Had An Injury At Work? Obtain The Money You Deserve

Accidents happen. And at work, something is likely to happen during your career. Yet, if this accident is due to the negligence of others, it’s up to you to get the compensation you deserve and make sure that no other employees fall foul of the malpractice.

What You Should Do

After your accident, immediately seek medical advice. Even if you don’t think the injury is that serious, you must get a doctor’s opinion. Not only is this important for your own health, but if the case goes to court, not seeking out medical advice can be seen as exacerbating your injuries. It’s also a lot easier to prove the extent of your grievances after the incident.


If you’ve decided to make a claim, it’s possible to come to a favorable settlement without going to court. Seeking a lawyer is recommended at this stage, but not always necessary. It’s in everyone’s best interests to settle compensation without legal proceedings, as the cost of going to court can be staggering for all concerned. However, if you feel as if you’re being short-changed and your lawyer advises you to pursue the case, don’t be afraid to seek the compensation your injury deserves.

No Win, No Fee

Don’t worry if you can’t afford to pay a lawyer. Operating through a ‘no win, no fee’ personal injury firm, you won’t have to pay any solicitor fees, as all costs will be recuperated from the other side.

Usually, personal work accident solicitors will only take you on if you have a strong case, because if you lose, they don’t get paid. Be sure to make your claim as strong as possible before you contact a law firm. A ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor can be counted on to fight your case well, as their pay cheque is on the line!

You’ll need to see an independent medical specialist to review your injuries and the impact these will have on your quality of life in the long term – your lawyer can arrange this. Make sure you file any expenses that legal action has cost you, as you may be able to claim these back in court. Keep record of the wages you’ve lost since your accident.

Preparing For Your Court Case

The more prepared you are, the better. If possible, take pictures of any negligence at the scene of your accident, whether that’s faulty equipment or a slippery surface. Take down the names of witnesses and contact them if you need an account of the incident.

If your injuries are still mending, you’ll be advised to postpone any legal action until you’re as well as you can possibly be, given the circumstances. Although it’s important to act as soon as possible on your claim, you must wait until you’ve recovered from the accident before you proceed. In the meantime, the best thing you can do for your case is look after yourself.

Financial Lessons From A Hurricane

hurricaneBack in 2005, I was a new freshman in college. I drove to the university I was supposed to go to, Tulane in New Orleans, the city that I am from. I put my mini fridge, my clothes, my ten pairs of shoes, and my books in my dorm room like thousands of college students across the country. Except, for me, that was the last time I set foot there.

A mere minutes after I placed my belongings in my dorm room, the city spread an evacuation notice for Hurricane Katrina, and my life changed forever.

After the devastation, the arduous task of helping my parents clean up our house, and the emotional pain that set in that (that still stings from time to time to this day), my family was left with a heaping financial mess.

Financial Lesson #1: Expect the Unexpected.

I had a full tuition scholarship to Tulane for 4 years, but the hurricane closed down the school for a semester. While other students returned when that time was up, my family didn’t feel the city was safe enough yet after a semester for me to return to. The city is still recovering 7 years later, so I feel that was a wise choice. Still, I ended up transferring to William and Mary. Although they granted me need-based assistance due to the trauma we endured, I still ended up with $14,000 in undergraduate debt. So, even if you feel like you have a full ride or a trip fully paid for, it’s best to have some extra cash lying around just in case.

Financial Lesson #2: Your Stuff is Not As Important As You Think

Perhaps this lesson is more emotional than financial, but when you lose everything, you realize how little it mattered. My parents had six figures of uninsured losses which included everything from furniture to Christmas ornaments. It also included things that were too sentimental to even have a price tag. It pains me to think about all those items gone, but the memories do sustain me.

Financial Lesson #3: It’s Pays To Have Emergency Kits

Today, 2 in 5 households live paycheck to paycheck. So, it may be difficult to justify purchasing expensive batteries, bottles of water, or any other necessary emergency item. However, when you are faced with a true emergency as I have been, those things are priceless. I remember very vividly that my dad had a radio that we could listen to when all of the phone lines were down in the surrounding areas. It helped us to get very important news that we wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

I could share more in this post about what we lost and how difficult it still is today to talk about Katrina, a name that has gained notoriety. Every time I tell someone I am from the New Orleans area, the first things they ask about is Katrina, not the French Quarter or the food or Mardi Gras. So I could share more about what we lost, but I think it’s more important to focus on what we gained.

