What Should I Do If I Am a Victim of a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?

Hit-and-run accidents are much harder to legally handle and investigate than other traffic accidents. Because the driver that caused the accident is unknown, it can be difficult to determine liability. Hit-and-runs also present some unique complications for victims in their pursuit of compensation.

What Are the Legal Consequences of a Hit-and-Run Accident?

In a civil injury lawsuit, victims may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are available if it can be shown that a defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff or acted in a dangerous manner during the accident. Punitive damages are meant to punish another person (the defendant) in order to prevent poor conduct in the future as a warning to others. These types of damages are calculated based on the defendant’s lack of morality and how much money it would take to financially hurt them. Fleeing the scene of a crime is an intentional act, which is why the injury court will usually justify punitive damages in a hit-and-run incident. The plaintiff, of course, is also entitled to damages that compensate for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.

There can also be criminal consequences for hit-and-run accidents. If the person who was hit was injured or killed, the defendant could face significant jail time. This will all depend on the kind of damages or injuries that the accident caused, but criminal penalties can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.

Unfortunately, much of the time there is no way to hold the running driver fully accountable for their actions in a hit-and-run. Because of this, victims of hit-and-run accidents are often forced to collect from their own insurance policies.

If you have been a victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you should know what your legal rights are in your specific situation. Contact our car accident attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC today for a free consultation.

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What Are My Next Steps After Severely Damaging My Car After a Car Accident?

If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you know that there are many negative consequences that can occur. Personal injuries are common, but what’s even more common is having your vehicle be seriously damaged or possibly completely totaled. A total loss auto accident can occur from a deadly collision with another vehicle, or with hitting a deer, but it will ultimately depend on the value of your car. A total loss accident is unfortunately more difficult to process than just getting your vehicle repaired, so it’s important to know what you should do if you’re found in this situation.

What Are the Steps Involved in Closing a Total Loss Claim?

  1. Report your claim to the insurance company immediately: If you believe you have a total loss auto claim, you should act as soon as possible. These kinds of claims can take a long time to finalize and eventually close, depending on your insurance company and how fast they can start working on your claim.
  2. Get your vehicle towed to your insurance company’s chosen shop: If you think that your car will probably be totaled, you should have it towed to the shop that your insurance company works with. This will help speed up the process for your insurance company because they already have direct connections with the towing shop, plus most of those shops will hold your vehicle for free (unlike a tow company’s lot).
  3. Find your title: Locate your title during this process, just so you don’t have to worry about it later. If you’ve lost your title, file for a lost one at the DMV. This is important, because if your vehicle is a total loss, you’ll have to sign your title over to the insurance company.
  4. If you have a loan, find out how much you owe: Determine how much you owe on your auto loan just in case your loan is greater than your vehicle’s current value. Total loss auto claims are not paid out based on what you owe but on the actual cash value at the time of the total loss.
  5. Find out the value of your vehicle: You can check resources like Kelly Blue Book and other vehicle listings sources to find out the value of your vehicle on your own. Doing this research will give you a better idea of whether or not the insurance company will have a good final payout amount.

Our personal injury attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC can help you if you were injured in a car accident, and we will give you further advice on recovering from any vehicle damages that occurred. Contact us today.

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Why Do I Need Title Insurance for My Commercial Property?

Businessman

There are many important aspects of buying commercial real estate property, and so there are key components of the commercial real estate process that are crucial to get the best deal on your property. One key piece of any commercial real estate transaction is title insurance. Title insurance has been a beneficial real estate option for many years, but not all business owners actually take advantage of it.

What is Title Insurance?

Having a title is having the right to owning a piece of real estate. Title insurance is insurance that protects a real estate buyer from any issues with the chain of title to a property. This type of insurance can be helpful in both residential and commercial real estate transactions. Keeping track of titles associated with real estate finances can get very complicated, so title insurance plays a crucial role in the buying and selling of property.

How is Title Insurance Used in Commercial Real Estate?

Title insurance is a huge part of the due diligence phase and closing process in commercial real estate deals and transactions. There is more at stake for these types of deals because there are more parties involved in the transactions, such as the buyer, the seller, and the lender(s). If there is a loan lender involved, the buyer will almost always pay for the loan title insurance policy. Buyers are almost always solely responsible for the title insurance costs because the seller will usually just add the cost into the purchasing price. Sometimes, however, there will be issues in trying to determine who benefits the most from the insurance policy, which is why many buyers want their own separate owner’s policy.

Without title insurance, it would be almost impossible to get lenders to risk big amounts of capital on complicated deals and difficult transactions, and buyers would also be more reluctant to buy property. Contact our skilled real estate attorneys at Fiore and Barber, LLC to learn more about commercial real estate titles.

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How to Prepare an Efficient Finance Plan for Your Business

The financial plan section of your business plan is one of the most important components for your company’s overall game plan. This section will determine whether or not your business is operable, and it will help establish if your plan is going to be able to attract any investments for your business idea. Your financial plan should consist of three main sections: the income statement, the cash flow projection, and the balance sheet.

Income statement: This financial statement will show your expenses, revenues, and overall profit for a certain period. It should prove whether or not your business is profitable at that specific point in time. Many businesses prioritize creating their income statement each fiscal quarter, but to ensure you’re getting the best snapshot of your business’ financial state, you should make one monthly for the first year.

Cash flow projection: This will show how cash is expected to surge in and out of your business. This is a crucial tool for cash flow management, and it will let you know when your payments are too high or if you need to make any short-term investments to deal with a surplus.

Balance sheet: This will illustrate your business’ net worth at a particular point in time. It serves as a summary for all the financial data about your business, which is broken down into your assets, liabilities, and equity. Usually, businesses will make a balance sheet once a year, because it ultimately summarizes what data you’ll have from your income statements and cash flow projections.

You should also prepare all of your start up business expense data, which could include any registration fees, licenses, permits, inventories, rent deposits, down payments, or utility fees. Make sure you’re keeping track of any operating expenses too, such as salaries, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, loan payments, or any other regular expenses.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, or you would like to modify your current financial plan, our business attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC are ready to help. Contact us today to get you started in mending your business finances.

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What’s the Difference Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts?

Trusts are legal documents used in the estate planning process, and they are held in a fiduciary relationship by one party for the benefit of another party. A trust can be created during a person’s lifetime and survive after death, or it can be created by a will and carried on after death. Any assets that are placed in a trust actually belong to the trust itself, and they remain subject to any rules or agreements of the trust contract. There are two main types of trusts; one type is revocable and the other is irrevocable.

What Are Revocable Trusts?

The word “revocable” means alterable or changing, so a revocable trust is created during the lifetime of the trust maker and can be altered or modified entirely. Also referred to as a living trust, these are trusts that allow the trust maker to transfer the title of a property to a trust and remove the property from the trust while he or she is still alive. A revocable trust is a great option if you want to avoid probate and you want to protect your assets from being subject to probate. However, revocable trusts do not protect your assets, because the assets inside of the trust will remain available to the trust maker’s creditors.

What Are Irrevocable Trusts?

Irrevocable trusts are the opposite of revocable trusts, so they are trusts that cannot be altered, changed or modified after its creation. Once any property is transferred to an irrevocable trust, no one can take the property out of the trust, including the trust maker. However, these trusts do provide asset protection, because the grantor no longer owns the assets. The assets would only belong to the independent trustee, who then can manage the assets for any beneficiaries involved in the trust.

The attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC can help you through the complicated estate planning process, including helping you decide which trust might be right for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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