If you believe negligence on the part of an individual or entity, such as a business, led to personal injury, you have the right to pursue financial compensation to recoup medical expenses and lost income, as well as make up for any pain and suffering you experienced. If you are think you have a case, you may be wondering what to expect once you speak to a lawyer. Following is an overview of the litigation for personal injury lawsuits.
If a lawyer believes you may have a valid case, the first step will be investigating the claim. This might involve interviewing witnesses, gathering physical evidence, talking with insurance companies, consulting with experts, taking photographs or videos or hiring investigators. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, this may take anywhere from one to six months. Once all this has finished, the lawyer will evaluate the findings and determine if you should pursue a claim.
Negotiations are typically the next course of action in a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, most personal injury case end in settlement, even if they make it all the way to court. Based on all the evidence, reports from physicians, economists and other experts, and medical bills, your attorney will come up with a requested settlement amount. He then sends a ‘’demand’’ which is compiled of all the documentation relating to your case, why the party is responsible and the amount of money requested. At this point, the insurer or party will agree to settle or negations back and forth will ensue until both sides are satisfied or there is a stalemate and court proceedings begin.
If negotiations break down, your lawyer will begin the process of filing a lawsuit. First, he will file a complaint outlining allegations and damages you suffered. A sheriff or process server typically serves papers to the defendant, and he has a certain amount of time to respond—typically 20 days if he lives in state or up to 60 if out of state. Once the defendant has filed an answer, discovery begins. During this phase of the lawsuit, both parties gather information to support their case, examine the other party’s information, answer written questions from the other side and give depositions. Depending on the case, discovery can last anywhere from nine months to a year.
Motions– or requests to throw out certain claims, keep certain information or testimony out of the case and some other action requested of the court—may be filed. Once motions have been heard, the case is ready to go to trial. Anytime during this process, you and the defendant may undergo meditation to reach a settlement and avoid a trial. During mediation, your attorney, the defendant, his attorney, and a neutral attorney or retired judge, who acts as the mediator will discuss the case.
If meditation fails, the case will be scheduled for trial. How long it takes will depend on many factors, such as the case load of the court and judge. In some places, your trial may be scheduled soon after motions and discover have taken place, while in other places, you may have to wait a year or longer.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various legal topics; if you are in need of a personal injury attorney in the Chicago area, she recommends you click here for more information.
There are numerous avenues for charitable giving that go beyond monetary donations. Donating a boat or car is one such means that may help a charity net significant gain since they get to keep the profits from the sale. On the face of it, it seems like a simple process—donate your boat, help a charity and get a sweet tax deduction. But, if you want to do it right, and make sure the boat ends up in worthy hands, you need to do a bit of homework first. Here are some tips that will help you in the process.
Finding a Worthy Charity
Unfortunately, not all charities are worth their salt—high administrative costs and shady practices means much of the money they receive is going right into someone ‘s pockets and not to the people in need. You can get some valuable background on charities through sites such as the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator.
Check Recipient Status
If you want to write off your donation to lower your tax burden, you must be sure the organization receiving the boat has a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS. Most religious organizations quality, but double check to be sure. If you did not find your charity through a site such as Charity Navigator or other platform where this status would be clear, you can check the IRS’s Publication 78 for a list of qualifying non-profit organizations.
Considerations for Using a Middleman
If you really do not have the time to research charities and facilitate the donation, there are several organizations that can help. It is important to do your homework on them, however. First, find out how much of the sale goes towards them and how much the charity gets. How they allocate the money to the charity is also important as that may affect whether you are able to deduct the donation. These organizations typically provide a list of approved boat donation charities, so you can get an idea of where the money is going.
Boat Donation and Taxes
The IRS permits you to deduct the sale of the boat from your taxes, but there are very specific rules, all of which cannot be covered here. If your boat is worth less than 5,000 dollars, you can use a standard pricing guide to determine worth, such as NADA. If your boat is worth more than this, however, you are required to get an appraisal. You are only permitted to deduct what the boat sold for, not its fair market value if the charity sells it.Once the charity has sold the boat, it is important to gather all documentation related to the donation and the sale. If the charity plans on keeping the boat, you can deduct fair market value. If you have any questions about writing off a boat donation on your taxes, it is important that you find a qualified person to answer them. You do not want to make any mistakes or submit a return that raises any suspicions.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various topics related to charitable giving. If you are looking to donate a boat, she recommends visiting www.boatangel.org for more information.
We always hear about the importance of giving back, and I think it is very important, especially for thriving businesses. There are countless organizations out there that need financial assistance to carry out their good work, and as a small business owner, you have a tremendous opportunity to provide just that. Charitable giving is not just for large, multi-million dollar companies and you would be surprised how far your relatively modest donations can go, or the myriad other ways you may help that have nothing to do with money. If you have yet to jump on the philanthropicbandwagon, here are a few reasons why small business owners should be thinking about charitable donations.
Community Goodwill and Support
No matter where your business is, you are part of a larger community, a community full of people who you want to purchase your goods and service. Supporting a charity can paint your business in a positive light and net you some very valuable goodwill—both of which can boost your bottom line. A survey of over 1,600 customers at a particular restaurant found that seeing a message indicating the business donated a portion of its proceeds to a charitable cause increased brand trust, and satisfaction and would make them more likely to come back or recommend the restaurant to a friend. You can never go wrong with anything that shows you care about your community.
A Chance to Truly Contribute to a Cause
Whether you are contributing money or time, a small business can really make a big impact when this assistance is coming on a regular basis. If you are considering regular monetary donations, research charities that you think could benefit most from the amount of money you are hoping to give. For example, I donate 60 dollars a month to a Vietnamese charity I heard about while visiting there; this is all they need monthly to support one child attending a program for mentally and physically challenged children full-time. For many other charities, that 60 dollars would not go nearly as far.
