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Ohio

How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim After a Car Accident?

By | Car Accident, Car Accident Injuries, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Being in a car accident is a terrifying experience. What’s more, if your injuries are serious, you may be unable to take immediate action to file a claim right after your crash happens; instead, you may be incapacitated for days, weeks, or months. While the best strategy is always to bring forth a claim as soon as possible after a crash if you are unable to, here’s what you should know about how long you have to make a claim after a car accident–

Check Your Insurance Policy

As stated above, it is always within your best interests to bring forth a claim as soon as possible after a crash. And this isn’t just because that’s when evidence is the freshest–it’s also because the insurance company may have rules and regulations in place for how long you have to file a claim before it’s denied. Insurance companies have a right to investigate a claim and, if too much time passes, this right is impeded. It’s important that you review your policy and familiarize yourself with the rules for providing your insurance company with notice.

Know the Statute of Limitations

You’ll need to provide the insurance company with notice of your claim within the required amount of time. However, if you want to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in Ohio, you’ll likely have a little bit more time. That’s because your right to file a lawsuit is regulated by the state’s statute of limitations, which is found under Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. The statute reads that a person who suffers a personal injury–such as injuries sustained in a car accident–has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for damages. 

If you wait longer than two years to file your lawsuit, then your right to recover is forfeited. Similarly, if you don’t provide the insurance company with notice of your accident within the required time frame (per your policy), then they may have cause to deny your claim. 

How to Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident

As stated earlier, it can be very difficult to take action after a car crash, both because you may be seriously injured and also because you may be emotionally scarred. However, time matters, and there are few exceptions to the limits that exist for making a claim after a car accident. In order to help you meet these time requirements, and to advocate for your right for your full damages amount and assist you in a number of other ways, working with a skilled attorney is strongly recommended. 

Call Groth & Associates Today

If you’ve been in a car crash, our Ohio car accident lawyers can start working on your case immediately. We will investigate your claim, ensure that all parties are notified in a timely manner, gather evidence, build your claim, and negotiate your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you when you’ve been in a crash, as well as how to ensure that you don’t breach the statute of limitations, please call our legal team today.

how many times can you file for bankruptcy

How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy?

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Filing for bankruptcy is a huge decision. It’s also one that will have an effect on your credit score and financial health for years to come. While most people who file for bankruptcy aim to never do so again, things happen, and you may experience another financial emergency at some point in your life. If you have previously filed for bankruptcy and are considering doing so again, here’s what you should know about how often filing for bankruptcy is allowed. 

How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy?

You can actually file for bankruptcy as many times and as often as you’d like–there’s no penalty for doing so. However, the primary reason that debtors file for bankruptcy–to receive a discharge of their debts–cannot be pursued without limit. While you may be able to file for bankruptcy as often as you’d like, you can only receive a discharge of your debts after a certain amount of time has passed between your last discharge. 

What You Should Know About Bankruptcy Discharges

The amount of time that must pass between one bankruptcy discharge and another depends on the type of bankruptcy for which you’re filing and the type of bankruptcy for which you filed previously. For example…

If you’re filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you previously filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to wait four years from the time that your debt was originally discharged until your current debts can be discharged. If you’re filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and previously filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll need to wait six years between discharges. Chapter 7 to Chapter 7 is an eight-year wait time, and Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 is only two years

I Need Debt Relief Now–What Should I Do?

For many people who are drowning in debt, the idea of having to wait another year, let alone another two, four, or six years, to file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge of their debts can be terrifying. If you need debt relief now, it’s best to talk to an attorney or a financial professional who can review your options and provide you with qualified advice. While you may not be able to file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge as often as you’d like, other options include:

  • Consolidating your debt;
  • Working out a payment plan with creditors;
  • Refinancing your mortgage;
  • Modifying your loan terms;
  • Creating a financial plan; 
  • Liquidating assets to pay creditors; and
  • More.

Our Attorneys Can Help

At the law office of Groth & Associates, we understand that debt is more than burdensome–it’s terrifying. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy but have already filed for bankruptcy in the past, it’s smart to talk to an attorney to discuss your options. To schedule a free consultation with our experienced bankruptcy lawyers, please send us a message using the intake form on our website or call us directly. Our law firm is here to provide you with sound legal advice and representation.

cost of divorce in Ohio

Who Pays for a Divorce in Ohio?

