Author Archive

Real Estate Law Basics – Understanding How a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help You As A Buyer Or A Seller

Buying a home or property? Selling your home or piece of commercial real estate? These types of transactions may seem simple, and a real estate agent may tell you that they can answer all of your questions, but the truth is that without the guidance and representation of a real estate attorney, you are putting yourself at considerable risk. There are plenty of things that can go wrong when you’re buying or selling real estate, and no matter how knowledgeable your agent may be about the value of property in a particular area or what the comps and fees are, only a real estate lawyer can provide you with legal advice and protect you from unexpected pitfalls. When you work with the real estate law firm of Wallace Law, we will ensure that your process goes smoothly and that all of your rights and interests are protected.

Though you may have worked with a real estate agent throughout the purchase or sales process, it is important to remember that no matter what side of the transaction you are on, your agent’s top motivation is to make sure that the sale goes through because that’s how they earn their commission. By contrast, when you hire a real estate lawyer to assist in the drafting of your sales contract or to review the contract that a seller has provided, you can be certain that they are acting as your advocate: your real estate attorney is not only on your side, but has extensive experience in the various complications and unforeseen circumstances that can arise in the midst of executing a real estate contract. They will not be put off by challenges – instead they will use their knowledge of alternative options to make sure that your goals are met. Likewise, they will provide you with an unbiased opinion when it is time to walk away.

May real estate owners and agencies utilize standardized versions of real estate purchase agreements. Though these boilerplate versions may be designed to be generic enough to be in the interest of both parties, every situation is different and every buyer and seller has their own particular needs. When you need a modification, a real estate lawyer will know how to amend your contract in a way that is legal and will stand up in court. They will take the time to understand your goals and needs and negotiate on your behalf to make sure that you are protected, and will do the required due diligence to make sure that there are no liens, illegal structures, or other complexities that might make a property less desirable or a bad investment. Whether you need assistance with your loan application or negotiating with the other party, a real estate lawyer will be by your side every step along the way. Call Wallace Law to see how our experienced real estate lawyers can help you with the purchase or sale of your property.

Learn more about Real Estate Law HERE.

Reviewing Real Estate Contracts – What a Lawyer Can Do to Protect You in a Real Estate Agreement

You have spent months looking for the perfect property, and now you think you’ve finally found it. Your agent has worked tirelessly, and uncomplainingly, to help you find the piece of real estate that meets all of your needs and specifications, and now she just wants you to sign on the dotted line so she can make her commission and move on to her next sale. Though it is easy to get swept away in the excitement of the moment, it is a big mistake to simply agree to all of the terms that are presented to you without having a real estate lawyer review it carefully. An attorney who has extensive experience in reviewing real estate contracts will ensure that your rights are protected and that you fully understand the obligations that you are agreeing to. Before signing any contract, give yourself a knowledgeable and unbiased advocate by having it reviewed by the real estate attorneys from Wallace Law.

When you are preparing to purchase a home, there should always be a writer contract, and you should also have the opportunity to take a certain amount of time for an attorney to review it. No matter how appealing the price, property or opportunity may be, it is important to remember that a term that seems insignificant to you may raise a cautionary red flag for an experienced real estate lawyer.  Though many real estate transactions are administered using boilerplate forms that seem like they have generic terms designed to assure parity, the seller may have inserted terms that are favorable to them that would not be apparent to a layman. It is the unique aspects that a seller may have added, or the specific terms that you may need, that a real estate attorney can address.

Many contracts for the sale of real estate have what are known as contingencies written in. On the buyer’s side of the contract, a contingency may require that their current home be sold before they can close on the property they want to purchase. Likewise, a seller may insert terms that are in their best interest but that are unacceptable to the buyer. Upon examination of the written contract, your attorney may indicate that the terms are not in your best interest; they will also offer negotiate to add replacement terms that are acceptable to both parties, and do so in a way that is both professional and that accomplishes your goals.

