The Legal Information Institute can help you find out what is being hidden in that small print for free
The Legal Information Institute can help you find out what is being hidden from you in that contract for free
If you are comparing one company with another or if an attorney who doesn’t have your best interest at heart is snowing you, it would be helpful for you to be able to quickly wade through their sticky morass of legalese.
Compared to the average person, I have a small leg-up because I used to be a court reporter and legal clerk.
Even though I haven’t done any real legal work for many years, I still remember a lot of the legal jargon and can read a contract well enough to uncover many of the little ugly secrets that the banks, insurance companies and other businesses may be trying to hide.
Several times over the years I have refused to sign a contract unless the language is changed, particularly the language that says something like, I will automatically pay for my own prosecution, if something should go wrong. Guess what? I usually don’t have to. I will line it out and initial and date the change.
Most of the time I get my exception to the wording. If not, I take my business somewhere else; and, I have.
Even though a lot of things have changed, it still is good to have some of that knowledge tucked away in some -- sometimes hard-to-reach -- recesses of my brain.
Even though I can grasp a lot of legal information, I would have a hard time trying to explain the difference between a civil criminal liability and a purely civil liability to someone with no legal background.
Take something a simple as a tort for example:
Torts can be civil wrongs even when not recognized by criminal law as grounds for a lawsuit. These wrongs result in an injury or harm constituting the basis for a claim by the injured party.
OJ Simpson would be an example.
For one reason or another, OJ wasn’t found guilty in a criminal proceeding, but he was forced by a tort court to pay for some of the harm that resulted from his actions, that hurt other people.
Cornell University Law School is coming to our rescue with their Legal Information Institute – LII
The Legal Information Institute states on their website:
“We are a not-for-profit group that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. We carry out this vision by:
· Publishing law online, for free.
· Creating materials that help people understand law.
· Exploring new technologies that make it easier for people to find the law.”
My advice would be to familiarize your self with the way the site works and to bookmark it in a conspicuous place so that it will be easy to find it when that time comes; and it will.
Legal Information Institute also has a presence on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Law.LII
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