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Consumer Information
Revised: 06/24/2004

FindLaw's Consumer Legal Tips
A FindLaw Newsletter Providing Tips, News, and Resources for the Public

June 10, 2004 - Issue # 36

Your Rights in the Criminal Justice System

FindLaw's Criminal Law Center From encounters with police officers, to the courtroom and criminal convictions, FindLaw's Criminal Law Center discusses the rights of all citizens at each step of the criminal justice process:

Get Help Now: Lawyers, Bail, Inmate Locators, and More:

Immigrant Visas and Green Cards
FindLaw's Immigration Center

Many people mistakenly believe that green cards are nothing more than work permits. While a green card does give you the right to work legally in the United States, that is just one of its features.  Its main function is to identify the holder as a permanent resident of the United States. More on what you need to know if you want to make your permanent home in the United States:

Looking For an Immigration Attorney in Your Area?

Accidents and Injuries: Nursing Home Abuse
FindLaw's Accident and Injury Center

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury through nursing home abuse or neglect, FindLaw's Accident and Injury Center can help you understand your legal rights and what to expect should you decide to pursue a legal claim.

Elder Law and Aging:

June 3, 2004 - Issue # 35

Do's and Don'ts: Managing Property After Marriage

FindLaw's Marriage & Living Together section offer tips on managing your property after marriage -- covering marital or "community" property, separate property, commingled accounts, and more.

Legal Effects of Marriage FAQs

Where is Asbestos Founds?

All new uses of asbestos in the U.S. have been banned since 1989, but removal of asbestos from each and every source that existed prior to that date is not possible. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the many different substances, products, and materials that may contain asbestos. Click the link for a list of products containing asbestos:

Who is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Illnesses?

Get Legal Help: Find an Asbestos - Mesothelioma Attorney in Your Area:

Meeting with and Hiring an Attorney

If you are thinking about hiring an attorney to help you with a legal issue, the following articles offer important information on what to expect:

Your First Meeting with an Attorney:

Hiring an Attorney: Fee Agreements:

Controlling Your Legal Costs:

Social Security and Retirement Resources

The Social Security and Retirement section of FindLaw for the Public features articles, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to
related resources to help you obtain information on benefits, disability, the claims process, retirement plans, pensions, and much more:

May 27, 2004 - Issue # 34

Your Debt Relief Options

From FindLaw's Bankruptcy and Debt Center, information about the basic options available to someone who is in financial distress, including how to handle bills and loans, credit counseling, bill consolidation, whether bankruptcy is an option, and other alternatives:

Get Help Now: Bankruptcy Lawyers, Forms, and More:


Workers' Compensation: Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers

If you are involved in an accident or suffer an injury while on the job, you should know about your rights to vocational rehabilitation, your responsibilities in connection with rehabilitation, and your employer's obligations. Read more:

Get Legal Help: Find a Workers' Comp Attorney in Your Area:'%20Compensation%20Law


Motor Vehicle Accident Resources

FindLaw's new Accident & Injury Center contains a Motor Vehicle Accidents section, featuring resources pertaining to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents. In this section you'll find easy-to-understand articles on what to do after an accident and the legal issues involved in motor vehicle accidents. Other resources include links to health and medical information and state motor vehicle and transportation agencies:

Legal Articles on Marriage and Living Together

Learn about common law marriage, prenuptial agreements, same-sex parenting, and much more with FindLaw for the Public's collection of legal articles on marriage and living together:

Marriage and Living Together Laws in All 50 States:


May 20, 2004 - Issue # 33

After a Car Accident: First Steps

If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, the actions you take after the incident can help to strengthen your position should you decide to pursue a legal claim for your injuries. Learn about what steps to take in the Car & Motor Vehicles Accident section of FindLaw's new Accident and Injury Center:

Find a Car Accident Injury Attorney Near You

Car & Motor Vehicle Accidents: Health and Medical Help

Working as an Independent Contractor: Legal Tips

From FindLaw's Employees' Rights Center, tips on deciding what to charge for services as an independent contractor, working from your home, pros and cons of the independent contractor's life, and much more:

Employees' Rights: Web Sites and Resources:

Lemon Laws and Car Ownership FAQs

From buying and selling a car to dealing with automobile repair shops, FindLaw for the Public offers answers to some frequently asked questions on "lemon" laws and car ownership:

Consumer Protection Laws and Agencies:


May 13, 2004 - Issue # 32

Dogs and Other Animals: If you are bitten

Every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals -- most often dogs. In many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal's owner or another responsible party. Get information here:

Injuries A to Z:


Findlaw's New Accident and Injury Center

FindLaw has recently launched a new Accident & Injury Center. This section of FindLaw for the Public is designed to assist those who have been involved in an accident or suffered an injury. It contains seven primary topics -- Personal Injury, Car & Motor Vehicle Accidents, Defective & Dangerous Products, Medical Malpractice, Mesothelioma & Asbestos, Nursing Home Abuse, and Workers' Compensation. In these topics you will find injury-specific information, consumer-friendly articles on legal rights and options, health and medical information, and much more.

