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The SEARS BUILDING, 5809 FELDSPAR WAY, Birmingham, AL 35244

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205-989-1709 205-588-0755

Email: ║ ssears@me.COM

None of the questions/answers on this page constitute legal advice and should not be taken as such. Every case is different, therefore it is difficult to provide answers to common questions that take into account all scenarios. To get the most accurate answers to any questions you have, request a consultation from our firm and we will be able to provide you with answers that are tailored to your specific circumstances.

Special Education Questions

  • What is an IEP and how can it benefit my child?

    An IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is a document that outlines the specific education services and supports that a child with a disability will receive in order to help them succeed in school. An IEP is developed by a team of educators and specialists and is tailored to meet the unique needs of the child. It can benefit a child by ensuring that they receive the appropriate education support that will help them reach their full potential.

  • What does the IEP process entail?

    The IEP process typically involves an evaluation of the child’s strengths and needs, with input from the child’s parents, and collaboration between the school district and the child’s teachers and specialists. The IEP team will then develop a plan that includes specific goals, accommodations, and services to be provided to the child. The plan is reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure that the child is making progress.

  • My school is not following my child’s IEP, what can I do?

    If a school is not following a child’s IEP, the parents can file a due process complaint and provide evidence in a due process hearing that shows the school is not following their child’s IEP and/or is not providing their child with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

  • What are the criteria that need to be met for a child to obtain an IEP?

    To obtain an IEP, a child must be ‘adversely affected’ in one of the developmental areas outlined in IDEA to the extent that they are not able to perform at grade level when given grade level instructions. The areas a child must be adversely affected in are numerous, examples include oral expression, mathematic problem solving, reading fluency, and many more. This means a child with a disability who is high-functioning and can perform grade level tasks may not necessarily qualify for an IEP, it also means a child with no diagnosed disabilities can qualify for an IEP if they show they are unable to perform at grade level.

  • Is there an age limit for implementing an IEP?

    The IDEA applies to children from birth to 21 years of age. If a child is found to have a qualifying disability, they are entitled to special education services under the IDEA until the age of 21.

  • What is an IFSP and how can it benefit me?

    An IFSP, or Individualized Family Service Plan, is a document that outlines the services and supports that will be provided to a child under the age of three who has a developmental delay or disability. An IFSP can benefit a child and their family by ensuring that they receive appropriate early intervention services to support the child’s development.

  • Can I receive damages in a special education case?

    Damages in the form of monetary compensation are typically not available in special education cases. The IDEA does not provide for compensatory damages. However, parents may be able to request reimbursement for attorney fees and other expenses if they prevail in a due process hearing or administrative complaint.

  • What is IDEA or the IDEA Act?

    The IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is a federal law that ensures that children with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The IDEA requires that schools provide special education and related services to children with qualifying disabilities, and also includes provisions for parent participation, evaluation, and dispute resolution.

  • What is Section 504?

    Section 504 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive federal funding. It applies to all public schools and is broader in scope than the IDEA, as it covers all students with disabilities, not just those who require special education services.

  • Can the school force my child to be medicated?

    No, the school cannot force a child to be medicated. The IDEA requires that the school district conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine if a child has a qualifying disability, and if medication is considered necessary for the child to access their education, the school must request the parents’ consent before starting medication

  • What should I do if a school district representative tries to speak with me after I have hired your firm/filed a due process complaint?

    It is advisable to have your attorney present during any communication with the school district. This is to ensure that your rights and the rights of your child are protected, and that any information discussed will not damage your case. After hiring our firm, your attorney will act as your spokesperson and advocate on you and your child’s behalf in any communications with school district representatives or court officials.

  • If I want you to help my child, what is it going to cost me?

    Zero. The IDEA contains an attorney fee shifting provision which requires the school district to pay your attorney’s fees if you are “the prevailing party.” Notwithstanding, there is an exception. If we make a recommendation to you concerning the case and you do not listen or accept said advisement, and this causes you to lose your case, then you will have to pay our firm’s fees. If your child’s case involves a juvenile court matter, a separate hourly fee will apply.