Affiliation with a specific charitable cause presents numerous opportunities to market your business and bring in more customers. For example, if you recently made a sizeable monetary donation or gave away good or services, reach out to the local media with photos and a press release. Make sure your newsletters, brochures and other materials make note of your work with the charity; work on marketing directly to people that are associated with your charity, or would have an affinity for the cause. If your charity has a newsletter or magazine with advertising space, take out an ad. You could make up coupons for your business that the charity can sell, allowing them to keep a portion of the money. Designate specific products or services as specifically benefiting the charity and encourage the organization to promote them. For example, if you own a hair salon, a portion of proceeds for haircuts on Fridays will go to the charity.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of topics related to businesses and charitable giving, from profiling specific people, such as the philanthropist and Blackstone Group Director John Studzinski — who you can learn more about by reading this Bloomberg article — to tips for picking a charity to support.
If you are actively thinking about selling your home in the near future, or simply want to make your home more valuable should you decide to sell it one day down the line, there are several ways you can accomplish this. But, it is important to remember that not all home improvements automatically mean you can get more for your house—they have to be home improvements that are attractive to the potential buyer. If you are thinking about where to start, here are a few worthwhile considerations.
For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and its state will be one of the most important considerations for someone looking to buy a new house. When done right, you can recoup anywhere from 60 to 120 percent of the costs. You want to create an attractive space, but be careful not to go overboard. Unless you already live in a super-plush home, pouring money into an ultra-deluxe kitchen may not get you the financial reward you hope for. The kitchen should be in line with the rest of the house and its style. For example, if you have a historic home full of quaint charm, a remodel full of sleek chrome and a design that looks more like a fancy restaurant kitchen is probably a big mistake. Also, most people probably do not want a kitchen of that magnitude so badly they would pay extra money for it. Just focus on making it look good.
Adding a Bathroom
Adding a bathroom to your home, whether half or full, may be right up there with a nice kitchen—it may even surpass it as a top improvement, according to the National Association of Home Builders. A half-bath may increase a home’s value by 10 percent while a full may tack on an additional 20 percent. This can be an expensive investment, but you can recoup a good deal of the costs. If a total remodel is out of the question due to finances, you can still make some significant improvements to existing bathrooms—new flooring and paint can go a long way.
Increasing Energy Efficiency
These days, there is a rapidly growing interest in conserving energy and being a better friend to the environment. This growing importance is also due to the fact that people are starting to have a greater awareness of just how much money can be saved by making energy-efficient changes to the home. Any home that has money-saving features will be attractive to potential buyers, and they will feel better about doing their part to help the environment. The best part about this project is that you will reap benefits while still living there since you will have lower energy bills. You can save up to 2,500 hundred dollars a year through means such as installing energy-efficient insulation, sealing cracks around the house (the US Department of Energy says that the total leaks in an average house add up to the equivalent of a 3×3 wall) and getting an energy-efficient water heater.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things home improvement; if you are in need of Chicago window replacement, she recommends going with Gilkey, the most trusted window replacement company in the country.
Inflammation actually serves an important purpose in the body—it puts the immune system on alert that something is amiss and it can get to work rectifying the problem. But, when inflammation is chronic, it can cause a host of problems, from worsening arthritis to more systemic damage that can lay the foundation for serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. While you cannot eliminate inflammation completely, there are several ways to reduce it, with diet being one of the most powerful tools—a tool you can wield complete control over. Here are some tips for easing inflammation through your diet.
Carbs, Carbs, Carbs
Over the last few decades, our war on fat has led to a dramatic increase in carbohydrate consumption, and for the most part, not the good kinds like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. More like heavily refined and sugar-laden ones. Eating ‘’bad carbs’’ in large quantities is a major contributor to inflammation; the dramatic spike in insulin that results after eating these foods sets in motion a cascade of internal events that trigger the production of inflammatory chemicals. Foods to limit are really no big mystery— watch the white-flour foods, all the refined foods and all the sugary treats and drinks. Focus on whole grains instead. You also want to watch your intake of starchy carbs like potatoes since they are very high in carbohydrates as well.
Good Fat, Bad Fat
Fat has gotten a bad rep over the years, but in recent times, we are beginning to discover the significant benefits offered by ‘’healthy fats.’’ They are good for our heart, and omega-3’s specifically may be good for addressing brain-related issues, such as ADHD or depression. One of the key benefits of healthy fat is their ability to reduce inflammation. This is particularly true of omega-3 fatty acids, which our body uses to create anti-inflammatory chemicals. You can find them in coldwater fish such as salmon. Non-fish sources include walnuts, hemp seed and flax seed. Nowadays, you can also find many different types of foods fortified with these fats. Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, olives and avocados are also an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
When it comes to cooking oils, curb intake of those rich in omega-6 fatty acids—while these fats offer health benefits, they contribute to inflammation when eaten frequently, which is the case in the typical American diet. Examples include soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants has been linked to a host of health benefits, such as reduced risk of cancer. These powerful little substances help the body fight off at a cellular level. The best sources are fruits and vegetables, particularly berries, red grapes, cherries, kale, spinach, broccoli and peppers. To gain the full benefit, eat a variety of colors. You can also drink beverages rich in antioxidants and other inflammation-fighting chemicals, such as parsley tea and chamomile tea. Antioxidants are also widely available in supplement form, but it would behoove you to get most of them from your diet.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things health and nutrition.