qualifications as well as insurance status. It is your attorneys job to work hard and diligently represent your interests in your case

Monday, December 7, 2009

Did You get a Holiday Card from Your Lawyer?

When was the last time you heard from your Attorney? Recently. Did they call? did they write a letter? When you call your lawyer, do they call you back?

Communication between a lawyer and client is important. Its not important that it happens everyday. It is important that your Lawyer give you case status updates. At least every month or two, you should be given an update on your case status. Either via phone or mail. Sometimes the update may be nothing happened, which is fine.

When you call your lawyer, do you feel comfortable with the person on the other end of the phone? Many times you probably speak to an assistant or paralegal. Which is fine. Many paralegals handle the day-to-day work on a file and are probably very well-informed. Nonetheless, it is important to feel that your attorney's office is treating you well, cares about you and working to resolve your claim.

Finally, it is important for the client to keep their attorney informed. Does your lawyer have your most current address and phone number(cell phone included). Does your lawyer have updated information about your life and facts that may affect your case like a career change. Make sure to call your lawyer at least every 3-6 months to check in and make sure you are not forgotten. They may sound annoyed but a client that cares about their case is a client that we want to work for!

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Do You Shop for a Lawyer.

I give out my business card and I always tell people, "I hope you never have to call me." As a person handling accidents, criminal defense and industrial injuries, I am usually contacted when a tragedy has occurred. Its tough, but I want to help.

Hiring a lawyer is like buying a car, it is done infrequently so most people have little knowledge or practice in the doing it. At the same time it is a decision that can affect your life for several years so it is important to make the right choice. What should you do?

The first and best way to find a lawyer is to ask your friends and family. You would be surprised how many people will know a good accident or criminal defense attorney. You will also be surprised how many horror stories you get. Regardless, YOU have the obligation to make the right choice.

It is a well settled legal principal that a person chooses a lawyer at their own peril. Meaning if you lose your court case, you can't undo the damage by saying my lawyer did a bad job. Do some research at the beginning.

First, go to your State's bar website. States like California have a lawyer search option. You can do a web search and see if a lawyer has been subjected to discipline by the state bar. A person with lots of bar complaints means they may not be a good match for you. State bar complaints are usually generated as a result of a lawyer failing to follow the rules of practice.

Second, Google them. A google search of the lawyer may turn up nothing or may turn up a lot. A good lawyer will probably have google results showing news articles about winning cases or scholarly articles they have written or maybe a Blog. A bad lawyer may have google results showing a history of bad acts or maybe embarrassing myspace photos. You can learn a lot about a lawyer very quickly via Google.

Third, ask another lawyer. For all the lawyers in the country, the legal profession is actually a very regionalized and small community. Particularly with in a given practice area most attorneys know of one another. Ask a lawyer if they know anything about the person you plan to hire. We can usually make a few phone calls and get basic feedback about a lawyers reputation and their quality of practice.

There are many other options out there. It is your job to do the legwork because you will end up relying on your lawyer, for better or worse.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Important Intersection of Two Courts

This article is about Jurisdiction. Specifically how can Jurisdiction work for you.

Jurisdiction in the legal world means that a court has the power to hear a case. Courts have different Jurisdictions. A family law court can only hear family law issues. A criminal court can only hear criminal issues. Thus a judge in a criminal court can not order a divorce because it is outside the courts jurisdiction.

Sometimes an issue arises that falls under multiple jurisdictions. It is important to have a lawyer who can handle your claim in multiple jurisdictions. Otherwise you may lose out on rights or monetary awards.

A very common example of this is a person involved in a car accident while working. This does not just apply to truck drivers and couriers. If your boss told you to drive to the bank and were involved in an accident or you were picking up sandwiches for a staff lunch and got rear-ended. These too are examples of work related car accidents.

