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redinsmb

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  1. redinsmb

    Settlement offer with release

    The adjuster that was working my claim is no longer with the company so I was assigned a new one who seems much more knowledgeable and told me that the releases look like standard release forms (which was my primary concern, I didn't want to sign a non-standard release then have my claim dismissed because I signed it). The purpose of asking for an opinion is to take it just as it is, as an opinion. If that opinion meshes with what other information I've figured out then I'm more comfortable than if I hadn't asked for an opinion at all. I've lurked here enough to know that certain people are very knowledgeable and helpful, and others are likely college kids pretending to be know-it-all-big-shots. The purpose of a forum is that you get opinions and information from a variety of sources and then you have to weed through it and decide what to explore further and what to dismiss. In the past I've gotten some really useful information that has pointed me in a direction to explore myself, I'd never take what someone here says at face value without corroborating the information with other sources, but sometimes people here can be very insightful and helpful in pointing out an angle to explore that maybe I hadn't considered - and while I know some people might come here and get an opinion and take it as solid legal advice, that's not my intent.
  2. My family was involved in an auto accident in which the other party was 100% at fault (fell asleep behind the wheel, swerved into our lane and hit us head on - police as witnesses). We have three bodily injury claims against the at-fault driver's insurance company, one for myself, one for my husband, and one for our son. We are now ready to settle the claims for my husband and son since they require no further medical attention (my claim needs to remain open as I am still receiving treatment). The at-fault driver's insurance company sent us settlement offers for my husband and son, which we are fine with and wish to accept, but they come with release forms and before we sign the release I want to make sure that by signing them we're not dismissing our rights to my bodily injury claim or somehow allowing the insurance company to back-track and say "oh, well, we paid $10,000 to have your car repaired and you signed the release allowing our insured to deny fault, so we want the $10,000 we paid to the repair shop back" or some other unforseen complications. I'm having my own insurance adjuster look at the forms and okay them, but I'd also feel more comfortable getting some advice here since, to be honest, my insurance adjuster seems to do the bare minimum of everything and I don't consider her to be 100% knowledgeable. Another set of eyes looking at them would make me feel a lot better, and I don't want to hire a lawyer out of the phone book to look at 2 pages of paper. I'd attach the forms but I don't know how to omit personal information. Is there someone knowledgeable in this area that wouldn't mind receiving the release forms via pdf to look them over for me? Thanks in advance!
  3. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    Cripes! I've spent the last few days calling various places and basically getting nowhere. I called the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation and asked if I would need to file a Trade Name/DBA to do business as a sole proprietor in Maryland when using part of my own name as the business name, and if there were any other forms I would need to complete to make sure I was doing everything legal in Maryland. I was told that that office couldn't give me any information regarding what is required by law in Maryland and could only help me access the forms I need after I determine which forms I need. *bangs head on desk* Then I called the IRS to speak to someone about being issued an EIN, hoping they could tell me what documentation, if any, would be required for me to put down a business name on the "business name" line on the EIN form or whether I could, as my friend says, just put down anything. The IRS is only accepting applications for an EIN via the web and as such, I can't speak to anyone there. So, I'm going to chalk this up to "Sally Smith Consulting" and if my friend is not comfortable with my EIN business name going under Sally Smith Consulting and not "Smith Consulting" or some other random name (she specifically asked me not to use my name for the EIN due to her previous tax problems with the IRS thinking her contractors were employees). So, it'll have to be Sally Smith Consulting, I'll go ahead and get an EIN with that format for the business name, and I'll make 100% certain that the work I do is consulting work and won't make me fall under the category of an "employee". I'm curious though, what sorts of fines would a person doing consulting work as "Smith Consulting" face if their EIN was issued in that name where no DBA/Trade Name exists? My friend has several people doing contracting and she tells them all to just put down any old name on the EIN application, as long as it's not their own. Which covers her butt, but undoubtedly sets the contractors up for penalties if they get audited. Thanks!
