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Know What To Expect From An Auto Accident Claim

Posted by on 1:56 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Know What To Expect From An Auto Accident Claim

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are filing a claim against another driver or their insurance company, you might be anticipating a large settlement. Unless you have grievous injuries, however, your settlement might not be as big as you’re expecting. If you were in a typical accident and suffered some injuries, but nothing that’s life-threatening, here’s a realistic look at what you might get if your claim is successful. Personal Injury Settlements for Auto Accidents Aren’t Gigantic Occasionally, auto accident settlements for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are featured in the news. These aren’t the norm, though. If they were, they wouldn’t be newsworthy. Most auto accident settlements settle for a much more modest $24,000. This is a decent sum, but it’s far from a seven- or eight-figure amount. Your settlement may be more or less than the average. Unless there is something remarkable about your case, though, you can expect a settlement closer to this average of $24,000 than to $1 million. From this amount, you must pay your legal fees, car accident lawyer’s fees and all medical fees associated with your injuries. Your Legal Fees Could be $2,000 or More Legal fees encompass any expenses associated with your case that aren’t paid to your car accident lawyer. (Although your lawyer may pay these fees for you from your settlement, they do not receive these fees themselves.) A list of a few common legal fees shows how, even in average cases, these fees can be expensive: depositions can cost anywhere from $364 to $412.75 medical expert witnesses cost an average of $555 per hour expedited services may increase the costs of any legal fees As an example, assume your case required three hours of testimony from a medical expert witness, which would have to be recorded in a deposition. Getting and recording this testimony alone would total over $2,000 — between $2,029 and $2,077.75. After these fees were paid, your remaining settlement would range between $21,971 and $21,922.25. Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Charge a Contingency Fee Car accident lawyers, as AllLaw explains, usually work on contingency fees. This arrangement means that you don’t have to pay them unless you win your case. If you receive a settlement, though, you have to give your attorney a percentage: usually 33 percent if the case doesn’t go to trial and sometimes 40 percent if it does go to trial. These fees are taken out of your total settlement amount. In this example, your car accident lawyer would receive either $8,000 (33 percent) or $9,600 (40 percent). Between $13,971 and $12,322.25 would remain from your settlement. Your Medical Bills Must Be Paid From this amount, your medical bills have to be paid. Until your claim is settled, your car accident lawyer will be able to delay paying these bills by sending your healthcare provider’s letters of protection (LOPs). LOPs are legal documents that guarantee payment upon settlement, and they must be honored. If they aren’t, your attorney could face legal consequences and potentially be disciplined by the state’s bar association. Medical procedures can cost a lot, as anyone who has been injured in an auto accident knows. Even if you only has $2,000 of medical bills, these would still reduce your share of the settlement to...

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Understanding How Child Support Is Treated during Bankruptcy

Posted by on 7:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding How Child Support Is Treated during Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and owe past-due child support or alimony, there are several things that you should take into consideration. Child support, a non-dischargeable priority debt, can affect which type of bankruptcy you choose to file for and how you approach the proceedings. Here are some factors to take into consideration:  Domestic Obligations  Under bankruptcy law, there are 19 types of debt that cannot be discharged when you file for bankruptcy. These include debts related to taxes and customs, student loans, and domestic responsibilities. Debts that are considered part of domestic responsibility include past-due child support and alimony as well as debts owed to a spouse due to a divorce settlement. This means that if you owe past-due child support, your obligation cannot be forgiven. However, filing for bankruptcy can ease your other financial obligations, making it easier to meet your domestic obligations.  Priority Debt  Child support is considered a priority debt in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. This means that when your assets are liquidated or a payment plan is created, child support will be among the first debts to be addressed.  Proof of Claim  A proof of claim is a formal document submitted by the creditor in order for their debt to be recognized in your bankruptcy case. When child support is involved it is usually the custodial parent who must file a proof of claim. If your spouse does not file a proof of claim, you may want to file one on their behalf. This ensures that the debt is taken into account during your repayment process and you are not left with a large child support debt once your other debts have been discharged.  If no proof of claim is filed during your bankruptcy proceedings, your assets and repayment plans may be used to pay off other non-priority debts, such as credit card debt, first. Since non-priority debts can be discharged, it is in your best financial interest to make sure that a proof of claim is filed for priority debts.  Chapter 7 Specifics Under a chapter 7 bankruptcy, your available assets are liquidated to help pay off your debts. Once that is completed, the remainder of your non-priority debts are usually discharged and you will be required to continue paying back priority debts.  When you begin chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, you are granted an automatic stay against most forms of debt collection. However, child support is not granted an automatic stay. This means that debt collectors can continue to try to collect past child support while you are completing chapter 7 proceedings. Furthermore, assets that you acquire after the date of filing are not included in your chapter 7 bankruptcy. This means your wages or other income are not protected from debt collectors under a chapter 7 filing.  The benefit of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy when you owe child support is that your available assets will be used to pay off your child support first.  Chapter 13 Specifics  When you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will work with a mediator to create a repayment plan for your debts. Under this plan, many of your unsecured debts may be reduced. However, child support will not be reduced and must be fully repaid and current before the rest of...