Having a real estate attorney include contingency terms that will allow you to walk away from a contract based upon your own needs is just one example of the value that they can add to your real estate transaction. They can also assist you in your loan process, arrange unbiased and reliable inspections, put you in touch with reputable contractors who can give you realistic estimates on repairs and renovations, and protect you against hidden issues such as environmental hazards, liens on the property, and help you walk away if need be. For more information on how we can help, call the law firm of Wallace Law today.

Learn more about Real Estate Law HERE.

Assistance with Real Estate Negotiations – How A Lawyer Can Help with Your Transaction

In a perfect world, every real estate transaction would go off without a hitch. Buyer and seller would agree to every term, everybody would be looking out for each others’ best interests, and the transfer would take place easily and without a hint of stress. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. The buyer has their needs, the seller has theirs, and getting the two to a point where they can agree takes experience, knowledge and skill. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, if you need assistance with real estate negotiations it is best to stay out of the fray and put the job into the hands of an experienced and qualified real estate attorney who can approach the issue from a legal rather than an emotional perspective. Having a real estate attorney by your side will ensure that your rights and interests are protected. The experienced attorneys at Wallace Law can provide you with assistance with your real estate negotiations and make sure that you avoid the negative consequences that can arise when you don’t have a knowledgeable legal advocate speaking on your behalf.

Whether you are the person who is selling a piece of property or the buyer, it is important for you to remember that finding the person who wants to buy your property (or finding the right house to buy) is only the first step of a very long, and at times challenging, process. There is a certain amount of negotiation that goes on early, with a purchase price being agreed to and initial conversations taking place about dates, inspections, repairs, and accommodations. Most of these are introduced through the buyer’s or seller’s agent, who puts together an informal agreement. But once these initial terms are agreed to and a formal written contract for sale is introduced to the process, it is important to make sure that you are working with an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable and who understands your priorities and goals. Though your agent may advise you that there is no need to have an attorney involved, you need to remember that your agent’s primary goal is to get the transaction completed so that they can earn their commission. Only a real estate attorney will provide you with assistance with real estate negotiations from a legal perspective and make sure that all one-sided provisions that have been written into the agreement of sale have been eliminated and that the  terms of the contract are written with an eye to what your needs and situation are.

A real estate attorney will represent your best interests during all negotiations about the contract, making sure that you are not faced with unexpected obstacles and helping you to navigate problems when they arise. For more information on how the real estate attorneys at Wallace Law can help, call us today.

Learn more about Real Estate Law HERE.

Short Sales and Foreclosures – What A Lawyer Can Do to Protect You When You Buy a Short Sale or Foreclosure

Though the worst days of the housing crisis are over, that doesn’t mean that everybody came out of it unscathed. Many homeowners are still unable to pay their mortgages, and have found themselves faced with foreclosure. As they try to get themselves out of debt, one of the options that has been made available to them is to sell their home on what is known as a short sale. In a short sale, the lender agrees to accept a fair market value and release the homeowner from their debt instead of pursuing foreclosure. This provides the homeowner with a way out and provides the opportunity for a buyer to get a great price on a home. Though short sales offer terrific opportunities, there are potential legal pitfalls too. If you are interested in purchasing a home that is available as a result of a short sale or foreclosure, you need help from a qualified attorney who protect your interests and your investment. The attorneys at Wallace Law can help.

The idea behind a short sale is that the bank can stop having to pursue the homeowner’s debt and move on. They accept a lesser amount in repayment of the debt because it is more cost effective for them. This generally means that a buyer can get the home at a very good price, but it also may mean that the house has some hidden problems. Examples of the types of complications that short sale or foreclosure buyers may encounter include inspection issues, property damage, problems with the title, and tax liens. Having an experienced short sale and foreclosure attorney helping you with the process makes sure that you get everything that you have promised and that you are protected in case something goes wrong.

