Month: June 2019

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How long do I have to file a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?

When it comes to Personal Injury claims, there’s generally two types of injuries:

 

  1. Intentional Injuries: Where someone harms you and means to harm you.  This is usually done with malicious and/or criminal intent and will likely result in charges being brought against the person who injured you or your loved one.
  2. Accidental Injuries: Injuries caused by freak accidents and non-criminal negligence. People aren’t likely to face charges in this situation unless you have a situation like a drunk or distracted driver.

 

Some people who are prosecuted for intentional injuries can also face civil liability in the form of personal injury suits.  You can sue someone for an injury or death caused by their criminal activities. A good example of this would be a drunk driving accident that left an innocent person partially paralyzed. Not only would the drunk driver face criminal charges (drunk driving is against the law, after all), the injured driver can sue the drunk driver to recover damages from the accident.

 

Other times, the at-fault party won’t be looking at criminal charges; however, that doesn’t mean they can’t be held liable. In many accidental injury or death cases, the person who is injured or loses a loved one can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party to collect damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income, etc. Let’s say that a child is swimming at a summer camp and drowns. In this case, the camp supervisors were supposed to be watching the child swim in the pool but the lifeguard was off flirting with someone and not paying attention. The lifeguard turns around after 5 minutes and the child is floating lifeless in the pool.

Though the camp is responsible for the child’s accidental death, the lifeguard didn’t necessarily commit a crime. In this case, the child’s parents can sue the camp for their child’s wrongful death. Usually, a claim of this nature would be filed against the camp’s liability or property insurance policy.

The Statute of Limitations in GEORGIA

If you were injured in a car accident, a pedestrian accident, or because of a dangerous product, a dangerous dog, or hazardous property condition, you must file a claim within Georgia’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim. If you delay and you file after this time period expires, the court will deny your claim and you will have no legal recourse.

In Georgia, you must file a personal injury claim within TWO YEARS of the date of the injury. If the injury claim is against a municipality or county, you ONLY HAVE  SIX MONTHS to file a claim; however, you do have TWO YEARS for claims filed against the state.

The State of Georgia does not have a cap on damages for personal injury or medical malpractice cases.  This is good because it allows jurors to award what they think is fair, no matter the amount. This is because in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that imposing such caps would violate people’s rights to a trial by jury under the state’s constitution.  For more information about personal injury cases in Georgia, check out Title 51 of the Georgia Code.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, contact the attorneys at Harmon and Gorove today to find out how we can assist you in recovering the maximum amount of damages for you injury.  We have decades of experience and work with one of the best personal injury teams in the state. We will fight for you!

Estate Planning Just Can’t Wait

We get it, Estate Planning is scary. Creating what is known as an estate plan is a very important aspect of everyone’s life that they will need to undertake at some point.  Not only will it give you peace of mind, it will allow those you leave behind to know for sure what your final wishes are so they aren’t left guessing in a time of grief and heartache.  Beyond knowing your final wishes, it will also allow your assets to be distributed according to your wishes upon your death. Regardless of how important this process is, significant numbers of people do not have an estate plan, often making excuses about why they don’t need thinks like a will, a power of attorney and a healthcare directive.

One of the biggest excuses people have for not having a plan in place is thinking that they don’t have enough money, assets and prized personal belongings to warrant that kind of planning.  Even if you all you have is the roof over your head and the clothes on your back, you still need a power of attorney or health care directive so that your loved ones are able to make the kinds of healthcare and financial decisions you would want in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

Another excuse people make is the belief that having a joint bank account with your children or others is a good means of transferring that particular asset upon your passing.  The cold hard truth of that is, unless you only have one child you will have a very difficult time separating accounts equally for your children. This can leave hurt feelings amongst your heirs and even more trouble in life if you are incapacitated and unable to manage your finances.