  4. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    I dug up this information http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2299&ChapterID=65, but I'll gladly admit that the amount of legal-speak in it made my head spin. I think that it's saying that as long as I use my real name I can conduct business (So, I could call it "Sally Smith Consulting" or maybe even "Smith Consulting"), but honestly I'm not certain, can someone with a better head for legal-speak clarify? This conversation has also brought up an interesting point - since I won't be doing business in my state (I reside in Illinois and will do the work from my home, but my one and only client will be my friend in Maryland), would it even be necessary to get a DBA in Illinois (if I needed one), or would I have to get it in Maryland? I'd happily contact someone in my state to discuss what I need to do to make this legal, but unfortunately I like in Chicago and getting into contact with anyone that works for the state for even the most basic information is a big ordeal. I'll continue searching online for a list of states that don't require a sole proprietor to register a fictitious business name (as long as that name contains their own name), but in the meantime maybe someone can translate the legal speak in the link I provided to plain old English?
  5. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    Thanks Tax_Counsel, I appreciate the time you put into your reply and it cleared up a few murky areas for me. I have read the IRS Publication 334 but I wasn't clear on the legality of getting an EIN and putting down a business name without getting a DBA. My friend wants me to have an EIN and I'm okay with that (I'd rather not have my social security number floating around if I don't need it to be). From everything I read, my EIN is just basically an alias to my SS# - it's linked to my name (and your reply confirmed that) and when I file annual taxes I'll attach a Schedule C, but when applying there's a place for a business name and when I fill out the W9 it also asks for a business name (which is what my friend wants me to have). It is my understanding, from your post and from what I have read, that if I wish to associate an identifying business name with my EIN I can do so without filing for a DBA, as long as the business name contains part or all of my name as an identifier. So, while I couldn't just call it "RedFish Consulting" without getting a DBA I could call it "My last name Consulting" without filing a DBA. Am I understanding that correctly? Thanks!
  6. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    Illinois will want quarterly estimated taxes, but in the beginning I won't be making enough to have to file, after a few months I might hit the minimum income requirement but when I say I won't be making much, I mean it - maybe $50 a week, tops. I'm not against doing taxes quarterly (I'm going to be setting up a separate bank account for deposits, even if it's just a personal one, so that I can keep the estimated taxes out of my primary bank account so filing quarterly isn't a big deal). My primary concern is that my friend wants me to list a business name when I get my EIN and I am not going to just write something down without knowing it's legal. I mean, how can I get my EIN and then write on the form that my company is "RedFish Consulting" without actually owning rights to that name by having a DBA as RedFish Consulting? My friend has owned her company for 20 years and has been hiring independent consultants for various jobs, I've already made sure I will legally be an independent consultant (I will be doing updates and writing articles on her company web site, she will let me know what needs to be done/what she would like, and I will do it on my schedule however I choose to get the job done). She says that every one of her consultants (except for one who formed an LLC) just gets an EIN and writes a business name down, and while that may protect her, it seems like that is opening the independents up for troubles because they are associating an EIN to a business they do not actually own the rights to. However, I can't find anywhere on the IRS site (or anywhere else) where it says you *need* a DBA to link that company name line on the application with your EIN.
  7. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    That right there's what I'm hoping for... Anything I'm told will be verified, but right now I'm swimming in murk without a real direction. My friend says she pays all her instructors as contractors and they just get an EIN with a made up company name and file a schedule C with their taxes, but I'm not really willing to jump ahead with that based only on her saying other people do it because it seems really wrong to me that I could just list any old company name to get an EIN without having a DBA. I don't want any surprises when filing my taxes next year
  8. redinsmb