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How to Spot and Avoid Personal Injury Mills after Suffering an on-the-Job Injury

Posted by on 7:34 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Spot and Avoid Personal Injury Mills after Suffering an on-the-Job Injury

If you suffer an injury while you are at work, you may be eligible for various forms of workers’ compensation. This may include paid medical leave and coverage of your medical bills. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent scams associated with workers’ compensation. These may include employees making false claims, employers failing to pay appropriate premiums, or doctors and lawyers working to collect greater fees from insurance companies. One of these scams that can negatively affect both you and your employer is known as a medical mill scam.  Medical mills generally consist of a small group of lawyers and doctors that work together to exaggerate workers compensation claims and extort unnecessary money from insurance companies. While it is important that you get the benefits that are owed to you, becoming involved with a medical mill can be harmful to you because you may undergo unnecessary medical treatment, be prevented from returning to work in a timely manner, and even be investigated for fraud.  Below are some ways that you can spot and avoid medical mills associated with workers’ compensation scams.  Use Your Personal Doctor  When you are injured on the job, you are usually allowed to select your own doctor to care for your injuries. If possible, you should start by consulting with a doctor whom you trust. After your initial examination, you should ask your doctor for recommendations of any specialists that you may need for further treatment.  If you do not have a personal doctor at the time of your injury, you should find one on your own. You should be careful of doctors who claim to specialize in treatment of workplace injuries, and you should make sure that the doctor you choose is willing to work with your workplace insurance.  Be Wary of Lawyers or Doctors Who Approach You  Sometimes lawyers seek out clients with workplace injuries in person as opposed to letting clients find them on their own. This slightly more aggressive tactic is often employed by lawyers who are part of a medical mill. When you agree to meet with these lawyers, they may strongly recommend that you use their doctors or clinics instead of your personal doctor. This is a sign that they may be part of a medical mill. Your lawyer should respect your decision to utilize your personal doctor and you should not feel pressured to use doctors in the lawyer’s network.  Review All Insurance Claims  One way for medical mills to get more money is to run unnecessary tests or to claim that they have provided more services than they actually have. Any time a claim is submitted to an insurance company, you should review the services and charges to make sure they correlate to the treatment that you have actually received. If there is something on the claim that does not seem right to you, you should discuss it with your doctor and the insurance company.  If your treatment seems excessive for your injury, you may ask for a second opinion from a doctor outside of the clinic where you are currently being treated.  Be Honest about Your Injury  Workplace injuries can be confusing. It can be difficult to assess the extent of some soft-tissue damage, such as back and neck injuries. However, it is important that you are honest...