For example, consider the case of Bob. Bob is an employee of Megacorp. Bob was told to drive some important documents from Megacorp HQ to the post office. His boss told him, "Get these delivered before 5pm or you are fired!" It was 4.30 and Bob would have to drive fast to get to the post office on time. Bob drove as fast as he could to the post office. While passing through an intersection Bob was T-boned by Jane's car. Bob had very serious injuries and was taken to the hospital. What should Bob do?

There are two courts with jurisdiction over the case. Civil courts have the power to hear cases of general jurisdiction, meaning car accidents, personal injury cases along with most other cases. At the same time, because the Bob was at work he could file a workers' compensation claim at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board(WCAB).

What should Bob do?

Answer: File a claim in both courts!

Filing a claim in the WCAB gives Bob the following remedies for his injuries. First, Bob would be entitled to Temporary Total Disability benefits. As long as Bob is disabled from working, his employer, or rather the insurance company, will pay Bob a salary replacement benefit. This is good for Bob because while he is off work due to injury he will still have to pay rent, eat and put gas in his car.
Second, Bob would be entitled to free medical care for his injuries. FREE. No cost, no copay.
Third, Bob would be reimbursed for his mileage when he drives to and from his doctor appointments.
Fourth, Bob would receive an award for his level of disability as a result of the accident.

Filing a claim in civil court entitles Bob to a claim against the other driver. In civil court Bob can recover lost earning, medical costs, pain and suffering damages, emotional injury, future lost earning, future medical costs and many others.

The biggest difference between the two courts is negligence. In workers' compensation there is no need to prove negligence. Bob need only show that he was working when the accident occured and he would be compensated. Bob could have CAUSED the accident and he would still recover full case value at the WCAB!

On the otherhand, in civil court Bob must prove that Jane had some cause in the accident to recover. If Bob is found to be totally at fault, he will get no money and lose his civil case. In certain situations Bob may even owe Jane money. The risk is greater in civil court but the reward can be greater.

Which is worth more? You can' t tell until you file both claims. Which is why having an attorney who can handle both claims for Bob will maximize the amount of money he recovers.

Remember when choosing an attorney to help you with your injuries, make sure they are willing and able to explore all available courts for you so you can receive what you are owed!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How To Beat a Parking Ticket

While my first post is not related to accidents or injuries, it should be useful for most of the readers out there, except New Yorkers because they dont have cars.

How to beat a parking ticket
Dont get a Ticket:It may seem obvious but lots of time and energy can be saved if you take a little bit of effort to avoid getting a ticket in the first place. When you get out of your car take a moment to look around and read the signs. Make sure based on the meaning of the signage that parking is allowed when you are there.
Holidays: Be aware of which days count as holidays. Just because your company is closed for Simcha Torah, it does not mean the city recognizes Simcha Torah as an official holiday. Also parking is a city matter so state and federal holidays are irrelevant, it is only those holidays recognized by the city.
Time: If you are parking in an area which has a time limit, don’t park in the spot near the beginning or end of the time limit. For example, if you are in an area where the parking meters turn off at 6pm. I guarantee that the meter maids will check the meters between 5.45 and 6pm. If you park there and it is 5.55pm, feed the meter because there is a strong chance the meter maid will be there in the next 5 minutes. If it is 5pm, don’t put in 45minutes and hope they don’t check the last 15minutes. The city is smart and they know when and where they get the most violations.

Once you get a ticket: So you got a ticket, such is life. The first thing you should think is that meter maids make like $10/hour and they probably didn’t graduate highschool.

Check the ticket:Following in the metermaids are not genius’s look at the ticket. Make sure it is filled out correctly. Make sure the car liscence plate, VIN and time are all proper. If parking is allowed after 5pm and the ticket says 5.02pm. you win. If the ticket is made out for a different car, you win. One caveat, it must be a totally different car, wrong VIN, license, color, etc. If you drive a Blue BMW and the ticket says black, sorry you lose because it is not a defect sufficient to defeat the ticket.