Another reason people don’t have an estate plan is that they believe that it simply costs too much.  The truth of the matter is, nothing is potentially more expensive than dying without a will.  The attorneys at Harmon and Gorove offer a free, no pressure consultation to help clients understand how important and how easy it is to implement a proper estate plan.  Our fees are among the most competitive, at times, even less expensive than online tools you pay for. Furthermore, the filing fees at probate courts are usually minimal and only enough to keep the programs running in the future.  

Finally, most people simply state that they just haven’t gotten around to is and one day they will get it done.  Believe me, we understand. One our own attorneys put off proper estate planning until the death of a loved one prompted them to take action.  It NEVER pays to wait around, especially with something as important as your estate planning. Your estate plan allows loved ones to make decisions with peace of mind, knowing your wishes and desires. It also allows you to distribute your assets in ways that you deem fit, making sure that only those you deem worth inherit your most prized possessions.

Considering the consequences of not having an estate plan for our loved ones should we pass before making these plans should provide more than enough motivation to take the first steps of implementing an effective and meaningful plan. The attorneys at Harmon and Gorove understand how hard it is to make that first step.  We want you to feel comfortable and understand what your options are. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your estate planning goals.  

Social Media and Divorce

Social media has changed the world in just a few short years.  The first real Social Media sites debuted in 2002 and 2003 with the biggest one of them all, Facebook, debuting in 2004.  Social Media has had a significant role in changing the world we live in and making our lives more connected. Sometimes these social media sites have made our lives better and sometimes they’ve made them much worse.  It allows us to connect to old friends and keep in touch with long distance relatives. Social Media has also had many negative effects. It has led to countless extra-marital affairs, numerous divorces both uncontested and contested.  33% of all divorce filings in 2011 mentioned the word Facebook and certainly the number of divorces has grown by leaps and bounds since then with the advent of even more social media sites and messaging apps.  Without knowing the state of your relationship, we can’t say for sure that social media can be the downfall of your marriage but it most decidedly has the ability to cause substantial problems.  Even an amicable, uncontested divorce can go off the rails when one party of another sees pictures of the other spouse dating someone new, spending money, partying or acting carefree. Divorce, as we all know, is extremely trying on one’s emotions, even for people who feel that’s their only option. Even if someone’s ready to move in with their life, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still have feelings for their soon to be ex.

At one point or another, most couples had some good times and when they see their spouse with their arms wrapped around a date or a new partner, it breaks their heart, quickly turning feelings of sadness into jealousy, anger and spite.

What’s going on in your situation?

Many people ask, “Should I stay off Social Media during my divorce?

The answer depends on your individual situation:

  1. Do you use social media every day for a job or other business purpose?
  2. Is your spouse on social media?
  3. Are your mutual friends and family members on social media

If a post on Social Media that could upset your soon to be ex is likely to be seen by them or shown to them by someone else during the divorce proceeding, it would be in your best interest to stay off social media until your divorce is complete.  If you must use social media, it’s in your best interest to not comment, post or like anything that could upset the other party.

In our experience, it’s best to be cautious and this often means to abstain from Social Media during your divorce. If this sounds too difficult, then don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your spouse or their attorney to see.

During your divorce, we recommend avoiding the following posts at all costs:

  • Pictures of you partying.
  • Pictures of you drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Pictures of an unusual purchase like a new car or a lavish vacation.
  • Pictures of you with what could be construed as “dates” or romantic partners.

And last but certainly not least:

Rants about your spouse or divorce.

Social media can be a lot of fun and a great way to distract yourself from your divorce, but don’t forget to post responsibly. You don’t want to say or do anything that can anger or upset your spouse to the point where a cheap, uncontested divorce turns into a full-blown divorce battle. We say this because it happens all the time to spouses amid divorce, and it’s entirely preventable.

If you find yourself needing the counsel of a competent and compassionate attorney to handle your uncontested divorce, please give us a call today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.  The attorneys at Harmon and Gorove have decades of experience in handling uncontested divorces in ways that KEEP them uncontested.   

