Ask Our Lawyer
by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services
ABATE MEMBER’S COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
Craig Horton called with an employer problem related to the Coronavirus. He drives a truck but is not a member of the union nor does he have a contract. In other words, an employee fireable at will except for the usual constitutional prohibitions. His doctor advises he is in the risk group regarding the virus. His employer says he can leave but may not have a job when he returns. Must he comply with the Governors Ex. Orders? His job requires him to obtain signatures from customers. What are his options? Any other members having similar issues? Send me an email which will remain confidential unless you advise otherwise.
SBA LOAN PROGRAMS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
by Hilary Barnes, ABATE Legal Lawyer
Own a small business and wonder how to make it through these tough times? The SBA has a couple loan programs that may be right for your business. The first is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the second is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This loan covers payroll and approved operating expenses. No collateral is required and the loan is up to 100% forgivable with approval. The amount of loan is determined by taking the average monthly payroll for the prior twelve months and multiplying it by 2.5. Interest rate on the note is .5% on any unforgiven portion on a 2-year fixed note with no payments for the first 6 months. This loan applies to all for-profits and to private non-profits. Applicants may apply at any SBA approved bank.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
This loan covers needed working capital. No collateral required on loans under $25,000, and SBA will take the best lien available (excluding real estate) on loans over $25,000. This loan is not eligible for forgiveness, meaning the loan must be repaid. The loan amount is up to 6 months of operating expenses not to exceed $2 million. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits, on a 30-year fixed note. There are no payments for the first 12 months. Eligible entities include sole proprietors, LLC’s, & corporations, small agriculture coops and aquaculture, and private non-profits. Applicants may apply at SBA.GOV/DISASTER.
More information on these loans may be found on the SBA website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ Another helpful resource is America’s Small Business Development Centers at https://americassbdc.org/coronavirus-information/. America’s Small Business Development Centers is a taxpayer funded partner of the SBA and offers consultations with businesses and nonprofits to help determine their best path forward. Small businesses should definitely take advantage of the specialized resources ASBDC has to offer.
BILL HOWARD, FORMER INVESTIGATOR FOR ABATE LEGAL DIES IN FLA.
I wrote the following note about Bill when he stopped by the ABATE LEGAL office. We offer our condolences to his family. He will be missed.
REMEMBER BILL HOWARD OF ABATE LEGAL? LIFE IS GOOD FOR HIM
(written a few years ago)
It’s been almost ten years since Bill hung up his ABATE LEGAL investigators spurs and headed off to Florida. Many remember him as the tough talking insurance claims manager that jumped ship to come over to our side – and right his past wrongs on the insurance side of life. Bill stopped by ABATE LEGAL to check on us. He has not rusted out, is tough as ever and retirement treats him well. He misses the passion of ABATE. But his fire has been transferred to golf, grand kids and go-kart fast lawn mowers. A couple of operations got him fired from motorcycling. He says, “never say never”, but his doctor and wife may. If you get to Florida, give him a call as he would like to hear from you.
(Bill – Rest in Peace)
ANATOMY OF A SLIP AND FALL CASE
An ABATE OF ILLINOIS member stayed at a local chain hotel. He is a good customer and would be returning in a couple of weeks. His job as a project engineer takes him all over the U.S., but he is originally from Flora, Illinois, and regularly reads this column. He is a stand tall, pays his bills, supports his family, voter, never been sued or ever sued anyone kind of guy, and a pretty good pool player. And he needed some help from ABATE LEGAL. Here is the problem. He was seriously injured in a fall at this hotel. I reminded him that slip and fall cases are tough in the Midwest. There is a general finding among most juries that you should watch where you are going. So unless you are elderly, impaired/disabled, or the little old lady with grey hair that slips on the long laying bing cherry in the produce department, those cases have to be perfectly presented with all of the evidence to the cause of the fall. For example, being able to prove the coefficient of friction caused by the contaminant on the floor. You need the incident report with video – they should always have a video. When I first started my practice, I defended slip and fall cases for big companies. I never lost a case and I wasn’t that good. So I remember how tough they can be to win for an injured party.
In early December, he was leaving the Inn, minding his own business, watching where he was going and slipped on the wet tile at the exit door, all the while wearing Wolverine boots with one of the best non slip soles God ever made. (Defendants always hone in on the shoes the plaintiff was wearing.) Partially catching himself in the fall, Scott injured himself and tore an expensive leather coat. The staff at the hotel quickly placed a weather mat at the entry of the hotel to take care of the slippery nature of the tile. ADMISSION NUMBER ONE. There was also a video camera at the entrance area proving the problem. ADMISSION NUMBER TWO. After the treating doc examined him, a prescription for pain pills was given and he went about his way. Hopefully he just got shot at and missed and would be ok in a few. He communicated this medical info to the folks at the hotel and they promised that they would get with him regarding his medical bills and damaged coat – over a month passed. ADMISSION NUMBER THREE.
After getting no response from the Inn, he called ABATE LEGAL as he suspected they were ignoring him. Even though we do not usually handle slip and fall cases, we wanted to assist our fellow ABATE member. In today’s world many companies pass their responsibilities to companies with names like “risk pool managers, risk assessment evaluators, risk adjustment bureaus” etc. You get the idea. Just like in a John Wayne movie – “they went that away. “ My experience is that delay, avoidance and the like are part of the strategy – “if we don’t call them back maybe THEY will go away and we don’t have to pay THEM.” “Let’s make it too hard to deal with us.” Hopefully that will not be the case with this hotel – but we shall see.