As is true in most home sales, the owner of a home that is being foreclosed upon or which is going through a short sale is often living in the house up until the time that the property is transferred. Unfortunately, some sellers who are facing foreclosure are unhappy at the prospect of leaving their homes, and in the process they lose interest in making sure that the house is in the best possible condition. Many buyers move in and find that the home is damaged or appliances are not in working condition, and then have no choice but to pay for unanticipated repair expenses. Having a real estate attorney who can anticipate these problems and take steps to prevent them from happening will end up saving you money in the long run. Having a real estate attorney at your side is a good idea whenever your are purchasing a property, but it is especially true when the home you are buying is a short sale or foreclosure. Call the attorneys at Wallace Law today to see how we can help.

Learn more about Real Estate Law HERE.

Winter Weather Is Here: Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Winter in South Jersey

There are plenty of people who love the arrival of the winter months and the cold weather. Skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts eagerly await the arrival of snow, and those who simply enjoy the beauty of a landscape blanketed in white thrill as the weatherman predicts the first snowstorm. But with the coming of the cold there is also the reality of the increased number of auto accidents that the season brings. Ice and snow on the roads and reduced visibility require cautious and skillful driving, and not every driver is as vigilant or attentive as they should be. If you have been involved in an auto accident and you have been injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Though many think that the weather provides them with an excuse for careless driving accidents, the personal injury attorneys at Wallace Law understand that drivers in South Jersey still have a duty of care when they get behind the wheel, whether there is snow on the ground or not.

There are several common causes of accidents in winter that every driver should be mindful of, as the more prepared and aware you are, the better your chances of avoiding a collision. They include:

  • Black Ice – This is an extremely dangerous condition in which a thin sheen of water freezes on roadway surfaces and is not visible to drivers. It can cause a vehicle to skid without warning.
  • Improperly Maintained Vehicles – Properly maintaining a vehicle is always important, but never more so then when venturing out into dangerous roadway conditions. Items that should be checked include making sure that your tires are appropriate for the road surfaces, making sure your brakes are in good condition, and ensuring that all fluid levels are topped off and windshield wipers are up to the task of clearing ice and snow.
  • Poor Visibility – Visibility is not just an issue when snow, sleet and rain are falling from the sky – it is also an important thing to think about before heading out onto the roads after a storm has passed. Make sure that the top of your vehicle’s surfaces have been completely cleared of snow and ice so that none blows onto the roadway or in the path of other drivers. Clear all windows of any impediment to being able to see and make sure that when you’re traveling through fog or precipitation, your lights are on.
  • Speed – When traveling in ice and snow or wet surfaces, it takes longer for your vehicle to stop. Leave yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go and reduce your speed when conditions are less than optimal.

If you have been injured in a winter auto accident by a driver who did not exercise care in the operation of their vehicle, the attorneys at Wallace Law can help. Call us today to set up a convenient appointment.

Learn more about Auto Accidents HERE.

Have You Been Hurt On Someone Else’s Property: Understanding Premises Liability 101

You’ve gone over to a neighbor’s house to chat and their dog attacked you, tearing tendons in your leg. You went to the grocery store and you slipped on a spill in Aisle 9 and broke your hip. You went to an amusement park and the ride broke, causing it to jump the tracks and you suffered a concussion.  What do all of these incidents have in common? All of them are situations where you trusted that the owner of a property would take reasonable care to ensure the safety of those who entered their property, and where they failed to do so. This is the basic principle behind understanding premises liability. If you have been hurt on someone else’s property and it is a result of them not acting with appropriate care, then they can be held responsible for the damages that you suffer as a result. If you believe that you may be entitled to file a premises liability lawsuit against a property owner and would like more information, contact the attorneys at Wallace Law today.