Personal Injury Questions

  • What amount of damages am I entitled to/can I seek?

    The amount of damages that you are entitled to or can seek in a personal injury case will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Damages can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses related to your injuries. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you understand the potential value of your claim and what types of damages you may be able to seek.

  • How long will it take to receive compensation if the court awards me damages?

    The amount of time it takes to receive compensation if the court awards you damages will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. If the other party is able to pay the damages, you may receive the compensation soon after the court’s decision. However, if the other party is unable to pay or is appealing the decision, the process can take longer.

  • What is an out of court settlement?

    An out of court settlement is when the parties involved in a personal injury case reach an agreement on the compensation amount, without going to trial. This can be done through negotiations between the parties and their attorneys, or through mediation or arbitration.

  • Is it better to accept a settlement or to go to trial?

    It depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Settlements can be a faster and less costly option, but they may not provide the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Going to trial can be more time-consuming and expensive, but it may provide a greater chance of receiving full compensation. One of our attorney can help you understand the pros and cons of both options and make an informed decision.

  • Can I accept a settlement and go to trial?

    No, once you accept a settlement, you are typically required to sign a release form that waives your right to further legal action. This means that you will not be able to take the case to trial or seek additional compensation.

  • What if my injuries are the result of a crime, can I get the other party put in jail?

    If your injuries are the result of a crime, you can file a criminal complaint against the other party and they can be put in jail if found guilty.

  • What happens if I am awarded damages but the other party does not have the financial means to compensate me?

    If the other party does not have the financial means to compensate you, your attorney can assist you in pursuing other options, such as seeking payment through the other party’s insurance, or placing a lien on their assets.

Criminal Defense Questions

  • What will happen if I am convicted?

    If you are convicted of a crime, the consequences will depend on the specific charges and the laws of the jurisdiction in which you are convicted. Consequences can include fines, probation, community service, and incarceration in jail or prison.

  • Can I appeal and get another trial?

    If you are convicted of a crime, you may have the right to appeal the conviction and seek another trial. However, appeals are only granted in limited circumstances, such as if there is new evidence or if there were errors in the original trial that affected the outcome. One of our attorneys can help you understand your rights to appeal and assist you in the process.

  • What is a plea agreement or ‘plea bargain’ and can it help me?

    A plea agreement, also known as a plea bargain, is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to a reduced sentence in exchange for a more lenient sentence or the dismissal of other charges. This can help a defendant avoid a more severe sentence or the risk of a trial, but the defendant must accept the terms of the agreement.

  • How long will the court process take from when I am arrested to going to trial?

    The length of the court process can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction. Some cases may be resolved quickly through a plea agreement, while others may take months or even years to go to trial.

  • This is my first offense, will I be convicted?

    We cannot predict the outcome of your criminal case with certainty, but generally, a first-time offender may receive a more lenient sentence than a repeat offender. However, the outcome of a case will depend on the specific circumstances and the evidence against you.

  • I have prior convictions, how does this affect my case?

    If you have prior convictions, prosecutors and judges may consider your prior criminal history when determining charges and sentencing, and prior convictions may be used as evidence in your current case.

  • Will I go to jail or prison if convicted, and what is the difference?

    Jail is typically for shorter sentences and is usually under the jurisdiction of the county, while prison is for longer sentences and is under the jurisdiction of the state or federal government. The difference between jail and prison is the length of time served and the level of security. The specific crime you are convicted of can play a role in where you are placed to serve your sentence, as well as the state you are convicted in, different jurisdictions will have different penalties for different crimes.

  • How does bail work and how do I pay mine?

    Bail is a monetary amount set by a judge that must be paid in order for a defendant to be released from custody before trial. The amount of bail is determined by the judge and is intended to ensure that the defendant returns for trial. Bail can be paid in cash or through a bail bondsman, who will typically require a non-refundable fee of 10-15% of the total bail amount.

  • What if I am guilty of the crime I am accused of?