Check the statute:On the ticket it will list the statute under which you are cited. It will be either a check box or a strange set of numbers. In order to check the statute, you will have to look up the statute, check online. Most cities have their city codes online.
Three sources to find the statute either: call the city code enforcement division and talk to them about getting a copy of the statute, go to the local library, or go to a local law school library.

Reading Statutes:This step will require you to play a bit of Matlock. Generally parking statutes, are pretty easy to read. What you are looking for is if there are any excuses available to you. Notice Statutes:Notice Statutes require the city to give notice to the population in order to enforce the citations. Commonly, handicapped spots, crosswalks and loading zones require notice. In Sacramento, the statute for a handicapped spot requires the city to provide two of three of the following types of notice, a painted curb, a sign above the parking space and a sign painted on the ground. If the space you parked in only had a painted curb, you win. Similarly, the crosswalk statute requires either a painted curb or visible white lines. Notice the use of the word or. It means one of the things must exist. If none of those things exist you win.

Visibility: Sometimes, a statute will use the term visibile or obvious. These have a connotation that the city must provide a sign that is clearly visible. A dilapidated and worn out sign is not sufficient for the purposes of the statute. If the signage is bad you may win.General Defenses:Here are some general ways of getting out of a ticket. They are not sure winners.

Notice:Again, if the situation you parked in is such that you could not see the parking prohibition in place, then you may have a shot at winning. If there were trees blocking your view or the sign was too worn out to see or construction was going on and they took down the sign. You may have a shot at winning.

Emergency: This one rarely works, you have to show a true emergency such as, my goofy brother fell on a box of swords and was bleeding to death and I had to rush him to the ER. I saw a house on fire and stopped to rescue a baby. Those are emergencies. The ice cream in my groceries is melting will not suffice.I wasn’t driving: This is a strange one and 50/50. If you can show your car was stolen, leased to a third party or you sold it then you are free. You must show you didn’t have control of the car at the date and time in question via a police report, contract or title transfer.

NEVER: Never say any of the following things: I didn’t know the law, It is not fair, I was on my way to move my car, I cant afford this ticket. None of these are defenses and hearing any of these excuses will be a sure sign that you are either bullshitting or just not worth helping. A 50/50 excuse, usually this wont work but may garner sympathy, “I have been doing this for years and I checked with the parking ticket officer and he said it was ok.” First, parking officers have no authority to grant you any immunity. Second, saying that you have been breaking the law for a long time does not make it ok to break the law on the occasion that you did. At the same time it may garner some sympathy though not a dismissal of the fine. If you can get a parking enforcement officer to write a note saying, “I gave him permission.” You might win, though I have never seen this scenario.

Preparing your Appeal: First, realize that unlike a criminal proceeding, you are not presumed innocent with regard to a parking citation. Instead, the issuance of a citation creates a presumption that you violated the law and the citation exists as evidence sufficient to maintain the fine against you. It is your duty to present better evidence which overcomes the presumption against you. Make a copy of everything and save a copy for your records.First steps: First make sure that you file your appeal with in the appeals window. Some cities may be nice but most are not and will actually charge you a penalty for paying late. Often you will be required to pay the fine and then appeal. Some cities will take a check, which they will not cash while the appeal is pending.

What to write: When writing your appeal, make sure to be clear, logical and provide evidence(see next section). I recommend the following format: Dear City Revenue Division.On Date and Time, I was cited for violating X city statute, 22.2.44. The statutute states, “cite the statute.”I am writing this letter in order to appeal this citation. I would like to request a hearing (by mail/in person). I believe this citation should be dismissed because specific reason it should be dismissed(lack of notice, emergency.)I have enclosed photographs A-X which show the area in question. As you can see in photograph A, the sign was extremely faded and therefore I could not see the regulations printed on the sign. Additionally, Photograph B shows, blah. Photograh C shows, blah. Based on the statute under which I was cited, this citation should be dismissed because…Make sure in this section you are very clear and polite in explaining why the citation is defective.In conclusion, I believe this citation should be dismissed because based on the circumstance shown in the photographs and the requirements of the statute. Thank you very much for your time.