There are many different types of scenarios where a premises liability lawsuit may be appropriate. Examples include these situations where a person might suffer an injury:

  • Exposure to chemicals or toxic fumes
  • Fires
  • Swimming pool accidents in which the pool is open or unguarded
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Defective conditions on the premises, such as a loose handrail, holes in the floor, loose carpet edges
  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Poor maintenance
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inadequate security
  • Animal attacks
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Water leaks or flooding

Being injured on another person or organization’s property does not automatically mean that you are entitled to file a premises liability lawsuit. In order to be eligible to do so it must be shown that the property owner was negligent. Proving that a property was unsafe is not enough – it must be shown that the owner knew or should have known about the situation and either failed to take action or did so in a way that was inadequate.  Further, if you were not supposed to be on the property and are shown to have been trespassing, then you are not likely to be entitled to compensation, even if the premises owner is shown to have been negligent.

The responsibility that a property owner has to protect others from injury is known as a “duty of care”, and it refers to a need to take reasonable action that avoids injury to others. What that means will depend upon the specific circumstances in which you were injured. If you believe that your injury resulted from a lack of reasonable care on the part of a property owner and you would like one of our attorneys to provide you with their thoughts, call us to set up a free consultation. At Wallace Law, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of those who have been injured by the negligent acts of others.

Learn more about Premises Liability HERE.

Commercial Vehicle Accidents: What to Do If You Have Been Hurt by A Commercial Vehicle in South Jersey

It’s happened to each and every one of us who have climbed behind the wheel of our car and driven on the highway: A commercial vehicle is suddenly barreling down on us in our rear view mirror and there’s an unmistakable feeling of panic and helplessness – and for good reason. With the average commercial commercial vehicle weighing at least three times what a passenger car does, a regular car stands little chance against one of these giants. There are approximately 500,000 commercial vehicle accidents that take place in the United States every year, and approximately 5,000 of these tragically end in fatalities – and usually to those who are in the passenger vehicles. If you or someone you love has been hurt by a commercial vehicle in South Jersey, you need knowledgeable, experienced legal help. The attorneys of Wallace Law have successfully pursued legal action against many commercial drivers and owners of commercial vehicles on behalf of our clients who were injured as a result of negligence. We can help you too.

There are many types of commercial vehicles, and many reasons why commercial vehicle accidents occur.  Among the most common causes of accidents are drivers who are driving while intoxicated or under the influence. Others are driving too fast or recklessly, while still others are distracted by the use of their cell phone, GPS or other electronic devices.  These are just a few examples of negligence on the part of a commercial driver. Other examples include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Improper maintenance of the vehicle
  • Improper loading of freight
  • Hazardous roads
  • Aggressive driving
  • Tire blowouts

When a commercial vehicle gets into an accident with a smaller passenger car, it can cause serious and catastrophic injuries, not only because they are so much bigger but also because of the force that a heavier vehicle carries when traveling at a high rate of speed. Passenger car occupants who are injured in commercial truck accidents often suffer burns, lost limbs, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. These can often lead to death – in fact, 98 percent of all two-vehicle collisions involving a semi truck result in at least one fatality, and for every 100 million miles driven on U.S highways by vehicles of all kinds there are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by 18-wheel trucks.

Because the overwhelming majority of commercial truck accidents are caused or exacerbated by some sort of error, it is important that you have the assistance of an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer in determining whether such was the case in your accident. If negligence contributed to your injuries, you may be eligible for compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Call the South Jersey law firm of Wallace Law today to set up a convenient appointment to discuss what happened to you.

Learn more about Commercial Vehicle Accidents HERE.

Winter Weather Means More Injuries: Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents

It’s cold outside, and though that may mean good things to people who enjoy winter sports or feeling a bite in the air, it’s bad news when it comes to the frequency of slip and fall injuries. With frigid temperatures come far more opportunities for water to freeze or for melted snow or ice to be present on interior floors.  Negligent property owners include those who fail to remove ice from walkways, leaving people susceptible to broken bones, head injuries and other common injuries from slip and fall accidents. When a person hurts themselves on somebody else’s property, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine whether negligence played a role in the accident. Every property owner has a duty of care to make sure that dangers on their property are addressed, and if those actions aren’t taken or are done in a slipshod manner, the owner may be found liable for the damages that result. The attorneys at Wallace Law are experienced slip and fall accident lawyers who have a record of successfully getting justice for our clients who have been injured as a result of other’s negligence.