We gained an immense perspective, first of all. We learned that as long as our family was safe, it didn’t matter how much we lost. We learned insurance companies are hard to deal with at times. We learned that assistance is actually not always on the way. We learned to think for ourselves and to be grateful to have had savings accounts and money to live on for several months when most people didn’t. The financial lessons are important for us still today, especially now during this hurricane season, but the life lessons last forever.

photo by ChalkyLives

How to Build Up Your Emergency Fund

emergency fund

If you ever feel as if you’re always behind when it comes to money, the reason may be the absence of something as basic as an emergency fund. In addition to providing cover in emergencies, an emergency fund can form the foundation of all things financial in your life by moving you past paycheck-to-paycheck living to a place where you have some margin to begin building a better life.

If you don’t have an emergency fund right now, here’s how you can get one started. But first, let’s think about how much will be enough to provide the level of safety you’ll need.


How big should an emergency fund be?

There are different guidelines for the size of an emergency fund, and all are legitimate for a person who doesn’t have one at all. Some suggest $1000 while others recommend as much as six months living expenses.

Probably the best advice is to pick a target that’s doable. Start with $1000, and once you reach it, increase the target to one month of living expenses. Once you hit that, move the target to two months and so on, until you reach an amount that provides the comfort level you’re looking for.

The key is to set the target at a number that can be reached fairly quickly. If you don’t presently have an emergency fund, speed will be critical. This is not only because an emergency may develop where the money will be needed, but also because reaching a goal quickly can be crucial to your ability to accumulate a fund at all.


Try some of these to jump start your emergency fund:

Bank your income tax refund. Rather than spending it on something or using it to pay a bill, use it to start your emergency fund. With an average federal income tax refund being in the neighborhood of $3000, this will be an excellent start for most people.

Bank your bonus. Think of bonus income as being a financial windfall, rather than part of your regular income, and use it to start an emergency fund. This is a way to fund emergency savings without disturbing your regular income.

Bank income from a second job. Many households are pretty tight on their budgets, so the only way to save money will be to increase income. Take a part time job, dedicating all income from the job to your emergency fund. If you take home $500 per month from the job, and commit all of it to your emergency fund for just six months, you’ll have a $3000 nest egg without touching so much as a dollar from your regular paycheck.

Bank proceeds from garage sales and Ebay. Every one of us has stuff sitting in our homes that we no longer need or use, and it’s doing nothing more than collecting dust. Gather it up, clean it, decide what its worth and get ready to sell it. Smaller, high priced items can easily be sold on Ebay; the other stuff can be sold in a garage sale. Craigslist is a good venue for larger items, like appliances and furniture. You probably have hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars worth of salable goods in your home, and the money from the sale of them would be better served sitting in a bank account earning interest.

Once you have your emergency fund started keep going!

At this point, you already have at least a few hundred hopefully a few thousand sitting in your emergency fund, so now will be the time to begin slowly adding to it. Put another way, you’re going to make a full transition into becoming a full fledged saver!

And that’s when good things start to happen.


How do you keep it going?

Cut back on living expenses at least a little. As you continue your transition into saver status, this will get easier to do. Just cutting your expenses by 5% will free up an equivalent amount to put into your emergency fund.

Whittle down your debts. If you can stop using and therefore increasing your credit cards, you can begin paying them down just by making regular payments. As you do, your monthly debt service will also drop, and with it, so will your payments, freeing up even more money to plow into savings.

Save a small amount out of your regular paycheck. Next time you get a raise, set up a direct deposit into your emergency savings account for an equivalent amount. Since you were used to living on your pre-raise income, you won’t miss it. And since you know it’s going into your savings also known as paying yourself first you probably won’t feel bad about it either.

Continue to bank windfalls. Next year, repeat the steps listed above in regard to bonuses, second incomes, tax refunds, and the sale of your stuff. You’ll be making the pile bigger when you do, and watching the balance grow will probably be all the motivation you’ll need to keep it going.


The real payoff from an emergency fund.

The main purpose of having an emergency fund is having ready cash in case a true emergency comes up, which will keep you from having to tap your credit cards. While that’s the most basic benefit, there’s more.

Once you have a well stocked emergency fund, one that’s at the upper end of your desired range, you can take the disciplines you developed creating the fund and use them for other purposes. You can begin using excess funds to pay off credit cards and other debt. And when those are paid off, or at least under control, you can begin putting your money into investments, like mutual funds and retirement accounts.

As that begins to happen, you’ll begin moving into a most satisfying place financial independence. And it all starts with an emergency fund.


(Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, Out of Your Rut. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.)