To get started, click on the link:

An Overview of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy refers to the chapter of the federal statutes (the Bankruptcy Code) that contains the bankruptcy law. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called "straight" bankruptcy. This bankruptcy cancels most of your debts; in exchange, you might have to surrender some of your property. Learn how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works:

Get Help Now: Bankruptcy Lawyers, Forms, and More:


Tax Implications of a Divorce

If you and your spouse are headed for a divorce, you may want to have an estate or tax lawyer look over your settlement agreement. Find out

Get Help: Find a Divorce Attorney Near You:

Looking for a Tax Attorney in Your Area?:


April 29, 2004 - Issue # 30

Not Enough Financial Aid? Seek Counseling
Christian Science Monitor

. . . As they face steeper tuitions, more parents are deciding that investing in college is as worthy of professional help as buying a house or creating a stock portfolio. Some counselors now specialize in appealing colleges' financial-aid awards, and they can advise about the many legitimate reasons a school should consider, such as a change in family structure or employment, high medical bills, or a student's recent improvement in grades or test scores:

FindLaw's Bankruptcy & Debt Center: How to Make a Budget and Stick to It:

Alternative Dispute Resolution and You

Have a legal problem? Going to court isn't the only answer. Learn about cheaper, faster alternatives from FindLaw's Public Center:

Find an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Attorney near You:


DUI/DWI Resources

From FindLaw's DUI Center, links to national and state-specific resources on driving under the influence laws, penalties, statistics, and more:

Learn More: DUI/DWI Overview:

Finding a DUI/DWI Attorney:


April 22, 2004 - Issue # 29

What to do if You Are in an Automobile Accident
FindLaw's Motor Vehicle Accident Center

Would you know what to do if you drove your car into another car? A pedestrian? When a car accident happens, injuries may be severe and emotions may be high. However, there are important things that must be taken care of both at the scene of any accident and following an accident:

Do's and Don'ts: Insurance Claims:

Find a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Near You:

U.S. Citizenship: Answers to FAQs
FindLaw's Immigration Center

If you are looking for information on obtaining U.S. citizenship and naturalization, FindLaw's Immigration Center offers answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the process:

Find an Immigration Attorney Near You:


Crime Victim and Crime Prevention Resources

In recognition of the 24th anniversary of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 18-24, 2004, FindLaw's Criminal Law Center offers national and state-specific crime victim and crime prevention resources:

Crime Victim Resources:

Crime Prevention Resources:

Divorce and Child Custody Laws in Your State
FindLaw's Family Law Center

FindLaw's Family Law Center features links to divorce and child custody laws in all 50 states, including statutes describing proper grounds for
divorce and dissolution, and laws regulating child support, spousal support, and visitation rights:

Get Help: Find a Family Law Attorney in Your Area:


April 15, 2004 - Issue # 28

Things You Should Know if You Don't Pay Your Taxes
FindLaw's Tax Center

People fail to file tax returns for a variety of reasons - personal or business problems, feelings of hopelessness or fear due to an extended period of nonfiling, anti-government sentiments, or beliefs that the penalty will not outweigh the expense and trouble of filing. Because the United States tax system is based on taxpayers willingly honoring their obligations, the IRS does what it can to encourage nonfilers to voluntarily come forward after a period of not paying taxes:

Filing and Paying Late: How to Request an Extension:

Tax Time Tools:

Find a Tax Law Attorney in your Area:


Findlaw's Bankruptcy & Debt Center

FindLaw's Bankruptcy & Debt Center provides you with information and resources to help you if your debts are increasing and you're unable to make required payments ­ including debt relief options, an overview of bankruptcy, and in-depth discussion of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy:


April 8, 2004 - Issue # 27

Findlaw's Elder Law & Aging Center

FindLaw's Elder Law & Aging Center provides information and resources on the rights of the elderly, including articles and FAQs on consumer fraud against the elderly, elder neglect, and crimes against older citizens:

Find an Elder Law Attorney near You:


April 1, 2004 - Issue # 26

Tax Time: If You haven't Filed in a while
FindLaw's Tax Center

If you haven't filed your taxes in recent years, FindLaw's Tax Center offers answers to frequently asked questions concerning the failure to file a tax return.