 

Presidents Who Have Filed Bankruptcy

If you’re feeling burdened by debt and you think that you’re alone, think again.  Some of history’s most well known people; celebrities, politicians and other world leaders have found themselves facing financial hardships. Even several Presidents have found themselves in serious financial trouble.  Below I’ll list several U.S. Presidents who have filed bankruptcy either before or after they left office.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant lawyer, a gifted writer and a wealthy landowner but Jefferson wasn’t the best at managing his finances. His main occupation was that of a farmer.  Due to this he suffered the ups and downs that often go with the unpredictable nature of agriculture. He also used his considerable wealth to lend out money and the payments made against those loans were often unreliable. He also inherited debt from his father-in-law and from a friend who did not pay off a debt that Jefferson had co-signed. Jefferson also had problems with his spending.  Jefferson’s love of luxury led to expensive spending habits as well and he died with more than $100,000 in debt (roughly 2-3 million dollars in today). However, unlike today, he didn’t have the option to file bankruptcy except during a brief window from 1800 to 1803, which he did utilize. Thomas Jefferson died broke and unable to pass along any assets to his heirs and was even unable to free his slaves at his death as they were considered property and were auctioned to settle his debts but Jefferson wasn’t the last of the Presidents who have filed bankruptcy.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, one of our greatest presidents, found himself in the soup financially after the failure of a business venture. Lincoln even found himself having to assume more than half of the debt from this failed venture when his partner in the business died shortly after the business shut its doors. Lincoln, out of a sense of duty, assumed the debt and struggled for some time with it. Lincoln lost all of his assets and he spent several years trying to pay off the debts. Despite all this hardship, Lincoln was undaunted and didn’t allow the stigma of bankruptcy  to follow him for years on end. Just a mere 8 years later, Lincoln was elected to Congress and in 1860 became President of the United States. Lincoln had trouble with his finances for the rest of his life largely due to his wife’s extravagant spending habits which she carried over even after his death in 1865.  Lincoln was one of the first Presidents who have filed bankruptcy

Ulysses S. Grant

Grant was a Civil War hero who many credit with saving the Union, right along with Abraham Lincoln. As good as Grant was on the battlefield, he was an awful businessman. Grant, with his judgement often clouded by his alcoholism, made a series of bad investments. Grant invested heavily in Grant & Ward, a Wall-Street investment company set up by his son and his son’s friend Ferdinand Ward. Ward stole and embezzled the funds Grant invested, eventually going to jail for it. This didn’t change the fact that the President was still on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt after Grant & Ward failed and he went bankrupt. Ulysses Grant worked nearly until his dying day writing his memoirs and only way he was able to repay any of his creditors was through selling his Civil War memoirs which were published posthumously.

William McKinley

William McKinley was a lawyer like Thomas Jefferson and like Jefferson, McKinley cosigned on a debt for a friend.  When this friend decided to bankrupt on the debt, McKinley was forced to take over the debt as a co-signer. All of this occurred shortly after his election as Governor and he was forced to declare bankruptcy while serving as the Governor of Ohio.  Bankruptcy wasn’t all bad for McKinley. Less than three years later, he was elected President of the United States.

Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump is a businessman who inherited the business his sons now manage called the Trump Organization in the 1970s when his father retired from the business.  While Trump did see a great deal of success as a real estate investor, perhaps his biggest failure was as the owner of several Atlantic City Casinos during the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Trump’s casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, found itself 3 billion dollars in debt with Trump personally guaranteeing nearly 1 billion dollars worth of the debt personally.  Trump was forced to sell off several pieces of personal property including a yacht and an investment in an airline to satisfy the debts and even then he was forced to make payments on the debt for several years after due to debts that weren’t discharged in the bankruptcy. While Donald Trump is the most recent of the Presidents who have filed bankruptcy, I’m sure he won’t be the last. 

 

Even great people find themselves overwhelmed by debt. Whether that’s due to failed businesses, a job loss, medical emergencies or illness, or just bad luck. Bankruptcy is a resource that can help you get back on your feet and give you a fresh start if you, like these Presidents, find yourself in over your head. Call us today to learn what your options are!