By | Divorce, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Getting a divorce is not only an emotional undertaking but also a financially taxing one. Indeed, even if your divorce is resolved quickly and without much conflict, there will still be some fees and costs incurred during the process, including filing fees, court fees, and attorneys’ fees. The longer your divorce drags on for and the more contested it is, the more expensive that it will be.

Some couples wind up spending tens of thousands of dollars on their divorce. If you’re getting a divorce, it’s important to have an understanding of the various costs that you’re likely to incur throughout the process and who may be responsible for paying for them. Here’s what you should know–

Costs in a Divorce

The costs that you incur during a divorce will depend on how long your divorce takes to settle, whether or not your divorce is contested or uncontested, how much you spend on outside costs (such as experts’ fees), and how much your divorce attorney charges. For obvious reasons, the more complex your divorce case is and the longer it takes to settle, the more expensive it will be. 

Common costs that are associated with a divorce include:

  • Attorneys’ fees;
  • Divorce filing fees;
  • Fees for expert witnesses, private investigator services, etc.;
  • Court reporter fees during deposition;
  • Fees associated with acquiring and copying documents; and
  • More.

You might also incur fees in the form of conciliatory services, such as court-ordered mediation or family therapy costs. 

Who Pays for Costs in a Divorce?

Going into an Ohio divorce, it’s best to assume that you’ll pay for your own costs associated with the divorce, and your spouse will pay for their own costs. For example, you’ll pay your own lawyer and they’ll pay theirs; you’ll pay for any expert services you hire, and they’ll pay for theirs, etc. However, there may be shared costs in a divorce, such as the costs of court-ordered mediation. What’s more, one spouse may be much more financially able to afford the costs of a divorce than the other, leading to inequity in the process. When this is the case, the court may order one spouse to pay for some or all of the other’s legal fees associated with a divorce. For example, if one partner in the relationship is the primary breadwinner for the family and is ordered to pay ongoing spousal maintenance to the other, this spouse may also be ordered to pay for the other’s attorney and other legal fees during the divorce. 

Contact a Divorce Attorney to Learn More

If you have questions about paying for a divorce and whether or not you will be responsible for paying for your spouse’s legal fees or whether your spouse may be ordered to pay for yours, it’s best to speak to an attorney. Having a firm understanding of how much a divorce may cost as you enter the divorce process is strongly recommended, regardless of who may end up paying for it.

To learn more about getting a divorce in Ohio and the services offered by our experienced Ohio divorce lawyers, please call Groth & Associates today or send us a message requesting a consultation.

What is the Means Test in Bankruptcy?

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you probably already know that a key benefit of the process is emerging debt-free and getting a fresh start. If you qualify, you can wipe out credit cards, medical bills, and other unsecured debt, while also enjoying an automatic stay against creditors seeking payment. However, there are strict rules associated with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One of the most important is the “means test,” which assesses your income as a determining factor for purposes of eligibility.

There’s more to the Chapter 7 means test than a simple dollar amount, as bankruptcy courts will evaluate multiple factors and apply them to your unique situation. For this reason, retaining a Toledo bankruptcy attorney is crucial. You might also find it helpful to review some of the basics.

Purpose of the Means Test:

Though there are drawbacks in terms of your credit rating, the benefits of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy are significant for the individual who files. When the process concludes, you have opportunities to build good credit without the burden of overwhelming debt. For many people dealing with interest and late fees they can’t pay off, bankruptcy is a smart financial move. The means test was implemented to prevent high wage earners from eliminating their debts when they do have the ability. In short, if you make too much, you’re not eligible for Chapter 7.

Eligibility Rules:

According to US Bankruptcy Code regulations, there are two factors for determining whether you qualify for Chapter 7 according to the means test:

  1. If your current monthly earnings are under the threshold median income for Ohio, you pass the means test. The amount is based upon your household size and how many people contribute financially. You can file for Chapter 7.
  2. When your monthly household income exceeds the threshold amount, your disposable income is the focus. To calculate the amount, refer to what you earn and subtract allowable expenses. Examples include housing costs, utilities, food, and other necessities. If it’s possible to pay some of your unsecured debts, you may NOT qualify under the means test.