Find a Tax Law Attorney in your Area:

FAQs About Wills
FindLaw's Wills Center

FindLaw's Wills Center offers answers to some frequently asked questions about wills, including issue of shared inheritance, notarization, and joint wills.

Need Help? Find a Wills Attorney near You:


March 25, 2004 - Issue # 25

Tax Time: Tax Bill FAQ
FindLaw's Tax Center

If you are faced with a tax bill from the Internal Revenue Service, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about bill payment, interest, incorrect refunds, and more:


Slip and Fall Accidents
FindLaw's Personal Injury Center

Get important information on what to do if you or a loved one is injured in a "slip and fall" incident on someone else's property, including how to prove fault for dangerous conditions that lead to an accident:


March 18, 2004 - Issue # 24

Tax Time Back to the Basics

The deadline for filing your taxes is less than a month away, so understanding the tax "big picture" may come in handy in the weeks before April 15th. The following are discussions on some of the basics -- including common terms, and your rights when dealing with the IRS.

Glossary: Common Taxation Terms:

Understanding Your Rights with the IRS:

Find a Tax Law Attorney in your Area:

Tax Time: IRS is Watching Home Office Deductions
Associated Press

One of the most highly coveted tax deductions for a small business owner is for a home office. It's also an issue fraught with anxiety, because home office deductions have a reputation of being triggers for an IRS audit. . . Anyone considering a home office deduction should read IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home, which lays out the parameters under which small business owners can take deductions for using parts of their homes to conduct business:

Making Workers' Compensation Work for You

If you are injured on the job, make sure you are informed when it comes to your rights, and the responsibilities of your employer under workers' compensation rules. Learn more:

What Are the Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers?

What Are My Employer's Responsibilities under Workers' Comp Laws?

Food Safety in the News

This week, a number of food safety issues made headlines worldwide -- from the head of the FDA voicing the need for improved food inspection,
to the EU issuing warnings on mercury levels in fish. Find out more:

FDA Head: More Food Inspection Needed (AP)

U.S. Moves Closer to Poultry Drug Ban (AP)

EU Warns Pregnant Women Over Mercury in Fish (Reuters)

Public Access: Helpful Resources:

Car Accidents Q&A

From FindLaw's Personal Injury Center, get answers to frequently asked questions about car accidents and the law:

March 11, 2004 - Issue # 23

Tax Time: Tips on Self-Employment and Income Tax

The deadline for filing your income taxes is a little more than a month away, so this week we offer answers to some frequently asked questions on the tax implications of self-employment, and some tips for the self-employed as potential targets for an IRS audit.

Self-Employment Tax: Questions and Answers:

Self-Employed as Audit Target:

Find an Experienced Tax Law Attorney in your Area:

The Landlord-Tenant Relationship: Liability for Injury and Crime

Under certain circumstances, a landlord might be liable when a tenant or visitor is injured on rental property, or when a crime causes harm on the premises. Especially if you are a party to a lease agreement, you may want to learn more about the legal standards involved in the relationship between landlords and tenants:

Landlord Liability for Tenant Injuries:

Landlord Liability for Criminal Acts and Activities:

March 4, 2004 - Issue # 22

Tax Time: Avoiding an Audit

As April 15th looms closer, here are some tips for managing your finances and preparing your taxes in a way that may best avoid an audit by the IRS:

Things That May Trigger an "Inquiry" or an Audit:

How to Reduce the Chance of an Audit:

Understanding Different Types of Estate Planning

No matter what your age or the value of your assets, here are some tips for deciding which kind of estate planning might be best for you.

The Right Estate Plan for You:

Glossary: Types of Wills and Trusts:

Find an Estate Planning Attorney near You:

Answers to FAQ About Personal Injury Claims

From intentional wrongs to accidents that occur on someone else's property, FindLaw's Personal Injury Center answers some frequently asked
questions about personal injury claims:

February 26, 2004 - Issue # 21

Tax Time: How Your Home Can Help

Understanding how your assets can come in handy at tax time can mean the difference between getting a refund and paying a penalty. Learn how
to use home ownership as a tax asset this April 15th

Your Home as a Tax Shelter:

Home Ownership: Tax Considerations:

Tax Breaks for Selling Your Home: Read the Fine Print:

Talk to an Experienced Tax Attorney near You:

How Well Do You Know Your Retirement Plan?

With Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's suggestion this week that future Social Security benefits might be cut, you may
have new questions about your retirement plan. What are the key differences among different types of retirement plans? How do you
change your beneficiary? Can you take money out before you retire? Learn more:

Types of Retirement Plans:

Top Myths about Retirement Plans:

When I Retire, How Can I Tap into My Retirement Fund?

Home Ownership FAQs
FindLaw Real Estate Center

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about home ownership -- including buying or selling a house, home improvements, home insurance, and much more:

Your Rights as and Employee
FindLaw Employees' Rights Center

Browse articles that discuss everything you need to know to protect your rights as an employee, from compensation and time off to discrimination and harassment.

Find an Employees' Rights Attorney:

February 19, 2004 - Issue # 20

It's Tax Time: Findlaw's Tax Center Can Help
FindLaw: Taxes and the IRS

It's that time again -- tax time. From finding forms to understanding credits and deductions, FindLaw's Tax Center offers useful articles, answers FAQs, and provides resources for taxpayers to help make April 15th a little more bearable:

Too Taxing? Find an Experienced Tax Attorney Near You:

Tips For "Good Behavior" When Getting A Traffic Ticket
FindLaw: Traffic Violations

Many people simply pay for a speeding ticket or other moving violation ticket and try to put it in the past. However, in some situations you may feel like you have been unfairly charged with a traffic law violation. If you get a traffic ticket, and you want to fight it, here are some tips for how to handle yourself both during the traffic stop and afterward in traffic court:

Traffic Violations: Links to More Resources, Including State DMV's:

Pros and Cons of Declaring Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7
FindLaw: Bankruptcy & Debt

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, here is a list of pros and cons to consider as you decide whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Checklist: Reviewing a Lease
FindLaw: Real Estate

Before you sign a lease to rent a home, condominium, or apartment, review this checklist of things to watch out for in the contract.

DUI/DWI Laws in Your State
FindLaw: DUI /DWI

Whether it's called "Driving Under the Influence" (DUI) or "Driving While Intoxicated" (DWI), each state has a number of laws that pertain to drinking and driving, including blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for gauging legal intoxication. This chart identifies a number of DUI / DWI-related laws in each state.

Get Help Now: Finding a DUI Defense Lawyer:

February 12, 2004 - Issue # 19

Knowing Your Debt Relief Options

Free information from FindLaw's brand-new Bankruptcy Law Center, explaining the basic options available to someone who is in financial distress, including how to handle bills and loans, credit counseling, bill consolidation, whether bankruptcy is an option, and other alternatives.

Debt Harassment: What to Do If a Bill Collector Crosses the Line:

Your Rights in the Criminal Justice System

FindLaw's Criminal Law Center discusses your rights in the criminal justice system -- from the "search and seizure" rights of all citizens, to your rights in a criminal courtroom, and the constitutional rights of those who are incarcerated. Learn more:

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer:

American Bar Association

Learn about your rights as a consumer with this comprehensive online guide from the ABA -- including contracts, common purchases, leases,
credit, real estate, and fraud schemes:

Browse Law-Related Articles on Everyday Consumer Issues:

Crime Prevention Links

Here you will find links to national crime prevention resources, and those in your state. To get started, just enter your zip code:

Divorce and Child Custody: State Laws

Do you want to learn more about legal grounds for divorce in your state? What about laws related to child custody and support? If so, go here and click on the link to your state:

Talk With a Family Law Attorney in Your State:

February 5, 2004 - Issue # 18

Homeowners' Associations and CC&Rs
2002 Nolo, Inc.

When you buy a good home in a new subdivision, common interest development (CID), planned unit development (PUD), or co-op, chances are good that you also automatically become a member of an exclusive club -- the homeowners' association, whose members are the people who own homes in the same development.

The homeowners' association will probably exercise a lot of control over how you use your property. Deeds to houses in new developments almost always include restrictions on how the property can be used.  Usually, these restrictions, called covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), put decision-making rights in the hands of a homeowners' association. If you don't understand something, ask for more information and seek legal advice if necessary. To Read The Rest Of The Article, See:


The information contained in this newsletter and the FindLaw web site is provided as a service to the Internet community, and does not constitute legal advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site and its associated sites. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

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