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Protecting Employee & Consumer Rights
Atty. C. Joe SAyAS, Jr.
SO YOU have insurance that protects you in the event of an accident. Good. God forbid that you have to use it, but if you do, do you know how to go about getting the full benefits of your policy? If you have to claim against the insurance company of another person responsible for the accident, is it wise to deal with them directly? It is one thing to get the company to pay for car repairs. It is quite another thing to have them pay for the medical expenses or the loss of earnings you incurred or the pain and suffering you underwent as a result of injuries from the accident. Make no mistake about it. Your interests are different from the insurance company’s. You want to get paid for the full value of your claims. The company, on the other hand, would like to pay you as little as possible. Below are some of our thoughts based on over 20 years of insurance litigation practice: 1. Get immediate medical help. The most important consideration is your health and those of your family. Paramedics may provide emergency treatment at the scene or take you to the nearest hospital. If not, go see your doctor for immediate medical assistance. Musculo-skeletal injuries that usually accompany accidents are not outwardly visible but still need medical attention to determine the need for treatments. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, may manifest themselves at a later time. The doctors are in a better position to know if additional diagnostic tests are necessary.

Helping you get paid in your accident claims
2. Gather information. Obtain the name, driver license, license plate, address of other driver/s at the scene, and their insurance carriers. Get the contact information of all possible witnesses. Take photos of the scene and the cars involved. If you slipped and fell in a property, have someone take a photo of the premises and the surface before it is ever altered or changed. 3. Document your injuries and damages. Were you confined in the hospital, lying in bed for days? Were you provided with a wheelchair or a walker to assist you in moving around the house? Was any part of your body placed in a cast or brace? Did you have discoloration in your skin due to bruises or lacerations? Was it difficult for you to rise up from your chair or walk? The photographs or video footage taken of these conditions paint a thousand words and more than all the description anyone can provide. They provide value to your claim. 4. Pay attention to the liens and subrogation. The fire department, paramedics, emergency doctors, hospitals – all these providers would need to be paid for the services they rendered. These providers may now have an interest in any monetary payments made to you by insurance companies and may put a lien on your recovery. Your health insurance may have also paid part of your medical bills. Hence, they will assert their rights to subrogation. Subrogation arises when an insurance company tries to recoup the money it paid out on a claim when another party should have been responsible for paying at least a portion of that claim. These entities would have to be

Community Journal
Immigration Edge
Atty. DAniel HAnlon

LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 1, 2011

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Homeowner Visas to revive US housing market
tains provisions to allow Chinese visitors to obtain multiple-entry, five-year visas and to allow Canadians to visit and remain in the US for more than the current 180-day limit without a visa in order to stimulate the economy, but the Homeowner Visa is the focal point of the bill. Investors purchasing a primary residence for at least $250,000 and a total of $500,000 in US real estate would qualify for the visa. The purchases must be done in cash, however, completely unencumbered; and the buyer would be required to remain in the US at least 180 days each year. Requiring the homeowner visa holder to remain in the US for at least six months a year means that the investor would be spending money in the US for living expenses, but the sixmonth requirement also means that the investor would be subject to paying US income taxes on worldwide income. As a further restriction, the Homeowner Visa would not entitle the investor to work in the US, such that an investor desiring to work in the US would require a separate working visa application. Homeowner Visa holders also would not be eligible for Medicaid, Medicare or any Social Security Benefits. Senators Schumer and Lee see the VISIT USA homeowner visa program as a “real-world” antidote to the housing crisis, which would tear down barriers that have historically limited foreign investors’ access to the US housing market. While there are those in Congress who seem intent on defeating any legislation that could improve the economy for the purpose of portraying Obama as a “failure” in the next election, the program’s restrictions should make it very difficult to explain any resistance to the new bill. Since the Homeowner Visa program will encourage direct investment in the US housing market and increase the tax base, while protecting US workers and entitlement programs, VISIT USA should appeal to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
*** Daniel P. Hanlon is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law and a principal of Hanlon Law Group, PC, located at 225 S. Lake Ave., 11th Floor in Pasadena, California; tel. No. (626) 585-8005. Hanlon Law Group, PC is a “full-service Immigration Law firm.” Email: visas@hanlonlawgroup.com and www. hanlonlawgroup.com
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dealt with. 4) Seek experienced legal help. It pays to hire an experienced attorney to prove liability and damages to your benefit. Dealing with the insurance company does not only mean establishing you were not at fault for the accident. It also means proving that your injuries, both present and future, were caused by it. This requires skilled investigation, gathering witnesses and documents, and the hiring of a team of experts in the areas of physics, engineering and medical science. Seek an attorney who has presented these evidence and tried these cases in court. You may not have to face these battles in court but it is important to have someone who is prepared for it. You will realize the other side will provide more value to your claims. As we have said before, when it comes to insurance claims, you do not get what you deserve. You get what you fight for! ***

AS THE Obama Administration grapples with proposals to avoid a “double-dip” recession and jump-start the US economy, members of Congress are taking aim at the flagging housing market. With existing home sales down three percent in September 2011, the White House has urged members of Congress to espouse mortgage reform to help homeowners obtain the credit they need to refinance their homes at reasonable rates, especially those who are “under water” with their current rates. Taking a slightly different tack, a bipartisan bill in the Senate would seek to attract direct and immediate foreign investment in the US housing market and is gaining steam in Congress. Introduced as part of the “Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Esq. is an experienced Act,” (VISIT-USA Act) by Senatrial attorney who has successfully obtained tors Charles Schumer (D-NY) significant results, including several million and Mike Lee (R-Utah) the new dollar recoveries for consumers against program would allow qualifying insurance companies and big business. He home buyers to obtain nonimis a member of the Million Dollar-Advocates migrant visas to the US valid for Forum—a prestigious group of trial lawyers three years and extendable inwhose membership is limited to those definitely. VISIT-USA also conwho have demonstrated exceptional skill, experience and excellence in advocacy. He has been featured in the cover of Los Angeles Daily Journal’s Verdicts and Settlements for his professional accomplishments and recipient of numerous awards from community and media organizations. His litigation practice concentrates in the following areas: serious personal injuries, wrongful death, insurance claims, unfair business practices, wage and hour (overtime) litigation. You can visit his website at www.joesayas law.com or contact his office by telephone at (818) 291-0088.
(Advertising Supplement)