    If you are guilty of the crime you are accused of, it is important to consult with one of our attorneys as soon as possible. Being guilty of a crime does not automatically mean you will be convicted for it. The prosecution still has to present their case to the court that proves you committed the crime you are accused of. Our attorneys will ensure they do so according to the law, and do not infringe upon your rights during this process. Even if convicted, we can ask the court for alternate dispositions such as community service or probation, or potentially negotiate a plea agreement in exchange for a lesser sentence.

  • Will future employers be able to see my criminal record, can I get them expunged?

    Future employers will only be able to see guilty convictions. If you are found not guilty, or if you arrested and the prosecution drops the charges, then any background checks that are run with your information will not bring up those incidents. Expunging your criminal records is possible depending on your circumstances, one of our attorneys can consult with you regarding the expungement process.

Civil Litigation Questions

  • What kinds of cases does civil litigation encompass?

    Civil litigation encompasses a wide range of legal disputes, including, but not limited to, contract disputes, personal injury claims, real estate disputes, employment disputes, insurance claims, product liability claims, and other types of disputes that involve private rights and interests.

  • Can I bring a lawsuit against anybody?

    It is generally possible to bring a lawsuit against any person or entity that has caused you harm or violated your legal rights. However, there may be limitations on who can be held liable depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction.

  • How much compensation can I be awarded in a civil litigation case?

    The amount of compensation that can be awarded in a civil litigation case depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction. In general, the compensation awarded in a civil case is intended to make the victim whole and to compensate for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

  • How long will it take to receive compensation if I win?

    The length of time it takes to receive compensation after winning a civil litigation case will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the court’s schedule, and the appeals process. Some cases may be resolved quickly, while others may take several years. Additionally, in some cases, even if a judgment is made in your favor, the other party might file for an appeal, which could further prolong the process.

Criminal Litigation Questions

  • What is criminal litigation?

    Criminal litigation refers to the legal process of prosecuting or defending against criminal charges in a court of law. The process begins with an arrest, followed by formal charges being brought by the prosecution, and may conclude with a trial, plea bargain, or dismissal of charges.

  • How long does the criminal litigation process take?

    The length of the criminal litigation process can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction. Some cases may be resolved quickly through a plea bargain, while others may take months or even years to go to trial. The complexity of the case, the court’s schedule, and the appeals process can all affect the duration of the case.

  • Will I be awarded damages?

    Criminal cases focus on punishing the perpetrator of the crime, rather than compensating the victim. However, in some cases, the court may order the perpetrator to pay restitution to the victim to cover the cost of damages.

Corporate Defense Questions

  • What is a hostile takeover and why is it important to take steps to prevent one?

    A hostile takeover refers to the acquisition of a publicly traded company by another company or individual without the consent of the target company’s board of directors or owners. Hostile takeovers can be detrimental to a company, as they can result in loss of control and management, significant financial losses, and negative impacts on the company’s employees and shareholders. It’s important to take steps to prevent a hostile takeover to protect the company’s assets, management, and shareholders.

  • What are some methods used to prevent hostile takeovers?

    Some common methods used to prevent hostile takeovers include the adoption of a “poison pill” defense, which dilutes the value of the company’s shares and makes it more difficult for an attacker to gain control, “golden parachutes” which provide incentives and benefits to management to stay with the company, adoption of a “shark repellent” measures such as supermajority voting requirements, and creating a “white knight” by seeking a friendly merger with another company.

  • How can you protect my company’s assets in the event of a lawsuit?

    To protect your company’s assets in the event of a lawsuit, our firm can help you create a robust risk management strategy and advise you on the best ways to minimize your company’s exposure to liability. This might include establishing separate corporate entities, creating specific legal contracts and agreements, implementing different types of insurance policies, and other strategies.

  • How can you protect my personal assets if my company is sued?

    If your company is sued, your personal assets may be at risk. Our firm’s experienced corporate defense attorneys can help you create a plan to separate your personal and business assets, such as establishing personal asset protection trusts, reviewing contracts and agreements for any risk exposure, and structuring your corporation/business in a way that shields your personal assets.

  • What types of insurance can help protect my business?

    There are several types of insurance that can help protect a business, such as general liability insurance, which covers damages or injuries that occur on the business’s property, product liability insurance, which covers damages or injuries caused by a company’s products, and professional liability insurance, which covers damages or injuries caused by professional services or advice.