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Things To Consider When Dealing With An Out-Of-State Accident

Posted by on 1:16 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Things To Consider When Dealing With An Out-Of-State Accident

Dealing with an auto accident that happens in your hometown can be stressful enough, but it can be a downright nightmare if you get into an accident in another state. Your insurance company will usually take care of many of the aspects of the case, which may make things easier. The case can get a little tricky, though, if you have to sue the defendant directly for damages. Here are three things you need to consider when litigating an out-of-state accident. Where to File the Lawsuit? The first issue that will have the biggest impact on your case is where to file the lawsuit. You may have your choice of filing where you live, where the defendant lives, or where the accident actually took place if all three locations are different. Be aware, though, that you will be subjected to the laws of the state where the case is filed, which may differ. For instance, California bans all drivers from holding cell phones or text messaging while driving. Arizona, on the other hand, only bans school bus drivers from engaging in that activity. Differing laws can affect the outcome of your case, so it’s essential that you choose wisely. Another thing to consider when you’re choosing where to sue is whether you’ll be able to make your court dates. Filing in a state that may be more favorable to your lawsuit won’t help much if you can’t show up to court, and failure to show may result in your case being dismissed, requiring you to go through the trouble of filing again. However, if you file in your state, the defendant may not show up. In this case, though, you may win your case by default. Be advised, though, that the defendant can contest or appeal a default judgment for a period of time after the court case has ended. This time limit varies by state. If the defendant successfully wins his or her appeal, you’ll have to litigate the case again. Lastly, each state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party. This, too, can vary between states, which may or may not work in your favor. For instance, in the rare occurrence that your or the other person’s insurance company takes an inordinate amount of time to deny your claim, having the option to sue in a state where the statute of limitation is up to 2 to 3 years after the date of the accident could be immensely helpful. Where to Hire Attorney? If you require the assistance of an attorney to help litigate your case, you may run into some issues there as well. Namely, you’ll have to decide whether to hire someone from your home state to represent you in an out-of-state court case or to get an attorney in the state where you’re filing your case. It’s generally easier to hire a local attorney, since you can conduct in-person interviews to ensure the person is right for you. However, you must request permission from the court to let an attorney licensed in another state represent you. Whether or not the court will approve depends on the jurisdiction. Some are welcoming to out-of-state attorneys and others are not. If you happen to...

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Was Medical Negligence Involved In Your C-Section?

Posted by on 11:45 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Was Medical Negligence Involved In Your C-Section?

Cesarean-sections are related to a range of maternal and infant injuries, and if you or your child was injured during a c-section, you may have a medical negligence suit on your hands. Here are five signs you may want to explore the issue with a medical malpractice attorney: 1. You or your child experienced an injury. C-sections have been linked to infections, hemorrhages, organ injury and scar tissue, and in some cases, scar tissue can prevent some women from ever bearing children again. For babies, the procedure can be linked to premature birth weight, breathing issues and incision injuries. In order to prove medical negligence, you will need to prove that you or your baby was injured as a result of the c-section. If you were not injured, you need to have significant mental distress from the procedure, and in either case, you and your attorney will need to be able to prove that someone was at fault. However, the person or entity at fault may vary depending on your situation. 2. The surgeon was negligent during the c-section. In order to prove surgical negligence, you need to consider the state of the surgeon operating on you. Did he or she make a mistake due to lack of sleep or ingesting alcohol or drugs? Were there unnecessary distractions in the room? Issues like these indicate negligence and make it more likely that you can bring a successful malpractice suit against the surgeon. 3. Your doctor scheduled the c-section too early. However, the negligent party doesn’t necessarily even have to be in the operating room. In some cases, you may have an ob-gyn who sees you regularly and recommends the c-section, but then, another doctor may perform the procedure. If a c-section is performed before the baby is full term, the baby may be premature. Premature babies haven’t had ample time to develop their respiratory system and often have trouble breathing. In addition, their relatively low birth weight can be linked to failure to thrive. Being born premature can be linked to long term health issues related to physical development, learning, communicating and self care as well as behavioral issues. If your baby was born premature as the result of an excessively early c-section date set by your physician, he or she may be liable for your child’s damages and possibly long-term care costs. In particular, your doctor may have been negligent if he or she calculated your due date incorrectly and scheduled the procedure based on that miscalculation. 4. You were incorrectly prescribed medication. During a c-section, most mothers have a general anesthesia, and you may also be prescribed medication during the healing process. However, in some cases, there can be adverse reactions to medications. If your physician failed to consult your chart and prescribed a medication that you were allergic to or that contradicted other medications you take, he or she may be liable for your reaction. Similarly, if you were given the wrong dose by another healthcare provider or the wrong type of medication from the pharmacist, he or she may be liable. 5. Your c-section wasn’t medically necessary. In many cases, physicians recommend c-sections when women are several weeks or even months from their due dates. Traditionally, the procedure has been employed to avoid complications related...

