Court Reporting: Basic Facts about an Essential Part of Litigation

The litigation process relies on the support of many key players to ensure a successful trial. One of these important roles is filled by court reporters. With the help of a court reporter, the court can ensure that important legal proceedings are well-documented and accounted for.

Basically, a court reporter is tasked to transcribe and create official reports of court hearings, depositions, and other similar proceedings. While it may sound like a simple task, court reporting is an important part of the litigation process. After all, documentation is essential to the entire judicial system. Every moment of a trial or court hearing needs to be transcribed and recorded for future reference. Aside from that, court reporting can also help lawyers with documenting depositions and build stronger cases. With a certified record of a testimony, lawyers can countercheck for any contradicting statements as they move on with arranging their case.

According to the website of Houston court reporters at Stratos Legal, a court reporter’s essential tool is the shorthand system. As you can imagine, legal proceedings can take a really long time, and court reporters will have to note down as much as 200 words every minute. The shorthand system allows a court reporter to follow every step of the proceeding by using symbols and abbreviations in place of lengthy sentences and phrases. Court reporters typically use a special kind of typewriter called a stenotype to make their task a lot easier.

Certain advancements in technology also contributed to the improvement of court reporting and litigation support. For example, there are court reporting services that have online repositories so transcripts can be easily accessed online. There are also some that offer digital videography. Video documentation is especially helpful for depositions complicated by geographical issues.

Plan Ahead: Why Estate Planning is Important

It might be uncomfortable to consider, but death is an integral part of the human experience. If you are fortunate enough to have experienced a long, full life so far, it might be time to think ahead and start drafting a plan for your estate. Even when you still have quite a long way until the inevitable happens, it’s better to have a properly arranged plan to make sure both your estate and beneficiaries are well taken care of.

According to the website of the Chicago elder law lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC, estate planning is the process of making important decisions and necessary arrangements about how you want your properties and assets handled in the event of your death. This will entail distributing your personal property, real estate, investments, and other assets among your chosen beneficiaries. Estate planning can also include choices you’ve made in terms of how you’d want to be cared for and treated in case you won’t be able to make such decisions for yourself in the future. Specifically, it can also entail defining who will have power of attorney over important legal decisions made in your behalf, as well as plans for nursing home care.

To start, you will have to draft your Will. As you may know, this is the legal document where you can officially declare all the specifications of the plans and arrangements you’ve decided on. In your Will, you will have to delineate how you’d want your assets and properties distributed among heirs that you can name. You will also have to name an executor who will be responsible for making sure that all the plans you’ve detailed in your document are properly accomplished.

As mandated by federal law, a Will can be drafted by any individual over 18 who is of “sound body and mind”. The document will be validated as soon as you sign the it with at least two witnesses present. You can also enlist proper legal help to have your Will officially notarized and avoid further disputes down the line. You can also consult with lawyers to learn which decisions and arrangements you’ll need to prioritize in your will. Because estate laws vary from state to state, you should work with a lawyer with sufficient experience working in your area.

Unsafe Work Sites: What Causes Common Construction Accidents

Construction is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction site accidents in the year 2013 have led to 796 fatalities. These reported cases made up around 20 percent of all fatalities that occurred in workplaces across America. Considering such alarming information, it’s obvious that there’s a pressing need to curb these numbers and prevent them from growing in the future. One way to do that is by raising awareness about this important issue.

Employers have the responsibility to create a safe working environment for their personnel. Common construction accidents can be easily avoided as long as work sites are well-regulated. Construction companies can protect employees their employees through stringent safety regulations and taking necessary precautions. The simple fact is that employers can prevent the growing number of construction site fatalities if they learn to address the wide-range of issues that typically arise in work sites.

According to the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, unsafe work sites are commonly caused by the following factors:

  • Inappropriate safety equipment
  • Lack of proper safety precautions and protocols
  • Continued employment of workers who are not fit or qualified for demanding physical labor
  • Use of faulty or damaged machinery and equipment

The Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm say on their website that the following scenarios are typical contributors to the growing number of construction work-related injuries:

  • Slip and fall accidents caused by hazards on the worksite
  • Repetitive motion and heavy lifting
  • Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals

Personal injury lawyers from both firms also add that these accidents often result in serious consequences. In many cases, workers end up suffering from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and most tragically, wrongful death. These injuries can also leave profound effects on the workers’ ability to continue working and earn an income. As such, their families can also suffer greatly due to such accidents. All in all, construction site accidents can lead to grave outcomes. Victims shouldn’t be afraid to seek just compensation. To learn of your legal options, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.