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Auto Accidents – Fall Injuries – All Other Injuries

Personal Injury

Schimmerling Law Offices

Do you need an experienced Binghamton, New York personal injury lawyer to effectively help you recover damages for your car accident/personal injuries and allow you to recover without getting hassled by another insurance company? My firm routinely represents accident victims throughout Upstate New York, including Broome County, Tioga County, Chenango County, Delaware County, and surrounding areas.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    How does gifting effect the estate tax or inheritance tax?

    Estate and inheritance taxes are based upon what a person owns on his or her date of death.

    Basically, the government takes a snapshot of the decedent’s assets on the date of death. Generally, all assets a decedent owns are taxable and must be valued at their current values, not what the decedent paid for them.

    If, however, a person has gifted assets in an appropriate manner prior to death, the value of that person’s estate could be significantly less. In essence, the more lifetime gifts, the lower the value of a person’s estate, thereby reducing the estate tax or inheritance taxes owed on the estate.

  • From Schimmerling Law Offices

    After an Accident: When to Use a Lawyer

    If you've been in a car or other accident, one of the key questions you will have is: "Do I need a lawyer?" The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the seriousness of the accident and severity of your injuries.

    There are times when you may not need a lawyer's help after an accident. If you were in a minor fender bender and are sure you were not hurt, you may not need a lawyer's help.

    But for most other times after an accident, it is vital to have a lawyer's help. If there is a dispute over fault, it is important to speak to an attorney. If you suffered serious injuries from the accident, you should definitely consult a lawyer. Even if your injuries are small, you should still talk to a lawyer because some serious injuries take time to develop.

    One reason why it's vital to talk to a lawyer after an accident is because of the way insurance companies operate. An accident victim who deals directly with an insurance adjuster is taking on a huge risk. Insurance companies are in business to make money. One way they do this is to lower the amount they pay for claims, including your claim. They will try many tactics to do this, as they know you are inexperienced in handling accident claims. Having a lawyer help you deal with an adjuster gives you a much better chance to get a large settlement.

    There are other reasons why you should use a lawyer after an accident. Your lawyer can explain your rights and duties, and tell you how much money you are entitled to receive. In addition, some claims have special rules. Not following them can cause you to lose your claim.

    Maybe you are not only the victim, but are also accused of causing an accident. Your lawyer can help show if your "fault" was only small, to limit your liability. Your lawyer can also find out if you have insurance that will pay the claim or if someone else should share the responsibility.

    As the above shows, in most cases you should have a lawyer's help after an accident, especially if you were hurt. Having a lawyer's help will increase your chances of getting the best settlement and make sure you don't become another victim of insurance company misconduct.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    Gifting can reduce estate and inheritances taxes. Can you provide some more details about that?

    Estate and inheritance taxes are generally based upon the values of a decedent’s estate on the date they die, so that the gifts of assets done properly prior to death may reduce the size of the estate and inheritance taxes that may be owed.

    However, for the gifting to reduce taxes, the gifts in some cases, should be kept within certain limits.

    For example, gifts of up to $14,000 per person, per year, may be the best way to structure gifting. The $14,000 represents the annual gift tax exclusion.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    How does the $14,000 annual exclusion work?

    Let’s say that a couple wants to annually gift some funds into a trust for the future education of their 2 children.

    Using the annual gift tax exclusion, each spouse can contribute up to $14,000 for each child. Therefore, up to $28,000 can be put into each child’s trust ($14,000 per each parent) for a total of $56,000 each year without any tax consequences. Of course, this is the maximum – smaller gifts are fine, as long as the total for the year, per person, does not exceed $14,000.

    A series of annual gifts using the annual gift tax exclusion can significantly reduce the size of the parent’s estate, thereby significantly reducing estate taxes or inheritance taxes that may be owed when they die.

  • From Schimmerling Law Offices

    Using a Lawyer Means Better Insurance Settlements

    There have been reports recently of insurance companies contacting accident victims immediately after an accident.The companies tell victims they want to help and ask them to quicky settle their claim. If you are in an accident and this happens to you, ask yourself who the insurance company is really trying to help?

    In one case, insurance adjusters contacted a 70-year-old woman's family just hours after she was killed in a car accident. They tried to get a settlement before the family could even gather its thoughts. Fortunately, family members told the adjuster they had an attorney, and the adjuster quickly left. In another case, a Florida woman thought she could deal directly with the adjuster who called her right after her accident. But the adjuster is now accused of improperly obtaining information from the woman —information the insurance company is trying to use to lower the amount it pays.

    Why are some insurance companies going to such lengths to persuade accident victims to not get a lawyer's help before settling a claim? Simply because they can settle claims for less money if the accident victim is not represented by a lawyer.

    Lawyers help clients get all the money they are entitled to after an accident. Most accident victims don't know all their legal rights or all they are entitled to under the small print of an insurance policy. Because of this, getting a lawyer's advice before settling a claim is critical for an accident victim.

    Insurance companies that try to disrupt this process sometimes suggest that using a lawyer won't help the accident victim get more money. But the insurance industry's own research proves the opposite is true. For car accidents, insurance industry research shows that the average accident victim receives more money for economic damages (like lost wages and medical expenses) when represented by a lawyer, even after deducting all costs. And when recoveries for pain and suffering are considered, the larger recoveries by accident victims use lawyers is significantly higher.

    If you are in an accident, seek legal help immediately. A lawyer can advise you about all your rights as well as advise you about all insurance benefits you may be entitled to receive. Insurance industry research and common sense show that it is wise to consult a lawyer after an accident, and before settling an accident claim.