  • Can you help me perform a hostile takeover on someone else’s company?

    A hostile takeover is a type of corporate action in which an acquiring company makes an unsolicited offer to purchase the target company, often against the will of the target company’s management. Hostile takeovers can be complex and are governed by laws and regulations specific to the jurisdiction in which the companies operate. It is not advisable to attempt a hostile takeover as it can have unintended consequences such as negatively impacting employee morale, causing you to lose vendors/business partners, negatively impacting your company’s reputation, or causing other legal challenges and litigation which can drain your financial resources while defending them.

Juvenile Defense Questions

  • What is juvenile court and how is it different from regular court?

    Juvenile court is a court of law that deals with legal matters involving minors, typically those who are under the age of 18. Juvenile court is different from regular court in several ways: The focus of juvenile court is on rehabilitation and addressing the underlying issues that led to the child’s involvement in the legal system, rather than punishment. The proceedings in juvenile court are typically closed to the public, and the records are not typically accessible to the public. Juvenile court cases do not result in a conviction, but rather a finding of delinquency. Juvenile court cases are heard by a judge rather than a jury.

  • Will my child be prosecuted as an adult?

    Whether or not your child will be prosecuted as an adult depends on the laws in your state and the severity of the crime. Your child may be transferred to adult court if they are charged with a serious crime and/or they are near the age of 18, or if they have prior convictions (finding of delinquencies) in juvenile court. The decision to try a juvenile as an adult is not common, but can happen in certain scenarios. Our attorneys can assist you in evaluating your child’s case and determining if there is a risk of adult prosecution.

  • Will my child end up in juvenile detention?

    Whether your child will end up in juvenile detention depends on the outcome of the case and the decision of the judge. The judge may order a variety of dispositions, such as probation, community service, or placement in a juvenile detention facility.

  • If my child damaged property, or caused pain and suffering to the other party, will I be forced to pay damages as the parent?

    As a parent, you may be held liable for damages caused by your child under a legal principle known as parental liability. The laws regarding parental liability vary by state, but in general, parents can be held liable for damages caused by their child if they are found to have been negligent in supervising or controlling the child. This means if the parents knew, or should have known, that the child was likely to cause damage and did not take reasonable steps to prevent it, they could be held liable for the damages caused. States have different laws on how much a parent is responsible for financially when it comes to their child’s actions. Some states have a cap on the amount a parent can be held liable for, and some states also have exemptions for low-income parents.

Insurance Law Questions

  • How do I know if my insurance properly covers me?

    To determine if your insurance policy properly covers you it is important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of your policy to ensure there are no gaps, exclusions, or limitations in your coverage that may expose you to liability. If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to consult with one of our lawyers who can review your policy and advise you on any exposure to risk you may have.

  • What is ‘bad faith,’ and how can you help prevent it?

    “Bad faith” refers to the illegal and unethical practices of insurance companies when they fail to pay or underpay claims that they are legally obligated to pay. This can include denying claims without a reasonable investigation, failing to promptly pay claims, or undervaluing claims. To prevent bad faith, it is important to be aware of your rights as a policyholder and to document all interactions with your insurance company. If you suspect that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you should contact our firm to help you understand your legal rights and options.

  • If my insurance claim is denied, can I sue the insurance company?

    If your insurance claim is denied, and you believe that the denial is unjustified, you may have the option to sue the insurance company for breach of contract or bad faith. However, it is important to consult with one of attorneys to understand the likelihood of success in a lawsuit and any potential legal costs.

  • How much compensation can I get if I win the lawsuit?

    The amount of compensation you may be able to receive if you win a lawsuit against an insurance company will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the damages that you have incurred. It can include reimbursement for expenses related to the claim, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

  • If my doctor injured me, can I file a medical malpractice claim and get compensated?

    If you believe that you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you may have the option to file a medical malpractice claim and seek compensation. However, it is important to understand that medical malpractice claims can be complex and difficult to prove, and it is best to consult with a one of our attorneys who can evaluate the strength of your case and help you understand the potential compensation you may receive.