Scott is a straight shooter and only wants to be reimbursed for his losses. He has read my previous article on signing releases and so he knows that nothing should be signed that would waive any right to claims he may have for permanent injuries. He needs to continue with his medical treatment to make sure that his problems are not permanent and that he will not need surgery in the future. Nothing worse than having signed a full and complete release for a few hundred bucks, only to find out a couple of months later that you need shoulder surgery and may not be able to do your job – or worse.
Meanwhile, Scott will copy me on all correspondence to the hotel and their “risk pool manager.” Hopefully that will help; and hopefully his injuries are temporary; and hopefully the hotel will do the right thing. We are prepared to help him to the next step because it is the right thing to do. And he wants his experience published so that others can benefit from his efforts. Remember that America is one of the safest countries in the world according to my theory. First, we don’t want to get hurt ourselves. Second, we don’t want to hurt others, and finally, if you have to pay for what you break you are that much more careful. It is that simple.
BIKE THEFT COVERAGE – BIG CHAIN, BAD DOG NEEDED
Q. My husband had a bad crash on his motorcycle, and is recovering. The insurance company has agreed to pay us for the damage to his bike and will allow us to keep it less the salvage value. We are paying a fair price for a wrecked bike (salvage) and can fix it for a reasonable amount. Is that normal for an insurance company to do that? Also, the insurance premium is due soon. Is it ok to cancel the policy? Is there any downside to canceling? We need to save all the dollars we can until my husband recovers from his injuries and gets back to work, but we do not want to jeopardize the settlement funds and the deal for the bike. Rod, we need your advice.
– ABATE member
A. Most insurance companies allow their insureds to “buy” the salvage, so buying the salvage is routine. This means that when a company totals your motorcycle, they are obligated to pay you the “value” of the motorcycle. At that point, the insurance company owns the wrecked and totaled motorcycle (salvage). You then can negotiate with your insurance company as to the value of the salvage. If you are mechanically inclined, this may be an opportunity to get a “good deal” if the motorcycle is repairable. The insurance company will deduct this salvage amount from the value of your motorcycle and send you a check for the balance.
As to your other question, you can cancel your policy and it will not affect your motorcycle settlement or the other obligations of the policy in effect at the time of the crash. The greater portion of the premium you pay on your policy goes toward liability coverage for the other person if you are involved in a crash. Since your bike is not road-worthy, that part of the coverage is a waste. However, your policy does have theft coverage and you will lose that coverage when you cancel. Check with your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance company to see if they will provide theft coverage for the bike since it may be considered personal property and not a “vehicle.” If they say “yes,” send a confirming email to them with a cc to RodTaylor@ABATELEGAL.COM Some policies provide coverage for a stored bike in damaged condition – some don’t. If you do not have theft coverage, get a big chain and a bad dog because your kind of bike is a theft target.
WHERE THERE’S A WAY, THERE SHOULD BE A WILL – AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE HOME TO MAKE ONE AT ABATE LEGAL.
Q. I want to do my will, but I’m not sure what I should put in it or what I need to consider when I’m doing my will.
A. Anybody who’s ever heard me speak at one of the state seminars knows that I think everybody should have a will. They don’t have to be complex, and they don’t have to be expensive. We do wills for ABATE members for free!
When you are ready to make a will, there are several things to think about:
- Who should receive my property?
- Who should take care of my minor children?
- Do I need to create a trust for my spouse or minor/adult children?
- Do I want to make any charitable gifts?
- Should my life insurance go to a trustee or directly to the beneficiaries?
- Who do I want to administer my will?
- What about taxes?
If you already have a will, you should review it to make sure it is up to date and reflects changes in your marital status or changes in the beneficiaries you named.
And by the way, there are several requirements that must be met to ensure that the will is valid. In general, the will has to be made by a person 18 and of sound mind and memory. Also, it must be in writing, signed by the maker, and witnessed (with signatures) of two disinterested persons (not anyone who would benefit from or is named in the will). Upon the death of the person who made the will, it is presented to the court, who will make sure it is valid and provide appropriate orders to make sure the instructions are carried out.
If you don’t have will, or want to make changes to your will, call ABATE LEGAL SERVICES. We will do your will for you, free of charge, as part of your membership benefits!
ROAD HAZARD REPORT
by Brian Shadiow, ABATE Legal Investigator
In late March we received notice of a road hazard from Janice, an Illinois ABATE Member. She contacted us with concerns over a bridge that was being repaired in her area. While we receive numerous road hazard submissions, this is one of the first times we have received one for an area that was currently under construction for repair. It seems that this bridge was over 60 years old and had deteriorated badly. The bridge, now under repair, had been closed down to just the southbound lane for traffic, in order to start repairs on the northbound lane. The problem is that the southbound lane was in extremely poor condition, made up of almost nothing but small potholes throughout the entire lane. A few holes were so bad that the state laid down a board or road plate over them. Janice’s concern was that this bridge was not only bad, but it was getting worse now that all of the traffic was reduced to just one lane. And it was early, the state had only just started construction on this bridge and it was nearly unnavigable. Well, long story short, Janice took a video of her traveling over the bridge which clearly showed the poor condition and disrepair. We were able to forward this, and other information she provided throughout our emails, to the IDOT engineer overseeing this area. With Janice’s detail and good work, she helped get those potholes filled – and the state even added a layer of blacktop to the entire southbound lane. Thanks for helping to keep our roads safe Janice!
Ride Safe & Free,
ABATE Legal Services
All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by the client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2020.