    Doing contract work

    I have a friend who owns a small business (c-corp) in Maryland and who has asked me to do some independent consulting work for her. I'm located in Chicago and have never done consulting work before, I only plan on doing jobs for my friend's company at this point but may, somewhere down the line, want to pick up some extra work depending on how this goes. I want to keep things legal and smooth, and getting an EIN is something I want to do just so I don't have to give out my social security number (especially if I decide to pick up another job or two later on), but my friend is suggesting I get an EIN and make a business name along with it rather than just get an EIN associated with my name. I'm a little murky about how being an independent consultant works and though I've read a ton online I feel like I'm encountering some contradictions and much of what I read is for people who are planning to operate on a much larger scale than just wanting to take a job and pay taxes in a legit fashion and my friend is giving me some information that conflicts with what I have read. My questions are as follows: When I file for an EIN, is it attached to my name or to a business name? Can I have more than one EIN? When I file for an EIN there is a place to list the business name, do I need to have a DBA filed in order to list a business or can I just list anything? (my friend seems to think I can just put down "RedFish Consulting" or whatever on the EIN application and I don't actually need a DBA for "RedFish Consulting"... I'm not so sure). If I file for an EIN and then 6 months from now decide I want to jump into this full force, can I then file for a DBA to be associated with the EIN? (I'm not really interested in filing a DBA right now, it's not worth the hassle/expense for a couple hours a week of work for a friend - I'm not expecting to make much doing this at all, it's just basically to help bolster my resume). It is my understanding that I could just file for an EIN attached to my name, give my friend my EIN for her records and whatever she needs to do on her end, then I deposit the checks (which she says come in my name) into my account and attach a form to my annual taxes for income from being an independent consultant and pay taxes/medicare/social security on it at that point. (I'm also willing to open a bank account with my EIN and keep "business funds" in there so I can withhold taxes before it even hits my personal account, if that's possible). As you've probably gathered, I'm really a novice when it comes to running a business and this basically just amounts to doing some web site updates for a friend a few hours each week and needing to be an independent contractor to get paid for it. Any advice is appreciated!
  9. redinsmb