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Tips For Completing An Offer In Compromise To Settle Your Tax Debt

Posted by on 10:32 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Completing An Offer In Compromise To Settle Your Tax Debt

Paying off old tax debt is important if you want to get the IRS off your back, and you may be able to do this with an offer in compromise (OIC). An OIC is a plan created by the IRS to help people settle tax debts for an amount that is less than what is actually owed. In order for you to do this, you must make sure you meet the qualifications, and you must follow the right steps. Here are some tips to help you with this. Make Sure You Qualify To use an OIC, there are several conditions you must meet. If you are not sure if you meet these, you could hire a tax attorney to help you determine the answer to this. Here are some of the conditions: You must be current on your tax returns – This means that you cannot use an OIC if you have failed to file a return within the past few years. If you did not file a return one year, but filed the appropriate extension, you may still qualify. You must be able to prove you cannot pay the full amount within a reasonable time – In addition, you must prove that you will not be able to repay the entire balance of what you owe. This is typically something you can prove by comparing your income and expenses to the amount of your tax bill. If you meet these two conditions, you might qualify for an OIC. To begin the process, you will need to fill out the right IRS forms and determine how much to offer for your settlement amount. Fill Out The Documents If you believe that using an OIC would be a good option for you, your lawyer can help you begin the process. This will involve printing off Form 656, which is actually a booklet you must complete. As you complete the forms within this booklet, you will be asked a lot of questions. Some of these will pertain to your current financial situation, while others will involve reasons behind your request. If you recently suffered from a major injury that is preventing you from earning the money you once earned, make sure you include this information on the forms. You should include any reasons that explain why you are having trouble paying this debt. Other examples of hardships include divorces and loss of job. You will also need to decide how you plan on repaying the money. Will you pay it off in a lump-sum payment, or would a payment plan be better for you? You will also need to decide how much to offer. The IRS may accept offers of as little as 1% of what is owed, but they might be more likely to accept an offer that is closer to the original amount of the debt. When the IRS receives the documents, they will make a decision. In prior years, they have accepted around 25% of the offers they receive. If they deny your offer, you have the right to appeal their decision. Appeal The Decision If Necessary Just because the IRS denies your offer does not mean you should give up. You have the right to appeal their decision; however, you should try to find out why they...

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4 Types Of Personal Injury You Can Sue For

Posted by on 4:38 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Types Of Personal Injury You Can Sue For

Have you received an injury due to someone else’s negligent behavior, either due to their actions or because their property was not maintained in a proper order? If this is the case, you have the chance to suit under the rubric of a small claims court case called a personal injury suit. A personal injury suit aims to make a person or other entity legally liable for the expenses that you have incurred due to the injury. These expenses range from physical medical expenses, to mental health expenses, and to wages lost due to time off from work because of the injury. There are a number of reasons that you can sue for a personal injury, and you should be aware of them in case you need to pursue a personal injury case. Slip and Fall Slip and fall personal injury cases are by far and away the most common type of personal injury case. The slip and fall case occurs when an individual slips and falls on someone’s property due to the property owner being negligent about the maintenance or upkeep of the property. If a property owner has not exercised reasonable care in making sure that their property has been safety proofed under the event of such a slip and fall, then they will often times find themselves at least partially liable for the medical bills and mental anguish that a person has suffered from due to a slip and fall on their property. Nursing Home Cases There are also many cases where you may be able to sue for a personal injury lawsuit on someone’s behalf, so long as you are either their primary caregiver or the executor of their estate. In cases where a loved one is in a nursing home and you are their executor or designated individual for making legal decisions for the individual or decisions on behalf of that person’s estate, then you may be able to sue under the auspice or rubric of a personal injury lawsuit, if the person who is interned at the nursing home has suffered some sort of injury or trauma due to the negligence of willful ignorance of the staff of said home. Car Accidents Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury lawsuits that are filed in America. Generally, in most cases, there is someone at fault during a car accident. Except in exceptional circumstances, you will find that the person who is at fault is most likely liable to go to personal injury court such that the plaintiff can reclaim medical injury bills, therapist bills, and even time lost from work. In most cases, individuals who are taken to court for such things will find that they will usually lose, as there is overwhelming evidence against their case that they were the cause of the accident, and therefore, injuries. Dog Bites and Attack If you are the owner of a dog that winds up biting or attacking an individual, chances are you will have to go to personal injury court in order to defend yourself. The laws for dog attacks vary from state to state, although it is generally the case that, if proven that the dog attacked someone without provocation, the owner of said dog will have to pay for the...

