Monday, December 5, 2016

Get with Us ASAP After an Accident

Louisiana provides one year to make a claim for auto accident and other injury cases.  This is less time than most states, but is long enough for many people to postpone deciding what to do until near the end of the year. 

The Gouner Law Office handles wrecks and other injury cases.  The time to meet with an attorney is immediately following the accident.  Waiting until several months pass is not a good idea.  Witnesses can disappear.  Police may not prepare accident reports without prompting.  Delaying taking action can cost you money. 

Medical treatment is a key part of personal injury cases. Getting a lawyer usually means getting prompt treatment. Insurance adjusters will often urge people to wait to get treatment to see how they feel.  This is the same adjuster who will “ding” you for not getting prompt treatment and suggest any injury was small, because treatment was delayed.

Likewise, waiting to get appraisals on your vehicle damage and delaying making a claim for property loss is a mistake. After as little as a few weeks, the vehicle can start to rust, and a fresh dent will start to look old. Insurance companies will take advantage of that, saying the damage was pre-existing.

If you get in a wreck, act quickly. Call the Gouner Law Office to get your claim started.

(225) 293-6200 or Toll Free: (800) 404-1921

By Greg Gouner

Bankruptcy Guilt: Why You Should NOT Be Ashamed

The guilt associated with bankruptcy often begins with the negative feelings that come with the word. When filing bankruptcy is your best or only option, you can feel you have hit “rock-bottom,” the lowest point in your life. While financial instability may sometimes be avoided, it is usually out of your control. Those who resort to filing bankruptcy have often lost their jobs, suffered from a serious medical injury or condition, or experienced a life-changing event, like divorce or a death in the family. These reasons are why bankruptcy is an available remedy. Life is never certain. As the saying goes, “Bad things happen to good people.” That is why the government has allowed for bankruptcy relief.

Bankruptcy can bring a fresh start, but people often feel guilt for discharging their unsecured debt and not paying their creditors. The fact is creditors are allowed to charge astronomical interest rates on your payday loans, credit card debt, lines of credit, etc. By the time you discharge these debts in bankruptcy, you have already paid double the amount you borrowed. Yes, you signed the note and agreed to the interest rate and terms of the loan, but people often take out loans during tough times to pay their living expenses and feed their families. As a consumer, you are being taken advantage of day-to-day, and you should not feel guilt for discharging your debt to put you and your family in a better financial position.

Let's not forget, you are not the only person to file bankruptcy. While there is a stigma that people who file bankruptcy are poor, financially irresponsible, and uneducated--many bankruptcy filers are business owners, prominent members of our community, and celebrities. (Mike Tyson, 50 cent, Francis Ford Coppola, Marvin Gaye, Kim Basinger, Meat Loaf, Cyndi Lauper, MC Hammer, and Larry King have all made the bankruptcy filers list.)

The best way to think about bankruptcy is to see it in terms of a “life reset.” Either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy allows a person or family a second chance. It can remove that constant state of stress that comes with living paycheck to paycheck--essentially working to pay creditors. Although guilt is a normal reaction instilled in us by the society we live in, it is that same society that pushes us to spend more, keep up with our neighbors and friends, and live above our means. From the countless credit card applications in the mail, to checks from finance companies just waiting to be cashed—the opportunity to “buy more” can result in insurmountable bills and expenses.

If you have gotten in over your head, don’t feel ashamed. Give you and your family a fresh start toward a better life.  Contact the bankruptcy relief professionals at the Gouner Law Office.

You’ll be glad you did.

By Alyssa Collara

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Renters, Landlords and Flooded Property

Louisiana law provides...

If there are necessary repairs to a thing (such as a home) that cannot be postponed until the end of the lease, the landlord may make the repair, even if it causes inconvenience to, or displacement of the renter.

In real world language, this means anyone who is in a flooded rented home or business should anticipate the possibility of being displaced while repairs are being made. I recently  heard a tenant state to another landlord that she would not let him into the home...that she had to leave everything in its place "for FEMA."

It's important to understand that we are about to be in a major housing crisis. We need to get these homes repaired and inhabitable as soon as humanly possible.

Tenants and landlords should be taking photos of all damaged property and the surrounding areas--preferably with a cell phone for the time and GPS stamp. As soon as it is safe to do so, begin getting as many belongings out of these homes as possible.

Tenants, contact your landlords as soon as possible. Landlords, do the same.

Are You Flooded and May Miss Your Mortgage Payment?

You may have water damage to your home or business. If mortgage payments will be missed, please take steps to reach out to your lender.

Contact your mortgage company directly to work out a deferment plan for the monthly payments. This is a federally declared disaster, and lenders are being encouraged by the government to accommodate borrowers. They may do it with little or no penalties or late fees.

During Katrina, most of the lenders did this for their customers affected by the flood.

Please note: Any deferment of payments will be added to the balance of the loan.  We suggest you do this before the first missed payment to avoid a history of delinquency.

A final option may be a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If all other efforts fail, you may still be able to stop foreclosure with a bankruptcy filing. This is not the first option to try. We expect most mortgage holders will be reasonably helpful.  If other options do not work, it is always something to consider.

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