Evidence: Obviously, you need to bring evidence, it should be clear and relevant. You should definitely submit photographs of the exact spot you were parked in. additionally, you should include photos of the relevant exonerating evidence. If it is a defective sign, get lots of pictures of the sign taken from a few angles. If it is an issue with the curb, make sure to get the curb in the photo. The lighting should be clear and one of the photos should be taken from far away so relative positions of things can be established. With that in mind, make sure to take the photographs in a manner which is beneficial to you. If you say you were parked 30ft from the fire hydrant, don’t take a photo with a ruler showing you were 15 ft away. Rather take a photo to make the 15ft look like 30.

Evidence II: When I was working as a judge, I liked when someone brought a map and placed marks on the map for all the relevant landmarks. has an excellent utility which lets you view a satellite view of an area and then print it out. Print out the map and then show on the map where everything is. Put an X where your Car is. Put an S for the sign or O for where a photos was taken.

Evidence III: If you have a witness, have them write a letter explaining their role in exonerating you. Its far more persuasive than saying, my friend said I am innocent. If you speak with the guy who gave you the ticket, get his badge number so you can find him later. Most parking tickets don’t require the parking officer to identify themselves.

The Hearing: After you send the letter, you may request an in person hearing. Hear are some hints to success.
Dress nice: No need for a suit or a tux but do leave your Scorpions/Winger Tour ’87 shirt at home. Throw on some khaki’s and a polo shirt at least so you don’t look ridiculous. Also, shower.

Be prepared: bring 2 copies of everything, even the stuff you mailed to the city. That way you can give a copy to them and save a copy for yourself. Also take a few minutes before you arrive and review everything so you know what you are going to be talking about.

Be succinct and deferential: You will probably be asked to tell your story, be polite and tell it in 3-5 minutes. Tell it well and when the hearing officer asks questions listen to his question and answer him clearly.

Questions: Many of the Hearing Officers will have read the record in advance and know exactly what they want to hear. When they ask you a question, they are trying to elicit a specific response. Make sure to answer the questions honestly but in your favor. If the officer asks you “how far was your car from the hydrant?” If it is obvious the car is 5 feet away, say 5 feet. If on the other hand, it looks like the car is 25-30ft and you know 30 ft is the standard, say 30 ft.

Afterwards: generally after the hearing it will be several weeks before you get a decision in the mail. If you lose your administrative hearing, you often are permitted to appeal to the courts. If you chose this route you may be charged an administrative fee from $15-$50. Be aware, it may be worthwhile to appeal a $250 ticket but a $35 ticket may not be worth the effort to save $10. I have no experience with handling tickets which have gone to the courts except that there is evidence that they are often either overturned or the city will make a deal with you and reduce the fine.

Parking Meters: Expired Meter violations often follow a special set of rules. If you are claiming a broken meter, you must submit proof of the meter being broken. Take a picture or video(camera phone) of you trying to feed the meter. It may cost you 25cents to demonstrate. When you submit a broken meter claim, the city will go check the meter often with in 2-3 weeks. If they go check the meter and it is broken, the citation will be administratively dismissed and you will get your money back. There is a common occurrence where a meter will be broken, and you get a citation. Then later that day, the person who empties the change from the meters and cleans out the meter. Sometimes this person will actually do something to fix the meter or just emptying it will clear a jam in the throat of the meter. The problem is, you just lost your proof. Claiming the meter fairy fixed the problem will not hold up. This is why you have to get a picture or video of the broken meter ASAP and not wait a week.

Welcome to Lawyer For Your Injury!

This is a new blog for people who have been involved in an accident and need assistance. This blog is written by attorneys who practice Plaintiff''s law, thats a fancy word for lawyers that help individuals and not insurance companies. We are here to help you!
David Nitka