Everyone knows that traffic in Atlanta can be stressful. What many don’t know is that in 2013 Interstate 285 had more fatal car accidents per mile than any other interstate. In addition to these fatal car accidents, there are many more non-fatal car accidents every day throughout the city. Despite most drivers exercising great caution, car accidents are unfortunately an all-too-common occurrence.
A car accident is a stressful thing to go through. It is worth thinking ahead of time about what you will do in the event of a crash so that you don’t have to start from scratch when it happens. While car accidents always bring anxiety, here are some concrete steps you can take to protect your rights and minimize your hassle in the aftermath.
- Call the Police
The police bring several benefits with them when they arrive on the scene of an accident. Give them a call even if the accident seems minor and even if the other driver seems hesitant about bringing the police in. They see accidents regularly, so they bring both experience and expertise to the situation. If one driver is at fault, the police might issue a citation. This may help to establish who is at fault for any disputes that may arise. Even if no tickets are given, the police will file a report. This report can help serve as valuable evidence when establishing the facts of a claim.
- Take Pictures
In fact, take a lot of pictures. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a fancy camera. Your cell phone will work fine. Try to capture all visible damage to all of the vehicles involved. It wouldn’t hurt to take a shot of each license plate, too. These pictures are valuable evidence in litigation. People don’t always remember the details of stressful events. Photos will help the insurance companies and the attorneys understand the situation accurately.
- Get Medical Help
Most importantly, make sure you’re okay. Seek medical attention right away, even if you think you don’t need it. The adrenaline that an accident brings can mask potential problems. Go get checked out just in case. The peace of mind will be well worth the time. If you do have injuries, a prompt examination will assist with getting your medical expenses paid for.
- Speak With an Attorney
Don’t go through this stressful process by yourself. An experienced attorney can guide you through what happens next. The insurance companies are out to protect their bottom line, but your attorney will fight for your rights. In accident situations, the attorney usually does this at no out of pocket cost to you. The Rhine Law Firm, LLC handles personal injury claims regularly and can help you protect your rights, including making sure you recover any money you are entitled to.
Forming a partnership can be an attractive option for groups of people going into business together because partnerships are often cheaper and easier to set up than corporations and other business structures. The following are a few considerations worth looking at prior to entering into a partnership.
The Partnership Agreement
A partnership often begins with a formal agreement that becomes the private law of the relationship. This contract is vitally important. It will establish the rights and obligations of each partner. The partnership agreement will outline the purpose and direction of the new endeavor and also contains important information about what happens if things go wrong.
When it’s Personal
Partnerships are often formed between people with existing relationships. Working with friends and family can be rewarding but also comes serious with risks. Even the most successful business venture will encounter setbacks, and these hurdles can be taxing on a personal level. In the event that the partnership has to be dissolved, the comingling of friendship and financial stress can cause serious anxiety and bitterness. Disputes can get messy, especially if litigation becomes necessary.
Getting it Right
None of this is to say you should never go into business with someone you’re close to. When it’s done right, working with a spouse, relative, or friend can be incredibly fulfilling. Partners who know each other well can have advantages like effective communication and the ability to rely on complementary strengths.
As previously mentioned, a solid partnership agreement is essential. Clearly drawn out duties can prevent squabbles, and well defined rights can keep partners from fighting over the details upon termination. Think of the contract as an opportunity to stop, or at the very least address, the proper procedure for disputes before they start. Whether personal relationships are in play or not, it’s best to get everything on paper so that conflicting assumptions don’t cause tension.
For example, a thorough partnership agreement may cover:
- The allocation of profits
- Who has final decision making authority in different matters
- Who is authorized to enter contracts on behalf of the partnership
- Who is responsible for daily administrative tasks
- The division of partnership property in the event that one partner wants out
- How and when partners recover any investment they have made in the venture
- What happens in the event of a partner’s death (wouldn’t you rather worry about this in advance?)
If you are considering going into business, The Rhine Law Firm, LLC can help you evaluate your options and protect your interests.
Here are a couple action shots from last weeks seminar entitled “Entertainment Contracts for Indie Filmmakers.”
This upcoming Saturday we’ll be presenting a seminar entitled “Entertainment Contracts for Indie Filmmakers” at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. We’re looking forward to this event which has been summarized as follows:
“SCADFILM presents entertainment attorney Marlon Rhine for a day-long seminar aimed at explaining the basics of contract law and music licensing for independent filmmakers.
Covering the basics of the contracts that need to be in place before beginning any project, Attorney Rhine will explain how these contracts function and many of the common pitfalls that independent filmmakers encounter. The most common contracts encountered in the film industry will be broken down and explained. By looking at and evaluating sample contracts you will leave the seminar with a better understanding of what you need before beginning any film production.”
Tickets are available here.
Last year the movie “Amy” made its way through festivals all over the world. The movie detailed the life of Amy Winehouse who tragically perished well before her time, at just 27 years of age. As it turns out, the late Winehouse died intestate (without a will) and left an estate worth millions of dollars. Ultimately, this meant that her parents received the proceeds from her estate and that Winehouse had no control of where the assets she had earned went.
Of course, not everyone has amassed an estate of this stature by the age of 27, but the fact that nearly 50% of Americans don’t have wills and other necessary estate planning documents in place is alarming. While this is often an uncomfortable topic, most people find solace in the fact that these documents mean less worry and confusion in case of the unthinkable. Wouldn’t you prefer a little bit of discomfort now in exchange for knowing that there is a proper plan in place? Regardless of the size of your estate, having basic estate-planning documents is extremely important. For most people, basic estate planning documents include:
- Last Will and Testament
- Power of Attorney
- Living Will (Advanced Directive for Health Care)
At a basic level, a will is a document that legally states how you would like your property to be divided upon your passing. One benefit of a properly executed will is that it speeds up the probate process. As soon as anyone passes, the last thing most people want is for their family to be engaged in an expensive and time-consuming legal battle over their possessions. It is worth noting that some of your property may pass unaffected by your will. For example, life insurance proceeds in which you have already named a beneficiary.
One common misconception is that once a will has been signed it is permanent. This is not the case. In fact, you may change your wishes at any time provided that you effectively amend your will or replace it. If you’re concerned that your life circumstance may change, you’re not locked into anything.
The Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows you to authorize another person to make legal decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. These legal decisions can include bank transactions, credit transactions, payment transactions, real and personal property transactions, hiring authorizations with regards to nurses and physicians, as well as many other capacities. The primary benefit of a properly executed Power of Attorney is that the assigned party needn’t petition the Court for these powers in the event of your unexpected incapacitation and can thus often proceed with quicker decision making.
The Living Will (Advanced Directive for Health Care)
A living will is a document that allows you to make decisions regarding your healthcare in the event that something happens to you and you are non-communicative. In Georgia, this document is known as an Advanced Directive for Health Care. An Advanced Directive for Health Care allows you to state your preference in the event you are ever left in a non-responsive state.
When it comes to estate planning, even the most basic life situations call for some planning in case of the unthinkable. As the adage goes, isn’t an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? Contact The Rhine Law Firm, LLC so we can help you plan for tomorrow today.