Pass-Fail on the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test:

For individuals who aren’t eligible under the rules regarding the means test, Chapter 13 might be an option. Repayment is the objective of the process, though you may not have to pay the full amount that you owe creditors. There are additional advantages of filing Chapter 13 if you want to retain assets that would otherwise be liquidated in Chapter 7.

Get Additional Details from a Toledo, OH Bankruptcy Lawyer

The Chapter 7 means test is just of many complicated laws involved with the bankruptcy process, so it’s wise to work with an experienced attorney who can assist with your matter. Our team at Groth & Associates is dedicated to helping clients look forward to a brighter financial future through bankruptcy, so please contact us to set up a consultation. You can reach our Toledo, OH office by calling 419.482.1176 or visiting our website.

Which Dogs Tend to Bite the Most?

By | Ohio, Personal Injury, Toledo | No Comments

Dogs rank high among America’s favorite pets, but not all of these canines are friendly. Dog bite statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that more than 344,000 people seek emergency medical treatment for injuries every year. Victims are devastated by physical pain, but the emotional and financial implications can be just as extreme. Ohio laws do provide you with options if you were hurt in an animal attack, but it’s difficult to know what to do because of the complicated laws regarding liability.

If you were injured under such circumstances, your first priority should be retaining a Toledo dog bite lawyer who will strive to recover monetary damages for your losses. Some information about the types of dogs that tend to bite may also help you understand the risks.

Statistics on Dog Bites by Breed

There’s no absolute test for what dog breeds are dangerous, so much analysis focuses on the frequency and extent of the harm for the human victim. Data indicates that Chihuahuas, Papillion, and Lhasa Apso breeds are the most likely to bite. However, the dog breeds that are most likely to cause serious, scarring injuries are:

  • Pit bulls;
  • Bulldogs;
  • German and Australian Shepherds;
  • Bull terriers;
  • Rottweilers;
  • Pinschers; and,
  • Mixed breeds.

Liability in Ohio Dog Bite Claims

Ohio is one of several US states that follows the strict liability theory for dog bite injuries. A victim who suffers a bite or any other type of injury can pursue the animal’s owner for damages without the legal requirement of showing fault. This rule is different from other jurisdictions where it’s necessary to show that the dog had bitten or showed other types of aggression in the past. Still, there are other theories of liability in dog bite claims, such as:

  • Negligence, if the dog’s owner failed to exercise a reasonable amount of care in controlling the animal; and,
  • Negligence per se, where the owner violated a law related to securing, handling, or leashing. Many Ohio counties and local governments have enacted statutes on these issues.

Compensation in Ohio Dog Bite Cases

The losses for a dog bite victim extend beyond the physical pain, since there are often emotional implications. Whether your claim proceeds according to statutory law or negligence concepts, you may qualify to recover a wide range of monetary damages. Examples include:

  • Medical costs for treatment, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, and related expenses;
  • Costs for psychiatric and/or psychological treatment;
  • Lost wages;
  • Scarring and disfigurement; and,
  • Many more.

Speak to a Toledo, OH Dog Bite Attorney About Your Rights

At Groth & Associates, our lawyers know that an animal attack is scary and carries many more losses than you might expect. We’re dedicated to assisting you with the claims process to get the compensation you deserve under Ohio law, including medical costs, pain, and suffering. To learn more about your options, please contact our office in Toledo. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 419.482.1176 or filling out on our online request form.

bankruptcy in Ohio

Filing For Bankruptcy in Ohio

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

If your financial situation has reached a point where you don’t think you’ll ever get out of debt, it may be time to consider relief under the US Bankruptcy Code. Statistics indicate you’re not alone, as 772,646 individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy in 2019. There are plenty of others that share your desire to gain control over your finances, ease your debt, and make a fresh start. 

Still, it’s understandable that you might be intimidated by the bankruptcy process. Taking legal action, especially one that has consequences for your future can seem overwhelming. Your concerns are likely alleviated when you consider the alternative: Remaining under crushing debt, incurring exorbitant late charges and interest, creditor harassment, and never even coming close to paying down your balances. While you should discuss the specifics with an Ohio bankruptcy attorney, here are a few facts you need to know about the process.