    Follow up to my car accident Q's

    It's unclear why you wouldn't google the topic of settling personal injury claims as a DIY. You're free to ask for whatever you like; just understand if the insurance company says "no", you either settle or you sue. I have already, standard suggests 1.5 times the medical costs. However, since medical costs were minimal or non-existent, I need to come up with a figure based primarily on the mental trauma, inconvenience, and other non-monetary items. By the 1.5 times medical cost logic my son is entitled to no pain and suffering compensation, and my husband (who was in pain for weeks and missed work resulting in loss of PTO equaling over $500) is entitled to 1.5 times medical costs (and I can't seem to locate if that's the out of pocket or the total billed to insurance). Since he was in pain for weeks but only visited the doctor once to make sure nothing was broken it seems wrong to assume his pain and suffering compensation should be 1.5 times our $20 copay, or 1.5 times the $200 that was billed to our medical insurance. Uhm, I don't know that I'd have told him "it won't happen again" but ... The chances of someone falling asleep behind the wheel and smashing into us head on are slim enough that yes, I felt comfortable telling my 5 year old it won't happen again so he could sleep at night. I'm not sure what your point is here; how you cope is something you'd address with a counselor if need be. Actually, this factors into the "pain and suffering" under mental trauma. You don't need to have a physical injury to have pain and suffering and while it's not worth much, in the interest of full disclosure so that helpful people here can actually be helpful, I included it. Again, I'd like to think you've googled the topic of assessing damages in DIY personal injury claims. Again, I did that. I need real world advice, not some numbers entered into a computer system. I'm unclear why you wouldn't insist on a total/salvage of the car by your own insurance company if the other insurer wouldn't proceed that way, esp. if the car isn't functionally equivalent to what it was. I also wouldn't care what some claims adjuster at the at-fault company says about what it will and won't tolerate in terms of a DV claim; I'd see what my state had to say about it. Because a total salvage of my car would have resulted in my car loan being paid off (partly by gap insurance) and me having to find a replacement auto loan and vehicle to purchase after I just bought this one last year. Getting out of a car loan doesn't automatically give you a few grand to toss toward a down payment, and it certainly doesn't make it so that inventory in your price range is more readily available. My car is a popular model and a replacement for the year and specific make would have been difficult to procure (I looked, there was one match available within 100 miles of my location and it was a former fleet vehicle, which I am not interested in owning). I'd have to settle for paying more for a newer model or buying a car that I wasn't happy with. I love my car and it was fixed after the accident by a reputable garage - the issue is that when I go to resell it I'm going to get considerably less than I would if the car had a clean record (bending the frame of a vehicle does that). Furthermore, I have looked into the state laws regarding diminished value claims and sought advice (http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/227485-diminished-value-claim/) and it basically sums up to "You can try to fight it out in court, but you probably won't win". So yes, I want to make certain we are compensated fairly in other areas before I swallow whatever the at-fault driver's insurance company is going to offer, and from all of the reading I have done, I need to make a high, but reasonable, demand for compensation because the insurance adjuster will not just say "Oh, okay, here's a check" they're trained to negotiate it down as far as they can. However, I don't even know even a ballpark figure of what to ask for in a claim, which is the reason I came here looking for human advice, knowing that many people who frequent these forums have experience with bodily injury claim settlements. Of course if the adjuster refuses to cooperate I am open to suing, I just don't feel it's necessary right now and would prefer to handle things out of court if at all possible. If I can answer any other questions in an effort to provide you with information you need to offer helpful advice, please, feel free to ask. Otherwise, I don't really need unhelpful commentary such as "google it" or "I don't know what your point is".
  10. A couple months ago I was in a car accident and received some helpful advice. (Original thread here: http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/227321-should-i-contact-a-lawyer/) I opted not to consult a lawyer, my husband had one doctor's visit after the accident where he was checked out and had x-rays taken (he was sore in several areas and had nausea) It took a few weeks, but he eventually healed and hasn't had to go back to the doctor. He missed one day of work immediately following the accident and one half day for a doctor's appointment for the above mentioned visit. Like me, the accident was profoundly disturbing - Recap: we were hit head-on by a woman who fell asleep behind the wheel, my husband brought our car to a complete stop and laid on the horn but we couldn't do anything else but sit there and watch as the other car approached us and smashed into us head-on at 35mph (which, as we learned, is faster than you'd think). Airbags saved us from major injury, and the $10,000 collision repairs were covered by the at-fault driver's insurance along with a rental car. Accident was 100% the other driver's fault, witnessed by two police officers and a third party. Our young son was in the car as well, however, he was not physically hurt beyond some discomfort from the seatbelt (probably a bruise, but minor). We didn't take him to the doctor because he was already traumatized and a doctor's visit would have made things worse. Physically, he is fine. Emotionally the accident imprinted on him, he plays with his toy cars and reenacts the accident and is jumpy when crossing streets (afraid cars won't stop). I don't believe he needs any therapy to help him cope, we just keep reassuring him that it was a fluke and it won't happen again. Still, watching him play with his cars and having one "bad car" fall asleep and smash into another one is really upsetting to me. My medical treatment is still ongoing. We're in the claims process now and the at-fault driver's insurance adjuster wants me to present a claim for pain and suffering for my son and husband. I have no idea how to put a price on that and was hoping someone with some experience in the area could offer me some guidance. My own claim will sit open until my medical treatment is completed. We were told that the at-fault driver's insurance company does not recognize diminished value claims, even though the value of our vehicle is now considerably less than when we bought it (and the load carrying capacity has also been diminished due to the frame damage), since the at-fault driver's insurance won't pay for this, I want to be certain we're compensated fairly in other areas. Thank you in advance! If I can provide more information please post and ask, I really appreciate the expertise already shared.
  11. We didn't part amicably and she is, quite honestly, crazy. It's a long story, but trust me when I say that communication with her is a bad idea. Once she saw me walking down the sidewalk near the building (my son had friends in the neighborhood and we were on our way home from a playdate with them - she didn't live in the building so I didn't expect to run into her) she actually stood in the middle of the sidewalk staring at our backs and then began yelling something at me in Thai. I'm just curious if there's a limit to the amount of time she can use those photos, if there is (in Chicago, IL) I'd like to just send her a note politely asking her to remove them and not to use them in the future. However, if she has full legal right to use them for as long as she wants something like that would probably just make her seek revenge and I can't imagine what horrible things she'd do because, as I said, she's just not right in the head.
  12. I happened across a listing for an apartment my family lived in 4 years ago and clicked it because I was interested in knowing what the price increase was for that neighborhood. I was shocked to see the pictures in the listing were of my family's belongings and it just sort of grates on my nerves that this landlord, who we did not part amicably with, is using photos of the unit from when we lived in it so many years after we left. I'm not really interested in suing her or anything like that, but I'm curious - is there an amount of time that she is allowed to use those photos or will she be able to show them on her listing forever? I feel like my family's privacy has been violated and I'd much prefer not to have photos of my young son's bedroom immortalized on the internet. Thanks in advance, I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but I'm a private person and knowing photos of my family's bedrooms and possessions are circulating the internet bothers me, even if they can't really be tracked back to me.
  13. redinsmb