Bridging Financial Gaps
eVAngeline A. giron
CONSIDERING our close relationship ties, it is most likely that at least once in your life you’d be asked to co-sign for a loan for a family or a friend- whether it’s for a vehicle, a mortgage, credit card, or a student loan. While it may be tempting to help someone in “dire” need, you have to think twice before signing that loan agreement. Helping a friend or relative by co-signing a loan isn’t always a good idea. As a co-signer, you are committing yourself to a financial obligation that you don’t have direct control of. It also adds up to your total amount of debt, which has a great probability of lowering your credit score. Remember, the amount of debt could greatly

Should you or should you not co-sign for a relative or friend?
impact your credit score. A low credit score will make it hard to obtain a much-needed loan in the future. Simply put in layman’s term, co-signing is the same as taking the loan out yourself. It is guaranteeing to the creditor that your friend or relative will make the payments. But what if the original debtor defaults on the payments? Remember, co-signing is a way for someone with a bad credit to rely on the strength of another person’s strong credit. The same habits that would have driven that person to the point of having a bad credit could have serious financial consequences as you would be left out to pay for the debt in default. You may think this will not happen to you because you trust your friend or relative. But studies show that 3 out of 4 loans which had a co-signer go on default. That equates to 75% chance, which is way too high an odd to gamble on. Even though it’s not the intention of the original debtor to “betray” you, circumstances can force them to prioritize on their budgeting and it may be that the loan you co-signed with them is not a top priority. If that happens, the creditor will have the right and all the opportunity to go after you since, as a guarantor of the loan, you

Tax Tips
ViCtor Sy, CPA, MBA
SHOULD you attend an IRS audit? Yes, I mean, your audit. Well, you don’t have to. This is always a strategic question that should be discussed at the planning stages of an audit. Of course, you do not want to go. Of course, I do not want you to go either. So why go? Let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of attending your own funeral, I mean audit. Why you should not attend 1. You won’t enjoy it, before, during, and after the examination. It is normal to get rattled. It is normal to be affected in some way, including the way you eat, sleep, or work. You might get testy and may even fight with your mate. Personally, my philosophy has always been: sign the power of attorney, pay me, let me handle this whole thing, and go on with your normal life. 2. If you attend, your demeanor may convey fear that may be misconstrued by the auditor that you are hiding something. I have dealt with auditors who ask me why my client should be afraid if he/she is not trying

Should you be present at your IRS audit?
to hide anything. Some auditors have been doing this job for so long that they have become cold to taxpayer sensitivities. 3. You can be emotional (and should be) about issues raised by the agent and can create animosity that changes the atmosphere in the office audit, one that will probably work against you. 4. Clients tend to be chatterboxes when they get nervous. They volunteer more than what is asked. This could only mean trouble: more issues, more dinero. And just between you and me, I cannot work my magic to settle when you are there. The auditor tends to be more formal and righteous. I tend to be more formal and righteous. I do not want to trade issues when you are there. You are therefore a hindrance to my effectiveness, an obstacle to the agent’s willingness “to work it out.” So why attend? Why you should attend 1. You are a believable witness. You present yourself rather well even (or especially) at times of adversity. In other words, you are rather convincing, perhaps more than your rep. 2. You are a credible witness and your trustworthiness and presence are crucial to win your case. 3. Evidence has been lost and your oral testimony can sway the auditor to believe that such evidence existed. If you are this type of person, consider attending. But in my 34 years of practice, this is indeed a rare creature that comes around once in a blue moon. My advice is, unless you are that rare breed, sign that power of attorney and leave it to the professionals. Try to be “normal” at this of your life. Good luck! ***
Victor Santos Sy, CPA, MBA, provides professional services in accounting and tax controversy including IRS audit defense and offers in compromise. He also advises clients on choices of entity including corporations for small businesses and LLCs for rentals. Vic worked with SyCip, Gorres, Velayo (SGV - Andersen Consulting) and Ernst & Young before establishing Sy Accountancy Corporation at 704 Mira Monte Place, Pasadena, CA 91101. The firm celebrates its 34th anniversary in 2011. You may email tax questions to Vic at vic@victorsycpa.com. You are welcome to visit our website for about 300 tax tips at www.victorsycpa.com.
(Advertising Supplement)

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Reeves & Associates wins another…
ily. These are good law-abiding people who have worked hard, raised their children well, took care of their ailing mother, and paid taxes since they arrived here. Their deportation at this point would have had tragic ramifications for the entire family.” Client expressed his thanks by saying “Thank you so much, having a good lawyer like you with your expertise in handling our difficult case, good preparation and representation in winning our case meant a lot to us. Our children will now have a better future in this country.” (Advertising Supplement)

lived with him since his last entry in 1994. When the immigration judge approved Ray’s case, Atty. Diza demonstrated that if Maria is deported to her home country, Ray would suffer severe hardship and will be left alone to take care of a sick mother, and two minor children. The Garcia’s thanked Atty. Diza and the staff for a job well done. With regard to the Immigration Judge’s Decision, Attorney Flomy Diza commented, “I feel that justice was achieved for this fam-