There Are Multiple Types of Bankruptcy to Consider

Based upon your situation and strict eligibility rules imposed by federal law, you might consider one of three forms of bankruptcy:

  1. Chapter 7: Individuals and businesses may qualify to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7, in which the court’s trustee sells some of your property and applies it to your debts. The end result is that you emerge debt-free.
  2. Chapter 13: This form of bankruptcy involves paying down your debt to creditors over time since you’ll work with the court to develop a repayment plan. A typical repayment plan is 3-5 years in duration, but your debt is wiped out at the conclusion of the process.
  3. Chapter 11: If you own a business and are in debt, you might opt for Chapter 11. The process is similar to Chapter 13, so you’ll work out a repayment plan to reimburse creditors.

You Need to Participate in Credit Counseling Before Filing

Most filers must go through credit counseling within six months before initiating the process, and some will also need to complete a course while the case is pending. The point is to ensure bankruptcy is the right fit for your situation and to reduce the possibility that you’ll have to file a second time down the road.

Filing for Bankruptcy Triggers an Automatic Stay on Collection

One of the primary advantages of initiating bankruptcy proceedings is that the court immediately imposes a stay on creditor efforts to collect on your debt. They cannot contact you, garnish your wages, place a lien on the property, or engage in any other prohibited conduct.

A Toledo, OH Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Navigate the Process

This overview of bankruptcy basics may be helpful, but it should also convince you of the importance of retaining knowledgeable legal counsel to assist with the process. To learn more about how we can help, please contact Groth & Associates. You can set up a consultation by calling 419.482.1176 or visiting our website. Once we review your circumstances, our attorneys can advise you on your options and strategies for the bankruptcy process.

divorce in Ohio

5 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce

By | Divorce, Family Law, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

You probably gave your situation a lot of thought before deciding to end your marriage, and your time investment was a wise one. Divorce is life-changing and not something to take lightly. When you move to the next stage and are ready to initiate the process, you have another opportunity to make a smart decision with proper planning. It’s essential to take a measured approach and set the proper foundation before filing. The first step is retaining an experienced Ohio divorce lawyer to represent you and protect your interests. From there, some additional To Do’s include:

  1. Get the big picture with respect to finances. One of the key issues in a divorce is dividing up the assets acquired and debt incurred during your marriage. Ohio’s statute on equitable distribution of assets requires that these matters be divided fairly, so you’ll need to know where you stand financially. As such, you should itemize and estimate the value of all real estate and personal property, noting any assets that are encumbered by a mortgage or loan. In addition, write down the balance due on all other debts and lines of credit.
  1. Set a budget for your post-divorce future. Income and expenses will be very different after divorce, so don’t wait until it’s final to establish a responsible budget. The best way to develop a plan is to work on a monthly basis, listing all income you’ll receive from work, alimony, and child support. Then, write down all expenditures, including what you might be paying for spousal and child support. Once you have totals, you’ll come up with a figure of what you can spend on non-essentials.
  1. Weigh your options for living arrangements. Some couples opt to remain in their family home during divorce, but it’s not always an ideal arrangement. Therefore, you’ll need to consider what makes sense for your situation, especially if you have minor children.
  1. Close joint credit accounts and open one in your own name. By paying off all existing credit cards, parties eliminate the possibility that one will run up huge debts during the divorce process. At the same time, get a card in your own name so you can establish good credit going forward.
  1. Separate divorce from other aspects of your life. Your divorce shouldn’t be some imposing intrusion on your entire life, so do your best to segment the process from your work and personal relationships. Consider it a task you need to accomplish to ensure a brighter future, and look forward instead of back.

Reach Out to a Toledo, OH Divorce Attorney for Assistance

These 5 things to do before filing for divorce are made easier when you retain skilled legal counsel as early on in the process as possible. Our divorce lawyers at Groth & Associates can advise you every step of the way, including initiating proceedings, negotiating settlement, and representing you in court. Please call 419.482.1176 or go online to set up a consultation regarding your case. We can explain more about your options after learning more about your specific circumstances.

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