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Defamation & Social Media: Do You Have A Case?

Posted by on 9:24 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Defamation & Social Media: Do You Have A Case?

Personal injury cases often involve a lot more than just physical harm. Emotional damages can become a large part of a personal injury case. These types of damages are known as defamation. When you use social media for your business, you are opening up public access and opinions from all types of people. When the interaction is pushed too far, you may have a defamation case on your hands. Understanding the possibility for a case can help you decide whether to move forward and get legal help. Personal & Business Pages When you are being harassed, someone might take things too hard by attacking your personal social media page. There is a huge difference between a bad review on your business page and getting multiple posts on a personal page. These pages are separate for a reason, and a lawyer can use them as evidence for a defamation case. When someone is harassing you on a personal page, you may feel threatened or emotionally attacked. The damages caused by this can lead to the need for professional help and a loss of business. When this occurs, it’s ideal to consult with a lawyer about a possible injury case. Proof of Posts Providing proof of defamation is one of the most important parts of a personal injury case. Just as quickly as someone posts on your page, the messages can be deleted. This is why it’s important to screenshot any harassing posts as you receive them. The screenshot can provide the full details of a post and the time stamps. This evidence can go a long way in showing your case. Multiple messages can showcase the frequency of harassment and the extent of it all. Along with having digital screenshots, you should print out hard copies. This will give you extra evidence in case your data or files are lost. The hard copies are also ideal for filing evidence with your lawyer. Harassment & Engaging Arguments A big part of your possible social media defamation case is your interaction with the harassment. A harassment claim can easily turn into a “he said” and “she said” argument if you have engaged with the other person. Instead of arguing back with someone, you should not get involved with the conversation. This could lead to a dismissed case. If anything, follow the advice of the lawyer or politely communicate with your dislike of the harassing posts. Depending on the social media company you use, you can use a report feature to document your evidence of harassment. This keeps you from engaging with the person while still trying to end the harassment before it is taken too far. Length of the Time The duration of harassment on social media can make a huge difference on your case. In many cases one or two negative comments will not likely go far in the court system. If the harassment occurs over an extended period of time, then you will likely have a much stronger case. It’s also important to look over different forms of social media. For example, you may be getting harassed on both Facebook and Twitter. If this is the case, then this is a targeted harassment that may not need to go over a certain length of time to have a case. This...

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6 Things To Do After A Slip And Fall

Posted by on 12:37 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Things To Do After A Slip And Fall