The most common injuries that result from slip and fall accidents can impact you for a short period time or can be permanently life-changing. They include:

  • Sprains
  • Torn Ligaments
  • Fractures
  • Compression Fractures of the Vertebrae
  • Herniated Discs
  • Tailbone Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries

It is very important that when you slip or fall, you seek medical attention. Though you may be tempted to simply dismiss the accident as a minor incident, or even be embarrassed and blame yourself, many serious injuries are not immediately apparent. Likewise, though you may shrug off an incident to your own clumsiness or blame winter weather, for your fall, doing so would absolve a negligent owner from taking responsibility for their own property, and may put others at risk in the future.

The rules regarding premises liability apply to all of those responsible for a property, whether they are private owners, a corporation, or even a government entity.  The legal bar and expectation is that owners will act responsibly and that those who fall bear a certain measure of responsibility to keep their eyes open and not put themselves in harm’s way. In many slip and fall cases a decision may be made to apportion blame for an accident between the victim and the property owner. One way or another, it is important that you make sure you seek experienced legal counsel if you’ve been injured to make certain that you are availing yourself of all of your legal rights.

The personal injury attorneys at Wallace Law are passionate about protecting the rights of those who have been injured as the result of other’s negligence. If you’ve suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident and think that it may involve a lack of responsibility on the part of the property owner, call us today to discuss your options.

Learn more about Slip and Fall Accidents HERE.

Bruce A. Wallace Named 2015 Awesome Attorney by South Jersey Magazine

For the 8th year in a row, Bruce A. Wallace has been selected as an “2015 Awesome Attorney” in the Personal Injury Law category by South Jersey Magazine. We are so proud of this incredible honor. We cannot thank South Jersey Magazine and the readers enough for the recognition! It means the world to us.


Slip, Trip and Fall Season in South Jersey

As the season transitions from Autumn to Winter in South Jersey; as weather conditions change, slips and falls are bound to occur. When wintry weather takes hold, the chances of being injured as a result of someone else’s negligence increase. We want to remind South Jersey residents to be careful this Winter season, but be aware that if you find yourself in a situation where you are injured due to someone else’s disregard and neglect, you can do something about it.

Common wintertime hazards that can cause a slip and fall accident in South Jersey include:

  • Icy pavement not salted
  • Snow not shoveled
  • Slippery floors inside

Slips and falls from these avoidable unsafe situations can cause great injury. Do not assume that you are at fault due to your own carelessness. If the hazard was not there, you probably would not have slipped or fallen.

If you are in a public place, such as a store or restaurant, it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that there is a clear path in a public area and that the necessary precautions are taken for safe passage. If you’ve fallen as a result of a dangerous condition caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a premises liability case.

If you’ve slipped and fallen — it should go without saying — you must seek medical assistance first. Even if you feel like you are not seriously injured at the time of the fall, the injury may exacerbate later. It’s simply best to see a medical professional who can help you determine the severity of your injury and tend to it so that it does not get worse.

Once you’ve sought medical help, you may feel angry and want to call the business owner and give them a piece of your mind for causing the dangerous situation and your injury. This is not advisable.

You need to talk to an attorney promptly. A slip and fall attorney can assess the situation and act on your behalf especially in case of an injury or hospitalization as a result of the slip and fall. A business owner may want to settle with you to avoid their full responsibility and legal obligation to you. You should not accept a settlement before you call a South Jersey slip and fall attorney first. You should be compensated for your pain, suffering and lost income as a result of your unnecessary injury.

Bruce A. Wallace of Haddonfield can help you if you’ve been injured in a wintertime slip and fall accident. Click here or call our office at 856-428-5500.