    Debt Validation

    The state the debt is from is Michigan, but I currently reside in Illinois. I have not yet contacted the school because they sent the debt to collections and I assumed I had to deal with the collections agency (I've dealt with this in the past, for a medical bill my insurance rejected, and was basically told that once it goes to collections there is nothing the original owner of the debt can do). I got the letter and immediately requested validation, which arrived a few days ago. I'm not sure how the statute of limitations works, I only know that after a certain point they are no longer allowed to pester me about the debt, but I'm concerned for my credit report. From what I can find online, in Michigan it seems to be 6 years, but in Illinois, where I currently reside, it is 10 years. I don't want a judgement to destroy my credit, and I certainly don't want a garnishment, but I'm really unsure as to what this debt is. I guess my next step is to contact the school and see if they can provide me with any more information, but in the meantime I worry that the collection agency will move forward and try to take me to court before I can verify this debt and make arrangements for it. I mean, it's $4000 - I kinda want to make 100% certain I owe it before I go writing any checks, and that also brings up another question... I've heard that if I pay on an old debt I am basically breathing life into it and resetting the statute of limitations, is this true? I've also heard that if I pay on an old debt anything at all, say I start paying $50/month on a $4000 debt, they can't take me to court to sue me or seek garnishment, is there truth in that? Also, just out of curiosity, are the statute of limitations limits the ones where the debt originated, or the ones of the state I currently reside in? Thanks in advance.
  14. redinsmb

    Debt Validation

    I received a letter saying that I owed $4200 on a student loan. I do not recall this loan and I had all of my loans consolidated years ago, so when this letter came out of the blue I opted to ask for debt validation before I make arrangements to pay. My request resulted in a copy of a generic bill from the school, clearly printed from the school's computer system, that says: Internal Snapshot Report 11/18/2008 ALL OTHERS $4090 11/18/2008 AUX SERV HOUSING-FOOD $48 11/18/2008 STUDENT REC BILL & LATE PY $72 Remaining balance $4210.08 Someone also wrote on the paper "Financial Aid Billed Back". My question is this, does this letter comply with debt validation? - it doesn't exactly tell me a whole lot of information and while it could be true that I owe for financial aid being billed back in 2008, I don't really understand why I'm just now hearing about it. I guess I just expected more detail before I dish out $4200 on something that I'm not 100% certain I owe. Any advice is appreciated.
  15. redinsmb

    Should I contact a lawyer?

    Does anyone know how I calculate the permanent loss in value of my car (which we just bought last year) now that it has been in an accident? I'm going to be sure to ask the at-fault driver's insurance company to reimburse us for that lost value but I'm not sure how exactly to calculate that. Is this something I will have to bring up with the collision adjuster or the medical adjuster? I was also told by my medical adjuster that I should expect that the at-fault driver's insurance will offer us reimbursement for medical bills and "pain and suffering" and that when they do, I should contact my insurance company's medical adjuster to make sure I am being offered a fair amount before I sign anything. Is that pretty standard? The at-fault driver has contacted her insurance and taken full responsibility for the accident, so now we're just looking at compensation and dealing with possible ongoing medical issues caused by the accident and this is new territory for me. I don't want to have to hire a lawyer, but I also want to be certain that we are being fairly treated by her insurance company.
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