If you’ve just experienced a slip and fall accident, you’re not alone. More than 540,000 slip and falls requiring hospital treatment occur in the United States each year. A slip and fall accident can be quite scary and painful. While you may be in physical pain and feeling panicked, it’s important to keep a cool head after a slip and fall accident. Here are six things you need to do right away: Seek Medical Help It’s important to get medical attention right away. It’s often hard to ascertain exactly what your injuries are and their severity without a professional exam. For example, a fractured ankle requiring a cast or even surgery might be mistaken for a sprain at first, unless you go in for x-rays. In addition to being the sensible thing for your health, getting medical treatment will provide you with documentation of your injuries, which is important for everything from getting time off of work to evidence in a potential slip and fall accident lawsuit. Determine the Cause of the Accident Did you slip in a puddle or on a recently mopped floor? Did you trip over a cord or loose rug? Did your foot get wedged into a gap between a door and a step? Take a few moments and try to determine the cause of your accident, and write down what you observe. Your slip and fall attorney will need this information to help determine if you have a good case and which direction to take the case if you do. Identify Any Witnesses If your fall happened in front of people, it’s very important to get their information. Your insurance company and attorney may need to contact them to corroborate your story. Be sure to get their full names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses if at all possible. Notify the Appropriate People It’s a good idea to let the appropriate people know about your accident as soon as possible after it occurs. For example, if you slip and fall at work, you will want to notify your supervisor as well as your HR representative, in order to document the fall and also to facilitate any time off that you need. If you slip and fall at a store or other public place, it’s a good idea to notify a manager. If you are in too much pain or otherwise incapacitated, have a friend or family member call and notify the appropriate people on your behalf. Take Photos Photos are often critical for insurance claims and especially for slip and fall lawsuits. You will want clear, accurate photos of the scene of your accident taken as quickly as possible after it occurs. If you know what caused the accident, be sure to get photos of the cause, as well as wider shots to show the physical context. Photos of your injuries should be taken right away as well, with updated photos taken during the stages of recovery or treatment. Call a Personal Injury Attorney If you believe someone else may be liable for your fall, it is worthwhile to contact a slip and fall attorney. They will be able to help determine if a person or company is responsible for your fall, and if so, they will represent you and work hard to award...

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What Should You Do If A Neighboring Business Is Interfering With Yours?

Posted by on 3:52 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Should You Do If A Neighboring Business Is Interfering With Yours?

If you own a small retail business in a commercial district, your lease agreement likely lays out a significant number of covenants and restrictions. However, unless the parcels of property near your business are owned and managed by the same company that manages yours, you could find that your neighbors’ leases are much less restrictive, allowing them to engage in activity prohibited by your lease that can harm your business. What are your options if you feel your rights as a business owner have been violated? Read on to learn more about the often conflict-laden world of commercial leases. What are some common retail lease issues? One key factor behind the rise of the “strip mall” or shopping plaza as a retail spot involved the ability of the landowner to fully control the makeup of the location. Many strip mall or other commercial leases contain provisions restricting the landlord’s ability to rent to more than one similar business (to prevent two pizza places from opening up next door to each other), or requiring the tenant to maintain a portion (or pay additional rent to maintain) a common parking area. Because the commercial landlord wants all the spaces in his or her mall filled, there is some incentive to provide protections to the tenants to help them boost traffic to the area. However, if you’re renting in a business landscape where you and each of your retail neighbors report to different landlords, you could find that you’re not afforded these same protections as you enjoy when renting in a shopping plaza. There may be nothing preventing a competitor from opening across the street from you and attempting to poach your customers, or even from towing your customers if they park on this business’s lot (assuming sufficient notice has been posted). If you’re dealing with an aggressive neighbor, this can be enough to put you out of business. What can you do if your business is suffering due to a neighboring business’s actions?  Your first step should be to determine whether this business’s actions are legal. Harassing your customers, having vehicles towed from a public street, or causing damage to your store or product can all be infractions or misdemeanors that may result in fines to the business or its employees. If this business’s actions aren’t against the law, you’ll then need to determine whether this business is violating its own lease. You’ll likely want to consult a commercial or real estate litigator to determine whether it’s likely your neighbor is committing a lease violation and, if so, how to proceed. Your attorney may contact the neighbor’s landlord to report these potential violations or send a demand letter instructing the landlord to take action. For situations in which the neighboring business is engaging in legal actions that do not violate its lease, your final recourse may be with your own landlord. Depending upon the specific language in your lease, you may have some protection against your neighbor. For example, if your lease guarantees your business access to a certain number of parking spots and your neighboring business is blocking these spots or otherwise preventing your ability to use them, your landlord may be obligated to take action. Your landlord’s failure to protect you in the ways promised by the lease may serve...

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